View from the locker room

VandyMania talked with head coach Bobby Johnson, junior defensive lineman Robert Dinwiddie, and sophomore quarterback Jay Cutler in the press room Saturday immediately after Vanderbilt's 45-7 loss to Auburn.


Head coach Bobby Johnson:

Q: Are you finding less room to run the option this year? Are teams better prepared for your option game?

A: It's only three games, so I don't know if there's a pattern there or not. There may be. We're running less option, that's probably why. We didn't execute the passing game very well today. There were some opportunities there that Jay either didn't see, or we didn't call the right play at the right time. It's a community effort, all the way to the coaches, offense defense. Even though I thought the defense played pretty well in the first half. We just got tired in the second half. We came out, stopped them and scored a touchdown, and then we had them in third-and-long. They threw the short pass that became a long pass. That's what happens some times when you try to take a chance. You try to put pressure on the quarterback, and he hit a little short pass and broke a couple of tackles.

Q: What did you think about Tuberville going for a touchdown on fourth-and-one?

A: I thought he should. What's he going to do, kick a field goal?

Q: You knew today was going to be another hot, sweaty day like the Ole Miss game. Could you talk about how you changed your substitution plan from the Ole Miss game?

A: We just tried to play as many as we could play. When you're trying to run defensive linemen in there, you get caught in some situations sometimes when you have the wrong people in there. But that's what you have to do. We would be much worse trying to play with four defensive linemen the whole game.

Q: How much did the penetration of Auburn's defensive linemen and linebackers disrupt your offense?

A: It was pretty good. They're pretty good on defense. They did a good job of being very aggressive but not opening themselves up for things like the reverse. We tried a reverse, we tried a screen. We were trying everything we thought we could try. We got a couple of options in there in the second half. But they're good on defense, and that set up their offense. I thought we were fortunate in the first half when they were up 14-0 and we fumbled, and we held them to a field goal.

Junior defensive lineman Robert Dinwiddie:

Q: You made the move from end to tackle this week. Talk about what that involved.

A: I was originally playing tackle before I got hurt. They had moved me to end due to lack of depth. I played there for a while, and just couldn't get into a groove. The opportunity came up when Ralph McKenzie got hurt last week. There was lack of depth there due to the fact we only had three defensive tackles that could play. They moved me inside, and I tried to do what I could.

Q: Was the plan that you were going to try to split snaps today?

A: No, the plan was, I moved to first-team on Wednesday. The plan was for me to come out and play like a starter.

Q: Your knees must be feeling pretty good then?

A: Well, I try to suck it up and play. There's always going to be some pain. I'm getting about like I'm 70 years old. They call me Old Man Dinwiddie! But it's tolerable, where I can come out and play, whereas it was intolerable before.

Q: It seemed like you guys were keeping the Auburn ground game under control in the first half, but in the second half they started wearing on you.

A: They did get their ground game going. I felt like they've been pretty frustrated the past couple of weeks. Georgia Tech and USC had all those sacks on them, and they were just eliminating all the offense they had. We felt like we could do the same thing, and we did, for about a quarter and a half. They wore down on us, and they had a good game plan. It wasn't really a matter of fatigue. It was a matter of them knowing the right spots to go to. We had a couple of guys out. We've had a couple of guys not execute-- me in particular. I probably messed up several plays. I don't think it was a matter of fatigue, because we do rotate so much. No guys were falling out back there, like in the Ole Miss game.

Sophomore quarterback Jay Cutler:

Q: Talk about your touchdown pass. That was a pretty spectacular play.

A: Erik [Davis] made a great play. We needed to get the ball to Erik, because we didn't get him the ball enough. He's a player. He makes big things happen.

Q: Was there anything about Auburn's defense that really surprised you as far as athleticism?

A: Dansby, Thomas, the DB's were pretty good. But they didn't create any problems for us we hadn't already seen. They did everything we thought they were going to do. They sat there in a stack and just waited for us. It's our fault. We didn't execute.

Q: Does this game sap a little of the offense's confidence? And what do you do this week to get that back?

A: Not too bad. We had max protection on that end. He was just out there five yards wide, rushing around the end. We just have to speed up a little bit, get rid of the ball a little quicker. But offensively they didn't just completely shut us down. I think we killed ourselves more often than not. We still have confidence. We have playmakers. Norval ran hard today. I don't think the first guy tackled him at all. So we're still confident.

Q: You took a lot of hits today. Are you OK?

A: Yeah, I'm fine. I'll take the hits if we can get rid of the ball. We weren't getting rid of the ball. We weren't getting a chance. They were swatting it down. So that was kind of frustrating. Top Stories