By LARRY VAUGHT
Even though Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason says he will look at other offensive “options” for Saturday’s game at Kentucky that could involve more passing.
Most of the season, the Vanderbilt offense has been running back Ralph Webb. He’s had his hands on the ball in about 40 percent of Vandy’s offensive plays. But the Commodores have struggled more on offense than even Kentucky has.
“It is tough yards for him. You know it is. In this last game in particular against Florida, they really got in big sets, they got in two-tight-end-and-a-fullback sets and/or 12-personnel, two tight ends and two wide outs. They were getting in big sets and really pounding the football,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said.
“He’s a very, very good player. He gets quality yards. He’s tough to bring down. He’s got good vision, and they’re riding him right now because they’re making it difficult on defenses with the sifting and the motioning and creating extra gaps with some power-run game. Then they have a great back like Ralph back there getting tough yards. So, they’ve really kind of settled in.
“Looks like they have an identity and what they want to be. They’re playing good defense. Very opportunistic, creating turnovers. They’re very good, they’re plus-three in the turnover ratio, and he’s obviously protecting the football so they’re doing very good things and Ralph definitely makes it very difficult on defenses.”
Kentucky defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot calls Webb “an excellent tailback” who enables the Commodores to run well out of a pro-style offense.
“They do a lot of shifts, motions. They get lined up and they try to posses the ball,” Eliot said. “They make sure that they’re going to keep the ball in their offense’s hands, and they do that by running an effective pro-style offense. They run the ball very well and we’ve got to be able to stop them.”