Vanderbilt starts preparations for Duke

Monday, October 20, 2008 at 1:00am
Jamie Graham caught two touchdown passes for Vanderbilt against UGA. File

After two difficult losses at the hands of SEC foes, the Commodores are hoping to get things on the right track this week against Duke.

Vanderbilt’s players and coaches started looking ahead to the Blue Devils on Sunday, one day after taking a 24-14 loss at Georgia. The ’Dores stand at 5-2, one game away from bowl eligibility. And a home game against the Blue Devils would seem to be just what the doctor ordered for this VU squad.

But this Duke squad is a little different from the ones that have taken the field the last few years. The Blue Devils are now led by former Ole Miss head coach — and longtime Tennessee offensive coordinator — David Cutcliffe. Duke is 3-3 on the season and is averaging 25.6 points per game.

But VU coach Bobby Johnson said he saw some things he liked in the loss to UGA, but said there was plenty to work on this week.

“We’ve got to got back to some fundamental stuff,” Johnson said. “We’ve got to do a better job with pass protection.”

With Cutcliffe’s experience at UT and Ole Miss, the Vanderbilt staff likely knows all about what the Blue Devil offense has to offer.

“Efficiency. They do things the right way,” Johnson said. “They take care of the ball. [You’ve go to] make them one dimensional. The quarterback always does a good job of managing the game.”

Dangerous duo: Saturday could have seen the beginning of a beautiful partnership for Vanderbilt’s offense. Quarterback Mackenzi Adams threw two touchdown passes to receiver Jamie Graham. Graham caught four passes for 36 yards.

It was a breakout game for Graham, a former Whites Creek star that was switched from defensive back to receiver before the season. The 6-foot, 190-pound athlete also played for the Vanderbilt basketball team last season.

“He’s shown a lot of promise,” Adams said of Graham. “Anytime you get a chance to throw one up for him to get, [you do it]. He’s a great weapon, a great asset to our offense.”

Vanderbilt (5-2) vs. Duke (3-3)

Saturday, 2 p.m.

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