Vanderbilt Head Coach Bobby Johnson Transcript of Weekly Press Conference Monday, Oct. 1, 2007, on campus in Nashville
Head Coach Johnson's opening remarks... "We were very pleased to get a win against Eastern Michigan. We had some good things going on in that game and some not so good things. It was good to win when you don't do everything right. We're excited about our opportunity this week to go down to Auburn and play an important football game."
On the defensive play against Eastern Michigan... "I was very impressed. I was thrilled. They play with a lot of enthusiasm and energy. They made some things happen. Five interceptions is obviously making things happen. They also got a fumble recovery. We were just extremely aggressive and took some things away from Eastern Michigan, against both the pass and the run. We had a big fourth down play that helped us. (The coaching staff) had a hard time picking a defensive player of the game so we named the whole defense as the defensive player of the game. It was a good group effort."
On Vanderbilt playing its first road game of the season... "Auburn played an excellent game against Florida. They did it on the road, so no reason why we can't do it on the road. Our guys have really enjoyed playing on the road the last few years. It's a great atmosphere. They'll have 88,000 screaming people and that gets you fired up. It's fun to play in those kinds of situations. So far, we haven't let it bother us. I don't think noise has been a problem. We're going to look at it as all positives if we can. Working out the details of making a trip is probably the hardest thing. The players will just get on the plane and then get on the bus and play."
On Chris Nickson's play against Eastern Michigan... "I think Eastern Michigan did a fine job on defense. They were doing a lot of moving around. His first interception was just a good play on the part of a defensive lineman. They had a guy who acted like he was going to rush and then dropped off and stepped right in the throwing lane and made a good play. There's probably either a lack of judgment or bad judgment on our part. We'll just try to get better and make the right decisions next time and see if we can get things better offensively. We're not panicking now. We did some good things there too."
On Auburn's improvement after the Mississippi State game... "I haven't seen the Mississippi State game in total yet. We're watching cut ups right now. I haven't watched whole games. I guess they're just much more efficient in what they were doing. They didn't turn the ball over as much I'm sure."
On Bryant Hahnfeldt's 45-yard field goal against Eastern Michigan... "It was good to see Bryant knock that next one through. It was an important three points. We were up 10-0. It was an important three points going into halftime. It was a big help."
On the parity in the Southeastern Conference... "It's as close as I've seen it. I've only been here six years. I think the situation now is definitely different than when we first got in here. More teams have the capability to hang in there with the perennial powers in this league. It makes for some interesting games. It makes for some interesting scenarios for later in the season. It's a lot of fun. I hope we can get in there and be a part of it."
On improvements on the defensive side of the ball... "We have a pretty veteran group. We are faster than we've ever been. We have some guys that have played a bunch of plays. Theo (Horrocks) inside and Gabe Hall inside has played a bunch of plays. Curtis Gatewood at defensive end has played a bunch. Broderick Stewart gets better and better. Steven Stone gets better and better at defensive end. We have two veteran linebackers in Marcus Buggs and Jon Goff. I think we have a very talented third linebacker in Brandon Bryant. With Patrick Benoist back, we feel good about the fourth linebacker. We have two solid safeties. We have a playmaker at corner and a real steady corner. Experience, speed and athletic ability have all gone up when compared to previous years."
On having Patrick Benoist back in the lineup... "Patrick was in there. He didn't get a lot of action, but it was good to have him back. Patrick is a very dependable player, technique wise. He's very particular in how he does things. He does it just like he's coached to do. It's good to have those kind of guys available. He also has the ability to play multiple positions if needed."