NASHVILLE -- The Commodore offense impressed Saturday at the Vanderbilt Spring Showcase, producing touchdowns on six of 18 drives during the 90-minute practice.
Running backs Jamauri Wakefield (R-Fr.), Khari Blasingame (R-Jr.) and Josh Crawford (Jr.) ran effectively behind blocking from an improving offensive line to produce 156 rushing yards, providing the top highlight to the workout held in Vanderbilt Stadium.
Afterward, head coach Derek Mason said his Commodores improved after completing the 62-play scrimmage.
"The energy was good," Mason said. "I thought we really got after each other after a little soft (start). Once we got into it, I think we did a solid job of trying to play ball. Overall, today was good work."
The defense appeared to own an early advantage in the scrimmage, after stellar individual plays by Nifae Lealao (Sr., DT), Jonathan Wynn (Sr., DE) and Andrew Rector (R-So., safety) kept the offense out of the end zone on its initial possessions.
It was the running game and accurate passing by Kyle Shurmur (Jr., QB) that enabled the offense to get on the scoreboard. In the fifth drive, Blasingame darted off left guard 53 yards for a touchdown. Two possessions later, Shurmur pushed the offense deep into defensive territory by hooking up with C.J. Duncan (R-Sr., WR) on first-down completions of 14 and 16 yards.
Late in the scrimmage, the offense produced touchdowns on five of seven possessions starting inside the 25-yard line. The offensive scores came on a 22-yard strike from Shurmur to Duncan, 7-yard rushes by Crawford and Deuce Wallace (R-Fr., QB), and a pair of rushing touchdowns by Wakefield.
Even without school record-setting running back Ralph Webb, the Commodore running game impressed much of the day. Wakefield, Blasingame and Crawford each rushed for more than 50 yards and notched touchdowns.
Shurmur was the team's most productive signal caller, completing 7 of 13 passes for 90 yards and a touchdown. Shurmur's favorite target was Duncan, who topped the receiving corps with three catches for 52 yards and a touchdown.
Wynn was a standout on defense, contributing five total tackles, including a pair of quarterback sacks. Josh Smith (Jr., OLB) and LaDarius Wiley (Jr., safety) topped the squad with six and five total tackles, respectively. Cameron Tidd (R-Fr., DL), Drew Birchmeier (R-Fr., DL) and Caleb Peart (R-So., OLB) also registered sacks for the defense.
Mason expects to see more improvement from the Commodores this Monday when the squad begins its final week of Spring Ball.
"We'll get back to work next week and make the most of the three practices we have left," Mason said. "We have to continue to make sure we grow this team the right way."
TACKLES (solo-assists-total): LaDarius Wiley 4-1-5, Josh Smith 4-2-6, Jonathan Wynn 3-2-5, Jordan Griffith 2-2-4, Tre Herndon 3-1-4, Oren Burks 1-2-3, Caleb Peart 2-1-3, Andrew Rector 2-1-3, Cameron Tidd 2-1-3, Ryan White 0-3-3, Drew Brichmeier 0-3-3, Jay Hockaday 1-1-2, Nifae Lealao 1-1-2, Arnold Tarpley III 1-1-2, Zaire Jones 0-1-1, Dare Odeyingbo 0-1-1, Donovan Sheffield 0-1-1, Joejuan Williams 0-1-1, Jay Woods 0-1-1, Charles Wright 1-0-1.
QB SACKS: J. Wynn 2.0-13, C. Tidd 1.0-5, D. Birchmeier 0.5-4, C. Peart 0.5-4.
FORCED FUMBLES: None
FUMBLE RECOVERIES: None
FG BLOCKS: Herndon 1.