Football Camp Notebook for Saturday

Blue Raiders hit the field with enthusiasm

August 5, 2006 · MT Media Relations


First practice outdoors: "We could do our thing out here because we can get out and coach and the guys can go full speed. (Friday) you couldn't go full speed in the gym. It was fun to get out. It's the start of the year and the enthusiasm of the guys is great. We still have a long way to go but it was fun to be outside competing and working."

Enthusiastic, persistent: Prior to the start of fall camp Middle Tennessee Head Coach Rick Stockstill had a new sign put up at the entrance of the Blue Raider practice field. The sign reads, "Enthusiasm" on the front as the players enter the field and "Persistence" on the back as they exit. "Stock's" reasoning? "I put it up there because when we come on the field I want us to be full of enthusiasm. I want us to practice hard, play fast, practice fast and have fun playing the game by just playing the game with enthusiasm. Then when you come off the field, whether you had a good day, bad day, average day, you are going to be persistent. You are going to keep working hard and keep on keeping on. If I am second team then I am going to bust my rear end to be first team, and if I'm first team I'm busting it to keep up there.

"It's something that's going to be our theme around here. I don't like being around negative people. I don't like guys that feel sorry for themselves. Let's just have fun and be enthusiastic about being here, being at Middle Tennessee, and having the opportunity to play football while giving it everything we have when we step on that field."

Practice overview: "For the most part I think we are in good condition. We are not in game shape yet, but I do think we will get there. The big thing is that we lack consistency right now in throwing and catching the ball. We had too many drops out there but it's the second day. Their want-to is good and they are trying hard so we will get them catching the ball. That was probably the most disappointing thing. We had a fumble between the quarterback and the running back there late in the (practice) and I got kind of upset about that. I just told them we could have been running a basic running play to run out the clock to win the game and we put the ball on the ground, the defense picks it up and scores and now we lose the game. You never know which play is going to make the difference in the game so we have to coach hard every play, every little thing, and as players we have to concentrate and have some responsibility also."

Reserve judgment: "I just think we are in shorts right now, so until the noise starts popping I will hold my judgment on any individual players."

STOCKSTILL IN ELITE COMPANY: Despite being a first year head coach, Middle Tennessee's Rick Stockstill is one of 63 coaches voting on this year's USA Today/ESPN Coaches Top 25 poll. "This is a great honor and I will take it very, very serious the entire season," said Stockstill.

The list of coaches voting this year are: Chuck Amato, N.C. State; Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech; Mike Bellotti, Oregon; Jack Bicknell, Louisiana Tech; Larry Blakeney, Troy; Bobby Bowden, Florida State; Tommy Bowden, Clemson; Jeff Bower, Southern Miss; Gregg Brandon, Bowling Green; Art Briles, Houston; Mack Brown, Texas; Watson Brown, UAB; John Bunting, North Carolina; Bill Callahan, Nebraska; Lloyd Carr, Michigan; Larry Coker, Miami (Fla.); Sylvester Croom, Mississippi State; Darrell Dickey, North Texas; Bill Doba, Washington State; Randy Edsall, Connecticut; Dennis Franchione, Texas A&M; Phillip Fulmer, Tennessee; Joe Glenn, Wyoming; Walt Harris, Stanford; Dan Hawkins, Colorado; Pat Hill, Fresno State; Terry Hoeppner, Indiana; Brady Hoke, Ball State; Brian Kelly, Central Michigan; Steve Kragthorpe, Tulsa; Mike Leach, Texas Tech; Rocky Long, New Mexico; Sonny Lubick, Colorado State; Dan McCarney, Iowa State; Les Miles, LSU; Shane Montgomery, Miami (Ohio); Joe Novak, Northern Illinois; Houston Nutt, Arkansas; Tom O'Brien, Boston College; George O'Leary, Central Florida; Gary Patterson, TCU; Chris Petersen, Boise State; Bobby Petrino, Louisville; Mark Richt, Georgia; Mike Riley, Oregon State; Rich Rodriguez, West Virginia; Bobby Ross, Army; Greg Schiano, Rutgers; Howard Schnellenberger, Florida Atlantic; John L. Smith, Michigan State; Mark Snyder, Marshall; Frank Solich, Ohio; Steve Spurrier, South Carolina; Rick Stockstill, Middle Tennessee; Bob Stoops, Oklahoma; Jeff Tedford, California; Joe Tiller, Purdue; Dick Tomey, San Jose State; Jim Tressel, Ohio State; Tommy Tuberville, Auburn; Charlie Weis, Notre Dame; Tyrone Willingham, Washington; Ron Zook, Illinois.

CATCH OF THE DAY: In a passing drill early in practice, wide receiver Taron Henry claimed the catch of the day when he hauled in an out route with one hand.

On the new offensive system:
"Coach Mangus is putting everything in for us and it really is not that hard because the coaches really explain it well."

Role for 2006: "My goal is to give the other receivers confidence so that when it is time to make a play we will have a number of capable receivers. It can't always be just one guy. We all have to make plays on Saturday."

Missing Spring Drills: "I was ready to get back out here when practice started yesterday. I worked out a lot on my own during the spring and really hit it hard this summer. I am very grateful to Coach Stockstill for giving me another chance." Expectations: "I think I can do a lot better than last year, but my main focus is to help this team get wins."

On Bobby Williams: "I have liked what I have seen so far, but actually I have liked his attitude and drive all summer. He has worked hard and has done everything we have asked of him. I am a big Bobby Williams fan right now. We just have to coach him up and teach him because it is a lot to learn right now, but he is putting in the time and effort. He has a chance and I liked some things he did out there today." What does Bobby Williams bring to the table: "He is long, a long strider, and he has sneaky speed because of his strides. There are things he does well and some things he really needs to work on but most of it is little things. He is a young player which is even more exciting because he is still unpolished."

On Patrick Honeycutt: "Honeycutt is in really good shape and ran by some guys today. He is really coming on and doing some nice things out there."

On Alex Suber: "We ran some plays today that he executed very well. He really has good hands as do all our running backs. I don't know that he is back 100 percent yet but we are seeing flashes."

MISCELLANEOUS: Former Blue Raider players David Youell, Kevin Copeland, and Jonathan Bonner attended today's practice ... Bradley Robinson and Lonnie Clemons both recorded interceptions during team drills on Saturday ... During the same team drill QB Clint Marks completed 7 of 11 passes, while Joe Craddock also connected on 7 of 11 attempts ... Patrick Jackson made good on 3 of 4 passes ... Freshman Desmond Gee hauled in three passes, while Alex Suber and Eugene Gross both had two receptions.

NEXT PRACTICE: The Blue Raiders will hold their third practice of fall camp on Sunday from 4:20 PM to 6:50 PM.

BLUE RAIDER BLAST: The final "Blue Raider Blast" will be held in Downtown Murfreesboro on the square, Thursday, August 24, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. This event is geared toward Blue Raider fans, alumni, and supporters in Rutherford County and surrounding areas and all interested parties are encouraged to attend and meet Middle Tennessee players, coaches, athletic administrators and University administrators as the athletic department gears up for the start of the 2006-07 school year. Admission to the "Blue Raider Blast" is free; however, food provided by Whitt's Barbecue will be available for $5 per plate. The blast will include music, inflatables, face painting and a special guest appearance by Middle Tennessee mascot, "Lightning," to entertain the youngsters.

FAN/MEDIA DAY: Middle Tennessee's annual Fan/Media Day is scheduled for August 19 at Noon in Murphy Center. There will be free hot dogs and cokes given away while supplies last, games for the kids, and various drawings. Also, tickets will be on sale as well as this year's football media guide. As always, fans can get player autographs and photos so make plans now to check out this year's team as they prepare for the season-opener on Aug. 31.

FENTON PAYNE AND FRED 5K: On Saturday morning, Aug. 19, the third annual Fenton Payne and Fred 5K Run/Walk to take place on the campus of Middle Tennessee with Head Football Coach Rick Stockstill firing the starting gun. The event will get underway at 7:30 AM with registration at Peck Hall. The cost is $25 with cash prizes going to the winning male and female and the overall masters (40 years and over). There will also be awards to the top three finishers in all divisions, male and female, 9 and under, then 5 year age groups through 80 and over. For more information, contact Mark Hardison at 615-848-9063.

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