Sept. 23, 2013
Franklin Press Conference | Players | Notes & Depth Charts | Gameday Central | Buy Tickets
Monday Musings: Changing Expectations
Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin, offensive lineman Joe Townsend, quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels and defensive lineman Kyle Woestmann met with the media Monday to discuss the Commodores' next game against UAB. Saturday's contest will be televised on FSN at 6:30 p.m. CT.
Head Coach James Franklin
"We'll do a review like we do each week of the UMass game. Turnovers are still an area we're going to have to improve. Opening the game with an interception to start the game is not what we would prefer. Then the fumble down in the red zone - those were two big plays in the game. We're going to have to improve in that area. That is something that is very, very important that we believe in strongly. Then penalties, we did have five penalties in that game. UMass had four. Those penalties came at tough times. We had one play that negated a 65-yard completion and we had another that took off an interception from our defense. So we have to make sure we do a good job there.
"Explosive plays. We had seven explosive plays on offense. Our goal is to have eight. We came up a little bit short there. Defensively, we allowed one. Our goal is three or less per game so we met our goal there. That was something we probably discussed a lot after the game and spent a lot time looking back at. Our defense is probably playing very similar to how it has the two previous years. We've kind of had a bend but don't break mentality in the past. We've done a great job of getting out of the red zone and holding people to field goals.
"What we've been able to do in the past that hasn't happened as much at this point so far this year is the big plays, the big momentum turning plays. The interception returns for touchdowns, the fumbles, things like that. The big sacks, guys getting into field goal range and then we'll have multiple sacks that knock guys out of field goal range. If you really look at defensively, that is the are we are going to need to improve.
"Overall, we're 1-0. The positive is that the expectations have changed. People are not just happy with wins anymore. They have to be wins in a convincing matter or a certain style of game. I will take as many as what people call `ugly wins' as we can get. If there is a way to possibly get 15 ugly wins this year I would love it. I don't know if that is possible but I'd love them.
"Special teams, `We-fense'... I think Carey Spear is kicking the ball extremely well on his kickoffs for touchbacks. Then, Taylor Hudson, I don't know if you can draw up a better punt - 52 yards, out of bounds on the 3-yard line. He's doing extremely well. I'm very proud of him. We all spoke at the end of last year about Richard Kent and replacing him. I think Richard averaged 44 yards last year and Taylor is averaging 45 yards. So I think that is positive. Darius Sims continues to show up and make plays on special teams in a lot of phases in the game. Casey Hughes is another guy we're pleased with us."
On playing UAB:
"I think this is a good game for both schools that makes sense from a regional perspective. I got a lot of respect for Derek McGee. I've known Derek for a long time. I think he does a really good job since he was at Northwestern, since he was at Arkansas with coach Petrino. I think he does a good job."
On trying to eliminate turnovers while also not over-emphasizing it to players:
"It is like anything else, we are going to address it, we're going to discuss it. We're going to empathize like we do in practice every single day. They understand the importance of it. We talk about it all the time. On defense, stop the big plays. On offense, create explosive plays. Winning the turnover battle and being a disciplined team when it comes to penalties. Those are the three big ones we talk about each week. They understand it and we're going to keep empathizing it like we have in the past. No more. No less."
On Andrew Jelks starting at right tackle:
"I'm pleased with how Jelks played. He has been a guy who has been playing a good amount in certain personnel packages from the beginning of the year. He is a guy we were excited about when he committed to us when he was a recruit. He has gotten bigger and stronger and more athletic since he's been here. I thought he played pretty well. There are still some areas we have to clean up. But I thought for his first start he played pretty well."
On what it says about a team when it wins even when it doesn't play its best:
"I think that is a positive. We've talked about that in the past. There were a lot of things factor in that. You're going on the road in a completely different environment than we were the week before. We did not play as well as we'd like. But when you go back and study the tape there were a lot of areas of improvement. The more times you can come out with a win whether you played exactly the way you wanted to or you got some areas to improve but you find the way win that's all that matters."
On if he is happy with the win but not happy with the way the team played:
"I'd like us to play cleaner. But I'm going to answer that the same way after what people would consider a great win. We're going to go back and watch the tape and say there are areas we have to improve. I don't think there is any doubt about that. But each week I'm going to come in here and tell the truth to my team and tell the truth to (the media). I think there are areas we did get better last week. I just think you'd like for it to have a little faster pace."
On if his jaw drops on the touchdown by Jordan Matthews:
"No. He really has the mentality. I wouldn't say you draw every play up designed to go 80 yards and score touchdowns but he has the mentality. You guys have been out to practice - every time he touches the ball he goes for 80 yards. That's his mentality. At certain points here in his career he probably drove people crazy with that mentality at practice. But for the same reason he is a good player is the same reason he drives you crazy some times because he is so competitive and he is so driven. I wouldn't want to lose that because I think that swagger is good for our team."
On Jonathan Krause's first 100-yard receiving game Saturday:
"Jonathan Krause is a perfect example of what I want all our players to learn from. Here is a guy who kept his head down, kept working, kept grinding, stayed positive, is doing great in school. He sent out a Tweet, `Just keep working hard and good things happen.' Look at Zac Stacy. Zac Stacy backed up Warren Norman for two years when he had to pay his time. Andre Hal talked about that for our `Senior Shares.' You have to be ready for when your time is called to make an impact. That is something we all have to learn - patience. We ask these kids to invest so much in the program and themselves. That's hard. That's a hard thing to understand. But I think Krause is a perfect example of that. He is a guy who has worked really hard and has kept a great attitude. When his number was called he was ready to step up and he has done that. He did that last year as a punt returner. Now he is doing it this year as a receiver. We'd like him to have a bigger impact on special teams as well."
On young linebackers stepping up:
"I've been pleased with the guys that have gotten in and what they've done. There is no doubt we are playing some guys that don't have as much experience and we got a lot of moving parts in there right now. This past week I thought Darreon Herring played really well. I thought he did some nice things. I thought Jake Sealand took a real step in a positive direction. I thought Larry Franklin did some nice things. Those three guys aren't necessarily names - maybe Darreon Herring is - we went into the season talking about in terms of starters. But very, very pleased with the progress they're making. The fact we're running to the ball better and some guys with more starts under their belt that will continue to develop over time. I thought Kellen did some nice things. Kellen Williams is coming along and doing some nice things. Casey Hughes is another guy. We just got to keep growing and get those guys experience and put them in a position to be successful."