March 22, 2014
Howell's Photo Gallery | Mason Interview | McCrary | Butler | Bell
On campus in Nashville - The Commodore defense controlled the team's first spring scrimmage, held Saturday morning in Vanderbilt Stadium.
The aggressive defense, utilizing an attacking 3-4 scheme, came up with two turnovers and bottled up the Vanderbilt offense for much of the 90-minute session, contested in front of more than 500 Commodore fans.
Head Coach Derek Mason was pleased with the overall effort from his Commodores, and especially the intensity of the defensive unit.
"Defensively, for us it's about a game of reacting... so guys can tee off a little bit," Mason said. "At times that's what you saw, but I'm definitely impressed with where we going.
"You always want to see what the guys are going to react in the stadium, and in front of some fans. This was an opportunity for these guys to step out and actually what they can do. Some guys did a great job holding up to it and other guys just need more work," Mason added.
The Commodores will take Sunday and Monday off, then return to the John Rich Practice Facility on Tuesday to start their third week of the spring. The team is just three weeks away from the featured Black & Gold Scrimmage.
Two defenders, redshirt freshman Tre Bell and junior linebacker Jake Sealand, posted the turnovers. Bell nabbed an interception while Sealand registered a fumble recovery on the final play of the scrimmage.
Several other defenders stood out during the scrimmage. Linemen Adam Butler, Vince Taylor and Barren Dixon each pressured the pocket and contributed tackles for loss. Several linebackers, including Jonathan Wynn, Caleb Azubike, Harding Harper, Nigel Bowden and Darreon Herring, impressed with smothering tackles. In the secondary, Torren McGaster, Paris Head and Andrew Williamson punished running backs.
Running backs Brian Kimbrow and Ralph Webb provided many of the top offensive hightlights.
Passing - Patton Robinette 11-17-81 yards, Johnny McCrary 9-13, 111 yards, 1 INT
Rushing - Brian Kimbrow 8-55, 1 TD, Ralph Webb 8-38, Derek King 5-9
Receiving - Webb 3-26, Kimbrow 3-19, Jordan Cunningham 3-18, C.J. Duncan 2-33, Gerald Perry 2-26, Mitchell Parsons 2-24, Nathan Marcus 2-18, Steven Scheu 1-12, Curtis Graves 1-9, Mack Weaver 1-7
Quarterback sacks - Ja'karri Thomas, Barron Dixon, Caleb Azubike, Adam Butler.
Interceptions - Tre Bell
Fumble recoveries - Jake Sealand
BRIEF SUMMARY OF POSSESSIONS
Drive I The first possession directed by Robinette would be one of the offense's most impressive of the day. Starting from their own 20-yard line, the unit produced five first downs to move the ball inside the red zone but stalled when Robinette's 3rd-and-6 completion to Cunningham came up short, forcing a field goal. The drive includes two impressive rushes by Kimbrow, Robinette first-down completions to Kimbrow and TE Steven Scheu, and an 8-yard scramble by Robinette on 3rd and 7. Cornerback Taurean Ferguson made two bruising tackles, including on the third-down completion to Cunningham.
Drive II Johnny McCrary gets quick first downs on a 10-yard completion to WR Curtis Graves and 19-yard strike to Gerald Perry. The drive ends when McCrary is sacked by LB Ja'karri Thomas on 3rd-and-7.
Drive III An holding penalty and tackle for loss by DT Barron Dixon puts in the offense in poor position on third down, when Robinette's pass intended for C.J. Duncan falls incomplete.
Drive IV McCrary's first-down pass in the right flat is nearly intercepted by safety Andrew Williamson. On 3rd-and-long, cornerback Tre Bell forces the first turnover, picking off a deep pass.
Drive V Dixon and LB Harding Harper combine for an impressive tackle on RB Ralph Webb for no gain. McCrary's third-down pass, thrown under heavy pressure from OLB Jonathan Wynn, falls incomplete.
Drive VI On first down, McCrary finds Webb out of the backfield for 22 yards. On the next play, Webb is met by CB Torren McGaster for no gain. After DT Vince Taylor and Wynn combine to hold King to a 1-yard gain on second day, the possession ends with another sack of McCrary, this one coming from OLB Caleb Azubike.
Drive VII Robinette guides an impressive drive inside the red zone, but again the defense stiffens on fourth down to force a change of possession. The drive includes carries by Kimbrow of 11 and 23 yards respectively, and Robinette completions to Duncan, Marcus and Cunningham. On fourth down, Robinette is forced to scramble left, coming up two yards shy of the end zone.
Drive VIII Kimbrow dives into the end zone from the 3-yard line to cap a short possession.
Drive IX The offense posts an 11-play drive and appears headed for a touchdown when the defense mounts an impressive goal-line stand. McCrary connects with TE Mitchell Parsons for two first downs, Duncan for 23 yards and Webb rushes 13 yards into the defense's 5-yard line. Four straight rushes by Webb get the ball to the 1-yard line when McCrary fumbles a snap. The drive - and scrimmage - end when LB Jake Sealand comes up with the recovery.