Views from the locker room

VandyMania talked to Vanderbilt head coach Bobby Johnson, sophomore free safety Kelechi Ohanaja, senior punter Abtin Iranmanesh, and sophomore defensive tackle Ralph McKenzie in the press room immediately after Vanderbilt's 27-8 loss to Georgia.


Vanderbilt head coach Bobby Johnson:

Q: When it was 10-2, it looked like you guys might be in field goal range. You decided to go for it on fourth down. What was the thinking there?

A: I think it would have been about a 50-yarder-- I think. I'm not sure about that.

Q: Do you gain some respect around the country playing close teams tight like this?

A: Well, I don't know if it's respect, or maybe people see we're getting better. I don't know. That's not the reason we're playing--we're playing to win. We aren't doing that right now. But again, I'm a realist. I think we're getting better. As long as we continue to get better and not go backwards, we're going to practice hard. Our guys practiced hard this week, and they'll practice hard this week.

Q: Why did you try for a field goal at the end of the game.

A: We just wanted to give the field goal kicker some practice. Obviously it wasn't going to put us over the top. I can do math better than that. (Laughter)

Q: It looked like you were content to run the ball rather than pass later in the game. Was that the gameplan, or dictated by what they showed you?

A: It was the gameplan. We didn't want to be dropping back a bunch of times with David Pollack rushing in there and having a chance for negative yards. We got it in some third-and-shorts. But third-and-long is too tough for us with two freshmen offensive linemen. There's just not a future in that.

Sophomore free safety Kelechi Ohanaja had his first career interception vs. Georgia.

Q: Talk about the pressure that you were able to get on David Greene.

A: We saw a lot of the teams that had success on Georgia, they put pressure on them. So we wanted to try to duplicate that philosophy.

Q: How exciting is that, when you come in here, you shut them out at halftime, and you're leading? You've just shredded one of the best offensive lines in college football?

A: It was exciting... it would have been a lot more exciting if we'd have been able to duplicate it for four quarters rather than two. After the first couple of snaps, we knew that if we played our game, we'd be good.

Q: Tell us about your interception.

A: Basically I just dropped back in coverage, and read his eyes. He threw it to the tight end, and I just jumped it.

Q: Do you think this was the defense's best performance?

A: At times it looked like it, but at the same time, we didn't finish it for four quarters. I wouldn't want to place the word best on it if we didn't do it for four quarters.

Q: You used to be a running back in high school... did you get the old running back look in your eyes when you made the interception?

A: Yeah, it came back for just a little bit, but then I realized, it's not me! So I ran out of bounds.

Senior punter Abtin Iranmanesh kicked an 80-yard punt, and had two other punts downed inside the 5-yard-line:

Q: Talk about the 80-yarder...

A: It was a good punt in that situation, got a good roll, and that's about all you can really say about it.

Q: Then you also had two you nailed inside the 5-yard-line.

A: It's basically the same thing. You hit some good ones, you hit some bad ones.

Sophomore defensive tackle Ralph McKenzie sacked Georgia quarterback David Greene in the end zone for a safety.

Q: Tell us about the safety in the first half.

A: We had them kind of backed up field-position wise. You didn't really expect to get the safety in that situation-- it just happened that way. I stepped by my man and took what they were giving me. Everybody was doing their job. If I hadn't done it, I'm sure somebody else would. There were a bunch of guys back there.

Q: Does it feel good to have done that against one of the top teams and quarterbacks in the nation?

A: You look at each team you play each week, and you try to play them with the same intensity from week to week. You just take them one at a time. You try not to let any hype get to you. You just try to play your game and do your best.

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