Entering the 2020 season, most experts, and we here at Commodore Country, expounded on the depth and talent potential of the Vanderbilt defensive line this season. It was thought to be the deepest and best position group on the team.
If the grades given by Pro Football Focus are to be believed, not only is the defensive line the strength of this team, their line is the best in the nation, at least after last week against Texas A&M.
Perr PFF-Collee, the Commodore defensive line scores an 81.0, tops in the nation among Power Five teams last week. That mark placed them ahead of Georgia, who was No.2 at 79.9 for the week.
Commodores head coach Derek Mason spoke on the ranking earlier this week during his media conference call.
"Pro Football Focus grades everything," said Mason. "It comes down to the line of scrimmage for us, you know, how do we attack the line of scrimmage? Are we able to get any knockback? Are guys able to do their job, whether it's setting edges or pushing the pocket? How disruptive are we off combo-blocks."
"I thought guys played as good a game as I've seen collectively from these guys," continued Mason. "Again, it's not about being able to do it once. You do it once, everybody thinks that it's an anomaly, but it's about consistency, so I think our guys have practiced hard, I think they've prepared the right way, and again, I think the emphasis is on preparation and focus, so with these guys hey challenge is to continue to push yourself to always be better. Get what there is to get, and in doing so, I think we give ourselves a chance to play football because what happens in the SEC is that this is a line of scrimmage league, so that's a great compliment from Pro Football Focus, but again it's about consistency."
Mason is correct. His team will have the opportunity to prove they can be consistent this week against an LSU squad that will likely be in an angry mood when they arrive at Vanderbilt Stadium Saturday evening.
One would expect the Tiger to look to establish their dominance up front and run the football after being forced away from their ground game after falling behind last week in their home loss to Mississippi State.