From the Locker Room -

There was a sense of celebration. A sense of relief. A sense of pride. A sense of confidence. A lot of emotions were flowing from the Rebel players after the 17-10 Homecoming and SEC win over Vandy yesterday. Read the player (and a couple of coaches) comments inside.

The following are player and coach comments following the 17-10 victory over SEC foe Vanderbilt at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium yesterday.

LB Coach David Saunders: (On the win) Any win, especially an SEC win, is big for us. It was Homecoming and everyone was excited about it. We can build off this. This team is headed in the right direction. There's still a lot of work to do, but this is certainly a step in the right direction. (On Rory Johnson's 16-tackle, two fumble recovery day) He had a huge day. We are just now starting to see what he is capable of. He's making big plays in big situations. The turnovers he was in on today were huge. He will only get better. He's had about 120 snaps now in Division I and that's made all the difference in the world for him. You just can't replace that experience of seeing what opposing offenses are doing. I don't know what his reaction was when he stripped that ball deep in our territory, but I almost came out of my shoes when he made that play. An awesome play. He almost went 90-plus yards with that thing. He saw an opportunity and went for it, just like Coach O has been harping on everyone on defense to do. (On the Reb defense forcing five turnovers) That was just enough. We saw on tape we had the opportunity to cause some fumbles and some turnovers and our kids went out there and executed when they had the chances.

MLB Patrick Willis: (On the game) This feels really good. We needed to win again badly and we pulled it off today with a good team effort. We have been preparing hard and putting everything we have into it. Last week, we came close, but this week we finally got one. (On getting five turnovers) Coach O always talks about us creating turnovers because they are so big in the outcome of a game. Before the season started, he showed us every team in the country who had pluses in turnover ratio and virtually every one of them had winning seasons. He's been stressing that the whole time, but we finally made it happen in a big way today. We've been getting one turnover here and there, but today we did it the way we should do it every game. You get five turnovers and you will usually win. (On Rory Johnson) He was everywhere this week. He gained confidence from last week's game against Georgia and just built on it. He was phenomenal today. It was wonderful to see him play that way. (On Rory's strip near the Reb goalline) That was a heads-up play. In that situation, you are usually thinking about getting the guy down, but Rory saw the QB was carrying the ball loosely and he went for it. He has enough athleticism to pull plays like that off. He almost took it for a TD.

FS Charles Clark: (On his game-ending interception) We were playing man-free coverage and I was the free guy. I saw the QB's eyes. He had hit us on that play a couple of times before so I was ready for it. I timed my break on the ball just right and made a play. I ran it back until I felt I was in some traffic, so I just got down to make sure I wouldn't fumble. I knew the game was over if I didn't cough it up. (On that being the secondary's first pick of the year) It was starting to get to us because we had dropped several in the first five games. We had been so close several times. We had two or three missed opportunities today, but we finally got one. I think that will give us all confidence that we can make plays when they come to us and we get an opportunity.

OG Andrew Wicker: (On Vandy) They had a very good defense. They gave us all we wanted. That's the same team that played toe-to-toe with Michigan, Alabama and Arkansas. They played hard and had a good defense that gave us problems. (On the win) I take my hat off to our defense and our special teams. They did a great job. Coach Rip did a great job with special teams and Coach O had the defense taking the ball away all day. Those two areas were key to us in the win. (On the Rebel offense) We were able to run the ball OK today, but our passing game continues to struggle. It didn't help that we lost one of our best playmakers (Dexter McCluster) on the opening kickoff. He's a big part of our gameplan.He's our main go-to guy and he was gone on the first play of the game. We had to adjust some things when he went down and we never got anything going in the passing game. Thank goodness the running game was going OK. (On the team's confidence) It's building now. It began today with our defense playing incredible. Sure, they gave up some big plays, but that's going to happen. They made up for giving up those plays by making a lot of big plays themselves. And I can't tell you how important special teams are and what a job they are doing. We got 14 points off a punt block and a turnover. Now all we have to do is get a little more consistent on offense and we'll be a threat to anyone we face.

Offensive Coordinator Dan Werner: (On the offense) The way our defense was playing, I was thinking 'run' all day. Vandy knew that too, but we were still able to run it enough. In calling the game, my philosophy was to be smart with the ball because of the way the defense was playing. We just wanted to find a way to win the game and we did that. I will never apologize for winning, but am I happy with the way the offense played? No. But we found a way to win. The one things I was proud of is that we were able to punch the ball in early on two opportuntiies off turnovers. I'm proud of that and proud of our guys battling. On the last drive, we had to make one first down, and we did it, so I was proud of that too. (On Brent Schaeffer) At one point, he was 3-3, but then he ended the half with a bad throw and never got back into his groove. He couldn't get back in his flow. We were also running the ball so much that he didn't get many opportunities to showcase, so to speak, his throwing. The last pick he threw, the defender just did a good job of jumping the ball. We had what we wanted, but their defender just made a good play. (On losing McCluster for the game) It hurt because there are a lot of things we like to do with Dexter, but Marshay Green and Michael Hicks came in and did a few good things. It didn't throw our whole gameplan out of whack, but it did hurt. (On BenJarvus Green-Ellis) He is a solid, steady guy and he's what our offense, right now, is all about. We are not a big play offense yet, so we have to take advantage of the guy who is producing - BenJarvus.

WLB Rory Johnson: (On his comfort level) I was very excited today, but I was a lot more comfortable this week than I was last week in my first start. I wasn't hesitating today like I was last week at times. I just wanted to go out there and hit someone. (On the strip) Their QB was holding the ball kind of loose and I saw I had a shot at it. I just took it from him and took off running the other way. I thought I had a shot to take it all the way, but I kind of stumbled. (On the defense's two-LB sets) We took out a linebacker and went to our nickel and dime packages. I think Coach O has confidence that Patrick and I will hold down things in the running game and we were able to now. (On his development) I made a step up today, but I've got a lot of things to learn still.

TB BenJarvus Green-Ellis: (On his day) As long as we get the win, that's all that matters. I thought Vanderbilt fit us real well. They were rarely out of position so you had to go make plays. Our guys up front played good, but so did vandy's DL. (On needing the win) We can build off this. All we need to do is keep working hard and put this one behind us. The clock hit 00:00 and I started thinking about the Crimson Tide. That's what you have to do on this level. Alabama always has a great defense. We will have to play our best game to this point to have success. We won this game, but we can't let our confidence get too high. We have to remember what we did to get the win and repeat it in practice, or do even more. We need to put this behind us and start working on Alabama right now.

DT Peria Jerry: (On his play) I felt pretty good until the end of the third quarter when my foot started bothering me a lot. They took me out then. I will just keep doing what ever I can to help this team. Why not? I'm not going to get much better until the season is over, so I may as well play through the pain the best I can and do whatever I can to help the team. I don't like watching my teammates battle and not try to help them win.

DB Coach Chris Rippon: (On the special teams) We are starting to gel on those teams now. Kids are starting to make plays and getting confidence in their ability to make plays. We were beat up today some, missing Dustin Mouzon and Dexter McCluster, but Carlos Suggs and Mico McSwain and some others came in and picked up the slack. It's getting contagious and that's the way it has to be. When special teams do well, it's great for everyone. As long as we stay aggressive, we will make plays. We won't make them all, but just a few big plays in special teams makes a huge difference, as you could see today. We won the special teams battle today and consequently we won the game. The kids are feeling it right now on the punt block team. There's energy and anticipation and excitement about it. That's a good feeling to build off of and to have. A big play on special teams motivates everyone and shifts games instantly. (On Clark's interception) A big play from a senior. We needed to make a big play there and he did it. Critical and I was pleased to see it for him. I expect him to make plays like that.

QB Brent Schaeffer: (On the game) We didn't get the yardage we thought we would, but we were able to capitalize on our defense's play and win the game. We felt we could be effective running the ball today and we know BenJarvus is a strength of this team, so we feed him. We are also run-blocking real well. We went with our strong point and it worked well enough for a win. (On the passing game) It's just not clicking. We're trying as hard as we can, but whatever reason it may be, it's not working right now. It could be chemistry, timing, poor decisions, bad throws. Whatever it is, we have to get it fixed and take some pressure off the running game. We will keep working it hard in practice and trying to get it sraightened out.

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