The day has dawned bright with promise, but also with a tinge of sadness. The Cincinnati Bearcats have a chance to notch the 5th 10 win season in program history, even up the bowl record and send the winningest senior class in program history out in proper fashion. With a win. Most of those are things that I think about, but they probably have no impact on the players. Other than the last one. That matters to the players more than the others. I don't buy the notion that Vanderbilt will be more into the game because they go to so few bowls. Regardless the game goes live in 6 hours, (give or take) and it's time to bone up.
"This team and this senior class have done a lot of things, with the three (Big East) championships and all the games we’ve won," UC senior linebacker J.K. Schaffer said. "But one of the things we haven’t done is win a bowl game."
That is a fact that I really overlooked. This Senior class is the winningest in program history, by far, but they have never won a bowl game. Its a bit trippy.
Watch those tricks: Vanderbilt will use trick plays more often than the average team. Fake punts, flea flickers, the works. Jones said UC must not overly commit to thinking about the gadgets, but to be aware that Vandy has them in its bag.
Its a truism that everything that is ever in the bag comes out at least once.
"Obviously, (Isaiah) Pead, their running back, No. 23. They typically go as he goes. That was magnified more when Collaros wasn’t in the lineup. I think it’s a little different with him back in the lineup, but I think 23 is still going to be the issue. On defense, the thing that jumps out to me is they are leading the country in sacks and they’re leading the country in tackles for loss. So we have to protect our quarterback and we have to protect the ball. I think that’s going to be very, very important.
Coaxing Cincinnati miscues might have gotten tougher on Thursday when senior Zach Collaros was named the Bearcats’ starting quarterback. It will be his first game since suffering a broken ankle Nov. 12 against West Virginia.
Someone hasn't watched many UC games this season.
The second is their aggressive pass rush and stout defensive line. This will be a bigger problem for a Vanderbilt team whose offensive line has struggled over the past two seasons. However, this unit has risen up to the challenge throughout 2011. O-Line coach Herb Hand has been given a full month to prepare for the Bearcats, and the Commodores should be able to handle Cincinnati's big men in the trenches with at least reasonable success.
- Commodore Connection 2011 Liberty Bowl Preview: Breaking Down Cincinnati // YouTube
- Liberty Bowl preview capsule // The Washington Post
- Nooga Bowl Preview: AutoZone Liberty Bowl // Nooga.com
- Liberty Bowl 2011, Cincinnati Vs. Vanderbilt: Two Surprise Squads Have At It // SBNation.com
- Cincinnati Bearcats Liberty Bowl Helmets Revealed // Bearcats Nation
- Know Your Opponent: Vanderbilt Commodores // Bearcats Blog
- Liberty Bowl: Cincinnati vs. Vanderbilt // Big East Blog // ESPN
- Liberty Bowl: Three Keys // Big East Blog // ESPN
- Scouting report: UC vs. Vanderbilt // cincinnati.com
Stay tuned to Down the Drive today as I will have a few pre game thoughts and extensive post game coverage in the aftermath and a gamthread somewhere inbetween.