Productive day for Blue Raiders during first scrimmage
Middle Tennessee runs 148 offensive playsMarch 26, 2011 · Athletic Communications
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Middle Tennessee football team completed its first spring scrimmage despite rain and cold conditions Saturday afternoon at Floyd Stadium in Murfreesboro, Tenn. The Blue Raiders were on the field for two hours and ran through numerous offensive sets and formations.
Three different quarterbacks directed the offense, combining for 56-of-107 for 437 yards, 10 touchdowns and four interceptions. Jeff Murphy was the top signal caller, completing 36 of his 56 passes for 273 yards and seven scores. Logan Kilgore added 20-of-48 through the air for 164 yards, three touchdowns and three picks. The only other pass came via Spencer Wise, who was intercepted.
The first four passing touchdowns on the day came from Murphy, as he located seven different receivers for his scores. His first scoring toss was a 9-yard strike to Malcolm Beyah, one play after the pair converted a 16-yard completion.
Murphy then went deep for his next two, finding Harold Turner and Sancho McDonald from 25 and 30 yards out, respectively. The McDonald TD was on the first play of a drive. Murphy also hit William Pratcher from 12 yards away, Tyler Masson from 16 yards, Richard Drake from six yards and Reggie Whatley from 24 yards.
The offense's first touchdown was a 1-yard rush up the middle by Pratcher, which was set up by a 33-yard reception by Whatley down the sideline on a Kilgore pass. Kilgore and Tavarres Jefferson connected twice for scores, one from three yards and the other from 13, while Andrew Banks was on the receiving end of the third scoring throw from Kilgore from nine yards away.
Drake led all receivers with eight catches for 48 yards, edging Anthony Amos' effort of seven receptions for 58 yards. Jefferson finished with five caught passes for 34 yards, while McDonald, Marcus Thurmond and Kyle Griswould each hauled in four catches.
The Middle Tennessee ground attack accounted for 156 yards on 40 carries, led by 46 yards on nine rushes from Pratcher. Drayton Allen-Calhoun added nine touches for 33 yards, Benjamin Cunningham contributed eight carries for 35 yards and D.D. Kyles posted 25 yards on six rushes.
Defensively, T.L. Edwards, Marquise Dixon, Denzell Guerra and Justin Jones were credited with the interceptions. Derrick Crumpton and Corey Carmichael each recorded a pair of tackles for loss, as the unit totaled nine on the afternoon. Crumpton also had one of the team's four pass break ups.
The Blue Raiders will return to the practice field this week.
Head Coach Rick Stockstill
It is about what you would expect out of the first scrimmage. There were some really good things, and there were obviously some things that we need to improve on. We got 148 plays in, which is what I wanted to do. From a planning standpoint, I wanted to get a bunch of work in on the minus side of the 50 and on the plus side of the 50 and we did that.
We did not catch the ball very well, I thought we had some drops that we should have caught. We had some interceptions that were more mental than physical. We have to get cleaned up on that. We gave up some deeper balls there at the end, let some guys get behind the secondary a little bit and had some busted coverages. But you know, for the first scrimmage, I was pretty pleased with it. Their effort was pretty good. We have a long way to go obviously in some areas, but I thought it was a good start.
On Jeff Murphy
I will never say a guy did this or that until we get in there and watch it on film. I have been in this business long enough to know that it is usually not as good as you think it is or not as bad as you think it is. So we will get back and watch the film to see how they did.
On William Pratcher
To me, you have to have at least three or four tailbacks to get through the year at the Division I level. Last year, we had three and Pratcher was kind of the fourth guy. Depending on what happens with Drayton [Allen-Calhoun], we have three right now. It is hard to get through a season with just two backs, so yes, there is place for Pratcher.
I do not think the weather was really affecting me that much. I think I just was not making the throws and not protecting the football. I got settled in a bit later, but I have not really seen the field since Louisiana last year. It is a process, but obviously, I would have liked to have not taken a step back at the beginning. That is why we play these scrimmages.
On whether the deep ball to Reggie Whatley settled him down
Yeah, a little bit, but like I said, I still made numerous mistakes after that. But as far as getting settled in, it was nice to complete one and start to get in the flow.
I thought I had an okay day, but you can always do better. I thought the team as whole, offense and defense, had a pretty good day. We need to work on some things, but we are good.
On quarterback competition
We just push each other. We want each other to get better. You know, I push him, he pushes me. If I see something, I tell him, and then he will do the same if sees something. We are really working together, and the best man for the job is going to win.
I think the conditions bother everybody, but we have motto of not making excuses. You just have to roll with it because it very well could be raining on September 3rd.
On the offense vs. defense
Honestly, it was probably a tie. The offense did some good things and the defense did some good things. It was hard to judge.
On overall defensive performance
I thought that the defense did great. We had effort, we had enthusiasm, and we were all jazzed up. We were ready. I was especially happy for our linebacking corps and our young guys. Everybody stepped up, and they were playing well.
Me and Craig Allen kid around. He calls me 'old guy,' but I am not much older than everybody, I am just a senior. My role is the same though. I just have to play hard and teach the young guys.
On linebacking corps
It is a much faster group, and in my eyes, this is one of the best linebacking groups we have had since I have been here. Coach (Joe) Cauthen is a great coach, and he is teaching us great fundamentals and great body leverage. He has high expectations for us. I know you cannot be perfect, but perfection is what we are aiming for.
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