Nov. 4, 2013
Franklin Press Conference | Players | Notes & Depth Charts | Gameday Central
Monday Musings: Finishing Strong
Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin, wide receiver Jordan Matthews and defensive end Walker May met with the media Monday to discuss the Commodores' next game against Florida. Saturday's contest will be televised on FSN at 11 a.m. CT.
Vanderbilt Head Coach James Franklin
"The bye week was very productive for us. We were able to give our veterans a lot of down time. It was a different approach for us as compared to the first bye week we had. We've never really had a second bye week, so we held 26 players, had them do a lot of the individual stuff, walk-throughs and teach tempo periods, and after that had them coach the young guys. The younger guys played live, so we were able to get them on film and evaluate them. We were also able to get on the road and do a bunch of recruiting, which was really good. We also had a little bit of down time on Sunday with our families which was nice.
"We were able to get a little bit of a head start on Florida with the bye week, which I think will be an advantage for us. Will Muschamp, someone I've known for a long time, does a great job. They have 11 starters returning from last season, five on offense, five on defense and one on special teams. We're both 4-4, and I think the two stats that will be huge in this game are turnover margin and penalties. We hold the advantage in penalties, while they hold the turnover margin.
"When you take a look at their defense, they are coached by D.J. Durkin and Coach Muschamp is very involved as well. They play a 4-3, and what makes them special is their defensive front. It will be a tough test for our offensive line. They also play a lot of man coverage. So between their pass rush and tight coverage in the secondary they take away a lot of the short throws, which allows them to put a lot of pressure on the quarterback. Defensive end Dante Fowler, a guy we recruited is playing at a high level. Vernon Hargreaves, a defensive back, who is playing as a true freshman is another guy we recruited and is doing well for them. Finally defensive end, Darious Cummings has been a disruptive player inside for them.
"Offensively they are coached by Brent Pease, a guy we've known for a long time. They have a quarterback who can do things with both his arm and his feet, a bunch of personnel groups and a really fast and athletic receiving corps. Tyler Murphy, their quarterback, gives them an edge in terms of his athleticism. Kelvin Taylor, a freshman, is coming on for them right now. Soloman Patton is really their playmaker in a lot of different areas.
"They've done a lot of nice things on special teams over the years. Jeff Choate is the special teams coach in his first year. They've made some plays against us in the past so we will be studying all those things. Their punt returner Marcus Roberson is doing a great job for them. Their kicker Austin Hardin is 4-of-9 on field goals this year.
"We have an early game, so we will be going down on Friday. We're excited to play at one of the most storied stadiums in college football. Our guys from Florida are also really excited to go back and play in their home state."
On the punting competition:
"We will go through that this week. As of right now Taylor Hudson and Colby Cooke are listed on the depth chart. Colby has a really strong leg, he just has had issues with his consistency. Taylor has been a little more consistent. We had an open competition this past week, but we weren't able to clear anything up. We looked at using Carey Spear, but at this point he seems like an emergency option."
On prepping for Florida's special teams:
"We won't do anything special in practice to prepare. Field position will be a big factor this week. Our punting situation has factored into our decisions the past couples weeks on the choices we've made offensively. Being able to move the ball on offense, or being able to pin them deep in their own territory if we can't move the ball. On kickoffs, we need to be able to kick it out of the end zone to avoid any returns and potential big plays."
On the health at quarterback:
"The bye did allow us to get a little healthier. I think now that Patton has been on the road as a starter will help him this week, and we are not opposed at all to using Johnny McCrary if the situation presents itself. At this point in the year if Patton plays well and you can hold Johnny's redshirt, you'll do that.
Where Austyn Carta-Samuels factors into the QB mix:
"Right now we have Patton and Johnny listed, as the week goes on we will see where Austyn fits in. We hope that by the end of the week he can be our number two guy."
On Chase Garnham being on the depth chart for the first time since the opener:
"He's on the depth chart because we are expecting to play him. Having him back will give us a boost. We didn't want to put him out there if he wasn't ready. He's listed as the number two, because we didn't want to run him out there for 60-65 plays after not playing for the past month. We will see how this week goes and build from there."
On starting Patton in two-consecutive road venues:
"It is just part of the deal. Patton is a competitor so I know he is excited about it."
If the game has slowed down for Patton:
"We'll see Saturday. I think it is starting to. I think it did a little bit in his first game against Georgia. You saw times when he was able to make some things happen. That takes time. Some guys can play at an extremely high level right from the beginning. For him I'm not sure when it'll happen. He has shown signs of it in practice as well as a few times in the games. If you surround someone with a good cast it makes it a lot easier on those young guys."
On which young guys stood out at practice:
"We're really excited about our young group of linebackers. [Nigel] Bowden, [Zach] Cunningham and [Oren] Burks have really bright futures. Ryan White and Landon Stokes have both jumped out to us on defense. Offensively C.J. Duncan, Ralph Webb, Delando Crooks and McCrary have all continued to impress us ."
Vanderbilt Wide Receiver Jordan Matthews
On coming off the second bye of the season:
"It was good to get that rest. Coach Franklin and Coach Galt do a very good job of taking care of us. The veterans have been playing most of the season, so it was good to get our legs back. And it was a chance for the young guys to showcase their talent with a lot of scrimmages. I think it's been a real productive bye week, but we are ready to get back on the field."
On Florida being a test for the offensive line/offense in general:
"You just have to go play. We know they have really great players, but it's all going to come down to that day and how they play on Saturday."
On Patton Robinette's second road start:
"It's hard to go on the road for your first start in a stadium like [Texas A&M]. I never saw him get riled or anything, he did a really good job keeping his emotions in check. The guy is young so we have to make him more comfortable so the more we do that, the more he'll continue to improve. It has to be the guys around him who continue to make him comfortable."
On Zac Stacy in the NFL:
"I knew it was going to happen. He is going to continue to do that, I just pray for him to stay healthy so he can continue to do his thing."
Vanderbilt Defensive End Walker May
On coming off the second bye of the season:
"Coach did a real good job taking care of us and we're really excited about getting into this week."
On LB Chase Garnham back on the depth chart this week:
"The coaches and training staff have done a good job. If we get him back that'll be awesome, if we don't get him back that'll be awesome because we will do just fine. From a leadership perspective, he's a vocal guy and he's been there and been in the fire. So it's really exciting to hear his voice and if he gets back, that'll be awesome."
On both Vanderbilt and Florida having the same record (4-4):
"We are both 0-0 this week, so none of that really matters. We are going into this game with the mindset that only this week matters and we are going to take advantage of what we can do this week during practice. Practice hard Tuesday through Friday and Saturday will take care of itself."
On Florida's offensive line:
"They do a lot of trades and motioning, so it's hard to prepare for, but we'll do a great job and our scouts will give us some good looks this week."