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Questions: Answered and Unanswered

Before the game Saturday, I posted some questions about our team that I was hoping to have answered against Vandy. It's time to go back and take a look at the answers I got, didn't get, and all the new questions we'll be trying to find an answer to this weekend.

On Offense:

How much deeper in the playbook are we going to get?

Not a lot, apparently. We threw deep more often, but that didn't really get us anywhere, and I really thought we were doing less this week than we did against WCU. Memory might be an issue here, but I only recall a FB coming into the game on the very first offensive play in a goal line set, whereas Huber had a rush and a catch and was used more extensively last weekend. We stayed pretty committed to the run, which I'm not compaining about, but, aside from the few attempts deep to DJ, there wasn't a lot more going on in the passing game than there was in the opener.

Will Johns play a more significant (diverse) role in the offense today?

No, he definitely didn't. He was used sparingly (less than in the opener, maybe?), didn't do anything creative like line up at receiver, and we still haven't seen his use at FB.

Will that play action rollout to the TE tear up Vandy's D like it did WCU?

No, no it will not. We kept going back to that play, but it didn't do the same job it did last week. Vandy was prepared for it all day.

Will the other backs (Coffee and Upchurch) get any real playing time, or will they only be seen at the end of the game if this turns into a comfortable rout?

Coffee got a good bit of playing time in the second quarter when Grant was pulled after earning Saban's displeasure, but Upchurch never saw the field. I was really impressed with Coffee, he seems like a good middle ground between Grant and Johns. He's quick and can make people miss, but he's also got enough bulk and power to put his shoulder down and bowl people over and the extra yard. I honestly wouldn't mind seeing a three back rotation.

How many receivers will we see in the rotation, and will Brown be back as starter?

Brown did not make his way back, and it looked like he only got in on one play. He's either still in the doghouse, or McCoy just blew him out of the water during fall camp. As best I could tell, Hall, McCoy, Brown, Matt Caddell, Earl Alexander, and Will Oakley all saw the field, with only Hall and McCoy making catches.

On Defense:

The line: Will we be in the backfield more?

We were, and I was very pleased by the pressure we were able to get on Nickson and Adams. With the breakdown in the secondary on several plays, our pressure up front forced bad throws to wide open receivers, so the front seven really stepped up and helped out this week.

Will the LBs be able to contain the outside rush?

We gave up only 57 yards rushing so, yeah, they did an excellent job. McClain and Mustin are doing an incredible job holding down the middle, and it's no wonder Prince Hall wasn't handed his starting job back right away.

Is Earl Bennett a fluke, i.e, will we be able to shut him down like last year when our pass D wasn't as good as it should be this year?

Well, it's tempting to say that four catches for 52 yards says it all here, but Bennett was hampered with an injury a lot of the game and we were fortunate to have his first big catch nullified by a penalty (he pushed off, we had the coverage, so it was a good call). He got some open looks at times, mostly when being covered by true freshman Kareem Jackson, but Castille blanketed him pretty well. Jury is still out.

How often will we bring the safeties up to blitz/play the run, leaving the corners with no help over the top?

Honestly, I don't really remember. Maybe you guys can help me with this one.

Will we be able to defend the quick slant this week?

Nope. This is a real weakness for us, and better QBs/offenses could eat us alive with this play.

How many kicks is Tiffin going to miss?

Two, but he made three and his misses were of the 48 and 49 yard variety, so all in all not a bad performance from the young Tiffin. He still makes me nervous though.

New questions have popped up, of course (when will we see the depths of the playbook, will Coffee be featured more, does Sharrief stand a chance for starting next week, etc), but they'll have to wait until Saturday.