Aug. 2, 2012
Preseason Football Blog | Franklin Press Conference
Vanderbilt Head Coach James Franklin and coordinators John Donovan, Bob Shoop and Charles Bankins met with reporters Thursday to kickoff the Commodores' first practice day of fall camp. Watch the interviews below.
Coach Franklin Quotes
"We've got a good showing and I appreciate everyone being here. I'm looking forward to getting out on the field and running around with our guys, which is something I'm passionate about. They've worked so hard all offseason, our coaching staff has worked hard all offseason. Our kids believe and they have tremendous belief in what we're doing. Our coaching staff has been together now. Everybody understands the expectations and how we do things. I'm looking forward to getting out on the field and seeing how we run around, seeing the new guys that are just showing up, the freshmen and how they react to how we're running and how we maximize our time on the field together. It's time to get on the field, stop talking about all the great things we've done in the past and all the things we want to do in the future. We're not going to take any day for granted from last year. Last year's team has nothing to do with this year's team. They are completely separate things, obviously we can learn from the experiences we all gained from last year. We're not going to get any credit for the things we did last year. We have to redo it this year and build from the bottom, up. I appreciate you guys being here and I look forward to spending more time with you."
On how important it is to play well against South Carolina in the season opener on national television:
"Obviously there is some excitement in the fact that it will be on national television against a good opponent, but the reality is, we would not approach it any different than if we were playing some of our other opponents out of conference or in conference. Our belief is you wake up every single morning, prepare like crazy and go out and play the game. We're not going to change our approach. I think coaches make mistakes when they put extra emphasis on one game compared to another. This game is more important because it's our rival. This game is more important because it's in the conference or out of conference. This one's on national television and this one's not. I think that's where you can have inconsistencies within your team, you can play real well one week and then fall off the next week. We're not going to do that, but I'm also aware that this is an exciting game for our fans and the fan base and I do know this is an opportunity to play in front of a very large crowd."
On the most valuable lesson he learned as a rookie head coach:
"I think it comes down to, just like all of us, as much as you prepare for something, until you actually do the job there's so many details, there's so many things that come up and I take a lot of pride in my preparation and our preparation. Until you actually do the job, you have no idea all the details and the specifics that are going to come up. That's probably the biggest thing I learned is every day we're learning. Every year we're trying to get better. Every day we're trying to get better. It's an evolution, it's not really a destination, it's an evolution. I think sometimes as a young guy or a young coach, you want it all at once and you have to have some patience. That's not really my personality and I talked about that last night with the team. My greatest strength is probably my passion and my drive, my greatest weakness is probably my passion and my drive. All good things come with time, hard work, preparation and the right attitude."
On how confident or certain he is that Jordan Rodgers will be the starting quarterback:
"I am confident in his ability. I'm confident in how he's prepared all offseason. I think he's done a really good job from a leadership perspective. His team voted him captain, him and Walker May. We're going to continue to do that, we're going to continue to vote for captains because we'll have multiple captains this year.
You have to do it. You have to do it every single day. Every single day we're going to hold everybody accountable. We're going to play the best guys. I don't care if you're a true freshman. I don't care if you're a returning starter. I don't care if you're a senior. I don't care if you're from Nashville or from Pennsylvania. There are no favorites, there's no politics, you have to wake up every single day and earn it. I think everyone in our program respects that and I think Jordan wants that. I think if you look at recruiting our players have bought into that. They are helping us recruit players to play the same position as them because we want to create the most competitive environment in college football."
On if he plans to take some of the workload off Zac Stacy at the running back position:
"I think obviously the more depth you can have at every position, that's why recruiting is so important not only to improve your talent, but improve your depth, but the reality is we're going to play the guy who gives us the best chance to win. I think it's funny sometimes when the receivers will ask how many times we're going to throw the ball. If that's working, we're going to keep throwing it. If running the ball is working, then we're going to keep running it. If we put 10 personnel in the game, which is four receivers for us, and that's the most dominate group, then you're going to be in the game. If you're not getting it done then you won't be. We take that approach at every position and every group. It's the same way defensively: we're going to use the people who give us the best chance to win.
You do have to factor in reps. I think that's one of the things we did as good of job last year compared to previous years. We played guys all year long, we rotated them in and I think that helped us in the fourth quarter. I think that helped us at the end of the season because guys were fresh. I think the fact we have Jerron Seymour coming back healthy, the fact we have Warren Norman coming back healthy. We have Wes Tate with the flexibility that he gives us and then lightning-in-a-bottle, Brian Kimbrow, so we have all these people we can use and take advantage of their talents and that's what we have to do."
On if he likes playing a highly ranked conference opponent right out of the gate:
"I think there are positives and negatives to it. I don't think there's any doubt starting out with out of conference games you scheduled that you should have a good chance of being successful and really helps you to build confidence. The best way to build confidence is by winning, so I think that model that a lot of great coaches have used, makes sense. I think the positive for us doing it this way is it allows us to spread our non-conference games out throughout the entire schedule, so you aren't playing SEC after SEC late in the season. I think the fact that our guys have had an exciting game, that's going to be on national television, to look forward to from a motivation standpoint all offseason, that's a real positive.
Scheduling is something I'm very passionate about and is very important. There are a lot of people out there who might say we have the toughest out of conference schedule in the league this year, playing two BCS opponents on the road. There are things we're working through in the future, as you guys know these schedules have been set for years and years out. We're working through those things because we understand that's a part of it. It's a great challenge and we're excited about it, not only opening in that type of game, but the games we're playing out of conference as well. Just like anything in life, I think there are positives and negatives to both sides."