2007 Vanderbilt Football Monday Press Conference Commodore Head Coach Bobby Johnson September 10, 2007
Opening Statement from Head Coach Johnson: "We were obviously disappointed with the outcome of the game. We feel like it's early in the season. We're anxious to get back out and practice and get better. We got a big order this week. It's an important game for us to bounce back after a loss to Alabama. Give Alabama credit, I think they took it to us. We could have done a better job of answering the bell. We had some good things happen. We have to build on that and try to correct mistakes and get ready to play."
On the status of Chris Nickson... "We didn't let him do anything yesterday. It's going to be an evaluation period the next couple of days just to find out how he's going to be. If he can't go, we have a lot of confidence that Mackenzi Adams and Richard Kovalcheck will be ready to go. It's too early to tell. He's not out. I can tell you that."
On Mackenzi Adams... "I think if Mackenzi gets the reps in practice that the starting quarterback is going to get, he'll be much sharper. Mackenzi has talent and he's a ballplayer. He's a tough guy and loves to compete. He grew up around the game. His father was a coach. We feel good about him."
On the team's psyche... "They're disappointed. We had a good practice yesterday. They're not panicking. They're not going to have a big team meeting and call everybody out. They got out there and practiced yesterday and said if we're going to do anything, it's time to start stepping up and doing it. I think they were a little disappointed that we couldn't overcome adversity. There were a couple of things that happened early in the game. Our psyche might have been hurt by that. You can't allow that to happen."
On Ole Miss... "I think it will be a good game. They had a very fine game (in victory) against Memphis. Against Missouri they got behind and almost caught up. I thought BenJarvus Green-Ellis was fantastic in that game. He got over 200 yards with his longest run being 34 yards. You see people getting 200, 300 yard games but they probably had an 80-yarder and a 60-yarder, but his longest was 34. He was busting through them. They were hanging all over him and he kept running. He's a very good back. They got some huge offensive linemen who pave the way for him. I was also really impressed with Seth Adams. I think he's really been the big difference in their offense this year. He has a very fine arm and is a very confident young man. I think he's given their offense a big boost."
On the Ole Miss game last year... "It was a pretty frustrating game. I think they had 170 yards, and we had 400. We also had five turnovers. That's frustration with a capitol `F.'"
On Ole Miss left tackle Michael Oher... "He's pretty good. He's big and can move and has a nasty temperament. He's the kind of guy you like to have on the offensive line. They have a bunch of big guys that can move around. It was pretty impressive seeing some of the holes they were opening up against Missouri. I think Missouri was probably expecting pass in certain situations. They were running the ball on third downs and making first downs."
On Vanderbilt's run defense... "At times, good. We made some big plays behind the line of scrimmage. We had a third down and threw Alabama for a loss and threw them out of field goal range. I think in two games we've given up two offensive touchdowns. I know they scored one on a one yard run but that's on a punt return. We're battling. Our guys are playing hard on defense and playing pretty well."
On Curtis Gatewood and the rest of the defensive ends... "Curtis is doing great. Curtis is a very mobile defensive end. He's got a lot of strength. We're very proud of him. One time against Andre Smith (of Alabama), I thought he pressed him out and threw him to the side. Curtis doesn't let being a little bit small bother him. He's going to play hard. He makes plays. I think Broderick Stewart is going to be a good player for us. A couple of times he was able to run people down with his speed. Steven Stone had an excellent game. He's a very steady player."