Vandy quarterbacks show promise on day 1

Friday night, the Vanderbilt Commodores began fall practice at The John Rich Athletic Complex. The weather was about as perfect as it can be for early August in Nashville. With temperatures in the low 70's and a nice breeze blowing, the players and coaches couldn't have asked for a better beginning to the 2006 season.

After the practice, Coach Bobby Johnson commented on the opening night play of his four quarterbacks—Chris Nickson, MacKenzi Adams, Richard Kovalcheck and true freshman Jared Funk. When asked to comment on what he could take away from the opening practice, Coach Johsnon replied, "We go at a pretty fast pace, and we tape everything. We look at them and correct them, but the real evaluation occurs on the film. We'll check it out and see how everybody's doing."

Coach Johnson indicated that he was pleased with the performance of all four signal callers, but that Nickson and Adams have a head start over Kovalcheck and Funk and know the offense better at this point.

While the weather was a pleasant surprise, Coach Johnson said some hot weather would be welcome at this point. "We need a little hot weather every once in awhile to make sure we are in shape, and I think we are in great shape. Our guys did a lot of great work over the summer.

Quarterback Chris Nickson admitted to a few jitters tonight as he took the field. "The excitement and exhilaration of finally coming out on the field and getting to work is going to cause some jitters. The jitters are going to be there. You've got competition behind you, and you just continue to work hard and show leadership for the team."

When asked if he felt he knew what the player who replaced Babe Ruth for the Yankees (George Selkirk) might have felt like, Nickson broke out in laughter and admitted that it wasn't on his mind. He doesn't feel any added pressure trying to replace a first round NFL draft choice.

What's Nickson's favorite pass? "Deep Routes--I love deep routes. You can get a lot accomplished all at once."

It was an electrifying night for quarterback MacKenzi Adams. "Tonight felt great. Coming out here and having the great weather was exciting with everyone running at full tempo. I think we're going to get better every day."

Adams was quick to complement the players on the other end of his tosses. "All the receivers out here are really talented and work on their routes really hard. I feel like we have a good package going with our passing game."

The Commodores will return to the practice field tomorrow, Sunday, and Monday evenings for three more practices before putting on the pads Tuesday evening. The team will not go through two-a-day practices until at least Saturday, August 12. Summer school is still in session until Friday, August 11.

The fifth annual Dore Jam will take place on Sunday, August 13 from 4PM to 6 PM.

Vanderbilt's quarterbacks including #9 Jared Funk, #15 Richard Kovalcheck, #12 Mackenzi Adams and #3 Chris Nickson, listen to their coach on the first day of preseason practice. (Neil Brake/ Vanderbilt U.)

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