View from the Locker Room

Vanderbilt's Matt Clay and Dominique Morris spoke to the media after the 14-13 loss to Kentucky. The two players discussed reasons for the Kentucky comeback and the overall morale of the team going into the season finale against the Tennessee Volunteers.


Media: Do you get a feel on the line that maybe there more pressure on you guys than everybody else? What was the mindset when they pulled ahead there?

Matt Clay: Our job is to stop them no matter where they get the ball. We go out and try to stop them every play. Personally, I thought it was a bad call on the touchdown but hey, the ref said it was a touchdown, it's a touchdown.

Media: Did Kentucky change anything in the second half or do anything different?

Matt Clay: The first half we thought they hit us with their best shot, they came out running flip plays, what we call little trick plays. They didn't really run straight ahead at us. They ran strings, we snuffed the strings out. We played our game plan, we just had bad breaks in the second half. They blocked a punt. We got what I feel is a bad call, we gave up 14 points. There isn't anything else that can be said. We played hard.

Media: Why did you think it was a bad call?

Matt Clay: On the replay you could see the receiver pull back on our cornerback, Dominique Morris. The back judge had a bad angle on it and all he did was call "touchdown". I felt it was pass interference.

Media: Matt, how does this team get over losing games in the variety of ways you guys have lost them?

Matt Clay: You never get used to losing. We come out everyday in the mindset that we are going to stop them. From 75 to 95 percent of the game we do stop teams. It's just that little 5 percent where we give up a play like the long run and that little 5 percent hurts us.

Media: Seems like it all comes in the fourth quarter, huh?

Matt Clay: I wouldn't really say it all comes in the fourth quarter. It builds up, once they get a good play it's starts going again. We stopped them in the fourth quarter on fourth and ten on our ten yard line and then they come out, we have pressure on the quarterback, and he throws it up and they get a touchdown. Our job is to stop them, we gave up a big play but our motto is "One play at a time", so the first play doesn't affect the next plays.

Media: What is the mindset of this team right now as you go into the Tennessee game?

Matt Clay: The mindset right now is that we are going to go home, we've got a nice little ride to think about it and then tomorrow it's over. Tomorrow we get ready for UT.

Media: How do you put this one out of your mind?

Matt Clay: You never get used to losing. You can't put it out of your mind but you can't cry over spilt milk, my Mom always told me that, the game is over with so you've got to move on to next week.

Media: When you look at your current record, 2-8, do you ever feel like screaming, "I know we are better than that!"?

Matt Clay: I try to keep my composure, I'm a senior, I don't want the young guys to see me lose it, but when I'm by myself, yes, sometimes it gets hard.

Media: After this game there seemed to be more anger out there, Jay throwing his helmet, Jovan screaming, do you sense more of an angry feel than just negatives?

Matt Clay: As a team, we do it every week, you guys just never see it. We usually just keep to our self. Jovan Haye is a great player and he hates losing. Everybody on the team hates losing. It hurts when you lose a game 14-13 when you know you should have won.

Media: What would it mean to you and your fellow seniors to defeat the University of Tennessee next week?

Matt Clay: That would be a great feeling. Defeating anybody [laughter] would be a great feeling. We look at UT like every other team. The last few years we haven't done too good against UT. Our motto right now, I don't know the game plan or anything about UT or what we are going to do against them, take this right home and go to practice tomorrow and get ready for UT.

Media: What are you going to do when you get back to Nashville tonight?

Matt Clay: I'm going to go out to dinner with my Mom and girl friend.


Media: Is there anyway to block that out (the blown leads) and not just think about that and just . . . go for it?

Dominique Morris: There's a way, I think, but as a team you have to feel that way. You can't have one, two or three people thinking that way, obviously we have a lot of people thinking that way but the whole team has to feel that way and the whole team has to work together to finish games and to finish plays.

Media: What's the mood of this team right now? What's its mindset?

Dominique Morris: I want to say that we are positive but we are not. Our heads are down, it's towards the end of the season, and it's hard for us. The coaches are doing all they can to keep our heads up, I admire them for that. But as a person, [inaudible], our parents are hurting. As players, we don't know what it is, we don't know the answer.

Photos by Don Yates copyright 2004

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