Blue Raiders becoming better practice team: Stock
Players don full pads for first time during fall campAugust 6, 2008 · MT Athletic Communications
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Football players at Middle Tennessee donned the full pads for the first time Wednesday but there wasn't an abundance of Blue Raiders spending time on the ground - and that's just the way head coach Rick Stockstill likes it.
The fifth practice of preseason camp and the first day of full contact was met with enthusiasm and effort by the players and the results of the two-plus hours of practice were satisfactory.
"It was a pretty good day," Stockstill said. "We are learning how to practice by staying on our feet better than we have in the past. I didn't see a lot of people on the ground, which is good. I like that."
"I was pleased with them," Stockstill said. "I thought Dwight has one of his better days of camp, really today and (Tuesday). His last two practices were better than his first three. I thought he did some nice things in the team work, made some nice decisions and some good runs."
Players on the other end of Craddock and Dasher pass attempts; however, did not fare as well Wednesday. Receivers were guilty of too many drops and coaches were stressing the necessity of competing throughout individual drills.
"The receivers were bad today," Stockstill said. "We didn't catch the ball well today and we will have to work on that."
Middle Tennessee's defensive front, as well as its corners, continues to have good moments in preseason camp and their efforts also drew the praise of Stockstill, who is entering his third season leading the Blue Raider charge.
"(Defensive linemen) Chris McCoy, Trevor Jenkins and Dwight Smith have been consistent and good," Stockstill said. "(Linebacker) Danny Carmichael has been solid and our secondary, especially the corners with Rod Isaac and Alex Suber, has been strong. Rod and Alex have had five good days. The safeties have not been as good to this point."
Players said there is not a great deal of difference in going from shells to full pads, especially for the veterans.
"The difference is when you are putting the pads on you have to get ready mentally," Suber said. "It's definitely different for the guys who haven't been here. It's a little easier for the veterans but it's still the first day in pads for all of us. We are going hard whether we are in pads or not. If you have been working hard the pads don't matter too much. I think the big difference between the older guys and new guys is the older guys protect themselves better and know what to expect."
OUCH, THAT HURT: Receiver Patrick Honeycutt made the play of the practice during 7-on-7 when he went up for a pass on the sideline and got stuck by defensive back Alex Suber, a preseason All-Sun Belt selection.
Honeycutt was knocked to the ground but he did make the catch.
"I just kind of came down and knocked the breath out of me, but I was fine," Honeycutt said. "It is just one of those things you can't do anything about. I couldn't breathe, it was frustrating, but I was alright."
Honeycutt later took another blow during the team portion of practice when sophomore linebacker Antwan Davis put him on the ground. The tough Honeycutt never missed a beat.
CONSTANT REMINDER: Junior tailback Phillip Tanner lives by what he calls the "3 Fs - Faith, Focus and Fight." Tanner has 3F written on his shoes as a constant reminder to persevere.
"I write it on my shoe to remind me everyday to keep working hard," Tanner said. "When I'm tired or want to give up it's there as a constant reminder."
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I'm not one of the guys big on talent. I think talent is potential and potential is immaturity." - Defensive lineman Trevor Jenkins.
NEXT PRACTICE: The Blue Raiders will practice on Thursday beginning at 5:15 PM.
SEASON TICKETS: 1-888-YES-MTSU OR GoBlueRaiders.com
BLUE RAIDER BLAST: A Blue Raider Blast will be held at in Central Park at The Avenue mall in Murfreesboro, Thursday, August 7, from 5:00-7:00 p.m. Meet coaches, cheerleaders, dance team members, Lightning and more. Representatives from the athletic department will also be on hand with football schedules, season ticket, and BRAA information. Register to win door prizes, including Blue Raider apparel and merchandise from select Avenue merchants.
FAN/MEDIA DAY: Meet the 2008 Blue Raiders and coaches at MTSU's Football Fan Day, Sunday, August 10 from 2 PM - 4 PM at the Murphy Center. Autographs, inflatables, hotdogs, and loads of fun will be on hand for all members of the Blue Raider family. Bring your kids and friends to get them ready for the 2008 football season. Show you're Blue Raider Pride and pick up 2008 football posters, schedule cards, ALL IN bumper stickers and yard signs. Fans who have taken part in the "ADD ONE" campaign by adding new season tickets to their account and fans who are becoming season ticket holders for the first time, can pick up their complimentary BLACK OUT t-shirts and car flags at Fan Day. Blue Raider fans who would like to purchase the official BLACK OUT t-shirt may do so for $15.00 which will include a ticket to the Sept. 30th game versus FAU.
FENTON PAYNE AND FRED 5K: On Saturday morning, Aug. 23, the fifth annual Fenton Payne and Fred 5K Run/Walk to take place on the campus of Middle Tennessee. 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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