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Blue Raiders preparing for Motor City

Bowl ticket total reaches 2,610

December 19, 2006 · MT Media Relations

BOWL TICKETS REACH 2,610: Middle Tennessee Director of Athletics Chris Massaro announced today that ticket sales for the Motor City Bowl is at 2,610 as of close of business on Tuesday. "We feel like the 2,610 is a good number for us," said Massaro. "I want to thank our fans and supporters for their public demonstration of support for our first bowl game in the I-A era. As a point of reference, the University of Memphis played in the Motor City Bowl last year and used just under 1,100 tickets."

FIRST WAVE TO ROCK CITY: The first of three waves of Blue Raiders will be heading to Detroit on Wednesday. The travel advance team of Mike Szul, Jan Worley, and Chris Matusek will arrive early to make sure the team hotel is ready for the team, along with the meeting rooms, the meals, team buses, etc... The second wave will be the team travel party on Friday morning, while the third wave will arrive Christmas night. The team will take off from Smyrna Airport at 8:30 AM on Friday.

EXPERIENCE COUNTS: Much is being made of Middle Tennessee's players making their first bowl appearance; however, the Blue Raiders will have no problem being properly prepared when they face Central Michigan in the Motor City Bowl, Dec. 26.

While the Blue Raiders may be new to the bowl experience, the Middle Tennessee coaching staff is not. Including the Motor City Bowl, Rick Stockstill and his staff have coached in 70 bowl games and have 158 years of coaching experience.

To say the unit knows what it is doing when it comes to preparing a team for a big game would be an understatement when you consider the staff owns three Super Bowl rings and four National Championship rings.

Stockstill said he has drawn on the experience of previous bowl encounters, as a player and coach, to help prepare the Blue Raiders for their first bowl game since joining the ranks of Division I-A in 1999.

"I remember how we prepared at Clemson when we prepared for a bowl game," Stockstill said. "I remember how we did it last year at South Carolina with Coach (Steve) Spurrier, although I wasn't there for the game, we had a plan as to how we were going to do it.

"This will be my 13th bowl game and I feel like we have a good plan, a good idea of being able to balance the work part of it and the enjoyment part of it."

Stockstill said the Blue Raiders have to understand the necessity of getting work accomplished during practices in Murfreesboro because when the team reaches Detroit the time for preparation will be minimal.

Middle Tennessee will conduct its final practice prior to departure for Detroit Thursday morning.

"We have to get most of our work done here because once you get to the bowl you only get a couple of practices and that's between all the functions," Stockstill said. "I really feel comfortable that when we get to the game we will have had plenty of practice time. We will have had 11 practices and I think that's plenty, especially with the numbers we have."

SUCCESS MAKES DIFFERENCE: Stockstill says Middle Tennessee is making headway in recruiting not only because of the prospect of the Motor City Bowl, but also the successful 2006 season, which included a Sun Belt Conference championship.

"I think people are giving us more of an open ear so to speak and it's as much because of the type of season we have had as anything," Stockstill said. "Then when you get into the home you are able to say we are still practicing for a bowl game. We can demonstrate to players that they can accomplish all of their goals here at Middle Tennessee just like you can at Florida State or Georgia or wherever, so I think we are being perceived in a different light because of the type of year we had and being able to go to a bowl game, also."

LOSING NO GROUND: Middle Tennessee's football staff is working hard to make sure it doesn't lose ground during the recruiting process as it prepares for the Motor City Bowl.

Recruiting has slowed this week during a NCAA dead period but the Blue Raider staff spent the previous three weeks taking care of recruiting responsibilities.

"You have to consider your staff and our recruiting obligations because you can't completely forget about that and focus on practice (for the bowl game) or you are going to get behind in your recruiting," Stockstill said. "We are fortunate now that it is a dead period and (Monday) was the first day of the dead period. The previous three weeks we were on the road recruiting and our guys worked out, lifted weights, and ran. There is a balance there during this time of year."

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