Press Conference Notes: Clark Lea and his squad reflect on second preseason scrimmage

Vanderbilt’s scrimmage impressed Clark Lea overall, but the team has to limit self-inflicted penalties as Week One approaches quickly.

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Vanderbilt football played their second preseason scrimmage on August 21. (Twitter/@VandyFootball)

Andrew Wilf, Assistant Sports Editor

On Aug. 21—just two weeks before the Vanderbilt Commodores gear up to face Eastern Tennessee State—the student-athletes faced off for their second preseason scrimmage. Fifth-year senior cornerback Allan George was satisfied with the way practice went but continues to focus on communication.

“I pride myself on communication on the field,” George said. “We did a great job at celebrating the small plays, while also moving on to the next moment.”

Lea was displeased with the lack of production from the offense in the first quarter as they failed to score a touchdown due to drives ending in punts, turnover on downs and a field goal. Most troubling to Lea was when starter Ken Seals marched his offense to the 2-yard line, and his teammates were unable to score six points. The drive resulted in a field goal after a devastating false start penalty.

“We have to be more disciplined on drives on offense,” Lea said. “We’re not going to be able to self-sabotage and the number of pre-snap penalties we had kill drives.”

Later in the scrimmage, the offense stepped up and took command. Pass game coordinator and quarterbacks coach Joey Lynch highlighted the admirable work ethic of sophomore quarterbacks Seals and Mike Wright. To Lynch, this battle is exciting and a good problem to have. These quarterbacks’ mindsets are key to fostering a winning culture in West End.

“The quarterbacks are very competitive and they both want to be the guy,” Lynch said. “They are both of each other’s biggest fans. We like where both of them are at.”

The spark for the Commodore offense came right when Wright floated a 32-yard pass to wide receiver Logan Kyle. Dylan Betts-Pauley capped off the drive with a 15-yard rushing touchdown. Kyle continued to impress, as just a few moments later, he caught a 32-yard touchdown from Seals. A notable statistic of the day was the absence of offensive turnovers. 

“Taking care of the football is something we have emphasized since day one,” Lynch said. “From an offensive standpoint, we need to clean up more procedural stuff and things we can control.”

The receiver room looks to be shaping up well with each student-athlete bringing something different to the table. Whether it be Cam Johnson, Will Sheppard, Chris Pierce Jr., Amir Abdur-Rahman or Logan Kyle, the receivers feel that their chemistry is robust. 

“We definitely have playmakers in our receiving room,” Pierce Jr. said. “From the fifth-year seniors to the freshmen, we are pushing each other and that is what motivates our room to be better and that will be what helps in making us great.”

Vanderbilt is two weeks away from their first game, and Lea was impressed with several facets of the Commodore scrimmage. Although there were many positives, Lea continues to stress minimizing errors and fostering a winning spirit.