Aug. 4, 2013
NASHVILLE - The Commodores moved closer to full contact with another brisk workout Saturday at the John Rich Practice Facility.
The squad pushed through a two-hour, 15-minute session that left Head Coach James Franklin impressed with the overall intensity and energy of the Commodore defense. "I thought it was a good practice, and I liked the way our defense was flying around making plays," Franklin said.
Franklin's competitive camp continued to focus on proper fundamentals, position instruction and conditioning Saturday. The staff used extended segments to work on special teams, and expand the offensive and defensive playbooks.
The squad also moved closer to full gear, donning shoulder pads for the first time. They will continue in shoulder pads on Monday, then move into full gear on Tuesday. The additional gear also ushered in more contact. Several team periods were designated as "thud" sessions, which allowed contact but prohibited tackling to the ground.
O-Line vs. D-Line Drill Returns
A ritual of camp - the offensive line vs. defensive line pass drill - returned with the addition of shoulder pads. The 1-on-1 drill pits an O-lineman working to keep a pass-rushing counterpart away from the quarterback.
Players stood out on both sides of the ball. On offense, coaches praised Wesley Johnson, Joe Townsend, Spencer Pulley and Jake Bernstein among others for their technique. On defense, Jared Morse, Barron Dixon, Vince Taylor, Torey Agee, Kyle Woestmann, Caleb Azubike and Stephen Weatherly earned kudos from fellow players and staffers.
Freshmen Getting Lots of Repetitions
Vanderbilt's freshmen have been getting plenty of repetitions early in camp. Now, Franklin wants the newcomers to make the most of those snaps.
"Our freshmen get more reps than any place I've ever been. I just believe that you learn by doing," Franklin said. "But the quality of those reps has to get better. They need to take advantage of the opportunities."
Cooke, Hudson looking to earn punting role
Two candidates looking to earn the team's punting role, junior walk-on Taylor Hudson and redshirt freshman Colby Cooke, impressed during the closing minutes of practice. Both contributed efforts that surpassed Franklin's expectations for hang time and distance, and saved their teammates from running extra conditioning drills.
Hudson, Cooke and freshman Tommy Openshaw are competing to replace Richard Kent, a 2012 All-Southeastern Conference performer now trying to make the San Diego Chargers' roster.