Aug. 14, 2012
Franklin's Interview | Preseason Blog | Dore Wars Part II
Nashville - The Commodores will practice twice Wednesday looking to accomplish more than they did in a 2-hour, 15-minute session Tuesday on campus.
The Commodores, in the midst of perhaps the most mentally and physically challenging days of a three-week preseason camp, struggled to find the execution and cohesiveness that Head Coach James Franklin seeks each day the team makes an appearance on the practice field.
"It was just a little sloppy in my opinion," Franklin said after the session that touched on all three phases of the game and featured nearly 45 minutes of 11-on-11 drills.
Franklin said the young Commodores must learn to make the most of the difficulties associated with stressful preseason practices.
"They're young guys and you have to teach them to be mentally tough and fight through adversity," Franklin said. "Everybody's tired, everybody's cramping and their legs are sore, but you still have to fight through it and make plays. But we run a tough, blue-collar program, so it'll happen."
The Commodores are scheduled to stage two-a-day sessions Wednesday and Friday, sandwiched between a single practice on Thursday before holding their second preseason scrimmage on Saturday.
Numerous Second-Year Players Competing for Serious Roles
With the season opener just 15 days away, more than a dozen sophomores and redshirt freshmen are competing for key roles for the Commodores.
Nowhere is the young competition more apparent than in the middle of the Commodore offensive line where significantly improved sophomores Spencer Pulley and Joe Townsend are hoping to earn the starting job at center. While they saw limited action as true freshmen, Pulley and Townsend have swapped repetitions through camp.
Other second-year Commodores making strong cases for playing time on offense are sophomore guard Jake Bernstein, sophomore tight end Dillon van der Wal, redshirt freshman tight end Steven Scheu, redshirt freshman H-back Kris Kentera, and redshirt freshmen receivers Josh Grady and Jacquese Kirk.
On defense, sophomore defensive tackle Barron Dixon, redshirt freshman end Jimmy Stewart and redshirt freshman safety Andrew Williamson look penciled in on the team's two-deep charts. Among the others making cases for roles are redshirt freshmen linebackers Kellen Williams and Larry Franklin, redshirt freshman cornerback Derek King and redshirt freshman end Darien Bryant.