Football practice update: Bright set at fullback

Steven Bright is not a lab rat. What he is doing this week during Vanderbilt's football practices is not a test. It's for real. Bright, who backed up Jay Cutler last season as the No. 2 quarterback, worked out at fullback and H-back this spring. As practices began this week, he was running with the first-string squad at fullback, and that appears to be where he will remain.

"No question, he's the guy," running backs coach Kenny Carter said. "You don't take a guy who is your No. 2 quarterback and not make him your No. 1 fullback."

At 6-4, 235 pounds, Steven Bright (photo at right by B. Hufalar) packs enough punch to hold his own when it comes to laying a lick and receiving one. He also likes contact and has never been shy about lowering a shoulder.

Coaches decided that Bright was simply too talented to stand on the sidelines, signaling plays in to Cutler.

"Physically, he can play fullback," Carter said. "Size-wise, he's a perfect fit for it. We felt like it was important to get him on the field. We can't have a guy with the potential he has standing on the sideline. He wanted to do it, and that has a lot to do with his maturity.

"He has so much versatility in that he can go out there and run routes like a receiver. He's big. He's fast. He understands the concepts of what we're trying to do in the running game and passing game. He understands leveraging defenders and running routes to get open."

Bright, a junior, has yet to play in a college game at any position other than fullback, but Carter is not concerned.

"With Steven it's not a matter of game experience at fullback, it's a matter of experience, period," he said. "He has played. He's a good football player and understands what we're doing schematically from playing quarterback. It's just a matter of him getting reps at fullback."

Bringing in the reinforcements

Vanderbilt offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell believes he has his deepest and most athletic unit in four years in Nashville. In fact, he hopes to have a second-team unit ready to play approximately 20 snaps per game, especially during the hot-weather game early in the season.

"What I would love to is be able to run two lines in there," Caldwell said. "If they continue to go at the pace they're going, I would not be afraid to do that, because I don't think there is going to be that much of a drop-off one way or the other right now."

Senior center Trey Holloway (photo at right by B. Wiseman) believes it's possible.

"We're more athletic across the line this year," he said. "We've got big guys who are athletic, which will allow us to do more things. We have more depth and we'll have more competition in camp, which is good.

"If you don't have depth or guys competing for spots, sometimes people can get complacent. We have 10 guys who are going to compete for 10 spots, and we're going to put the best five out there. But I think they'll all play, which is good. We have enough guys to do that."

An offensive lineman to watch is sophomore Chris Williams, who is preparing for his first season of eligibility. The 6-7, 300-pounder has worked out most at tackle at Vanderbilt, but Caldwell is toying with the idea of moving Williams to left guard.

"We're going to put our best five out there," Caldwell said.

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Steven Bright vs. Navy (AP Photo/Gail Burton).

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