Football Camp Notebook for Tuesday

Offense learning new scheme well

August 22, 2006 · MT Media Relations

"It use to be that I was mad about the whole practice, or I was mad about three-quarters of it, or half of it, but now I'm getting to where I'm only mad at about a quarter of practice. We are getting better and we are getting closer. Each day is a learning day on learning how to compete. Every snap and every play out here we have to compete like it's the most important play of the game."

IMPORTANCE OF CONDITIONING AND BEING IN SHAPE: "I think we are in pretty good shape. We still have a handful of guys who aren't there. When we play Aug. 31 and they are not out there playing they will know why. I think the majority of this team is in pretty good shape. I think our practices are intense, that we are straining our body how we practice because we are practicing full speed and not just walking through stuff. We are getting a lot out of them from a physical standpoint and a conditioning standpoint in actual practice and getting them after practice also and they are responding."

RECEIVERS ANSWERING THE CHALLENGE?: "Every day I think someone steps up and does better, the next day he may not have as good of a day and someone else steps up and gets better. It's frustrating because we have not been as consistent at that position as we would have liked. We've had people hurt and they have missed reps and that's kind of caused a little bit of a problem. Take today for example, Bobby (Williams) drops a ball, it bounces off his chest and gets picked off. About 10 plays later he makes a nice play on a deep ball for a touchdown. We are just not as consistent as I would like at that position. "We have probably three guys right now, Taron (Henry), Bobby (Williams), and Jonathan (Grigsby), who have been the most consistent, and then Walt (Bell) and Luke (Paschall) behind them. Those guys have done a good job of being out there every day and getting better. We have a handful of guys I think we can get to the game with and have a chance to throw and catch it a little bit."

OFFENSE GETTING IT DONE: Offensive coordinator G.A. Mangus has been pleased with the manner in which the unit is successfully learning and retaining the new schemes implemented in the spring and continuing into the fall.

"We concentrated on the base stuff, terminology first and foremost, in the spring," Mangus said. "They picked it up and we stayed pretty simple. We have added some things in the fall and that's a tribute to the kids because they allowed us. They remembered what most of the spring was and that allowed us to expand a little more. I'm pretty happy with the way they have handled it because we have thrown a lot at them in a short amount of time. We will continue to add as the season goes."

WHEN YOUR NUMBER IS CALLED: When David Raymond's name was called, the sophomore receiver out of Atlanta, Ga., responded.

Raymond sparkled in Sunday's scrimmage when he hauled in three catches for 45 yards. It wasn't as much the three catches he made as it was when and how he caught them. Raymond had consecutive catches of 17 and 12 yards to keep one scoring drive alive and later he would make another catch to keep a drive going.

"When your number is called you definitely have to go out there and make plays," Raymond said. "Everybody wants to be the man and the only way you can is to take advantage of opportunities. The coaches have been preparing us since spring and they work us hard and put us in game-like situations throughout our practices so when it's time to scrimmage or play we have already been in those situations. Coach 'Stock' always says, 'See how fast you can practice.' By staying on us and stressing the important things he has instilled in us the ability to go out there and do our job for the team."

Mangus was pleased with Raymond's play in the scrimmage and says the young receiver is taking advantage of a great chance to get on the field and contribute.

"That was the best I've seen him, and great hustle," Mangus said of Raymond's showing in the scrimmage. "I think you are seeing, with some of the injuries, guys realizing they can get some time and he made the most of his. Things like that and guys like that, when they get a chance to step up sometimes it's now or never. That bus is rolling in nine days and it's nice to see some guys step up that want to get on it."

Blocking has been a key point with the receivers and that part of the game was vastly improved from the previous scrimmage where the unit was concerned.

"That's where I think the entire group has come a long way," Mangus said. "(The receivers) blocked much better in the scrimmage. I've been hard on them but they know they have to be the complete package. They are not just going to go catch seven catches for 120 yards. Those aren't the guys who play in this system. They have to block, they have to catch, and they have to do the little things. Bobby Williams was much better in blocking; Taron was much better, and David blocked well and had some great catches and kind of came out."

Raymond said he doesn't believe talent is the question with the receiving corps; however, he sees lack of consistency being a concern.

"I don't think there has ever been a question, in our group, as far as talent," Raymond said. "These coaches have coached this offense and they have seen receivers with great success in it so in order for them to see receivers continue to have that type of success we have to raise our standards and see how far we can go. These coaches know what it takes and they just push us. We have the talent, there is no doubt about that, but I think the coaches try to push us mentally. That's where we must continue to make progress."

NEXT PRACTICE: The Blue Raiders will hold their next practice Wednesday from 5 PM to 7 PM.

BLUE RAIDER BLAST: The final "Blue Raider Blast" will be held in Downtown Murfreesboro on the square Thursday 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.

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