Coach James Franklin opened up Saturday morning's practice session in Vanderbilt Stadium to the public to show what the Commodores have been working on so far this spring.
"We competed, especially at the goal line scrimmage," said Franklin. "I thought we did some real positive things… I thought, for the first time in the stadium, we made some plays. Our operation on both sides of the ball was really good."
With running back Warren Norman still sidelined with injuries he suffered last season, Zac Stacy and Wesley Tate had success sharing repetitions in the backfield. During a live scrimmage at the end of practice, Stacy cut across the field to pick up 30 yards on a screen pass from Charlie Goro. On an earlier possession, Tate demonstrated his powerful running style while running off-tackle to pick up a seven-yard first down.
Besides a few offensive highlights, the defense dominated the majority of the scrimmage. On five possessions, the offense attempted two field goals (one complete), punted twice, and committed a turnover deep in the defense's territory.
"This spring, (the defense) has been (better than the offense)," said Coach Franklin after the scrimmage. "The offense today did some decent things. Today, they were further along, being in the stadium, than I anticipated."
Junior defensive back Trey Wilson was a standout performer on the defensive side of the ball. Wilson broke up multiple passes, including deflecting one Charlie Goro pass into the arms of safety Kenny Ladler during drills. During the scrimmage, Wilson intercepted a potential touchdown pass from Larry Smith and returned the pick the length of the field for a touchdown.
Rising senior Larry Smith is still fighting to hold onto his starting role as quarterback this spring. Jordan Rodgers is still recovering from multiple injury problems and saw limited repetitions on Saturday. Charlie Goro had problems taking snaps under center, fumbling the ball on two consecutive plays during the live scrimmage. Coach Franklin did not say if any quarterback were ahead of the others, and said he said that he would not name a starter this spring unless the starter is "clear-cut."
Saturday's practice was the last practice that will be open to the public before the Black & Gold Game on April 17th at 6 p.m.
Defense Dominates in Public Practice Session
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