The Vanderbilt Commodores conducted their second spring practice session on Thursday, continuing to focus on fundamentals but also looking at the punting game.
The Vanderbilt coaches continued their boot camp style training environment for the players. At one point the entire defensive unit was required to perform "up-and-downs" for improperly executing a drill. "Up-and-downs" are similar to a conditioning drill that was featured in a scene for the movie Remember the Titans
. The players run in place for one or two seconds, then quickly leap down to the ground, belly down. The players do this repeatedly until the coach directs them to stop. Some players were required to perform this grueling but excellent conditioning and motivational drill more than others.
Free safety Mike Martin assists an unindentified player in stretching.
The coaching staff emphasized to the players the importance of properly conducted agility and conditioning drills to get the maximum benefit.
Matthew Tant, Lorenzo Parker and Ronnie Swoopes go through agility drills.
As with Wednesday the team started out with extensive stretching, then moved into agility and conditioning drills with their respective position coaches that focused on basic fundamentals for the players position and finished up the session with defense vs. offense plays.
Tight ends and wide receivers run through jump and catch drills.
Some examples of fundamentals stressed included basics such as proper 3-point stance for offensive linemen, correct hand position for catching a ball for wide receivers, sprinting to the ball for defensive players.
After some time working with their specific position coaches, the different positions were paired with their corresponding opposite positions (i.e, offensive linemen-defensive linemen, wide receivers/quarterbacks-defensive backs) for execution drills. This gave the coaches ample opportunity to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each player under his watch. For example, the defensive linemen would attempt to break through the offensive line while the offensive linemen would attempt to deny them success. Wide receivers would go out for passes from the quarterbacks while the defensive backs defended.
View from stands in Vanderbilt Stadium as the Commodores run through drills.
Finally, the practiced moved on to the offensive unit lining up against the defensive unit in a more game type drill. During this time the full offensive unit would execute basic passing and running plays against the defensive unit. Wide receivers would go out for passes from the quarterbacks while the defensive backs defended.
Offensive Coordinator Ted Cain demonstrates proper technique as Vanderbilt tight ends look on.
One of the highlights of the practice was senior wide receiver Dan Stricker punting the ball. Stricker, under the watchful eye of Head Coach Bobby Johnson, boomed several punts 50 yards or more with good hang time.
All in all it was a spirited and well-organized practice that left many onlookers thoroughly impressed with the new staff.
Spring practice drills will continue on Friday and culminate on April 6 with the Black & Gold scimmage.