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Blue Raiders ready for Motown

Team begins game-week preparations

December 15, 2006 · MT Media Relations

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Motown was in the air as Middle Tennessee returned to the practice field Friday afternoon. The Blue Raiders are preparing for the December 26 Motor City Bowl against MAC champion Central Michigan.

The Blue Raiders started practice today to the sound of some Motown music blaring on the Floyd Stadium speakers courtesy of video coordinator Will Brown. The song of the day was James Brown's "Get Up."

"This is an exciting time so we wanted to jazz things up a little to start practice," said Head Coach Rick Stockstill. "We just wanted to get their juices flowing but really they did not need any help. This team is pretty excited about the opportunity ahead."

Middle Tennessee went 18 periods on Friday for the first of 10 practices before kicking it off against the Chippewas. After having a week full of exams, the players were pumped about being back on the turf of Floyd Stadium.

"We are students first and athletes second," said offensive tackle Germayle Franklin. "We are coming off an important week of school work and now we can solely concentrate on football. It's good to be back on the field and we can't wait for the game."

The Blue Raiders were in full game-week mode by putting together their offensive and defensive game plans while mixing in special teams work.

"It feels great to be out here on the field in December getting ready for a very meaningful game. It was not difficult to get up for today's practice," said wide receiver Taron Henry. "This is why you put in all the hard work and make all the sacrifices. This is the reward for all of that and to make it even more special we are the first to do it."

The Blue Raiders will practice again on Saturday at 2:30 PM in Floyd Stadium.

BOWL NOTES:

FAN APPRECIATION DAY: The Blue Raider football team will have a Fan Appreciation Day on Sunday prior to the women's basketball game against Louisiana-Monroe. The event will run from 12:30 PM until 1:30 PM and will take place in the auxiliary gym inside the Murphy Center. Special Motor City Bowl posters will be available, along with a place to purchase bowl tickets. The team will be available for autographs and photos during this time.

SIDELINE PASSES: Every Blue Raider fan that purchased tickets for the Motor City Bowl was entered into a drawing to receive two sideline passes for the game. The drawing will take place on Sunday during halftime of the men's basketball game against Louisiana-Monroe. The number of tickets a fan purchased represents the number of chances he/she will have at winning the passes.

KNEW IT ALL ALONG: Middle Tennessee's first appearance in a bowl game during the I-A era may have come as somewhat of a surprise to fans and casual observers but the Blue Raiders expected to be in this position all along.

Quarterback Clint Marks said there was no defining moment when the team started believing during the season. That moment came well before the first game had been played.

"We believed this team was going to do something special this season after spring practice and during the summer," Marks said. "We carried that attitude with us into fall camp. We felt like we have had good teams here the past few years and things didn't go our way. This year and with these coaches we were able to turn it around. It feels great to be practicing for a bowl game."

Linebacker J.K. Sabb supported his teammate's suggestion.

"We expected this. We expected to have a winning season, win a championship, and to play in a bowl game," Sabb said. "We have accomplished all of those goals just like we set out to do. Now we want to finish it by being the first team from MT to win a bowl game. That's what we are working for."

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