VandyNation Talks to the Players

VandyNation talked to Greg Zolman, Justin Purkey, M. J. Garrett, Harold Lercius and Dan Stricker regarding the loss to MTSU, and the upcoming game with Alabama.

GREG ZOLMAN:

VN: Tell me your thoughts on losing to MTSU after putting so much time and energy into preparation for the game.

Greg: It's extremely disappointing.  We worked so hard to get ready for this game.  We just came up short.  But if I know this team, we'll be ready to bounce back and play Alabama.

VN: What's your role in seeing that the team does bounce back?

Greg: I think it's the seniors' job to make sure that people aren't dragging their heads.  It's only the first game.  We have a long season left.  We're going to work hard to get better.  It's unfortunate, but it's not going to hold this team back.  We've lost a whole lot of games around here, and we're going to handle this one.

VN: Do you think this team is stronger mentally than last year's team? Can you get things back on the right track?

Greg: We don't have any other choice.  You have to.  We're going to work hard to correct the mistakes we made against MTSU, and prevent this from happening again.

VN: Do all the dropped passes take a toll on you after a while?

Greg:  I try not to think about that.  I can't control that.  I just try to block that out and move on.  The receivers have worked hard to improve their hands, and they need to keep working.

VN: Your offensive line protected you very well.

GZ: I can't say enough good things about those guys.  They did a great job.  I'm proud of them.  We had a first-year starter over there at left tackle-- he did a great job.  That offensive line kept us in the game.

VN: Did you think M.J. Garrett was capable of exploding like that?

GZ: We've worked really hard to improve at the wide receiver position.  M. J. had a great game against Tennessee last year, and he just picked up where he left off.  Anthony's done a great job there too.  We just need to keep on getting better.

VN: Any thoughts on that fourth-down play when you came up a couple of inches short?

GZ: I thought it was a bad spot.  We were told that my waist was over.  We've kind of come to expect that bad calls and thing will happen, and we've just got to work that much harder to overcome them.

JUSTIN PURKEY:

VN: The snap in the MTSU game that went over your head... any ideas as to what went wrong there?

Justin: We had a little confusion there about who was the snapper.  I should have called a timeout to make sure everything was OK, but I didn't.  We went ahead with it.  It was a bad snap, and I couldn't get a hold of it.  I had to pounce down on it so they wouldn't take off with it.

VN: One of the extra points was also a high snap, but you were able to pull that one down for the kicker very well.

Justin: I got a hold of that one.  That's my job.  I'm supposed to pull it down every time.

M.J. GARRETT:

VN: You appeared to get hurt in the MTSU game, and you went out but later came back in.

M.J.: I had a little sprain in it.  We went in and worked on it, and I was able to come back in and tough it out for the rest of the half.  I had X-rays done on it, and they knew that I could still play with it, so it's nothing too serious, I hope.

HAROLD LERCIUS:

VN: Tell me about the play where you were called for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Harold: They threw a flag for it.  I guess I just took it too far.  It was my fault.. that's all I can say.  It was a big hit, and it kind of charged me up.  But I've got to keep my composure.

VN: Woody said he thought the play where you were called for a critical pass interference was a bad call.

Harold: I felt like I was going for the ball.  I thought we were both going for the ball, and I don't see how you can call interference on that one.  But I can't say anything about it now.

VN: How tough was this loss, losing game one of your senior year?

Harold: All I can say is, this hurts a lot.  It really hurts.  We've just got to bounce back for Alabama.  We've got to bounce back.

DAN STRICKER:

VN: There were a lot of mental lapses against MTSU-- dropped passes, silly penalties-- I know you were ready to play, but how do you account for those?

Dan: There's really no excuses for mental lapses.  Dropped passes-- that stuff happens.  It was the first game, and maybe you expect a few more in the first game.  But there's really no excuse for it.

VN: What do you as a captain do to pull your team out of the funk after a loss like this?

Dan: Well, the only place for us to go is up!  That's the way we've got to look at it.  We've just got to re-instill the hope that we had.  This team has a lot of energy, and positive charisma.  After a hard loss, there's got to be a light out there at the end of the tunnel.  We've just got to find it.


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