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Playing Nice: Anchor of Gold

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*Austin Powers voice* DO I MAKE YOU VANDY???

After taking it on the chin last Saturday against Mississippi State, the No. 20 LSU Tigers (0-1) take their show on the road to Nashville to play Vanderbilt (0-1) for the second consecutive season.

Vanderbilt is somewhere between hapless and potentially frisky, as the Dores gave Texas A&M all it wanted last week in College Station. Anchor of Gold’s Tom Stephenson stopped by to preview Vanderbilt.

1. Boy Vanderbilt sure gave Texas A&M fits last week didn’t they? Was A&M playing down to the opponent or are the Dores friskier than expected?

This is kind of a cop-out answer, but it’s a little of column A and a little of column B. Vanderbilt did look a bit better than advertised, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. The offense, well, that was about what we expected to see (though, more on that in a minute), but the defense at least contained A&M when they weren’t handing off to Isaiah Spiller. At the same time... Texas A&M played one of the sloppiest football games I’ve ever seen, with four fumbles and a safety on the absolute dumbest play I have ever seen. (To recap: A&M’s punt returner decided to take one out of the back of the end zone, and one of his blockers got flagged for a blindside block in the end zone on the play. No, I am not making this up.)

2. LSU’s not the only one breaking in a new quarterback, true freshman Ken Seals got thrown into the fire and seemed to do okay: 20-29, 150 yards, a touchdown and a pair of picks. How is Seals debut resonating with the Vanderbilt community and is there a hope he could have some success against an LSU secondary that got torched last week?

It’s resonating all right. Put this way, there is currently no call for any of the backups to see the field any time soon. I don’t think the coaching staff was exactly opening up the playbook yet on Saturday night, though they’re going to have to what with the offensive line being a patchwork thanks to a bunch of opt-outs and the running game so far being nonexistent (probably as a result of the offensive line, but still.) As far as success against the LSU secondary, well, that’s gonna depend a lot on whether the coaches want to open things up a bit. I will say that Seals threw a couple of interceptions on Saturday (granted, one of them definitely was not his fault.)

3. Counterpoint: is there a fear amongst Vanderbilt faithful that thinks “ah hell we’re catching a pissed off LSU team, this could get out of hand?”

I mean, yeah, but then it’s not like we were expecting to win this game or anything. So we lose by five touchdowns instead of three, you say? Then again, we thought we’d lose by five touchdowns last week. The point is that we’re kind of used to this.

4. Vanderbilt is the only SEC school not allowing fans in the stands this season. Why is that?

So, Vanderbilt actually backtracked on that a bit on Monday — they’re going to allow limited student attendance on Saturday (how limited? Nobody is sure.) From best I can tell, Vanderbilt (the university, not the football team) is trying to limit people who aren’t students or faculty/staff from coming on campus as much as possible and, well, obviously the football stadium is the main place where non-students would be coming into contact with students. What’s more, at the time the announcement was made, Nashville still had restrictions in place on large gatherings that obviously would have precluded fans being in attendance; I believe the Titans will have fans in attendance for the first time this Sunday.

Or we can go with my working alternative theory, which is that Vanderbilt saw the crowds at the Georgia and LSU games last year and said “okay, fine, if that’s how it’s gonna be then we’re closing the stadium to fans.”

5. You picked LSU to win the SEC, something Poseur and I wouldn’t even do. Are you a bigger fan of LSU than the LSU website? Should we trade jobs?

I write a weekly column for Anchor of Gold titled “Bad Gambling Advice.” I am not so much an LSU homer as I am very, very bad at this.