On campus in Nashville -- The Commodores staged their second scrimmage of preseason camp Saturday with virtually every player on the squad getting a chance to impress coaches during a 90-minute session.
Head coach Derek Mason put the Commodores through a 59-play situational scrimmage, including more than 40 plays of full contact. The session was held Saturday night in Vanderbilt Stadium.
While limiting participation for several veterans, Mason gave extra snaps to young players who are competing for important roles on the depth chart.
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After the session, Mason was pleased with the team's enthusiasm and production. "We put a lot of good work on film tonight," Mason said. "I thought the energy, effort and competition level on both sides of the ball was very high. I saw a lot of good things tonight."
The Commodores will be off Sunday, then start their third week of preseason camp on Monday.
• Quarterback Kyle Shurmur continued to impress, connecting with an array of targets.
• Wideouts Trent Sherfield and Trey Ellis produced touchdown catches: Sherfield on a 39-yarder from Shurmur where he eluded a defender, and Ellis on a 5-yard slant from Shawn Stankavage.
• Running back Jamauri Wakefield scored twice in short yardage carries, displaying excellent power and a nose for the end zone.
• Tight end Jared Pinkney and wide receiver Kalija Lipscomb hooked up with Shurmur for receptions of 18 and 16 yards, respectively.
• Emmanuel Smith and Jay Hockaday were frequent visitors to the offensive backfield. Both inside linebackers registered punishing tackles for loss. Hockaday also added another defensive highlight, forcing a fourth down by closing quickly to deflect a pass attempt.
• Cornerbacks Donovan Sheffield forced a field goal by diving to defend a Shurmur-to-Sherfield attempt in the end zone.
• Outside linebackers Andre Mintze and Josh Smith made their presence felt. Both contributed tackles for loss. Mintze also forced the only fumble, though it was alertly picked up by offensive tackle Devin Cochran, who rumbled into the end zone for a score.
• Cornerback Tre Herndon went high to break up an apparent Shurmur-to-Sherfield touchdown.
• Safety-linebacker Andrew Rector drew praise from other defenders with a quick reaction in the flat that resulted in a third-down incompletion.
• Linemen Nifae Lealao, Jay Woods, Jonathan Wynn and Dare Odeyingbo were physical at the line of scrimmage, helping to contain inside rushes and applying pressure on quarterbacks.