Vanderbilt Head Coach Bobby Johnson Weekly Press Conference
November 18, 2002
Well, its (2002 season) flown by. It is the last week
and we are getting ready for Tennessee. We are seeing who
we have available, healthy and ready to go. We will get them
out to practice and ready to fight the Vols. We have a lot
of work to do because they are a very impressive team on defense
and on offensive when their players are healthy. They are
sort of like us in that have not had a lot of players for
a while. I guess both teams are going to be figuring out who
is going to play this Saturday and try to work off of that.
Q: Like the Alabama game, when you prepared for two quarterbacks,
are you preparing for much the same thing with Tennessee?
A: I think so. Tennessee is different when (Casey) Clausen
is in the game and they (Tennessees offense) try to
do different things. We are going to have to react and adjust
our game plan defensively no matter who is in there. I think
it is a big question mark.
Q: Does the history of this rivalry play a big role in your
preparation this week?
A: Yes. It is a rivalry, but we havent held up
our end of it lately to make it a better one. It is a big
game for the people of Tennessee, and especially the Vanderbilt
fans who always look to try and win that football game. This
would be an important step for our program.
Q: Have you kept up with the news on whether or not Clausen
will play this weekend?
A: You will not get any news out of Knoxville about
who is going to be playing. We are going to have to prepare
to play against either quarterback (Clausen or James Banks),
and that is how we are going to approach it.
Q: With all the injuries your team has dealt with, are you
kind of glad the season is coming to an end?
A: No. I wish we could keep on playing to tell you the
truth. I think our guys are getting better and a little more
confident. I wish I had everyone available and we could start
over. There has been some bad luck, but those are things you
have to fight through. We are not alone with that. You cant
say that the injuries are the cause of our record, but they
have had a lot to do with it. I sure would have liked to have
gone through the season with all the players we had at the
Q: What are you going to do at the tailback position, especially
if Kwane (Doster) is not available?
A: Since we are not practicing today, we are going to
see how Kwane is feeling at the end of the day with treatment.
I think Matthew Tant will be back. He was feeling a little
bit better with his back. Right now it would be Tant and (Jason)
Bourque. That doesnt mean we will not be looking at
Q: Would you go to players at other positions to play tailback?
A: Probably not, but were working on it right
now to figure that out. We are trying to see what Tennessee
does on defense. I would imagine we are going to throw the
ball a lot more this week.
Q: With all the problems Tennessees offense has had
this year, their defense has been very consistent. What are
your thoughts about their defense?
A: Yes, they have been very consistent. Tennessee is
very talented defensively. Mississippi State had a hard time
moving the football. You just try to figure out ways to keep
a drive alive for 70 or 80 yards. Its going to be kind
of hard to imagine it because you dont see many teams
doing it to them.
Q: Is the task quite daunting since your team could be extremely
A: We dont have many weapons right now except
we do have some good receivers. Hopefully we can protect the
quarterback long enough, which has been our biggest problem
with our passing game. We are using five offensive linemen
and thats it.
Q: Would you rather have played the Tennessee game at home
then at the Nashville Coliseum?
A: Obviously, we like playing in our own stadium. I
certainly understand why we are playing in the Coliseum, and
if it helps our athletic program thats what we want
to do. I talked to the players a little bit before the season
about that, and I think they get a kind excited about going
down to the Coliseum. Its a great facility, and I dont
think its going to take away anything from the game.
Q: What lessons have you learned in you first season as coach?
A: I have learned that if you hang in there and do things
the right way, you have a chance to win some of these games.
I think weve come close to winning some big games, but
we havent gotten them. We have played some pretty good
teams to some pretty close scores. We have been very competitive
and have shown we can play in this league. We just need to
get a little more depth and talent, while having the same
type of attitude and drive next year or the year after when
we have those kind of players.
Q: Are you encouraged by the play of the secondary despite
all the injuries you have had at the position?
A: Weve played fairly well there against Florida
and Kentucky, which are two teams I felt had excellent quarterbacks.
I think their game plans were to run the ball against us,
and I feel Kentucky did a good job. I dont think they
really tested us in the secondary, but we did make some big
plays. I have been very pleased with the way they have been