March 18, 2014
Mason Interview | Howell's Photo Gallery
On campus in Nashville - The Commodores enjoyed their first taste of full contact Tuesday in preparation for their initial spring scrimmage, scheduled this Saturday in Vanderbilt Stadium.
Head Coach Derek Mason put the squad through two extended periods of live drills, including a 30-play, 11-on-11 segment that concluded the team's fourth spring workout. Afterward, Mason said plenty of positives came from the full-go repetitions.
"First, we had a live 9-7 period, then we went down the field and back with the full team," Mason said. "I saw some great things, guys moving the line of scrimmage of both sides of the ball and backs running hard. I even saw a few turnovers ... that's good for the defense but something we definitely want to minimize on offense.
"What it does is give the guys a sense of what we are looking for, especially in terms of tempo. Overall, I'm pleased where we are after four practices," the coach added.
On defense, interior linemen Vince Taylor and Ladarius Banks penetrated the line of scrimmage in posting tackles for loss during the live session. Others contributing individual highlights were linebackers Zach Cunningham, Harding Harper and Jake Sealand, and young safeties Jalen Banks and Ryan White.
Offensively, running back Brian Kimbrow used physical blocks from Jake Bernstein, Will Holden and Andrew Jelks to pick up good yardage on two rushes. Quarterback Johnny McCrary also completed first-down passes to wide receiver C.J. Duncan and tight end Nathan Marcus.
The Commodores should expect more contact in their fifth practice Thursday. It will serve as the team's final preparation for their initial spring scrimmage, scheduled Saturday morning.
Coach urges Commodore fans to come out Saturday
Mason hopes to see plenty of Vanderbilt fans at the scrimmage Saturday. It starts at 10 a.m., with Gate 2 of the stadium expected to open at 9:30 a.m.
"If you're a fan of the Commodores, come on out and see how we're doing. Our fans need to see how much effort these guys are putting in to get better," the coach added.
Mason, staff greet large group of Nashville fifth graders during the day
Nearly 100 fifth graders from Cameron College Prep in downtown Nashville spent the morning touring the team's football facilities and getting to meet the coaching staff.
After a tour of the stadium, practice facilities and weight room, Mason talked to the high-achieving students for 10 minutes, then took time to answer several questions from the youngsters.
The coach left the gathering impressed. "The entire event was a lot of fun for everybody. I think our staff might have enjoyed more than the kids. That was one impressive collection of elementary school students. They also asked some awesome questions in the Q&A," Mason added.