Casey Hayward made a mistake … and scored a touchdown.
The senior cornerback returned an interception more than 100 yards for a touchdown Saturday in the biggest play of a live scrimmage, which concluded the second week of Vanderbilt’s spring football workouts.
Hayward was in position when Larry Smith’s pass fell well short of junior Tuner Wimberly, who was open in the corner of the end zone.
“I bit on the slant, and it was a slant-and-go,” Hayward said. “The quarterback underthrew the pass so it made me look good.”
It was that kind of day for the defense, which for the most part got the better of things. In 12 possessions, the offense managed two touchdowns and a couple field goal attempts, lost at least three fumbles and had a long touchdown pass negated by a penalty.
Smith split time evenly with the other two quarterbacks, senior Mackenzi Adams and sophmore Jared Funk.
The scrimmage lasted roughly one hour and was held in the football stadium before a sizable number of recruits, their families and coaches.
“I think the offense did well and the defense did well,” Hayward said.
The Commodores’ annual Black-Gold scrimmage will be held 10 a.m. March 28 at the stadium.
ONE OUT OF TWO: Sophomore wide receiver Udom Umoh scored two touchdowns on long pass receptions – only one of which counted.
He beat sophomore cornerback Elvio Tropeano down the seam for a 63-yard touchdown pass from Adams. An alignment issue, however, forced the officials who worked the practice to flag an ineligible receiver downfield
Umoh came back several possessions later and beat sophomore Jamie Graham down the sideline for a 29-yard touchdown on a ball thrown by Funk.
“I’m just glad we executed the play right (on the negated touchdown), but penalties always bring it back,” Umoh said. “We have to learn from that and learn not to make mistakes at critical moments.”
WATCHFUL EYES: The scrimmage was the first workout of the spring with officials present.
“Sometimes, gains we might have (at the practice complex) are nullified (here) because somebody’s holding, or a sack is nullified because somebody is slightly offside but we didn’t notice,” coach Bobby Johnson said. “It’s always great to have officials here to simulate the game as well as we can.
“It just makes you concentrate a little more.”
UP TEMPO: The offense spent the majority of the scrimmage operating in a hurry-up mode with plays being signaled with players already at the line of scrimmage.
All three quarterbacks directed the attack in that manner.
“It’s just one of our tempos that we can use and we wanted to see – with officials – how we can handle it. And it’s good for the defense too.”
LACKING LINEBACKERS: Starting linebackers Patrick Benoist and Chris Marve, the top two tacklers last season, did not participate. Benoist was held out after he took a helmet to the side of the knee on Friday, and Marve was sidelined due to an issue with a bursa sack in his knee.