Popping Pads

Vanderbilt in full gear on Tuesday night

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Vanderbilt donned full pads for the first time Tuesday night as part of a 90-minute practice.

The Commodores, who were forced inside the team’s indoor practice facility during the session due to lightning, spent time during the 16-period session in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills among others. A four-minute overtime period was highlighted by an interception on a deep ball from freshman Anfernee Orji.

Redshirt junior defensive lineman Cameron Tidd showcased his dominance and redshirt junior Drew Birchmeier, a fellow lineman, swatted down a pass to provide other defensive highlights. Redshirt sophomore linebacker Brayden DeVault-Smith opened the overtime with an impressive hit at the line of scrimmage.

Offensively, redshirt freshman tight end Ben Bresnahan set the tone early with a diving grab on an out-route. Senior running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn dazzled, showcasing his agility with a reception and burst of speed to the endzone. Junior wide receiver Chris Pierce continued an impressive early camp, hauling in a 30-yard reception.

Senior kicker Ryley Guay went 3-for-3 on 35-yard field goals and nailed two attempts from 40 yards.

Following the session, coordinators Gerry Gdowski (offense), Tarver (defense) and Devin Fitzsimmons (special teams) met the media to discuss the growth seen from their select units across the first five days of practice.

“You’re always looking to tweak little things and do things a little bit different. The nuts and bolts of things will be the same,” Gdowski said of the offense. “We’re always looking for ways to do things a little bit different and a little bit better.”

“Through five days, our competition in the DB (defensive back) room has been impressive,” defensive Tarver said. “That group of corners and safeties, young and old, are competing at a high level. They are running, flying around and attacking the ball. It’s really fun to watch. That entire group is really working.”

The Commodores will have their first off-day of camp on Wednesday before returning to the field Thursday.

The annual Dore Jam is set for Saturday from 3-5 p.m. in the Vanderbilt Multipurpose Facility as fans will have the opportunity to meet their favorite student-athletes, get autographs, listen to live music and participate in an array of family-oriented activities.