Vanderbilt football: Mike Wright will start at QB vs. Northern Illinois

Aria Gerson
Nashville Tennessean

Vanderbilt football coach Clark Lea said he still plans to start Mike Wright at quarterback against Northern Illinois. 

"Mike, listen, he's had a number of really special performances for us this season," Lea said Tuesday. "And he knows ... it's an earn it every day mindset for each position we play. So that's all a part of the build of this program. But I'm excited for Mike to come up this week and to get dialed in to what Northern Illinois presents, the challenges and where we can be better ... as an offense moving forward."

Wright threw for just 35 yards against Wake Forest on 15 attempts, including an interception returned for a touchdown. He was replaced by freshman AJ Swann, who led two touchdown drives and threw for 146 yards on 15 attempts.

Lea said there won't be an effort to get Swann into the game vs. NIU, unless necessary.

"It's hard to play two quarterbacks, I just don't think that's really a formula that we want to deploy as a strategy. I don't think that that's the best thing to do. You want players in game to be able to play through mistakes and to be able to find rhythm."

MAILBAG:Should Mike Wright or AJ Swann start against Northern Illinois?

REPORT CARD:Overall it was a D in loss to Wake Forest

Injury updates

Defensive lineman Devin Lee, who has been out since the spring with a long-term injury, is expected to be available against Northern Illinois, though his snaps will likely be limited. He was listed on the depth chart for this week's contest.

Center Julian Hernandez, who missed the last two games, is also likely to play. Running back Rocko Griffin is day-to-day, while wide receiver Quincy Skinner Jr. is questionable.

Running back Patrick Smith is still unavailable for the week and was not listed on the depth chart.

Aria Gerson covers Vanderbilt athletics for The Tennessean. Contact her at or on Twitter @aria_gerson.