July 31, 2014
Russell's Photos | Mason | Robinette | McCrary
On campus in Nashville - First-year Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason only wished the Commodores' initial preseason camp could have lasted longer.
Two hours and thirty minutes after the opening whistle blew, Mason was all smiles, happy with the effort, intensity and energy displayed by his young and eager Vanderbilt squad.
"It was a good day. Just being out here instructing and coaching the guys was fun. We could have went another two hours and I would have enjoyed," Mason told the assembled media afterward.
"I saw a lot of good things. We didn't have a lot of guys on the ground, we communicated well, and I saw some plays being made on both sides of the ball," Mason said. "If we continue to take steps forward like we did today, we're going to be a pretty good team."
Mason pushed the Commodores through a fast-paced session at the John Rich Practice Facility, stressing fundamentals, position instruction and conditioning to the squad for the first 90 minutes. The final hour was spent on scheme development in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills and special teams work.
Six quarterback prospects share repetitions
All six prospects vying for the team's open quarterback job participated in the practice.
Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Karl Dorrell rotated sophomore Patton Robinette, redshirt freshman Johnny McCrary, transfer Stephen Rivers, junior Josh Grady and freshmen Wade Freebeck and Shawn Stankavage through the team's lengthy 11-on-11 drills late in the session. Mason came away impressed with several of the quarterbacks and liked the way each directed the huddle.
"I'm going to go in and watch (the practice video), then I'll pull from that," the coach said. "The film always tells you what you need to now."
Young receivers, defensive backs impress
Several young players in the defensive secondary and receiving corps made favorable impressions during the team's first practice.
Freshmen defensive backs Tre Herndon and Bryce Lewis registered interceptions while first-year wideouts Trent Sherfield and Rashad Canty posted acrobatic receptions during passing drills. Several redshirt freshmen, including receivers C.J. Duncan and DeAndre Woods, cornerbacks Tre Bell and Taurean Ferguson, and safety Oren Burks also impressed.
"They're talented. In terms of athleticism and movement, we have a bunch of guys on both sides of the ball that are going to be great contributors," Mason said. "Some of our (recent) acquistions, as well as our recruits, also are going to get a chance to play."