Monday's practice report

Aug. 8, 2011

Preseason Blog

Nashville, Tenn. - The Commodores prepared for their first practice in full pads by staging a spirited workout Monday at the John Rich Practice Facility.

Head Coach James Franklin liked the enthusiasm and effort put forth by his Commodores Monday during a two-hour practice that started with heavy rain and concluded with uncommonly mild temperatures.

The Commodores continued to focus on scheme development and conditioning in the fast-paced session. Afterward, Franklin said his squad accomplished plenty while wearing limited gear.

"I'm one of these guys that think you can get a lot out of practicing with just helmets if you know how to practice and you stay up," the coach said. "I thought we got a lot out of today because we are able to still fit up and get a nice collision and come off the line of scrimmage.

"I thought the O-line had a better chance today, because without the (shoulder) pads on, the D-line is teeing off and it's hard to kind of stop that charge without some pads on."

The Commodores will have one final day of wearing shells before moving to full pads Wednesday afternoon on campus. Franklin is expected to hold the team's first two-a-day session on Thursday.

Norman on Paul Hornung Award Watch List

Junior Warren Norman, one of the top kick returners in America and the Commodores' leading active career rusher, has been named as a preseason candidate for the Paul Hornung Award, given to the nation's most versatile player.

Norman was one of 50 players across the country named for the award. He was one of nine Southeastern Conference standouts recognized.

The 2009 SEC Freshman of the Year, Norman tops all Commodores with 1,242 career rushing yards and owns a career average of 25.9 yards on 62 kickoff returns. He has three returns for touchdowns.

Highlight Plays from Practice

• No offensive player did more Monday than receiver Jordan Matthews. The sophomore continued his strong early camp with a pair of acrobatic receptions. The first came when Matthews went high between a pair of defenders to haul in a Jordan Rodgers' pass. He later held on to a Larry Smith pass over the middle, taking a hit from safety Javon Marshall in the process.

• Sophomore cornerback Andre Hal had an interception early in the session during 7-on-7 drills.

• Junior Zac Stacy looks to be in excellent form, continuously hitting holes quickly and showing good speed in the open field.

• Several offensive linemen received praise from coaches, including senior Kyle Fischer, junior Ryan Seymour, sophomore Wesley Johnson and redshirt freshman Mylon Brown.

• Three returning linebackers fighting for a pair of starting jobs continued to impress: juniors Archibald Barnes and Tristan Strong, and sophomore Chase Garnham.

Six New Walk-ons Participating

The Commodore preseason roster includes six new walk-on candidates. They are Scot Aiello, a defensive back from Centennial H.S., in Franklin, Tenn.; Josh Gregory, a defensive back from Hendersonville, Tenn., who attended Davidson Academy; punter/QB Taylor Hudson from Olentangy Liberty H.S. in Powell, Ohio; receiver Steve Monk from University Lab School in Baton Rouge, La.; snapper Connor Morrison from Casady School in Edmond, Okla.; and Kellen Williams, a linebacker from West Orange H.S. in Winter Haven, Fla.



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