Media Monday with Coach Caldwell

Nov. 15, 2010

Game Notes & Depth Charts

Football head coach Robbie Caldwell met with the media Monday to discuss the Commodores' upcoming matchup with Tennessee. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CT Saturday in Nashville. Watch Video

Vanderbilt head coach Robbie Caldwell - November 15, 2010

Opening statement:
"Last week, the game didn't turn out like we would hope. There were some black spots. We moved the ball better, we scored some points and we ran over 80 plays so that was a big plus for us. We are making some progress there. Defensively, there were four plays that gave up 263 yards which was a big disappointment to all of us. We kind of let the game get one-sided there at the end but we continued to fight hard. We lost a couple more players to injuries so that didn't help the moral. But, we're back and ready to get after UT. They've done a great job improving their team. You can certainly see a lot of improvement there from the beginning of the year to now. I've been impressed with their energy and how they run the football. The change at quarterback really has them going, it appears. [Tyler] Bray threw the ball all over the field last week and did a great job. I think they scored 50 points. Defensively, they had a couple of interceptions for touchdowns. That's been impressive. I think [Tauren] Poole is closing in on 1,000 yards so we'll face a similar opponent in the fact that we have to stop him. We also have to stop their throwing since they have good receivers, a big tight end. They list him at about 6'6 but he looks like a giant."

On Tennessee's offensive line:
"It seems that it has gotten better. They moved [James] Stone to center and they are starting to get a little continuity there. I think they were limited throwing the ball; setting up protections has helped them and they have the receivers to do it. Bray has done a great job throwing it."

On getting freshmen receivers to produce:
"It depends on their athletic ability and their mental ability. They have to be mature enough to handle it. Jordan Matthews has come along for us and made some great catches. It can be done. The skill positions might be a little easier than the offensive line, so to speak."

On the series with Tennessee:
"It's a big rivalry to me. I listen to the people in the state and our people, and it's a great joy to hear them talk about the few times we have beaten Tennessee. We certainly are going to get after it and we are working hard right now to prepare."

On the injuries and who will be ready for the Tennessee game:
"We might get Fitz Lassing back from mono. Certainly we haven't done anything in a week and a half. He certainly won't be running a lot and we will have to build his stamina a little bit. Mason [Johnston] is going to have surgery in four weeks. Jordan Rodgers is on the way back from surgery right now and I'm anxious to see how that repair went. [James] Kittredge can't push off. Walker May doesn't look very promising. Joey Bailey - we don't know if he will be able to go. We'll know more by Wednesday. There are too many to name, but that's part of it. "Kittredge has a high ankle sprain. I don't know what that is, that's a new term over the past few years. High ankle sprain, Lord have mercy. We used to take two salt tablets and a glass of water and roll on but I don't know. It's tougher now."

On Wesley Tate:
"I'm not sure. Last week wasn't very good and it was painful to him. Hopefully he can play five or six plays. He did a good job blocking. Maybe he can give us something."

On Zac Stacy:
"He's still out but you know, Kennard [Reeves], now you can't sell him short. He's stepped up for us and done a good job."

On if injuries have been the downfall of the season:
"Injuries are a part of it. It's difficult but the way I always looked at it is that if someone gets injured then there is an opportunity for someone else. As the old saying goes, `when one door closes, another one opens.' You hope someone will step up. Unfortunately, those who are stepping up are young as well."

On Kennard Reeves and why he hasn't seen more playing time during his career:
"Just the fact that he has been behind some more talented players maybe. Sometimes that happens. You can get stacked in a position where that's what you want to play and sometimes you have to pay your price and move up. The most impressive thing, everybody saw him run but they didn't see him block. He did a great job blocking, particularly in that late scoring drive. He had to take on that big defensive end in several situations and had a great collision with him."

On why Udom Umoh was ejected:
"He slapped the hand down off his facemask and now I'm waiting on the answer."

On the offensive line:
"We talked about it as a staff and this is the best they have played. We certainly had hoped it would come a lot sooner but I'm proud of them. They stepped up and did a good job. They blocked for the run. We had a few sacks but I think some of them were spread out for protection and we just had to throw the ball away. Some of it was the offensive line's fault as well. We have to get rid of it. We had an intentional grounding one time when we threw it at the feet of a running back but they couldn't see he was there. Larry [Smith] did a good job of throwing it away early. My hat is off to him, with the pounding he's taken, he keeps coming with a great attitude and keeps fighting. He did a good job."

On taking a knee to end the first half against Kentucky:
"We wanted to rest our defense. We didn't want to risk being backed up into our own territory. We didn't want to risk putting them back out there. They have been on the field too long. They had just gone through several third and longs and for whatever reason we didn't get them on the ground, and it was strenuous for them. We wanted to rest them up because we don't have the numbers to attempt some things right now."

On if a win over Tennessee would salvage the season:
"I don't know about salvaging the season, but it sure would be a great feeling and bring great pride. It would be a sense of pride for us just to win. We need that to continue to motivate our players. It gets harder every week but we still see the fight in them. They keep coming and keep fighting. Like I said, you take a few plays out of that game - whether it was fatigue or if we were out-athleted - the run [Randall] Cobb made that was 75 yards and the long run of 83 yards [Derrick Locke] and the two tosses over our head. If you take those out, that's 263 yards in four plays, it's a different story."

On Tyler Bray:
"I didn't know much about him previously because I didn't recruit him directly, but to see what he's done, stepping in and being cool and calm. He takes some hits and keeps coming, and I'm very impressed. He seems to be very tall and can see over the line. His vision impresses me."

On Derek Dooley and his impact on rebuilding the program:
"You never know until you walk in another mans shoes, but to me it looks like he's getting them headed in the right direction. It's hard to say one way or the other, I don't know much about it. I know his reputation and he's always had a reputation of always trying to do things right."



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