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Clark Lea: “We expect to play a 13th game”

Well, that’s something.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JUL 19 SEC Football Kickoff Media Days

Clark Lea took to the podium for his weekly press conference ahead of Saturday’s game against Elon. We watched it so you don’t have to.

  • Lea says that preparing for Elon is a different challenge, because they return so much. They’re going to have a chip on their shoulder and they have a lot of experience coming back, so you’re going to get the full force of an effort from that side. We’re not going to match them, but we’re going to bring our best, like we were able to do for the most part on Saturday. We got in touch with some of what we’re capable of when we do that on Saturday. We love that we had a good result, but the focus is on pushing this program to new heights. Winning is hard; winning consistently is even harder.
  • We’re experiencing the same thing in reverse with our prep. We now have to readjust after going to Hawaii.
  • Patrick Smith, Julian Hernandez, and Trudell Berry are “week to week” and won’t be available this weekend.
  • Is there a specific area you want to see the team improve on? From the standpoint of the previous Saturday, we can start better. We’ve spent time on what it means to dictate terms on the field. That’s having a confrontational attitude and playing eleven as one, and displaying our mental and physical conditioning. At times we clicked off on all three of those areas, but there were some lapses early. On their first drive, they were able to find some soft spaces and we allowed a structural breakdown leading to a touchdown. And offensively, we had an unfortunate return decision (lol) and the story of the first drive was penalties. We’re not to the point as a program where we can expect to overcome those self-inflicted wounds.
  • Devin Lee and Brayden Bapst are progressing, but still week-to-week.
  • Did you think about taking a 13th game instead of the extra bye week, and choosing to play a game the week after Hawaii? Clark Lea says that the truth is, he inherited this schedule, but we are playing a 13th game because our plan is to play in a bowl game.
  • What will the team take from playing Group of Five teams on the road? Clark Lea doesn’t want to sound disrespectful, but he doesn’t care.
  • We want to get the majority of our freshman class four games in just to get them on the field. If they’re not ready, that’s okay, there’s nothing wrong with a traditional redshirt year.
  • It looked like Quincy Skinner limped off at the end. Clark Lea says he’s expected to be a go this weekend.
  • Yilanan Outtara is week to week. (This seems to be a running theme.) Lea thinks we’ll probably see him next week, but he’s got to show he can impact winning whether or not he’ll be available to play.

Also, Vanderbilt released its depth chart for the game. There are a handful of changes, with the most notable ones being on the offensive line: starting center Julian Hernandez is out, with Delfin Xavier Castillo moving to center, Bradley Ashmore to right guard, and Jacob Brammer stepping in as the starting right tackle. Also, Patrick Smith is not listed after missing the Week 0 game at Hawaii.