Johnson's Monday press conference

Nov. 2, 2009

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Listen to Coach Johnson's Press Conference

Vanderbilt Head Coach Bobby Johnson
Press Conference - Florida Week

Opening statement:
"Obviously things don't get any easier playing the No. 1 team in the nation (Florida) this week. We are a little banged up so we have to get back on the practice field and see who is available to play, and get ready to go down to Gainesville and give our very best effort. I'm really sure that our players will do that. They will practice well this week and play as hard as they possibly can on Saturday. We are looking forward to the opportunity to play such a great team."

On the results from quarterback Larry Smith's MRI:
"(Larry Smith) has some tearing in his hamstring, so I don't expect to see Larry back this year playing for us. The best prognosis that I've heard is four to six weeks, and we've had guys who've tweaked hamstrings and have not come back in four weeks, so this is a pretty significant injury."

On how much it helps that quarterback Mackenzi Adams got significant time Saturday:
"Mackenzi (Adams) has a lot of experience here, but still, you have to get in there and experience it again. I think that was great preparation for him. I think he did extremely well for not getting a lot of reps in practice and then having hardly any reps in games this year. He went in and did some very good things. We expect him to meet the challenge and play well this week."

On if the offense changes with Mackenzi Adams in the game:
"No, not a lot. I don't think the offense will be totally different or any different really. We will still have the same throws. Mackenzi can run the ball. He's done that his whole career and he's been tough enough to play in those kind of games where you get banged up a little bit and you go back in there. We'll take Jared Funk off of some special teams that he is on right now because we can't afford to get him hurt on special teams. He's going to have to be available and that will be a different situation for him. He's going to have to be completely in the game. When Larry (Smith) went out of the game the other night, quarterbacks coach (Jimmy) Kiser did a good job of calming Jared down and saying `you're one play away from going in, so make sure you are watching the game and you are completely in it, and know what you are calling and what we are trying to achieve.' That will be a new role for him also."

On how Larry Smith was playing before the injury:
"He was having a great game before he got hurt and led us to a touchdown. The long run he got hurt on, I think he was trying to slow down. When the guy was running him out of bounds, he was trying to come to a stop and his leg just looked like it buckled a little bit, and that was it."

On Mackenzi Adams having more of a laidback demeanor in the huddle:
"I like for (quarterbacks) to get up to the line and execute. How they call the play and their personalities, everyone is going to be a little different, so the end affect is what I'm interested in."

On the makeup of freshman running backs Zac Stacy and Warren Norman:
"They've got talent and they expect to do well. I think they are really having fun as freshmen having an opportunity to come in adn contribute to our offensive effort. I think we've done a good job of getting them the ball. Let's not be scared to do it. Let's give it to them and let them go with it. We had some good blocking on those plays that they ran well. On Zac's long play, Brandon Barden had a huge block on a blitzing linebacker right there at the point of attack and Zac did the rest -- made the safety miss him -- and he was gone. Again, they have talent and they like to play. They practice well and they are prepared."

On how Mackenzi Adams prepares himself for games:
"Mackenzi always prepares hard. He works hard at practice and is ready to go in at any time. That's the situation that Jared Funk is going to be in now. It's a whole different ball game. You just can't assume that you are going to be over there giving signals all day. You have to be ready when you are called and (Mackenzi) always has been. Mackenzi is really smart. He knows our offense and it won't take him long to get up to speed. To me, he was up to speed as soon as he went in. He hit some good passes and we had some drops again. We expect him to go in there and get right to it."

On if Larry Smith will be with the team this weekend:
"You are not allowed to take but 70 players on the road, so we'll have to see how many we are dressing out. Even if he's not dressing, you can't take him because he counts as one of the 70 if you take him. We will just have to see about that."

On facing Tim Tebow for a final time:
"He's pretty good. The first time we played against him, he was a backup and I was saying `I don't know about this guy, he just looks like a fullback to me.' After that, he just kept doing great thing after great thing. Last year he was just lights out against us and everybody else, of course. It is fun to play against the best. You get out there and see how those guys go about their job and have fun playing, but are serious about getting the job done. You can tell he wants to do his very best every single game and I think that is a great model for our guys to look at, and everyone across the nation. He's above and beyond most players that I've ever seen."

On if there is a mystique to playing the No. 1 team:
"I don't think so. It is just Florida, an SEC game just like any time we've played Florida. They are very good and they've got a lot of great athletes. They don't just have great athletes, I think they have a purpose about them that they are going to go out there and play the game no matter who they are playing."

On how much having experience of starting on the road will help Mackenzi Adams at Florida:
"Mackenzi (Adams) won't be scared. He'll be confident and he'll plan on making every throw, every read and every decision. He's done it before, so that isn't going to be a different experience for him."

On where the defensive breakdowns were against Georgia Tech:
"We didn't tackle. We just missed too many tackles. It is going to be hard, with the limited practice time you have against that offense, to shut it down. I don't think I've ever seen anyone shut it down, but you can contain it like you did in the first half. We forced three punts in the first half, which is what you have to do. You have to get them in some long yardage situations, but we didn't do that because we didn't tackle very well."

On offensive tackle Thomas Welch's injury:
"Thomas (Welch) reinjured his ankle Saturday night and had to come out. I wouldn't expect him to be ready to play this week. You know the problems we've had with ankles and other injuries, and some of them have played when I sat up here and said they won't play, and then when I say they'll play, they won't play. I'll go by the old caveat that I'm not a doctor."

On the intangibles Warren Norman has as a kick returner:
"As a kick returner, No. 1 we have some good blocking and No. 2 he just sees everything that is happening in front of him. Even when he is getting the ball in the backfield as a running back, he sees wholes where a lot of people just run down the field. His feet are never very high off the ground and he's able to put his foot in the ground and make a lot ... if you see the film and see it from the rear, you see he never makes long cuts, they are all really quick cuts and he cuts right behind people and keeps his feet moving. That's the thing, if you can keep your speed while you are making cuts, you have a chance to break through. We've preached about getting the ball up field quickly and those people coming from the outside really didn't have a chance to converge on him because he was popping it through. That's how all three of his returns have been, he just pops through and no one can catch him."

On comparing Kwane Doster to Warren Norman as freshmen:
"Kwane had a couple of good kickoff returns, but he didn't have any touchdowns. Both of them show that if you have talent, put them in the game. They can get it done and they aren't afraid to go out and compete. They don't get rattled. Kwane had that confidence that I think Zac and Warren have. They are all really similar."

On team's not kicking the ball to Norman now:
"They've been doing that for several games now and we sometimes get the ball on the 30 or 35 because they sky kick it. His touchdown run was on a squib kick that they were trying to kick away from him and it bounced right to him because of momentum. We sort of like that. We don't want them kicking it down to the one or two. It is great to have the opportunity to try to get the touchdown on a kickoff return, but field position is what we are after. If they are kicking it short or squib kicking it, we have a much better chance of getting good field position."

On what Arkansas was able to do against Florida:
"They were able to run the ball. I saw just a little bit of that game on TV when it was going, but in just the little bit of film I've seen, they ran the ball and controlled it. That allowed them to do other things on offense. When you can run the football and make people get up there and try to stop you, it helps your pass game and it helps your defense."



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