Feb. 13, 2009
Commodore fans will have their first opportunity to publicly salute the 2008 Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl champion football team next Tuesday, Feb. 17, when Head Coach Bobby Johnson's team is introduced during halftime ceremonies of the Kentucky-Vanderbilt men's basketball game scheduled in Memorial Gym.
The entire Commodore squad is expected to join Johnson and his coaching staff during the halftime festivities. After a brief highlight video and public address introduction, Johnson is expected to address the crowd.
Tipoff for the Kentucky-Vanderbilt basketball game is 8 p.m., CT. The soldout SEC East matchup will be televised in front of an ESPN national audience.
Johnson's 2008 squad will go down as one of the finest teams in recent Commodore gridiron history, capping a 7-6 season with a 16-14 victory over Boston College before a partisan Music City Bowl crowd in LP Field. The win over Boston College was one of three Vanderbilt victories against ranked opponents during a season that saw Vanderbilt jump out to a 5-0 start, garner national recognition when ESPN's College Football GameDay broadcast from campus, and notch the program's first postseason triumph in 53 years. Johnson also shared co-SEC Coach of the Year after the campaign.
The Commodores are expected to return 19 starters from the Music City Bowl team, including linebackers Patrick Benoist and Chris Marve, defensive backs Myron Lewis and Ryan Hamilton, defensive linemen Greg Billinger and Steven Stone, offensive lineman Bradley Vierling and Thomas Welch, receiver Jamie Graham, tight end Brandon Barden, tailback Jared Hawkins, quarterbacks Mackenzi Adams and Larry Smith, and punter Brett Upson.
Johnson is expected to open the Commodores' Spring Practice on March 10. The featured Black & Gold Scrimmage is scheduled Saturday, March 28, in Vanderbilt Stadium, and free to Commodore fans.