Wednesday football camp notebook

Blue Raiders complete third two-a-day session

August 15, 2007 · MT Media Relations
  • Photos: Practice Gallery
  • Audio: Practice Report

    STOCKSTILL ON TODAY'S PRACTICE: "I told our team that these are the dog days of August right now and it takes a lot of passion to work through this period. There will be no excuses and everyone will be accountable. This is the time to come out and improve as a team and individually."

    "The attitude was good today and I liked the effort. Our biggest problem right now is mental mistakes because we have so many young guys in the two-deep."

    DUNLEAVY ON PRACTICE: "Overall, practice is going well but we are tired," said Chance Dunleavy. "This is when you have to start pushing through it and get it mentally right. It's not supposed to be easy but at the same time it is never as difficult as you think it is."

    CHANGE SUITS SUBER: Rick Stockstill has been forced to utilize the versatility of several of his football players due to lack of depth by moving them to different positions. For example, last season saw Phillip Tanner make the move to safety, Wes Hofacker moved from linebacker to defensive line, and Alex Suber moved from tailback to corner, just to name a few.

    "That's just where we are in our program," Stockstill said. "We just don't have enough guys, enough bodies, that if somebody goes down, it's like robbing Peter to pay Paul for us because we are taking them from here to there and so forth. Until we can get our numbers up to what they need to be at the Division I level we will have to continue to (be versatile)."

    Suber has flourished at his new position and is being counted on at a corner position this fall. He competed in 11 games and earned four starts as a defensive back in 2006 and came up with 17 tackles.

    "Alex has done a great job accepting the change and buying into it," Stockstill said. "He's worked hard to improve himself as a corner. I'm sure he was a little reluctant to make the transition in the beginning but we needed him. He's gone over there and he's done a really good job.

    "(Suber) had a solid season for us last year and we really need him to have a good year for us this year."

    Suber, a 5-foot-9 163-pound junior from Tampa, Fla., said he has adjusted to the idea of playing defense and he has adapted to the position.

    "I feel like the coaches see I am really trying hard to understand the position and they are teaching me even harder as far as giving me more things to learn and improve upon, such as technique," Suber said. "I got a little taste of playing defense last year and I like it. It's fun to be out there when you have 11 hats flying around the ball."

    FINDING THE PIECES: Offensive line coach Jimmy Ray Stephens said lack of consistency is a concern midway through the second week of camp. The veteran line coach is most concerned with the inability of potential starters to compete with a consistent nature on a daily basis.

    "There is no one up there who is consistently doing their job play after play. We have to keep pounding until we develop that," Stephens said. "We are going to keep moving players around until we find the right pieces to the puzzle and try to find the best five guys, then we have to have a couple of guys that will have to provide depth at more than one position because right now, unfortunately, we just don't have two-deep at each position that we can count on.

    "Hopefully we can keep pounding and pounding during two-a-days and maybe we can develop some depth by the time we are ready to line up and play."

    One of the key early blows to the line has been the loss of freshman Jake Padrick, who will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery Friday. Although a rookie, Padrick was being counted on as a potential starter at the center position.

    Redshirt freshman Chris Hawkins has moved up the depth chart and is competing for the starting job.

    "The center position is one we have to get solidified," Stephens said. "Chris Hawkins is a player we are looking at to see if he can be consistent with his snaps, know his assignments that type of thing."

    INJURY UPDATE: QB Joe Craddock did not practice this morning due to a pulled groin ... DE Erik Walden did not practice this morning due to a pulled groin ... DE Tavares Jones returned to drills today ... Redshirt freshman defensive end Andre Wicker was out of practice today due to a foot injury and was wearing a protective boot.

    TIDBITS: Redshirt freshman Chris Hawkins moved to center today and worked with the first unit ... Senior Brandon Nix moved to left guard ... Due to Joe Craddock sitting out of practice, freshman Dwight Dasher saw most of the reps with the first unit today.

    NEXT PRACTICE: The Blue Raiders will practice on Thursday beginning at 5 PM.

    SEASON TICKETS: 1-888-YES-MTSU OR GoBlueRaiders.com

    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.

    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 7:00 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.

    Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.