Football: Thursday practice report

A four-series scrimmage at the end of Thursday's practice may have produced the most physical session this spring for the Commodores. The intensity picked up significantly during the final drive, which concluded with a competitive, hard-hitting goal line confrontation. After an ineffective start, the offense salvaged the session with a last-play touchdown. "They were trying out there, really working hard toward the end of practice. That's exactly what . . .

. . . you have to do in practice to get better," Head Coach Bobby Johnson. After struggling at times in a scrimmage Wednesday, the Vanderbilt defense controlled much of the Thursday session, stopping the offense during the first three series. Sophomore DE Jovan Haye ended one drive with a sack of quarterback Jay Cutler, then contributed on another by sacking redshirt freshman QB Steven Bright. Four sophomores, - LB Otis Washington, DE Chris Booker, CB Dominique Morris and LB Herdley Harrison - also contributed key tackles. In the third series, the offense started improving behind the hard running of junior FB Clark Lea and passing of Bright, who completed passes to junior WR Brandon Smith and sophomore Erik Davis during the third series.

In the final drive, redshirt freshman TB Ron Bullock got the offense started with a first down carry. TE Dan Murphy also hauled in a pass from senior Benji Walker despite a deflection by sophomore LB Marty Morgan, setting up the final goal line stand. The first two plays were stuffed by redshirt freshman LB Kevin Joyce and sophomore DT Ralph McKenzie. On third down, Walker faked inside and optioned to Bullock, who fought through two defenders to score from the 3-yard line.

Visiting High School, Collegiate Coaches The Vanderbilt coaches have welcomed numerous high school and collegiate coaches to the practices. Coaches from Franklin Central High School in Indianapolis, Indiana and Rome (Ga.) High School watched the session Thursday. One day earlier, coaches from two Tennessee universities, Carson-Newman and Austin Peay, were in attendance. Numerous other prep coaches from Middle Tennessee have attended earlier sessions.

Haye, Lea Wear Gold Jerseys

Without question, Haye is impressing the Commodore coaches. Haye, a starting sophomore DE, wore the gold jersey for the second straight time Thursday, becoming the first Commodore to earn the coveted jersey in consecutive practices this spring. On offense, Coach Johnson recognized sophomore Steven Brent for his effort in Wednesday scrimmage. Brent is competing with junior Jordan Pettit to replace three-year starter Jamie Byrum at center.

The Commodores' Upcoming Schedule

The Commodores will practice in light gear Friday at the Rich Complex, preparing for a Saturday morning practice and scrimmage in Vanderbilt Stadium. The Saturday practice will begin at 9:30 a.m. The Commodores have six practice sessions remaining this spring, with the featured Black & Gold Scrimmage scheduled for Saturday, March 22, at 2:00 p.m. Also on March 22, the Vanderbilt baseball team plays SEC foe Ole Miss at Hawkins Field. The baseball game will start at 4:00 p.m. Top Stories