Monday, August 31, 2009
In his ninth annual Herbie Awards released earlier today, ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit recognized Lewis as the fourth best cornerback in the nation. Herbstreit's list had three of the top four corners coming from the SEC:
1. Joe Haden, Florida
2. Syd'Quan Thompson, California
3. Trevard Lindley, Kentucky
4. Myron Lewis, Vanderbilt
5. Alterraun Verner, UCLA
6. Patrick Peterson, LSU
Thanks to Lacey for sending the link.
And don't forget, there will be a Black and Gold Out Saturday in support of National College Colors Weekend. Find out which color you should wear to the game by clicking here. Make sure you spread the word to family and friends!
And in case you were wondering... there's no new information on who the starting quarterback will be for Saturday's tilt with Western Carolina. The depth chart has Mackenzi Adams or Larry Smith listed at that position.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
That wasn't the case for quarterback Larry Smith.
"I was surprised that I wasn't really nervous," he admitted.
On his very first play from scrimmage in the Music City Bowl, Smith set the tone by connecting with senior receiver Sean Walker down the sidelines for a 51-yard gain.
"After that, I just settled down and played my game," Smith added.
Smith, who rotated with senior Chris Nickson, completed 10-of-17 passes for 121 yards and also rushed for 25 yards in the Commodores' 16-14 victory over Boston College.
Watch our latest 2008 Rewind video below.
SUNDAY: The Bobby Johnson Call-In Show, presented by Martin and Zerfoss Insurance and Auto-Owners Insurance, will premier at 6:30 p.m. CT inside the Holiday Inn Vanderbilt. Fans in attendance will be treated to free appetizers. For out-of-towners, the show can be heard live on VUcommodores.com. Click Here
MONDAY: Coach Johnson will field questions from the press about the matchup with the Catamounts. We will webcast the event live starting at noon CT on VUcommodores.com.
TUESDAY: Vanderbilt will make all SEC single game tickets available for purchase. Please note that a discounted $35 single-game ticket will be the sold to Mississippi State game on Sept. 19 with the donation of a can of food. Click Here
(and don't forget... season tickets remain available starting at $109)
Friday, August 28, 2009
One significant injury note is the loss of junior pitcher Mark Lamm due to Tommy John surgery on his right arm. Lamm, or "Cowboy" as he is known on the team, suffered the injury over the summer while playing for Danville in the Prospect League. He should receive a medical redshirt and rehab this season.
Some of the weights have changed for the guys and will be updated by the end of the weekend. Fall practice starts September 22 and culminates with the annual Black and Gold series October 15, 16 and 18.
It all began when the Commodores’ senior punter asked if he could assist with any projects while touring the recently renovated facility near his hometown of Griffin, Ga.
Like any good scout, Upson followed through with his offer.
“I’m not certain that painting the entire dining hall was quite what Brett had in mind when he volunteered to help out,” said Chuck Brasfeild, Scout Executive from Boy Scouts of America. “But he didn’t flinch at the prospect. He worked with a smile on his face, and a bit of green paint.”
With some help, Upson went to work on a project that would have cost the camp more than $10,000. He handled the painting of everything over eight feet using both a scissor lift and ladder. Ten hours later, the task was complete.
For the Music City Bowl MVP and Eagle Scout, it was all in a days work.
“Brett models the Scout oath, ‘Help other people at all times,’ and the Scout slogan, ‘Do a good turn daily,’” Brasfeild added. “Here in Griffin, we appreciate his volunteerism and his big heart.”
Thursday, August 27, 2009
We will post Larry Smith's answers in the next few days on VUcommodores.com. You can listen to previous interviews in our AAD archive.
We now know the final outcome of the game, but there were two plays that I'll always remember.
With Vanderbilt looking to add to its 17-10 lead in the fourth quarter, tailback Jared Hawkins rushed for eight yards into the Gamecocks' red zone. It seemed like a normal play, but during the tackle, Hawkins fell into the legs of one of his blockers, wide receiver Chris Reinert.
Reinert was down for a extended period of time as the sold-out crowd sat in silence. With spirits low as he was taken off the field with a broken leg, Reinert created an eruption in the stadium by waving his arms in support of his teammates.
Following the emotional moment, Hawkins took the next snap to the house for 13-yards, avoiding four different Gamecock tacklers on his way to the end zone. The reaction of the crowd after the score was one of those moments you wish you could bottle forever.
VU held off USC for a 24-17 victory to move to 2-0 on the season. Watch Hawkins talk about his TD run below:
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
We had a great turn out with around 300 people in attendance. Fans were greeted with a meal by Golden Rule BBQ, plus plenty of pep courtesy of the Spirit of Gold and Vanderbilt cheerleading squad.
Coaches and staff from most sports were on hand to discuss the upcoming athletic year while also reflecting on last year's success stories. Bobby Johnson and co-captain Bradley Vierling addressed the crowd, as well as Vice Chancellor David Williams and Joe Fisher.
You could tell everyone at the event was ready for the season to get underway.
As Vierling put it, "We're tired of hitting each other at practice, and ready to hit someone else."
As you know... Ryan Seacrest is taking over the world one day at a time.
First, he signs a three-year, $45 million contract to return to American Idol... all but signaling the end for Paula Abdul (she was upset about her cohorts getting bigger raises).
Now, he won't even give Ben Stiller the time of day. Not even on Twitter.
Watch this clip from Stiller's new Red Hour channel on YouTube.
Yoder, who is entering his 10th season as a tight end in the NFL, recently showed off his Vanderbilt threads during an alma mater photo shoot for the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation’s 4th & Life program.
(Photo courtesy of Rafael Suanes)
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Phase 2 is almost complete with kickoff only 11 days away. You'll notice black and gold pavers in the shape of the Star V logo have been added into the plaza areas as well as your personalized bricks. Also, benches and light posts surround the entrances with plants placed around the exterior walls. And check out the Star V over the tunnel at Star Walk. I've been told it will light up for night games.
Click Here to view Russell's photo gallery.
If you'd like to support Vanderbilt's facility upgrades, please contact the National Commodore Club at (615) 322-4114.
Gatewood played in six games for the Kansas City Chiefs as a rookie last season, registering four tackles on special teams.
With less than two weeks until final cuts, both Gatewood and Langford will be battling to make the squad. NFL rosters will be trimmed from 80 to 75 on September 1 with the last cutdown to 53 on September 5.
They were chosen on the basis of the all-around student-athlete... effort and excellence in academics, leadership, integrity, dedication to team, campus involvement, community service and the ability to serve as role models for current and future Vanderbilt students and student-athletes.
The one-hour program will air Thursdays at 3:30 p.m. CT throughout the academic year and will cover SEC sports, including sport-by-sport previews, reviews, specials and features on student-athletes.
Click Here to read more.
By A. Boggs - FoxSports.com college basketball writer Jeff Goodman has written a nice blog entry on Coach Stallings and the Commodores' prospects for the 2009-10 season.
Monday, August 24, 2009
With Vanderbilt clinging onto a 20-17 lead late in the fourth quarter, the Rebels drove 80 yards in five plays highlighted by Dexter McCluster's 56 yard reception to the Commodores' 7-yard line. On the very next play, McCluster took a direct snap up the middle for what looked to be the go-ahead score... but Marve saved the day by forcing McCluster to fumble into the end zone.
"I knew he had a chance of crossing the goal line, so I just went for the strip," Marve recalled. "God-willing, it came out."
I remember standing in the opposite end zone during that drive with that uneasy feeling in my stomach, not knowing if the 'Dores would extend their record to 4-0. Marve's heroics cemented the fact that it was going to be a special season.
"I felt that a play needed to be made," Marve added. "I saw the opportunity, so I went for it."
I think we're all happy he did.
The Commodores would tack on a field goal to win the game, 23-17. Watch the clip below:
By A. Boggs - Vanderbilt junior center A.J. Ogilvy has been selected to participate in the 2009 FIBA Oceanic Championships against New Zealand - a two-game series which begins Sunday in Sydney and concludes on Tuesday in New Zealand.
I think you will enjoy Jamie's responses to a variety of topics like.. another sport he'd consider playing (and one he's not good at)... the fastest Commodore (and his nickname), his preseason competition with the other cornerbacks, the best place to eat in Nashville, growing up with Golden Tate, his secret signal to fans, which player has the most swag, and much more.
I switched the format to a podcast, so you could hear the reaction from our guests in their voice. When you have 15 minutes check it out... or let it play in the background while you chip away at your dreaded Monday work list.
Thanks to everyone for submitting their questions... and don't forget, today's the last day to get your questions in for quarterback Larry Smith. Click Here
Photo by John Russell
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Last Thursday, though, 7- and 8-year-old boys from the Brentwood Blaze were treated to an excursion of a lifetime... a behind-the-scenes look at the Commodores. The youth football team was taken on a tour of the locker room, the weight room, the film room and even got to watch Vanderbilt's practice session. Afterwards, Coach Johnson and the rest of the team gave the wide-eyed kids high fives as they left the field.
You can check out exclusive photos at Brentwood Home page, click here.
While the most visible upgrades to Vanderbilt stadium can be seen at the entrances, touch up work has also been done to other areas of the venue.
Here's a photo of the changes to the inside of the football tunnel in the south end zone. Gone- the old Vanderbilt V logos with script after a new coat of paint on the walls. Added- a couple of the Commodores official logo, the Star V.
Check back this week for some updated photos of the renovations at Gate 2 and Gate 3 of the stadium.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
The Commodores received three votes in the first AP Top 25 ballot, announced Saturday morning. They were one of 10 Southeastern Conference teams to garner consideration by the writers.
College football writer Jon Wilner of the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News had Vanderbilt No. 23 in his preseason ballot. He also included five other SEC teams in the Top 25.
Wilner also appears to be a big fan of Vanderbilt’s head coach. Here’s his explanation:
23. Vanderbilt: The schedule’s tough (LSU, Mississippi and Georgia Tech plus the SEC East). But the Commodores have almost everyone back and one of the top coaches in the country in Bobby Johnson.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Atlanta's first round pick talked about his performance with Carroll Rogers' of The Atlanta Journal Constitution.
“My curveball was a little off, my change-up was off,” said Minor, who was coming off an 81-day layoff since his last game as a Commodore. “It’s usually my best pitch. Didn’t really get it over for strikes today. At first I thought two innings or 30 pitches would be all right, just to get my feet wet. But once I got out there, I didn’t want to stop.”
Read the complete story... click here.
(Photo credit: Hyosub Shin / AJC.com)
I spent 15 minutes with sophomore defensive back Jamie Graham yesterday and he was gracious enough to answer a bunch of the questions you submitted last week. You won't want to miss what he said. I'll post the interview in the next few days... and it will probably change to an audio format so you can get a better feel for the actual responses. Sometimes text just doesn't do it justice.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
The squads were comprised of coaches and staff from Vanderbilt Athletics. Team Gold (TG) was managed by assistant women’s basketball coach Vicky Picott while head women’s golf coach Greg Allen managed Team Black (TB).
After surveying the media after the game, the following awards were given out:
Best Pitching Performance: John Peach (Compliance Coordinator, TG) stifled the bats of Team Black, throwing a complete game and only allowing six hits and two runs to pick up the win.
Best Play: Patricia Marett (Associate Vice Chancellor & Chief of Staff) set the tone for Team Gold by flashing a “web gem” in left field in the top of the first, stranding two runners on base.
Billy Martin Award: With Team Black mounting a rally, crew chief umpire David Williams II (Vice Chancellor of Student Athletics) called interference on Travis Young (the intern, TB) for not avoiding a double-play opportunity on ground ball hit to third base. Allen was than called out at first base as well and that’s when fireworks went off.
Following the scene of events, Allen turned his hat backwards and sprinted to argue face-to-face with the crew chief in front of home plate causing a loud stir among the crowd of 3,700. Seconds later Allen found himself tossed from the game and than on his way back to dugout, he threw gloves, bats and whatever he could find onto the field.
Rawlings Gold Glove: John Williamson (Head women’s bowling coach, TG) made 19 of the team’s 27 put-outs, including the last nine
Charlie Hawkins Sportsmanship Award: Team Black (Allen became the first coach ever doused by Gatorade after a loss)
Best Attitude: Thomas Samuel (Communications, TB) retaliating against his sidekick Brandon Barca (TG) by tackling him to the ground in the first baseline
Hardest Worker: Eric Jones (Ticket Manager, TG) was the only one that wore batting gloves and eye black but he showed he was versatile behind the plate. And kudos to him for setting up the event.
I'll leave you with some of Barca's pictures from the event (click to make bigger):
At 11:30 p.m. CT on the day of the games, the complete TV feed (without commercials) will be available free of charge for viewing at the SEC Digital Network (secsports.com).
Reeves took advantage of the opportunity, giving him a confidence boost for 2009.
"The biggest thing I needed to get last year was game experience," said Reeves, who had a career-high six carries for 34 yards against Wake Forest. "Everyone was saying I was doing well in practice, but I needed that quality game experience. I hope to come in this year and build on that."
The Duluth, Ga., native is one of several players in the Commodore backfield competing for carries this fall. With Jared Hawkins sidelined during the first week of camp, and press clippings focused on the talented freshmen trio of Warren Norman, Zac Stacy and Wesley Tate, head coach Bobby Johnson reminded us not to forget about other veterans fighting for playing time.
"We’re not giving up on Kennard or Gaston (Miller)," Johnson stated. "Kennard had a great run during our scrimmage (on Saturday) where he broke about five tackles.
"There’s still a lot of evaluation to go. We want everybody to continue to work hard. Unless you continue to work hard, someone is going to pass you. That’s a great situation for us."
Although time will tell how the logjam at tailback unfolds, Reeves is making his case during camp. He's quietly exploded for several big runs while also showing improvement in pass blocking drills. With competition at an all-time high, he seems poised for the challenge.
"Naturally everyone wants to play," Reeves said, "and we know with our offense that there is going to be room for possibly up to four running backs play in a game. So, we're all vying for position right now. It's not bad blood competition though, we're all trying to encourage each other and we want everyone to do well."
You can read my full Q&A with Kennard by clicking here.
Vanderbilt University had its best-ever overall ranking in the history of the U.S. News & World Report survey in rankings released Thursday by the magazine. Vanderbilt was ranked No. 17 in the list of best national universities, tied with Emory and Rice universities. Read More
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
By A. Boggs - Junior A.J. Ogilvy was named as one of 50 members of the John Wooden Award preseason watch list in an announcement made today.
The Stone Mountain, Ga., native came into the program with high expectations, but his impact on the gridiron has been minimal due to injury. He enters the season with 13 career receptions, as well as contributing on kickoff and punt returns.
"I feel like since I've been here, I've done a few things on the field, but haven't really stepped into a position of somebody you can count on to make a play," Washington admitted. "I really want to do that before I leave."
Washington will be expected to step up and provide leadership for a young, inexperienced receiving corps. In 2008, he was hampered by a serious knee injury which limited him to one catch in seven games. He says he's 100 percent healthy now and ready to prove he can be a weapon on offense.
"I want to show people that I can play," Washington added. "I also want to be a leader for the younger receivers. I just want to make plays, come off this ACL strong, and show people that I can do some good things for the Commodores."
Read our Ask A Dore Q&A with Alex Washington here.
Sharing- Pass the news onto friends via Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Delicious, Yahoo, etc.
Font Size- Is the font too small to read? Increase the size!
Email- Send the update via email
Print- Don't think I need to explain this one
RSS- Get access to the latest news feeds. One cool way to utilize this is through iGoogle.
Just look for these icons (below) at the top of every story on VUcommodores.com.
These guys will be beasts in the trenches this year, especially with the amount of depth and talent available to shuffle in and out of games. The Commodores did suffer a big loss, though, when it was announced yesterday that Steven Stone will be sidelined with a foot fracture for approximately six weeks. I hope the senior end has a speedy and healthy recovery.
The team will have to go a combined 4+ hours in the heat today. As for me, I lasted about 20 minutes in the scorching 90 degree weather. I should have put in the hours during Coach Sisk's conditioning program this summer.
(Editor's note: Just found out the afternoon practice has been cancelled)
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
This survey will only come to those of you that have shared your email address with our ticket office. It will take you 5-7 minutes to complete, all done on-line with an easy to use form. Everyone filling out the form will get a coupon for a free concession soft drink at a Memorial Gym counter along with the chance to win a grand prize that will be outlined in the survey.
If you have season tickets to both programs, please fill out the survey twice (that might seem like a waste of your time but it won't be) as we want to record your information and opinions into each separate fan base.
In October we'll poll our baseball season ticket holders and after the football season, those fans will get the survey.
Help us more clearly understand exactly who is putting the "magic" into Memorial Magic! The Commodores will appreciate your assistance.
The following is the list of signees who were drafted and should be in school in the next few weeks. Sam Selman (14th round- Los Angeles Angels), Regan Flaherty (28th- Seattle), Michael Yastrzemski (36th round- Boston) and Nathan Dorris (45th- Atlanta).
Vanderbilt's 3-0 start to the season was in jeopardy after a rocky start in Oxford, Miss. Ole Miss took a 10-0 lead after scoring on a field goal and a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown on consecutive possessions in the opening quarter.
Jared Hawkins then fumbled on the first play of the next series, putting Ole Miss at Vanderbilt's 20 yard line with a chance to deliver a knockout blow.
On the very next play, safety Ryan Hamilton stepped up and provided the next highlight... his first of three interceptions that resulted in him being named the Football Writers Association of America/Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week.
"I had the opportunity to just read off their quarterback's eyes," Hamilton recalled. "I saw what the receiver was doing and just made a great break on the ball and luckily I caught it.
"I felt that play helped everyone realize that the game could turn around at any second, and all we had to do was keep playing hard to set the offense up for good opportunities to score."
The rest is history as the 'Dores went on to win, 23-17.
With ESPN College Gameday on campus and the Commodore Nation abuzz, quarterback Mackenzi Adams came off the bench to rally No. 19 Vanderbilt past No. 13 Auburn 14-13 to improve to 5-0 for the first time since 1943.
Adams threw two touchdowns in the game, the second one serving as the following rewind clip. With the ball at the Tigers 1 and the 'Dores trailing 13-7, Adams ran a roll out play to the right and found his second option, tight end Brandon Barden, in the back of the end zone for the game-winner.
"Barden made some big plays during the season," Adams remembered. "He's a guy with some big play abilities, so when I saw him in the back of the end zone with his hands up, I went ahead and took that risk. It turned out good for us."
Monday, August 17, 2009
Jacobson has appeared in 35 games with Class A Lakeland this season, posting a 1-3 record with a 3.74 ERA in addition to six saves and 44 strikeouts while Huff batted .253 with 24 doubles, 13 home runs and 72 RBI in 110 games with Baltimore this season.
By A. Boggs - Commodores’ men’s basketball will be on center stage on ESPN’s Super Tuesday two times in 2009-10, once at home and once on the road. Vanderbilt will host Tennessee at 6 p.m. Central time on February 9th and travel to Florida for a 6 p.m. Central time tip against the Gators on the network’s final Super Tuesday broadcast of the season on March 2.
Shaw would finish in the Top 10 among the professionals at the 54-hole pro/am event. Earlier this summer, Shaw also had solid outings at the Tennessee State Open and advanced through a local qualifying event for the U.S. Open.
This past season, Cotham went 7-5 with a 4.10 ERA for the Commodores. The Mt. Juliet, Tenn. native struck out 84 in 79.0 innings while opponents hit only .222 off him.
Cotham went 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in a short stint with the Brewster Whitecaps in the Cape Cod League this summer. The Commodore struck out 15 in 13 scoreless innings while making two starts.
Click here to view Baseball America's link of Cotham signing.
The deadline to sign with a Major League team is tonight at midnight.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
As part of National College Colors Weekend, we want you to show off your Black & Gold at the Commodores home opener against Western Carolina on September 5.
Take a look at the stadium map below (click image to make bigger). If your tickets are in one of the designated black sections (A-K), we want you to wear a black shirt to the game. If your tickets are in one of the gold sections (L-V), we need you to show your gold!
Make sure you check your tickets to find out which color you should wear to the game. Let’s have some fun and welcome the Music City Bowl champions with a stadium split with Black & Gold on September 5.
Don't forget, season tickets start at only $109... click here to order. Also, if you come to the Vanderbilt Bookstore between the dates of August 16-September 5 and trade in a non-Vanderbilt college shirt, you will receive a 25% off a brand new Vanderbilt t-shirt! All the old items will be donated to charity.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
As the offensive and defensive units took to the field for the first series, they were greeted by a deafening noise over the speakers. It sounded similar to 92,000 screaming fans on a Saturday night in Death Valley, a place the 'Dores will visit on the second week of the season.
As I sat in the empty stands, the sound reverberated in my head like the twister in the opening scene of The Wizard of Oz. It was so loud, it even caused one trusted media member to make an error on a player's number, sending the rest of us into shock. Yes, the crowd noise even got the best of him.
Following the 75-play scrimmage, Coach Johnson explained the reason for the increase in decibels.
"We’re signaling a lot now," he said, "but there are some verbal commands that the quarterback has to make out on the field for the linemen. We wanted to make sure that they were going to be able to hear that.
"It makes you concentrate a little bit more or it makes you realize the need to concentrate a little more. That was more game-like than just a quiet scrimmage."
Johnson's message was loud and clear to senior center Bradley Vierling.
"We just really had to pay attention more," Vierling said. "Coach Sisk cranked up the speakers on us, but it was good. We need that because we'll have to go into places like LSU."
I'll leave you with this classic clip thanks to Chris.
Walker, who is fighting to make the Rams roster, ended up with two catches for 18 yards. He talked to STLtoday.com earlier this week about what it would take to make the squad.
"Just show up every day and be consistent," Walker said. "Show them my speed. Make an impression by catching every ball, finishing every drill. And then in these preseason games, go in there and do everything right. Execute everything we've learned."
Click Here to watch video of his touchdown at NFL.com.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Head coach Bobby Johnson hasn't tipped his hand to the press so far (nor did we expect him to at this point), explaining that it's an open competition. Johnson has been asked several times throughout the week about how the QB's have performed, but has opted not to reveal if there's been any separation between the group.
"I'm pleased with Larry (Smith), I'm pleased with Mackenzi (Adams), I'm pleased with Jared Funk, I'm pleased with Charlie Goro, and Matt Casas," the head coach said. "We're just trying to put things in and see everybody execute."
I don't have any problems with his reasoning. If you don't have a clear cut favorite to start camp, then make them earn it. That's what it's for. Healthy competition is good. There's a long layover between spring and fall practice, so rather than jumping the gun, give them the reps to find out (a) who put in the work over the summer and (b) who is the best option to lead this offense. No reason to rush the decision process.
One thing's for sure... each signal caller will need to be ready no matter what the depth chart looks like heading into the Western Carolina opener on September 5. Three different quarterbacks have taken snaps in each of the Commodores previous three seasons.
"They're awesome," Vierling commented earlier this week. "Zac Stacy is really showing out. He can pick up blitzes, which to me that's more impressive than him running the ball for 15 yards. They're all doing great, but him imparticular, he's really, really doing well."
Nice praise indeed from the Commodores' two-time captain and senior center.
The freshmen backs have been one of several glaring positives in camp, displaying the ability to explode on any given carry during two scrimmages. All three should contend for playing time this season.
Vierling went on to say that Vanderbilt's o-line is focused on reducing the amount of sacks allowed this year (ranked ninth in the SEC with 26 in 2008), but also noted another tidbit of motivation for the front five.
"Personally, I think we want a 1,000-yard rusher, just one of them," Vierling added. "I know we're going to have a lot of different guys running the ball but I want one legitimate 1,000-yard rusher. That's what we want up front to show we're a unit that can move the ball."
The last time a 'Dore accomplished that feat was in 1995 when Jermaine Johnson rushed for 1,072 yards, which stands as the second-highest single-season total behind Corey Harris' 1,103 yards in 1991. The only other Commodore to break into four digits was Frank Mordica in 1978 with 1,065.
If you missed intern Travis' entire interview with Vierling on Tuesday, listen to it here.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
1. Williams is an imposing figure, listed at 6-6 and 315 pounds in the Commodores 2009 media guide. Sure, I knew of his size, but it didn't really hit me until he was towering over me in the hallway outside of the locker room. If I'm a tailback, this is the kind of guy I want to run behind.
2. He is a soft-spoken giant. That's a good thing. I definitely didn't want to anger him with my line of questioning. He doesn't say a lot but is precise with the words he uses.
3. In a two and a half minute interview, Williams mentioned the word "work" five different times with an emphasis on "working hard." His demeanor strikes me of someone who is focused on making a leap on the gridiron this season. The Smyrna High product, who impressed coaches during spring practice with his improved play, has been "working" with the first team at right tackle during fall camp, and that's a testament to him considering seven Commodores with multiple starts on the o-line returned this year.
Anyway, check out the entire Q&A here.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Dore Jam is scheduled from 4-6 p.m., and is free of charge. Admission to the practice fields, located just behind McGugin Athletic Center, is available off Natchez Trace.
By Ryan Schulz - When members of Vanderbilt’s football team suit up for the their season opener on Sept. 5 against Western Carolina, they will be embarking on a grueling stretch in which they will be playing the first of 12 games in 12 consecutive weeks.
The Commodores are the only team in the SEC that will play 12 straight games and one of just 15 programs in the country without a single bye week between games. Nine of the team’s without a bye week hail from the Big Ten, which has traditionally concluded its conference schedule the weekend before Thanksgiving.
Not having a break in the midst of a difficult schedule was certainly not done by choice of the football staff.
“I’m not real happy about it,” Bobby Johnson said. “I don’t think there’s anything anybody could do to avoid it. We certainly would have if we could have. In fact, we tried to fix it a little bit last year when we found out it would work out that way, but we just couldn’t get it done.”
The staff would definitely covet a week off, but not having a bye week will be nothing new to Vanderbilt’s coaching staff. Just three years ago, Vanderbilt didn’t have the luxury of a bye week in 2006 when the team finished 4-8 overall. No other SEC school has gone without a bye week since 2006.
Before the 2006 season, Vanderbilt had at least one bye week in every season dating back to 1955 when the Commodores defeated Auburn in the Gator Bowl. It wasn’t until after the 1955 season that bye weeks became a normal occurrence in college football.
Without a bye week, finding the extra time to recover from injuries and the typical dings and bruises that accompany a season will be one of the biggest challenges facing Vanderbilt in 2009. “We do have to be careful with how we work guys during the week and watch their legs,” Johnson said. “We have to make sure we don’t work guys too hard.”
To make it through the season, Vanderbilt will rely heavily on the conditioning work that took place this summer under the watch of speed, strength and conditioning director John Sisk.
“During the summer we lift five days a week,” speed, strength and conditioning director John Sisk said. “The NCAA gives us eight hours a week to work with them and we take advantage of every hour we get. It was a very productive summer with a lot of energy.”
Johnson hopes that the success experienced in summer conditioning will help limit the amount of conditioning work needed during the preseason and regular season.
“The great thing nowadays with everybody being able to go to summer school, especially your freshmen, is that they get in shape during the summer,” Johnson said. “Then we teach them the playbook and the game plan in preseason practice, so it's not that emphasis of getting them in shape that happens in the preseason practices any more. They're in shape. Then during the season, you’ve got to be smart about any kind of contact that you have during the week and the length of your practices.”
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
With the NFL departure of All-American D.J. Moore and graduation of Darlron Spead, the sophomore defensive back will have his chance to make an impact in 2009. Hayward shined during spring practice and hopes to earn a starting spot this fall.
"It's a big step," Hayward said. "I know I've got to come in and fill a big role that D.J. fulfilled last year."
Hayward had his best performance of the season when Moore went down with an ankle injury in the second quarter of the Music City Bowl. The Perry, Ga., native responed with three tackles and a pair of defended passes in the Commodores' 16-14 victory over Boston College.
"It gave me a tremendous amount of confidence," Hayward admitted. "I know I can do it."
Watch VUcommodores.com's entire interview with Casey Hayward below:
Monday, August 10, 2009
Find out in the video below.
I don't blame him... just read this story from Time Magazine.
Also, make sure you keep up with assistant coach Brad Frederick's blog during during the trip for all the latest news from on and off the court. Check out the first two installments: Day 3, Days 1 & 2
In this video clip, Vanderbilt soccer seniors Lindsay Ratterman (6) and Megan Forester (9) give the scoop on intern Travis during the team's preseason photo shoot. We discover how the media relations assistant was almost left in Athens, Ga., on a trip last year.
(Breaking news from the AP wire... Travis has officially signed a one-year extension to work in our office. He will receive minimal pay plus a year's supply of A1 Steak Sauce. Make sure you say hello if you see him at a Commodore event this year.)
And he's not satisfied with his performance just yet.
When asked to name a couple of areas he's trying to improve on, the hard-hitting linebacker was quick to point out that the job's never done.
"I'm just working on everything," Marve said. "I can't just name two things. I'm trying to improve every facet of my game to be the best linebacker I can possibly be for this team."
That's a scary thought considering the Memphis native ranked first in the SEC with four forced fumbles and sixth with 105 tackles (tops for freshmen) in 2008. He may be considered the most intense player on the field for the Commodores, but you'd be surprised to know that his mindset is almost exactly the opposite.
"The more relaxed you are on the field, the better you play," Marve explained. "That's my personal philosophy. The better you feel out there, there more you know, the more relaxed you play, the more you execute."
As for his thoughts on the Commodores' defensive unit improving off one of its finest seasons in recent memory?
"There's no room for complacency. Staying in the same position takes you down. We need to get better and try to be the best we can be, the best in the SEC, and the best in the country. We strive for nothing less."
Watch VUcommodores.com's entire interview below:
The good news is that the files are encoded in flash, so they will work on both PCs and Macs. Also, you can click on any of the thumbnails, and the video will automatically play in the screen above it.
Hope you enjoy it!
"When we get in pads on Tuesday, we'll probably dedicate a little bit of time to real football," head coach Bobby Johnson said. "We'll scrimmage some and the inside drill will be live. It will be no holds barred then. Football is Football."
Watch Johnson's entire press conference following last night's practice below:
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Liddle was also spectacular in the outfield during his career, registering five assists while committing only four errors in two seasons.
The Franklin High product, and nephew of Twins bench coach Steve Liddle, was draft eligible because he redshirted his first year at VU. He will report to Elizabethton (Tenn.) of the Appalachian Rookie League Wednesday.
More Signing News: Earlier in the week, junior ace Mike Minor agreed to terms with the Atlanta Braves. He received a $2.42 million signing bonus, the highest ever given to a seventh overall selection.
“We were excited about being drafted in the first round, and then to be picked by the Braves was like a dream," Minor told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. "Now to get a bonus like this — it’s a little overwhelming.”
David Boclair of The City Paper also reported that pitcher Drew Hayes will be coming back for his senior season. Hayes is having a solid summer as a reliever for Yarmouth-Dennis, the Eastern Division regular season champions in the Cape Cod League. In 10 appearances, he's 3-0 with a 1.25 ERA in 21.2 innings. Y-D is currently down 1-0 to Cotuit in a best-of-3 playoff series.
First, three receivers – redshirt sophomore Udom Umoh, redshirt freshman John Cole and redshirt freshman Akeem Dunham – attended practice but did not participate due to minor injuries. Cole and Dunham tweaked hamstrings while Umoh had a sore shoulder.
"We were a little thin at receiver today," Johnson said. "We need all those guys out there. John is one of our most explosive receivers and Udom has continued to improve. We'll get them back when our trainers give their okay."
Also, senior tailback Jared Hawkins watched the two-hour session from the sidelines. The Commodores' top returning rusher missed all of spring practice after having offseason surgery on his foot.
"Yesterday I was back in full-go and today (the coaches) wanted to limit me a little bit to make sure I'm easing back into things," Hawkins said. "They don't want me to start back up right away.
"It's very important to be back. It's killing me to be on the sidelines every now and then. I'm itching and ready to go for the season."
Watch video (below) of Coach Johnson's post-practice press conference plus VUcommodores' interview with Hawkins. For a full recap of the action, click here.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Head football coach Bobby Johnson will kick-off the picnic at 6:30 p.m. with remarks about 2009 Vanderbilt Football and several Vanderbilt coaches and student-athletes will also be on hand to discuss their upcoming seasons and sign autographs.
Tickets are $10 per person; Children 12 and under free. The picnic will feature barbecue and refreshments from Golden Rule Smokehouse.
Register online before Aug. 20 by clicking here.
Parking available at the Highland Avenue entrance of the 25th Avenue Garage. Rain Location is the practice gym in Memorial Gymnasium.
Gone are the days of summer conditioning. Now the coaches can get down to business. They'll use the time to thoroughly evaluate their roster on the field and then re-evaluate them in the film room to see if progress has been made since the offseason.
"You can really start coaching now," head coach Bobby Johnson said after Friday's session. "You've got a practice under your belt and you've got some film to show them. They'll be really surprised when they see some of their technique, which we can make better right off the bat. You get started and then you break it all down again to show them what they can improve on."
The next big step will be Tuesday when the Commodores are scheduled to put on full pads. NCAA rules require teams to practice four times before strapping on the gear, so the guys will spend the next three days participating in drills similar to today.
Watch the video below to see Bobby Johnson's post-practice press conference:
The senior defensive tackle had a breakout season in 2008 after patiently waiting his turn as a reserve for two years. He set personal career highs in virtually every statistical category, and led all lineman in total tackles with 47. He also started every game for a team that finally ended the school's 26-year bowl drought.
But don't expect him to get a big head about it.
"It's confidence, but not cockiness," Billinger remarked. "I play out here like I'm a freshman every day. And when you play like that, you don't have that attitude that you're better than the next guy. If you have that attitude, then you shoot yourself in the foot. You've got to always keep that humbleness about you."
Find out what else Billinger had to say by watching Friday's post-practice interview below:
Friday, August 7, 2009
Watch the video below:
While we're waiting, I thought some of you out there, especially the ones that live outside of Nashville, would like to hear some of the local radio ads promoting season tickets (order here starting at $109). These four spots include some of Joe Fisher's best calls -- with a funny twist -- from last season's bowl run.
And kudos to our marketing department, which took home the top prize for this ad concept at the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators (NACMA) convention in June.
Click the links below to listen. You can also download them at our Athletics itunes page.
Spot 1: Final seconds of 2008 Music City Bowl victory
Spot 2: Myron Lewis' interception against Auburn
Spot 3: Adams to Wheeler for TD against Auburn
Spot 4: Jared Hawkins TD against South Carolina
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
The prospects lugged their personal belongings into Vanderbilt's state-of-the-art community known as The Commons, which houses all incoming freshmen. You may remember this location as the same place that ESPN set up their popular College Gameday show for the Auburn game last season.
I was able to capture 12 photos for your viewing pleasure. It was tougher to get most of the newcomers on camera this year since The Commons consists of several residence halls (and I haven't mastered the art of being ten places at once).
Anyway, Click Here to view my photos.
And if you want to take a trip down memory lane, here are links to galleries from the previous two freshmen move-in days: 2007 Gallery / 2008 Gallery
Note: Commodore returnees will report Thursday with camp scheduled to begin Friday evening at the John Rich Practice Facility. All preseason practices are closed to the general public.