Johnson Likes Commodores Attitude
as Team Gets Started with First Full-Squad Practice 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.
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.