Tag Archives: Wake Forest

Wright on time

The 2022 season couldn’t have started out any better for Vanderbilt quarterback Mike Wright. After ending the prior season with respectable performances against Missouri, Ole Miss and even Tennessee, Wright was named a team captain prior to the year.

His foot speed, decision-making and improved passing fundamentals all stood out during the team’s summer training camp. It was during that time that he held off a strong push from former starter Ken Seals and highly-touted incoming freshman A.J. Swann.

In Vandy’s season opener, Wright accounted for four total touchdowns, with two coming on the ground and two via the airwaves. He led the team’s postgame celebration and it was on to the next week against Elon. In that contest, he delivered with a career-best four touchdown passes to go along with two more on the ground. Perhaps most encouraging was the touch he showed on a 75-yard touchdown pass to true freshman speedster Jayden McGowan in a 245-yard passing performance.

At the time the Commodores were beginning to pick up steam as a much-improved offense with Wake Forest coming to town. On a wet, rainy afternoon, Wright struggled in the first half with turnovers and inaccuracy throwing the ball. He was benched in the second half and his number was called sporadically over the next five weeks as Swann (who threw two touchdown passes in the second half vs. Wake Forest) held onto quarterbacking duties.

Down 17 points against Missouri, Wright came off the bench for an injured Swann to lead one touchdown drive in a three-point loss.

He also came off the bench for an injured Swann against South Carolina, throwing for 145 yards and one score.

Fast forward to the contest versus the 24th-ranked Kentucky Wildcats just a couple of weeks ago.

Swann was no longer in the lineup due to the aforementioned injuries and Wright got the start.

Reminiscent of the rainy afternoon versus Wake Forest -although much colder overall- and Wright had a chance to erase any memories from that early season outing. He led the team to a game-winning drive with just 32 seconds remaining and finished it off with an eight-yard touchdown pass to Will Sheppard. His most impressive throw on the drive may have been an incomplete corner route to Sheppard versus man coverage on a third down. He came back on the subsequent fourth down (4th and 11) to make a clutch downfield 40-yard throw to wide receiver Quincy Skinner, Jr.

Wright also found time to rush for 126 yards in this contest, which included a 59-yard touchdown scamper in the first half. On that run, the 21.8 200-meter sprinter’s speed brought back memories of his 87-yard jaunt against Hawaii in the team’s opener.

Last weekend, he helped author an upset versus the Florida Gators on the strength of three touchdown passes.

In back-to-back weeks, he battled two potential NFL quarterbacks in Kentucky’s Will Levis and Florida’s Anthony Richardson.

Despite not starting for much of the season, the Georgia product has thrown 12 touchdowns to just four interceptions. In addition, he has averaged 7.4 yards per rush on 63 carries (5 TDs).

His 17 total touchdowns are the most from a Vanderbilt quarterback since 2018.

In a day and age where the transfer portal is often the fastest option for many collegians, the speedy Wright decided to slow down and play the long game. When a second opportunity arose, he sprinted through the finish line with an unabated confidence and calm.

As a result, the Commodores captain has a chance to accomplish something only six other quarterbacks (Whit Taylor, Chris Nickson, Mackenzi Adams, Jordan Rodgers, Larry Smith, Kyle Shurmur) have had a hand in over the last 40 years…lead the team to a bowl game.

Two of those bowl teams (2008, 2011) had quarterbacks share time during the year.

Perhaps this team will be the third.

And he will operate against another backup quarterback in former Michigan signal-caller and new Tennessee starter Joe Milton III.

Or did Wright ever think he was the backup?

After the team’s opening victory versus Hawaii, Wright said, ““Winning is hard,” he explained. “That’s what we want to be this year, and we just took a growing step today.” (https://www.saturdaydownsouth.com/vanderbilt-football/mike-wright-on-vandys-blowout-win-over-hawaii-thats-just-vanderbilt-football-this-year/).

The next step could very well lead to a bowl game if he can find a way to lead his team to another ” hard” victory over the nation’s 10th-ranked team in the Tennessee Volunteers.

In any case, his insertion back into the team’s starting lineup has come Wright on time for the Commodores.

Stanford vs. Washington, 11-3-18: In-game report

Washington and Stanford squared off in Seattle as both teams try to keep pace with first place Washington State in the Pac-12. The Huskies got off to a quick start and were able to hang on for a 27-23 victory. DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in game report:

13 Alijah Holder (6’2 188) Stanford CB-Senior 

Holder may not have the height of former Cardinal CB/WR Richard Sherman, but there are some striking similarities. The senior cornerback is always around the football like Sherman and has eight pass deflections on the season and a forced fumble. Holder is best in press coverage but again -like Sherman- could be susceptible when forced to move his hips and keep up with quick-twitched receivers. The senior projects best at the next level as a Cover 3/ press-man cornerback.  Against Washington, Holder finished with three pass deflections and seven tackles. His production and big play ability (five forced fumbles and two interceptions on the season) will grab scouts attention as we move closer to the end of the regular season.

3 Jake Browning (6’2 210) Washington QB- Senior 

Browning may have done himself a disservice by returning to school as this season his numbers are more pedestrian, throwing 13 touchdowns to eight interceptions. The senior quarterback was benched against California earlier in the season,  and this comes just two seasons after leading the Huskies to a College Football Playoff Appearance by throwing 43 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Browning has somewhat of a herky-jerky delivery and throws the ball with little arch.  However, Browning , who grew up just two hours away from San Francisco, could be beneficial in an offense like the 49ers for example, who move the pocket and value accuracy. The Folsom, California native has a slight frame but he is an experienced leader with four years of experience behind center.  Look for Browning to be drafted in the later rounds and start his career as a backup. 

20 Bryce Love (5’10 202) Stanford RB- Senior

The first thing that jumps out about Bryce Love is his excellent vision and patience. The senior running back allowed the play to develop in front of him before cutting back and breaking a tackle to score a touchdown in the third quarter. Love, who has 490 rushing yards on the season, won’t come close to the 2,118 yards he posted a year ago.  The Wake Forest, North Carolina native has dealt with an ankle injury this season and his team has been behind in a fair share of their contests, nullifying his ability out of the backfield. The production, vision and experience are there for Love, but he will have to work on his pass protection and catching ability at the next level.  Against Washington, Love finished with 71 rushing yards on 18 touches.