NASHVILLE -- The Commodores continued to place extra attention on the aerial game during an active session Tuesday on campus.
Head Coach James Franklin put the squad through a 2-hour, 30-minute session at the John Rich Practice Facility. It marked the team's ninth practice as Franklin directs the squad toward the featured Black and Gold Game scheduled for Saturday, April 14.
"We're continuing to work on the passing game," Franklin said. "We're ahead of where we were last spring, but we're a little behind where I think we should be. We're just going to keep working through it."
Several segments of the practice were devoted to individual and team passing drills, ranging from 1-on-1 matchups to 11-on-11 work. The Commodores also spent time on individual position techniques and various components of special teams before ending the workout with conditioning.
Franklin said the second-year quarterback is showing a solid grasp of what offensive coaches want from the position. "I'm pleased with how (Jordan) Rodgers is running things, his anticipation and his throws," the coach said.
Hal, Ladler, Garnham Among Defensive Standouts
Fighting for the task of replacing All-America Casey Hayward in the Commodore secondary, junior Andre Hal continued to impress Tuesday. Hal contributed two interceptions, including an acrobatic grab in red-zone team drills, and drew praise from coaches for his ball-hawking skills and physicality at the cornerback position.
One of Hal's teammates in the secondary, junior safety Kenny Ladler, continued his impressive spring with a diving interception. Junior linebacker Chase Garnham and veteran defensive ends Walker May and Johnell Thomas also impressed in team drills.
Leaders Stepping Forward
With several players stepping forward in expanded leadership roles this spring, Franklin said the squad will select its three captains for the upcoming season. The squad is expected to pick one player on offense and defense, along with a specialist.
The only returning captain from the AutoZone Liberty Bowl squad is junior placekicker Carey Spear.
Franklin said up to three more captains will be selected during preseason camp this August.