Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Some things Bobby Johnson said last week about Jamie Graham, Chris Marve and, yes, Javon Marshall

While we’re waiting to hear what Bobby Johnson says at SEC Media Days, let’s look at some comments he made last week to the guys at 104.5 The Sports Zone in Nashville. No, they didn’t ask him about the quarterback situation (wimps) or the spread offense or which freshmen running backs might play.

But they got him to throw out a few other names, and explain a few things, and it was still pretty good.

For example, here’s what he said about the team’s summer conditioning program:

“We used to sit here and send out cards to players and ask them to send it back and check to see if they’ve been working out, and they would check ‘Yes, I’ve been working out,’ and of course they weren’t.

“And now we have almost all of them here this summer, most of them going to some kind of summer school — at least one session — and others having jobs and others rehabbing and things like that. We have them all here and we know they’re getting in great shape. They’re working with Coach Sisk and he’s doing a great job of getting those guys ready to go.”

Here’s some other things he said:

• On sophomore Jamie Graham: “We brought Jamie in as a corner. We needed him last year (at wide receiver) because of injuries.” He added that he plans to put him in offensive situations — like he did with D.J. Moore last season — as well as using him as a decoy and also to return kicks.

• On sophomore Casey Hayward: “Casey may be our nickel (back) and Jamie take over (for D.J.) at corner or it may be vice versa.”

• On the four true freshmen defensive backs: “There may be a few freshmen who may have a chance.” The most celebrated were Eric Samuels and Trey Wilson, but the only one Johnson mentioned was Javon Marshall, whose high school coach predicted on his signing day that Vanderbilt wouldn’t be able to keep him off the field his first season.

• On Broderick Stewart’s return from a broken leg: “I tell you what, he missed the bowl game and that hurt him.” He added that Stewart is “as heavy as he’s ever been” and is running and cutting well.

• He said the defensive line is “probably our deepest position” and he names senior Greg Billinger, junior Adam Smotherman and sophomore T.J. Greenstone inside and seniors Stewart and Steven Stone, junior Theron Kadri and sophomore Tim Fugger on the outside.

• On sophomore linebacker Chris Marve: “I expect him to get better. Experience is really important at that position. He’s got the motor.” He said Marve needs to “improve his pass rushing; we can use him in that role a little more.”

• On the lack of a bye week this season: “Twelve straight is really tough.” He said the problem was created because the MAC conference pulled the Kent State game off the schedule. “We were in a dire situation when the MAC conference backed out on us.”

Click here to hear the entire interview.

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