March 21, 2013
NASHVILLE - The Commodores' final preparation for their public scrimmage this Saturday was an intense affair Thursday afternoon on the John Rich Practice Facility.
Head Coach James Franklin gave the squad an early dose of full contact drills late in the two-hour, 30-minute session. The 12-play segment, coming after emotions rose in an 11-on-11, limited contact stretch of practice, provided highlight plays from both sides of the ball.
The offensive highlights came from a pair of acrobatic catches on deep patterns by wide receivers Jordan Matthews and Trey Wilkins. The defense countered with quarterback sacks from linebacker Jake Sealand and defensive end Darien Bryant, and an impressive tackle for loss by cornerback Andre Hal.
The Commodores' next practice on Saturday will be one of two public scrimmages in Vanderbilt Stadium prior to the Black & Gold Spring Game in mid-April. Stadium gates will open at 9:30 a.m. Franklin will put the squad through a series of position drills before starting the scrimmage at 10:15 a.m.
Batey Impresses in Dore Wars
For much of the first week of drills, redshirt freshman Cory Batey has experienced the same frustrations most guys do when moved to a new position. During the span of six rushes in the physical "Dore Wars" drill Thursday, the former receiver might become a promising safety for the future.
Positioned as the designated tackler in the drill, Batey struggled through the first four running plays. On the fifth rush, Batey shot through a gap to punish the ball carrier. As the pile of players emptied, the entire Commodore defensive unit exploded on Batey with cheers and congratulations.
Honoring the 2012 Seniors on Friday
The staff will pay tribute to a 23-member senior class Friday night at a team dinner.
The event, coming on the same evening as Pro Day activities on campus, will honor the seniors' accomplishments. As players, the class experienced the first back-to-back postseason bowl appearances in program history and matched the program single season victories with nine wins in 2012.
The dinner will include the announcement of 2012 individual awards, ranging from outstanding efforts in the weight room and unsung heroes on the team to most valuable players at respective positions.
Nine of the 23 seniors will participate in Vanderbilt's Pro Day, scheduled to start at noon today on campus. The activity puts former Commodores through a series of measurements, agility, speed and strength tests, and position drills - all staged in front of an audience of NFL scouts.
Expected to participate are linebacker Archibald Barnes, punter Richard Kent, defensive tackle Rob Lohr, quarterback Jordan Rodgers, cornerback/safety Eric Samuels, offensive lineman Ryan Seymour, running back Zac Stacy, defensive end Johnell Thomas and cornerback Trey Wilson.