Aug. 4, 2014
Russell's Photos | Mason Interview
On campus in Nashville - Head Coach Derek Mason praised the Vanderbilt offensive line after the team's first practice in full gear, which came Monday at the John Rich Practice Facility.
The offense enjoyed its most success during an 11-on-11 session, with all plays run from inside the defense's 20-yard line. The unit registered three touchdowns and several other positive plays during the session.
Wide receivers Latevius Rayford and Jordan Cunningham hauled in touchdown catches while quarterback Johnny McCrary and running back Ralph Webb rushed for scores in the red-zone work.
Later in the practice, the defense got some revenge by forcing three quick turnovers in another 11-on-11 period.
"I liked what I saw a lot, especially from an offensive standpoint," Mason said. "I thought the offensive line did a great job, really set the tempo, and created some creases (in the defensive line). Kudos to those guys because they kept coming down hill."
"They (offense line) took it as an opportunity to flex their muscles and they did. On defense, you have to earn the right to get to the passer. Our defensive guys still have to understand that you need a workman's mentality. It's about bring a hard hat and lunch pail," Mason added.
After struggling in the early red-zone session, the defense held the upper hand at the closing 11-on-11 team drills. Linebackers Jimmy Stewart, Zach Cunningham and Charles Wright registered interceptions during the session. Two other linebackers, Nigel Bowden and Jonathan Wynn, posted a deflected pass and tackle for loss, respectively.
Grady joins receiving corps
Josh Grady, who saw action in three games last year at quarterback, practiced as a wide receiver Monday.
Through the first four days of camp, Grady was among six prospects competing for the team's open quarterback role. Earlier Monday, Grady approached the staff about moving to wide receiver, where he posted seven catches in 2012.
Mason praised Grady's decision. "The move makes us better. Josh gives us an experienced guy, an excellent skill set and a great football mind at receiver. I think it's a natural move for him and I'm also proud of Josh for trying to find a way to help this team."
New location for Dore Jam this Sunday
The team's annual Fan Day activity, Dore Jam, has a new home. The popular preseason event for Commodore fans will take place this Sunday in the Indoor Practice Facility, which opened nine months ago near the Vanderbilt athletic complex.
Dore Jam is a free event giving fans an opportunity to meet their favorite Commodores and get autographs from coaches and student-athletes. Newly designed 2014 schedule posters also will be distributed free of charge.
Kids activities also are planned at Dore Jam, which starts at 2 p.m. Hot dogs and drinks will be available without cost while supports last.
Free parking for the event is available in the surface lots across Natchez Trace from the track & field complex.