Nashville, Tenn. - Head Coach Bobby Johnson put the Commodores through their first preseason scrimmage in Vanderbilt Stadium on Saturday, using the occasion to take another look at inexperienced players who need to step forward and secure important roles this season.
The scrimmage, a 19-series, 65-play session, was conducted exactly two weeks before the Commodores host the Richmond Spiders in the season opener. It was also held during yet another hot Middle Tennessee afternoon, with temperatures reaching the high 90s.
Similar to a Commodore full-contact session on Wednesday, Head Coach Bobby Johnson took full advantage of the chance to put several newcomers and untested upperclassmen in full contact. Johnson left the Dudley Field playing surface liking much of what he witnessed in the 90-minute drill.
"I was pleased with everybody's attitude and how hard they were working," Johnson said. "I'd be pretty happy if we would eliminate some mistakes, but most coaches are saying that this time of year. Once we have a chance to look at the film, we'll know a lot more.
"We wanted to take a close look for a lot of guys and we accomplished that. We were mixing and matching the guys pretty good, trying to get different combinations on the field. We wanted to put some guys under the pressure of really having to perform," the head coach added.
The defense started strong, limiting their counterparts to little production in the first six drives. A number of Commodores, including Goff, cornerback Josh Allen, safety Joel Caldwell, ends Theron Kadri and Tim Fugger, and linebacker John Stokes made key defensive plays in the opening series.
Mackenzi Adams directed the second touchdown possession. He hit receiver Justin Wheeler for 17 yards, then faked the secondary with excellent play action to find receiver Chris Reinart open in the end zone for a nine-yard touchdown.
Johnson concluded the scrimmage with several red-zone series. After cornerback D.J. Moore ended the first offensive series with an acrobatic interception, the offense closed the practice with five touchdowns in six red-zone possessions. Adams connected on touchdown passes to Bryant Anderson and Wheeler, then watched as Larry Smith hit Jermaine Doster for a score. The action ended with a second rushing touchdown by Reeves and a five-yard scoring pass from Kovalcheck to tight end Justin Green.