Reaction from Monday's press conference

Sept. 14, 2009

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Listen to Coach Johnson's Press Conference

Vanderbilt Head Coach Bobby Johnson
Press Conference - Miss. State Week

Opening statement:
"We are certainly disappointed that we didn't take advantage of a great opportunity to get a big win in Baton Rouge. I felt we had some opportunities there at the end of the game to maybe at least tie the game up or get closer. We didn't execute when it was time to get the job done. Hopefully we can correct that.

"It is doubly disappointed because we also had some real tough injuries in the game. James Williams, who has worked extremely hard to be a starter for us on the offensive line will be out the rest of the year with a dislocated ankle and will have surgery this week. Also it is really disappointing that Ryan Hamilton has torn a pectoral muscle near his arm and tore it away from the humorous bone so he will have surgery this week. He will be out the rest of the year.

"I just want to say that I think Ryan is an All-SEC safety and he had a great season for us last year. He started off this season with a great game against Western Carolina. Ryan actually played about a quarter-and-a-half with his muscle torn off his humerus bone so that tells you how tough he is. That's the deal with those two guys and I want to let them know that we are all thinking about them.

"The LSU game was a tough situation injury wise. There were other players that got banged up in that game so we were forced to move people around and I think it made a big difference in how we played but that's part of college football. Somebody has to step up for those guys."

On Ryan Hamilton possibly be trying for a sixth-year of eligibility:
"He could but there are all kinds of different cases that have or haven't been given in those circumstances. Some players have been awarded a sixth-year and some haven't. Usually I think they like to see two injuries, one that kept them out not just a redshirt year but another injury on top of that. We will probably make a petition for a sixth-year for him because I think we have a good case."

Who will replace fill in for Hamilton now that he is out for the year:
"We will have several different scenarios for different situations but Joel Caldwell will be one of the guys. Joel went in for Ryan when he got injured and he made a great play on an interception but the play was called off due to a holding call on us earlier in the play. Joel is a veteran and he will do a good job for us. There will be a good bit of reworking because of Ryan's injury."

On redshirt freshman Caleb Welchans as the team's new starting right tackle:
"Not necessarily. He went in and did a very good job for us when James got injured. We put him in a tough situation for a redshirt freshman. Our coaching staff will look at the whole situation and the casts that is available. Reilly Lauer and Kyle Fischer have played tackle so we will have to see what our best combinations are. When injuries happen you are sort of put on alert that everyone needs to be ready one way or another. Coach Caldwell always does a good job of teaching all the positions to everyone so I don't think this will be as big deal as the secondary situation."

On the dropped passes against LSU this past weekend. Did the rain have any part in that:
"I don't know. You never know what causes dropped passes. Most the time it's probably a lack of concentration. A lot of football games have been played in the rain and people have shown that they can catch the ball so were not going to look for excuses, we're just going to try to get better."

On Warren Norman not getting as many touches Saturday
"Zac Stacy was running the ball well and we got Kennard Reeves in the game and he ran it well and caught the ball coming out of the backfield. It just a matter of preparing in practice all week and taking advantage of the opportunities you are given and I thought Kennard and Zac played extremely well. We just went with the two guys that were performing well that game."

Looking at Mississippi State are you impressed by their depth in the backfield:
"They have tremendous depth in their backfield. Dixon killed us last year and he is a real good runner. Tyson Lee also had a good game against us last year by keeping us off balance with some runs. (Quarterback) Chris Relf is one of their leading rushers this year and he is a good looking athlete. He has been a nice fit in their new offense. When we played them last year, their defense really shut us down in Starkville. I haven't checked to see who is starting but it looks like they are a veteran group on defense and return a lot of starters from last year's team. We have to figure out how to move the ball on their defense."

Talk about your team's run defense:
"I thought we have played pretty good against the run through our first two games. Our defense forced four three-and-outs series at LSU in the second half so if we can play that well on defense every week, we'll be okay."

Do you go back and look at Florida's offense last year when (MSU Coach Dan) Mullen was calling their offense:
"Well we have our film from the Florida game last year. We will look at that but we haven't gotten film from other people. We have their two games from this year but I think Coach Mullen is a good enough coach that he is going to work around getting his system to fit his personal. So far it seems to me that he has been doing that. He is getting the ball into the hands of his playmakers. Mississippi State has big and tall receivers and good running backs so I am sure he will try to get the ball into the hands of their playmakers, just like he did at Florida."

Are you surprised of how good Zac Stacy has been through the first two games:
"Not surprised at all. We thought he was an extremely good player when recruited him in high school. He was one of the leading rushers in the state of Alabama last year and he is a compact and strong runner. He is one of those guys that has a nack for making great cuts at the right time. At the same time, he is physical enough that he can take the pounding and break tackles. He catches the ball well out of the backfield as well so we expected him to be good when we recruited him."



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