Vanderbilt-Florida Postgame Quotes

Oct. 1, 2016

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Vanderbilt – Florida Postgame Quotes
Oct. 1, 2016
Vanderbilt Stadium

Vanderbilt Head Coach Derek Mason
Opening comments:
“Congratulations to Florida. They played hard. It was a tough, hard-fought game. As I look at it, what I took away is that we struggled with penalties in the first half, and for us [that] can be rough. The run-game was productive versus one of the best fronts in the country. [Our running backs] did a good job of running physically and running hard. Our offensive line was solid in that area. Field position was huge. [Florida] probably started on their own 30 or 34. We started at our own 17. Their punter did a great job. That was the difference in the offense.”

On punting with under two minutes to go in the game:
“I heard the jeers when we punted. When you have three time outs and an opportunity to come out and go after a punt, that’s what you do. I’ve been in this game a long time and I’ve seen these situations come up. Leaders lead, and that’s what we did.”

On the team’s mentality:
“We had an opportunity to go out and compete – and beat – a Florida team ranked #23 in the country. We made mistakes like not catching the football. This team is young. We’ll take what there is to learn from this and move on. When we wake up in the morning, the sun will come up and we’ll make adjustments.”

On Vanderbilt’s offense stalling in the red zone:
“It’s all about execution. You’ve seen it before. It’s nothing new. We work all the time on these situations and how to be more efficient. You look at our first and second downs and it was much the same. We need effective plays to get us to reasonable yardage to convert on schedule. It all comes back to execution.”

On injured QB Kyle Shurmur:
“You know more than I do. I don’t know. I didn’t talk to him. All I can say is when I have a chance to talk to the doctors, I’ll let you know when it’s an opportune time to do so.”

On Vanderbilt backup QB Wade Freebeck:
“It was a tough spot for him. He didn’t have the full rhythm of the game. He came in and tried to service us in terms of running the offense. We’ll get him ready if we need to. He’ll look at this game and learn. We told him to go out and play. We told him to calm down and work through his progressions.”
On Vanderbilt’s late fumble recovery:
“It gave us great energy. It was a wave of emotions on that series. We tell these guys to defend hard and defend a blade of grass. We came up with a very key turnover, which is what we’ve been able to do all year.”

On Vanderbilt’s struggles with field position:
“It’s about getting off the field and making good decisions in the return game. We had a couple of poor decisions in the return game today. We’ll learn from this and we’ll get better.”

On Vanderbilt’s emotions:
“This group is playing to win. We’re not satisfied with moral victories. There are no moral victories in football. This team is growing up and playing extremely hard.”

RB Ralph Webb
On what is missing in the red zone to finish drives:
“Penalties for one, they are drive-killers. So we kind of got backed up a little bit with a couple of penalties. We just have to find a way, play smart football and not kill ourselves and kill drives.”

On how tough it is to drive down the field starting around the 10-yard line:
“It is a tough situation but we have the guys to get the job done. We just have to make sure we do our jobs, execute, and make plays when plays needed to be made.”

On how tough it was to run on the Florida defense:
“Yeah it was definitely tough sledding today. They have a great defense out there, we did our jobs, shout out to the offensive line, they did well in the running game today. Bailey McElwain did a great job blocking as far as fullback goes.”

LB Zach Cunningham
On how the defense feels about playing well the past two games against Florida:
“I would say, as far as playing well in that game, the defense is obviously happy about that and excited. After a game that is this close, losing a game this close, you always go back and think about what else you could have done better. The plays you messed up on, what more you could have done in order to get that win.”

On how big of a moment the fumble recovery was:
“Yeah, that was definitely a huge moment for us. It gave us a lot of moment as far as the whole team.”

On how much the defense has to do with affecting field position:
“I would say defense and special teams has a lot to do with that as far as how far we are letting them drive down the field before we have to make them punt. For the punt and kickoff team, that is a big deal for us.”

On how aggressive the defensive was on the last offensive possession for Florida:
“We were expecting run but the approach is the same as it was in the first half all the way to the end. To go out there, bring that tenacity, do our best, that was our approach the whole game.”

Florida Head Coach Jim McElwain
Opening Statement:
“First and foremost it’s just great to get a win. What was really cool was the amount of Gator fans here. I really think it had an effect on one of those third downs when they were coming out of their end zone. Credit our fans for showing up and supporting our guys the way they did.

“A wise man once said, `you even have to bring your ugly babies home from the hospital’ and that was ugly. In fact that might have been what someone told my dad when I was born. But I feel really good that our guys found a way to win. These guys in just the two years have defensed the heck out of us. They’ve got to do a great job in the offseason getting guys free and getting some explosive plays, because they did great at that. We missed some throws… it’s beyond me how you fumble the ball on a quarterback sneak at the end of the game. But it happened and yet our defense had to step up. They stepped up twice.

“Obviously (Jordan) Sherit was unable to go. The way it was I pregame, that was a game decision. As you know I will never put anyone out there that can’t go. In this case, Jordan was unable to do that. With Joey (Ivie) down, we had a bunch of new guys in there, new faces. I think this was a great game for them. I’m not saying they played particularly well, but it was a great opportunity to see themselves on film and learn how to control blocks. Offensively, their inside guys just beat the heck out of us and that was very disappointing. We’ll go back to work. We’ll get ready for a home game next week. Our guys came out ready to play. I don’t think the new start had anything to do with it, any impact. Our guys were excited, they ran onto the field.”

Were you interested to see how the team showed up this week:
“I think they showed some grit. Things weren’t going great, but there was never any panic. You get a sense on the sidelines a lot of times when things just aren’t clicking and working… our guys never got in that mode. They were encouraging and giving them credit. They had a heck of a plan and did what they had to do. They pounded it on us pretty good. I don’t know what (Ralph) Webb ended up with, but they guy is a good runner. And then they found some success on a counter. They put in a new little motion/fly deal that was actually pretty cool. “

On offensive performance:
“We didn’t overcome negative plays. And when we’ve been successful we haven’t had any negative plays. As I’ve talked before, our ability to overcome negative plays is huge. We didn’t do that today. The penetration really got after us.”

On next week’s QB decision:
“We will wait and see. Luke (Del Rio) again was ready in an emergency situation and we’ll make that decision and I’ll talk to him on Wednesday. We need to make sure we get the full week’s practice and see how it responds. He hasn’t been doing much on air stuff. There again, it’s a good thing that we have a couple of quarterbacks, that was a positive.”

On run defense:
“I thought we did some good things, and they did some formational shifts and motions. Give them credit. They knew where thy needed to get the shades and that kind of stuff and took advantage of it. I don’t think we played physical upfront on either side of the ball. I think they out physicalled us in all phases.”

QB Austin Appleby
On what it takes to sustain a successful offensive tempo:
“We have got to be able to sustain drives. When we win on first down and when we get our tempo going, we can be prolific, as everyone has seen. But when we don’t score, or we turn the ball over, we put our defense back out there early and that makes it tough.”

On playing against a Derek Mason defense:
“Hats off to a really well coached defense. Coach Mason did an unbelievable job with them. They were in their gaps all day, they played downhill and they made us earn it the long, hard way. There were no gimmies. They were going to let us take the five-yard completions all game, but they weren’t going to let us beat them over the top. It was a grind it out game where mental endurance was the name of the game. That’s the kind of game you expect when you play Vanderbilt.”

On the development of the Florida team the past few weeks:
“Everyone is learning and everyone is getting better. We have played two really good defenses the past two weeks and every week we’re just continuing to get better. I am confident with where we are at right now.”

CB Teez Tabor
On the team’s mood in the locker room after the game:
“It was a great mood. Coming out here against an SEC team, this is an SEC-road victory, so it’s a good mood. We’re going to swallow this one and get ready for LSU coming in.”

On his team’s need to improve its toughness going forward:
“We have to get a lot tougher. Give a lot of credit to Vanderbilt. Those guys came out and played hard and they controlled the line of scrimmage very well. (Vanderbilt) is still a good team, but we need to get a lot better.”