Veteran Kevin Joyce battles on

He's been hobbled throughout his career and the 2006 season is no different. Vanderbilt senior linebacker Kevin Joyce, who is known to have wrestled an alligator or two, refuses to miss a game because of injury. Joyce pulled an abdominal muscle during the spring but continued on with practice. "I told the trainers toward the end.

It took me a while and I wasn't really able to run all spring or summer. The first time I was ever really able to run was at Michigan. I was just out of shape. Over the next two weeks I lost 12 pounds or so trying to get back in shape," said the Florida native.

Kevin Joyce, whose 183 career tackles is the most of any of the current Commodore defenders, has also been nagged by an ankle sprain this season. Despite these ailments and others that might not have been reported, Joyce battles on playing at Moses Osemwegie's former position, weak side linebacker. Through 8 games this season Joyce has a respectable 34 tackles and 4 tackles for lost yardage.

During the South Carolina game Joyce's never quit attitude was evident during a tackle of a Gamecock running back. Joyce had been knocked to the ground and blocked but while on the ground the scrappy Joyce was able to reach around the blocker and grab the backs foot just enough to bring him down and prevent a long South Carolina gain.

Vanderbilt head coach Bobby Johnson is happy with Joyce's play on the field. "He's certainly been a very reliable player for us this year, steadier than he's been in the past . . . he's always been a big play guy. We are very pleased with how he's been playing this year," said the fifth year head coach.

Joyce and his teammates hope to get back on track this weekend at Duke. The 31 points the Vandy defensive unit surrendered to USC was the most allowed during 2006. The Commodores are still hoping for a bowl bid and a win over Duke is a must to accomplish that. Top Stories