Throughout the offseason, Vanderbilt athletics has made a concerted effort to change the culture of Vanderbilt's football program. This has been done through enhancements to facilities, parking, tailgating, pregame and in game atmosphere and more.
To roll out these changes, VUCommodores.com will begin a weeklong series titled "Changing the Culture" that will run Monday through Friday this week.
Each day during the week, VUCommodores.com will detail the significant changes that have occurred in the offseason. All of the changes will positively impact the program as a whole, and many will have a clear affect on the way you the fan experiences gameday.
Monday: Locker Room Locker Room Photos
The first part of the series will focus on the renovated football locker room in the McGugin Center. The locker room received a major facelift during the offseason and the team began using it in June.
The change has been significant, and has transformed the way members of the team view and use the locker room.
"In years past the locker room was dilapidated and a little bedraggled but now with the new renovations, it is really homey and it is a place guys want to go to relax and to prepare for practice and do school work," senior linebacker Chris Marve said.
Maybe the most noteworthy feature in the locker room is what people see first when they enter. During the renovation, a new display was created for the anchor, which is lit up and hung on the wall opposite of the front entrance to the locker room. On the top of the anchor display are the words "Anchor of Gold."
Surrounding the center of the locker room are eight words that help form the tenets of Coach Franklin's philosophy. The words are: passion, determination, perseverance, family, team, discipline, commitment and sacrifice.
The locker room also now includes a section of lockers reserved for former Commodores currently in the NFL who return during the offseason to train. The area also features a flat screen that runs highlights of Commodores in the NFL.
A new Star V lighting display hangs from the center of the locker room, shining down on a Star V that is sewn into the carpet. Surrounding the lighting display are flat screen televisions that provide players with a 360-degree viewing experience. In total, nine flat screens were added as part of the renovation.
Located throughout the locker room are display cases that hold the helmets of Vanderbilt's 2011 opponents and will be replaced with helmets of the week's opponent throughout the season.
There are also new player graphics displayed on two of the walls with the player's jersey number removed and replaced with a No. 1 to signify the importance of team unity. The nameplates on the lockers have also been redesigned and now include a player's name, number, position, high school and hometown.
Also changed is the arrangement of the lockers. Instead of being in numerical order, the lockers now form an inner circle where all of the seniors are located.
"It is a nice place to be and I kind of wish I had it throughout my entire Vanderbilt career, but it is nice for my last year," senior quarterback Larry Smith said.
The renovation has also extended outside the locker room. Next to the locker room door adjacent to the equipment room sits a new flat screen television that shows team highlights on a loop. The lighting down the hallway leading through the Corridor of Captains to the locker room has also been improved and a new coat of white paint was added to the hallway to brighten the area up.
Check back Tuesday for the next installment of Changing the Culture Week.