April 14, 2012
Black & Gold Spring Game
April 14, 2012, Vanderbilt Stadium
Head Coach James Franklin Quotes
Franklin's Opening Statement
"I thought the scrimmage went well, thought spring ball went well. Most importantly, we stayed healthy. We were able to get a bunch of reps. All though we have some depth issues at certain positions, there are some positives and negatives to that. It affected how we could practice sometimes, but some of those guys got a bunch of rep, which is going to help them in the long hand.
"I'm interested to see how this quarterback thing is going to play out once Austyn Carta-Samuels has got a better feel and he can compete come summer camp. Jordan's doing some really nice things. I thought it was interesting, we're putting an emphasis this spring on the passing game (because) we're a little dependent on running the ball. There are going to be times (in the SEC) where you're not going to be able to run the ball and you're going to have to be able to throw the ball for a higher percentage. For me, that's something you can work on during the summer. It's hard to work on blocking and tackling and the running game in the summer, but going out doing 7-on-7s, we're going to be able to do that. I thought (cornerback) Eddie Foster also came out and did some really nice things.
"We really set it up that Black was the 1's and Gold was the 2's. I thought the No. 2 defense did a pretty good job.
"I was really appreciative of all the fans for coming out. We're taking steps. I would love to walk out there and the stadium be sold out and people hanging off the rafters, but we are taking steps in the right direction and I am appreciative of that. We've got a lot of work to do between now and summer camp to be ready for South Carolina. We're focused on those guys, but ultimately, we're focused on ourselves, to be the best we possibly can."
On utilizing the wildcat formation on offense:
"Last year, we did (the wildcat) with Zac Stacy, who did some nice things, but he also made (poor) decisions throwing. With a guy (Josh Grady) that has played quarterback, I think that's going to help. He can run the ball and he's a legitimate threat to throw the ball. I think that's going to help us. I think being creative on offense, defense and special teams, getting playmakers on the ball and allowing them to make plays, I think that's the important thing and we got to do that today."
Talk more about Josh Grady:
"I think you're going to see a dramatic improvement from the end of spring to the beginning of summer camp because he's such a competitive, driven guy. He's still really raw when it comes to wide receiver fundamentals and techniques but I'm really excited about what he's going to be able to do this summer, to take the next step. I think the other guy, obviously, who is changing some things for us right now is (running back) Warren Norman. He's been kind of on the shelf since I got here and Tuesday and Thursday, he did some really nice things at practice, so he's going to be another option for us, another possibility for summer camp."
Talk about what your offense will look like in 2012:
"I like plays and formations that work, so if wildcat is something that every time we put it in, positives things happen, keep putting it in. I told the receivers the same thing, if the "10" personnel is in and they're making plays, and we go back and find that's our most productive personnel group, we're going to use it. To me, these guys control their own fate, they control their own destiny.
"Whenever we do something, you want to make it work out on the field. That's what we're going to do. We are a personnel-driven offense, defense and special teams. That's who we are."
On Rodgers' decision-making and accuracy:
"I thought it was pretty good. There are times, as quarterbacks, they wait for the route they want to throw and you can't do that. You've got to drop and if number one is open, you've got to throw on time, and if not, number two. Whether he's covered, you've got to move on and there are times where we're holding onto the ball, not throwing in rhythm and on time. I see him taking dramatic steps, but no different than the other guys, this summer, I need him to go out and when they're working-- there's a difference between just going out and throwing the ball around--when they do it, it's got to be at game speed, at game reps. That's something that I don't know if we understand it yet.
"This summer they have to go full speed. It's a great opportunity for leadership and for development, because the quarterbacks are out there on their own, calling the plays they want to run, calling the routes they want to run. It's a great opportunity to develop the leadership and chemistry that you want between the quarterbacks and the wide receivers."
On freshmen Darreon Herring and Patton Robinette:
"Those guys should be going to the prom and they're here. Darreon is doing a really good job. I think he has a chance to compete for a starting job as a true freshman. I don't know from a historical standpoint when a true freshman started at linebacker here, but he's got a chance to do that, legitimately. When he committed to us in the summer, he was 198 pounds. He's 224 pounds already, running extremely well, explosive. Coach Galt's done a great job with him.
"Patton Robinette is like a lot of young quarterbacks. If he just goes out and throws, he throws extremely well, jumps off his hand. If you ask him the plays, he knows exactly where he's going with the ball, he knows the protections. But putting all those things together on the field for a true freshman, it's not natural to them yet. But when I watch him play, it makes sense to me. I understand what he's doing, he's got a presence, he's got control. You're talking about the Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of Tennessee. We couldn't be happier to have him."
Josh Grady, Wide Receiver
On the positives of the Spring game translating to the Fall:
"Hopefully we'll all be able to make big plays. Not just me, but Austin Monahan had a couple of good catches, Kris Kentera, Jordan Matthews, a lot of people made plays. Hopefully those people will continue to make plays as well as those that didn't necessarily get the opportunity today. I know Zac Stacy didn't really have a lot of carries today, but we know what he's capable of, so I just hope everything transitions to the fall."
On running the Wildcat play:
"I love it. It's a lot of the same stuff we did in high school. It's definitely one of my comfort zones, so as long as Coach Franklin keeps giving me the opportunity I'm going to keep doing what I can."
On his touchdown pass:
"We had run the play three or four times and after one of them, Jordan Matthews came up to me and said, `Josh you don't always have to throw the flat. I'm going to be wide open.' I said, `OK.' Next time we came out and Austin Monahan did a great job of sealing the edge. I saw Jordan, got it to him and he did the rest."
Eddie Foster, Defensive Back
On his excitement and enthusiasm during the game:
"I feel like this is the most pumped up I've ever been in the spring. I think some of that is probably emotion knowing that I'm going to be a senior next year, this is my last spring. I felt the passion that I haven't felt in a while. I've been playing with those guys, the Gold Team, that group has been playing together all spring and I love playing with that young group of guys because they just have so much passion and they just love the game so much, and it just makes me more passionate about it."
On how his growth as a player led to tonight's interception:
"I would say I've become more comfortable recently. We've gone through a couple of coaching changes and I've had to adjust a little bit, but I feel like a lot of my teammates being there for me, we've all become a lot more comfortable with what we're doing. I've grown into my own a little bit more since the last season. I've been more confident on breaking up balls and taking chances and that's why it (the interception) just happened to work out."
Jordan Matthews, Wide Receiver
On the overall offensive performance:
"I definitely thought we played a good game. I also think we could have come out a little stronger. I think we had three drives where we only put up three points. We have to come out faster than that, I think it was a problem last season and its something we need to work toward over the summer and next fall."
On the improvements of the offense over the last year:
"The offensive scheme is still the same. Were still going to go through our scheme, were very confident in what coach Franklin tells us to do, and we need to just go out there and execute. Going into the spring knowing the offense already is a lot easier and it has been the first time since I have been in school. Now we need to focus on what play to run instead knowing just to go hard every play."
On the importance of the spring game:
"It was very important. Coach says we have to compete in everything we do. Just because it's the spring game and everyone looks at it as a scrimmage, it's a game and it's very competitive. The black team wants to win and the gold team wants to win. We're going to go out there and make sure we compete and put on a show for the fans because we need to support them too."
Jordan Rodgers, Quarterback
Initial impressions of the offense:
"I think we showed flashes of being real consistent unfortunately there were a few drives where were a step off on a few things. I'm going to have to go back to the film and pinpoint what it was. There were just a couple of plays where I was thinking one thing and the receiver was thinking something else. We need to be on the same page consistently. We showed signs of becoming more efficient in the passing game, particularly the short game, but we would like to pick up a few more big plays. We came a long way this spring. The spring game is not always indicative of the progress you make throughout spring ball, I thought we made some big strides, but its going to be on me and the receiving core, and leaders to get us going for the summer and pinpoint the things we need to work on and progress."
On the length of the second half drives:
"It was great. It's something we need to do. I think we led the SEC in explosive plays last year and that's a great part of our offense, but we need to be able to put drives together to keep our defense off the field. That's something that is going to progress along with the passing game and being more consistent in the short game. It was great to have a couple long drives and move the sticks."
On the competition at quarterback:
"I feel as a quarterback whoever you are, you should think you're number one. I think Austyn (Carta-Samuels) thinks like that too, he's a great player. For me playing in the second half of the season there I feel like I made a lot strides throughout those games. This spring I continued to make strides. I'm setting myself up to where I want to be. I didn't perform how I wanted to last year, but we did some good things. I have a standard for myself and I want to be more consistent."