Ralph Webb - VU
Nashville, TN, USA; Vanderbilt Commodores running back Ralph Webb (7) rushes against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders during the first half at Vanderbilt Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Running back Ralph Webb is Vanderbilt’s best player and the reason Derek Mason’s team sits at 2-2. 

Webb is leading the conference with 472 rushing yards and ranks 9th in the country in that category. But to be a successful team in the SEC, the Commodores are going to have to find another player to step up if they’re going to rack up wins, especially against Florida this week. 

Derek Mason looks on as his Dores beat WKU last week, 31-30 OT (photo/vucommodores)
Derek Mason looks on as his Dores beat WKU last week, 31-30 OT (photo/vucommodores)

“It’s not about Ralph this week,” Mason said. “It’s really not about Ralph. It’s gotta be about that offensive unit, putting some stress on this (Gators) defense a little bit to make sure we aren’t one dimensional. If you think you’re gonna go into this game and just run down Florida’s throat, you’re fooling yourself.”

Flordia struggled in the second half of their game against Tennessee last week but the Gators are coming to West End with the best scoring and total defense in the SEC.

Mason knows that it’s going to be a task to move the ball on them.

“They play sideline to sideline, they get off blocks, they’ve got two interior guys in the front seven that are as good as you’re gonna find in college football, so for us it’s gotta be about making sure that there’s balance,” Mason said. “There’s gotta be as good of balance as we’ve had all year. If we can take a little about what we learned about ourselves last week and apply it moving forward to this football team, we can find ways to be successful.” 

A guy who stepped his game up last week though was QB Kyle Shurmur. He showed moxie down the stretch of Vandy’s 31-30 overtime win against WKU. That’s the kind of play that the Dores need from their signal caller on a consistent basis. Vandy had five players on Saturday with over 30 yards receiving and all five players caught passes over 20 yards.

“The biggest thing is having faith and trust in my guys. It’s just trusting those guys to make plays.” Shurmur said. “We got playmakers around the field and just giving the guys a chance, that’s the biggest thing.”

Vandy’s QB is more confident than ever heading into the Florida game. After what they did against Western Kentucky, Shurmur thinks the team turned a corner. 

“I think we grew up this past week,” Shurmur said.