Media Monday with Caldwell

Oct. 25, 2010

More News: Kitchings to assume play-calling duties

Football head coach Robbie Caldwell met with the media Monday to discuss the Commodores' upcoming matchup with Arkansas. Video: Caldwell

Robbie Caldwell Press Conference Quotes

Opening Statement:
"After watching the tape, I'm very excited with what our team did in a lot of areas Saturday night. Defensively, we played a great game and played hard and I was proud of them. Offensively, we played pretty good in the first half but couldn't do anything in the second half so that was disappointing. Special teams did a great job in all aspects of it. Our punter [Richard Kent] was outstanding other than the snafu at the beginning. I'm sure you liked the fake punt. It was supposed to be called off but that's my responsibility. Word got to 10 [players] but it didn't get to 11 and that's how distracting things can be if you are not careful. That's about the Georgia game in a nutshell.

"As far as getting read for Arkansas, I sat down and evaluated where we are, what we want to accomplish, where we are headed, consulted with our coaches and staff and I came to the decision to make Des Kitchings our offensive coordinator, so Jimmy Kiser can concentrate on making our quarterbacks the best they can be. Why Des Kitchings? Des is a great coach, who is a student of the game. He loves the game, has a great deal of experience and has paid his dues here. In 35 years, or however long I've coached, I've never seen someone take to it as quickly as he has. Of course, he cut his teeth a Furman playing for coach [Bobby] Johnson so our system is ingrained in him. He is excited and our staff is excited. I think our players will be refreshed and ready to play for him.

"From that point we'll move on to Arkansas. We are excited about the challenge here. They are another typical SEC team. By that I mean they have a great defensive front, big stout guys. They bring stunts and man pressure. They have man coverage and do multiple things. Offensively, they have a gunslinger in [Ryan] Mallett. He's fantastic. He's probably thrown for 10,000 yards. At least it looks like it when you turn on the tape. It's going to be a tremendous challenge for us. We have to go to their house and play, and we are excited about that. We had a great practice yesterday. Today is lab day so we'll be out there tomorrow and ready to go."

On how much consideration went into promoting Herb Hand:
"There was a great deal of consideration, but Herb has his own coordinating to do with that crowd he has up there [offensive line]. Every guy in our room has been a coordinator and been a very good one, if you check the records, at points in their career. It's been a careful thought out plan by all of us. The thing that impresses me more than anything is how coach [Jimmy] Kiser feels about it. He's been a champion about it and he's ready to go. Vanderbilt is very lucky to have him here and I'm proud to have him on our staff."

On his goal:
"My only goal is to make Vanderbilt better. That's my sole purpose: to make Vanderbilt better. From the community, to the players, to the team winning, to the campus. Everyway, that's my goal."

On Kiser focusing on the quarterbacks:
"We need to refresh too. We have to get more productivity out of every position. It's like Saturday night, Larry [Smith] played about as good as you can during the first half. We don't have playmakers offensively and the closest thing we have to it is our running backs and we have to find more ways to get them the ball. Obviously, they can take that away from us. They can load the box and if you can't throw it, there will be problems. We have to do different things and look at different things. I'm not going to tell you what were going to do offensively. You'll notice a different approach. There are some things that I want to get going and coach [Des] Kitchings understands that."

On making a coaching change in the middle of the season:
"For a lot of people it can be very difficult, but for the men we have here at Vanderbilt and the kind of coaches we have, I don't think it will be very difficult at all. Everybody is on board with it and excited about it. We started Sunday morning, actually Saturday night, working on it. I'm happy to work with a bunch of men that are dedicated to this university and want what's best for it. They spent a long time here and they had the opportunity to leave when the circumstances were pretty good but we chose to stay here because we are proud of the university and proud of what it stands for, and we want to make this program better."

On Adam Smotherman and T.J. Greenstone:
"T.J. [Greenstone] is like a youngin with a new toy at Christmas. He hasn't played in so long. His ankle didn't blow up. Adam [Smotherman] was sore yesterday, obviously, but he was ready to go. The defense got a swagger back. I don't think anyone has held South Carolina to 21 points yet, have they? They did extremely well. I wouldn't have changed anything we did there. We actually blew a coverage and they got one score. We were in a bit of disarray right before the half for different reasons."

On Joey Bailey's health:
"He's not doing well. He didn't respond well. He's not strong right now pushing off. I'll tell you, Logan Stewart, I'm proud of him. He didn't snap the ball a couple of times on the snap count but I can understand that, playing against his home state. He was all excited and ready to go, but he did very well otherwise. He did some things that surpassed Joey [Bailey] in some areas."

On keeping the defensive intensity up against Ryan Mallett:
"We hope they continue to have good practices. I think that was a big key last week, we had a great practice. Of course, we thought we did against Georgia. You just never know. It's a crazy game and the ball bounces funny. We haven't got the turnovers we hope to create and that's a goal the defense is going after. Even though we got an interception and blocked the field goal, they want more and that's what's making them hungry. It's been a great challenge and been a great team unifier. I think if we can help them on the offensive side and give them a little more rest we can play even better."

On the previous Arkansas game:
"I remember looking up at the scoreboard with yardage on it. They had about 200 yards in the first quarter and we had about 10 or 15. All of a sudden we started lighting them up. Jay Cutler caught on fire and we had a guy make some catches. Didn't we have a guy named Earl Bennett? He caught a few. All of a sudden we hit it big and jumped on Larry [Leathers, assistant communications director] and tore his knee up with excitement. He's willing to stick his knee out this time."

On Arkansas running back Knile Davis:
"To us, it doesn't matter. I'm more looking at numbers than names and we have to stop the run. That's always our objective. If we can force them to throw on our terms than maybe we can help slow him down a little bit. It's hard to stop the run and get pressure and stop the pass. They are a well-balanced team, even though they have a lot of throwing statistics. They have good linemen on both sides of the ball. If we had [South Carolina receiver] Alshon Jeffery he would be our offensive lineman. He's bigger than three of our offensive linemen."

On if facing Stephen Garcia prepares the team for Ryan Mallett:
"I think so. He's another one. We were hoping that he [Stephen Garcia] would have one of his bad days. Our approach to it was to give him the underneath stuff and he was 31 of 39. We actually did very well and was proud of coach [Jamie] Bryant and the staff because after last week. Our team responded and John Stokes had his best game. I think he's the only one who could sew his own nose up after the game, being a doctor and all. He was disappointed that we lost but excited about being physical on Saturday night."

On playing on the road after the coaching changes:
"When I made the announcement to the team, they were wonderful about it and just nodded their head. We talk about accountability and that goes for everyone. Not just coaches, players too. We try and hold them to that and that's what we talk about as a staff. Everyone's on board with it and excited about it. I guarantee Jimmy Kiser will coach harder than he has before. We are fortunate to have those kinds of people."

On the team focusing on the run now that Des Kitchings is the coordinator:
"We've talked about that. The run game is the strongest we have and Des is the run coordinator. Obviously it puts him at the head of the line there. He was a receiver and played receiver in the NFL. He's very solid in the passing game. He has a good approach to it. As we talked about earlier, we have to stay simple. We simplified down and made improvement. We added more and we do that because their cannons are a little bigger than ours and we sometimes need a little more gunpowder. It doesn't necessarily hold true. We are trying to do a few things and do them good. We're excited. We need to get the running backs the ball. They did some things to take that away from us. One carry in the second half makes it hard. We had a major penalty that set us back. Things get out of sync. We are a fragile bunch offensively. We have to string some plays together."



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