Post-Music City Bowl game quotes
Dec. 31, 2008
LP Field, Nashville, Tenn. - Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2008
Vanderbilt vs. No. 24 Boston College
Bobby Johnson, Vanderbilt Head Coach
I guess everyone can figure out that we are pretty happy. We are thrilled to win the Music City Bowl right here in Nashville, our home town. I was very proud of our football team for hanging in there playing against a very fine football team in Boston College. We kept our composure and made some big plays when we had to. It maybe not have been the prettiest victory in the whole world but it is for us now. Again, it was great to be here in Nashville. Our fans were fantastic, we could hear them the whole game. I am sure that helped us and gave us a little bit of an advantage. We are glad they were there.
(on this year supposedly being a rebuilding year)
Well, it does feel good, but it also gives us a place that we can move on from. You know we want to get our program better and this certainly ups-the-ante a little bit with our program. We want to make sure that we continue to move forward and I think we have got enough players coming back from this football team that we are going to have a good chance to do that. It's going to take an awful lot of hard work.
(on the approach with the quarterbacks)
A lot of times what the other team does on defense dictates what you want to do on offense. I felt like Larry [Smith] would be very good at throwing some of the routes on the perimeter and we had Chris [Nickson] available for the quarterback run plays. We just felt like we were taking advantage of everybody's talents. We knew we had Mac [Mackenzi Adams] if we needed him to go in there even though he wasn't completely healthy, he was ready to go. We had a bunch of guys hurt today and a bunch of guys stepped up and I thought that was huge. Casey Hayward made some big plays playing corner for D. J. Moore who was hurt. Teriall Brannon played defensive end while Broderick Stewart was out and did a good job. So we had a bunch of guys step up. Hopefully that is going to be a good indication that we've got more players available now to make those kind of plays in big games.
(on the first bowl game win and winning season in 26 seasons)
We were, amongst ourselves that was probably the main emphasis for us is you know if you win a bowl game you can have a winning season. We wanted to called winners, we wanted to be called champions and we will. We will be the Music City Bowl Champions, we will have a winning season and all of these things are extremely important to a program that is trying to move up especially in a tough league that we play in.
(on worrying about the team's focus coming in)
No, not at all. We had great practices over the breaks. I think our guys were so happy to finish exams that they looked forward to practice after that. The weather turned out nice after Christmas and it was just a lot of fun. Our guys embraced the job that we had to do and they practiced well, practiced hard, but we had some good times too.
(on this being a lot like winning the first five games)
I think it was exactly like those games. We played good defense. We were efficient on offense when we had certain opportunities and the kicking game came through for us. Field position was big part of today's game just like a lot of those win we had early in the season. We worked hard on those things in the bowl practice. We had extra time for special team that we took advantage of and our guys got it down and executed it very well today.
(on playing the bowl game in Nashville)
They're going to go home and celebrate with their families and come back on the fifth and get ready for another term at Vanderbilt. We did have a bowl experience. We went over to the Gaylord Opryland hotel. We had a fantastic time over there. That's just like being in another world walking around looking at the wonders over there. But we had the advantages of practicing on our field, watching tape on our video machines, and working out in our weight room, so I think we had the best of both worlds.
(on D.J. Moore not returning next season)
I knew that, and I'm for D.J. I want what's best for him and I think everybody in our program is for D.J. (Moore). I really hope it works out for him. I think that he's a fantastic football player. How he does in the NFL? I really don't know, but I know he'll work at it and he's got the talent to get up and compete against those guys and he's a football player.
(on the players coming up big in the game)
We knew we had to do that against a very fine football team. That's how they win games. They turn the ball over, they're very efficient. We talk about not helping them and that's a good strategy if you find a way to make it work.
(on Bryant Hahnfeldt's career)
I want to say that Bryant (Hahnfeldt) has had a great career. He made a lot of big kicks for us. He came back after a bad knee injury and didn't take a red shirt. So I'm very proud of him.
(on visualizing the bowl win)
Well, I don't know if I'd been dreaming about our punter being the MVP, but I'm glad he was. We'll take whoever can do it anyway can win. Like I've said many times before in turning the corner, we have to fight and work and continue doing what we're doing.
Bryant Hahnfeldt, placekicker
(on 4th quarter game winning field goal)
I knew we had the wind in the fourth quarter, so I wasn't worried about the wind at all. I knew it was behind me. Even if I just hit it (the kick) straight and got under it a little bit, I knew the wind would carry it far enough. It was a matter of hitting it through. It felt great. When you hit a good kick, you usually don't feel the ball come hit your foot because you get it on the sweet spot. Even though it was cold I didn't feel it too much and as soon as I hit it, I kind of knew.
(on emotions of overall career at Vanderbilt)
It feels great. It has been an up and down career for me, but I felt like I had a good year this getting the record this year, which was a goal I set for myself coming in, of beating John Markum. And then obviously going to a bowl was another goal of ours and to win it. But to hit the game-winner it kind of puts a final stamp on my career. For me myself, just to learn from it all, moved on and got better from it, I know that I'm a good kicker. It's fantastic for Nashville itself, to go out like this.
(on playing in the Music City Bowl and it being so close to VU campus)
This is really my back yard. I've lived here my whole life. It's weird going to college just two miles down the road. It wasn't weird at all actually. It was a fantastic thing for us. Like Coach Johnson said, going to Opryland was a whole another world. You might as well have flown somewhere. The good thing is now we don't have to go anywhere, we're here, we're already home. All our friends and family are here. It's great. The fans were fantastic. They were loud the whole time and we appreciate it so much. It wasn't weird by any means.
(on the future of Vanderbilt football as a senior graduating player)
There is no doubt about it. If you look at the guys that are out there, there are a lot of young ones that played tonight and they played great. They've seen the work that we have put in and how hard we worked to get here and they know what to do to get the job done. I feel like they are definitely take it, and run with it, and be more successful than we were.
(on giving former Vandy players, who were standing on the sidelines with the team, a winning season)
It's huge. I went and talked to all the guys that I saw that I played with back when I was a freshman or whenever, and they were all boosting us the whole time. They had smiles on their faces, they were so happy. Except that they would look at us and say `How did you all get here?' But they taught us the things we need to do to get here. We thank them for laying some groundwork for us.
Brett Upson, punter
(on winning the Music City Bowl MVP)
Actually, I was surprised when they told me. I was just out there doing my job and it wouldn't been able to happen if it hadn't been for the rest of the punt team. From the snap to protection to the kick.
(on his punt hitting a BC player and resulting in a fumble recovered by Vandy in he end zone for a TD)
The funny thing is I didn't even know it hit him. I was behind three Boston College players.
(on his punting effort)
We did mostly rugby punts all day and I felt like I hit those pretty good. You have to drop them going into the wind. The wind was playing a big role - and I'm sure Bryant can agree - out there today in the kicking game. I was able to get the nose down on the ball and drive into the wind and get some roll out of the ball.
Myron Lewis, cornerback
(on intercepting the pass to end the game)
We had to get focused and make a play.
(on giving up the touchdown)
It was an out-and-up. I broke on the out and he ran up the sideline for the score.
(on first Vanderbilt team to win a bowl game in 55 years)
It's very exciting as you can see. For our team, players, coaches, our families, the crowd. Everyone's just really excited.
(on wearing the hat that says champion)
I feel like a champion. It feels really good.
(on the last interception)
It felt like the game was over and we won.
(on range of emotions in 4th quarter)
We were really excited. But after they scored we had to focus more and we did that.
Larry Smith, quarterback
(on making first career start)
It felt good. I've been preparing for two weeks, so I felt pretty comfortable with the offense. Coach (Bobby Johnson) said I could start so I watched more film and got ready.
(on finding out who would start the game)
I want to say Monday evening he announced the starter.
(on quarterback switching during the game)
I felt pretty comfortable with myself and the offense. I just had to be prepared for it.
(on boost for next season)
Hopefully it gives us a boost. I know I have a lot of confidence now.
Jeff Jagodzinski, Boston College Head Coach
Well, I just got done visiting with our team and our guys and I told the older guys, the guys that are just graduating and played their last game in a Boston College uniform that they set a standard for the last four years that we need to keep going to get above that and keep reaching higher. But, they set a standard. They kept raising the bar every year that they played here the last four or five years.
I am real proud of the way they fought. They fought as hard as you could fight. We just came up on the short end today. It came down I think again to turnovers. When you turn the football over, you have a hard time. (They) had a total of 200 yards and they end up getting more points than we did.
So, congratulations to Bobby (VU Coach Johnson) on a bowl win. We are going to continue to go on from here.
(on whether the ball on the punt hit the BC player)
I think it did. We lost Rich (Gunnell), our punt returner. We lost a few guys today. But, again you have got to find a way. You've got to find a way to get one more point. That is what counts. All the stats, they don't count. What counts is what is on the scoreboard at the end of 60 minutes.
(view on late hit call)
That is the way they saw it. I don't know what to say on that one. (He) was trying to make a play.
(on play down the stretch)
We ended up playing with some freshmen in there at the end. They gained some experience and played today. (Matt) Tennant has been a rock here for two years, he hadn't missed a snap and ended up getting hurt in the game. (Thomas) Claiborne went in there and did a good job. (Nathan) Richman went in there at guard. We have all those guys back for another two or three years.
(on difference of VU's quarterback situation)
None. I mean again you give up 200 yards and 1 of 15 on third downs. I don't think it made a difference on what quarterback was in there.
(on if the interception play at the end was the same as the earlier touchdown play)
No, no it wasn't. It was a 4 vertical throw. And the guy made a heck of a play on the sideline.
(on if that was a double-move on the second Boston College touchdown)
The first one was. In fact, I thought we executed it really well. Dom (Davis) made a great throw and it was a good catch. And that was a true freshman (Colin Larmond) also that made that catch for a touchdown. Our future is really bright here, very bright. We've got a bunch of young guys playing.
Boston College Players
Mark Herzlich, linebacker
(on the drive that Vanderbilt scored to take the lead in the fourth quarter)
We love being on the field in crunch time. We wanted to be out there and we had momentum. A couple things went against us, two big penalties and they ran an under route for 20 yards. We ended up stopping them on third down and made them kick a field goal. That is how it went.