July 30, 2014
Mason Press Conference | Herring & Woestmann | Pulley and Cunningham
Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason, offensive lineman Spencer Pulley, wide receiver Jordan Cunningham, and linebackers Darreon Herring and Kyle Woestmann met with the media Wednesday to preview the start of preseason camp.
Head Coach Derek Mason
"First of all, I would like to thank you all for coming. We are getting ready to start fall camp 2014. This is a group of young men that are ready to start on this journey. They have had a great summer. Our strength and conditioning staff did a great job of preparing these young men. When I look at our depth, I thought some of these young guys that came in this summer did a tremendous job at working to fit in and listening to our leadership and giving themselves the best chance to be able to compete. It has been a competitive summer. We are smarter and more intelligent football team that understands who we are and understands our core values and we are going to do everything that we can to protect that.
"In terms of how we want to play the game, we want to be physical. On both sides of the ball, we want to be able to control the line of scrimmage up front. We look to do a better job in teams. In the spring we were a little lackluster in terms of how we performed in the kicking game and that will be tested here in camp. We definitely have a kicking competition going on and we want to make sure that we can find the best guy. Across the board, it really will be competitive and it's going to be fun to see these guys get after it."
On team being comfortable with their identity:
"To me, the way the game is played is 90 percent mental. You have trust one another and have to trust schemes and have to trust that this coaching staff understands what we are trying to do, and I think more than anything else they have invested in that. Now the 10 percent comes down to the work that gets done in camp."
On recruiting Stephen Rivers:
"They really reached out to us. It was a situation where Stephen was looking for a home and was really unhappy with the situation their. His brother reached out and wanted to get a gauge on what our feelings were about him. I talked to coach (Ken) Whisenhunt because he had a chance to see him from just being around his brother at camp. We just tried to figure out exactly who he was and he wanted to figure out who we were.
"I think in the end it matched up because of the new venue and a new opportunity. He understands that the time is now and that the door is wide open. It's anybody's opportunity. If you want it come get it. He has worked extremely hard. When you see him you will be able to see how his body has changed since coming over from LSU. I think he his pretty confident about what he has been able to do in the short amount of time and think that he is going to be a great leader."
On quarterback rotation in camp:
"I talked a lot with Coach Dorrell. We will have a system in place where those guys will go with different groups each day and then we will figure it out from there. When you don't know who the guy is, you need to give everyone the opportunity to work with the centers and to work with the backs just in terms of the mesh points and the footwork. There is no set rotation right now in terms of who is going to be working with whom.
"We have a general idea about what we want to do by day and that's the way we are going to start out. Right now we have six guys, but if that number goes down to three then those guys will be working with the first unit. Right now we are going to have two offenses because that's what you have to do in camp. We are trying to get everybody ready to play. I don't know who is going to be playing for us right now. I just know that we have some guys that are committed to the process."
On concerns heading into camp:
"I don't really have any concerns. I just have questions. Concerns and questions are different for me. I'm really not worried about anything. It's more or less our goals and what we are trying to touch. Are we a physical team? Do we beat ourselves? Do we understand what situational football is? Do we know how to practice? Can we take care of one another? Those are the things I have to be concerned with. That's what I look at. The football and the roster is going to take care of themselves. I don't lose sleep over those things. We just need to protect our culture."
On When to start game planning for Temple:
"We will get to Temple the week before Temple. Camp used to be two months and now it's condensed into a small window, so what you do during your camp period has to last you throughout the season as far as what your fundamentals look like. We have to continue to clean up some things scheme-wise. If we can do that, then the X's and O's will take care of themselves. Let's make sure these guys understand how we want to play and then we will get to game planning when the time comes. Everybody's first game is going to come down to how you execute fundamentally."