Franklin Presser | Player Interviews | Game Notes & Depth Charts | Monday Musings
Head Coach James Franklin and select players met with the media on Monday to discuss Vanderbilt's upcoming matchup with Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Kickoff is scheduled for Saturday at 6 p.m. CT on ESPNU.
Vanderbilt Head Coach James Franklin
"Interceptions right now, we're leading the country in interceptions on the defensive side of the ball. I also think that Casey Hayward is leading the country in interceptions and I think that Trey Wilson is fourth in the country with interceptions, so we're doing a really good job. Chris Marve got his first interception of his career, really positive things from [the South Carolina game]. Talking about Alabama and Coach Saban, obviously tremendous respect for Coach Saban and their program and what they've been able to do there and what they've been able to build, impressive watching them on tape. Right now the turnover battle is very important, obviously, we're ranked No. 2 in the SEC in turnover margin. Alabama's ranked No. 6. We need to make sure that's a real positive in the game. Our focus this week is obviously creating turnovers and making sure we don't have any turnovers on offense, which is an area we can improve. Winning the penalty battle, not only are they a big, physical, fast and talented team, they're very disciplined. You're talking about a team that's played in a bunch of big games, so they don't make a whole lot of what I'd call `nervous mistakes.' Defensively they're a 4-3 team, they play multiple coverages. Collectively, this is the best unit I've seen since I've been coaching in college football. They're as big as any defense I've ever seen, that's all the way from the corners and the defensive line. On offense they run a multiple pro offense, they've got seven returning starters. I think by far the best tandem of running backs I've ever seen. I think Trent Richardson is really good. I think it's going to be the best offensive line we've seen all year. Special teams, we're going to have to do a great job, I think I've been saying that each week. We've been playing solid, we've been doing a great job on our coverage units, that's going to have to continue, and we're going to have to continue to find ways to make some plays. We did some things over the bye week and we're going to do some things this week to be creative to give ourselves some more opportunities there."
On if he watched Alabama's game against Florida:
"Yeah I kind of just hung out with the family, sat on the couch, and watched the game. I probably watched 12-15 games, kind of flicking back and forth through the channels. I think that game came on at eight so I had a chance to watch it."
On the need for offensive points and defensive points:
"We've got to get all the points we can. Defense, special teams and offense. I think all three phases have a tremendous challenge. Not only do we need to find ways to create points, but I think the other thing that's really a focus for us this week is eliminating the negative plays."
On defensive impact of loss of Tristan Strong:
"We're going to plug Archibald Barnes in, and he's been playing well all year. That's one of the things, even going into the season, a lot of people talk about returning starters. The two positions where returning starters really matter are offensive line and starting quarterback. Defensive linemen, they're two deep and they're rotating in and they've played a lot anyway, even if they weren't the starter. Archie's played a lot of football. We felt good about it. It was kind of a coin toss at the end of camp on who would start between those two. We thought Tristan was doing extremely well. The problem that it continues to create is depth issues. We're going to have to be prepared to play more nickel just to keep him fresh, and we're going to have to be ready for the future if we have another injury."
On the timing of the bye week:
"It came at a good time but I don't like or handle losses too well, and the quicker you can get that taste out of your mouth and move onto the next challenge, you guys know me, I constantly talk about our next opponent is the only thing on our mind and we focus on that, but when you don't have that opponent it's hard. So our opponent this past week, we had two of them, and that was Vanderbilt, becoming the best football team we possibly could, and recruiting, to go out and chase. But there's no doubt you'd love to go into a bye week after a win and have time to kind of focus on that rather than the negatives."
Vanderbilt Player Quotes
Trey Wilson, Junior Defensive Back
On leading the SEC in interceptions:
"Our goal every week is just to go out and do our best to create turnovers. The defensive line and Coach Spencer are doing a great job of getting pressure on the quarterback and executing in the backfield. We all want to see that number, but at the same time we can't focus on numbers. We just have to go out there and do our job and execute the game plan the coaches put out there for us."
On the key to beating Alabama:
"Execute the game plan, be disciplined in our fundamentals, and when we get our chance to make plays, we have to make plays. We can't leave the ball out there on the ground and say I wish I had made that play; I could have got that one. We just have to leave it all out there on the field and at the end of the day we'll get the results we want."
On Alabama Running Back, Trent Richardson:
"He's a load; I want to say he's 5'9" or 5'10", 220 [pounds]. He's a real solid back, he bounces off first contact, you can't arm tackle him there's no way I haven't seen it done yet. We just have to be sure to get a hat on him, wrap up when we get our chances, execute and take advantage of any mistakes the offensive line or that he might make. We just have to go out there and do our job."
Walker May, Redshirt Sophomore Defensive End
On playing at Alabama:
"It's just another SEC road game. It'll be loud, physical game up front and it'll be fun when we play them. Every SEC opponent, all the stadiums are going to be just as big and just as loud so it's not like we're expecting anything different or anything more from Alabama."
On the team's game plan against Alabama:
"They're a very good team and we just have to play our game. We're going to come out and do our thing on defense and offense."
Wesley Johnson, Redshirt Sophomore Offensive Tackle
On having a bye week:
"It was nice. We reviewed the South Carolina game and also went back to look at all the games and stuff we were doing well and weren't doing well and regroup a little bit."
On what the offensive line needs to improve on going into the Alabama game:
"Just really executing. We weren't on the same page at South Carolina, we were just making stupid mistakes so that's really what we have to focus on and get back to basics."