What Clark Lea said following Vanderbilt's dominant Week 0 win at Hawaii
Clark Lea and the Vanderbilt Commodores went out to Hawaii on Saturday night and left the island with a massive 63-10 victory.
After the game, Lea was understandably in a good mood, having just won the season opener by 53 points.
Here’s some of what Lea said in his postgame press conference (via 247Sports):
On if this win means his system is a success:
“I don’t know that it does. I think we’re a work in progress. Our goal this season wasn’t to win this game. This was just the start of the journey for us. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us. We’re gonna celebrate this one, and we’re going to enjoy it on the trip home. But the challenge is now going to be the win the trip back and reset our focus on Elon. This is the beginning of the season for us. It’s good to be 1-0, but I don’t know that this proves anything other than this team will compete, will play hard for four quarters and we gotta keep applying that formula as we move forward.”
On a slow start to the game:
“I think there’s an expectation in Game 1 that you’re gonna have some hiccups. My trust in the team and my belief in what we’re doing goes way beyond the first drive in the first quarter of the first game of the season. We spend every day together training for those moments and building in responses to those moments. So rather than needing to give a speech, we default to our training.
“We show each other confidence. We make eye contact. We speak about the belief we have, and that’s what manifests performance on the field. Do we want to start fast? Do we want to get off to a great start and play with a lead? Absolutely. Were we able to do that tonight? No. I thought the opportunity that that adversity presented us was a chance to show our maturation and our progress as a program. In that vein, I was grateful for it. I was proud of the players and the way they just kept their heads down and kept working.”
On QB Mike Wright’s performance:
“He did a lot. Mike was able to show the things that make him a unique competitor and a unique player. He obviously was able to have a ton of success on the ground. He was also able to find some plays through the air. I think what is almost most important is he led the offense. He was out there and I thought was an emotional connector and handled our double-calls, handled our checks effectively. There’s going to be a lot to clean up. It was not a perfect performance, but there’s a lot there for us to build on and a lot of positives around what he was able to accomplish on an individual level.
“At the same time, I’m looking at the offensive line and I’m looking at Will Sheppard throw a block that sprung the run there, the long run for the touchdown. Gavin Schoenwald showed up a ton. He was back there with three backs that ran the ball effectively. Ray (Davis) and Chase (Gillespie) and Rocko (Griffin) did a great job. Mike benefited from all that. We know that he has the ability, when the play is there, to make it — and he did that tonight. We’ll clean up the things that we need him to improve upon. And again, this is just the start for him, but a good start it was.”
On what this Week 0 win means to the team:
“I’m beyond happy for them to get this result. It feels good to win. Winning is hard to do, and when you take on a road trip like we took on here in Week 0, there are a lot of things that go into this game outside of the actual game. I was really, really pleased with the way this team handled the trip. I felt the energy that they showed over the last 48 hours was remarkable, and I think that showed up in the game today.
“We have to take this and build upon it. This is a part of our process. Obviously, we don’t feel like the journey is done. The journey is just beginning, and so we’re not looking at this as an endpoint, but a beginning. We’re excited to take the next step next week vs. Elon. But we are going to take the time to celebrate this, because we’ve earned it. Once we get back to Nashville, we’ll shift focus pretty quickly and get started on Game 2.”
Here’s Lea’s full press conference: