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Kentucky Football: Important To Stop Vanderbilt Big Sets

Kentucky has had issues stopping the run so far this season. Vanderbilt will challenge UK in this area.

Andy Lyons

In Mark Stoop's Monday press conference he noted that Vanderbilt was a well-coached team that has been getting better. He also noted:

They do a lot of creative things with big sets. That was helpful for them against South Carolina. You could see they're starting to build more and more into their package. They create some big problems from the run and pass with big sets. That's really new now because not too many people are doing it.


They're very creative with what they do in their big personnel

You can see, they got some good mileage out of those sets this past week versus South Carolina. Really kept them off balance. Ran it effective. Hit some good play actions off of it.

Big sets can mean several different things. It could mean double tight end sets or even moving three offensive tackles onto the line of scrimmage along with two tight ends. This is similar to how UT-Martin attacked UK in the opening weekend. Looking back at that game chart, UT-Martin found the most success offensively after adding a second offensive tackle to the boundary side, and then proceeded to run the ball off-tackle.

UK did not really adjust to this, probably to keep their schemes vanilla, but it still found success. After UK changed their strong-side call to the double tackle side, UT-Martin would audible and run it back to the weak-side that had fewer defenders to block. You begin to see how this scheme can be effective. UT-Martin was getting nearly five yards a pop on this play in the first half.

Vandy has a much more talented squad than UT-Martin. Freshman running back Ralph Webb is having a great season averaging nearly 20 carries a game and 5 yards per carry. A successful running attack can lead to the offense exposing the defense in other ways after it over-compensates to stop the run.

If Vandy's offense chews a lot of clock, UK's dangerous offense won't be on the field and won't get close to their goal of 75 snaps a game. As Stoops also noted in today's press conference, and last week as well, UK's defense has to get more production from its second level (i.e. linebackers). This will be a big test for them as several teams going forward run the ball well. Jason Hatcher will get more playing this week due to Vandy's scheme. He will need to build on his finest performances to date in Gainesville. There may also be a sub-package this week that gets nose tackles Melvin Lewis and Matt Elam on the field at the same time as well.

If UK can force Vanderbilt's quarterback to beat them then UK's odds of winning increases. To get to that point, though, they'll have to solve the conundrum of power football for the first time this season.