Preseason Blog | Commodores thank fans | Fans share thoughts on Coach Franklin
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Observers watching Vanderbilt's first week of preseason drills have consistently talked about a faster tempo at Commodore drills. After Saturday, several hundred of the team's fans are likely to spread the word.
Head Coach James Franklin put the Commodores through an efficient and quick-paced workout Saturday morning in front of about 300 fans. Equipped in limited gear, the session included individual instruction, 1-on-1, 7-on-7 drills, special teams and scheme installation, and a pair of lengthy 11-on-11 segments.
At the conclusion of practice, the team received an ovation from the crowd as they personally thanked the fans for their support (Watch Video).
"I thought it was great to have a chance to reach out to our community like this," Franklin said. "Our football fans are fiercely loyal. They are due some success and fun."
Twice during the fans, Franklin made his way into the crowd to greet fans. The coach even pulled one young fan, 12-year-old Garrett Griffis from Franklin, to help cap the team's opening stretch. An hour later, young Garrett still wore a big smile as he watched the proceedings.
The Commodores will return to practice Saturday evening. They are expected to conduct their first full-contact scrimmage of camp.
Several Young Linemen Impress
Coaches recognized a number of young Commodore linemen for their efforts through the practice.
On offense, sophomore guard Mylon Brown and freshman Spencer Pulley drew praise on several occasions. On defense, freshman tackle Barron Dixon, sophomore tackle Jared Morse and redshirt freshman end Kyle Woestmann made impressive stops.
Quarterbacks Larry Smith and Jordan Rodgers were on target with their passes for much of the day, connecting with several receivers, including Jordan Matthews, John Cole and Akeem Dunham. A third quarterback, freshman Josh Grady, also flashed his abilities, throwing crisp passes and gaining yardage as a running threat when receivers were covered.
Safety Karl Butler and cornerback Casey Hayward posted interceptions during 11-on-11 drills.
Freshman tailback Mitchell Hester was effective in limited action, making quick decisions and displaying good burst. Early in camp, both Hester and fellow first-year back Jerron Seymour have caught the attention of coaches and teammates.