"From Here We Have A Chance To Get Better"

"First of all I'd like to just give nothing but kudos to Vanderbilt, what they've done up to now and what I hope they do the rest of the season. The way their coaches coach, the way their players play, they represent to me what college football is all about. I wish them nothing but success the rest of the season, Coach Bobby Johnson has my vote for Coach of the Year for sure."

"I'm happy for our players, that they won. But I'm more proud of them for the men they are. When we started the season this is what I told them in the dressing room: I knew we were in trouble because I knew we didn't have leadership. I didn't know just how much character we had on our football team. I didn't really know if we were a team. Because I hadn't seen it. Last year was last year and until I see it I don't know what we got. That's why I think we started off the way we did. But in a lot of ways the way we started has served us well, because they've taken a lot of criticism, they've gone through a lot of difficult things, some of it of our own doing and some things that just happened."

"But the thing I'm most proud of is they didn't turn on each other. They didn't turn on the coaches, they withstood the criticism, they continued to work each and every day. We had our best six practices of the entire year, going back to spring practice, this week and last week. The attitude was magnificent and it was very physical. They came out today and continued to play and take on a different attitude. We are not the same team we were at the beginning of this season; they are not the same people they were at the beginning of the season. And as happy as I am about the win I'm more proud for that. They've been through the fire and they came out the other side."

"From here we have a chance to get better. And that's what I expect them to do, enjoy this for 24 hours and come back to work Monday and get ready for the next one."

Q: What did Tyson Lee give you with his ability to run? "It was big because it helped us convert third downs. I think we were 9-of-18 and I think his ability to move created a lot of that. And really that's where college football is headed. You better have a dominating offensive line when it comes to pass protection, or your quarterback has to create some positive things for us."

"Our defense did a great job in not allowing their quarterbacks to create things for them. That's what they've done so well this year. Their two quarterbacks have consistently made big plays for them, and our defense did a great job containing them today."

Q: Talk about the difference forcing some turnovers made. "Well, that was something we talked about with the defense during the off-week. We hadn't been getting turnovers. So I went back and pulled out ten clips from our Central Florida game, that we weren't playing defense (that way). Even in the Auburn game we did not play defense like we played at the end of the season. It wasn't the schemes or anything like that, we just weren't running to the football. And that's why we hadn't been getting turnovers."

"It's no accident, we worked on that every single day. But we were not running to the football like we did last year and I showed them the clips and they saw it. The thing I've learned, it's a visual generation and no matter how much you talk about it they have to see it. When they saw that, it changed them during the off-week. We got turnovers today for one reason, we ran to the football. And they tried to do exactly what they were coached to do."

Q: Talk about how Karlin Brown in his start today. "Karlin has gotten better in habits both on and off the field. He's playing well, he's disadvantaged with his size but there are some things that allows him to do, I think quite often they (offenses) don't see him out there. Their quarterback probably didn't see him today, either! so that's a plus for us. He makes plays, I thought he tackled well and that was a big play. Our defense got two big turnovers for us today and they hadn't been getting turnovers."

Q: On the other hand Vanderbilt has gotten lots of turnovers. "Our offense did a great job. Again, we're not the same bunch. Offensively we turned the ball over too much in the early part of the year. We felt we had to get to being a hit-‘em-in-the-mouth kind of football team. We were going to run straight at people and hit them in the mouth, and when it gets 3rd-and-1 and 4th-and-1 everybody is going to know where the ball is going, we don't care. Because that's the way we play and that's the way we're going to be the rest of the year."

Q: You talked all week about Vandy had come back every game, was that in your mind today? "Of course it crossed our minds! But again, these kids have been in situations where they've come back in second half, too. Somewhere along the way we forgot who we were; now we're back to being who we were. We've got an identity back now."

Q: Do you attribute not making turnovers to Tyson? "I attribute it to the whole football team, the whole offense, not just Tyson. I mean everybody is protecting the ball, and the running backs didn't turn it over. It also goes to the offensive line protecting and doing their job so a guy didn't get hit in the backfield just as he's getting the handoff. We've had all that happen."

"You know, there's no one thing. When things are not going well there's a tendency to want to point at one thing. That's what is great about this game, there is no one thing that makes you win, there's no one thing that makes you lose. Everybody contributes to the success or the failure, and everybody has to be accountable."

Q: In the first half there were only three points on offense, but it seemed you were playing a faster pace. "That was part of getting back to who we were, too, is up the tempo. That's something Tyson has had to learn. By nature he is more of a walk-it-up kind of a guy and that's something we've had to really be on him about."

"And there was a lull in the game or two where I thought we slowed down too much. We were snapping the ball at two seconds. We want to be at the line of scrimmage at 20 seconds. And one of the things we saw in the film, and even their players said it in an article, a fast tempo bothers them. That's what we were trying to get done. Two things, we were going to play physical, blocking and tackling; and we wanted to have a fast tempo on offense. We wanted to be at the line as fast as possible. We're a better football team when we play fast."

Q: Can you talk about Brandon Henderson's catch? "Well, I'm glad he got off the line of scrimmage; I'm glad he got open, and I'm glad he caught the football!"

Q: Has he had an issue with that? "Yes, with all those things. He is very capable of being a good football player, and he finally shows up and makes a play. He hasn't made a lot of them this fall, he hasn't practiced and that's why he's been sort of up and down. But during the off-week he practiced well, did his job, didn't hear a lot of yackity-yack from him. And he got better."

Q: You used the fullbacks more today. "That's who we are. We're going to be an ‘I' football team. We'll mix some of that other stuff in there, we've got some little east-and-west kinds of things that Christian Ducre was running, the three-wides and that kind of stuff. But it was my fault, we were doing too much of that stuff. We're going to line up in the ‘I' and run right at people, and if we can't win doing that we're not going to win."

Q: You said in the week you would ‘ride' Anthony Dixon. Did he answer that? "He got 27 attempts, for 114 yards. That'll be a good day most any week."

Q: Their quarterbacks had pressure on them a lot from the defense. "Great gameplan. Great gameplan. They (State's defense) did a tremendous job disguising. I think Vanderbilt had about three delay of game penalties, because they were checking, we checked, our guys were really disciplined in doing what the coaches showed them. We had ‘show' blitzes and come out and show coverage; they check, we come back to another blitz, they never knew what we were doing. We showed them soft spots and when they checked our coaches did a great job and the players of formation recognition, knowing what they were doing by backfield sets, by down-and-distance, and played accordingly. This is the first game I felt we played smart football through the game in all three phases."


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