Johnson Likes Commodores Attitude as Team Gets Started with First Full-Squad Practice Saturday 8/10/02

Saturday Afternoon with the Commodores - After watching his Commodores complete a fast-paced, two-hour session Saturday afternoon, Head Coach Bobby Johnson said the team showed the attitude and desire he hoped to see in its first full-squad practice.

“I thought the overall attitude was excellent and the effort was there,” Johnson said. “I thought everybody was out there trying to get better. As a team, we got a lot done.”

The team’s enthusiasm was obvious from the start, as the head coach, Strength Coach John Sisk and several seniors led the conditioning drills. During the practice, the team went through an variety of individiual position and passing drills, then closed with 11-on-11 action featuring spontaneous non-tackle scrimmages going opposite directions from the 50-yard line. Though non-tackling, the 11-on-11 drills were marked with energy, enthusiasm and encouragement from the coaches.

During the session, Johnson utilized the lush bermuda surface at McGugin Practice Facility for the first time. Until Saturday, the staff limited practice to the cushioned state-of-the-art AstroPlay surface.

Several Commodores made impressions to the coaches and nearly 150 fans lining the facility’s east end zone and exterior boundary. CB Dominique Morris (sophomore, Nashville) intercepted a pass and made an excellent play to deflect another. Another defender, DE Jovan Haye (redshirt freshman, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), knocked down a pair of passes during 11-on-11 drills. Seniors Justin Giboney (safety, Englewood, Colo.) and a freshman LB, Herdley Harrison (Marietta, Ga.) also contributed positive defensive plays.

Benji Walker (junior, Brentwood, Tenn.) and Jay Cutler (redshirt freshman, Santa Claus, Ind.) alternated with the first team offense. Cutler’s most productive effort was a long TD to Dan Stricker (senior, Cincinnati, Ohio). Walker also was effective, hitting Erik Davis (freshman, Nashville) with a deep pass down the sideline. TB Ronald Hatcher (junior, Birmingham) and TB Kwane Doster (freshman, Tampa, Fla.) also impressed, as did TE Tom Simone (senior, Pittsburgh, Pa.).

More Commodores to Wear ‘02 Uniforms at Dore Jam
Five fellow seniors will join the three captains (Stricker, CB Rushen Jones and center Jamie Byrum) during the unveiling of Vanderbilt’s new Nike uniforms Sunday afternoon at Dore Jam field day. Also participating are Giboney, CB Aaron McWhorter, LB Hunter Hillenmeyer, DB Mike Martin and WR M.J. Garrett.

Dore Jam starts at 4:00 p.m., at the McGugin Practice Facility. The event, free of charge, also offers player and coach autographs, an abundance of kids activities, interaction contests, other Commodore sports personalities, a dedication of the new facility and the giveaway of up to 4,000 general admission tickets to the Sept. 7 home opener versus Furman (two tickets to the first 2,000 adults attending).

Visitors at Practice
WNSR’s Bill King, representatives of Nashville’s four major television stations, Mike Organ of the Tennessean, and Anthony Lane of the Nashville City Paper were among the media guests at Saturday’s practice. Also spotted in the crowd were new Vanderbilt baseball coach Tim Corbin and former University of Memphis Head Coach Rip Scherer, who has formerly coached with VU assistants David Turner and Jimmy Kiser.

Disciplinary Action
Coach Johnson announced Saturday that reserve LB Luke Hammond had been dismissed from the team and junior WR Chris Young suspended for the 2002 season for violating team rules. Young will be allowed to practice and participate on the scout team, but will not play this year.


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