The Vanderbilt Commodores open Spring Practice 2011 on Friday sporting new coaches, new attitudes and new expectations.
James Franklin, named to guide the Vanderbilt program last December, will oversee his first spring practice as a head coach. In doing so, he promises to push for a unified Commodore squad.
"I'm extremely excited about spring football, and actually get a chance to get on the field and coach our players," Franklin said. "I'm pleased with where we are as a team (exiting winter workouts). I've watched us come together as a team and I'm starting to see the confidence build. So, I'm very excited about spring ball."
Though Franklin and his staff will welcome more than 20 starters returning from a year ago, he said competition for every starting job would be a signature of spring drills.
"There is no depth chart," Franklin said. "There are some guys that will start simply because they have more experience, but nobody owns the position. Everybody is going to have to prove it, prove it every day on a consistent basis.
"We plan to become a team that has a positive attitude, a team with unbelievable work ethic, and a team that competes in everything we do," Franklin said.
Starting on Friday, the Commodores will hold 14 practices leading to the Black & Gold Spring Game, scheduled Sunday, April 17.
For the first time in more than a decade, Vanderbilt's main spring attraction will feature a game-like atmosphere. Many attractions are planned with the Black & Gold Spring Game. Vandyville, with an extensive tailgate area and numerous kids activities, will be available to fans starting at 3 p.m., three hours prior to kickoff. Pre-game autograph sessions also are planned.