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Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Vanderbilt speeds it up with no-huddle attack

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Watching the Vanderbilt offense next season will require a little bit more stamina.

There won't be much wasted time between plays, because the Commodores are going to a no-huddle attack and have been in that mode all spring.

"The tempo's going to be a lot different," senior center Bradley Vierling said. "But it's going to be different for the defense, too."

The question that won't be answered this spring is who the Commodores' starting quarterback will be. Sophomore Larry Smith, fifth-year senior Mackenzi Adams and junior Jared Funk have slugged it out during practice, and Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson said there simply hasn't been enough separation to name a starter.

He's in no rush, either.

"We've had 13 practices. You don't get a chance to separate yourself from the others in that amount of time," Johnson said. "We'll have almost twice that many (practices) before we play our first game. We've got a lot of stuff to do and learn and see if they can execute it and who knows it the best.

"So we've got plenty of time to see who's going to be the best guy to start."

Johnson said his biggest concern with the passing game right now is finding enough receivers, especially with the Commodores going to the no-huddle.

Senior Justin Wheeler tore his ACL earlier this spring and isn't likely to be back next season. But one of the bright spots this spring has been another senior who's coming off a knee injury of his own.

Alex Washington, who tore up his knee last spring, is back to 100 percent and looking even faster than he did before his injury. He joined the team five games into last season, but never had full confidence in his knee.

"With us going to the no-huddle, there's going to have to be a lot of receivers ready to play," said Washington, who caught a 75-yard touchdown pass in last Saturday's Black & Gold Scrimmage. "It's not going to be like the Vanderbilt offense of old where we're playing just three receivers a game. There's going to be constant rotation as we keep the ball moving.

"We're still getting our hands around the (no-huddle). There's a lot of motions and stuff, and getting the signs and signals from the sideline is the hardest thing about it. But I like the fact that we're always on the move. That just puts more pressure on the defense."