Adam Butler impressed no one – himself included – with his hands when he failed to come up with an interception Saturday against Kentucky.
“One just slipped right through my hands,” Vanderbilt’s 6-foot-4, 305-pound defensive tackle said. “It was the end of the world. I thought I did [have an interception]. I didn’t get it.”
Truth be told, though, the redshirt freshman’s job was done the instant he got a hand on the pass and kept it from getting past the line of scrimmage. It was one of two passes he deflected – his first two of the season – in the Commodores’ 22-6 victory.
Jared Morse also batted down two and Barron Dixon got one, which meant defensive tackles accounted for five of Vanderbilt’s seven passes defensed in that game.
“Whenever you get either negative yardage plays with sacks or you can get them off schedule – first-and-10 you bat a ball down, now it’s second-and-10 – it causes problems,” coach James Franklin said. “I didn’t think we did a great job getting pressure early on. Then we started to bat some balls down, got [the quarterback] to hold on to the ball a little longer, got pressure and got to him a few plays.”
Linemen now have accounted for 11 of the 46 pass breakups by the Commodores’ defense through 10 games. Last year that group had 13 in 13 games.
Morse, a senior, leads the way with three. Butler and Dixon have two each and four others have one.
“I think it gets very frustrating [for the quarterback],” Butler said.
None of the linemen, it should be noted, have intercepted a pass.