Vandy QB situation still murky

Tuesday, September 11, 2007 at 11:59pm

Vanderbilt still doesn’t know who its starting quarterback will be Saturday.

Ole Miss coach Ed Orgeron isn’t sure what the Commodores are planning, either.

“We will prepare for both,” he said of VU quarterbacks Chris Nickson and Mackenzi Adams.

Nickson, Vanderbilt’s starter, is hobbling with a hamstring injury sustained in last week’s game against Alabama. He dressed for Tuesday’s practice, but Adams took snaps with the first-team offense.

Nickson participated in light drills and threw extra passes after practice ended.

“He did as much as he could, but he didn’t do much,” VU coach Bobby Johnson said of Nickson. “We’re not going to push him right now and have a chance of re-injuring it.”

Adams, Nickson’s primary backup, will play Saturday if Nickson is unavailable.

Oregeron, whose Rebels visit Vanderbilt for a 6 p.m. game Saturday, said the VU offensive scheme won’t change much even if Nickson is sidelined.

In last year’s Commodores-Rebels game in Oxford, Miss., Adams played most of the second half after Nickson twisted an ankle. Ole Miss won, 17-10.

“We’ve seen (Adams),” Oregeron said. “Their

plays didn’t change much. They’re going to run their offense. They’re different styles, but their plays remain the same.”

BAD MEMORIES: Last season, Vanderbilt lost at Ole Miss despite out-gaining the Rebels in total offensive yardage, 400-179. VU also had 23 first downs to Ole Miss’ seven.

“That’s frustration with a capital ‘F,’” Johnson said.

Five turnovers doomed the Commodores.

“Last year, we let them get away from us, definitely,” Vanderbilt offensive tackle Chris Williams said. “We watched film of that game, and it was unbelievable. We’re looking to beat them this year and not look much into the past.”

Johnson is 1-4 against Ole Miss, with the win coming in Nashville in 2005. Orgeron is 1-1 against Vanderbilt.

NO REST FOR THE WEARY: The Vanderbilt defense is allowing an average of 4.5 yards per rushing attempt this season and was pounded last week by Alabama tailback Terry Grant, who tallied 173 yards.

VU’s task gets no easier this week with Ole Miss tailback BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who gained a career-high 226 yards, the sixth-most in school history.

“I thought BenJarvus Green-Ellis was fantastic in that game,” Johnson said. “He got over 200 yards with his longest run being 34 yards. You see people getting 200-, 300-yard games, but they probably had an 80-yarder and a 60-yarder, but his longest was 34.

“He was busting through them. They were hanging all over him and he kept running. He’s a very good back. And they’ve got some huge offensive linemen who pave the way for him.”

Green-Ellis is in his second season as a starter at Ole Miss after transferring from Indiana.

GOLD NUGGETS: Cornerback D.J. Moore has led the Commodores in tackles in both games this season and has 21 for the year. …Vanderbilt is one of three SEC teams yet to allow a passing touchdown this season. …Saturday’s Vanderbilt-Ole Miss game will be available on a pay-per-view basis through ESPN GamePlan. Call Comcast at 244-5900 for ordering information. …As part of a special promotion, Vanderbilt will donate half its ticket proceeds Saturday to the VU Children’s Hospital. Remaining tickets are $42. …Fourteen Ole Miss players have made their college debuts this season.

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