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: Ray Davis set to make his return to Nashville, Clark Lea previews Kentucky Wildcats

Clark Lea provided injury updates, discussed Vanderbilt’s loss to UNLV and previewed the Kentucky Wildcats.
Emily Gonçalves
The Wildcats beat the Commodores 14-7 at Kentucky on Saturday, October 20, 2018 (Hustler Multimedia/Emily Gonçalves).

Football head coach Clark Lea spoke to the media on Tuesday and previewed Vanderbilt’s upcoming matchup with the Kentucky Wildcats. Lea highlighted what went well in Vanderbilt’s upset victory over Kentucky in 2022. The Commodores will look to get back in the win column after surrendering a brutal loss to UNLV last Saturday.

“I was really sick and I don’t know if that means I need to get sick again,” Lea told the Hustler when asked about Vanderbilt’s win over Kentucky last November. “It was kind of a slugfest where we lost the lead late and we’re able to come back and win it and I think that’s the level of resiliency we want this program to be defined by… We can’t go out and fumble the ball around and expect that we’re going to come out on top.”

The Commodores will welcome Ray Davis back to West End on Saturday. Davis played two seasons for Vanderbilt before entering the transfer portal after the 2022 season. In 2022, the running back rushed for 1,042 yards and 5 touchdowns. Davis has been an integral part of the Kentucky offense, averaging 78.7 rushing yards and one touchdown per game.

“Ray’s a good player,” Lea said. “He’s got a knack for finding the space. He’s got a knack for knowing when to cut back and cut against the grain and break the long one. He’s also a really good receiver in the pass game and we saw that when he was here.”

Lea was later asked about Davis’s decision to leave Vanderbilt and enter the transfer portal. Lea explained that in the nature of college football in 2023, transfer portal movement has become the norm.

“I’m happy for him [David] that he found home and has had success and I’m excited to compete on Saturday,” Lea said. “We stick with the players we have because that’s what this program is defined by and that’s an essential part of being developmental.”

Lea stressed the importance of Vanderbilt taking care of the ball this weekend in order to have the best chance of competing against Kentucky. The Commodores had three turnovers in the Wake Forest game and four turnovers in the UNLV game.

It’s very easy externally to hit a panic button to start forecasting what happened in Las Vegas and somehow that was assumed to be a win for us,” Lea said. “We’re staying the course and we’re focused on cleaning up our play.”

Lea gave many injury updates. Christian James will be out this week due to injury. Savion Riley, De’Rickey Wright, Jaylen Mahoney and Greyson Morgan are questionable. Tackle Junior Uzebo is doubtful this weekend. Lea is excited to see other players step up and carve out new roles for themselves within the team. 

“He’s been such a warrior the last two weeks,” Lea said about Wright.

Vanderbilt will play Kentucky at 11 a.m. CDT on Sept. 23 at FirstBank Stadium.

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About the Contributors
Andrew Wilf
Andrew Wilf, Former Sports Editor
Andrew Wilf (’24) is Sports Editor for The Vanderbilt Hustler. He is from Livingston, N.J., and is majoring in history and minoring in business. He joined the sports staff his freshman year, previously serving as a Staff Writer, Assistant Sports Editor and Deputy Sports Editor. Beyond writing for The Hustler, he is also the host of Anchor Analysis, Commodore Clash and Live From West End. In his free time, Andrew enjoys watching the NFL and playing golf. He can be reached at [email protected].
Emily Gonçalves
Emily Gonçalves, Former Multimedia Director
Emily Gonçalves (‘20) was the Multimedia Director of the Vanderbilt Hustler. She majored in Mathematics and Economics and minored in Latin American Studies. When she’s not taking photos, you can catch this Jersey girl making puns, singing, advocating for girls’ education and drinking lots of chocolate milk and espresso!
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