Oct. 20, 2012
Vanderbilt - Auburn Postgame Quotes
October 20, 2012 Vanderbilt Stadium - Nashville, Tenn.
Vanderbilt Head Coach James Franklin
"Great win for Vanderbilt. We had an SEC opponent come into our stadium [and we got a win]. I think you make progress when you don't play your best football and still beat an SEC opponent.... We were aggressive early on in the game on fourth down.... We're going to play aggressively and take calculated risks."
"I'm happy that Zac [Stacy] could break the all-time rushing record. That's an award for our o-line, our o-line coach, and Zac. It's a team award."
"We still need to get turnovers."
"One other thing: for our fans who came out and supported us, thank you so much. We really appreciate it. Ask two people to come with you [to next week's game against Massachusetts]. What a great statement we could make by selling out next week's game.... They're all big games for us.... It would be great to fill up this stadium with black and gold."
On Vanderbilt's fake punt that resulted in a turnover:
"Our execution was not what we wanted... We had the look. The pitch wasn't good. We need to get better."
On Vanderbilt's tight ends:
"We're playing better. You'd like there to be a junior or senior they could play behind and rotate with, but that's the situation we're in... We're playing with confidence and that will help our running game."
On Vanderbilt's defense:
"Overall, our defense played well... If we could have gotten turnovers, it could have been a different situation. The offense played well and had the defense's back. The defense played well and had the offense's back. On special teams, we have to play better all around."
On Vanderbilt's mindset:
"I don't think we have a `belief' issue. Our kids need to learn how to finish and win tough games... It's why we have to keep winning ugly against the top 25, against the top 5, against the top 122. We just need to win. If we win more, our players will get accustomed to it and our fans will get accustomed to it."
Senior Running Back Zac Stacy
On if he was happy about breaking the career rushing record on a long run:
"Really and truly, I didn't go into the game thinking about the record. I came into the game trying to get a W. I'm very honored to break the record, but that is really a reflection of the offensive line, the defense having my back on that costly fumble and I'm really excited for this Vanderbilt community. This win gives us a lot of confidence going into the rest of the season."
On who he grew up rooting for in Alabama:
"I was a big fan of my high school, Bibb County. That was a big deal back home. So being able to play for Bibb was a pretty big honor for me. I just remember every Friday night when I was little; I was actually a water boy. I was just trying to get close to the team and here I am now."
On what the record means to him:
"I'm definitely honored. Reflecting back on my career here, I've dealt with a lot of adversity, a lot of injuries, coaching changes. No doubt about it, I am very honored to represent Vanderbilt and have the rushing title. At the same time, I still have a lot of improving to do. That's just the type of player I am. I'm always looking for improvement within this team and myself. We'll celebrate this win tonight and get back to work."
Senior Quarterback Jordan Rodgers
On the drive early in the second half when Zac Stacy accounted for most of the yardage:
"It's awesome when we get rolling like that and the offensive line is blocking that way. I'm glad we're getting the ball out of my hands because we're taking time off the clock. We're getting huge plays and big chunks of yards. It's one of those drives where it's demoralizing for the defense. I think we had a few of those. We started out the game with a long demoralizing drive. It's tough for them to come back. We gave them an opportunity to come back and it gave them a little life. Long drives like that are staples of what we need to be and what we're trying to be here at Vanderbilt."
On winning another SEC game even though the team didn't play its best:
"That is a testament to where this program is going. A couple years ago, maybe even last year, if we don't play our best game, we didn't have a shot. It's frustrating to look back and be like, `dang we didn't play our best game,' but at the same time we won. Anytime you lose a turnover battle like we did today and still win an SEC game, you're doing something right. We've got some stuff to fix, but we're definitely moving in the right direction."
On Stacy's career at Vanderbilt:
"Unbelievable, he's my locker buddy, so I get to sit next to him every day. I've been impressed with him since day one on campus here. When I got here, I believe he had just finished his first year, but he's unbelievable. Aside from being an unbelievable running back, he's physical, he's fast and he's a great guy. He's going to give the recognition to the offensive line and they played their butt off today. Zac's making some plays that a lot of other guys can't make, I'll reference that Missouri play at the end of the game where he broke a tackle, stiff armed off another tackle and stayed in bounds. He's that kind of player. He's a smart player. He makes plays when we need to. It was a big day for him, our O-line and everybody."
Junior Defensive End Walker May
On if it is special beating a team from Alabama:
"You don't focus on that at the beginning of the week. It's just another SEC opponent."
On if the defense got together when Stacy fumbled late:
"Absolutely, in the Missouri game he had our backs and ran out the clock. We have his back and the offense's back, so it was our turn to step up and finish the game."
On Zac Stacy breaking the career rushing record:
"I came in with him, so I've always been real close with him. It's great to see a teammate break a record like that. It couldn't happen to a better person. He's one in a million as a running back and one in a million as a person and that's awesome. I can't say enough."
Junior Linebacker Chase Garnham
On if it is special beating a team from Alabama:
"To me, I get the satisfaction of a tough, hard fought win more than the team we beat. When you put everything on the field like we did today, it feels good to get the W. That's what I'm excited about."
On the run defense today:
"I think we did a better job against the run today, just pounding our gaps and really just being responsible in the run. In the past weeks, there have been two or three big plays that have got us. Those are lapses in our run responsibilities and I think we cleaned that up in practice last week."
On if the defense gets nervous being on the field with the game on the line:
"I think we're all pretty experienced on defense. We have some older guys, who I think handled it pretty well. You want to take care of your job and handle your responsibilities, so you are reading your keys a little better. I think the coaches do a good job of explaining situations in practice and I think we did a good job executing."
Head Coach Gene Chizik
"I feel like this was another example of us having a chance at the end of the game to win the game and we couldn't close the door on it. I thought the kids played hard and without question they felt like keeping the score close in the fourth quarter where we had a chance to win the game. Certainly, that was the feeling that I got on the sideline, without question, that our kids were fighting all the way down to the end. Again, we fell short. It's kind of the same scenario that we've faced a couple of different times earlier in the year. We're going to keep fighting and again I'm proud of our guys who kept fighting and playing the game. At some point in time we're going to have to figure out how to get the game at that point and win it and we're obviously struggling with that. We'll continue to go back to work and continue to try to improve."
On the defense causing a fumble late in the 4th quarter:
"The last drive defensively was a situation where we stopped them on a very critical down and got the ball back. We didn't have any timeouts left on the clock. We went into two-minute mode and really just couldn't do much with the ball after that. Again, our defense fought down to the end and offensively at the end we just struggled to put together some kind of two-minute drill to get the ball to the end zone, which was what we had to do. The turnover battle today was something that we had to emphasize and I felt like today that happened, but obviously it wasn't enough."
On Freshman Linebacker Cassanova McKinzy:
"We made a conscientious decision that it was time to let him go. He really worked hard this week, I thought, in trying to prepare for the game. I can't really tell you how well he did until I see the game film and where he was supposed to fit and where he was supposed to be in the defense. But you know he's an active player, and showed up in terms of tackles and things of that nature. In terms of his first game I'm very proud of him."
Freshman Quarterback Jonathan Wallace
On moving forward, future games:
"We have to continue to work hard, continue to be a team, and to lift each other up even when we're upset. We've been doing that, and it's a matter of staying positive. Even though things aren't going the way we want [them] to, we just have to stay together. I believe we're finding a way to do that. We're getting there."
Fullback Jay Prosch
On Problems with the offense:
"I think it's a group effort. Sometimes you miss assignments here and there, and for offense to work, everyone has to be in sync.
On struggling team identity:
"It's always hard bringing in new offenses and defenses. It always takes time. I think we've got what we need... we just need to execute and sharpen it up."