– Vanderbilt returns home this Saturday to host South Carolina in the Dores' SEC opener. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. CT on SEC Network.
On Tuesday, head coach Derek Mason
met the media to preview Vanderbilt's home matchup with the Gamecocks. Mason was joined by linebacker Jordan Griffin
, receiver Kalija Lipscomb
and tight end Jared Pinkney
Here's what the Dores had to say:
Mason said South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley is an elite talent in the SEC. "Bentley is a pocket passer and can extend plays with his legs. He knows how to run that offense."
Mason praised the Gamecocks' defense under head coach Will Muschamp. "Their defense is physical. It's fast, they can run. It's a typical South Carolina defense. They're going to be opportunistic."
Mason on South Carolina's preparation for Vanderbilt given that last week's game was canceled due to Hurricane Florence: "They're going to be rested. They're going to be a football team that's had an opportunity to watch our game, look at us, figure out exactly where they want to go."
Mason described Vanderbilt's SEC opener as a "street fight," but admitted the Commodores must come out stronger in the first half. "That's the thing about a street fight: You can't start slow, you'll get knocked out. With that being said, we're going to have to start from the jump."
Mason on Vanderbilt's current losing streak to South Carolina. "When we look at it, we've lost nine straight. That's got to change at some point in time. Why not this week?"
Mason on the Commodores' near-upset of Notre Dame last week, which gained national attention: "If people feel good about that, great. We don't. We play the game to win. This isn't little league baseball where everyone get a trophy, okay?"
Lipscomb on final incompletion on fourth down vs. Notre Dame: "It took everything in me to not let it linger. But I had to move on from it — 24 hour rule."
Griffin on fixing the missed tackles that hampered the Dores vs. Notre Dame: "It's the little things. Tracking, bad angles, things like that. As a defense, those are the things we practice every day."
Pinkey on why Vanderbilt students should pack the stadium for South Carolina: "You just saw that we took a top-10 team to the ropes."
Zac Ellis is the Writer and Digital Media Editor for Vanderbilt Athletics.