NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Vanderbilt Commodores are desperate enough for a win they do not care who they playing Saturday and insist they will overlook no team.
Not even Presbyterian, a small Football Championship Subdivision school whose last Division II season was 2006.
"Ugly win, good win, pretty win, sexy win however you want to describe it, we just want a win," Vanderbilt coach James Franklin said. "End of the year, people don't talk about this was an ugly win or this was a good win. They're all good wins, and we want to get as many as we can get. It starts this weekend."
Starting 0-2 isn't what the Commodores expected after going 6-7 in Franklin's debut season and reaching the program's fifth bowl game. They had their chances with leads in each of their first two games only to lose first to then-No. 9 South Carolina and then Northwestern.
"We're not going to sneak up on anybody anymore," Franklin said. "That's a factor as well, and this team has got to find their own identity and what makes them special and who they want to be. I tell them all the time, we'll be as good as they decide to be."
After the 24-13 loss at Northwestern, Franklin said he would consider a quarterback change. Jordan Rodgers has started nine straight games for Vanderbilt, but he fumbled to end a scoring threat late in the first half against Northwestern. He is 30 of 56 for 431 yards with only two touchdown passes and one interception.
None of the quarterbacks were allowed to talk to reporters after practice Wednesday night, though Franklin said there had been no changes to the depth chart where Rodgers is listed as the starter. Austyn Carta-Samuels has yet to play at Vanderbilt after transferring from Wyoming where he threw for 3,655 yards and 19 TDs in two seasons.
Franklin said he wanted to avoid distracting his quarterbacks with questions he could handle.
"We haven't made enough plays for him," Franklin said. "We've dropped some balls I don't think we should drop. On the same hand, we have to make sure all positions that we're playing consistently in terms of assignments, in terms of your responsibilities to the team."
Presbyterian coach Harold Nichols has been very impressed by Rodgers, the younger brother of the Green Bay Packers' quarterback Aaron.
"Who they play at quarterback probably is not going to affect us a whole lot preparation wise," Nichols said. "They pose so many problems formation-wise and personnel-wise, it's a lot to get ready for anyway."
Vanderbilt's run game hasn't been as good as a year ago either. The Commodores are running for 81 yards fewer per game than last season, and senior Zac Stacy is averaging 42 yards per game and has yet to score this season. He was the SEC's top returning rusher after running for 1,193 yards and 14 TDs.
Left tackle Wesley Johnson said he personally didn't block correctly on a couple plays at Northwestern and the Commodores need the running game clicking well.
"You'll see our offense start to open up once we get that started," Johnson said.
Presbyterian (1-1) from Clinton, S.C., and the Big South Conference gives the Commodores a chance to get back on track. Vanderbilt has beaten nine straight FCS opponents. The Blue Hose lost 59-3 at Georgia Tech last week despite recovering three fumbles, and this is their second straight game against a team from a Bowl Championship Series league.
The Blue Hose opened the 2010 season against Wake Forest and Clemson. Nichols said the BCS teams obviously are bigger, faster and stronger with more scholarships but his players enjoy the opportunity of playing on those fields. Senior Lance Byrd is their leading rusher averaging 94.5 yards a game.
"I feel our kids are up to the challenge to go in there and compete," Nichols said. "When you're building a program like we are, there are important steps you have to take, and this is one of them."
Yet they face a Vanderbilt team so eager to get back on the field that defensive end Johnell Thomas called this their latest Super Bowl.
"We can't wait for it to get here," Thomas said.
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