Nashville, Tenn. - One day after saying the Commodores needed to push harder through the difficult muggy conditions, Head Coach James Franklin watched his squad do exactly that during a two-hour practice on Friday.
From the opening whistle to a series of sprints that ended the session, the Commodores showed plenty of hustle, interest and desire in their second preseason workout at the John Rich Practice Facility.
The head coach praised the team in his closing team gathering, then echoed those sentiments to media members at the post-practice press conference.
"It was much better, much better," Franklin said. "We talked about (the Thursday practice). I'm a huge believer, not just in football but in life, that it's how you perceive the situation you're in. And today, they came out to get better, not just to get through it.
"They came out today with energy, especially our defense, and that energy (positively) affected the whole practice," Franklin added.
The Commodores practiced with confidence Friday, even though the session was a virtual duplication of the Thursday workout where Franklin and his staff frequently needed to demand more from the squad. Unlike Thursday when the staff often sought more intensity, the coaches spent much of Friday applauding the players' effort. The improved overall energy gave coaches more time to focus their attention on better execution during individual, 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 segments.
The Commodores practiced in limited gear for the second straight day. They will continue to work out in partial gear Saturday and Monday, then move into full pads on Tuesday.
Rodgers Named to 25-Player Unitas Golden Arm Award Watchlist
Senior quarterback Jordan Rodgers is one of 25 quarterbacks across the nation mentioned as a preseason candidate for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award watchlist. It marks Rodgers' first mention for prestigious postseason honors.
Unitas Golden Arm Award candidates must be either in the last year of eligibility or redshirt juniors. The award recognizes athletic accomplishment, character, academic achievement and leadership qualities among quarterbacks.
Rodgers, a redshirt senior from Chico, Calif., passed for more than 1,500 yards and nine touchdowns in 2011 after becoming a midseason starter. He also averaged more than 220 yards of total offense as a starter.
Donning New Jersey Numbers
Nearly a dozen Commodores have switched jersey numbers from a year ago.
Five New Walk-ons Participating
Five new walk-on prospects are participating with the team. They are fullback Chris Martin of Princeton, N.J., safety Casey Hughes of Shillington, Pa., defensive back Dane Stubbs of Covington, La., and receiver Donovan Ward of Palos Verdes, Calif.
Squad to Practice Saturday, Then Join Fans at Dore Jam on Sunday
The Commodores' third session will come Saturday afternoon at the Rich Practice Facility. On Sunday, the team will return to the practice field for two hours of fun with Vanderbilt families at Dore Jam, the program's annual fan day activity.
Dore Jam starts at 4 p.m., and features autograph sessions with Coach Franklin, his staff and the entire Commodore squad, along with an array of activities for kids. The event is free, with 2012 Vanderbilt posters being distributed to all fans.
Parking in surface lots across from the practice field and track complex is free for the event. The main entrance gate is located off Natchez Trace.