Vanderbilt continues to showcase physicality, growth in camp
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NASHVILLE — Storms near campus forced the Commodores inside for the first time this fall as the team took part in a lengthy workout Thursday afternoon from the indoor practice.
The session, which capped the team’s first week of preseason drills, served as a prep to the squad’s initial preseason scrimmage, scheduled to take place this Saturday on campus.
Head coach Derek Mason was pleased with the Commodores fast-paced, 90-minute workout.
“I thought our guys did a good job,” the head coach said. “These guys came out and practiced well. Now, we need to put another one together before we scrimmage Saturday. You’re just trying to get better every day. Guys are bringing the energy and playing well.”
The squad continued to showcase its emphasis on physicality as scouts from the Los Angeles Rams and the New York Jets were on hand, bringing the total to a dozen to visit West End this preseason.
“We’re a way more physical team this year,” senior linebacker Josh Smith said. “Just turn on the tape and you can see knockback on defense some days and knockback on offense some days. It’s a competition every day.”
Some of the highlights from three team drills staged Thursday:
• Jamauri Wakefield (R-So., RB) followed a block from Justin Skule (R-Sr., OT) for a first-down gain of 15 yards.
• Rutger Reitmaier (R-Fr., DL) broke through the offensive line to register a quarterback sack.
• Kyle Shurmur (Sr., QB) connected with Sam Dobbs (Sr., TE) for a first-down completion of 12 yards.
• On consecutive plays, JoeJuan Williams (Jr., CB) came off the edge to sack freshman on the Allan Walters 5-yard sack, then stopped Khari Blasingame (Grad., RB) for no gain on a run off right tackle.
• Donovan Sheffield (Sr., CB) deflected Shurmur’s deep sideline pass intended for Pierce.
• Tae Daley (So., safety) deflected two passes within a span of four plays, breaking up Shurmur throws intended for Chris Pierce (So., WR) and Trey Ellis (Grad., WR).
• One of Shurmur’s most impressive throws was a 20-yard completion to Pierce, who was hit in stride as he ran an out pattern to the far sideline.
Guay continues to impress
Junior kicker Ryley Guay, who showed range beyond 50 yards last Friday, continued to impress. Guay made each of his three attempts, all from at least 40 yards, in a brief field goal segment. Freshman Javan Rice, a former All-State honoree at Belen Jesuit Prep (Miami, Fla.) converted on 2-of-3 attempts.
Single-game tickets on sale
Individual tickets for the season opener against Middle Tennessee and additional Vanderbilt home games against Nevada, South Carolina and Tennessee State are now on sale.
Fans can purchase individual tickets to the MTSU, Nevada, South Carolina and Tennessee State games online at vucommodores.com, by phone at 615-322-GOLD (4653) or in person at the Vanderbilt Box Office in McGugin Athletics Center, located at 2601 Jess Neely Drive in Nashville.
Tickets for the three home nonconference games – Middle Tennessee on Sept. 1, Nevada on Sept. 8 and Tennessee State on Sept. 29 – are $25 (excluding processing fees). Tickets to the South Carolina matchup on Sept. 22 are $55 (excluding fees).
Tickets to three additional Vanderbilt home games – Florida on Oct. 13, Ole Miss on Nov. 17 and Tennessee on Nov. 24 — will go on sale at a later date.