Vanderbilt Head Coach Bobby Johnson Weekly Press Conference - Sept. 7, 2009
Opening statement: "It is a pretty good day for us. I thought it was a good win. We got off to a very good start, got some things done offensively and our defense played like we expected them to play. It gives us a good starting point and maybe we can move forward.
"Obviously this week the competition is going to be a whole lot better. We are looking forward to going to Baton Rouge. They are pretty impressive on film, so we will see what happens."
On timing of playing LSU after its trip west: "I hope they are still out there. We will take anything that will help us. I'm sure they will have a good day off and get rested up and be ready for us. They have a number of athletes they can choose to go against us, so I don't think their trip to Washington is going to be a big factor."
On the yardage LSU gave up to Washington: "Washington has an explosive quarterback (Jake Locker). I think he is a very good player and can do a lot of things. He made some things happen for them and receiver James Johnson made some big plays for them. I think they got some big plays for most of those yards. Trying to consistently move the ball against LSU is really tough to do. They are impressive up front. Their linebacker core is really mobile and their secondary is really good."
On if there is an advantage of having played against John Chavis' defense: "Well if you look at our record against Coach Chavis at Tennessee, it doesn't help us a whole lot. He's an excellent coach and the one thing I notice right off the bat is that they really go hard to the ball and I think that is a trademark of his. They are really aggressive. I knew when that change was made that he would make them better. He had great defenses at Tennessee and you would expect with the talent they have at LSU to be equally as good down there."
On preparing the team to play at LSU: "The only thing I can say is that we have to go down there anyway, so lets make the most of it. A lot of our guys have played in big stadiums. It is going to be tough like all the rest of them are."
On likes and dislikes from the WCU game: "I liked that we were intent and concentrated and took care of what we were supposed to take care of. Probably the most disappointing thing was the kicking game snafus that we had. Hopefully we can get those corrected. I know Brett (Upson) is a much better punter than that and I don't anticipate those things happening each week or ever again. Those are good things that we have on film and we can see how we can improve. Believe me, offensively we are realistic and we know we won't be able to run the ball as easily against LSU as we did against Western Carolina. We've got to be attentive to detail with everything we do. It was a good start for us."
On Vanderbilt starting the month of September off well: "I think our guys do a good job of preparing. I know our coaches work extremely hard every year to have a preseason camp where we get a lot of stuff installed in a short period of time. We are probably healthier than we ever are during the season and it certainly helps to have all of your records available, and we are getting better."
On the status of Larry Smith: "Larry (Smith) just has some cramps and he is ready to go."
On if Jared Hawkins will be available Saturday: "I don't know, but he's probably doubtful right now."
On his thoughts on the no-huddle offense: "I was pleased with how we executed. We tested it against noise and we tested it against time. We did everything we could possibly do to replicate game-like conditions, but you never know until you get in a game and you never know until you get into a hostile stadium like we are going into this week. That will be another big test for the signaling system and how we run our offense."
On freshmen running backs Zac Stacy and Warren Norman: "They ran the ball well. I think sometimes, we got a little picky in there and waited. If we wait against LSU, someone is going to be knocking them on the side of the head. I thought Kennard (Reeves) did a really good job of busting through there and getting yards when they were there. We have to protect better on passes and it didn't hurt us that much, but we made a couple of mistakes on who to pick up."
On Larry Smith's fumble on his dive to the end zone: "There was no need to do that. It wasn't fourth down and we were making a first down, so there was no need to put the ball out because we had four more downs to get the ball in. If it was fourth down and the last play of the game, I could see that kind of effort to get the ball over the goal line, but that is too much of a risk and should not be done by a quarterback, running back or anybody. I think that everybody just assumes that you are going to break the plane, but if you don't break the plane what happened to us is going to happen to anybody. We take a lot of pride in taking care of the ball. Last year, it was a huge advantage for us as far as takeaways and turnover ratio. We are upset when we turn it over and we strive to get turnovers on defense, so it just makes sense to take care of the ball."
On the play of the defensive line: "They played really well. I was really proud of T.J. Greenstone. I thought he played an excellent game and he was one of our defenders of the week. He has really picked it up and he is a force in there. The thing about T.J. is that he loves to play. He has a great time out there and he has a lot of energy. He made some huge plays for us."
On how much it helps the true freshmen to have gone through a game day prior to the LSU game: "It is helpful. We have done the pregame warmups during practice, but it is just different. I don't think they will be looking around wondering what is going to be happening next. They will know what our routine is and we will go to the stadium Friday night and give them a chance to look at it. We are trying to tell the team that it is a great stadium and a great place to play, and it can't be any more fun than this. We are trying to look at it that way instead of dreading going down there. We are looking forward to it."
On playing on the road: "I think we've played very well on the road. Our guys seem to relish the challenge of going to places like that and going up against the very best people in the country and that is what we tell them when we recruit them. We tell them they are coming here to play the best. They will see on the film that they are going to have a great challenge not only with the atmosphere in the stadium, but the players they are playing. What makes those stadiums so hard is the players that are playing in them."