Get Back To Work Tuesday; Non-tackling Practice Features Plenty
On Campus in Nashville, Tenn. - For a non-tackling practice,
Tuesday’s affair at the John Rich Complex offered a
heavy dose of hitting.
Head Coach Bobby Johnson welcomed the team back from a week
off with a two-hour session that included a lengthy 11-on-11
team drill, fundamental instruction, and a brief contact segment
that may have produced the most enthusiastic hitting witnessed
this spring by the Commodores.
“For a team coming back after a week off, I thought
we were pretty effective,” Johnson said. “You
worry about going backwards after your team has been on a
break. We did not do that today. Instead, we got some pretty
good things done.”
Shortly after the initial position drills, Johnson brought
the team together for a 10-minute “gauntlet” session.
In the drill, a player atttempts to reach the ball carrier
only after getting through three blockers trying to make sure
he is unsuccessful. The enthusiasm increased as Johnson announced
each group of four players to participate in the drill. Every
player that successfully reached the ball carrier was mobbed
by his teammates. When the defender was stopped by an effective
hit, the team converged on the successful blocker.
Several Commodores earned the praise of coaches and teammates
in the drill, including junior TE Curtis Brancheau, sophomore
DE Antoine Morgan, redshirt freshman CB Tim Miller, sophomore
TE Dustin Dunning, redshirt freshman Blake Luker and sophomore
LB Paul Meadows.
Booker, Davis Wear Gold Jerseys
Two sophomores, WR Erik Davis and DE Chris Booker, were recognized
for their outstanding effort in the team’s last practice,
a session on February 27 that included the team’s first
scrimmage. They were wore the coveted gold jerseys Tuesday
after being singled out at the start of practice by Coach
During the Feb. 27 scrimmage, Davis caught two passes, including
one for a touchdown. The enthusiastic Booker was one of the
top defenders, recording two tackles and a quarterback sack.
Johnson Announces Brigham Departure
Just before the start of practice Tuesday, Coach Johnson
announced that Grant Brigham, a freshman wide receiver/punt
returner who played in eight games last year for the Vanderbilt
Commodores, had decided to leave the squad for personal reasons.
Brigham had three receptions for 39 yards as a true freshman
in 2002. He also had a team-high 11 punt returns for 47 yards.
A native of Mountain Brook, Ala., Brigham missed four games
last year due to a shoulder injury.
Twelve Seniors from 2002 Team Participate in Commodore
Pro Timing Day Tuesday
Twelve seniors from the 2002 team, including five offensive
starters and four defensive starters, performed a battery
of speed, conditioning and agility skills in front of nearly
25 NFL scouts Tuesday as part of Vanderbilt’s Pro Timing
Among the 2002 Commodore seniors attempting to increase their
NFL Draft prospects were center Jamie Byrum, guard Jim May,
tight end Tom Simone, receivers Dan Stricker and M.J. Garrett,
defensive end Chuck Losey, linebackers Hunter Hillenmeyer
and Brandon Walthour, defensive backs Rushen Jones, Mike Martin
and Aaron McWhorter, and safety Justin Giboney. Two Commodores
from the 2001 team, Antuian Bradford and Harold Lercius, also
Another senior starter from the 2002 team, safety Jonathan
Shaub, watched the activities. An honors student who will
graduate in May, Shaub plans a different direction with his
life. This fall, he will travel to the Ukraine and teach an
English course while learning the Russian language.
The Commodores’ Upcoming Schedule
Barring inclement weather, the Commodores will practice daily
through Saturday. The weekday practices will start at 4:00
p.m., on the Rich Complex practice fields. The Saturday session
is expected to start at 9:30 a.m., in Vanderbilt Stadium.
The practices are open to the public.