It wouldn't be surprising to hear squeals of frustration coming from the film room in the coaches' offices at the University of Maryland this week.
What Bobby Ross and his staff have seen is a Vanderbilt offense that has more shifting and more formations than the June Taylor Dancers. Lynn Amedee, Vanderbilt's offensive coordinator, says the Commodores probably will use 52 offensive sets in Nashville Saturday afternoon when Maryland visits for the season opener for both teams.
"We'll line up in just about anything," Amedee said in a telephone interview yesterday. "We'll line up in the wishbone, the I-formation, the veer; it's a lot of fun."
Amedee, who will call the plays for Vanderbilt, is replacing Watson Brown, the exceptionally imaginative play-caller who left Vanderbilt after last season to become head coach at Cincinnati.
Brown was largely responsible for the Commodores' 8-4 record last year, after six straight losing seasons. "People are asking, 'Can we repeat as a winner?' They think because Watson Brown and Whit Taylor (last year's quarterback) are gone, it means we can't win," said Amedee. "Well, we will continue to do the things Watson did. I followed him as coach at Tennessee-Martin, so I'm used to this position."
Taylor's departure is less dramatic when you realize Vanderbilt has a quarterback, Kurt Page, who would have been a starter at many other Division I schools, and has a stronger arm than Taylor. "If we have the ball for 70 plays, we'll throw 50 times," Amedee said. "There's no such thing as a running game around here."
Since there is no running game, the backs--Keith Edwards and Louie Stephenson--are primarily receivers. In fact, nearly everyone in a Commodore uniform is a receiver. The tight end, Chuck Scott, weighs 198 pounds--"He's a tight end in name only," said Ross--and the tackles are often eligible to run pass patterns.
The offensive line, led by all-Southeastern Conference left tackle Rob Monaco, averages 275 pounds.
And with so much practice defending against its own team during the week, it's not surprising that Vanderbilt has three defensive backs who are of all-SEC caliber: Manuel Young, Kermit Sykes and Leonard Coleman.
The problem, according to those who observe the team closely, is that Vanderbilt is weak against the rush in a conference that has running teams as good as Auburn, Georgia and Alabama.