Greg Zolman meets the press, Part II
Editor's note: At the recent SEC Media Days in Birmingham, Vanderbilt quarterback Greg Zolman was met with rapid-fire questions from print reporters from all across the South. Below is the text of some of those questions, along with Greg's answers.
Q: A couple of SEC teams are probably about to be put on probation. Do you think that that damages the school's reputation if you're looking at that school as a recruit?
A: I think cheating is definitely wrong, and I hate to see that. We're competing not only against the best football players every week but the best players every day in the classroom. It's unfortunate, whether it be getting guys in who aren't eligible, or giving guys cars, whatever. Playing by the rules is what you need to do, and I think it is a blemish on your program's record.
Q: What would you say the highlight of your career is?
A: It was two years ago, an overtime win over Ole Miss, at Ole Miss, a big win for our program. We need to win some big road wins this year.
Q: How has the talent level and sophistication of Vanderbilt's passing game changed since you came in 5 years ago.
A: Any time you come into a new unfamiliar offense, you're going to run into problems. Having the same offense the last 4 years, being able to fine-tune things instead of having to revamp your offensive scheme is only going to help us this year. Any time you have a young player learning a new system, you're doomed to fail. Hopefully with the experience we have and the understanding of the offense, we can produce.
Q: Woody's opened it up, hasn't he?
A: He has. We run a 2-back offense and spread it out and throw the ball around. It's fun to play in.
Q: The SEC's not blessed with a lot of experienced quarterbacks this year. Do you think you might have the best year of them all?
A: Hopefully. I just want to produce and get our team some victories. I do have a lot of experience, and it's nice to be able to just play football and not worry about things like the crowd.
Q: Is All-SEC a goal of yours?
A: Definitely, I think it should be everybody's goal. I just want to play within myself.
Q: You're about to be the all-time Vandy passing leader. Is that something that's important to you?
A: No. Those kind of records are very nice, but I just want to play hard every Saturday. Having 8 wins would be a lot better than being the all-time passing leader. But it would be great, and I'll try to enjoy that after the season.
Q: How long has it been since you played a position other than QB?
A: I started playing QB in peewee league. My dad being a football coach, he always said that QB is where the money is (laugh). You have a chance to decide the game when you get the snap.
Q: If you'd not gone to Vanderbilt, where would you have gone?
A: I was choosing between Vanderbilt, Northwestern & Stanford. I wanted to be a doctor when I came to Vanderbilt, was really looking for the best possible school in the biggest conference I could play in, and Vanderbilt gave me the chance to play right away. I ended up starting my redshirt freshman year. But Northwestern, some of my friends went up there, I probably would have gone there.
Q: You've seen some of your teammates go on to the pros and make a lot of money. Is that something that you aspire for now?
A: I'm definitely going to do everything I can to get to the NFL. I think I have a chance if I stay healthy, but if that doesn't happen, I was fortunate to get into Owen Business School this fall, and I'll have my M.B.A. to fall back on.
Q: When did you decide you didn't want to be a doctor?
A: When I got that C+ in chemistry my freshman year (laugh)! That kind of decided it for me.
Q: You are a fifth-year senior, you know the offense as well as anyone, but was there anything the coaches set down for you to work on in the offseason?
A: Just making right decisions and delivering an accurate ball. I spent a lot of time in the film room. In the spring I tried to work on my mechanics and making myself a more accurate passer.
Q: In the 7-on-7 drills this summer, have any of the receivers besides Stricker really stepped up their game?
A: I think M. J. Garrett and Anthony Jones have done a great job competing at wideout opposite Dan. Both have really gotten in shape and improved their hands. Ronald Hatcher and Chris Young have really worked hard in the slot. Ronald's really improved and he will be a big help this year.
Q: Will you be looking for those other guys more instead of relying on Dan?
A: We've talked a lot about how those other guys have to produce in order for us to be successful. Teams really keyed on Dan because we didn't have anybody else that consistently produced for us. They're going to have to carry the load.
Q: Benji Walker is your understudy. How's he looking? Should fans worry if something were to happen to you this year?
A: Benji is a great athlete. He's fortunate enough to have someone in front of him who's played, so he doesn't get thrust into the fire the way David Wallace and I were as freshmen. I think he'll be ready to take over at the end of the year.
Q: You've been there five years now-- does it seem that long?
A: It's been a long road, but I've learned a lot. I've enjoyed traveling. I've developed as a player. The lessons I've learned and my football experience is really going to help me later in life.