Bobby Johnson Weekly Football Press Conference
October 28, 2002

Opening Statement
“We were just very pleased we were able to win a football game, and we were extremely pleased by the fact that all the phases of our team had to perform well at the end of the game and in the fourth quarter. We had to execute a punt that we downed inside the five-yard line, the defense had to stop Connecticut, the offense then had to score. Then following a kickoff, we had to stop them on defense and we forced an interception. All those things had to work in order for us to win in that situation, and they did. I was very proud at the way our guys executed.”

Q: Do you think Alabama is now the best team in the SEC, especially with Georgia suffering several injuries?
“They are awesome on defense. Their front four, which is actually a front eight or nine because they keep running them in, are huge and they can run. They are pretty impressive. Offensively they know they are going to be taken care of on the defensive end, so they are going to be efficient, protect the ball and do things they have to do to win. They have weapons on offense to, but in most games they don’t have to use them.”

Q: Do you think the Alabama coaches have been able to use their NCAA sanction as a motivational tool?
A: “You are going to have to ask them (Alabama coaches) that, but I don’t know what they are telling them. They are telling them the right things. Obviously, they have some pride in that program. That is one of best programs in history over the years. Sometimes things work against you, so you use it to try and motivate. They are doing a good job at it.”

Q: In your game plan, are you preparing for Alabama to use both quarterbacks (Tyler Watts and Brodie Croyle)?
A: “They do a good job with both of those quarterbacks. They both are very efficient and explosive. We are basically preparing for the system. They are a little different, but they (Alabama coaches) pretty much try to do the same thing with both quarterbacks. We prepare for the system and don’t care which one plays. Both have shown that they can move the football and lead the team.

Q: How does it feel entering this week coming off a win instead of a loss?
A: “It’s a lot better coming in off a win. It’s just an attitude. You feel better at practice, you feel better going to class as a player, and you feel better as a coach when watching film early in the morning. It’s not nearly as bad. Then you watch the film and you see Alabama. That kind of dampens you a little bit. It is a lot better, though. We enjoyed it. I was proud of our guys. They didn’t fold and kept playing hard. Connecticut played a really good game, and they have big and fast guys, and if we didn’t play well we were going to lose the game.”

Q: Do you feel you are catching Alabama at the right time after its big win over Tennessee last weekend?
A: In theory, it would best time you could pick. After beating Tennessee, you look ahead and see Vanderbilt and their record and history, you wouldn’t expect them to be sky high.

Q: How does Alabama’s option attack differ from Vanderbilt’s?
A: “Not a lot. They do a very good job with it. They scheme it very well. They do a lot of the play-action pass off the option like we do. We are going to have to be well-prepared to stop their option, and hopefully they will have to be well-prepared to stop ours. When you haven’t seen the option for a while from the other end, it takes a while to get back to playing it.”

Q: Can you assess Jay’s (Cutler) play since coming back?
A: “I don’t think he ever lost it. While playing a very good Georgia team, I think he played well. Jay did some great things for us the other night. He is still making some mistakes on some calls and checks we have to make. He still makes freshman errors like trying to get the ball somewhere he shouldn’t try, but he made some great plays for us. I think Jay is just going to get better and better. He is big, he’s physical, he’s got a great arm, he can run, so we look to build on Jay’s talents. He is just one of those guys we are going to build on.”

Q: What did you think about the ESPN GameDay segment on the ‘No Cursing Policy’?
A: I think everybody liked it, but I haven’t seen it yet. From the reviews I’ve gotten, they said it was pretty well done. I think it made a little fun of us, but I think it is a good message to send. We’re proud of it. We’re not judging others, but we like the way we run our program.”

Q: What is the players attitudes heading into such a big game this weekend?
A: “Our guys haven’t backed away from anybody. I think they look forward to playing every game. After you come off a loss, you don’t have that pep in your step until Tuesday or Wednesday, but we had a good practice yesterday and they were concentrating. The fact that Alabama is having such a great year, us coming close last year to beating them, and us coming off a win will all help. That helps our preparation.”

Q: Is Alabama as physical a team as you have seen all season?
A: Their defense reminds you of those old Florida State defenses where you just can’t breathe. They just smother you, and you just hope not to go backwards. They are that tight. They can outscore you on defense if you are not careful.”



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