With snow and ice falling outside, Mason and his staff coached the players through the first of 15 spring practice sessions. With coaches having laid out the basics in the classroom already there was a noticeable sense of excitement, and almost relief, to put last fall squarely to bed and to work on getting better for the 2015 season.
Whatever the general feeling about the way James Franklin left the program, his legacy will be felt for years to come in the shape of the indoor practice facility which allowed the Commodores to jump start their spring ball. Inside the multi-million dollar facility 77 Commodore prospects were able to work with high energy, and at a brisk tempo, for 90 minutes. The session focused on conditioning and individual fundamentals, with some scheme installation thrown in for good measure. All in all it was an ideal overview and refresher for what Mason hopes will be a spring slate which allows him to project some breakout players for the upcoming season.
One of those breakout stars could well be a player who was easily the ‘Dores most intriguing weapon in 2014. Darrius Sims had three touchdowns last fall, despite only playing a handful of snaps on offense at the wide receiver position. After showcasing his unique skill set, and blazing speed, with two kick return scores and one pick six, Sims handed a role in the Vanderbilt backfield but saw little production as the season wound down. Now he looks set to become a full time running back and the staff is hoping that with a full offseason of preparation he can be a dynamic playmaker of the kind that the Commodores really need.
Sims position change is one of five at the start of spring practice. Wide receiver DeAndre Woods swill see some time at tight end. Sean Dowling and Blake Fromang have engaged in a position swap with the former moving to tight end while the latter finds his place on the offensive line. While defensive tackle Ladarius Banks becomes one of the biggest full time fullbacks in the country at 6’2” and somewhere between 270-pounds and 290-pounds.
Stay tuned to VandyMania as we bring you the highs and lows throughout spring practice before the ‘Dores wrap up this part of their schedule with the Spring Game on March 21st.
Vandy spring drills underway
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