NASHVILLE, Tennessee — New Vanderbilt running backs coach Jayden Everett really has only one consistent message for his position group this spring.
“Band of Brothers. That’s something we’re talking about that stems from some of our covenants. It’s a true brotherhood. It comes straight from it,” Everett said after practice on Tuesday morning, the fourth of spring for the Commodores. “I believe that everything we do will be for each other. It’s not about one guy, it’s not about our awards, we’re going to let our hard work determine the awards.
“Do it through your brother, let it be a group of brothers and we’ll phase out everything else where it works.”
Everett joined the Vandy coaching staff earlier this year after two seasons at Tulsa, 12 seasons as a coach and a playing career as a standout linebacker at Indiana State. The Kansan hopes he will witness and be part of a Vanderbilt football turnaround similar to the one he experienced when he coached his alma mater from 2013-2016.
The Sycamores were 11-1 in 2013 and 6-8 a season later, where they advanced to the second round of the FCS Playoffs.
“To see what coach (Clark) Lea has built over the years – being in the same shoes I was previously a coach at my alma mater. We weren’t the best, but I helped my team get over the mountain,” Everett said. “Whenever you have the opportunity, you know how it feels to have Year 1, Year 2, and then be part of Year 3 ready to come back after all your hard work.”
Everett currently has a relatively small group of running backs to work with this spring. Five Commodores currently play the position, led by returnees Patrick Smith and Chase Gillespie. True freshman Sedrick Alexander enrolled in January and Vandy signed Deago Benson and AJ Newberry in December.
These backs and Everett will also be working with newly hired Josh Adams, who is serving in a quality control role. Adams is a former Notre Dame running back and has had stints in the NFL with Philadelphia, the New York Jets and New Orleans.
He and Everett will focus on creating a cohesive and productive backfield over the next few weeks of the spring and summer months.
“We have five guys and honestly I’m happy to have these guys in our backfield. They’re doing a really, really good job playing each other out,” Everett said. “That’s one of the things that came back by committee when I was able to get the job and meet with these young men. Our strength is in the number of this group and each of these guys has their own style and I think we’re trying to do a good job of just letting these guys play them off against each other in situational segments and situational football.
“It may seem like we only have five, but with these guys, strength is in numbers. Any one of these guys will step in and do a job, whatever it is.
— Chad Bishop covers Vanderbilt for VUCommodores.com.
follow him @MrChadBishop.