March 29, 2012
Franklin Thursday Interview | Barca's Photos | Black and Gold Spring Game April 14
Last week, Vanderbilt Head Coach James Franklin challenged his squad to be more violent on the practice field.
Franklin was thrilled with the Commodores' intensity Thursday evening, calling it the best spring practice of his tenure on campus.
"We competed, we had fun, they were flying around, there were a couple of fights and we made plays," Franklin told reporters following the two-hour, 40-minute practice. "That's my expectation on how we should practice. I'm very, very pleased."
The Commodores spent the majority of their time in thud drills until a brief skirmish between two linemen during 11-on-11s changed the tempo for the remaining 10 plays. Franklin liked the tenacity and opted to amp up the level of competition by allowing full contact in the final two periods.
The defense responded to the test first with linebacker Archibald Barnes getting an interception and defensive end Walker May registering a sack. The offense fired back behind a pair of completions by quarterback Jordan Rodgers to receivers Jacquese Kirk and Trent Pruitt, the latter going for 80 yards and a touchdown.
Franklin capped off the live session with a one-play, goal-line situation in which the offense faced fourth-and-one and could only run the ball. After a penalty negated tailback Zac Stacy's score, Wesley Tate scampered six yards for the touchdown to give the offense the victory.
"If we can find a way to compete like that and have fun while we're doing it, we'll be ready when we need to be ready," Franklin said.
Let's Make a Deal... Again
For the second consecutive outing, post-practice conditioning depended on the legs of the placekickers. And Franklin did everything he could to distract his specialists.
"We poured water on the back of their necks, threw it in their faces and hands," Franklin explained.
After Ryan Fowler and Carey Spear combined to hit 6-of-8 field goals, the team had a choice: run gassers for each miss or take Franklin up on his "double-or-nothing" offer to eliminate sprints.
Spear gladly accepted the challenge and drilled his field goal through the middle of the uprights to end the day. Franklin even used an air horn to affect the final kick, but to no avail.
"We're trying to create as much adversity and they are handling it well," Franklin added.
More Highlights from Thursday's Drills
Offense: Big gains through the air included Rodgers to Jonathan Krause, Austyn Carta-Samuels to Chris Boyd, and Patton Robinette to Steve Monk ... Boyd had several catches on the day courtesy of all three QBs ... Rodgers split defenders with a bullet to Kirk on a slant ... Robinette hit Kris Kentera over the middle on a nice route ... Carta-Samuels found Daniel Hagaman and Steven Scheu for decent yardage ... Lafonte Thourogood had the longest rush of the day ... Stacy delivered a crushing block in the backfield to give Carta-Samuels time to find Boyd.
Defense: Archibald Barnes had two interceptions, and also recovered a fumble for a touchdown... May contributed two would-be sacks ... Steven Clarke collected two interceptions in 1-on-1s and just missed another during 11-on-11s ... Andre Hal picked off a pass in goal-line work ... Kenny Ladler and Eddie Foster were credited with pass breakups.
Saturday Scrimmage Open to Public
The Commodores will hold their second scrimmage inside Vanderbilt Stadium Saturday at 10 a.m. The scrimmage is free for the public to attend.
Also, a variety of activities are scheduled on April 14 for the second annual Black and Gold Game (6 p.m.). Fans can enjoy a fireworks display following the spring game.