What’s the temperature like for Vanderbilt in Nashville? We analyze several areas where the Commodores are hot or cold.


Darrius Sims has been Vanderbilt’s best player the past two weeks. In Week 4, Sims returned the opening kickoff 91 yards to give the Commodores an early lead over South Carolina. Facing a deficit, he returned a 100-yard kickoff in the third quarter to bring Vanderbilt within fighting distance, before the Gamecocks pulled ahead to a big lead. Sims provided Vanderbilt’s only score on a 20-yard interception against Kentucky last Saturday, giving the Commodores defense more touchdowns scored than the offense for the season.


Ralph Webb continues to lead Vanderbilt with 422 rushing yards and a touchdown on 90 carries. The redshirt freshman is the Commodores only consistent option on offense and continues to produce, despite his team’s woes. Trailing 17-7 for most of the game, it’s bewildering why Derek Mason didn’t continue to feed Webb, who finished with just 13 carries in Saturday’s loss.


Wade Freebeck is not ready to start in the SEC. After a solid relief appearance for an injured Patton Robinette in Week 4, Freebeck continued to look like an inexperienced true freshman making his fifth collegiate appearance at quarterback. He threw for 85 yards and three interceptions on 8-of-25 passing, ending with a passer rating of 36.6.


Vanderbilt. With the exception of Sims, Webb, freshman linebacker Nigel Bowden and Robinette (if healthy), the Commodores entire team is below 32 degrees fahrenheit. At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if a combination of the best players from Ensworth, MBA and Brentwood Academy high schools in Nashville could challenge– if not beat– Vanderbilt. I mean, its not like they’re not going to sign with teams that will beat the Commodores next year.

Vanderbilt’s turnover margin is -6. Its offense has been outscored by everyone, including its own defense and special teams. The Commodores have a total of five offensive touchdowns and look completely outmatched by opposing defenses.

There are so many problems facing Derek Mason right now. At first I didn’t understand why Vanderbilt fans could hold a sudden grudge against James Franklin for leaving after the program’s three most successful seasons, but now I do. Franklin left this program in disarray and Mason is picking up the pieces.

This team is extremely far from competing, even in a wide open SEC East. Mason has a tall task rebuilding this program and will need the patience of fans and boosters to succeed.