Coach Johnson Likes Energy, Effort by Freshmen During Second Day of Practices; Upperclassmen Set to Report Friday 8/8/02

Day 2 of Preseason Drills at Vanderbilt - Commodore Head Coach Bobby Johnson enjoyed what he saw Thursday morning from his freshmen and walk-ons during a crisp 90-minute session that differed vastly from opening day practices on Wednesday.

“I was pleased with what I saw out there this morning,” Coach Johnson said as he left the renovated McGugin Practice Complex. “The energy level was very good. We have some guys working hard out there. We’ll just go one practice at a time working to get better.”

Johnson and his staff have progressively added team drills and individual assignments through the three practices, and are expected to continue the process at Thursday’s practice. The newcomers have only two practices remaining before the upperclassmen begin Saturday afternoon. Full-squad two-a-day practices begin Monday.

Dressed in pads, helmets and shorts, the newcomers spent much of the early Thursday practice working on fundamentals and techniques with their position coaches. During one 15-minute segment late in the session, line assistants Robbie Caldwell and David Turner were teaching correct techniques in a one-on-one drills while defensive coaches Warren Belin and Jamie Bryant were pinpointing proper reads during passing drills. Offensive coaches Ted Cain, Jimmy Kiser, J.D. Hall and Charlie Fisher spent the segment rolling out more of the team’s playbook. “We tried to sharpen up on some of the things we had introduced in earlier practices,” Coach Johnson said.

The coaches saw a much more focused squad Thursday morning than the group that gathered 24 hours earlier for its first organized practice. The team eased through stretching and flexibility drills that opened practice Thursday after struggling to perform the same routine up to the coaches’ standards on Wednesday and were enthusiastic throughout the session.

Who Was Catching Those Punts
During fundamentals involving position players and their coaches, Coach Johnson worked with freshman punter Greg Johnson (Lilburn, Ga.). As the punter started booting the ball, the head coach joined in the drill, catching a handful of the punter’s efforts.

Dore Jam Coming Sunday
This Sunday afternoon, Commodore followers have a great opportunity to get close to their playersand Johnson’s new coaching staff and be among the first to see the new Vanderbilt football uniforms designed by NIKE. The 2002 co-captains - Jamie Byrum, Rushen Jones and Dan Stricker - are scheduled to unveil the new look at Dore Jam, the university’s expanded Field Day.

The event features free food and drink, music, kids activities and interaction games for spectators. A ticket giveaway to the Furman home opener, featuring two free tickets to the first 2,000 adults attending, also is included. Several other Commodore teams, including soccer, golf, baseball and lacrosse, will be represented at the free event. A dedication of the new complex also is scheduled. Natchez Trace will be closed between Blakemore Avenue and Jess Neely Drive to accommodate inflatable games for kids and food booths. Activities start at 4:00 p.m.

Watching Practice
Several upperclassmen, including LB Hunter Hillenmeyer, OT Justin Geisinger, TE Nick Getter and DE Jovan Haye, watched portions of the Thursday practice. Also catching some of the action were “Voice of the Commodores” Joe Fisher and recently retired Vanderbilt baseball coach Roy Mewbourne.


Vanderbilt Athletic Department
2601 Jess Neely Drive
Nashville, TN 37212
615-322-GOLD (4653)