Coach Johnson Sees More Improvement
Friday; Looks Forward to Seeing Full Squad Saturday 8/9/02
3 of Preseason Drills at Vanderbilt - Head Coach Bobby
Johnson left the McGugin Practice Facility Friday morning
pleased with the continuing progress of his freshmen and eager
to have Commodore upperclassmen report this afternoon in preparation
for the first full-squad practice Saturday afternoon.
The newcomers’ practice Friday
- the fifth of the preseason - was an efficient 90-minute
workout, featuring individual position techniques, one-on-one
line work, and team passing drills. Both coaches and players
were upbeat as they left the practice field.
“We were much better today. The
guys were much more attentive to what they were doing. You
really like to see the ones that take to the coaching,” Johnson
The coach declined to identify
which of the 21 freshmen and six invited walk-ons made the
biggest impression to the coaches, saying only that the players
made a great deal of progress in the three days of work.
“It’s too early to say this guy
or that guy was effective, but overall, we had a good number
of guys that impressed us over the past three days. I’m looking
forward to seeing how they perform when everyone is in camp,”
Johnson is about to get his wish.
All upperclassmen are expected to report to campus this afternoon,
with a team meeting scheduled Friday night. Many of the veterans
will go through a conditioning session early Saturday before
the team gathers for its first full-squad practice at 4:00
p.m. Saturday. The public is invited to the practice.
Shaved Heads On the Front
Several of the Commodore veteran offensive linemen will appear
for their first practice Saturday sporting a new look - shaved
heads. Senior guard Jim May said fellow senior and captain,
Jamie Byrum, was to blame.
“I don’t really care how I look
... I’m just ready to get back at it,” May said. “A bunch
of the O-line guys shaved their heads. It was all Byrum’s
idea. It doesn’t matter to Jamie, he’s already losing his
AD Turner drops in on Practice
Vanderbilt Director of Athletics Todd Turner watched much
of the practice while keeping an eye on the neighboring natural
grassfield as maintenance crews spray painted the 90-yard
surface at McGugin Practice Facility.
The team is expected to christen
the grass surface next week during full-squad two-a-days.
The university applied Tift 419 bermuda grass to the practice
field and on the Dudley Field surface in Vanderbilt Stadium
just two months ago. For the first time in three years, the
coaches will have the options of practicing on either natural
grass or a cushioned AstroPlay synthetic surface. Both surfaces
also feature new drainage systems.
Johnson Goes Shopping
Saturday Coach Johnson is expected to make an appearance Saturday
afternoon at Sports Seasons in Nashville’s Lions Head Shopping
Center. The coach will sign autographs and meet with Commodore
fans at the store located off White Bridge Road from 1:00-2:00
Dore Jam Sunday
All fans (and soon-to-be fans) of Vanderbilt athletic teams
are invited to attend Dore Jam Sunday afternoon at McGugin
Practice Facility. The assortment of attractions - from interactive
games and inflatable kids activities to free food and live
music - should guarantee a good family outing.
Another free attraction for adults
- general admission tickets to the home opener versus Furman
Sept. 7 - also is available. The first 2,000 adults attending
are eligible for two general admission tickets.
The event, scheduled from 4:00-6:00
p.m., also features coaches and student-athletes from several
other Commodore programs, including baseball, golf, soccer
A football highlight at Dore
Jam are player and coach autographs and poster giveaways.
On Sunday, team captains Jamie Byrum, Rushen Jones and Dan
Stricker also are scheduled to display the team’s three new
uniforms designed by Nike.
To accommodate kids activities
and food booths, officials will close Natchez Trace between
Blakemore Avenue and Jess Neely Drive. The parking lot off
Natchez Trace directly across from McGugin Practice Facility
will be available.