Mason | Williamson & Pulley | Robinette & Woestmann | Game Notes & Depth Charts
Vanderbilt football head coach Derek Mason, safety Andrew Williamson, offensive lineman Spencer Pulley, quarterback Patton Robinette and outside linebacker Kyle Woestmann met with the media Tuesday to discuss the Commodores' season-opening matchup against Temple.
Thursday's game will be televised on the SEC Network, with kickoff scheduled for 8:15 p.m. CT at Vanderbilt Stadium.
Head Coach Derek Mason
"We're getting ready to open the 2014 season against a really good Temple Owls football team. Matt Rhule is an extremely good coach. He has Phil Snow as a defensive coordinator who I've known for a long time. This is what I can tell about their team from watching film. Obviously, the improvement of the Temple program was duly noted especially in the second half of the season just in terms of production and points per game. They have a dynamic quarterback and any time you have a dynamic quarterback coming back you will have the opportunity to be a pretty good team. They will find some weapons to put around him as senior running back Ken Harper will give them a strong ground game. They will have to rebuild the offensive line a little bit but they have a good base to build from in terms of having a quarterback that can extend plays. They have one of the top linebackers in the country in Rob Dvoracek. Their defense is anchored by him and Nate Smith as those two are the two leaders of that football team. Temple's a team a year ago that started 13 freshmen so at some point it's going to kick in as to who they are. They are a confident team and I know we will get their best effort and we'll see a really good football game Thursday against two good teams that are well prepared and ready to kick off the college football season."
On his first game as head coach:
"I've been waiting for this for a while. You're always glad to get into camp but more than two weeks into it you are ready to go hit someone else. I feel we've finally reached that threshold and now it's time to go out and play someone else. We've prepared and gone through a number of scenarios to figure out what we need to do and what our personnel should be but it's time to put the rubber to the road and go. As a staff we have gone up and down the situational gambit to find out what exactly we need to do."
On clock management:
"I go to bed every night with those scenarios in my head. As a coach you always prepare for that. Having an NFL background, I spent a lot of time going through that process. You have different people assigned to different situations. I've been looking at my two-point chart to figure out when to go for two or when to kick it. There's not a scenario we haven't been able to cover with my staff heading into this game."
Your advice to QB Patton Robinette:
"I tell him to just try and play loose. I saw him yesterday and you can tell that he's excited. The one thing I tell my players no matter what the position is that the one thing about the game is to not press and just go out and play the game the way it's supposed to be played and let the game come to you. As a quarterback there's always going to be adjustments as you'll be making decision on the fly but when you are behind center you're always right. What I say to my quarterback is that you don't make mistakes, and even if he does, at the end of the day those mistakes are my mistakes. When its all said and done, I want him to play with a lot of confidence and to not look over his shoulder and worry about making mistakes because football is not a mistake free game You have to learn from every mistake and as long as you're doing that I'll get your best and you'll get mine."
On the defense:
"The only way you know where they are at is to just go out an play the game. For us, the proof is in the pudding and I feel that Coach Koltulski has them prepared. When I talked to them last night we wanted them to have a thorough understanding of the schemes and to have them not have questions. The game plan has been modified and we just want them to go out, play fast, be structurally sound and be physical. The rest will play out as it unfolds on the field."
Safety Andrew Williamson
On the confidence in the secondary:
"I feel like we've had a pretty strong camp, guys learning the playbook, they got it down. I have a lot of confidence going into this game"
On transition to the new defense:
"It's kind of complicated at times. Every time you learn a defense it kind of a takes a while at first, but once you go through it a two or three times you get it down. We're pretty comfortable with it right now. "
Offensive Lineman Spencer Pulley
On the importance of setting the tone of experience in the offense:
"We've got a lot of talent on offense, but the majority of the older guys are on the offensive line and I think a lot of the leadership has come from there. I think it's very important for the offensive line to be solid intellectually and physically"
On the readiness of your guys to play a game right now:
"We could not be more ready...every offseason is long, you're always going to have some gives and takes, but we're extremely excited and couldn't be more ready, more prepared to get going"
On the success of the last three seasons and coming into this season:
"It's important. This is it, this is our game, this is what we've been preparing for so it's very important to come out of the gate strong, fast, know what we're doing, everyone knowing their jobs for the confidence in the team. I know everyone on the team is confident in our team and how we're playing"
On Patton Robinette:
"Since he stepped on this campus, he's been a guy who will just go to work, he goes to work every day he doesn't talk about it a lot, he just does what he's supposed to do. He makes minimal mistakes and we're all kind of behind him right now. You don't see any of the cockiness you wouldn't want to see with being named the starter. He's still the same guy he comes out with the same work ethic you get every day."
Linebacker Kyle Woestmann
On the differences of the defense and excitement to be playing against an opponent:
"I couldn't be more excited, to be honest. I'm just kind of tired of seeing black and gold...I'm really excited. At first, no one had really any idea what they were doing on defense and it was kind of chaotic, but as camp progressed and the pieces come together, you start to realize how the disguise and how the different looks can really mess with the offense, and how well it really fits up to just about any scheme."
On opening up against a non conference opponent:
"I like anything that's not black and gold. It really doesn't matter who it is as long as it's someone new to hit."
On Coach Mason:
"He always says `we can sit here and do what we want but at the end of the day it comes down to what you guys do in between the white lines' and I think he emphasizes that not just at practice but through all things Vanderbilt football. It's always player first and I think that type of stuff definitely reflects that coming out of the tunnel he wants it to be us first. It's always just about the team"
Quarterback Patton Robinette
On how ready he feels at being named the starting QB:
"I feel ready, I feel prepared, I feel confident. It's been a long road since the bowl game. I've had to make a lot of improvements in my game to be in the position I'm in now but I'm confident I've done that and I feel ready to play and execute the game plan against Temple"
On the competitiveness of earning the starting position:
"It was very competitive, you've got three guys that can legitimately play Division I football anywhere. We all pushed each other and got better"
On areas of improvement made since the bowl game:
"I felt ready to play at the time but looking back now, I don't necessarily think I was ready to be an SEC quarterback"
On the new coaching staff:
"We had a lot of success the past two years and I know a lot of people attribute that to a coaching staff but I know we as players feel like that was us, that was what we did, and what (past players) did. I feel like we're ready to show that indeed that was us and we're ready to keep climbing"