Head Coach James Franklin and select players met with the media on Monday to discuss Vanderbilt's upcoming matchup with Georgia. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. CT on Saturday at Vanderbilt Stadium. Tickets are still available and can be purchased online or by calling (615) 322-GOLD (4653).
Opening Statement: "I'd like to start by asking all the fans, all the alumni, all the students on campus to come out and support us this week. We think it's going to be a great game, great environment. I've also now had the opportunity to see what a home field advantage can do in this league. We need the same type of support, that 12th member of our team which can be our fans can really be critical on third down, and especially with the opposing offenses trying to communicate and run their offense. I'd like to really be able to create a home field advantage for our players as well. About Georgia specifically, one thing that's always important for us week in and week out is our turnover battle. We're ranked number two in the SEC they're ranked number six. So that should be interesting to see how that plays out. This past week, us not getting turnovers was a little bit of difference in the game, we're not used to that. We've been spoiled by Coach Shoop and our defense, how they've been able to create turnovers the first couple of weeks, we want to get back to that because that's just how we want to play... Like most SEC defenses, Georgia's team runs extremely well. The interior of their defense is huge, averaging 321 pounds. That obviously makes a big impact on the interior of their defense... Offensive line is big and physical. The tight ends create some issues as well... We're excited about this opportunity, should be a great environment like we talked about. I see the team growing."
On the shakeup of the offensive line: I think it was a combination of both (the shakeup and the guys playing better). Alabama's got a big physical line so although they were able to get some pressure we were able still to get the ball out. Our game plan I think helped with that a little bit. Ryan Seymour came into my office a week ago and said very unselfishly, Coach, whatever we need to do, if you need to move me to guard, I'm more than willing to do whatever I need to do to help the team. So I think that was a good move for us, Wesley Johnson being able to go back to tackle, Logan Stewart being able to go to center.
On building on the offense and moving the ball: We moved the ball some against really a good defense, but we didn't get into the end zone. I think there's a fine line to that too, because you've really got to be able to show the positives and what we were able to do. We've just got to keep building. As we all know, this is a process and we wake up every single morning aggressively attacking what we're trying to get done. There were some really good signs on Saturday we've just got to do that consistently.
On which QB will start against Georgia: We're still going to determine that, from a practice perspective guys that are going to be able to practice and get reps and we'll go from there. But nothing has changed at this point from last game. Health always factors into every single position. We'll talk about injuries like we do each week on Wednesday and where we're at and whether that affected us or not.
On Jordan Rodgers: I thought Jordan played extremely well in the first half. I don't think he played nearly as well as he would have liked to play or as well as we would have liked him to play in the second half. It was two completely different halves.
On the gap between top-ranked schools: I think it's one thing to be a Top-25 team, and it's another to be in that top five. The gap between No. 30 and No. 20, I don't think is that significant, but that gap between No. 15 and No. 2 or 3 is dramatic. I think obviously in this conference, with having so many ranked teams and so many teams ranked so high, that definitely factors into it.
On who will fill the position of starting quarterback against Georgia: "From my perspective both quarterbacks do a good job, both of them are good leaders on and off the field and in practice they always compete. Larry's been our starting quarterback, but I don't know who's going to play this week. They both do a good job of leading the team and they both run the offense very well."
On playing in his first game since recovering from injury: "It's been great. It's really not what I look for in my senior year, getting hurt, but getting back on the field last week I didn't take it for granted like I usually have. I was really grateful to be out there and I played my butt off and it was really nice to be back."
On team confidence following two consecutive losses: "Both teams that we lost to are good teams, they're top 25 teams. Our confidence isn't hurt we put in too much work, too much time and we're too good to have our confidence hurt right now. It's not going to slow us down, we're not scared of anybody."
On playing at Vanderbilt following two road games: "It's great to be home. We definitely learned from our last two experiences at South Carolina and Alabama. It was a good learning experience for us and we're really excited to be back home. It's always good to come back home to play in front of the home crowd."
On the return of Logan Stewart to the offensive line: "He definitely brings a toughness and a different aggressiveness. He's real aggressive out there. He has experience from last year, so he brings a lot of experience to the center position."
On preparing for Georgia: "I haven't had much to watch on them, but I played a little bit against them last year but they're a good team and they're on a roll right now and hopefully we can stop that."
On the defensive readiness for Georgia: "Our pass coverage needs to improve a little from this past week, but we're not worried about that at all and I believe Coach Shoop, Coach Pry, and Coach McGriff will get us in check."