The Vanderbilt Commodores continued preseason practices on Friday afternoon in full pads at the John Rich practice facility. All summer classes ended Friday morning, so all players that are physically able to practice were out on the field.
After showing significant progress on Thursday, the passing game struggled for most of Friday's practice session. There were a number of interceptions during the live scrimmage portions of practice, including interceptions by Chase Garnham, Casey Hayward, Andre Hal, and two by Trey Wilson. Even defensive tackle Taylor Loftley intercepted a Josh Grady pass that was deflected at the line of scrimmage. Much of the quarterbacks' troubles on Friday was due to a lack of receiving talent, with Chris Boyd, Jonathan Krause, and Brady Brown all sidelined due to injury.
"We have challenges at wide receiver. We're going to have to find ways to compensate for that," said Coach Franklin following practice. "I think (Jonathan) Krause is making plays, Jordan (Matthews) is definitely making plays, the tight ends are making plays. We need some more guys to step up at the receiver position."
Veteran receivers John Cole and Udom Umoh have struggled to get separation and have seen relatively little action so far this preseason. In addition, Umoh's hands have continued to be inconsistent.
The team closed practice with three offensive series starting on the twenty yard line. For the first time so far this preseason, the coaching staff played loud music and crown noises to simulate a game day atmosphere. The first possession ended after a Chase Garnham interception of a Larry Smith pass across the middle of the field after an incomplete pass. On his second possession, Smith completed two long passes to receiver Jordan Matthews before Trey Wilson intercepted the ball after it had been deflected by safety Sean Richardson. Jordan Rodgers also quarterbacked one possession, completing one pass to running back Wesley Tate before being touched by a defensive lineman on third down for a "sack."
Defensive linemen Tim Fugger and Rob Lohr were both back on the field after being sidelined on Thursday due to injury. Freshman quarterback Lafonte Thourogood wore a red jersey on Friday with an undisclosed injury, although he participated in a limited number of non-contact drills. Warren Norman saw slightly more action on the field although he still seems to be favoring his knee that has given him problems in the past.
Saturday morning's practice will be open to the public on the practice field at the John Rich Practice Facility behind the McGugin Athletic Center. The gates will open at 9 a.m. with practice scheduled to start at 9:30.
Vanderbilt Continues Preseason Camp
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