Head Coach Bobby Johnson Weekly Press Conference Monday, Nov. 19, 2007 Wake Forest Game
Coach Johnson's Opening Statement... "This is an important game obviously this week. Wake Forest is coming to town. They're a very good football team. They were the ACC champions last year. They're a solid performing team all the way around. We're going to have to be great offensively and defensively. They present a lot of problems so we're going to have to have an important week of practice. Our guys are looking forward to it."
On what a six-win season would mean for the program... "You always want to have as many wins as you possibly can. Right now, as many as we can get is six. That would mean a non-losing season or a break-even season, however you want to put it. Again, the goal is to win as many games as you possibly can."
On the Vanderbilt senior class... "I think they came here and believed in our coaching staff. They've done a lot of great work to try to get our program on par with others in the SEC. I think we can say we can compete consistently in the SEC and that's a lot to do with what those guys have done. Some of them have been outstanding players, but most of all they've been outstanding leaders. They kept their class together and then they brought in the younger classes as they came in. They have led us to believing that we can be a good football program.
"My hat is off to them. I appreciate all their hard work and believe me, it's hard work. We've got some guys who are outstanding students in that class. We got some guys who are hard-working students who busted their butt to get a degree here. I just think it's a pretty special group."
On some members of the senior class having an opportunity to play in the NFL... "I think we've got guys who can play on Sunday and they might be high draft picks. Not only can they play on Sunday - they'll be coveted in the draft. I think that's a step in the right direction. Obviously, Jay was a first-round pick. He was pretty special. We've been pretty consistent in having a small number of candidates go up to the NFL. I think if you get a consistent base that goes in there every year and has a chance to get on with a team or get drafted, I think that tell recruits that you can get it both at Vanderbilt. You can play in the NFL, you can get a great education and you can play in the SEC. It's great training."
On having to replace an all-senior offensive line next year... "We'll lose them, but we're not starting with all new guys. Ryan Custer (guard) and Bradley Vierling (guard/center) have played a good bit. We'll get Eric (Hensley) back. Thomas Welch has played a great deal the last few weeks and has played well. We got some young guys that we think are going to be good players. What that senior offensive line allowed us to do was redshirt some guys and save a year and have those guys come up and learn from them while they've been on the scout team. It's a good situation. That's what college football is all about; graduating them and getting them through and bringing someone else in here. You can't keep them forever."
On staying positive after close losses... "We don't have a choice. Are we going to go in there and be negative? We got to go out and practice. Football practice is not the most fun thing in the world. It's not bad if you like football. You get to go out and run around. You got to be positive. They get finished with practice and have to go study and go to class the next day. If you're not positive, you're going to have a bunch of guys who dread playing football. I appreciate what they do and how hard they work and I try to tell them that. We make mistakes. Coaches make mistakes, players make mistakes, but we're all in it together. I love everyone of them."