Russell's Photos | Mason Interview | S. Rivers
On campus in Nashville – The Commodores' second preseason practice Friday mirrored the team's initial workout, with the added attraction of more offensive fireworks.
Several young offensive prospects registered highlight plays during the team's passing and 11-on-11 team drills that capped the two-hour, 30-minute session at the John Rich Practice Facility.
Afterward, Head Coach Derek Mason talked about the team's big-play potential while taking time to praise both sides of the ball for making strides early in camp.
"Day 2 was a good day. We got better and made more progress," Mason said. "The offense made some explosive plays. That's a good sign… that we have some great arms, and guys with the ability to get behind (the defense).
"At the same time, I saw some good things up on both sides of the ball. At times, I saw great run-stop defense up front, really stout. At other times, our offensive line created some good space. Overall, I'm liking it," the coach added.
The Commodores paid attention on all three phrases Friday while dressed in limited gear due to NCAA rules. After spending more than an hour on fundamental instruction, the squad worked on improved position skills and playbook expansion during individual and team drills, then ended the practice focused on special teams and conditioning.
The team's 11-on-11 segment provided most of the practice highlights. The defense started fast, combining pass deflections by cornerback Tre Bell and linebacker Nigel Bowden with tackles for loss by defensive linemen Barron Dixon and Nifae Lealao.
Momentum shifted to the offense after quarterback Johnny McCrary connected with wide receiver Jordan Cunningham for a 75-yard touchdown toss. After the scoring toss, the unit quickly produced several impressive plays, including an acrobatic grab by Cunningham over cornerback Torren McGaster and a diving, first-down diving reception by wideout Chandler Dorrell. First-year quarterback Shawn Stankavage finished off the drill with three consecutive completions.
Upcoming Practice Schedule
The Commodores will practice Saturday and Sunday on campus, moving closer to their first full-pad session, scheduled for Monday afternoon.