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Vanderbilt Coach Runs on About Alabama’s Will Anderson

Clark Lea is well aware of the presence Anderson and the Alabama defense.
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A lot of Clark Lea's success this season as Vanderbilt's head coach is thanks to the ground game. 

Running back Ray Davis and quarterback Mike Wright are two of the top five rushers in the SEC, and he's aware that it'll take an all-around solid performance against the Alabama defense on Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadiun.

"The Alabama defense is a challenge," Lea said during the SEC Football Coaches Weekly Teleconference Wednesday afternoon. "When you play against a good team and a good program, you don't deviate from your identity. We know that group has the ability to win up front, so we have to do thing to challenge that ability down in and down out. 

"Early down success is critical, and that mean establishing a run game. So we'll design to do that knowing we have a formidable opponent, but we're excited to compete against them."

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Lea also went into detail about linebacker Will Anderson Jr., who he acknowledges as a "game-changer" for the Crimson Tide defense.

"He really allows them to some things in coverage through gap cancellation, which allows them to commit more of their secondary into coverage,” the coach said. “He controls the game. His impact in coverage is not just about shortening the down, it's also about the run-pass conflict. 

"We're gonna be aware of him and aware of where he is."

Anderson and the defense has only allowed 28 points through three nonconference games, while the Commodore offense has averaged 42 points through four non-conferences games.

Kickoff in Tuscaloosa will be at 6:30 p.m. CT on SEC Network.