Oct. 11, 2008
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FRIDAY, OCTOBER 10- 11:49 PM
Before I get started on today's blog, we have officially arrived in Starkville for Saturday's matchup with the Bulldogs.
I went to Friday's walk through at Davis Wade Stadium and here are the pictures to prove it!!
VIEW GALLERY OF FRIDAY'S WALK THROUGH
Now, onto a blog on Myron Lewis
Photo by Joe Howell
Growing up with four older brothers, junior cornerback Myron Lewis can remember the lessons he learned from his childhood football games in the backyard.
"They used to rough me up a lot," Lewis recalled of his siblings, "so I used to work hard to try to be like them. As they got older and I got older they just passed the torch down to me, and they taught me everything they learned."
If I had to imagine, these probably weren't your ordinary neighborhood football contests. Two of his brothers, Hanik and Hamin, went on to play football in the NFL, so you know the battles had to be competitive and intense.
Fast forward several years later and it's easy to see why those encounters helped Lewis develop into one of the top cornerbacks in the SEC.
In only his second season as a starter, Lewis has already set single-season highs in interceptions (2), sacks (3) and tackles for loss (4) to help the Commodores (5-0, 3-0 SEC) race out to its best start since 1943.
"I'm just being smarter on the football field," Lewis said, "and I'm a year older in playing experience."
The Pompano Beach, Fla., native has been a key cog in a veteran secondary that's wreaked havoc on opponents this year. Each of the four starters in the secondary have recorded at least two interceptions apiece while the team ranks second in the nation with 11 interceptions overall.
"D.J. (Moore) and I try to be the best two corners in the nation," remarked Lewis. "We have two of the best safeties out there, too. Our secondary, we're the oldest unit on the defense, so everybody looks up to us and looks for us to make a big play throughout the game."
No doubt about it, the Commodore defense has thrived on making big plays in big situations. Vanderbilt leads the NCAA FBS in turnover margin (+9) and ranks first in the SEC in red zone defense, giving up only five touchdowns in 13 opportunities.
Lewis' late interception sealed Vanderbilt's first win over Auburn in 53 years.
"I knew that we had to go out there and make a play," Lewis said. "I read the play the whole way. The receiver came off the line and ran an out and up and I saw it the whole way. I turned around with him, saw the ball in the air and picked it off."
While the defense has been able to close out opponents, they've still given up 54 of their 81 points in the opening quarter. Against the Tigers, the defense allowed two passing touchdowns to fall behind 13-0 to start the game.
But rather than getting frustrated with the early deficits, the defense has been able to regroup and refocus without hesitation. In fact, in the last three games, the Commodores haven't allowed a point in the second half. They held Auburn to only 82 yards and six first downs over the final three quarters.
"We just try to be calm and keep our poise. There's four quarters in the game. There's a lot of time out there, so we go out there and just keep working hard."
And even though he's turned into a standout college athlete, Lewis still gets regular reminders from his older brothers about his performance on the gridiron.
"I talk to them before every game and after the game. They'll shoot me text messages telling me what I'm doing right and what I'm doing wrong, so everything's cool with them."
And for those of you trying to reach me at my home phone in Nashville, this is what you might get: