Nashville, Tenn. - The Commodores wrapped up the team's final practice in limited gear Monday before beginning practices in full pads tomorrow.
The squad practiced for just under two hours in humid, cloudy conditions. The running game was the focus early in practice with senior Zac Stacy, junior Warren Norman and freshman Brian Kimbrow seeing action in the backfield.
In 7-on-7 drills, quarterbacks Jordan Rodgers and Austyn Carta-Samuels were sharp in the short-passing game completing passes to slot receivers and tight ends. Redshirt freshman tight end Steven Scheu caught several passes and fellow redshirt freshman Josh Grady hauled in one of the longer passes of the day, making a nice over the shoulder catch on a fade route down the right sideline. In the same period, junior Jordan Matthews turned a short slant route into a long play. Matthews caught the ball and immediately turned up field nearly knocking over defensive coordinator Bob Shoop, who was standing in the middle of the field guiding the defense.
The practice wrapped up with a rowdy 11-on-11 session with the defense dominating early. The offense finally gained some traction running the ball with Stacy and Rodgers. Matthews again was in the mix turning in a big play on a pass from Carta-Samuels. The Dores also moved the ball on the ground with big plays from Kimbrow on a toss sweep and Stacy on a draw play.
Fresh Faces Several freshmen are earning reps early in training camp. Numerous offensive linemen are working with the second team with Andrew Jelks, Barrett Gouger and Jake Bernstein seeing time. Fellow freshmen Blake Fromang also impressed in individual drills early in the day. Freshman linebacker Darreon Herring added one of the bigger hits of the day in 11-on-11 drills.
Turn it up In an attempt to give the Dores' kickers nerves of steel Coach Franklin puts the kickers under tremendous stress at the end of practice. The newly installed speakers at the practice facility pound out loud music to simulate stadium environments while coaches and players yell and jump around to distract the kicker. The kickers stepped up on Monday making all but one field goal attempt.