Commodores Get Plenty Accomplished in First Full-Pad Practice Wednesday Morning 8/14/02

Wednesday Morning with the Commodores - In their first two-a-day session in full pads, the Commodores went through a high-energy, two-hour practice Wednesday morning that Head Coach Bobby Johnson called an effective workout.

“It was our first practice in full pads and the guys were getting used to that, but I thought it was a good workout that we can build from,” Johnson said.

The Commodores spent nearly an hour on team drills while devoting portions of the practice to playbook reviews, position techniques and special team instruction. The coaches frequently reminded overzealous players that the practice was a non-tackling affair. The morning practice followed a Tuesday afternoon session that focused largely on team teaching.

The Commodores return to the practice field at 3:30 p.m. today. The squad continues with two-a-days Thursday and Friday, then practices once Saturday at 2:00 p.m.

Greeted by Rain
The Commodores got drenched by a 15-minute rainstorm - the first of the preseason - just as practice started. Johnson said rain had no affect on the players, staff or practice surfaces.

“No, it didn’t bother anybody, other than keeping the temperatures down a little,” the coach said. “More importantly, the drainage systems beneath both fields worked just as we thought they would.” The dual combination of synthetic and natural grass fields at newly dedicated John Rich Football Complex will give coaches more practice options during adverse weather than previous years.

Competing in the Secondary
Several young Commodores are making a push for playing time in the veteran-laden secondary where three senior starters return- cornerbacks Rushen Jones and Aaron McWhorter, and safety Justin Giboney.

Sophomore Lorenzo Parker, a pair of redshirt freshmen (Dominique Morris and Cheron Thompson) and freshman Kelechi Ohanaja have been impressive at cornerback. At safety, freshmen Andrew Pace and Ben Koger are getting repetitions with senior Mike Martin, junior Jonathan Shaub, sophomore Nick Lyle and redshirted freshman Ronnie Swoopes.

“Eye In the Sky”
Crew Assists Coaches Video tapes are the key way position coaches show players how to correct mistakes made on the practice field. At Vanderbilt, a seven-person crew directed by Rick Dixon has the responsibility of turning hours of tape into useful teaching footage minutes after practice ends.

The video crew shoots practice drills from three field towers and two ground locations, then hurriedly dubs tapes so Commodore position coaches can review the film shortly after practice. During normal preseason practices, the staff can dub 120 tapes daily.

Coordinator Michael Ketchum oversees the actual practice shoots while Wes Whaley, Sara Young, Steven Parks, Kathi Hull and Chris Barnett man the cameras. The team’s video quality has been enhanced by the addition of three towers recently built at the practice complex.


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