Johnson: Cutler could return 'fairly soon'

In his Monday press conference, Vanderbilt head coach Bobby Johnson re-affirmed that Benji Walker would start at quarterback Saturday against Middle Tennessee State (6 p.m., no TV). But Johnson also sounded pleased with the way Jay Cutler was handling his recent suspension due to violation of team rules.

In his Monday press conference, Vanderbilt head coach Bobby Johnson re-affirmed that Benji Walker would start at quarterback Saturday against Middle Tennessee State (6 p.m., no TV). But Johnson also sounded pleased with the way Jay Cutler was handling his recent suspension due to violation of team rules.

"I think Jay is handling it the best he can," said Johnson. "He is helping our defense get ready for this game and doing a good job.

"The way he is handling things, [his return] will probably be fairly soon."

Though Saturday will be the first start for Walker, Johnson expressed great confidence in the fourth-year junior signal-caller. "Benji is a quality quarterback," said Johnson. "I think he has been great through the whole process. When he was second-team, he prepared every week to try to get better, didn't pout. Now he is going to have an opportunity to put all that to work and I think he will do a great job."

Cutler, a redshirt freshman who had started all of the Commodores' first five games, and Grant Brigham, a freshman receiver, were suspended indefinitely one week ago by Johnson for violating team policies.

On Saturday Vanderbilt (1-4) faces MTSU (0-5), a team that defeated the Commodores 37-28 in the 2001 opener for both teams. Johnson said he looks forward to the game and stressed that the game is vitally important for the Commodores after last year's loss.

"I think our guys have a lot of respect for [MTSU's] program, and even though they have not won a game this year, they have played a very difficult schedule," said Johnson. "We are not letting that fool us. We have seen a good team on film, and we'll have to prepare hard to have a chance to win. We are certainly trying to do that right now."

To read the entire transcript of Monday's press conference, click here.


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