Media Monday with James Franklin

Nov. 19, 2012

Franklin | Player Interviews | Notes & Depth Charts | Monday Musings

Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin, senior defensive back Trey Wilson, senior offensive guard Josh Jelesky and junior wide receiver Jordan Matthews met with the media on Monday to discuss the Commodores' regular season finale at Wake Forest Saturday.

Vanderbilt is 7-4 overall and 5-3 in the SEC. Wake Forest is 5-6 overall and 3-5 in the ACC. Saturday's meeting will be televised on ESPNU at 2:30 p.m. CT.

Vanderbilt Head Coach James Franklin

Opening Statement:
"I think it was significant that we were able to win the turnover battle. Jordan [Rodgers'] interception was a shame, because he had a chance to go for three touchdowns and no interceptions, which is a goal for us every week. Tennessee won the penalties; I didn't think we did a very good job with that.

"We didn't meet our offensive goal with explosive plays since we only had six, but we had some huge plays regardless. We did have more explosive plays than they did though, which was important since they are one of the more explosive offenses we've seen.

"The fact that we didn't allow any sacks was big. We established ourselves on first down and performed very well in the red zone.

"We sacked Tennessee twice, which was a challenge I spoke about with our defense beforehand. They had only given up five sacks all year long, so our performance was impressive. I'm really happy for Andre Hal, and our whole defense, on being named SEC Defensive Player of the Week.

"Richard Kent is punting extremely well. He's third in the SEC and 11th in the nation on his average of 44.8 yards. It's not just the kicks it's his location. For the most part, it's been unbelievable. He's kicked it close to the sideline, which helps us in our coverage and gives the returner only one option. Carey Spear is leading the SEC in field goal percentage. We have a lot of real positives on "we-fense".

"As a team, we're watching the documentary Broke from ESPN. I had seen it and I thought it was important. We actually went out and bought all of the 30-for-30 series because there are very good lessons in them. We've all heard stories of professional athletes who have struggled financially, but it's another thing when you watch that documentary. It's one guy after another, from all different backgrounds. We're watching that right now and taking advantage of some of our extra time this week.

"We think we're pretty familiar with Wake Forest. They have both the turnover and penalty advantages. We're going to have to make sure we're clean and do a good job in those two areas specifically.

"Defensively, they're very active, undersized but not static. They're on the move constantly and playing to their personnel. They're sound and disciplined in everything they do.

"This game has a little more significance because it is the last game of the year. We want to make sure that we end this thing on a real positive note.

On Wake Forest looking for bowl eligibility:
"That's something we'll talk about. They need this game to get to the magic number. They'll be pretty motivated, so that is something I will address with the team."

On this team's resiliency:
"We still have issues and challenges in terms of depth and recruiting where we do still have some bad matchups. We had a hard time early versus Tennessee with their size. But we have a team that is resilient. They have been through the gamut since they've been here with coaching changes, success, lack of success, negativity and positivity. I'm probably more concerned about handling success than handling adversity.

"We try to make our workouts and camps as challenging as we possibly can. I think the fact that our guys have to compete in the classroom as well makes us mentally tough. We want things to be challenging. We talk about handling adversity constantly. But I do think that our guys have to compete 24 hours a day, in the classroom as well as on the field. [It] helps us build mental toughness."

On Carey Spear:
"Just like on offense and defense, we play with all 11 guys. The specialists work in both our tackling drills and ball security drills. We emphasize it. I don't want guys who look at themselves as specialists. I want them to look at themselves as football players who happen to kick or punt. Carey's probably the first guy I've been around who really embraces that. That's also why he's been voted a captain. He attacks everything; in the weight room, in our tire pulls. He has that in him, and that's why everyone respects him so much. We coach him that way and talk to him that way.

"For each position, we have specialized training that we do, but from the top down as a whole, that's just how our program works. During recruiting, we always put position-specific highlights together so recruits can see the guys who play their position. So with Carey, we'll have some big hits on his highlight tape."

On playing at Wake two straight years:
"I'm completely against it, and it's strange. I don't know scheduling, but I hope we're not going back there for the next six years. I've never seen this before. When they set up scheduling years ago, it just happened. We focus on what we can control, and so I just moved on from it."

On having a strong performance there last year:
"Last year's performance and last year's team has no significance on this year's team. The last game has no significance on this game. We have to make sure we prepare every week so we don't fall into those types of traps."

On UT's quarterback's reaction after their touchdown:
"That's a question you'll have to drive a couple hours to ask. I can't tell you what was going on there.

"I hope our players didn't feed off of it. Everything we do is about playing up to our expectations and our standards. Little things like that shouldn't be our concern."

On preparing after an emotional win:
"It's the same thing. When we win around here, we enjoy wins. The other option isn't a whole lot of fun so we try to avoid it with everything we have. I'm adamant to sticking to our process, our plan and making sure we as coaches we don't talk up one game more than another. We have to keep it as consistent as possible.

"I wasn't happy with the video screen talking so much about the bowl game and tickets being sold. I couldn't muzzle my players' ears. Maybe it was a great message for the fans, but not for my players. It just goes against our approach."

On Zac Stacy playing last week:
"We were confident he was going to play. We felt like he was okay at Ole Miss, and that he was concerned more than there was anything wrong. All week, he practiced well."

On having a healthy team:
"This is how I expect it to be, based on a lot of factors. Coach Galt trains them that way from the summer on and makes sure they're prepared for the challenges. Each position coach makes sure to rotate guys in throughout all games. It's also about how we practice. We have to walk the fine line of adequately preparing for the game but also keeping the guys healthy. That's the tough coaching decisions. You have to make sure every Saturday that you a prepared to be successful fundamentally and physically.

"We have three tempos: tag-off, which is two hand touch, thud, which is straight-on hitting but not wrapping, and wrap, which is wrapping up but not going to the ground. I think we need to do a little more of our wrap periods."

On having a balance between young guys and upperclassmen:
"It's a compliment to the staff because we're developing our guys. I tell our team and our recruits that we're signing people who are going to come in and take their jobs. And it's interesting because I've convinced them to go out and help recruit those guys because it will bring out the best in them. Our team has really bought in to that competitive nature."

On the turf:
"The players love it. It's very similar to what we practice on every day. I think the company and our grounds staff has done a great job. I'm excited for the future because I want to get the [Tennessee state] high school championships back here in the central part of the state, in our stadium. We'll be able to use it for summer camps and have a second field."

On recruits being here for Tennessee win:
"It was awesome. I want to say thank you to the fans and the students, because the environment was awesome. I had a bunch of recruits tell me how great it was. It makes a huge difference.

"Considering school was out, the students were awesome. I actually went to the student union last week, and asked students personally to stay. I even called parents to get flights changed so kids could come to the game. A bunch knew who I was, and a bunch didn't. I was about 50-percent in convincing parents.

"I can't say how thankful I am to students and fans. The other athletes have also been awesome. They've been so unbelievable in supporting us."

Vanderbilt Players

Senior Cornerback Trey Wilson
On if it will be difficult coming off an emotional win versus Tennessee:
"We just have to approach [this week] like we take every other game. We got to live through it until Sunday when practice started. We watched some film and then started preparing for Wake Forest."

On if the Tennessee win felt any different than a normal game:
"It was different because it was real special for the seniors. We got to send all 19 seniors out on the right note in their final game at Dudley Field. That was the only special feeling we had about it. It was a great win just like any other win we could get."

On if he likes where the team is at heading into the season finale:
"We definitely have a lot of momentum, coming off the victories we've had, but we can't let that get to our head. We still have to approach it one game at a time and worry about the things we need to do from a Vanderbilt standpoint to take care of business. As long as we keep taking it one game at a time, all those historical things will go away."

Senior Offensive Lineman Josh Jelesky
On if the team believes Wake Forest will come out inspired, knowing they need a win for bowl eligibility:
"Definitely, everyone is trying to make it to a bowl game at the end of the year. They are going to be hungry for that sixth win, so we're going to get their best and we're going to bring our best too. That's why we're moving past Tennessee pretty quick because we have a big game this week."

On if the offensive line changed their game plan against Tennessee's big defensive line:
"We didn't change our game plan too much. We might try to do a little bit more edge stuff to try and wear them down a little bit, but towards the end of the game the plays that were hitting were the downhill runs. Speaking from an offensive line standpoint, those are some of our favorite plays to run. We did a good job of running it at right at them and it wore them down enough, the plays started hitting."

On the fan support:
"Since I've been here, that was the best showing at a home game versus Tennessee. It was great and we just want to thank all the fans for that because that was huge and it really helped us."

Junior Wide Receiver Jordan Matthews
On if he was excited when the play was called for him to run the ball:
"I get excited for the game any way, so there isn't going to be anything during the game that gets me that much more happy to play. I'm happy that my coaches trust me. Whatever the play call is, I just have to go in and execute."

On if he thinks the coaching methods in practice have kept the team healthier this season:
"I think it has [kept the team healthier]. Coach Franklin is really all about the players and that is on the field and off the field. When it comes to the practice field he does a great job of keeping us fresh and healthy. He asks for our input a lot too. He'll ask us, `Do you guys need a little bit more rest? Do you need a little bit more food? Need a little more break time?' He is there to help us out so that we are ready come Saturday."

On if the team believes Coach Franklin should be Coach of the Year:
"No, Coach Franklin is 0-0 right now. We haven't won anything yet. We have our first game this week. I really don't talk about individual awards."



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