Monday's Camp Notebook

Blue Raiders take the field to begin fall camp

August 6, 2007 · MT Media Relations
  • Audio: Practice Report
  • Photos: Practice Gallery

    STOCKSTILL ON TODAY'S PRACTICE: "I thought it was a pretty good day, pretty good start. I thought our effort was good but not great. I told them after practice we all gave decent effort but there were four or five guys who were pacing themselves and we have to get them to raise their level of standards."

    "I want to make a big emphasis on preventing turnovers and causing turnovers because that is where you win games. I thought we did a decent job on offense today. We gave up a turnover when David Raymond made a nice play and picked off a pass. I also want to make a big emphasis on explosive plays which are runs of 12 yards or more and pass plays of 16 or more. We need to make them on offense and prevent them on defense."

    "In the big play department, I thought we were bad in one-on-one drills today in the secondary. We let too many receivers get behind us and our DBs just weren't very good in that drill. At the same time, we have to have our quarterbacks do a better job of hitting the open receivers."

    ERIK WALDEN ON TODAY'S PRACTICE: "It is a new year and a new start and we are excited about the opportunities ahead and it was great to get back on the field. We have been working very hard and trying to get everybody on the same page because we want to be even better this year."

    "We know we had a pretty good year on defense last season but we also know we have to be much better in 2007. We just have to get better in every area and be real good in all the little areas. Our defensive line is good but we have a goal that we want to be the best and to do that we have to put in extra work."

    HOT PRACTICE: Middle Tennessee took the field today and the temperature was 100 degrees at 5:25 PM with a heat index of 106.

    "I like it hot and hope it gets hotter every day," said Stockstill. "We need to learn how to compete and play in the heat. As coaches we will be very smart with the players in terms of breaks and water because we are very aware of the conditions. We educate our players all the time on the importance of hydration."

    Stockstill, a standout quarterback for Florida State during his collegiate days, says during his time with the Seminoles things were a little different.

    "When I played you could not take your helmet off and you only got one break a practice," said Stockstill. "We would sit under a tree and have Seminole water about half way through. We did not call it Gatorade in Tallahassee. Believe me, coaches and trainers are a lot smarter about the heat now than when I played."

    HONEYCUTT BACK IN THE MIX: Sophomore receiver Patrick Honeycutt was excited to be back on the practice field and competing as Middle Tennessee opened preseason camp with its first workout Monday evening.

    Honeycutt was enjoying a solid camp last season when a knee injury late in the preseason forced him out of action for the year. All of this at a time when the Pelham, Ala., native was playing at the top of his game, impressing a staff of first-year coaches, and proving he had the skills to play at the Division I level.

    "I was extremely frustrated because I felt like I had a chance to get on the field and help the team," Honeycutt said following his first workout Monday. "To be having the type of camp I was having and go down with a serious injury such as that was frustrating, but it's another reason to always go hard."

    Honeycutt, who was named the Most Dependable Wide Receiver at the conclusion of spring practice, was back on the field as preseason camp opened Monday because of his hard-nosed approach to rehabilitation. His work ethic and approach to rehab mirrored that of his on-field routines.

    "We would love to have 85 Patrick Honeycutts running around because he does what is right on and off the field," said assistant coach Justin Watts, who coaches Blue Raider receivers. "Patrick has a desire and loves playing football. He is a guy we are counting on to step up this year. He has as much talent as the other guys, he has the desire, and he wants to be good. He's ready to go."

    BEATING THE HEAT: One thing that always has coaches concerned when camp opens is the heat and humidity and how it affects the players. Middle Tennessee's Sports Medicine Staff, led by Athletic Trainer Joe-Joe Petrone, has been preparing for the heat for some time.

    "Most of these guys were here during the summer doing conditioning drills with strength coach Russell Patterson so they have already been out in the heat," said Petrone. "Last night we gave each player a half gallon jug that was donated by Heritage Farms so they could fill up with fluids at anytime. We also make sure they eat well at night, have a good breakfast, and eat plenty of fruit during the day."

    Petrone has 11 other members of his staff working football practices and they work in earnest to keep Middle Tennessee's 105 football players hydrated throughout camp.

    "We tell the players to stay away from caffeine because that can really dehydrate you and drink water every time you get near a cooler," said Petrone. "During practice we will take five breaks for water and Powerade, along with cold towels. If the heat index is way up then we will add additional breaks."

    At the end of the day, the Sports Medicine staff has gone through 400 gallons of fluid which does not count the ice tubs made available to the team following each practice (500 pound of ice).

    WEATHER WATCHERS: The Sports Medicine staff not only keeps the team hydrated but they are responsible for keeping a keen eye on the ever changing midstate weather.

    "We have a weather alert system programmed to our cell phones that lets us know when lightning is within 10 miles of campus," said Petrone. "When it gets that close then we try to get the players off the field as soon as possible."

    Petrone also keeps with him a Digital Sling Psychrometer in order to measure the heat index.

    TIDBITS: David Raymond recorded two interceptions during practice ... Bobby Williams had three receptions during team drills ... Desmond Gee took reps as a receiver and running back during Monday's workout.

    NEXT PRACTICE: The Blue Raiders will hold their second practice of fall camp on Tuesday from 5:25 PM to 7:30 PM.

    BLUE RAIDER BLAST: The final "Blue Raider Blast" will be held in Downtown Murfreesboro on the square, Thursday, August 23, 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 2007-08 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.

    FAN/MEDIA DAY: Middle Tennessee's annual Fan/Media Day is scheduled for August 12 at 2:30 PM in Murphy Center. There will be free hot dogs and cokes given away while supplies last, and games for the kids. 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 Sept. 1.

    FENTON PAYNE AND FRED 5K: On Saturday morning, Aug. 18, the fourth annual Fenton Payne and Fred 5K Run/Walk to take place on the campus of Middle Tennessee with Director of Athletics Chris Massaro 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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