NASHVILLE - Getting back to work after an impressive weekend scrimmage in Vanderbilt Stadium, the Commodores made the most of a two-hour afternoon workout after having to halt a morning practice prematurely due to sudden thunderstorms near the campus.
Head Coach James Franklin put the Commodores through a quick-paced afternoon session after practicing just 45 minutes in full pads Monday morning before the storms arrived. Though the sessions didn't qualify as traditional two-a-day workouts, the coach said his squad got a lot out of the practices that came in mild temperatures.
"It wasn't a true two-a-day because we got rained out (in the morning), but we got some good work done, which is most important," Franklin said. "We installed some stuff we hadn't done earlier."
The Commodores wore limited gear during the second session Monday, focusing on tempo and execution during periods that helped broaden the team's offensive and defensive scheme. The squad donned full gear Monday morning, but accomplished little of the intended contact drills due to the weather.
Franklin is expected to put the squad through a single practice Tuesday and another two-a-day session on Wednesday.
First Panu Gets Scholarship, Now Townsley
Eighteen months ago, John Townsley accepted an invitation from Franklin to try out for the Commodore football team. Today, the redshirt junior quarterback prospect owns a full-ride scholarship.
For the second time in less than a week, Franklin has awarded a full scholarship to a hard-working walk-on.
Last week, fourth-year fullback prospect Marc Panu heard he was on the Commodores' scholarship roll during a team meeting. Panu's reaction to Franklin's announcement, caught on video and spread by YouTube, has become an internet sensation. On Monday, when the team gathered after a stretch period to open practice, Franklin announced that Townsley was also getting a full ride this year.
The news shocked Townsley, an Ohio native who transferred to Vanderbilt for the 2010 fall semester, then earned a roster spot after impressing Franklin during a February 2011 tryout that attracted 15 other undergraduates. Since joining the squad, Townsley has diligently worked to make a great impression as a squad team quarterback.
"I was shocked, just totally shocked when Coach told the team," Townsley said after practice. "I can tell you that it's all just very humbling. I can also tell you that I am just incredibly appreciative."
Asked what he intended to do with the opportunity, Townsley said he planned to do "whatever was needed to make sure I make our team better. If it's as a scout team guy, I want to give our defense the very best look I can as a quarterback."
What the Video Told Franklin of Saturday's Stadium Scrimmage
What impressed Franklin the most from his team's first preseason scrimmage, held Saturday in Vanderbilt Stadium, was improved execution from both units.
"Compared to where we were last year, I think it was dramatic," Franklin said. "Last year with the first scrimmage, you saw a lot of sloppy things that young teams do with a lot of offsides and missed assignments. It wasn't that way, it was pretty clean."