Commodores Get Ready For Black & Gold Scrimmage With One of Best Full-Contact Sessions of Spring

On Campus in Nashville, Tenn. - In its last practice before the Black & Gold Scrimmage, the Commodores put together one of its best performances this spring during a 50-play scrimmage Thursday.

The Commodores’ last spring session, the Black & Gold Scrimmage, starts at 2:00 p.m. Saturday in Vanderbilt Stadium. Commodore fans are encouraged to attend the event, then take in free another attraction next door, the VU-Ole Miss baseball game at Hawkins Field.

The lively scrimmage, which came at the end of practice Thursday, fulfilled Head Coach Bobby Johnson’s desire to enter the Black & Gold Scrimmage on a high note. The blend of efficient offense, aggressive defense and overall team intensity set up an ideal match this Saturday when the units square off.

“That was the kind of emotion, effort and desire we are looking for at practice,” Johnson said. “I saw people on both sides of the line either making plays and trying hard to make plays. We need to carry it over to the scrimmage Saturday.”

The offense, behind QB Jay Cutler, TB Kwane Doster and WR Erik Davis, got off to a fast start, producing a 70-yard scoring drive on the opening possession. Doster was particularly impressive, carrying for 21 and 24 yards before scoring from the 2-yard line. Cutler also carried for a first down and connected with Davis on an 18-yard sideline reception that was one of the finest witnessed this spring.

The offense seemed to continue its impressive showing in the third series behind QB Benji Walker, TB Ron Bullock, TE Dustin Dunning and WR Walter Clark. After driving deep into the defense's territory, LB Kevin Joyce sacked Walker to stop the possession.

The play seemed to ignite the defense, as it limited the offense to three first downs during the final four possessions. Among the defenders making plays were DE Jovan Haye and LB Marty Morgan, CB Dominique Morris, CB Lorenzo Parker, safety Ben Koger, LB Herdley Harrison and DT Trey Holloway. The scrimmage ended with a sack by safety Andrew Pace and DE Chris Booker to stop a six-play drive.

Arnold Visits Practice

Jim Arnold, prehaps the finest punter in Southeastern Conference history, stayed for much of the Thursday practice, and spent time with Coach after the session. It was Arnold’s first look this year at First Team Freshman All-American punter Greg Johnson, who broke Arnold’s Commodore freshman record for punting average.

Arnold, who spent much of his 11-year professional career with Detroit, was the second former Commodore with connections to the Lions to visit practice this week. Corey Harris, who starred at Vanderbilt from 1988-91 and played for the Lions last year, visited practice Tuesday.

Thompson, Tant Earn Gold Jerseys

A pair of redshirt sophomores, CB Cheron Thompson and FB Matthew Tant, wore gold jerseys Thursday that Johnson distributed at the start of practice. Thompson has been one of the most consistent performers in the Commodore secondary while Tant has improved his receiving and blocking techniques this spring to go with a powerful running style.

The Black & Gold Scrimmage is Saturday

Gates at Vanderbilt Stadium will open Saturday at 1:00 p.m., with the practice starting at 2:00 p.m. The Black & Gold Scrimmage will begin at about 2:45 p.m. Mr. Commodore and Vanderbilt cheerleaders will welcome fans at Gate 2.

Just before the scrimmage begins, the team is expected to announce its captains for the 2003 season.

Vanderbilt fans attending the scrimmage will receive a coupon that is good for free admission to the VU-Ole Miss baseball game that starts at 4:00 p.m. in Hawkins Field. The free admission promotion is valid depending on ticket availability.



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