If Vanderbilt wins this Monday, they will officially have a winning bowl record. At 2-2-1, the Dores are set to face a North Carolina State team that is coming off of two straight bowl victories and is 14-11-1 when it comes to post-season play.
Vandy doesn’t have the bowl experience but head coach James Franklin says that his team’s preparation has been on point all week.
"Practice makes perfect," Franklin said. "Best Tuesday practice of the year, best practice we've had all year long. Let's go out and get better today. Play to our level and our standards. None of those other things matter because it comes down to us at the end. You've been trained and you've been programmed for success. This is what we do. This is part of our process. Go out and get the job done today."
‘Today’ is what Franklin has preached all year. His philosophy has been to do your job today and if everyone is on the same page, the rest will take care of itself.
It has worked thus far.
Vanderbilt has reeled off six straight wins and has had their best season since 1982. But during that 1982 season, head coach George MacIntyre had a chance to get his Dores to nine wins and came up short against Air Force, falling 36-28 in the Hall of Fame Classic.
Franklin is hoping for a different outcome this Monday. Bowl victories showcase a team’s ability to compete on a grander stage and Franklin did not have the success that he would of liked last season against Cincinnati in the Liberty Bowl.
There is no question that Franklin has changed the culture in the Music City but taking the next step for this regime is defined by excelling beyond the regular season.
Standing in his way are the Wolfpack and 6-foot-6 quarterback Mike Glennon.
Glennon has progressively gotten better throughout the 2012 season. He’s thrown at least two touchdowns in eight out of the twelve games played and averages 7.14 yards per pass.
The NC State QB is a traditional pocket passer and the key for Vanderbilt will start with the pass rush. Glennon has been sacked 33 times this year and does not do well with pressure up the middle, taking away his ability to step up and make long throws down the field.
An upside for Vandy’s defense, they are only yielding 175.8 passing yards per game.
But Glennon averages over 300 and Franklin is well aware that it all starts with State's signal caller.
“I think he’s a great player (Glennon). I think the way people describe him as a prototype quarterback but I think that the prototype has changed here in the last couple of years,” Franklin said. “You look around and see what people are playing with and they’re playing with a lot more athletic quarterbacks now. He’s got really good length except he can get the ball out quick. I’ve been very very impressed with him.”
The Dores defense will get their chance to stop Glennon on New Years Eve as a great season comes to an end.
And one thing is for sure, we know that Franklin’s new year would get off to a much better start with a Music City Bowl Championship ring and those nine wins that have been eluding the Black and Gold all of these years.
Photo courtesy of the AP
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