Ed. Note: The following is the text of a radio interview with Vanderbilt junior quarterback Jay Cutler, recorded July 27 at SEC Media Days. It was conducted by an unidentified, silvery-tongued radio announcer on "Radio Row", and it's not known whether or on what station the interview was aired.
Q: Jay, thanks for joining us. I know you look forward to these Media Days... all these questions and answers, and it's all very well scripted. It's a pretty easy job for the players, right?
Jay Cutler: Laughs Yeah. It's fun, though, to get out with the media and talk about our team and our teammates, and just give everyone a good idea of where we're at right now.
Q: Jay, I'm one of your huge fans, because everyone knows Vanderbilt's history. And sometimes you don't get excited about getting picked number two in the SEC, but when you can be picked number two to David Greene of Georgia, that has to be a high honor on this preseason All-SEC team.
Jay: Yeah, definitely. I feel good about that. I feel like I deserve that. I've worked hard the last two years. We obviously don't have the wins that all the other SEC programs do, but I feel like I've done a lot for this team, and I think I've performed well against all the other SEC teams.
Q: You're going into a season with a lot higher expectations. You've got a lot of SEC starters back. How do you see the season unfolding?
Jay: I think there are still a lot of question marks. But we feel confident. We have a lot of guys back, and we still have a lot of football to play. We still need to learn how to win. We won only two games last season, and we have to get that confidence up to where we know how to win. That was what we were lacking.
Q: But you've got a lot of talent back on offense for the first time in a long time.
Jay: Definitely. All the guys we've got back has gotten us a lot of media attention. Erik Davis at receiver, Norval McKenzie at running back, and our left tackle, Justin Geisinger... we feel good about our offense.
Q: I met one of your former players, Brett Beard, a few days ago. He's picking Vanderbilt to go to a bowl this year. Are you going to make Brett look smart, or what?
Jay: I'm gonna do everything in my power to make him look smart, hopefully. That's our goal right now. That's what our team has been working for all summer. We need to get off to a good start right off the bat, though, against South Carolina. It's going to be a tough game. If we get out of the gates well and get some confidence rolling, I think we can definitely do it.
Q: Don't you just love the SEC schedule makers? Two SEC games to start the season?
Jay: I don't know what they were thinking, but those are the cards we were dealt. We've got to deal with it, and we've got to prepare for each game. We've got a bye before the Ole Miss game, which is going to help, and we'll have three-and-a-half weeks to prepare for South Carolina. So we're going to have the time to prepare and get our team ready. We're confident in what we have to do, and we're going to go out and try to do it.
Q: Did a lot of your teammates stay on campus this summer?
Jay: Yeah, we've got 60 or 70 guys there. We've got almost everyone there. We had about 30 in May, and probably 50 or 60 through June and July. We've got about 10 or 12 freshmen who came in and moved in with some guys. So we've got everyone there. Everyone's working, and we're all working toward one goal right now.
Q: You've got some big guys up front, for whom I'm sure you're going to be buying steaks for every guy they keep off you, right?
Jay: Definitely. Those guys, we finally have some depth there, and we've got some experience. Justin Geisinger obviously is the big name on our line. He's probably one of the strongest guys in the nation. But I feel good about those guys. They know how I'll react in certain situations.
Q: Talk a little bit about Coach Johnson. What things have changed being under Coach Johnson?
Jay: It's been great. I think he was the perfect guy for the job. He's brought a winning atmosphere to Vanderbilt. He's a proven winner in the past, and knew exactly what it was going to take. He had to get adjusted to the SEC and the style of play and the players they have here. But I think now they're doing a great job of just getting used to the players, and bringing people in that they think can compete.
Q: Coach Johnson last week said, "Gosh, I have to be careful, the players are all smarter than I am. They remember everything you tell them!" What does it feel like to be going to the only private school in the SEC, to be playing with guys who are going to be lawyers and doctors one day?
Jay: It's special. It's fun. We've got a lot of players on our team though, and not all of them are there for school. Some of them do some other things, but they'd still be playing football. That's why we're bringing people in now, to win football games, and that's our main goal.
Q: Jovan Haye, on the other side of the ball, I'm sure is there to help you do just that. What a talent there, huh?
Jay: Oh, gosh! He's unbelievable. Led the league in sacks last year. Just an unbelievable player and a person. He's there all the time working on his craft, trying to get better. He's just a gentle guy. You're not going to find a better guy than Jovan Haye. He's just a great teammate.
Q: Jay, (obviously kidding) you gave us the record while ago that Vanderbilt was going to finish this year, what was it again? What was your prediction, how many games you said Vanderbilt was going to win?
Jay: (Smiling)I didn't predict anything! I didn't predict anything! That wasn't me. We're just going to do everything in our power to win every game.
Q: Anything you want to say to all those Vanderbilt fans out there?
Jay: Yeah... show up for that first game, and we're going to try to put on a show for you.