Football starts week two of drills

March 18, 2008

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On Campus in Nashville - After concluding the first week of Spring Practice with a lengthy scrimmage Saturday, the Vanderbilt Commodores returned to work Tuesday just in time to stage another full-contact session.

Head Coach Bobby Johnson pushed the squad through a 2-hour, 30-minute session Tuesday, ending the practice with a 38-play scrimmage which featured live contact for three of the team's four quarterbacks.

Similar to the Saturday affair, the defense controlled much of the scrimmage only to watch their offensive counterparts cap the session with a touchdown on their final drive.

Quarterbacks Mackenzi Adams and Chris Nickson marched the offense 50 yards on the last possession, with Adams hitting receiver Justin Wheeler on a stop-and-go pattern for the 8-yard touchdown. The drive was aided by first-down rushes by both Nickson and Adams after they scrambled out of the pocket.

Several defenders made strong impressions during the scrimmage. Tackle Greg Billinger was in on three tackles, including a pair of stops that resulted in no gain for the offense. Sacks by defensive end Broderick Stewart and safety Joel Caldwell effectively stopped two offensive possessions. Linebacker Chris Marve filled a hole impressively on an inside running play by punishing a would-be blocker. Safety Reshard Langford added a pair of tackles. Cornerback D.J. Moore made an athletic, open-field tackle of Adams.

For the second consecutive practice, tailback Gaston Miller posted strong inside rushes. On one attempt, Miller carried Langford two yards after a hard hit, resulting in a 5-yard gain. Freshman tailbacks Ryan van Rensburg and Jermaine Doster also ran with authority in limited action.

Twelve Former Commodores Preparing for Pro Day This Friday

Twelve members of the 2007 squad are on campus preparing for Vanderbilt's Pro Day activity this Friday. Due to several former Commodores getting close NFL attention, a larger audience of pro administrators and scouts is expected this Friday than the crowd that watched quarterback Jay Cutler dazzle with his throwing arm in a cold, windy Pro Day two years ago.

Former Commodores expected to participate are OT Chris Williams, WR Earl Bennett, LB Jonathan Goff, LB/DE Curtis Gatewood, LB Marcus Buggs, DT Theo Horrocks, OT Brian Stamper, center Hamilton Holliday, RB Cassen Jackson-Garrison, OG Josh Eames, DT Gabe Hall and QB Richard Kovalcheck.

Recording official weights and heights for all prospects starts the activity. Three skill tests, from vertical jump and standing broad jump to bench press repetitions of 225 pounds, are conducted indoors. When the players move outside, the 40-yard dash and several timed agility tests are staged. Each prospect is also put through a series of drills aimed at evaluation position skills.

Williams, Bennett, Goff and Gatewood performed impressively last month at the NFL Personnel Combine in Indianapolis. All four are expected to participate in selected activities Friday.

Cutler, the former SEC Offensive Player of the Year and current starting quarterback at Denver, is expected to throw to Bennett during the receiver's pass catching drills.

Vanderbilt's Pro Day is a closed activity to all spectators except NFL scouts/personnel, media outlets, and invited guests of participating athletes.

More Notes from Tuesday Practice

• Two standouts from the team's scrimmage Saturday, Miller and Billinger, were awarded gold jerseys by Coach Johnson at the start of practice Tuesday.

• After practice Tuesday, Johnson announced that sophomore defensive end Kikko Logan has been suspended indefinitely due to violating team rules.

• Coach Johnson talked to nearly 30 youngsters visiting McGugin Center from three Boys and Girls Clubs in Nashville before practice. Strength coach John Sisk and head athletic trainer Tom Bossung also talked to the youngsters. The group toured McGugin Center, its weight room facilities, and Food Coach "Magic" Noori in the Hendrix Room. The event was held in conjunction with the "Commit to be Fit" program coordinated by Vanderbilt's Monroe Carell Children's Hospital and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Middle Tennessee. Youth from the Vine Hill, Andrew Jackson and Preston Taylor centers of the Boys and Girls Club organization participated in the tour.

• Freshman Defensive end Tim Fugger is expected to miss the two final weeks of Spring Practice with a foot sprain suffered last Wednesday.

Commodore Practice Schedule

Barring inclement weather, the Commodores are expected to return to the Rich Practice Facility Wednesday afternoon for their seventh session this spring. The team is expected to practice daily through Saturday.



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