Thursday's Football Camp Notebook

August 18, 2005 · MT Media Relations
(Practice No. 14)

MARKS NAMED TO DAVEY O'BRIEN LIST: The Davey O'Brien Foundation today announced the pre-season watch list for the 2005 Davey O'Brien National Quarterback AwardTM, presented annually to the nation's best college quarterback and Middle Tennessee's Clint Marks was on the list.

"It's a nice honor but right now my focus is on leading this team and winning football games," said Marks. "I am not real big on individual honors. Any recognition I receive should also go to the offensive line, wide receivers, and running backs. But I do feel privileged to be mentioned with all the other candidates."

Marks, a preseason All-Sun Belt pick, is coming off a record-setting year that saw him rank second nationally in completion percentage (70.4), sixth in completions per game, 13th in passing yards, 21st in total offense, and 25th in passing efficiency. The southpaw threw for a school record 2,749 yards to pace the conference.

The O'Brien Award is the oldest and most prestigious award in the country for college quarterbacks and is named in honor of the late Davey O'Brien. O'Brien led the TCU Horned Frogs to the 1938 national championship and was the first player to win the Heisman, Walter Camp and Maxwell Awards in one season. The thirty three candidates, in alphabetical order, are: Erik Ainge, Tennessee; John Beck, BYU; Corey Bramlet, Wyoming; Brian Brohm, Louisville; Shaun Carney, Air Force; Kellen Clemens, Oregon; Brodie Croyle, Alabama; Jay Cutler, Vanderbilt; Bruce Gradkowski, Toledo; Tye Gunn, TCU; Darrell Hackney, UAB; Marques Hagans, Virginia; Chad Henne, Michigan; Justin Holland, Colorado State; Omar Jacobs, Bowling Green; Steven Jyles, Louisiana-Monroe; Kevin Kold, Houston; Chris Leak, Florida; Matt Leinart, USC; Clint Marks, Middle Tennessee; Reggie McNeal, Texas A&M; Tyler Palko, Pittsburgh; Jordan Palmer, UTEP; Paul Pinegar, Fresno State; Quinton Porter, Boston College; Jeff Rowe, Nevada; Brad Smith, Missouri; Drew Stanton, Michigan State; Drew Tate, Iowa; Marcus Vick, Virginia Tech; Charlie Whitehurst, Clemson; Vince Young, Texas; and Jared Zabransky, Boise State.

Semifinalists will be announced in early November as voted on by the O'Brien Selection Committee, a nationwide panel of sportswriters and commentators, as well as former O'Brien Award winners. The committee will then narrow the field to three finalists and then the winner. The winner of the 2005 Davey O'Brien National Quarterback AwardTM will be announced on the Home Depot College Football Awards Show at 7 p.m. (EST) on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2005 and will be honored Feb. 20, 2006, at the 29th annual Davey O'Brien Awards Dinner at The Fort Worth Club in downtown Fort Worth.

MCCOLLUM ON PLAYER'S STATE OF MIND: "This is the crunch week where you are still having your two-a-days and physical work. There are players who are beat up and banged up and a little sore. Freshmen are probably starting to wonder what is going on but that's football and it's part of the mental toughness we have to continue fighting through because every team in the country is fighting it right now."

MCCOLLUM ON FAN DAY: "The players are working hard and it's just them from 7:30 a.m. until about 10:30-or-11 p.m., between practices, meetings, lifting weights and film. These are long, hard days and it is days like 'Fan Day' that these players look forward to. I think as a player you get excited about seeing the fans, families, young kids and having a good afternoon. It's a special day for our players and I think it's a special day for young kids and future Blue Raiders to come and be part of it. Our players do a tremendous job with them."

MCCOLLUM ON BONNER, NEWCOMERS: "I'm real excited about Jonathan Bonner being back out on the field. He has great leadership and is very physical. He has a great work ethic. (Linebacker) J. K. Sabb has brought some things as a new guy. Alex Suber is a newcomer at tailback and he's making great strides. Bobby Williams is a newcomer who has a chance to not only play but also earn a starting position. He continues to make great catches and has great work ethic. Receivers Michael Cannon and Dale Galvin and Jay Robinson show flashes. Franklin Dunbar is a kid who has stepped up there on the offensive line with the injury to Brandon Nix. Dunbar is going to make it tough because he's really doing some things for a big man. Bryant House at safety is a kid who will play for us this year. He has great awareness and done some good things. We have two defensive tackles, Trevor Jekins and Brandon Perry, both will give us reps this year, as well as Jonathan Pressley. Those are some young guys who are doing some things to help this team and give us some depth this year."

FLY TO FLORIDA: Middle Tennessee fans can travel to sunny south Florida to support the Blue Raiders in October with games against league rivals Florida Atlantic and Florida International. Southwest Airlines is offering a special internet rate of $39.00 one way from Nashville to Ft Lauderdale, Florida. Flights must be taken before December of 2005. MT plays at Florida Atlantic on October 15 in Boca Raton and Florida International on October 29 in Miami. Ft Lauderdale is 28 miles from Miami and 21 miles from Boca Raton. You must book your flights on www.southwest.com before September 8 to get this special rate. It would be best to book as soon as possible since there are a limited number of seats at this rate. You can also purchase game tickets at the MT ticket office by calling 898-2103.

JOIN THE BLUE & SILVER CLUB: The Blue and Silver Club is an exclusive membership for football fans of Middle Tennessee. If you want to get the real inside scoop and get a better understanding of the game, the Blue and Silver Club is for you.

Already, 75 members have joined on and room is limited so act fast and get inside the Blue Raider huddle today. Members are invited to attend the annual preseason staff cookout, will receive a pass for home games to come down on the field to view pregame workouts, and will have the opportunity to have lunch with Head Coach Andy McCollum on Friday's before home games to discuss the upcoming opponent, watch film, and get an understanding of the gameplan. Other members of the staff will also be on hand to provide commentary and answer any questions. Anyone who is not a member and wants to join the club, please call Richard Burnoski at 615-898-2311.

FAN/MEDIA DAY: Middle Tennessee's annual Fan/Media Day is scheduled for August 20 at Noon in Floyd Stadium. There will be free hot dogs and cokes given away while supplies last, games for the kids, and various drawings. 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. 3.

FENTON PAYNE AND FRED 5K: On Saturday morning, Aug. 20, the second 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.

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