Western Carolina Press Conference
Speakers: Rod Williamson, head coach Bobby Johnson, Bradley Vierling, Ryan Hamilton, Broderick Stewart and Patrick Benoist.
Coach Johnson entered the room at McGugin where the press was waiting for him on this the first media press conference of the 2009 season which now officially signifies the start of the 2009 season.
The room was filled with all the usual suspects from the local media but did have a few national writers and big names in attendance.
Rod Williamson began by stating that Vanderbilt expects to have 30-35,000 in attendance for Saturdays contest which will be televised on CSS.
Mr. Williamson also stated that Vanderbilt is having its second biggest season ticket year since the 1996 season.
He also wanted to remind people that you are to wear Black or Gold to the opener and that you should check out vucommodores.com to see what color your section is…mine is Black.
Coach Johnson was asked right off the bat about his quarterback for the Western Carolina contest. Coach Johnson stated that Larry Smith would be the starter for game one.
Coach was then asked what Larry did in order to separate himself from Mackenzie Adams and coach responded by stating that Larry gained a lot of experience last year both against Wake and the bowl game. He also stated that he would be fine with any of the three (Larry, Mac, Jared Funk) in game situations.
Regarding Jared Hawkins, coach stated that Jared will have to practice this week in order to be inserted into the game. It appears Hawkins has a bit of a foot problem and he just cannot get rid of it. If Hawkins cannot give it a go Saturday look for one of the true freshmen Zac Stacy or Warren Norman to start. Johnson also stated that Kennard Reeves, and Gaston Miller will play as well.
Coach Johnson isn’t really going to give up what he knows about Western Carolina but he did mention the quarterback, Zack Jaynes, as he did at last night's Commodore Call in show. He stated that they run a short passing game orientated offense and that they have a lot of youth on their team.
After Coach Johnson left the press conference the captains and Broderick Stewart entered the media room.
Broderick Stewart has been awarded the annual Kwane Doster patch to wear on his jersey.
I interviewed Broderick; here are his thoughts regarding wearing the patch in honor of Kwane.
“It’s a great honor,” said Stewart who stated that he did not know Kwane but he has known Jermaine Doster, the brother of Kwane who is a current Commodore tailback, and that he had learned a lot about the fallen Commodore.
Broderick, who was slim and taller than I had expected, went on to explain that he had met Doster's mother and some other family members and was just happy to have the honor of wearing the No. 1 patch.
In regards to the leg injury he suffered against the team to the east, Broderick shrugged it off and said he was close to 100% now and that the injury would not affect him Saturday.
Another reporter happened to ask Broderick what he thought about Sports Illustrated predicting only one win in the SEC for the Commodores. Broderick said something to the effect of, "I think that it is disrespectful."
Next I had the privilege of getting a quick conversation with Commodore safety Ryan Hamilton. I asked Ryan what he thought about the battle for the other safety spot. Ryan said that they had a good battle going over there but it looked like youngster Sean Richardson had earned the starting nod.