Media Monday with James Franklin

Nov. 25, 2013

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Monday Musings: Taking Care of Business in Non-Conference Play

Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin, defensive end Walker May, quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels and wide receiver Jordan Matthews met with the media Monday to discuss the Commodores’ next game against Wake Forest. Saturday’s contest will be televised on SEC TV at 11:21 a.m. CT.

Vanderbilt Head Coach James Franklin
Opening Comments:
“In a unique situation we were able to win the game, while losing the turnover battle and losing the penalty battle. We’ve done a great job all season of protecting the ball, especially when it comes to fumbles and ball security, so that was a little bit of a change for us.

“I’m proud of being 1-0 this week. It’s a big accomplishment for us and we’re excited about it. It’s a whole lot easier to make corrections and learn from mistakes after a win, and we’re going to do that.

“I thought the 92-yard drive at the end of the game was huge. Offensively, guys stepped up when we needed them the most and that really describes our team. Defensively, I thought it was our best third down performance the season.”

On Jordan Matthews:
“I cannot state stronger how we feel about Jordan Matthews. He is deserving of any honors that he may get. Some of his accomplishments: he’s going to graduate in three and a half years with a degree in economics, he’s currently caught 96 passes for 1,209 yards, he’s the SEC leader in receptions, the SEC leader in receiving yards, career receiving yards, SEC leader with 17 100-yard games, first player in SEC history to have back-to-back 90-catch seasons, he needs four catches to become the first player in SEC history to have 100 receptions in a single season, has caught one pass in 32 games–the longest active streak in the SEC. I just can’t state strongly enough whatever awards or accomplishments he’ll be able to gain this year are well deserved. What he has been able to accomplish week in and week out has been impressive.”

On team giving back Monday morning/Thanksgiving week:
“This morning the team decided they wanted to get up and jump on a bus and do a community service project. I’m very proud of that. The other thing that they decided they wanted to do was take some of their per diem and donate a percentage of their money to a local charity.”

On Wake Forest:
“Their nose guard is unbelievably active. They have a very experienced corner back and defensive line. Their defensive tackle/nose guard [Nakita Whitlock] may be my favorite player in all of college football. I love watching this guy play, he’s like the Tasmanian Devil. He has nine sacks and 17 tackles for a loss this year and that’s playing at zero nose 5-foot-11, 250 pounds. He’s unbelievably active.”

On Senior Day:
“We’re really excited about getting to honor these seniors that have the chance to go down in Vanderbilt history as the most successful senior class. I think it’s important that we send these guys out the right way and that’s how we play on the field.”

Success of the Senior Class:
“We have not addressed that. I think they’re aware of that obviously. That’s one of those things we will talk about after the season. From a fan and university perspective, I want everybody to understand the hard work and sacrifice these seniors have made to lay a foundation for this program for years and years to come. I know myself, and the rest of the coaching staff, couldn’t be more appreciative of the commitment that these young men have made.

“They’ve been huge. I think experience counts. I think having veteran guys who have been there and done that has allowed us to take our time and develop younger guys and work them into the system when they’re ready. This is still a group who has seen both sides. Those guys have a really unique perspective because they were here in some of the slim years and now they are reaping the rewards of their hard work and success. I think they do a great job of giving the young guys perspective on facilities, on the past and be appreciative of what is going on. I think that is an interesting perspective that we need on our team.”

On emotions of Senior Day:
“The players make fun of me all the time because I get emotional. We are very, very proud of them and excited for their futures and the impact they are going to make on society, but you also hate to see them go. It’s a catch-22–you’d like to keep them forever, but they’ve served their time, had great careers and it’s time to move on.”

On the two quarterback system:
“I like the mobility, the toughness and play-making Patton Robinette brings to our offense. I like the experience and the arm talent of Austyn Carta-Samuels. I thought it worked well for us last week against Tennessee.”

On the targeting penalty:
“The game has changed. We need to protect our sport and the best thing we can do is what we are doing. We clearly told our players we are going to hit from chest down. Anything from the chest up is in the gray area and you have a chance to get thrown out of the game. I want to give our team the best chance to be successful and succeed and that’s by playing by the rules.”

Wide Receiver Jordan Matthews
On playing last game in Vanderbilt Stadium:
“It’ll be pretty cool. I’ve been here for a while with a lot of these guys. I’m just going to go out there and have some fun playing football. I really don’t sit and think about it. I know we have a game to play against Wake Forest and my goal is going to be to help the team win. That stuff may hit me later on, but now I don’t dwell on it.”

On career at Vanderbilt:
“I’m so at peace with everything because of what I’ve been able to accomplish here with my teammates. I didn’t want to look back and say what if this, what if that. Me and my teammates have accomplished so much, so when it comes to Saturday we’re just going to go out there and try to go 1-0.”

Defensive End Walker May
On playing well late in the season:
“I would credit our strength and conditioning coaches. They’ve done a great job preparing us physically to play these games late in the year. We take a great sense of pride in playing well late in the year.”

On success of the senior class:
“Yeah that is something that we’ll take in once the season is over. Right now we are focused on beating Wake Forest, everything else can wait.”

Quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels
On taking the ball 92-yards to win the game against UT:
“The sense of confidence is at an all-time high. Taking the ball 92-yards in that environment was awesome and exciting. It just speaks to our preparation week in and week out, the coaches do a great job of getting us ready.”

On running the two quarterback system:
“I think it worked well. It presents different looks, and they ran a different defense when Patton was out there. It’s exciting. Our coaches are constantly playing a chess match with other coaches. Patton [Robinette] and I, along with the rest of the team, want to do whatever it takes to win.”