Vanderbilt-Ole Miss Postgame Quotes

Nov. 19, 2016

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Vanderbilt — Ole Miss Postgame Notes
Nov. 19, 2016
Vanderbilt Stadium

Vanderbilt Head Coach Derek Mason
Opening Comments:
“We did a good thing in our athletic department. We had a drive for tickets for kids that ended up with over 500 tickets given out. That’s been a real passion of mine – kids. The athletic department gave it outstanding support. Our fans were great tonight.

“As we look at that muffed punt that put us in a tough spot early to go down 10-0, we were able to regroup. To be able to get to the middle was important. In practice, we told our team to get to the middle. It was about regrouping. We hit strong after that.

“Our offense had a great rhythm. Defensively, we did a great job on third down.

“We wanted to put pressure on their quarterback. We had a great game plan for him and our guys executed it well.

“We had a great third quarter where we scored 17 points. That put the game out of reach. In all three phases of play, we were solid. To go 6-for-6 in the red zone is outstanding.

On Vanderbilt RB Ralph Webb:
“He went over 1,000 yards for the second straight time. The only other person to do that was Zac Stacy. He’s 17 yards away from setting the new school record.”

On going for it on 4th and Goal from the one in the third quarter:“I weighed it out, but in the end common sense took over. We needed points tonight and I was going to take every opportunity to score. I thought that would be a back-breaker in the game, and it was.”

On Highlight-reel catches by Vanderbilt receivers and tight ends:
“They made some great plays. Our receiving corps was the better receiving corps tonight. They gave us chances to be successful. They’ve been maligned all year, so it’s good to see them have a breakout game.”

On having Vanderbilt baseball coach Tim Corbin talk to the team:
“I invited him. He’s been a good friend of mine. It’s good to get a perspective of someone who has been at Vanderbilt a while and knows what it takes to be successful here. You could tell it meant a lot to our players. I saw some of our guys respond to him… The big point he made was not to be fearful of success. Give it everything you have and let go. Play the game you love. Play it to the best of your ability.”

On earning bowl eligibility with sixth win next week vs. Tennessee:
“That’s what we’re going to focus on. We’re going to do well and prepare and try to win one more game. We’ll take it one day at a time. We still have one game left to play. These guys played some of their best football tonight.”

On stopping Ole Miss QB Shea Patterson:
“He’s a heck of a quarterback. He’s very talented. He extends plays, but we did a great job of plastering routes… We knew they would come out with tempo. We talked about not giving up explosive plays. 10-yard plays, 12-yard plays, those are fine. We gave him limited opportunities down field.”

LB Jordan Griffin
On preparing for Ole Miss QB Shea Patterson…
“We worked all week on QB scramble drills as far as him getting out of the pocket. Us doing that extra work in practice paid off for us in the game, so shout out to Coach Mason for preparing us for the game.”

S Arnold Tarpley
On the defense’s feeling regarding the offense’s performance…
“The feeling was great. Throughout practices, they’ve shown that they can do that at any time, so it didn’t come as much of a surprise to us. We were ecstatic, but each and every individual play for offense, defense and special teams, we just wanted to come back to our center and attack every single play.”

LB Zach Cunningham
On his fumble recovery in the third quarter…
“I wasn’t expecting it at all. It kind of ricocheted towards me and I picked it up, put my head down trying to get it into my hands; it really came up on me out of nowhere. It was definitely a huge momentum boost for us.”

QB Kyle Shurmur
On how the offense opened up after the long pass to Sherfield…
“It was great to get down there. We were down 10-0 at the time and it was just a great momentum changer. It was great to get that play and on the next play, Ralph punched it in so it was great. We just needed to respond to it on that drive.”

On how the night his receivers had…
“Yeah it was awesome, it was fun to watch. Throw it in their area code and some of those guys I don’t know how brought it down, it was great, it was really fun.”

On whether he saw catches like that in practice…
“Yeah, you always get surprised when someone goes up or lays out or something like that and you see it here in there but it was great to see it in the game.”

On how it felt to score 31 unanswered points tonight…
“We had a great talk yesterday by coach Corbin and he told us never to get too high or too low. He had a great metaphor for it and I think that really hit home for us. The biggest thing for us is to never get too high or too low whether we have a loss or a big game or whatever, just stay the course.”

On what it would mean for this team to get to a bowl game…
“We talk all the time about being 1-0, taking it one step at a time. That is a goal in mind at the end of the year but at this point today, this week we were just focused on being 1-0 and beating Ole Miss. When we wake up tomorrow, we are going to watch film and we are going to get ready to be 1-0 next week and beat Tennessee. We are just trying to take it one step at a time.”

On how confident they felt on fourth down at the goal line…
“I think it was huge, I have all the confidence in the world. Our lineman, Ralph, any running back that is in there and I know coach did too. I was just excited and wanted to punch it in and it turned out to be a huge turning point in the game. Anytime you can get seven instead of three, it is huge.”

On how much influence you have in a decision like that…
“I don’t know I hope so. After the play, I said thanks for trusting us there. He has trusted us all year but that was a huge point in the game. He put faith in us and we delivered and that was huge.

On how much the jet sweeps have helped the offense…
“Yeah, anytime you have misdirection or fly sweep you always keep the defense on their toes, making sure they maintain their gap integrity. It has been a great part of our offense that we have done all year.”

OL Will HoldenOn how they responded to the player getting ejected from Ole Miss…
“To be honest, we never want to get too high or too low. We knew what happened so we just took it one play at a time and punched it in at the end.”

On how important is it for the offensive line to get Ralph the record…
“As an offensive lineman, we take pride in that. I say it all the time when he gains a yard, we gain a yard. We love blocking for him, it has been great. Since the start of the season we are ready to finish it off with him.”

On whether it was a surprise to score 38 points in an SEC game…
“Coming off a week like last week, we set out early to have a goal of 450 yards total yards. That was our goal and we weren’t going to come short of that and I think we got 481 total yards. So it is just a estimate to those guys up front so I love playing”

RB Ralph Webb
On whether the momentum different tonight scoring 31 unanswered points…
“Yeah that was just us staying true to ourselves and staying the course. Not getting overwhelmed falling behind 10-0, just trusting in the coaches and trusting in the play calling.”

On whether his ankle is feeling better…
“Yeah, I am feeling a lot better.”

On whether he has Zac Stacy’s record in his mind…
“It is lingering around but most importantly, just going out and getting a win with these fellas. Just trying to get a win at the end of the day.”

On what goes through your mind on that play at the goal line…
“I am ready, I am always ready to go. The coaches trust in me, the offensive guys trust in me to get the job done. I just went out there and did what I was supposed to do.”

Ole Miss Head Coach Hugh Freeze
Opening Statement…
“I frequently get asked by a lot of young guys that want to get into coaching what my advice would be and I tell them all the time, `if you could do anything besides this, you need to do it.’ It (coaching) is a brutal roller coaster on you and your family, and the young men that you work with. The last two weeks have been a great example, the emotional highs of winning on the road, and then the disappointment of being out coached tonight and out played, they wanted it more… every facet of the game. Coach (Derek) Mason, I have great respect for him. He had his kids ready to go tonight and we didn’t. It’s frustrating and the silver lining, if there is one, is that we get to go to the Egg Bowl next week at home to get bowl eligible, and that’s where our focus will turn.”

Vanderbilt gaining momentum following Ole Miss’ 10-point lead…
“We got beat on a double move that gave them a big score, and we never found the rhythm again offensively. I don’t know how many drops we had tonight, it had to be approaching 10 to 12, and those are critical. Fourth down play in the red zone, and it gets overturned with a catch/no catch deal. But we had a lot of drops and they did a good job with their schemes, but they made adjustments and we couldn’t answer.”

Effect of DeMarquis Gates’ ejection on defense…
“It was big, we’re thin at that spot anyways. It certainly hurt.”

Shea Patterson having trouble staying in the pocket…
“Yeah they gave him a lot of different looks, and he’s trying to set the protections and this is new to him. He hasn’t had a lot of reps lately doing that, and they had a game plan where there were a couple of things that we hadn’t seen, which gave us some problems. But that’s to be expected in the second game. We’re out of school this week, so we’ve got a lot of time to spend with him and help him prepare for next week’s game.”

What was Vanderbilt’s defense doing effectively…
“Kind of the same things we’ve done against the Arkansas of the world… they get in 12 personnel and make us commit so many to the box then you get in one-on-ones and they run the double moves and the out cuts to grass. A couple of times I thought we were there, but our young kids aren’t playing the ball. But really they were just winning in one-on-ones.”

RB Akeem Judd
On having a 10-point lead but then quickly losing it:
“I guess it was the scheme that they ran. The offensive coordinator try to switch it up because the way they were running their defense.”

On any surprises from Vanderbilt’s defense:
“No surprises. That’s what teams do, they switch it up when they see success on the other side of the ball.”

On Coach Freeze saying Vanderbilt just wanted it more and the focus of the Ole Miss team:
“I wouldn’t say we were less focused than we were a week ago. From being in the locker room and on the field, I would say the focus was there during the week. Things change when you get out on the field.”

On the disappointment after the team’s great momentum in the past couple of weeks:
“It’s very disappointing. The more wins you get, the better the bowl game, if we get to go to a bowl game. But that’s not the point right now. Right now, we got to focus on next week’s game against Mississippi State because that is the most important game of the season.”

On the thought of not going to a bowl game after a positive outlook during the offseason and in the beginning of the season:
“No, I don’t think anybody imagined that we wouldn’t go to a bowl game. But that’s how football is, you play for great success and it doesn’t always go your way. It’s a great life lesson.”

On the mood in the locker room after the game:
“Everybody was quiet. You can’t really be hype because you just lost a game.”

DB Carlos Davis
On the disappointment of the loss:
“It’s pretty disappointing. We came in pretty prepared and it just sucks to lose the game and go out like that. I’m a senior and I want to go out the right way.”

On the defense’s struggles:
“Communication. I think communication needs to get better. We need to come together and work on that as a team.”

On Vanderbilt’s offense’s momentum:
“I don’t think they did anything differently. I think we started not communicating and stopped planning well as a defense, as a team.”

On how loosing Gates affected the communication:
“Losing Gates was a big deal as well. But we have some other linebackers that can step up and do the job. I think it was a miscommunication with the guys who just came in. It kind of hurt us a bit losing Gates.”

On not being able to improve mistakes from the beginning of the season:
“Like I said, it is just us not communicating. We have an extremely young group and I feel like once they come together as a unit, communicate and talk things out then I think we will be good.”

On passing down senior wisdom to young group:
“I tell them to just keep playing hard and to keep fighting. We got one more game and we need to go out with a bang.”

On starting out 11th/12th in country and now facing possibility of not going to a bowl game:
“Yeah, it’s very shocking. But things happen. We just got to move on and play the next game.”