NASHVILLE — Georgia running back Nick Chubb has elicited several comparisons this year, but few have been as scary to college defenses as the one Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason offered up during a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
That’d be 2014 Heisman Trophy finalist Melvin Gordon, who ran roughshod over the country with 2,740 total yards and 32 touchdowns for Wisconsin last year.
“We’ve seen good running backs before.” Mason said. “A year ago, you’re talking about Melvin Gordon. When Melvin Gordon lined up, everybody knew that Melvin Gordon was getting the football. But you still gotta stop him.”
Chubb, a sophomore, takes up the bulk of Georgia’s attack. He racked up 120 yards on just 16 carries (7.5 average) in a 51-14 win over Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday.
By comparison, Vanderbilt starter Ralph Webb managed 70 yards on 18 rushes for a 3.9 average in last Thursday’s upset loss to Western Kentucky. Still, there are some in the Vandy locker room who don’t think Chubb would see the field if he was on the Commodores roster.
“Personally, I would rather have Ralph Webb than Nick Chubb any day,” offensive lineman Jake Bernstein said. “He’s Vanderbilt’s running back, and he’s going to get it done.”
That’s quite a different tune than Mason’s.
“With (Chubb), he’s got great vision, great power,” Mason said. “He’s the prototypical back. He’s got great size, he’s powerful, he runs with great vision, and more than anything else, he breaks tackles. I like what he is: He’s a true tailback. He can do it all. He can run between the tackles. He can get on the perimeter, he can catch the ball out of the backfield. I like what he is.”
Senior safety Andrew Williamson also showed respect.
“We’re gonna have to come and bring the big boy pads,” he said. “Just watching the film, he just breaks a lot of arm tackles and has yards after contact. That’s going to be the biggest thing, getting 11 hats to the ball, gang tackling somebody like that.”
No. 9 Georgia and unranked Vanderbilt will square off in Nashville on Saturday afternoon. CBS will have national coverage beginning at 3:30 p.m.