Football Camp Notebook (#13)

August 11, 2001 · MT Media Relations
(following morning practice on Aug. 11)

FIRST PRACTICE IN PADS:The morning workout today marked the first time for full contact and overall it was a very productive day on both sides of the ball. The team began contact work with one-on-one board drills where a defensive lineman or linebacker takes on an offensive lineman. "It was a very physical morning," head coach Andy McCollum said. "I definitely think we got better as a team this morning. We got a lot of good live work in and some people really jumped out at me. It did not look like the first day in pads."

PALMER GETS FIRST CONTACT WORK:For the first time since getting injured Sept. 2, 2000 at Illinois in the season opener, senior running back Jamison Palmer participated in full contact work. The team's leading rusher in 1999 opened the 2000 season against the No. 21 Illini as the starter, but a knee injury late in the first half ended his year. In eight carries, Palmer collected 46 yards against Illinois, including a 24-yard run. "It's been awhile since Jamison has been hit," running backs coach Darin Hinshaw said. "I was proud of him today. He was not tentative and the knee held up great. After the drill, Jamison came over to me and said, 'coach it has been a long time, but I feel great'."

CATCHING COACH MAC'S EYE:During the contact work today a few people really stood out to head coach Andy McCollum. Of the newcomers, defensive end Samuel Smith and linebacker Sheldon Durham drew rave reviews from McCollum as did veterans Randy Arnold and Rod Higgins. "Randy has been getting better and better with each practice and Rod is really stepping up his play," McCollum stated. Offensive lineman Josh Willoughby also made McCollum stand up and take notice. "Josh had a great morning," McCollum added. "He is a guy who can really help this football team if he stays committed. He is as physical a player as you want and has a lot of potential."

PASS SKELETON HIGHLIGHTS:Quarterback Jason Johnson was 6-for-6 in the passing department, while Wes Counts was 5-for-9 - Transfer QB Andrico Hines was 3-for-6 - Kendall Newson recorded three receptions as did Don Calloway - Chris Gatlin and Rod Higgins each had a pass breakup - Sophomore Wardell Alsup recorded an interception off a tipped pass intended for Newson.

INJURY UPDATES:Wide receiver Nick Payne will be out 2 to 3 days with a sprained ankle after stepping on a sprinkler head at practice - Tight end Lucas Frost will be sidelined 2 to 3 days with a bruised kidney - Walk-on Charlie Smith is out 4 to 6 weeks with a broken right fibula.

SUNDAY'S SCHEDULE:The Blue Raiders will attend World Outreach Church for service in the morning, then practice at 5:10 PM.

TIDBITS: Former players Brent Walker, Delvin Pikes and Brock Lillis were at this mornings practice - Walk-on C.J. Pinson, the leading rusher during the spring game this past March, has decided to leave the football team - The Blue Raider Football Preview will begin airing on MTSU Channel 9 on Comcast cable television on Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. It will air each Tuesday and Thursday nights at 7:00 p.m., Saturdays at 3:00 p.m. and Sundays at 4:00 p.m. for the next three weeks. The show features last year's Blue Raider highlight video along with preseason information on the football team, parking, ticket packages, and more - Fan Day/Media Day is scheduled for Aug. 18 at Noon at Floyd Stadium (free hotdogs and cokes will be provided along with opportunities to get autographs and pictures with all the players and coaches) - If you would like to purchase a 2001 football media guide the cost is $12, plus $3 for handling and shipping - To order, please call 615-898-2968 or email your request to mrowens@mtsu.edu

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