SEC: Alex Washington

Jeffers-Harris' career never gets off the ground

August, 11, 2009
8/11/09
8:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Terence Jeffers-Harris, we hardly knew you.

His bid to gain eligibility came up short this summer, and Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson announced following practice Monday night that Jeffers-Harris would not be playing for the Commodores.

Jeffers-Harris, who sat out last season after transferring from Connecticut, was not eligible under NCAA rules, according to Johnson.

"Obviously, he's a very good player. But unless you've got him out there playing, he's no good for you," Johnson said of the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Jeffers-Harris, who was one of Vanderbilt's top playmakers during the spring. "He's going to have to go elsewhere. I would think he needs to transfer. I don't think he's ready to go pro, in my opinion."

It's certainly a blow for the Commodores to lose a player the caliber of Jeffers-Harris, but Johnson sounded like he was almost braced for it a couple of weeks ago at the SEC media days. Jeffers-Harris wasn't even included in the media guide. So, obviously, this is not a huge surprise for Johnson and his staff.

What it means for some of the other receivers on the team, none of them proven, is that the race is on to become the Commodores' go-to guy.

Right now, they don't have one.

The door is wide open for John Cole, Alex Washington, Udom Umoh and Tray Herndon, a transfer from Minnesota.

Jeffers-Harris is the second key cog in the passing game the Commodores have lost. Fifth-year senior Justin Wheeler went down with a knee injury in the spring, ending his Vanderbilt career. He started 10 games a year ago.

Jamie Graham, who moved over to defensive back, may end up doing a D.J. Moore impersonation and playing both ways this season.

Vanderbilt speeds it up with no-huddle attack

April, 1, 2009
4/01/09
7:26
PM ET

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."

Vanderbilt's offense takes off after slow start

March, 28, 2009
3/28/09
7:25
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Vanderbilt's offense rebounded from a slow start to hit several big plays in the Commodores' Black & Gold Scrimmage on Saturday at Vanderbilt Stadium.

Following three scoreless possessions, receiver Alex Washington livened things up for the offense with a 75-yard touchdown pass from Jared Funk. On the very next possession, Washington took a reverse 39 yards on first down, setting up a short touchdown run by Ryan van Rensburg.

Seeing Washington get untracked this spring has been comforting news for Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson, who was looking for more production from his receivers. Washington, a senior, injured his knee last spring and only played in seven games a year ago. It's obvious that he's much healthier this spring and has a lot more confdence in his knee.

Terence Jeffers, a transfer from Connecticut, also scored when he took a short toss from Larry Smith and raced 36 yards for a touchdown.

The Commodores were able to open up their running game by hitting some plays in the passing game, something they did very little of last season. They ranked 112th nationally in passing offense in 2008.

Smith finished 9-of-14 for 117 yards and two touchdowns. Mackenzi Adams was 4-of-9 for 39 yards. He threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Udom Umoh, but was also intercepted by Micah Powell on a third-and-long play. Funk finished 6-of-9 for 111 yards.

The Vanderbilt defense opened the scrimmage by holding the offense without a first down on the first three possessions.

Defensive end Steven Stone, defensive tackle Greg Billinger, linebackers Brent Trice and Chris Marve and cornerbacks Jamie Graham and Casey Hayward all had big scrimmages.

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