Week Zero for Head Coach Clark Lea and his Vanderbilt Commodores went about as smoothly as Vandy Football could have imagined. Vanderbilt traveled to Hawaii to take on the Rainbow Warriors on Saturday night in the 2022 season opener. Despite allowing Hawaii to score early in the first half. However, Coach Lea motivated his Commodores to finish the job and take a much-needed win back to Nashville, Tennessee, where they will now prepare for the home opener against Elon.
Vanderbilt showcased an impressive defensive outing where the Commodores added pressure to Hawaii, taking away scoring opportunities from the Rainbow Warriors. In all honesty, Saturday’s defensive performance over Hawaii seemed to be the best defensive outing that Vanderbilt has had in years. Sure, the competition wasn’t what it is in the Southeastern Conference, but you have to give credit where credit is due. Vanderbilt had an overpowering game plan prepared for the explosive Hawaii offensive unit. Coach Chang and his Hawaii Football team didn’t have an answer for what Vanderbilt was throwing at them on every possession.
On the offensive side of the ball, Vanderbilt set out to break the scoreboard at Hawaii. We had heard how Coach Lea was preaching to his guys about the importance of playing Vanderbilt Football. For the Vanderbilt offensive unit, it was Mike Wright putting up video game numbers en route to the Commdores’ win over Hawaii on Saturday night. Wright has been the missing piece for Vanderbilt Football in the past, and it looks like in 2022 that Wright will be the man for the Commodores to lead the charge into a successful season.
Wright showed poise and impressive decision-making on Saturday night, those which Vanderbilt has not seen since the legendary days of Jay Cutler. On the outside looking in, Coach Clark has a legendary quarterback in the making. In the Conference portion of the schedule, it will be Wright peering over the line and leading the Vanderbilt brigade without fear into the teeth of the Southeastern Conference.
Sure, Vanderbilt won’t likely make a bowl game this season. However, as proven tonight in their road win over Hawaii, Vanderbilt will not be a pushover this season. Vanderbilt is a program that is on the rise and will get teams in the SEC fits. It would not shock me to see Vanderbilt defeat Tennessee, Kentucky, or Ole Miss this season. Vanderbilt has the talent on the depth chart to compete but will likely face programs this season with deeper rosters to withstand the grind of your daily Southeastern Conference slate.
Yet, none of that matters. Vanderbilt went on the road in Week Zero and dominated their opponent to start the season 1-0. Like every other program in College Football, there’s still room to grow for Vanderbilt, but the future is bright for Coach Lea and his Commodores. For the first time in a long time, there’s hope and excitement for a Vanderbilt Football program heading into the future.
Vanderbilt will return home next Saturday to face Elon before a September 10th matchup with Demon Deacons of Wake Forest.