Vanderbilt conducts first full-contact drills

John Rich Practice Facility on campus – It took a week, but the Vanderbilt Commodores went through their first full-contact drills of the spring, staging a 40-play scrimmage that highlighted the squad's practice Tuesday.

Head Coach Bobby Johnson put his squad through the 45-minute full-contact session that included eight offensive drives. The scrimmage concluded a two-hour practice that was held in cold, damp conditions, with temperatures in the mid-30s. 



Johnson liked most of what he saw in the scrimmage. "I liked the intensity and overall effort, but it was also typical of most first scrimmages where you get some mistakes and mental errors," Johnson said. "We'll look at the film and see what we did right and to work on those areas that need to improve.



"The scrimmage allowed us to get a close look at a number of our younger guys. I also thought some guys who were seeing action at new positions, such as Darnell Martemus, contributed a great deal on just a few days of preparation," Johnson said.



Martemus, a junior from Cleveland, Ohio inserted at tailback last weekend due to lack of numbers, was one of the offense's brightest players. Playing tailback and fullback, Martemus rushed for 32 yards and proved equally effective as a lead blocker.



The coaches used the scrimmage to take an extended look at redshirt freshman quarterback Mackenzi Adams, who directed the last six possessions after sophomore Chris Nickson guided the first two drives. Adams was effective in four of the six possessions, completing nine of 18 passes and rushing for 36 yards. He hit sophomore Sean Walker and redshirt freshman Justin Wheeler with a pair of receptions and watched another redshirt freshman wideout, Alex Washington, juke three defenders on a 12-yard gain. Adams also connected with sophomore Bryant Anderson and redshirt freshman tight end Jake Bradford on first-down completions.



Besides Martemus, the top rushers were Adams, who had carries of nine and seven yards, and fullback Steven Bright, who posted the longest carry of the day, a 16-yarder off right tackle.   



Each time Adams marched the offense toward the end zone, the Commodore defense stiffened. Senior tackle Ray Brown put an end to the deepest possession, making consecutive tackles for loss after the offense reached the 12-yard line. On the next possession, the defense got a pursuing tackle by junior Gabe Hall and a defensed pass from redshirt freshman cornerback Joel Caldwell to hold the offense without a first down.



The defense proved effective from the first play when redshirt sophomore safety Reshard Langford intercepted a pass that was tipped at the line of scrimmage. Junior end David Carter ended the second series by deflecting a pass while a quarterback sack by redshirt freshman end Broderick Stewart ended another early drive in the scrimmage. Redshirt freshmen linebackers Chris Johnson and Brandon Bryant also contributed tackles for short yardage in the closing drives.



Goff, Allen Recipients of Gold Jerseys


Junior middle linebacker Jonathan Goff, a defensive standout through the first week of Spring Practice, was awarded a gold jersey from Johnson for his efforts at the Commodores' practice on Sunday.



The offensive gold jersey went to sophomore tight end Brad Allen, who followed up an excellent Sunday practice with a pair of blocks in the scrimmage that resulted in first-down gains.

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