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Traumatized Vanderbilt won’t let 62-0 Georgia loss define program

Vanderbilt head coach Clark Lea, center, watches from the sideline in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Georgia Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Mark Humphrey

Vanderbilt coach Clark Lea called his team a “Traumatized group” earlier the season, and it appeared the Commodores have yet to recover.

Lea sounded more like a psychiatrist than a football coach in his postgame press conference,

“This is just a point in the progression line, it doesn’t shake us because we understand it doesn’t define us,” Lea said. “This is everything that we’ve talked about all the way up into this point.

“This is the long, hard way and you learn about yourself in a game like this, but you also learn about yourself in your response to a game like this and we’re disappointed.”

It’s good Vanderbilt is at least getting in touch with its feelings, because the Commodores’ execution was dreadful in all three phases on the game throughout the 62-0 loss to No. 2 Georgia.

The Bulldogs outgained the Commodores 524-77 for their biggest margin of victory in an SEC game of the modern era, and the second biggest road shutout in the SEC’s modern era.

Lea, however, said the game was more about what Vanderbilt did wrong.

“We came out flat, we turned the ball over, we made mistakes in the special teams area and look, it doesn’t matter who you play against, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment,” Lea said. “So, for me, this isn’t about them. It’s about us. It’s about how we perform.”

Vanderbilt quarterbacks were a combined 5-of-18 passing for 24 yards with two interceptions, though the Commodores allowed only one sack.

The run game struggled throughout the day, as well, netting 53 yards on 28 attempts.

“We’ve got a team that has a damaged pride right now, but how quickly can we turn the page and shift focus to our next opponent, win the response, and be better?” Lea said.

“Again, if we can learn to play up to our standard, if we can learn to play and represent Vanderbilt football and the personality and the style of play, there are better days ahead.”

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