- Edward Aschoff, ESPN Staff Writer
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This season has been all about firsts for Vanderbilt coach James Franklin.
This is his first head-coaching job. He became the first coach at Vanderbilt since Red Sanders back in 1946 to start the season 3-0 in his rookie year. Saturday he’ll make his first trip to Tuscaloosa for a game against Alabama.
And so will his players.
“We don’t have one guy on our team that’s played at Alabama,” Franklin said Wednesday.
Well, the Commodores are in for one heck of a first meeting with the Tide. Alabama is fresh off a blowout win at Florida and is currently the No. 2 team in the country with its sights set on an SEC title and a chance at a national title.
It should be a fun first play date for these guys.
Fortunately for Vanderbilt, the Commodores are coming off of a bye week and have had two weeks to prepare for Alabama’s powerful running game and tenacious defense. Franklin opted not to point out any of the weaknesses he’s seen with Alabama, only saying that his team is excited to play Alabama and understands the tremendous challenge he and his team face this weekend.
But Franklin made it clear that the Commodores aren’t backing down from such a tough opponent. This team has put its loss to South Carolina in the past and is confident heading into the weekend.
“Our kids, like we said before the season, are really hungry and resilient and that’s what I’m looking forward to seeing is to see how we come out and compete this week in practice and also this Saturday,” Franklin said.
2hSharon Katz, ESPN Stats & Information
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22hDavid M. Hale