Vandy opens spring practice

The Vanderbilt Commodore football team conducted it's first practice of the spring Wednesday afternoon at Vanderbilt Stadium in shorts, pads and helmets. The majority of practice was spent working on fundamentals and establishing discipline.

"Get in there! Shoulder to shoulder! Bend your knees! Bend your knees!", yelled the defensive assistant. It was obvious from the start that this coaching staff expects every drill to be conducted to the correct standard. Players who failed to correctly perform a drill repeated it until they got it correct, regardless of their fatigue level.

After some extensive stretching as a team, players were sent to their position coaches for specific practice for their position. Coach Johnson strolled around the stadium field and kept a watchful eye over all the drills. The practice later moved to a semi non-contact play running drill. The practice wrapped up around 7 PM with a talk from Coach Johnson.

When asked about his impressions of his first practice, freshman defensive tackle Ralph McKenzie replied "The discipline was outstanding. They got us more together as a team. The team is what wins it. Individuals won't win it. They got us working together."

The team will practice again Thursday at the same time.

Coach Bobby Johnson's comments after practice

"It was a typical first day of spring practice especially where players are not completely familiar with the system and what we have to put in and what we have to get done. I was very pleased with their attitude and their enthusiasm. If we can continue with that kind of sense of urgency then we'll get some things done."

On practice goals for tomorrow:

"To continue, hopefully we'd have mastered what we tried to put in tonight but obviously we didn't. We'll backtrack a bit and cover some things that we did poorly today and we'll continue to install offense and defense and work on fundamentals. At least the first half of practice [today] was fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals."

On teamwork:

"You've got to count on each other. Everybody has to be responsible for his position and everybody else has got to know that that guy is going to hold up his end of the bargain. It's a tough game. You've got to be mentally and physically tough to play it and some of those guys have learned that lesson and some haven't."

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