Johnson To Welcome Commodores As 2003 Vanderbilt Spring Practice
Starts Thursday Afternoon 2/19/03
Tenn. - Vanderbilt Football Head Coach Bobby Johnson will
greet nearly 70 returning players, including 50 letterwinners,
as the Commodores are expected to begin the first of 15 spring
practices Thursday at campus.
The first spring session for the Commodores will begin at
4:00 p.m., at the John Rich Practice Complex located next
to the McGugin Athletic Center.
Sixteen starters will return from a 2002 team that finished
2-10 in Johnson’s first year at the helm. The offensive
returnees include 2002 Southeastern Conference Freshman of
the Year Kwane Doster at tailback, freshman All-SEC quarterback
Jay Cutler and junior Justin Geisinger, an All-SEC candidate
at left tackle. The top defensive returnees include end Jovan
Haye, linebackers Herdley Harrison and Moses Osemwegie, and
defensive back Dominique Morris. The Commodores’ specialists,
headed by All-American punting candidate Greg Johnson, return
“As a team, we are looking forward to getting back
on the practice field,” Johnson said. “I am pleased
with the effort our guys have put in during our offseason
conditioning program. We need to work hard to continue improving
with each practice.”
The 2003 Commodores will be a youthful group, with just seven
seniors in spring camp. Only one senior, tight end Nick Getter,
is a probable starter as spring practices get underway. The
spring roster features 45 sophomores or redshirt freshmen.
Johnson’s staff will seek to replace 10 lost starters,
including receivers Dan Stricker and M.J. Garrett, three-year
offensive line starters Jamie Byrum and Jim May, All-SEC linebacker
Hunter Hillenmeyer, safety Justin Giboney and cornerback Rushen
Several Commodores are hoping to return healthy after season-ending
injuries last year, including former offensive linemen Jordan
Pettit, tailbacks Ronald Hatcher and Norval McKenzie, and
a pair of defensive ends, Robert Dinwiddie and Chris Booker.
The Commodores’ featured attraction this spring is
the Black & Gold Scrimmage, scheduled for Saturday, March
22. The team will not practice during the Vanderbilt Spring
Break, March 2-10.