Blue Raiders go through dress rehearsal

Team goes through game-like situations

August 22, 2007 · MT Media Relations
  • Photos: Practice Gallery
  • Audio: Practice Report

    MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - With the season opener against Florida Atlantic rapidly approaching, Middle Tennessee second-year head football coach Rick Stockstill put his team through a dress rehearsal of sorts at Floyd Stadium Wednesday afternoon.

    Middle Tennessee will kick off the 2007 campaign when it travels to Sun Belt Conference foe Florida Atlantic Sept. 1 at 3 p.m., and the Blue Raiders were put through every situation possibly imagined during the scripted scrimmage.

    "It was a scripted practice where we went through different kicking plays that can occur in a game from onsides to hands teams to kick after a safety, a return after a safety, a regular kickoff, kickoff return punt safe and punt block," said Stockstill. "Then we put the first-team offense against the second-team defense in certain situations during a 10-play drive."

    Attention to detail was prevalent throughout the scrimmage, from prior to kickoff when Stockstill addressed where players would be on the sideline, to the flip of the coin and other various situations throughout the two-hour workout. Coaches wore headsets and relayed the plays onto the field. Sun Belt officials were working the field and replay officials were in the booth.

    As important as the run-through is for the players, Stockstill says it is equally important for the coaches and everyone who is involved with the program during the course of game.

    "A lot of times people think this is just for the players but this is a very valuable practice for our coaches as well," said Stockstill. "We work on everything from the pregame warmup to the coin toss. It's all very important and we want to make sure everybody knows what to do during any type of situation."

    Plays went according to a pre-determined script regardless of what the outcome of a particular play may have been.

    "No matter what happened on the play, whether it was a 50-yard gain or a 10-yard sack, we moved the ball on the next play to a different situation," said Stockstill. "We did this so our coaches can call a game with 2nd-and-5, 3rd-and-2 or whatever, while also working in various kicking situations. Everybody had to be alert and attentive on the sidelines with our substitutions."

    Some scripted plays were fake.

    "We scripted in a fake injury by our center and told him how we want him to stay on the field and wait for the medical staff to come attend to him," added Stockstill. "We do this so the quarterback will have time to come over to the sidelines and work with the backup center for a few snaps."

    UPDATE ON KICKERS FROM STOCKSTILL: "(David) DeFatta and (Matt) King are still in a tight battle for the starting placekicker job. They alternate kicking with the first unit and the second unit. We have not made a decision yet on a starter. At punter, DeFatta and (Richard) Billings are still battling it out and on kickoffs King and Billings are still competing for that job.

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