Johnson entertains questions about Vandy

HOOVER, AL – For the first time ever, the hierarchy of the SEC East was in place that it should be; at least according to Vanderbilt.

After Vanderbilt Head Coach Bobby Johnson finished replacing a Florida helmet (at the front of the SEC East-helmet line due to the non-partisan alphabetic order used by SEC) with Vanderbilt's at the front of the list, he looked around and smiled.

When he saw that the Vanderbilt helmet had been moved back to its position in the alphabetic order, last, he said to an SEC official, "Who did that? Did you do that?"

Fighting to get out of last place seems to always be a struggle for Vanderbilt.

Johnson said the number one concern at Vanderbilt this season was depth and inexperienced kickers. He said that both have affected Vanderbilt's ability to win games in the fourth quarter, thus leaving them in last place in the SEC East for some time now.

"There has been more than one high school kicker that has not made the transition to college," Johnson said skeptically. Vandy will depend on Daniel Lee, a freshman from Missouri, for their kicking chores.

Johnson specifically sited their loss to Ole Miss last season as an example of Vandy's kicking woes. He pointed out that Vanderbilt missed a field goal and the Rebels connected on their attempt and won the contest by three points.

Vandy could have another close contest this September when they host their SEC opener.

"It gives you a sense of urgency," he said of playing South Carolina in the first game of the season. "The flipside is that your players know how important the first game is."

The discussion for Vanderbilt coaches at this media event has always been about the Commodores' inability to win.

"We put pressure on ourselves to win. We expect to make progress. I feel like we made a lot of progress last season but we did not show it in our record," Johnson said.

He also had to fight the media about the perception of athletics at Vanderbilt after the Commodores restructured athletics. The restructuring resulted in Vandy not having the position of athletic director.

"We are not in the intramural department," he said of the often misunderstood restructuring at Vandy.


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