NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Defense was the name of the game on Saturday as the Vanderbilt football program conducted its first scrimmage of the spring practice period.
The Commodores limited the VU offense to just one touchdown and forced a pair of turnovers while displaying multiple looks within the defenses new 3-4 scheme. The unit also forced several sacks on Vanderbilt quarterbacks with senior defensive end Barron Dixon accounting for a pair. Redshirt freshman corner Tre Bell accounted for the day's lone interception.
"Defensively, for us it's about a game of reacting, so guys can tee off a little bit," Mason told reporters following the scrimmage. "You always want to see what the guys are going to react in the stadium, and in front of some fans. This was an opportunity for these guys to step out and actually what they can do. Some guys did a great job holding up to it and other guys just need more work."
Though the defense controlled much of the 90-minute session, with several other front seven players such as defensive end Adam Butler and outside linebackers Caleb Azubike and Landon Stokes making stops behind the line of scrimmage or disrupting the passing game, the Commodore offense also had its time in the sun thanks to some strong running by junior tailback Brian Kimbrow and redshirt freshman Ralph Webb.
Kimbrow rushed for 55 yards on eight carries and caught three passes for 19 yards. Webb, meanwhile, gained 38 yards on eight carries and posted 26 yards on three more receptions. Kimbrow accounted for the only score of the day, posting a touchdown on a one-yard run during the eighth offensive drive of the scrimmage.
Quarterbacks Patton Robinette and Johnny McCrary had their ups and downs during the practice, but finished the day with respectable numbers. Robinette completed 11-of-17 passes for 81 yards and led the offense into defensive territory on several occasions. McCrary completed 9-of-13 passes for 111 yards but was picked off by Tre Bell when his deep pass to Gerald Perry sailed up the field. McCrary also fumbled during the drive on the day, at the defense's two-yard line. Jake Sealand recovered the mistake for the turnover.
Defensive backs Torren McGaster, Andrew Williamson and linebackers Jakarri Thomas and Nigel Bowden were also among the top performers on the day.
The scrimmage was the first and only opportunity for Commodore fans to check out the program under Mason prior to the annual Black and Gold spring game on April 12th.
The Commodores will return to action on Tuesday for another week of practice inside the John Rich Practice Complex at the McGugin Center.