Thursday Vanderbilt football update

Brett Hait updates VandyMania readers on the status of the three players injured in the early Sunday morning shooting. Hait also gives us a look at the big threats on the MTSU defense, and senior center Trey Holloway talks about the 4-0 start.

All three Vanderbilt football players who were injured during a scuffle Sunday morning on campus at the Morgan House residence hall returned to the practice field Tuesday.

Redshirt freshman receiver George Smith, who was shot in the upper portion of his right arm, jogged onto the field mid-way through Tuesday's practice, shook hands with a few teammates, then spent the rest of the day catching passes on the sidelines. He was wearing a helmet, shorts and T-shirt.

While Smith's assailant continues to be sought, he likely will not play Saturday against Middle Tennessee. Simply, coaches aren't sure how to deal with a gunshot wound.

"We're sort of in an uncharted area," coach Bobby Johnson said.

Meanwhile, redshirt freshman safety Reshard Langford, who suffered a hand injury during Sunday's incident, took snaps with the first-team defense Tuesday. Johnson said he expects Langford to play Saturday, which is good news for the Commodores since the Tanner, Ala., native has been a starter all season.

The third player injured Sunday, true freshman defensive lineman Derrius Dowell, also practiced at full speed Tuesday. Although Dowell is currently working at defensive end, coaches have said that he likely will be shifted to defensive tackle in the future.

Area of concern

Middle Tennessee senior defensive tackle Jeff Littlejohn, a 310-pound senior, might be the player causing the most concern for Vanderbilt this week. Littlejohn, considered an NFL prospect, has been double-teamed all season, freeing his teammates to roam for tackles.

Vandy offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell had plenty to say to his unit about "No. 92" during Tuesday's practice. Littlejohn wears No. 92.

Turning the corner

Vanderbilt senior center Trey Holloway admitted Tuesday that the team's 4-0 start this season is sometimes difficult to grasp

"It's natural to wonder if we're ever going to turn the corner," he said. "That's just human nature when you're continually faced with so many defeats. You wonder, ‘Is it ever going to happen before I get out of here?'"

Holloway said Johnson's positive attitude has been crucial.

"It seemed like it was worthless, but he really stayed on us to make sure we stayed positive and continued to work," Holloway said. "As far as the success we've had this season, you have to give almost all of the credit to him for keeping us going in the right direction."

Help wanted

Vandy coaches have to be concerned about the team's pass rush. The Commodores have only four sacks this season, two each from linebacker Moses Osemwegie and defensive end Herdley Harrison.


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