A look at the quarterbacks and running backs

A strong and experienced group returns in 2010

July 31, 2010 · Athletic Communications

Key Losses: None

Key Returnees: QB Dwight Dasher and RB Phillip Tanner. Dasher turned in an incredible season in 2009 by becoming just the fourth player in NCAA history to throw for more than 2,500 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in the same season. He has the ability to take over football games. Tanner is back after missing nearly all of last season with a knee injury. His leadership and experience will be invaluable in the Blue Raiders' quest for a Sun Belt Championship. He led the team in rushing his junior year, will be a factor in the return game, and is a weapon in the passing game.

Battle to Watch: Phillip Tanner, Benjamin Cunningham, and D. D. Kyles are all competing to be the main guy, and seeing who separates themselves the most will be something worth tracking. Tanner is the leader coming back from an injury. Cunningham is the young gun with all the tools, and Kyles might be the best of any of them with the ball in his hands. Having guys like this on the field this fall will be exciting to watch.

Spring Standout: QB Dwight Dasher had a solid spring throwing the football and appears poised to have another great year under center. RB Benjamin Cunningham and RB William Pratcher get the nod among the backs. It was not as big a surprise with Cunningham, but Pratcher made the most of his opportunities. He can stick his foot in the ground and go while having good leverage. He has gained the confidence of the coaches and will look to push the big three in the fall.

Coach Schultz on the quarterbacks
"As a staff, we are very comfortable with where our quarterbacks are coming out of spring drills. We have some talented guys, but we are still trying to get better every day and a good summer is important to further their development. I am very excited to have the opportunity to coach a player like Dwight Dasher. He can do so many things on a football field to help a team win. I also like what we have in Logan (Kilgore)."

Coach Simmons on the running backs
"This is a close group that is unselfish, has a great attitude, and pushes each other every day. It is the most competitive group I have had at Middle Tennessee and the most fun I have had coaching. They just need to play with a chip on their shoulder and have the mindset to be the best in the league and the best in the country. It's like we have three starters so they need to come wanting to be the number one guy every day."

DWIGHT DASHER (Senior) - A very dynamic player with a good arm and the ability to make plays with his feet ... His athleticism sets him apart ... Can run the ball like a tailback, which is very unique for a quarterback ... Has a goal of becoming a great leader.

LOGAN KILGORE (Sophomore) - Had an eye-opening spring ... Coaches are confident he can step right in and direct the team ... Is smart and very advanced at reading and attacking defenses ... Has a great understanding of what the coaches want to accomplish ... Possesses a very strong arm.

JEFF MURPHY (Junior) - An all-region performer at the JUCO level who joined the Blue Raiders roster in late May.

Running Backs
(r-Senior) - Has adjusted well to contact after missing nearly all of last year with a knee injury ... Is fresh and ready to play ... Has great hands, good speed, can elude tacklers, and rates as one of the top runners in the league ... Will be counted on for leadership and showing the young guys how it is done at MT ... Needs to keep improving his play without the football.

BENJAMIN CUNNINGHAM (Sophomore) - Turned in an impressive spring ... Has the "want to" to be a great player ... Is physical, tough, can block, and has a good frame ... Understands the game and comes to work every day with an unbelievable attitude ... Has big-play ability but needs to keep improving his pass catching.

D. D. KYLES (r-Junior) - Coming off a great season, but coaches felt like he did not compete well enough in the spring ... Needs to be more consistent ... Brings big-play ability and speed to the offense ... A valuable player who will see his role more defined in the fall.

34 Marquise Branton r-Jr. RB
2 Benjamin Cunningham So. RB
9 Dwight Dasher Sr. QB
*CJ Jackson r-So. RB
23 D.D. Kyles r-Jr. RB
*Kennedy McGruder r-So. RB
29 William Pratcher r-Fr. RB
21 Phillip Tanner r-Sr. RB
*Spencer Wise r-Fr. QB

10 Logan Kilgore So. QB
12 Jeff Murphy Jr. QB

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