Football Camp Notebook for Thursday

Several newcomers turning heads

August 17, 2006 · MT Media Relations


"I thought the defense showed some leadership and some enthusiasm and some fight through the practice. It was hot out there. I think the offense kind of felt sorry for themselves a little bit and we lacked some leadership guys to step up and take control when things started sliding."

ON HITTING 'THE WALL': "I think we are running a smart camp as far as football goes. We are working hard out here and trying to make progress. The injuries are frustrating because it hurts the continuity but as far as the infamous wall everyone talks about hitting in camp, well, we just have to get tougher and bust through that wall. I don't think our guys are to that point (of hitting a wall). I told them today that if you want to be great, if you want to be good, then you can't let anything get in your way. You have to have more pride in everything we are doing to be great and be good."

ON NEWCOMERS STEPPING UP: "It's a little surprising how well several of them have performed in their first camp. You hate to have true freshmen play because you would love to redshirt them, but I don't see how we are not going to be able to play (tight end) Alvin Ingle, (running backs) Phillip Tanner and Desmond Gee, (defensive lineman) Gary Tucker, (linebacker) Danny Carmichael, (linebacker) Andre Wicker, Adam Wade as a snapper, (offensive lineman) Jamal Lewis. They have done well to this point."

'Stock's thoughts after watching film of Wednesday scrimmage: "It was probably better coming out of it after watching the film. You know the old saying, it's never as good as it looks and never as bad as what is seems, either. It's just the little things we have to keep working on. If we don't put the ball on the ground, if we don't have the penalties, if we don't throw the interception and we don't have the missed assignments on defense it is a pretty good day all-around. The thing that is disappointing is the amount of loafs we had on both sides of the ball. I told them going in that all we were grading was effort and assignment and we had way too many loafs. That was a little discouraging."

SPECIAL TEAMS PREPARATION: "Because of all the injuries we have had it has been as disruptive on special teams as anything because there is so much timing and technique involved. We have been getting some good work done special teams-wise but we can't get any continuity in any phase of the game - offense, defense or special teams - because there are so many people hurt."

ON EARNING POSITIONS: "Nothing is guaranteed on that field and you have to earn the right every day to be a starter, to be the second-team guy, and when a guy doesn't practice for two or three weeks it gives another guy an opportunity and you have to make the most of it."

BIG-HIT HARRIS: Senior Jonathan Harris has delivered his fair share of punishing hits throughout his football career and the hard-hitting safety was a defensive playmaker during Wednesday's scrimmage.

Harris had an interception and also delivered a bone-crushing hit that jarred the ball loose from a would-be receiver.

"I made a big hit in practice last week when we started going live and full speed," Harris said. "I noticed it livened up the team. (Defensive line coach Les) Herrin was telling me that helps the team and it helps the team because you are leading by action. If someone makes a big play that just motivates everyone else to do the same."

Harris is coming off his best all-around season as a Blue Raider. He totaled 37 tackles, had one sack, 2-1/2 tackles for loss and hauled in an interception during the 2005 season. For his career, Harris has 78 total tackles, two sacks, 5-1/2 tackles for loss and one interception.

Harris' big-play ability should make him a hit with first-year defensive coordinator Manny Diaz because the safety has a knack for doing exactly what his coach wants to see.

"Coach Diaz just stresses making plays," Harris said. "Last year we had a pretty good year but if we would have made a couple other plays we could have really helped our team. (Diaz) really stresses making the big plays. We know our assignments so we need to just play and make the big plays when they are presented."

NEXT PRACTICE: The Blue Raiders will hold their 18th and 19th practices of fall camp on Friday from 8:45 AM to 10:55 AM and 4:35 PM to 6:05 PM.

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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