Media Monday with James Franklin

Nov. 11, 2013

Franklin Press Conference | Players | Notes & Depth Charts | Gameday Central

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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 Kentucky. Saturday's contest will be televised on SEC TV at 11:21 a.m. CT.

Vanderbilt Head Coach James Franklin
Opening Comments:
"We went into [the Florida] game saying that the turnover battle and penalty battle would be very important, and I think that was really what the game boiled down to. The fact that our defense was able to get four turnovers and our offense protected the ball and had none was really the story of the game. The penalties were also important and we were able to win that battle as well. I think that our backs, Jerron Seymour and Brian Kimbrow did a good job of grinding it out and getting you the four, six, eight yards, that are very, very important in the SEC.

"Overall, we did what we had to do to win the game. We were very opportunistic in all phases of the game. I'm very pleased with our preparation and really the team's perseverance as a whole. We've shown we can handle adversity, now we have to show we can handle success."

On Kentucky:
"They are much improved from last season. They do a good job protecting the football. The quarterback can make plays with both his arm and feet. They play two good running backs and are deep at wide receiver.

"It's a challenge and we are excited about having Kentucky come in to our place and being back home. We are excited about selling out the game and packing the stadium full of Black and Gold."

On handling success (last year to this year):
"I think the biggest thing is our routine, 1-0 every single week. We don't approach any game any different, and I think our routine and that consistency in our approach has helped us. The other thing is that we really don't change our plan. We are a fundamentalist program, I think in the long run, that's going to allow you get to better individually and collectively, and we've been able to do that. Our players understand our approach and I think that has been very important to our success."

On the running game:
"I think whenever you can establish a running game, it helps everybody. When you lose your starting quarterback, and your backup goes in and has done a good job managing the game, especially when his first two starts are on the road in the SEC, when you can alleviate some of that pressure by establishing a running game, it helps. I think [QB Patton Robinette] did a nice job managing the game, the fact that we were able to establish the run was big and we would love to do that for the rest of the year starting this week."

On Jerron Seymour:
"I think the way he is able to get four, six, 12 yards, consistently has been very important for us. We are very pleased with him. I thought Brian Kimbrow ran very hard and decisive this week as well, and we'd like to get [Wesley] Tate back to have a bigger role for us in the running game as well."

On Caleb Azubike:
"I think he has really grown. When he arrived here he was a raw athlete that was new to the game of football. Even up until his senior year, he played soccer. I think he has done a nice job, and Sean Spencer, our D-line coach, has helped him develop and become a more complete football player. I think he's growing tremendously and I'm very proud of him, but he still has a ways to go, but that's an upside to Caleb."

On Darreon Herring:
"He is playing extremely well. He has really good instincts and tremendous ball skills. He has a really good natural feel for the game and I think [LB Coach] Brent Pry has done a good job with developing that. I think he's more confident with the schemes and reading defenses, but I think he's really put together a good year so far, and I know he's going to continue that this Saturday."

Depth compared to other SEC teams:
"I think our depth is better than what it was when we first got here, but we have a ways to go. We've only had two recruiting classes, so we still have a long ways to go. The biggest thing is our approach, there will be a guy that's missing, and the next guy has to step up and do his job."

On winning six straight games in November:
"The thing I try to balance is our approach as a team and how we prepare, and also Larry [Leathers] gives me great pieces of information that I think are good to use to change perceptions. One of the biggest challenges when we arrived here was changing perceptions. Larry always says he thinks that our most impressive stat, is our record late in the year. I throw that out there, but with our team it's about preparation about our approach, and focusing on the fundamentals and real solid plans.

"I'm very proud from a program perspective that we get better every week. That's where [Strength Coach] Dwight Galt comes in, having an experienced strength coach."

Vanderbilt Defensive End Walker May
On dealing with the team's success:
"Too many pats on the back make you soft. That is something my dad always said. What we're going to try to do is win each week. It is one week at a time, one game at a time. The past is in the past, it doesn't matter who we've played or what the outcome was, our goal is to go 1-0 this week."

On moving on from the big win at Florida:
"I think it was a big win for the program and we were excited after the game. But that being said, it is over now. We've moved on to this week."

On the development of Caleb Azubike:
"First off congrats to him for being named SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week. In this conference especially, that is truly an honor. As far as a down-to-down basis, he's been getting better. His goal, and ours as a defensive unit, is to get better and better each play."

Vanderbilt Wide Receiver Jordan Matthews
On the importance of establishing the running game:
"Jerron [Seymour] is a baller, he doesn't talk much, but he comes in every day and works very hard to get better. The same can be said for [Brian] Kimbrow. He's got a lot of swagger and speed which makes him a big threat for that long run. I was impressed with him this past weekend. He didn't get to break off that long run but he grinded out the four, six and eight yard runs. The running game is really helping us out, I also think it has helped Patton [Robinette] as he's adjusted to becoming the starter."

On playing a game against a struggling team like Kentucky:
"Kentucky is a football team just like us. They are going to be hungry come game time. You never know a team's mindset when they come in. Kentucky could be saying we have nothing to lose, let's go into Nashville and beat Vanderbilt. That is the reason you can't take any teams lightly and the reason we prepare the same every week for every team."

On taking a lesser role at Florida:
"As long as I continue to get better each day in practice, I'm fine. I know the kind of talent I have and I know the kind of competitor I am. A lot of people will look at the stats and the number of targets, but as long as we come out with the win and I know and my teammates know that I gave it my all, that is all that matters to me."



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