The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

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

Press Conference Notes: Clark Lea reflects on Wake Forest loss, discusses UNLV matchup

In his weekly press conference, Clark Lea shared with the media his takeaways from the Wake Forest game and gave some insight on Vanderbilt’s upcoming game against UNLV.
Vanderbilt Athletics
Logan Kyle running against Wake Forest Sept. 9, 2023 (Vanderbilt Athletics).

Head coach Clark Lea spoke with the media Tuesday afternoon, coming off of a 36-20 loss to Wake Forest this past weekend. To start the presser, Lea reiterated his disappointment with how the team performed, highlighting key improvements the Commodores have to make going forward. 

“No one in this building believes that we’re anything but an improved team in terms of personnel,” Lea said. “But, that doesn’t do much good when you play as sloppy as we played.”

Lea focused on specific facets of the game, detailing mistakes made on the offensive side of the ball in terms of controlling possession and limiting turnovers. He then flipped to the defensive end, emphasizing the need to put pressure on the opposition, especially on third downs where the Demon Deacons were successful on half of their attempts.

“Learning is painful and growth is painful,” Lea said of the experience gained from the 16-point defeat, committing to the idea that the team made too many mistakes to crawl back into the game against Wake Forest. However, as Lea mentioned, “We own it and understand it as a part of our journey.”

Lea also listed a few minor injury updates. Right tackle Junior Uzebu and sophomore safety Savion Riley are both day-to-day. Senior safety De’Rickey Wright, who was questionable going into Week Two with a hamstring injury, is going to be available for the UNLV game. Defensive lineman Christian James, who traveled with the team but did not play, has started to return to football activities. 

Turning to the upcoming showdown with UNLV, who sits at 1-1 after a 30-point triumph of Bryant followed by a flattening defeat to No. 2 Michigan, Lea explained the uniqueness of the Rebels offense underneath new head coach Barry Odom.

“Offensively, they’re different,” Lea said. “This is going to be a unique two-back scheme — a lot of unbalanced, a lot of option and the quarterback is a good player too. So, we expect a challenge this weekend.”

UNLV, whose six touchdowns this year have all come on the ground, will be a difficult test for a front seven who just gave up 288 rushing yards against Wake Forest. Lea was asked how the game plan from Week Two will differ in order to slow down the run-intensive offense Vanderbilt faces. 

“This is primarily an inside zone scheme that has quarterback read elements, has option elements and has a little bit of gap scheme too with pullers,” Lea said. “We won’t need to go too far from what our base is. It’s more about how you can diagnose and how you’re fitting in the proper leverages.” 

Vanderbilt goes back on the road to face UNLV in Allegiant Stadium, NV, at 6 p.m. CDT on Sept. 16th.

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About the Contributor
David Hernandez, Staff Writer
David Hernandez ('26) is planning on majoring in medicine, health and society with a minor in communication of science and technology in the College of Arts & Science. Outside of writing for The Hustler, David spends his time stressed out about chemistry, listening to rap music and consistently debating that the New York Jets have a bright future. He can be reached at [email protected].
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