Team Goes Through Lengthy Sunday Morning Practice Before Participating in Dore Jam 8/11/02

Sunday Morning with the Commodores - If any of the 100 players participating in a three-hour practice Sunday were wondering if starting jobs were still available, Head Coach Bobby Johnson provided the answer shortly after the morning session concluded.

“Yes, we have plenty open. There’s 22 positions on the field and we’re looking for competition at each one,” Johnson said. “We’re going to find people who want to play and want to get better.”

Johnson’s comments followed a practice best characterized by intensive, despite the fact that it was a non-tackle session. The new coaching staff spent much of the session seeking better concentration, focus and execution from the team. The message remains consistent from the day Johnson was hired last December.

“It was a good, long practice and we got a lot accomplished, but we need to be more precise in what we do. Precision is critical to this team’s success,” Johnson said.

After participating in Dore Jam Sunday afternoon, the Commodores begin full-squad two-a-day practices Monday (6:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.), in preparation for the first practice in full pads scheduled Wednesday morning.

Several players used the session to make a favorable impression. Fullbacks Bara Cola (senior, Pensacola, Fla.) and Clark Lea (junior, Nashville) and tailbacks Matthew Tant (redshirt freshman, Pegram, Tenn.) and Ronald Hatcher (junior, Birmingham) received praise from teammates and offensive coaches. Senior OG Jim May (Lilburn, Ga.) and a pair of young OTs - Nigel Seaman (redshirt freshman, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and Mac Pyle (freshman, Adairsville, Ga.) impressed, as did TE Nick Getter (junior, Round Rock, Texas). Sophomore WR Brandon Smith (New Orleans, La.) and a pair of redshirt freshmen receivers - Jerrin Holt (Grand Prairie, Texas) and Kevin Williams (Riverdale, Ga.) made nice catches. Freshman QB Steven Bright (Greer, S.C.) also looked good throwing the football and running the option.

On the defensive line, DE Chuck Losey (senior, Hixson, Tenn.) and DT Matt Clay (sophomore, Powder Springs, Ga.) caused constant problems in 11-on-11 drills. Two redshirt freshmen linebackers, Marty Morgan (Canton, Miss.) and Moses Osemwegie (Nashville) were quick to the ball, as were DBs Rushen Jones (senior, Memphis) and Cheron Thompson (redshirt freshman, Atlanta, Ga.).

Injury Update
Running back Norval McKenzie (sophomore, Powder Springs, Ga.) could miss much of the upcoming two-a-day drills after suffering a fractured hand during practice Saturday. McKenzie will continue to participate in conditioning and position drills, and should return to full practice at least a week before the season opener at Georgia Tech. May and DT Brett Beard (junior, Birmingham) are both back at full strength after missing contact during Spring Practice. DT Robert Dinwiddie (sophomore, Hendersonville, Tenn.) is limited to conditioning and position drills in his recuperation from knee surgery last May.

How many shaved heads are there?
The last count (unofficial) on Commodores to sport the bald look is 36. The entire offensive line and several defenders across the line of scrimmage, including Losey and Clay, entered summer camp with the new look. Coach Johnson required all players to arrive on campus sporting neat hairstyles.


Vanderbilt Athletic Department
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