Kyles, McDonald change positions

Both players more comfortable in new roles

August 14, 2008 · Athletic Communications

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Two Blue Raiders are practicing at new positions and each is a case where the player is more comfortable and head coach Rick Stockstill is willing to give them a shot.

  • Audio: Practice Report
  • Photos: Fall Camp Photo Gallery
  • Freshman Sancho McDonald has moved from quarterback to receiver, and redshirt freshman D.D. Kyles has moved from receiver to running back.

    McDonald's switch actually started for what Stockstill called "fun," but it appears to have added another playmaker to the receiving corps, while Kyles requested the opportunity to practice in the offensive backfield.

    "We do a drill where the quarterback rotates with the receivers and they had thrown a pass to (McDonald in Wednesday's practice) and I told him he looked good there," Stockstill said. "He said he could play the position and wanted to try so I sent him with the receivers on a whim. After practice I told him I was just playing and he could stay at quarterback or receiver. He said he wanted to stay at receiver so we let him."

    McDonald (6-foot-2) was a three-star recruit by Rivals.com and was rated the number 15 dual-threat quarterback in the country coming out of Booker T. Washington High School in Miami, Fla. He appears to be a natural at the receiver position, too.

    He made three great grabs during team work Thursday, including being on the receiving end of a Joe Craddock touchdown pass in traffic. Shortly after the reception, offensive coordinator G.A. Mangus was seen hugging McDonald. Mangus, who is the quarterback coach, would later call it a "farewell hug."

    "I don't think we will be seeing him in the quarterback room anymore so I officially gave him a farewell hug before we went to work on the 2-minute drill," Mangus said. "(McDonald) is quite a talented young man and we knew that going in but sometimes with great athletes it just takes some time to figure out where they are going to play. He has made some plays two days in a row. He was moved for giggles and now he's out there making plays. He has a chance to be a good one."

    Kyles suffered a broken hand and practiced with a cast during the spring. He originally wanted to be considered for a move to tailback in the spring but Stockstill encouraged him to wait until fall camp.

    "D.D. talked to me about it in the spring," Stockstill said. "He feels more comfortable there. I asked him to give it two weeks in the fall and see what happens when he got the cast off. He got hurt the first practice (of fall camp) and never really gave it a chance. I just think it comes down to him being more comfortable there and more passionate about being there."

    OH NO, NOT AGAIN: Stockstill received a scare late in Thursday's practice when offensive lineman Jamal Lewis went to the ground and didn't get to his feet for a short period of time. He was assisted by athletic trainers.

    As it turned out Lewis had taken a helmet to the chin but the cause for concern was real given the injury situation that has riddled the offensive line.

    "At first it looked more like it was in the ankle so I was relieved when it wasn't that serious," Stockstill said. "I don't know how much, if any, practice he will miss. He is a tough kid."

    The news was not so good on sophomore Chris Hawkins and freshman Rogeric Govan. Hawkins (knee) will miss at least 10-to-14 days and no timetable has been given on Govan (ankle).

    "I have been told Govan is worse than 'Hawkeye' and Hawkeye is going to miss 10-to-14 days," Stockstill said. "We will have to wait and see."

    Sophomore Evon Lettsome is still wearing a boot; Jake Padrick (knee) is out for the season; and Stockstill is hopeful Alex Stuart will be able to return to the field this weekend.

    WILDCARD WEEKNIGHT: Middle Tennessee is offering a special ticket package for the two weeknight home football games against Troy (Aug. 28) and Florida Atlantic (Sept. 30). The package costs $30 and includes a reserved seat for both games and a coupon for a hot dog and soft drink for each game. To order tickets, contact the MTSU Ticket Office at (615) 898-2103.

    LAST CALL: Tickets to Middle Tennessee's non-conference road games at Louisville, Kentucky and Mississippi State will be returned to the home schools in the near future. Any Blue Raider fans wanting to sit in the Middle Tennessee section at these road games must purchase their tickets through the Blue Raider Ticket Office. For tickets, call 1-888-YES-MTSU or access GoBlueRaiders.com site.

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