Bobby Johnson To Welcome Commodores As 2003 Vanderbilt Spring Practice Starts Thursday Afternoon 2/19/03

Nashville, 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 intact.

“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 Jones.

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.



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