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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Lea talks quarterback situation and outlook on the rest of the season

Head coach Clark Lea discussed the development of his team and their approach to the final three games of the season.
Anfernee+Orji+and+Ethan+Barr
Vanderbilt Athletics
Vanderbilt linebackers Ethan Barr and Anfernee Orji celebrating a play during Vanderbilt’s 2021 football season. (Vanderbilt Athletics)

Coming off of a late-season bye week, the Vanderbilt Commodores (2-7, 0-5) will begin the final three-game stretch of their season this weekend against the Kentucky Wildcats (6-3, 4-3). 

The Commodores have hit a rough patch as of late, losing their last four games after starting the season 2-3, and will look to finish the season strong and head into next season with momentum. Lea spoke with the media on Tuesday, discussing how his team is approaching the last three games of their season.

“We’ve been through a lot in the first nine games and we’ve learned a lot. I think every team at this point in the season is dealing with that late-season grind,” Lea said. “So, both physically to refresh and mentally to refresh and to come back in these final three games and to attack them and build this program through the end of the season is important.”

In talking about Vanderbilt’s mindset looking towards the end of the season, Lea also gave updates on the quarterback situation. Ken Seals began the season as the starting quarterback for the Commodores, but after he suffered a finger injury in a 42-0 loss to Florida, sophomore Mike Wright has taken over the starting duties. 

Wright has played well since entering the starting role, and had his best performance of the season before the bye week, totaling 122 passing yards and 163 rushing yards to go along with three passing touchdowns. Despite Wright’s performance, Lea implied on Tuesday that, if he is healthy, Ken Seals will have a chance to start this weekend for Vanderbilt.

“Ken [Seals] is back. We’re using this week to determine if he’s back to 100 percent and ready to lead the offense, but he’s back.” Lea said on Tuesday. “We’ll see how he responds throughout the week and make a decision later on who starts.”

Looking towards Vanderbilt’s upcoming game, Lea talked briefly about Kentucky quarterback Will Levis, who took over for Terry Wilson as the Wildcats’ starting quarterback this year. Through nine games, Levis has thrown for 1,848 yards, 17 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

“He has fit really nicely into their identity. They have an efficient offense on early downs; sets up convertible third downs, and he has been really effective in getting completions and moving the chains,” Lea said. “He’s a good player that’s making it go for them and has some really good tools around him.”

Lea also spoke about the availability of defensive back De’Rickey Wright on Saturday, who has missed time recently due to disciplinary issues. 

“De’Rickey is still working through those standards of being a part of the program. He’s done a great job responding. Going to continue to track that through the week. Unsure yet of his availability Saturday, but working through that this week,” Lea said.

The head coach finished his press conference talking about the status of third-string quarterback Jeremy Moussa. The senior quarterback announced that he will be entering the transfer portal at the season’s end, but Lea affirmed with the media that he will be available through the duration of this year.

“Moose is with us, and he’s going to be with us through the finish of the season. We talked a number of times over the last few weeks just about what’s best for him, what’s best for his future. Moose needs to play,” Lea said, “He’s a good player that has a high football IQ. He’s done a lot for this program in a reserve role. We support him, and I’m excited for him and want to be helpful to him in finding that home.”

The Commodores will look to get back into the win column this Saturday at home versus Kentucky at 6 p.m. CST. 

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About the Contributor
Anish Mago
Anish Mago, Former Deputy Sports Editor
Anish Mago ('24) is from West Windsor, N.J., and is studying economics and political science in the College of Arts and Science. He previously served as a staff writer for the Sports section. When not writing for The Hustler, Anish enjoys playing basketball and rooting for all Philly sports. He can be reached at .
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