This week's Q&A installment comes from SBNation's Vandy Blog, Anchor of Gold. I think they did a very good job of keeping their answers reasonable, and I respect that. Give it a read.
RCR: So... 2-0. It has to feel good to see Franklin succeeding early. What would you say the team overall is doing well to account for the victories? On what can they improve?
What can Vandy improve? It's hard to say. Vandy needs to improve its blocking and passing, but I'm not sure it can improve those things this season. Larry Smith is who we thought he is - and that's not good. Unfortunately, multiple coaching staffs have now decided that Smith is better than his backup, Jordan Rodgers (Aaron's little brother), so it's increasingly difficult to believe that things will improve at QB this season. In terms of the O-line, losing Jabo Burrow for the season does not help an O-line that already looked horrible. It's hard to imagine how Coach Hand can improve things this season. Maybe our play calling can adjust to eliminate plays that require Larry Smith to hold the ball in the backfield for longer than three seconds.
RCR: Talk about the recruiting class James Franklin has assembled so far. We've heard that several of the Commodore commitments could be program changers.
AOG: Franklin had a reputation as a solid recruiter at Maryland, but I don't think anyone at Vanderbilt fully appreciated his recruiting ability when he was hired. After just a few months on the job, he grabbed recruits away from Virginia Tech and Nebraska for his first class. His second class looks like it will be even better. Franklin just landed Andre McDonald, a 4-star WR from Minnesota, to replace a 3-star commit who opted for Houston over Vanderbilt. McDonald is the third 4-star recruit in a recruiting class that is shaping up to be Vandy's best ever. Nobody is going to mistake Vandy's class for Florida's class, but Vandy is now getting kids that other SEC schools wanted. That alone is a big improvement.
RCR: Which unheralded defensive player is playing the best right now? Offensive?
AOG: Trey Wilson. Everyone knew that Casey Hayward would be good, but Wilson was a bit of a question mark after an inconsistent 2010 season. So far, so good.
On offense, Chris Boyd only has four catches, but three of them have been for touchdowns. Boyd obviously won't keep that up this season, but keep an eye on the 6'4" RS Freshman.
RCR: Larry Smith struggled against Connecticut. The Rebels have shown a penchant thusfar for intercepting poorly thrown balls and are hopeful that continues. For those of us who were unable to watch the U Conn game, can you talk a little bit about his picks and other struggles?
AOG: Larry Smith actually plays pretty well until a defense starts getting pressure on him. Then, he morphs into a chicken with its head cut off. He runs around aimlessly and throws passes to nowhere - if Vandy's fortunate, those passes either hit the ground or land 10 yards passed the nearest WR/DB. Last week, however, he added a new wrinkle to his game by dropping a pass on a trick play where he was wide open. After setting the bar pretty high in 2010, Larry continues to find new and innovative ways to struggle.
RCR: What's your prediction for the game? Give a final score and explain how you think it gets there.
AOG: Vandy 20, Ole Miss 17. Expect another great game out of Vanderbilt's defense. Look for key turnovers to pick up the slack for Vandy's offense. Although the offense stinks, expect Coach Franklin to make better adjustments than his pig-loving predecessor. Hopefully, Franklin can design a game plan that gets the ball out of Larry Smith's hands as quickly as possible. Expect a few big plays - and a few trick plays - combined with several three-and-out drives. The key will be to minimize the number of mistakes and take advantage of those big plays - i.e., don't drop the ball, Larry. Still, Larry Smith has shown that the one SEC team he can beat is Ole Miss. Vandy wins this game ugly.