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July 22, 2010

Robbie Caldwell


THE MODERATOR: We are ready to continue with Vanderbilt head coach Robbie Caldwell. If you could talk a little bit about the upcoming season and your first week on the job.
COACH CALDWELL: Thank you. Thank you for allowing me to be here. This is awesome. I've heard a lot about it for all these years, but never actually seen it. I appreciate you having me here.
I know the first question you're asking is, Who is Robbie Caldwell? Very few people know me. So I've been behind the scenes for a long time. I think I've been an assistant for 30-something years. I really don't know how many.
Tremendous opportunity for me. Obviously it was bittersweet. Coach Johnson retired. I'm so tickled for him that he's got good health. He and his wife will be able to do some things. But I lost a good friend. Of course, you know, he'll still be available certainly. And football lost a great man, a great coach. Fortunately I'll be able to pull some things from him and have him, able to call on and give me some advice.
That's kind of where I've been, at three different institutions before Vanderbilt. I've enjoyed every stop. Love coaching obviously. That's kind of about me in a nutshell.
As far as the program goes, we are excited, I am excited. You can imagine being in my position after all these years and all of a sudden, here it is. And it happened just like you've heard. None of us had any idea. Coach had always told us that he would retire one day and be in good health hopefully and be able to enjoy it. That's what he did. I'm so excited for him.
A couple hours after that, I was informed that I would be the interim head coach. I didn't know what to say. I was so excited and so excited about being at Vanderbilt. I've stayed here. We've had a pretty loyal staff at Vanderbilt. Coach Johnson and Chancellor and Vice Chancellor Williams has assembled a group and been able to keep them. That was my first task on the job.
The job itself, I got a greater appreciation. I told Coach Spurrier a while ago, I got a greater appreciation what he's been doing behind the scenes all these years. I had no idea in some cases, but you always think you do. It's kind of on-the-job training in some areas. I'm excited about getting to the football part and eventually that will happen.
But tremendous, tremendous day obviously for me. My family was in a panic. All they heard was 'retirement.' You know all the speculation that goes on as well as anybody. They were all in an uproar, crying, carrying on. They never heard about the part about me getting to be interim head coach.
When I get home, there's no congratulations. There's a panic. It's, What are we going to do? Are we out of a job? You can imagine how we all settled down and got to celebrate the situation.
The program, we feel like everyone was disappointed with last year obviously. Coaches, players, everyone. Certainly we have made preparations to improve ourselves in that category.
Coach Johnson made some adjustments in the spring, shifting the staff around, reenergized everyone. Everyone's excited about it internally. So far fortunately we've been able to hang on to all of our coaches. We won't miss a beat. We'll continue to run.
We've made some tweaks. It's going to be an exciting, exciting time for us. That's kind of where we are in the state of the program as far as the coaching staff.
The players seem to be excited. You know, a lot of our players never knew me except the one side that nobody wanted to see. I was in charge of discipline. Every time they saw me, it could be in a negative light sometimes. But they understand that. They're excited.
The next day after all this took place, we had more people than we've ever had in workouts on campus. So we are moving forward. Tremendously excited about our opportunities ahead.
My daughter did remind me of one note that you can appreciate. She looked at the schedule and said, "Daddy, I think there's two teams on there that didn't go to a Bowl game."
I said, "Honey, that's the great thing about being in the SEC, you play against the best. So we're excited about that.
I don't know all the format here. At this point, I'll be glad to open it to questions, whatever. Anything I can do, fire 'em at me.

Q. A lot of people have been critical that everyone on your staff is on an interim basis and don't know what their future is. Obviously, your situation is different. Can you talk about what that would be like or will be like for your assistants to have that interim title throughout the season? What is your understanding of what Vanderbilt's decision will be in the future towards a permanent head coach?
COACH CALDWELL: Sure. First of all, our coaches are professionals. That doesn't concern them one bit. Obviously Vanderbilt will do the right thing. They always have. Our chancellor was an interim. I think people make more of that than probably they should.
I'm just thrilled to have an opportunity. I told my wife, if it's two days or 20 years, I will now be able to say, Hey, I was a head coach one time, other than in 1977 when I was head baseball coach. We were pretty good, by the way. We were 14-2, had a chance, made the state playoffs.
Some of you may or may not know, I was never publicly said but asked to stay at NC State when the coaching change took place there, myself and one other. I was kind of asked to be the interim head coach and hold the fort. You know, we were able to do some good things. We had 14 recruits signed. We held on to 12 of them, one of them being Philip Rivers. We were pretty excited.
I know I got to do my job. If we do that, everything will take care of itself. I'm not really concerned about that. But we're working towards it maybe one day.

Q. Being a head coach, was that a long-term goal for you? Had you thought at this stage of your career that wasn't going to happen for you?
COACH CALDWELL: Great question. You know, Coach Sheridan called me this morning. I don't know how many of y'all know Dick Sheridan. A man we all modeled our philosophies after. He asked me the same thing.
I said, Coach, the only thing I ever wanted to be when I went to college was a head high school coach one day. That was my goal. Because my high school coaches meant the world to me. I came from a broken home. I had a dad living on one side and a mom living on the other, and I had the coaches in the middle that kept me straight. Just meant the world to me.
So, no, I never really dreamed of it. Till the last few years, I start getting to that age, you wonder, Will I get the chance?
But I was perfectly happy. I'm honored, man. This is the greatest thrill of my life other than my child being born. It's just tremendous.
But that was my goals, you know, in coaching. I wanted to be the best offensive line coach I could be. My goal was to be the best in America. We went from there.

Q. If Bobby Johnson had decided to retire last spring, do you think you'd be the head coach now?
COACH CALDWELL: Well, no way I could answer that. I'd like to think so. But, you know, who knows.
I know one thing: I've worked at a lot of institutions, and Vanderbilt has been the institution that everything they've said has been true. They made me no promises. I've had some opportunities over the years to go different places, but I've chosen Vanderbilt to stay there. Number one, for the men I work with and the integrity of the institution. I tell you, my wife asks me all the time at the end of vacation, unfortunately football coaches have to take all their vacation all at one time, and she would always get mad at me because I was excited about going back to work. I typically stick my foot in my mouth and say, I am. You know how that goes (smiling).
But it's because of the men I work with. Man, I enjoy it. I enjoy the friendship, the camaraderie, their efforts, their attitudes. That's why.

Q. Have the school officials given you any indication on what you may or may not have to do to keep this job on a permanent basis? We understand you embracing the opportunity. Do you feel it's a fair situation for you, for lack of a better word?
COACH CALDWELL: Absolutely it's a fair situation. Vanderbilt has given me no stipulations. All they've told me is, We're behind you 100%. I know Vice Chancellor Williams said, You're our coach. We're not out looking for one. You're our coach.
All I know how to do is work. I've been a worker all my life. I grew up in it. My wife said, You can't talk about anything but football.
I can. I can talk about pouring concrete, farming, being a pipefitter, all those things, working on a turkey farm. But nobody wants to hear that. Those are the things that I did prior to getting into football. That's the God's truth.
So I'm extremely excited about what they've presented to me and the efforts they put behind me. I'm just, you know, in place and ready to go.

Q. Have you had your welcome-to-head-coaching moment yet? If so, what was it?
COACH CALDWELL: No. I got asked on the radio, they said, What about all the coaches, have they congratulated you?
I said, No, not a one. No offense to them, but they don't know me. They will.
I got to see Coach Spurrier today, Coach Richt. They have no idea who I am. Coach Spurrier does. We have a little relationship. He's a guy I admire a great deal. I appreciate that.
I know they'll be very supportive. When things settle down, they're very busy, they're finishing vacations. But, no, I just hope I avoid going to head coaching school. What I mean by that is when an assistant becomes a head coach and all of a sudden he gets the job, two weeks on it he's got all the answers. That's what we assistants used to say. He just got back from head coaching school, so you have to be careful there.
Well, I hope I don't. But that was something we used to talk about, so it's pretty neat.

Q. Vanderbilt job is a challenge under any circumstances, particularly under these. How do you feel like you won't have the results that you had last year?
COACH CALDWELL: We think we're in a very good situation there. You know, what Coach Johnson did putting together this freshmen class, all of our coaches obviously had a hand in it, but we put together our best class ever with a 2-10 record. They could see what we're trying to do, how we're trying to do it.
The thing I liked about Coach and our philosophy is we never cried about what we didn't have, what happened. I got asked last night, Well, your program had these people on it and they wasn't there. What happened?
Well, they were injured. You know, that's part of the game. We understand that.
Our goal has been to build depth. It's slowly coming along. I think we only have 10 seniors this year, so we've got a very young team. You look at the sophomore class, there's 29 sophomores there. We've been able to redshirt a few people.
My philosophy is this: if they're ready to play, play. I don't care what year they are. We hope to get more people ready.
Each year our goal is to bring in better than the year before. That's what we've been trying to accomplish.

Q. Because of what happened last week at Vanderbilt University, do you, your coaching staff, and your players feel that you have everything to gain this coming season and nothing to lose?
COACH CALDWELL: Well, that's kind of the way I look at it. I mean, think about it. Here I am, I go from lining the field to I'm head coach in the SEC. I'm telling you, what a thrill. It's a dream.
I can still walk in places and nobody knows me. Last night I was opening the door for people and they gave me a tip. I thought, hey, that's great. How can you get it any better than that?
You're exactly right. All we got to do is come out swinging. We've done a lot of work to try to improve that. Some of our players took criticism. That starts with me. I'm the man in the seat now. They were young and they were trying. We put some things on 'em. We changed offenses.
So we're getting those wrinkles ironed out. Excited about it.

Q. It's always a little bit of a challenge to recruit at Vanderbilt. What are you hearing from recruits now? Are you having any problems with recruiting given what happened last week?
COACH CALDWELL: It's going really well right now. We've got some guys. Obviously, they're all eyes on us, just like you guys. But, no, it's going really well.
We understood the rigors of recruiting academic students when we took the job. We've been in those situations before. A lot of us in this program have built and helped improve programs where we've been, those type things.
Academic students, they're there. We may have to go a little farther to find some every now and then. But, hey, they're there. We got to get out and do the job and find 'em. We're right here in this state, I think we got 10 players from Alabama, for example. You know, we're excited about it.
They're out there. Vanderbilt is working to improve facilities. They're really trying to help us in every way.

Q. Obviously everybody knows the history of Vanderbilt in the SEC. Do you think Vanderbilt could ever be a consistent winner in the SEC? Does Vanderbilt, because of its academic standards, fit as an SEC school?
COACH CALDWELL: Yes, I do in both questions. Number one, with these economic times we're going through right now, I think young people are starting to find the value of an education much more important. You can do both. You can be a great student and you can be a great football player. That is our belief.
And, yes, we feel like that's our goal. We want to be a consistent program and win, go to Bowl games every year. We think we can accomplish that. We were well underway, as you may remember, a year ago, we do go to a Bowl game. We think we can get that done.

Q. This is a very important question. Are you going to continue Bobby Johnson's no profanity policy in practices?
COACH CALDWELL: You know, I'm no angel, that's for certain. We certainly do try to live by that. But, you know, it's just a sign of limited vocabulary sometimes. I know y'all can't tell it, but I do have an education (smiling).
But, no, you know, what we try to do by that - and by the way, Coach Art Baker, Coach Dick Sheridan, Coach Steve Robinson, who's no longer with us, Coach Jimmy Satterfield - those are the guys. My high school coach I love dearly. But if I had a nickel for every you-know-what he called me, I'd be wealthy, be able to retire a little earlier.
Times have changed. There's a different way.
What we want is we want mothers to be able to come watch their child practice and not be embarrassed. It doesn't mean we won't get on you now. We'll chew your butt out in a heartbeat. But, you know, you don't like that. We never did as players. There's a different way to skin a cat. Don't mean it's the right way, it's just a different way.
I appreciate you asking.

Q. How would you describe, because it's been a while since he's been in the game, Dick Sheridan's philosophy that you've learned and followed?
COACH CALDWELL: It's ingrained deeply. You know, Coach Johnson's high school coaches were my college coaches. I may stand corrected on this, but I think all of them won a state championship at one school or another. They started out together.
They inspired me to pursue coaching even further. As a matter of fact, when Coach Sheridan offered me the job, I turned it down originally because I had given Buddy Jennings, who I admire deeply, my word, I was going from Hanahan High School to Chester, be 50 miles closer to home and make $3500 more. When I took a pay cut to go to Furman as a full-time assistant, my daddy said, You're an idiot. I've continued to live up to his words, I'm sure (smiling). But the rest is history.
We won a lot of games, progressed. But that's a fact. That's not a joke. That's a true story. You know, I just been one that, if I give you my word, I'm going to try my best. I don't write things down when I speak to you because I speak from the heart. It gets me in trouble sometimes. But I am what I am and I can't change and won't change. That's what Coach Sheridan told me this morning. He said how proud he was, of course. It was a very emotional moment. You know how that is. He's like a second dad to me. It was pretty special, pretty special.
But philosophies ingrained, that much won't change.

Q. You're talking more about coaching in general than on the field.
COACH CALDWELL: Right. On the field I'm different. Obviously I can't be the position coach, the emotional hoop-and-holler, go-crazy type guy. But, you know, I'll be more even-keeled. I can do that. I learned about that this week in camp. While I'm over trying to get the trash and empty it, they say, Whoa, you can't be doing that.
But I can't change. I got to watch our coaches coach. Certainly I've known they can coach. I coached with most of them, played with some, all those things. But to actually see them interact with a high school kid, I mean, it was tremendous. Man, I was so excited. The roof of my mouth is blistered right now from being in awe of looking at them out there. It's just tremendous.

Q. What was it like growing up in Pageland, South Carolina? Are you the first head coach from that town, I guess?
COACH CALDWELL: Well, that's a great question. On the college level, I guess. You had to like watermelon, number one, because it was the watermelon capitol of the word, we proclaimed anyway. You had to like hunting and fishing. Frog gigging. I was scared to death of girls, so that didn't interest me. And I played ball. We played all sports to get out of work. That was the policy.
If you played a sport, you didn't have to work during a practice time. That's why I played basketball. I was probably the worst there's ever been, but I played it so I wouldn't have to go pour concrete. That's a fact, tell you the truth.
My first hourly paying job was on the turkey farm. I don't know if I could tell you what my job was, but I was on the inseminating crew. That's a fact. I worked my way to the top. That's a fact, man. If you don't believe it, call Nicolas. Of course, I think they're defunct now. Best job I ever had, got paid by the hour for the first time. That was about '68, '69. That's what we did every afternoon.

Q. Probably the most touted recruit in this 2010 class was killed in the winter. Are you going to do anything as far as wearing something on the uniform to honor him? Also I wanted to ask you about Jordan Rodgers, Aaron's brother. Are people going to see some of Aaron when they watch him play?
COACH CALDWELL: Very good. Number one, I just hate the world is not going to get to know Rajaan Bennett. I can't tell you about it because I get too emotional. Everybody on our staff just loved that young man, what he did. I know one of the lines in the paper he wrote they found from the ninth grade, that he would never give up. That's what we want to model ourselves after.
But, yes, we hope to. Larry Leathers could probably tell you more about that. Obviously, we're in on some suggestions. Know him longer than I've been in the job. I'm not exactly sure what we will do. We will do something. We're talking about it even more. Just a tremendous tragedy that I just hate you won't get to write about him and get to know him. A special young man.
The second half of the question, Jordan Rodgers. Everybody asks about the quarterback situation. We're not doing anything any different. Every year, wherever you are, I don't care what they tell you, the competition's open at every spot. I mean, my goodness, we want to play our best players. We want to win.
So the quarterback position, you know, Larry Smith has more experience obviously. I think he was unfairly judged sometimes last year because they thought he was an experienced guy. But Larry played one and a half games. One of them we had a month to prepare him. Then we changed offenses. A lot of similarities. Now he's got some experience.
But the guys in the spring had a tremendous spring. Jared Funk, and of course Jordan, a junior college transfer, obviously has a good bloodline. You have Charlie Goro, who is a freshman. Just great competition there.
It will be interesting to see what happens.

Q. How do you see the SEC East teams shaping up this year? What is it going to take for Vanderbilt to bridge that gap, get in the upper echelon of teams that you want to get to?
COACH CALDWELL: We been there two years ago. I think we finished third. I've never been a stat man. I'm about Ws and Ls. I wish I could talk more detail there.
Obviously, we think it's a tremendous league, because we're in it, the east. The west, as well. I don't have to tell you about the SEC. Love the mixture of crossing, we get to play a different team.
But what we got to do, we got to be more consistent on offense, obviously. That's not a profound statement. It's at every position. The offensive line last year, we were not very good. That's my fault. I was the man in charge of it. So there's nobody to point the finger at but myself.
We lost some talented players. We had a couple individuals in there that were very good. They're in the NFL right now. We got a good young group coming back to replace them.
The problem is numbers. Offensive line, linebackers, wide receiver. We got good people there. Our linebacker core has a couple guys with experience. They're down here today, you'll get talk to them. You'll be impressed. We got some tremendous talent in those areas now, but it's going to be young.
My job, I got to make sure we don't give them more than they can chew on. We got to make our system freshmen friendly. We had a young man one time, some of y'all might know, named Torry Holt. It was a pretty complicated system we had. He didn't get to play much as a freshman. The next year we changed it around. Not only he, but another young man who played for the Titans played together and did pretty good. You know, that's our job. We got to make sure that happens.
We live, eat, and breathe football. Those guys don't. They do certain times. But they got girls and they got studies and they got their lives to live. We got to make sure as coaches we do that.

Q. I know there's a lot of variables involved in this. From a philosophy scheme standpoint on the field, what might we see different now that you have your fingerprints and your hand on the entire team?
COACH CALDWELL: You know, not a great deal because we've all been involved in it. That's the thing we liked about Coach Johnson. He let us all be involved, whether it was offense or defense. Our defensive coaches were always asking me, How would you block this? What would you do? What do you hate to see?
We like our style of defense. We move, we blitz, we come at you. We have to. If we sit still with some guys that we're building, might be a little undersized, so getting them moving, utilizing their speed has been great for us.
Offensively, it's consistent play with everyone. We like what we're doing in our system, being we tweaked it. It really got better in the spring. I know those of you who just saw the spring game wouldn't know it. We wasn't concerned about beating our defense at the time. The last scrimmage, we were. We game-planned a little bit. You know, we scored quite frequently. It gave our defense a chance to adjust. We showed them some wrinkles that they had not seen.
We'll show you guys when the season cranks up hopefully if we do our job, but consistent play offensively. We've been there before. It's not like we haven't done it. We've been there while we're in this league. When we first got here, a couple individuals, a couple play-makers. Someone mentioned earlier, 26, 27 games we lost by seven points. Could we have coached better a play here? Could we have broke a tackle here? Could we have made a block here? We're all in it together, but it starts with us.
Yes, we'll adjust in that manner. But there will be no wholesale changes. We believe in what we're doing. These are good coaches. The players like it. We feel pretty good about where we're heading. If we need to, we certainly will.

Q. You mentioned a few questions ago that a lot of people in this league didn't know you. Could you describe yourself in a couple of words personality-wise and also coaching philosophy-wise? Are you ready for the Nashville media? They can get pretty tough sometimes.
COACH CALDWELL: Well, I'm from New York originally, you can tell by the way I talk (laughter).
No, obviously I'm a country boy. I enjoy my roots. I like to think I'm a humble guy. I try to do what's right. I've told you already I'm not an angel. I wish I could say that, but I got my faults. My wife will tell you. Just ask her. She'll school you up on it.
I think I am -- I mean, I know I am. 30-something years, like I say. I've been preparing for this day. Like I say, I was not consumed by becoming a head coach. But I watched and I listened and I admired. I want to mirror some of those things those guys have done.
The game of football is a mirror. You see it go round and round full circle. You see the option coming back. You see all these things. And that's life. History repeats itself.
I love people. I love working with young folks. That's what's kept me young. I know I don't look it, but I feel 18. I may fall over tomorrow, but I'm excited about being here in front of you. I'm not intimidated. I feel like y'all are human just like me, I guess. I don't think any of you is from outer space. I know you'll look after me. I appreciate that.
You know, I've had a lot of people that took me under their wing along the way. I wish I could stand up there and sing every one of them's praises. It's just very special.
Did I answer your question? I get excited here now. Tell me. I appreciate that.

Q. Just wondering if your duties on the turkey farm in any way affected your ability to enjoy Thanksgiving?
COACH CALDWELL: (Pulling his jacket out and showing his large stomach.)
I knew I was a fat guy, but I didn't need all these heavy-duty extra springs. This job has been good for me, I've lost about seven pounds in the last eight days.
No, it hasn't. You can tell by looking at me. I done it all, too. If I told some of these ladies, what they put in that lipstick right there, oh, my goodness, because I de-beaked, blood tested, vaccinated. I done it all. It was pretty special.
Good question (smiling). Those kind of things I can talk about.

Q. Given that first job, do you feel guilty at Thanksgiving?
COACH CALDWELL: No, not really, 'cause of some of the headaches I went throughout there. It's amazing. A wild turkey is one of the smartest animals in the world. But a domestic turkey is the dumbest thing. We had to put sprinklers out there to keep them from smothering out there in the summer when it gets hot. If you don't believe it, research it. I guess it's why I worked so well with them. There's probably a reason (laughter).

Q. You've had 30 years of making suggestions to head coaches. How do you think you'll make that transition from making suggestions to making decisions?
COACH CALDWELL: I think I can do it. I really do. You know, Coach Johnson has given me a good hand in letting me do some things. Mike O'Cain, I was his assistant head coach at NC State. That give me some things to run with. I don't have a problem making a decision. Actually I can't give a snap thing sometimes like I've been used to, because, you know, all the ramifications involving a lot of people needs to be thought through. I got great people around me that will help give advice.
So I don't think I'll have any problem making it. After all, in my business, what is it now, 40 seconds you got to make one, you got to roll from the time it's spotted. Used to be 25, but isn't it 40 now when they spot the ball? 10 or 12 seconds delay. Those are things we enjoy.

Q. Sorry to beat this turkey thing to death. Is it the semination [sic] crew? What is that?
COACH CALDWELL: Yes, it fertilizes the egg so they produce a better turkey in the hatchery. It's an interesting process. I'd be glad to show you sometime. We get a Tom in here. Actually it's a process.
I probably shouldn't be saying that in front of y'all, but...
Hey, it was a great job. I really appreciated 'em giving me that. I think the worst part of it was gathering dead turkeys that had been out for a while. That was something. But anyway...

Q. I ask this in a nice way. Was there any adjustment period when you went to Vanderbilt just culturally speaking?
COACH CALDWELL: I'm sorry, I didn't catch the tail end.

Q. Culturally speaking, was there an adjustment when you went to Vanderbilt?
COACH CALDWELL: I think it was a big adjustment for Vanderbilt with my culture (smiling).
I tried to give them a little flavor. But, no, I understand what you're saying. No, having been at Furman, you know, we had to recruit an academic student. Not to say that anybody else doesn't. It's just the standards are a little higher. You know, heck, there are great young people out there. We understand that. We enjoy doing it. You got to understand it, first and foremost. That's the problem. You bring an energetic assistant in there that's great at recruiting, getting used to it. That's hard sometimes because, you know, the NCAA has a standard. It's a little bit different.

Q. Could you talk a little bit about Warren Norman, what he needs to do to get back to where he was or surpass what he did his freshman year?
COACH CALDWELL: We could talk about him all day. He's down here. I hope you get a chance to interview him. A tremendous young man. Never says a word. We try to explain to him to about Herschel Walker, breaking that record. All of us, I don't mean to age some of you, but some of us, we know who Herschel Walker was. He had to Google and find out who he was. They remind me all the time. Go Google it.
You got to understand now, I'll get to that in a minute, but Warren, the question at hand. I told you I get excited. But tremendous, tremendous. Just came in and just quietly went about his business. We hope to give him an even bigger role. We got a good group of runningbacks. Zac Stacy, Kennard Reeves. Kennard Reeves is a guy you haven't seen much of, but he's added a lot of bulk. I didn't even recognize him this summer he's gotten so much bigger and stronger.
We also have a guy sitting in there that we redshirted last year, Wesley Tate. I know Joe knows him from being in the area, Golden's brother. He's going to be pretty special himself.
Warren, we look to take him to another level. He's excited about it. He's working in the weight room to get ready, to prepare his body. You're going to take a pounding in this league. A lot of people are always talking about where the offense is. Nobody wants to say the SEC is a heck of a defensive league. A lot of other leagues, offense might have been shining, but who knows. So it's going to be exciting for Warren.

Q. The guy who tried to give you a tip, how much was it for and did you decide to keep it?
COACH CALDWELL: Oh, man, I got a dollar and a half. I gave it back to him. I thought it was pretty good. He just gave me the change he had left. I thought that was pretty good.
I wish I knew the name of the restaurant here. Golly, it was fantastic. By the way, I ate quail. I kept my heritage there. It was pretty neat.

Q. What is your biggest challenge of all being the Vanderbilt football coach?
COACH CALDWELL: Organizing your time. If you do that, you can do it. We got a young man here today I hope all of you will talk to, John Stokes, who is one of our linebackers, long snapper. He can probably go to the NFL and be a long snapper. But he's going to be a doctor. You're going to want him to work on you one day, I promise you that. You know he's not missed a class, not missed a practice, not missed anything, and he's right on course.
We got a tremendous program there where if you maintain a certain GPA, you can move on into our med school. He's done that. He's the poster child for our program, they want to recruit more football players now to become doctors. John Stokes is someone you need to talk with.
But that's the biggest thing, organizing your time. Obviously they're good students when we bring them there. But, you know, that's my thing: learn to be courteous, kind, appreciative. People at Vanderbilt will help you. Our graduation rate is pretty good.
THE MODERATOR: Sadly, we are out of time. Coach Caldwell, thank you.
COACH CALDWELL: Thank y'all. Appreciate y'all letting me be here.

End of FastScripts

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