March 13, 2014
The Commodores moved one step closer to full pads Thursday with another fast-paced workout that focused on fundamental instruction, conditioning and growing the team's new offensive and defensive playbooks.
Head coach Derek Mason directed the two-hour session held at the John Rich Practice Facility under clear skies. Afterward, the coach said the team showed more improvement from its initial workout and is learning the tempo and concentration Mason's staff wants.
"I loved what I saw. I think the guys came out today and were really intentional," Mason said. "I saw guys running to the ball and I thought we did a good job of getting plays run. We probably ran double the amount (of plays) than we did Tuesday.
"These guys are starting to understand what our goal is each practice. That's winning the day. If we accomplish that for the next 13 practices, we'll like where we're headed entering the summer," Mason added.
One priority this spring for Mason's staff is to identify as many playmakers as possible before the Black & Gold Spring Game on Saturday, April 12. Several players are stepping forward, though the head coach wouldn't single out individuals.
"I'm seeing some playmakers, both offensively and defensively, but I'm not ready to start naming names just yet," Mason said. "But yes, I'm seeing guys that can make make plays and are starting to do some things to separate themselves."
Upcoming Practice Schedule
After an off day Friday, the Commodores will don shoulder pads for the first time this spring during a Saturday morning workout, then move toward full gear next Tuesday. The team's first spring scrimmage, scheduled for Saturday, March 22, will be open to Commodore fans.
"We'll put in some things Saturday and get the guys use to hitting one another. At the same time, we'll be teaching them to stay off the ground and protect each other," Mason said.
Carta-Samuels to throw at Vanderbilt Pro Day
Recent graduate Austyn Carta-Samuels, who amazed many followers by leading the Commodores to late-season victories over Kentucky, Tennessee and Wake Forest while playing with a torn knee ligament, will participate on a limited basis in Vanderbilt's Pro Day, a closed activity scheduled March 21.
Carta-Samuels said he plans to throw to former wideouts Jordan Matthews and Jonathan Krause during position drills at Pro Day. Only three months out of surgery to repair a torn ACL, Carta-Samuels will not participating in any speed, jump or agility tests.
Carta-Samuels, Matthews and Krause will be among 14 former standouts from the 2013 BBVA Compass Bowl squad participating in the Pro Day activities. Others include defensive linemen Walker May and Jared Morse, linebackers Karl Butler and Chase Garnham, safeties Kenny Ladler and Javon Marshall, cornerbacks Andre Hal and Steven Clarke, kicker Carey Spear, running back Wesley Tate and offensive lineman Wesley Johnson.
Matthews, Johnson, Ladler and Hal could limit their activities at Pro Day after performing well last month at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.