Commodore Preseason Underway
as Ideal Conditions Greet Freshmen, Walk-ons During Wednesday
Morning Session 8/7/02
Campus in Nashville - The Vanderbilt Class of 2006 - 21 freshmen
signees and six walk-on prospects - went through a brisk conditioning
practice Wednesday morning as Head Coach Bobby Johnson and
his staff started preseason preparations for the 2002 football
The freshmen and walk-ons were
pushed through a two-hour session that featured conditioning
and position instruction - very similar to the themes Johnson
and his staff used with upperclassmen last year during Spring
The players quickly learned
of Johnson’s expectations with practice. On several occasions
during an array of stretching, running and flexibility drills
that opened practice, Johnson halted activities, unsatisfied
with the players’ attention to detail. “Guys, you need to
learn to do these things the right way, and do them with enthusiasm,”
After practice, while talking
to the team, he reiterated his expectations. “We want a drill
executed exactly the way the coach says to do it. When you
come back this afternoon, you need to be much sharper, and
much more detail-oriented,” Johnson said.
freshmen and walk-ons are scheduled to return to the practice
field Wednesday afternoon, and faces two practices Thursday
(9:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.) before Commodore upperclassmen report
Friday. The first full-squad practice is Saturday afternoon.
Dore Jam, the Commodores’ spruced-up Field Day with numerous
activities for the entire family, is scheduled Sunday afternoon.
The practice featured 14 five-minute
sessions, ranging from conditioning and position instruction
to passing drills and non-tackle 11-on-11 drills. The squad
practiced in shorts, pads and helmets.
Afterward, Johnson termed the
session “productive,” saying his staff “threw quite a bit”
at the players. “This is a transition period for each of them,
getting used to the expectations. There is just a lot more
thrown at him at this level than at high school.”
the AstroPlay Surface
Before practice, Coach Johnson told the team to “enjoy the
privilege” of being the first Commodores to utilize the cushioned,
state-of-the-art AstroPlay synthetic surface that was constructed
this summer for the football squad. Crews finished the surface
less than a week ago.
Johnson plans to keep the team
off the 80-yard natural grass surface that adjoins the AstroPlay
surface until next week.
The newcomers practiced in ideal conditions, with temperatures
hovering near 75 degrees for much of the session. The mild
temperatures follow on the heels of a 10-day strifling heat
spell in Middle Tennessee.
The coaching staff took full
advantage of the conditions, stretching the practice 20 minutes
longer than expected. The team used the extra time to work
on offensive and defensive alignments and 11-on-11 non-contact
Fullback Clark Lea (Nashville), cornerback Quinton Shambley
(Springfield, Ill.) and linebacker Scott Bridgman (Wilmette,
Ill.) were among the walk-ons who were impressive in limited
work. The other walk-ons in camp are quarterback Jason
Burns of New Orleans, safety Giovanni Seretti of
Los Angeles, and kicker Tolga Ertugrul of Bixby, Okla.