Aug. 9, 2012
Franklin Interview | Dore Wars | Preseason Blog
Nashville - With their first practice in Vanderbilt Stadium just two days away, the Commodores continued to impress their head coach with another solid effort Thursday on campus.
The Commodores pushed through the 2-hour, 15-minute session that focused on special teams, scheme development and an array of individual, 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills. The coaches limited full contact, but continued to focus their attention on tempo and conditioning.
James Franklin liked what he saw from the Commodores for the second consecutive session.
"I thought it was a good one," Franklin said. "The offense is executing very well and the quarterbacks did an excellent job from a game management standpoint.
"Maybe I wanted the defense to play a little faster, but they were probably indecisive because of all of those looks our offense was giving them."
Collectively, the Commodores' quarterback trio of senior Jordan Rodgers, junior Austyn Carta-Samuels and freshman Patton Robinette put together their most productive outing in the team's seventh preseason session.
Rodgers connected with a variety of targets, including wide receivers Jordan Matthews and Trent Pruitt. Among the targets of Carta-Samuels' passes were H-back Kris Kentera, tight end Dillon van der Wal and wideout Josh Grady. Wide receiver Cory Batey also looked impressive catching a Robinette pass.
Running Back Corps Looking Impressive
The candidates chasing 2011 All-Southeastern Conference recipient Zac Stacy for playing time look as solid as any running back corps in recent Commodore history.
Warren Norman continued to impress early in camp. The junior, a former SEC Freshman of the Year, is hitting the hole quicker than he has in nearly two years. Jerron Seymour's elusive rushing style appears back. And newcomer Brian Kimbrow seems to earn praise from teammates on a daily basis, and did so again Thursday, nabbing a pass on a deep sideline route with one hand and juking multiple defenders on a long rush.
One of the new offensive looks Thursday was to move the athletic Wesley Tate into the backfield, giving the unit a strong two-back side. Twice in the 11-on-11 drill, Tate took an off-tackle rush for long yardage.
Team to Practice Saturday in Stadium
Franklin is looking forward to seeing the Commodores get their first taste of a renovated Vanderbilt Stadium this Saturday. The players will witness an array of improvements to Dudley Field, including the installation of an artificial turf playing surface, new stadium lights, a huge video board, and construction of a hillside berm between the north end zone and video board.
"I think the guys are going to be happy and real proud of what we have there," Franklin said. "They'll feel like our fans will about the stadium. It really looks totally different than it did last year."
Franklin was particularly impressed with the new video board, which was close to being installed by late Thursday.
"I'm very pleased with it and it's a lot bigger than I thought it was going to be. It's also kind of unique because of the square shape and seems lower than other video boards. I like that it's unique and a little different," the coach added.