clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Vanderbilt's less-than-fearsome offense runs through Ralph Webb

New, 2 comments

Missouri actually has an opponent on Saturday beyond its own offense. Let's check on the OTHER team's offense for a bit. It should seem ... familiar.

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Offense

QB
Johnny McCrary (6'4, 220, So.) -- 132-for-232 (57%), 1,428 yards, 6 TD, 10 INT, 9 sacks (5.7 yards/att); 36 carries, 231 yards (6.4), 2 TD
Wade Freebeck (6'5, 226, So.) -- 2-for-6 (33%), 26 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT (4.3)
Kyle Shurmur (6'4, 225, Fr.)

Johnny McCrary's second career start came in Columbia last year; he completed 17 of 31 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns, throwing one pick and taking two sacks. It was a pretty decent level of play that he failed to maintain through the rest of the year. After a nice performance against ODU's awful defense, he completed just 42 percent of his passes with one touchdown and four interceptions in the final three games against Florida, Mississippi State, and Tennessee.

This year, under new offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig (formerly of Wisconsin), his numbers are a little better. He's completing 57% of his passes, and taking fewer sacks (3.7 percent sack rate), but he's still thrown 10 picks in just 232 attempts, about twice as many as would be acceptable. Vandy ranks a healthy 47th in passing success rate but just 126th in Passing IsoPPP -- he's able to carve out six- to 10-yard chunks here and there (in part because he's very good at checking down to the running back), but there are minimal big plays. Knowing how good Missouri is at preventing big plays, it would be disappointing if he had success in that regard.

McCrary is a pretty elusive guy and can get downfield when he wants to, but he tends to only rush about six times per game.

RB
Ralph Webb (5'10, 202, So.) -- 124 carries, 495 yards (4.0), 3 TD; 31 targets, 19 catches, 161 yards (5.2), 2 TD
Darrius Sims (5'9, 188, Jr.) -- 13 carries, 146 yards (11.2); 11 targets, 8 catches, 81 yards (7.4)
Josh Crawford (5'10, 200, Fr.) -- 6 carries, 20 yards (3.3); 3 targets, 2 catches, 11 yards (3.7)

FB
Dallas Rivers (6'1, 224, So.) -- 39 carries, 80 yards (2.1), 1 TD; 7 targets, 3 catches, 24 yards (3.4)
Ladarius Banks (6'2, 255, Jr.) -- 1 carry, 0 yards

In theory, Ralph Webb possesses a nice potential combination of shiftiness and strength. But he's still mostly potential. He's a good receiving option out of the backfield, but he hasn't found a ton of success between the tackles. He carved up MTSU for 155 yards on 25 carries but has otherwise averaged only 3.4 yards per carry. He's clearly the bellcow of this offense, averaging more than 25 intended touches (rushes and targets) per game. But even with decent receiving numbers, he's only gaining about 109 yards in those 25 touches.

It will be interesting to see how Vandy uses Darrius Sims. Before last Saturday against South Carolina, he had just seven carries and five catches. But against the Gamecocks, he rushed six times for 104 yards and caught three passes for 22 yards. Mizzou's defense is better than South Carolina's, but Vandy might be making a concerted effort to get him the ball more.

WR
Trent Sherfield (6'0, 200, So.) -- 56 targets, 36 catches, 483 yards (8.6), 2 TD
Latevius Rayford (6'1, 298, Jr.) -- 21 targets, 13 catches, 84 yards (4.0)
Chandler Dorrell (5'11, 185, Jr.) -- 3 targets, 3 catches, 20 yards (6.7)

WR
Caleb Scott (6'1, 195, So.) -- 23 targets, 16 catches, 174 yards (7.6)
Ronald Monroe (6'3, 200, RSFr.) -- 5 targets, 2 catches, 10 yards (2.0)
Trey Ellis (5'9, 168, So.)

TE
Steven Scheu (6'5, 245, Sr.) -- 34 targets, 16 catches, 174 yards (5.1)
Nathan Marcus (6'5, 240, So.) -- 4 targets, 2 catches, 11 yards (2.8)
Sean Dowling (6'5, 270, So.)
Sam Dobbs (6'4, 230, Fr.)

Tight end DeAndre Woods, who caught seven passes for 129 yards, is out for the season with injury, and the the rest of the receiving corps basically consists of Trent Sherfield and warm bodies. Sherfield caught just one pass in 2014 but has enjoyed a second-year breakout ... sort of. He caught 16 passes for 240 yards and a touchdown against Austin Peay, which is awesome ... but that means he's averaging only four catches and 48 yards per game in the other five games. He caught two for 18 last week against SC.

Steven Scheu's an interesting guy to watch, especially if Sherfield isn't having much success against Aarion Penton and company. He had a lovely game against Mizzou last year (six for 81) and was used heavily (six catches) against SC last weekend. Missouri has shown some vulnerability here and there when it comes to tight ends up the seams, so Scheu might find a little bit of success.

LT
Will Holden (6'7, 312, Jr.) -- 17 career starts
Bailey Granier (6'6, 315, RSFr.)

LG
Jake Bernstein (6'4, 310, Sr.) -- 38 career starts
Bruno Reagan (6'3, 315, RSFr.)

C
Spencer Pulley (6'4 ,300, Sr.) -- 35 career starts
Cole Hardin (6'4, 300, RSFr.)

RG
Barrett Gouger (6'4, 308, Jr.) -- 6 career starts
Bruno Reagan (6'3, 315, RSFr.)

RT
Blake Fromang (6'7, 305, Jr.) -- 4 career starts
Justin Skule (6'6, 305, Fr.) -- 2 career starts

With two-year starting left tackle Andrew Jelks out for the season with injury, a bad line in 2014 has gotten worse. The Commodores are decent in pass protection, in part because of how quickly the ball comes out of McCrary's hand, but run blocking has been atrocious. Vandy ranked 89th in Adj. Line Yards last year and sits at 110th midway through this season. (Mizzou fans can relate.)

Dominating this iffy line will be a key for Missouri's success, since between MU's awful offense and Vandy's solid defense, you can't exactly hope for much of an offensive breakout here. This is a matchup Missouri should win, but the Tigers must win it to have a chance. If McCrary's not under pressure and Webb's able to find some space and average 5-6 yards per carry, the Tigers are probably toast.