Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess
- Vol Network analyst/record-setting defensive back Tim Priest offers some insight on S Eric Berry
- Phillip Fulmer talks about the emotions of the past three weeks since UT decided to make a coaching change
- Phillip Fulmer talks about the changes coming in UT's program
- Phillip Fulmer talks about the Vandy game
- B.J. Coleman talks to the media
- Defensive coordinator John Chavis talks about his future
- An emotional John Chavis talks about Phillip Fulmer's pending departure
- S Eric Berry talks to the media
- DE Robert Ayers talks to the media
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NASHVILLE - Tennessee was a pretty good football team on Saturday.
So said Vanderbilt after the Vols won 20-10 before a crowd of 38,725 at Vanderbilt Stadium.
"Sometimes you just get beat, and we got beat,'' Vandy junior center Bradley Vierling said. "They just were more physical than we were up front.''
Many media members searched the Commodores (6-5, 4-4 SEC) for a deeper explanation: Did UT (4-7, 2-5) do anything they didn't expect? Were there any undisclosed injuries? Was Vandy simply not fired up?
"Tennessee had a lot to do with it that we dug ourselves such a big hole in the first half,'' said Commodores coach Bobby Johnson, who found his team trailing 20-0 at halftime. "They are very good on defense, and it was pretty tough sledding for us.
"They forced us to do some things we didn't want to do.''
The Vols held Vandy to 25 yards of total offense on 25 plays in the first half, forcing Johnson to bench starting quarterback Chris Nickson in favor of Mackenzi Adams.
"We tried several different things . . . you can't make mistakes against a Tennessee defense,'' said Nickson, who was 1-of-5 passing for minus-4 yards, was sacked three times and threw an interception. "Their speed, their strategy, they prepared for me. They had my number.''
Adams had more success, finishing 18-of-38 passing for 192 yards with an interception and three sacks.
"They did a lot to limit our offensive capabilities,'' Adams said. "Their defensive line is extremely good.''
And what of the Vols' secondary? Was Adams' first interception - returned 69 yards to set up a field goal - a result of a bad tip?
"I had my face in the ground, I don't know,'' Adams said. "There were no miscommunications. Sometimes you run a route and they cover it.
"Sometimes it looks like I had a bad throw, but in reality, I'm just throwing the ball away.''
Adams said he believes the extra week of preparation probably helped UT.
"They do some really confusing stuff,'' Adams said, referring to the Vols' Mustang pass-defense package, "with three down linemen, they'll blitz their linebackers.''
Vanderbilt cornerback/receiver D.J. Moore conceded the Commodores knew UT was running the football on most plays. The Vols finished with 222 yards on 51 attempts.
"Their running backs are pretty good, so they're going to break some runs,'' Moore said. "It's not just the runner; it was the blocking, too.
"This loss was disappointing, but the Duke game (loss) was outrageous.''
Johnson summed Saturday's action up.
"Our guys were ready to play, and sometimes it just doesn't work,'' he said. "Our defense played well enough to win, but they don't allow you to get much momentum with their defense.''