Johnson's Monday press conference

Oct. 26, 2009

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Listen to Coach Johnson's Press Conference

Vanderbilt Head Coach Bobby Johnson
Press Conference - Georgia Tech Week

Opening statement:
"The reality to everything is that we've got to get back to work. We've got a tough game against Georgia Tech this week. They bring a fairly unique team into Nashville and they are playing extremely well right now. It will be a challenge for both our offense and defense to step up and give us a chance to win. To do that, we will obviously have to stop a high-powered offense. I don't think I've seen as many big plays by an offense in a year that I've seen from them. It's been very impressive. Offensively, we've got to control the ball and keep it away from them.

"I feel better about some things. I think we competed. That was the best thing that happened Saturday night. I think our guys fought hard and played to win. If we can continue to do that, I think we'll get better at the little things and help us win."

On replay's going against the Commodores:
"The fumble is hard to tell, but it was ruled a fumble, and if you have to have conclusive evidence, I don't think it was there. The touchdown was even clearer in my opinion. In my opinion, his foot was clearly on the line after he bobbled the ball. He had possession and his left foot was in the air and his right foot came down on the line. I don't know what kind of evidence you need to overrule, but to me that was fairly clear. I had more texts on my cell phone after the game than I've ever had. I'd like to find out why (the call was made). I haven't been in contact with Rogers Redding (SEC Coordinator of Officials) yet today (Monday), but I'm going to give him a call and I'd like to find out what the discussion was up in the booth about that."

On if he'd like to see more of an NFL setup where the officials on the field get a look at replays:
"I think we've got a great system. We just have to use it correctly. We review every play and we do it quickly. If they need more time, they ask for it, and that was the case right there. I don't think it was a matter of being rushed. I'm at a loss to tell you why it wasn't overturned."

On how much the calls affected the game:
"We can't depend on that to happen all the time. We've got to make the plays and try to make sure that we aren't in those types of situations where they are trying to call touchdowns against us. We had opportunities to win the game besides that, but those were two big plays, and I'd like to be on the receiving end of one of those sometime."

On if the officiating in the league as of late is hurting the conference's perception:
"People will talk about it, but I don't think it is hurting the conference. I think the product is too good. The product is the players. They get out and do wonderful things. They play hard, they represent their schools, and I don't think anyone is looking at the refereeing and saying the SEC is a second-rate conference because of the officiating, and I don't think that is the truth either. Everybody looks at the quality of the product on the field, and I don't think we are going to let that bother us."

On Georgia Tech's running attack:
"What they do a great job of is letting you decide who is going to run the football. If we are going to try to take somebody away the quarterback will keep it or they will pitch it. If you get too many up there to do that, they will throw it. They do a great job of reading the defense and deciding who is going to get the ball on a particular play. Because it is a balanced set, they have an opportunity to spread the defense out and make you play the entire field. They do a great job with their scheme and they execute it extremely well."

On how you combat Georgia Tech's running attack:
"You've got to play the whole system and that is the thing about it. It is hard to get your guys ready in a week to play their whole system that they practice from spring practice on and play in every game. The challenge is to be as simple as possible, but have enough weapons to take away some of the best things that they do. In doing that, sometimes because your guys aren't familiar with it, you compromise your defense somewhere else. That is what Paul Johnson (Georgia Tech head coach) does a great job of. He sees that and he'll know exactly what to do to come back and hurt you if you are overplaying somebody or you've got a weak spot that you don't realize because you don't face that type of offense often."

On injuries after the South Carolina game:
"We had a bunch of bumps and bruises, minor sprains and strains. Hopefully no one got any worse after the game, but we will work some of the injured out this afternoon and see how they are doing. I'll be able to give you a better report tomorrow. Nobody was injured to the point that they would miss the next game."

On the status of running back Zac Stacy:
"Warren (Norman) was running well and we had Jared (Hawkins) back in there. Zac has not had the amount of practice that those two had last week, and we thought that was good enough."

On defensive end Steven Stone:
"Steven Stone did fairly well. He's still not 100 percent, but just to have him on the field and back in the huddle is a benefit on its own. He'll get better every week, and he's a good player and a good leader. It is great to have him back."

On the key to stopping a team coached by Paul Johnson:
"There is no key. If there were a key, someone would have it. Nobody has figured it out and there is no way to figure it out. It is a balanced set. You've got to have your defense evenly distributed and it ends up with a lot of one-on-one confrontations. If they are running the ball, you are going to have to beat a block and make the tackle. If they are passing the ball, you are going to probably be covering man-to-man because not a lot of people are going to get in zones because they run the option so well, they will run the option on third and 10 and make a first down. You just have to be a sound as you can and, in my opinion, as simple as you can, and still cover what they are doing."

On being familiar with Paul Johnson's coaching style dating back to the Southern Conference:
"I have a pretty good knowledge of what he does, but for me to get that over to our players is the trick. (Assistant coach) Bruce Fowler has been working against that offense for years and years, but there are all kinds of things that we could dream up, but you can't get them taught that quickly. We are going to basically have two days of practice and then Thursday is a non-contact day. You need full-speed football all week, but you can't do that. We are down to nubs as far as injuries, and we just have to work with what we have to work with."

On how quarterback Larry Smith performed in the team's final drive:
"Some good and some bad, but not good enough. He had some open receivers that he hit. He was getting pressured some. It wasn't all Larry (Smith) not doing the right thing. We can certainly be better. We had our chances. We got it down to the 24-yard line and when you get it down there, it gets constricted a little bit to throw the ball. The key thing is that we should have scored when we had it second and goal at the five-yard line. We should have kicked a field goal when it was 27 yards, and then we would have been trying a field goal from the 25-yard line at worst. All that sets up the dire situation we were in at the end."

On deciding on redshirting players this late into the season:
"There are only a few situations like that. Most of the redshirts that we have already decided on are not really close to playing. There will be a few that we have to agonize over and decide, but as long as you have your top guys being able to play, injuries are going to be the key thing. We are holding up pretty well right now even though people like (offensive tackle) Thomas Welch had to play hurt, (safety) Sean Richardson has been playing hurt and (center) Bradley Vierling played hurt last week. It is going to be that way until the end of the season."

On if there is a set date for determining redshirts:
"Some of them you can decide in preseason camp and some of them are later decisions. I don't think there is a magic date that we look at and say. It is all different circumstances for each player and each position. We just do it as we come to it."

On running back/return Warren Norman's return ability:
"Warren has a pretty good knack for being able to make a pretty good cut at almost full speed. When he does that, he goes north and south. He saw an opening in there and we got a good block from DeAndre Jones at the point of attack. He cut off that block and didn't slow down after that. In this league, if you get in there on a kick return and start trying to make moves, there are just too many fast players and they are going to nail you. The best thing you can do is zip right on through and pass them as they are going down to cover you. He is fast enough to outrun them all and that is how you score."



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