On campus in Nashville - Expected to start full-pad work on Tuesday, the Commodores focused on tempo, playbook expansion and conditioning in a morning session Saturday.
Head Coach James Franklin put the squad through a two-hour workout at the John Rich Practice Complex. Afterward, he said the Commodores continued to improve and showed signs of understanding the quick tempo he wants with the remaining 12 spring practices.
It was the team's second consecutive day in limited gear and helmets. Franklin is expected to introduce the squad to full pads Tuesday afternoon.
The Saturday session was another fast-paced practice directed by Franklin and his Commodore staff. In many ways, it mirrored the team's initial workout, focusing on special teams, individual drills, position instruction and continued installation of the new playbook.
It also ended with the same high-energy, 11-on-11 drill that closed the first practice. Franklin has used the offense-versus-defense drill to work on proper execution and unrelenting pursuit by all 11 defenders. Virtually every play, even short pass completions and rushes for no gain, continues downfield until Franklin blows his whistle. Essentially, each down becomes a 40- to 50-yard pursuit drill for the defense. As players hustle back to their respective huddles, coaches also use the few extra seconds to both praise individual efforts and correct mistakes in technique.
"We improved today. As a team, we were better than we were yesterday," Franklin told his squad.
Afterward, Franklin said the team is starting to understand the practice pace and tempo that he expects as the Commodore head coach.
Moore Watches Practice
D.J. Moore, the former Commodore who blossomed this year as the Chicago Bears' starting nickelback, watched the closing minutes of practice.
Moore is in town working with close friend and former Commodore defensive end Teriall Brannon as the recent senior prepares for Vanderbilt Pro Day next Friday on campus. Brannon is one of perhaps seven former Commodores who will workout for pro scouts.
Next Saturday Session Open to Public
Franklin said the team's practice next Saturday (March 26) will be open to the public, starting at 10:15 a.m., in Vanderbilt Stadium.
It is expected to be the only practice open to the public until the team concludes spring drills with the Black & Gold Spring Game on Sunday, April 17. The spring game will kickoff at 6 p.m., with Vandyville tailgating opportunities, fun family activities, and team autographs beginning at 3 p.m.