Vanderbilt Opponents Camps Notes and Quotes

While the Vanderbilt Commodores are busy working to improve on 2008's 7-6 record their 2009 opponents are also hard at work. Here's a quick look around all twelve of Vandy's opponents camps.



Western Carolina

Western Carolina continued its preparations for the 2009 football season on Monday morning with the third practice of fall camp, donning shoulder pads for the first-time this preseason for a two and a half hour workout.

The WCU coaching staff continued the preseason system installation process, while also continuing the focus on fundamental techniques. On both sides of the ball, the coaches have a four-part system in relaying the schemes. It begins in the classroom with playbook and video study; continues in individual position work where the players learn their part of the play or scheme; that translate into unit work where all the pieces come together to execute the design.

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LSU

LSU practiced in full pads for the first time since the start of camp on Tuesday as the Tigers' only workout of the day saw an increase in both competition and intensity during the 2 ½ hour session at the Charles McClendon Practice Facility.

"The first day of pads we put two teams together and cut the reps virtually in half," Miles said. "Everyone has a little bit more juice, and now it's time to play. These guys are fighting for reps. It's a much more aggressive practice."

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Mississippi State

Mississippi State's 2009 football team continues to take shape as the Bulldogs practiced twice on Monday under a warm summer sun. Just as on Saturday, the first day of two-a-days, the team worked heavily on the run game in the morning and focused on the air attack in the afternoon.

Head coach Dan Mullen was pleased with teams effort during both sessions, but continued to stress execution to his troops.

The Bulldogs will practice only once on Tuesday, before returning to twice-daily work on Wednesday.

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Rice

Three qualified candidates vie to succeed departed quarterback Chase Clement.

Three quarterbacks, three sets of skills, and one starting slot. Rice coach David Bailiff and Owls first-year offensive coordinator Ed Zaunbrecher scoured practice film from 15 spring workouts and were unable to determine which of the candidates deserved the promotion. The competition was reopened at the start of fall camp with the same goal: find a quarterback who can succeed Clement and lead the Rice offense.

That task is easier said that done. Is the grizzled veteran (Shepherd) the logical selection, or the athlete with the howitzer arm, the sturdy frame and the glowing credentials (Fanuzzi)? Or, is the quiet, two-sport standout with a penchant for performing in the clutch (Lewis) the viable option?

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Ole Miss

How much more comfortable are you in year two at Ole Miss?

Houston Nutt: "I feel good and very comfortable. This is the type of year where you get antsy and you just put on your work hat and you can't wait to get back on the field each day to see improvement. This is what it's about. We've got the classes out of the way and right now it's eat and sleep football for two weeks. It's an exciting time and it's just a great feeling. Pete Boone has done an outstanding job of letting us use quarterback club money and other different funds to really spruce up the walls of the IPF. I really encourage you all to look down our hallways and see how much of a different place it is from last year. It's just going to help recruiting. Recruiting hasn't stopped since signing day. Somebody has brought their son in here since signing day on an average of at least one mom, dad and son per week. If you look at our place, it's just a beautiful, beautiful campus, but our facilities are what an 18-year-old looks at. Where is he going to dress? Where is he going to eat? Where is he going to sleep? Our freshman have just gone into brand new dorms and I'm just really excited about where we are going."

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Army

For the first time during this 2009 preseason camp, the sound of full-contact collisions could be heard echoing around Howze Field. Saturday afternoon marked the Black Knights' sixth practice of fall camp and the first conducted in full pads.

The hitting lasted for the first half of the session that lasted just short of three hours. Following the customary 20-minute break, the team returned to the field in helmets and shoulder pads for a limited contact workout.

"I'm encouraged with the overall preparedness of our guys coming into training camp," head coach Rich Ellerson said, summing up the team's first week. "We've been able to get an awful lot done in the first few practices. Today was the first day to take people to the ground and get on each other's legs a little bit. We have a lot of guys that love to play the game, and they don't hesitate to get after each other.

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Georgia

The 13th-ranked Georgia football team continued preparations for the 2009 season with a two-hour session at Sanford Stadium focusing on special teams.

Georgia coach Mark Richt said he and his staff are figuring out the personnel that will be ready to play on special teams, and that Tuesday's practice provided plenty of work in all phases except extra points and field goals. The Bulldogs concentrated on punting, punt blocks, punt returns along with kickoffs and kickoff returns.

Sophomore quarterback Logan Gray, who saw action as a punt returner last season, said he was pleased to contribute as a member of the 2008 special teams unit.

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South Carolina

The University of South Carolina football squad returned to the Bluff Road Proving Grounds Monday night for a two hour practice in full pads. It was the Gamecocks first workout since Saturday, as they took Sunday off for their annual Media Day.

"It was a so-so practice," said head coach Steve Spurrier following the workout. "Our receivers dropped two or three potential big-play balls, (we) jumped offsides two or three times and fumbled the snap from the center again, so we didn't make a lot of progress tonight. We'll try again tomorrow night. We'll try to scrimmage a little bit with the guys (Tuesday). We're not a sharp team," continued Coach Spurrier. "We play undisciplined. We haven't corrected that yet, especially the offensive guys. We'll keep trying. Coach (Eric) Wolford's trying to get these guys to line up correctly and stay onside and get the snaps back, but we've got a little ways to go. We'll keep working on it."

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Georgia Tech

Head coach Paul Johnson: "I think the conference was strong last year. Overall, we (the ACC) had the best won-loss record of any BCS conference against BCS conferences. Sometimes perception is reality and all you hear about here is the SEC. Head to head last year, the ACC beat the SEC. What happens is the ACC has not had the marquis team at the top. The SEC has Florida or LSU who have won the national championship recently so it tends to go that way. We played three SEC teams last year and went 2-1. Wake Forest beat Ole Miss, Duke goes to beat Vanderbilt and I could go on and on. Clemson kills South Carolina, but all you hear about is what would happen if you had to play in the SEC every week. That's why it doesn't matter how many times you do that. It's still going to be the perception unless you have somebody at the very top."

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Florida

Urban Meyer on if the team has reached a perpetual re-load point:

"I don't know about perpetual re-load. That's a pretty strong statement. We have a pretty good team coming back, and I can see the depth coming up through the ranks. But there's health, there's eligibility, there are all these things that we have to work to maintain. If we can stay healthy and do things the right way, we could have a good football team coming up in the next few years. If you look at the offensive line and the defensive line, you can see the depth that we didn't have before around here. Justin Trattou could sprain his foot at practice and there is another guy ready to jump in his place. This year, we are going to see a pretty big exit and we are going to lose some really valuable players. Last year, we only lost a small number of those kinds of players. We will find out even more next year as we keep going."

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Kentucky

The Kentucky football team completed the final day of acclimatization workouts during a hot, humid Monday afternoon at the Nutter Training Center.

The Wildcats practiced in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts in a split-squad format. The team will put on all the pads on Tuesday and practice as a full team.

"We got to evaluate a lot of guys," Brooks said of the split-squad practice format. "It's tougher on them physically. The players get twice as many reps (repetitions) as they would in a normal practice. I think that's why we have some of the groin/hamstring (injuries) because of the difference in the speed of practice, and the cutting, and all of that. Overall, we came out of it pretty good as far as I can tell at this point."

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Tennessee

A day after its first two-a-day session, Tennessee moved indoors for Tuesday afternoon's practice.

The coaching staff held practice at Neyland-Thompson Sports Center so as to not tear up the wet outdoor practice field. It was a new setting for the Vols, but little changed from the normal practice routine as the offense and defense continued to make progress.

"We came inside today," head coach Lane Kiffin said. "Not because we are afraid to play in the rain but because we value our field so much. We've been practicing on it so much and since we have (an indoor field) there was no point in tearing it up. It's no different (practicing inside). It might not be as hot, but it's the same thing."

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