Vanderbilt vs Kentucky
November 12, 2011
Vanderbilt Head Coach James Franklin
"That was another great college football game. Some things that stood out to me: We had 28 first downs, which I believe is a season high. We held them to nine first downs. We had 410 total yards and held them to 211. Our penalties - three for 25 yards - were a real positive for us. We also controlled the clock."
"Our defense did a great job. We were able to run the ball and be physical... We were able to send our seniors out the right way. I'm proud of those guys."
On Vanderbilt's Seniors:
"To be able to send them out for a curtain call means a lot. I'm proud of those guys. This is what it's all about. Playing here is not only about getting a great education. It's also about having an experience on the football field."
On Running Back Zac Stacy:
"Our offensive line, from when we got here to now, I don't even know you could recognize it. I'm proud of our offense - our fullbacks, our tight ends blocking for him. Zach has had a great year."
On Quarterback Jordan Rodgers:
"He played well and managed the game well. There were things he did early in the game that we got cleaned up on the sideline. I think he played better [this week], but I'll evaluate the game."
On Vanderbilt's Five Home Wins:
"I don't know what's happened in the past. We have a mission and a plan and today we took steps towards that plan. What we did at home is important, but you need to win tough games on the road. That's what this conference is about."
On Vanderbilt's Rivalry with Tennessee:
"I understand that game is important to this community, our alumni, and our staff, but I'm going to stick to our plan. We're going to play our best football six seconds at a time. Elon was an important game. Army was an important game. Today was an important game. I don't want it to become emotional."
On Vanderbilt Narrowly Missing Out on an SEC Shutout:
"The stats don't matter. The only stat that matters is wins. I'm happy with #5 and we'll try next week for #6."
On having something to prove:
"We wanted to take out the frustration on everybody from all these losses, no matter who's next. Whoever is next on the schedule we're going to take it out on. Because as the offensive line we have a point to prove. We want to prove that we're one of the best offensive lines in the SEC and in the country."
On Wesley Johnson:
"Wesley has been really flexible. He's probably one of our most versatile players. But anyone on the offensive line can play any position. That's the way coach has us. Whoever needs to go in, can go in. We can plug in anybody. Seymour went from left tackle to left guard. Caleb can play any position. Bridges came in today. Everyone can be real flexible."
On his last touchdown drive:
"It was basically a lot of adrenaline, a lot of movement of the feet. It was just a great effort, not only by me, but by a couple of guys that pushed me in... It was just a good play. We were able to punch it in and pretty much put the game away."
On their 3rd down success:
"We've been emphasizing that we need to execute on third down a little more. We did a great a great job today getting those third down plays. It was just one of those things where there were a couple of plays left out there but we just want to learn from the tape and get ready for Tennessee."
On changing the culture:
"We set out to change the culture within the organization, within our locker room first, and then hopefully change the culture overall with our fans and with the school. But the first thing we want to do is change the culture inside (the team) and I think we have. We changed the way we prepare for games, we changed the way we work out, we changed the preparation we have in the summer and in the spring and that's showed on the field. We're more confident and we're more prepared than we've ever been. And that's why you're getting the product that we're showing."
On it being the seniors' last home game:
"That's emotional. It really is. I've only been here for two years but I've been fighting with those guys every game, working with them. So to see them that emotional, it's tough. We wanted to send them out on a good note and we did. I'm glad we put up some points today and sent them out the right way because they worked hard for that and they deserved it."
On this being his last home game:
"It's still something I'm trying to process. I've spent so much time at that stadium whether it be practice or whether it be hanging out there during workouts or games. I don't think it's really set in but when it does, I'm glad I came to Vanderbilt, I'm glad everything has gone the way it has. We're the building blocks for the future here and I hope to leave a great legacy with what I've done with these other seniors on the field and off the field."
Kentucky Head Coach Joker Phillips:
"Just got tougher for us (to reach a bowl game). Still some things out there for us to play for. Didn't play well. We all created what we saw. Coaches, players, every one of us, offensively, defensively, special teams, we became a team that was one of the tough teams in the country in penalties. We've had penalty after penalty after penalty in crucial situations, especially when we got ahead of the count on first and second downs. We had a couple of personal foul penalties on defense, which has been uncharacteristic of us. We have not given up a lot of penalties. Defensively, we couldn't get ourselves off the field on third down. Offensively, not sure what the final stat was, I know at the half we were 0-for-6. When it seemed like we had a few chances to get something going, and I thought we had a good game plan, we just couldn't stick with the game plan. We can't get a big run on first down, second down, be second and 2, second and 1, no yard game and then a penalty afterwards that puts you at third and long. And now it's hard for us to manage and hard for us to convert. Every many created it, including myself. We've got to get it fixed."
Would this be a total systems failure?
"I don't think, no, we just didn't execute our systems. I think our systems hold up versus everything that we saw today, we just didn't make plays when we needed to, we didn't execute when we needed to."
On chances to win for bowl appearance:
"It's hard to explain, it's still possible to win two out of three. We did play poorly today, especially in the first half and it started with a play on special teams. We let them run from 12 to 20 offensively before that. We never got a cheap one. We were a team that's had to travel a great distance, to get the ball moving with the field positions that we had."
"Nobody should ever be able to bait you into any type of penalty and it's not the Kentucky way. First personal foul, we got a guy wrapped up and we decided to swing him out of bounds. Whistles blowing. It's not the Kentucky way. Another personal foul that I can remember that one of our guys did, he got pushed in the face mask so he grabbed his face mask and decides to push after. Nobody should be able to bait a Kentucky team into any type of pentalty like that."
On point margin:
"To lose to anybody--this is a good Vanderbilt football team we just played, this is the team that lost some really close ones in the last few weeks to some really good football teams, it's a good football team we just played. But to lose to anybody by this margin, this way--it has nothing to do with the margin, it has to do with the way we lost. It's demoralizing that we didn't execute the way we needed to to win."
Kentucky Co-Defensive Coordinator Rick Minter
Thoughts on the loss to Vanderbilt:
"I saw a Vanderbilt team that's perhaps changed forever...for the better. James [Franklin] has done a great job down here, they presented a tremendous challenge, and we didn't quite rise to it. They ran the ball on us. They passed the ball on us. We didn't play with very much effort today. As the game went on they wore us down, running the ball to the sideline. Give them all the credit in the world because they did a nice job against us."
On how demoralizing the final touchdown was:
"It was ugly. It's embarrassing and I felt bad for our guys, because our kids are better than that. They don't necessarily deserve better because you deserve what you get on the field, but it was just a credit to the tenacity of the Vanderbilt offensive line. They've got a changed attitude here, and it's going to perhaps stay. That's a good football team. They've proved it the last four games now, they finally got the one they wanted, and we have to go back to the drawing board."
On self-inflicted issues:
"It's always disappointing when you hurt yourself. It's one thing to get beat, but it's another thing when you help the other team. It's not good. It's not a good sign that we do those things. Kids are kids and you give the opponent credit, but there's no excuse for us doing things that are foolish or silly. We'll address all of those things tomorrow."
Nick Melillo - Senior TE
On the loss:
"There wasn't anything out there that we didn't see in practice. It was just one of those things where we didn't make plays. They were making plays, they came out there with energy, and we left too many plays out on the field. That would have helped us get in the game and eventually win it."
On not matching Vandy's energy:
"I don't know if it was energy, I think we just got rattled. It was one of those things where we were running the ball well in the first half, but we just didn't make the plays to keep drives going. That didn't give the defense enough time to rest, which left them out there for a long time. It was a team loss."
On this being the best Vandy team he's seen:
"I'd say so. They're definitely a changed team. This is a growing football program, and they played a heck of a football game. I can't take that away from them. It's one of these things that we need to regroup and come back ready to play next week versus Georgia."
Max Smith - Freshman QB
"Got the ball moving at times. Didn't start off too well. I didnt have a good first half at all, but I thought I came out in the second half and played a lot better. But clearly it wasn't close to enough."
On zone coverage bothering him:
"No it wasn't zone coverage, I just came out had my first pass...Wasn't really coming out of my hand too well. There's no excuse, didn't play well in the first half had a much better second half though."
In regards to recovering from this loss:
"As a team we'll go into practice tomorrow, watch film, and on Monday, on our day off, everybody comes to the facility and watches film too."
How tough is it in the locker room/ On it being an ugly game:
"Yeah it's tough, any loss is tough. Especially the way we went out here, it wasn't good at all. You can only imagine how it is in there, everybody with their heads down. We can't be like that, we have to come out and prepare this next week. Prepare even better than this week obviously."
On coming out flat emotionally:
"Didn't come out flat, we were all ready in the locker room. I guess you could say we were a little flat. I'm not really sure to be honest."
On there being anything unexpected:
"No they showed me everything I was expecting. I was actually seeing it pretty well, I was just missing throws. It's inexcusable."
"Couple mistakes here or there, but we all didn't have a very good game....Those sacks will hurt you, that's what it all comes down to."
Panic when looking at scoreboard:
"I'm not sure there's ever a moment of panic but the feeling of we gotta get going, we gotta get going. You kinda look at the clock and there are four minutes left and you're down by 30 points, that's when you know."
On losing to Vandy considering its reputation:
"That's always going to be tough, you look at a team that's kinda bottom two in the SEC and play like we did today anyone is going to beat us like that. That's just how it is."
Ronnie Sneed - Sr. Linebacker
How do you explain this loss?:
"We just had a lot of things not go our way today, the defense needed to do a better job of getting up the field. Vanderbilt was probably the better team today and they just made some plays when they needed to be made, and we didn't stop them."
On how much it hurts when this is traditionally a win for Kentucky:
"It hurts just like any other loss, we played our hearts out but the ball didn't bounce our way today we just have to get back in the film room and try to correct our mistakes and get right back to work next week. It hurts but we just have to get better."
"I mean we've lost before, so we just kind of have to pick up the pieces and get back to work like I said. You know losses happen what you have to do is try to get back and to try to fix that stuff that will bring us more success."
On the difference between this being a win and others:
"We really needed this win, some of the other ones were earlier in the season but we really needed this one, and this is one we really felt like we should've gotten. So it hurts a lot more, but we still have two games left and we have to win them."
On all the mistakes being self inflicted:
"Those mistakes should not be happening, we felt like we had a lot more penalties than we've had this season and it's hard to be a part of but you know you can't really help what the ref calls or what he sees. You might not like it, but it's what he saw. So you just kind of have to go with it."
On growing past performances like this:
"I really did, I felt like we have grown but I feel like Vanderbilt was the better team today with a better game plan I would say. It seemed like they fought a little bit harder than we did today."
On their balance keeping KY off balance:
"Yeah they definitely caught us off balance with a few things. We just didn't respond well."
On not "stopping the bleeding":
"They had a great game plan, we didn't stop them like we should have and that falls on our players. Our coaches did a good job of preparing us for some things but we didn't stop it like we should have."