Vanderbilt Head Coach Bobby Johnson Press Conference - Ole Miss Week
"We're obviously very pleased to get a win over Rice Saturday. The whole game didn't go exactly like we wanted, but anytime you go on the road and play somebody that has a winning record the last couple of years and is used to winning at home, it felt good to get a win.
"There were times that we should have taken control of the game much sooner. We will try to look at that and get better in that area. We need to limit our mental errors that are keeping us from doing our best.
"The Rice game was pretty costly injury wise. John Cole broke his hand, Sean Richardson tore a tendon in his thumb and T.J. Greenstone is banged up with a sore knee. John and Sean had operations yesterday to repair their injuries, and we'll have to wait and see (on their status). Just like any other team out there right now, we are
dealing with injuries so our depth will be challenged.
"As coaches we will mix and match in places the best we can and we feel we have done a good job of that already. Brent Trice was playing a couple of different positions the other night as he played safety very well after playing at linebacker most of the year. We played some freshmen in the secondary and Eddie Foster came up with a big interception that helped turn things around for us. So when players go down with an injury, somebody else has to step up."
How long are John Cole and Sean Richardson out? "We don't know yet. Hopefully there is a chance Sean can play Saturday against Ole Miss. He would obviously be in a cast and padded up but it's asking a lot to handle the pain anytime you have surgery on a Sunday and then play the following Saturday. We are hoping John will come back fairly quickly from his injury but he is doubtful for this weekend. It's asking a lot of a wide receiver to play with a broken hand so we will wait to hear from the medical staff. I am not sure what exact play John was injured on but he showed some toughness because he played the rest of the game with a broken hand. Sean hurt his thumb when he made a great tackle that saved a touchdown."
On the performance of tailback Jared Hawkins against Rice: "I thought Jared ran well and we were glad to have him back. He looked fresh and ready to go. He looked hungry to make some good runs and I thought he did that. It's great to have a tailback with experience out on the field like Jared has.
"Jared gives us experience in every situation, for example running the ball and protecting the passer. He performed very well for us last year so it's good to have him back."
Talk a little about what you see with Ole Miss: "First, they're very well coached by Houston Nutt. He always does a great job of getting his team prepared and he's a very imaginative coach that forces you to prepare for a lot of things you might see.
"(Jevan) Snead is a tremendous player. He does a lot of great things for them from the quarterback position, and I think (Dexter) McCluster can hurt you in multiple ways. It seems like he's been there a lot of years, but he's an exciting player who has the ability to make a lot of big plays. They're extremely athletic on defense, very physical up front and get to the ball just like you'd expect from a Houston Nutt squad."
On trying to get in the ball in the end zone more instead of settling for short field goals: "It was more than just those drives. We had several opportunities to hit open receivers, make more plays and block the right people to keep a drive alive. We were given several short fields to work because of a stop by our defense, so we have learn to execute better on the offensive end, especially when we are playing someone like Ole Miss."