TennTruth.com contributor Stetson Marlin answered some questions about the upcoming Notre Dame football game against Vanderbilt.
As Notre Dame football prepares to face SEC foe Vanderbilt, we decided to hit up a writer who covers the Commodores regularly. We reached out to TennTruth.com writer Stetson Marlin and bounced some question off of him to get a view of the game froma Vanderbilt perspective. You can follow him on Twitter @StetsonMarlin8.
J.P. Scott: Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason made comments earlier in the year about the Notre Dame environment that may have been taken out of context. Just looking at what was said, do you think the Vanderbilt fan base echoes his sentiments?
Stetson Marlin: I do think so. The SEC has no doubt been one of the best — if not the best conference — in the nation, so they are no stranger to facing tough opponents despite the struggles they might have in those games.
Personally, I think that quote was taken out of context. Most coaches nowadays, no matter what level, want to stay focused on the opponent they play next. That’s all I think Derek Mason was doing in this situation. In no way do I think it was said to downplay Notre Dame.
J.P.: Vandy got a few Top 25 votes in the polls this week. At the same time, the Irish are favored by two touchdowns this weekend. Are the Commodores overrated, underrated or is it still a wait and see thing?
Stetson: Still a wait and see thing. It’s hard to tell how the Commodores will be this season, and I think this game will tell us what we need to know. Vanderbilt started out 3-0 last season, before losing five straight games. After this tough matchup, the Commodores take on South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. I definitely think we should wait and see how this team actually is after two easy matchups to start the season.
J.P.: Name one player on Vandy’s offense outside of Shurmur, and one on defense, who will likely impact this game in a positive way for Vanderbilt.
Stetson: Kalija Lipscomb, no doubt. Lipscomb is a playmaker and is Kyle Shurmur’s favorite target. Shurmur will likely look for Lipscomb a lot this Saturday. He has 14 receptions so far this season for 145 yards and two touchdowns. He also led all Commodore receivers last season with eight touchdowns. Notre Dame’s defense definitely needs to keep an eye out for Lipscomb on Saturday.
Defensively, I have to go with Jordan Griffin. Vanderbilt has put a few linebackers in the league over the last few years and Griffin has a chance to be another one to stick out. He has a team-high 14 tackles so far on the season, including one sack. Vanderbilt’s defense has been great so far, but will face a very tough opponent on Saturday, so it will be interesting to see how Griffin and the defense responds.
J.P.: Name a Notre Dame player or unit that should make Vanderbilt fans nervous about how this game might play out.
Stetson: I have to go with Brandon Wimbush. He struggled last week against Ball State, throwing three interceptions, but I feel like he will overcome that game and come out firing this game. He’s a playmaker and the whole country was able to see that during Week One against Michigan. Not only can he throw, but he is also a threat running the ball too, so that might cause some trouble for Vanderbilt as well.
J.P.: Give us a final score prediction and tell us how you came to that prediction.
Stetson: Notre Dame 31, Vanderbilt 21
This is a very hard game to pick. It’s hard to see how good Vanderbilt actually is after two easy games to start the year. Notre Dame started the year out with a very good win but followed that up by struggling with Ball State. I think Vanderbilt will have a chance to win this game, but going on the road, playing in a hostile environment will get to the Commodores, as the Fighting Irish will pull away late.