March 1, 2011
The next phase in James Franklin's push to change the culture of Vanderbilt football starts March 18 when the Commodores open spring drills.
Franklin, preparing to direct his first spring practice as a head coach, expects to achieve several goals as the Commodores work toward the featured Black & Gold Spring Game, scheduled Sunday, April 17 in Vanderbilt Stadium.
Franklin will focus on increasing expectations throughout the Vanderbilt roster.
"We'll be laying a foundation to build on this summer and in fall camp," Franklin said. "We want to instill confidence in our guys. We want them feeling great entering the Black & Gold Spring Game and as we go forward from there.
"All the guys have given Coach (Dwight) Galt and his staff great effort during our (winter) conditioning program and I also think we can build on that this spring," the coach added.
Franklin will welcome nearly 85 players at the first spring session. The Commodore roster will include 26 contributors with started multiple games last season.
Introducing new playbooks and coaching philosophies will be a priority for Franklin and his staff. "It's important that we install everything we can, and find out the things we can do successfully," Franklin said. "The coaches are great teachers and the players are excellent students, so we'll introduce as much as we can.
Franklin also promises plenty of competition through the 15 spring practices.
"As a team, we plan to compete for every inch of the field, so we'll be extremely competitive in everything we do," the coach said. "We want to play fast and physical. That's how we will practice."
Despite the presence of numerous starters back from a year ago, Franklin said virtually every position on the field will be up for grabs when spring drills open.
"It's important that we develop more leaders and find guys that want to contribute right now. I expect a lot of guys to step forward this spring," Franklin added.