Vanderbilt Head Coach James Franklin, junior defensive tackle Rob Lohr, and junior tailback Zac Stacy discussed the upcoming Wake Forest game with reporters at the Commodores' weekly media session on Monday. Interviews and quotes are posted below.
Saturday's regular season finale between the Commodores and the Demon Deacons is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. CT at BB&T Field in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Vanderbilt Head Coach James Franklin Opening statement: "Obviously this last game was a tough one for all of us, you've heard this several times now. Probably the most rewarding season I've been through up to this point so far and the most challenging as well with the amount of tough losses and the unusual situations and circumstances that have happened this year. To summarize the game, it's a simple game. You can't turn it over, especially on the road. When you have four turnovers, three interceptions and a fumble, it's hard to recover from that... penalties, we didn't win that battle either, we had seven, they had five. Explosive plays we had four, we missed our goal, which was eight. Our defense held them to two explosive plays, which was a real positive. Team play overall, we're playing hard; one of the things all the coaches I see before the game, they talk about how hard we're playing, how confident we're playing, how much passion we're playing with. What we're not doing consistently is playing smart.
This week, I'm probably a little bit more familiar with this program than others just because of my background in the ACC. Tremendous respect for Coach Grobe, I see their team and their program with a lot of parallels to ours. I think he does a really good job at maximizing the talent that they have. His plan is redshirting guys, they usually have a bunch of fifth year seniors. Tremendous respect for him and their program. They just beat Maryland 31-10. Last year the Maryland team beat Wake Forest 62-14, so obviously you can see they've improved dramatically. Interesting number that I'm going to talk to my staff about, we've already talked about it a bit, is 24. The Deacons are 56-22 when scoring 24 points or more, so that's been their magic number. Turnover battle, they have the advantage right now. Penalties, they have the advantage there. Their defense, they run a 3-4 defense, very active, keep them on the move a lot. A lot of different looks."
On hearing from SEC after final call in overtime against Tennessee: "It's really no different than any other time, that one was public. We get reports every week that are private. I'd rather not know to be honest. You're on the bus ride back, it is what it is. I got the email and that was nice and I got a phone call today and that was nice. These guys are great to work with, they're very respectful, they call and we have a good conversation, but it doesn't change anything. We still have to live with the results of what happened on the field and move on. We have to find a way to make the games not close so when you do get a tough call--and let's be honest, we aren't going to call a perfect game as coaches, they're not, from an officiating standpoint, they're not going to call a perfect game either. What happens is, when you lose those games, all those calls that didn't go your way get magnified."
On big penalties: "I think what happens is, the tough losses at Vanderbilt sting more, the penalties that stop drives sting more, because we haven't had enough wins in our history. So when you have a chance to get one and you feel like it's taken away, either by your own mistakes or somebody else, they hurt more. Our plan is to make sure that we win enough games that those losses aren't as agonizing. Everything is magnified for us right now. There have been more freakish things that have happened this year than anything I've ever been around. But my point is, you have no idea of what penalty, how it's going to affect. All I can do is coach that kid and put him in a position and emphasize how important not making those mistakes are, but it wasn't just that one play. There were six or eight plays in the ball game that had a difference."
On Dooley's postgame speech: "We'll talk about it next year a lot. We'll watch it as many times as we need to watch it. That's a wound I'm going to leave open for a year and we'll discuss it next year. I look at that as respect. Some people act like they won a Super Bowl when they beat a team that the previous two years they won two games. But we'll move on, we'll have a lot of discussions about this next year when the time is right."
Vanderbilt Player Quotes
Junior Defensive Tackle Rob Lohr On this week being a one-game season: "I wouldn't say it's easier, but it's definitely a one-game season. We have to win this in order to make it to a bowl game. We have to be ready."
On being anxious to get back on the field: "Definitely. Nobody likes to lose, especially the way that we did. We have to bounce back, get it back this week, and make it to a bowl game."
On hearing the SEC said they messed up at end of Tennessee game: "It doesn't make you feel any better. You don't want to lose a game like that regardless, but we had other opportunities to win the game in regulation, so it doesn't matter. If you lose, you lose."
On the penalties of the Tennessee game: "We were shooting ourselves in the foot. We can't have those penalties, especially in the situations that we did. We have to eliminate those and play the way we had been playing."
On Wake Forest: "We watched the film, and they're a solid team. They've improved a lot since last year, and I know they beat us pretty bad last year. Obviously it's a different situation now, but they're a solid team, and we have to come out ready to play."
Junior Tailback Zac Stacy On the offensive line: "We're still in pretty good shape. The whole rotation that we have; they're pretty good up front. I have confidence in them. I'm pretty sure everyone on the offense does. They're going to be okay. They're going to get the job done."
On blocking penalties: "We're a team that's always going to be aggressive. Those are things we just can't do. On the road at Tennessee, in a hostile environment, you just can't make those dumb mistakes...dumb penalties. I'm not going to say that cost us, but that's one of the facets of the game we need to improve on."
On the nearly 100 yard penalty: "It wasn't all that deflating. Our offense is rolling, so regardless of what happens we are still making plays."
On being anxious to get back on the field: "Oh yeah, we're all excited and motivated for this game. There's no doubt about it, but we're going to keep the same mentality we have had every week. We're going to come out with the same attitude on offense, defense and special teams. Go out and make plays, and get this win on the road."