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Backfield battles highlight preseason camp

Kilgore, Murphy eye starting job; Cunningham, Kyles lead running backs

August 1, 2011 · Athletic Communications

Headlines
Key Losses: QB Dwight Dasher, RB Phillip Tanner Key Returnees: QB Logan Kilgore, QB Jeff Murphy, RB Benny Cunningham, RB D.D. Kyles. Kilgore and Murphy have both played in just three FBS games with each grabbing a win. Cunningham and Kyles have played in 24 and 27 games, respectively.

Battle to Watch: There's not a better battle on the field than at quarterback between Logan Kilgore and Jeff Murphy. The final decision will not be made until fall camp so stay tuned but another good battle could be in the fall between the two freshmen to see who can get in the mix. At running back, Benny Cunningham and D.D. Kyles will be hotly contested because both bring things to the table that helps the team win. No matter the outcome both will play a lot as the system requires at least three.

Spring Standout: Benny Cunningham might be the best player on the team so outside of him Drayton Calhoun really turned some heads. He brings speed and talent, and really picked up the system fast. He is a real threat with the ball in his hands. At quarterback, Jeff Murphy was very productive and his teammates really rallied around him. He was a very pleasant surprise but it will be a battle to the very end with Kilgore.

Coach Faulkner on the quarterbacks
"I am very excited to coach two guys like Logan Kilgore and Jeff Murphy who are natural passers. Both players can make all the throws and did a good job in the spring of making good decisions. They are also highly competitive, understand defenses, and spend a lot of time in the film room. It will be exciting to see their progression."

Coach Simmons on the running backs
"This is a fun group to be around and coach. They push each other every day to get better and are big time competitors. They all want to be the best group in the Sun Belt Conference and have the work ethic to grab that distinction. They have speed, versatility, strength, and leadership but just need to play with a chip on their shoulder every down."

Players
Quarterbacks
LOGAN KILGORE (r-Sophomore) - Possesses a big arm, can make any throw, and has great pocket saavy ... Can find throwing lanes and is a capable runner ... Game just needs to slow down for him.

JEFF MURPHY (r-Junior) - A smart player who makes quick decisions which helps his lack of arm strength ... Deceptively fast and can make called runs ... Throws well on the move ... Needs better arm strength to extend field.

Running Backs
BENNY CUNNINGHAM
(Junior) - Has an unbelievable work ethic and comes to play every day ... Good speed, strength, agility, and just wants to out-work everybody ... Ready to take it to the next level.

D. D. KYLES (r-Senior) - Was hurt the last week of spring drills and did not compete in the spring game ... As good as anyone with the ball in his hands but still needs to improve his game without the ball ... Has the ability to be one of the top backs in the Sun Belt ... Just needs to be consistent.

WILLIAM PRATCHER (r-Sophomore) - Was the most improved back in the spring ... Has really grasped the position and could help in the fall ... Possesses strength and explosiveness ... Needs to continue to grow mentally and fine tune his skills.

DRAYTON CALHOUN (r-Sophomore) - Explosive ... Runs very smooth and change of direction is natural ... Has great pad level and is a home run threat ... Needs to keep learning position.

Returners
21 Drayton Calhoun r-So. RB
34 Marquise Branton r-Sr. RB
2 Benny Cunningham Jr. RB
*Luke Hayes r-Fr. QB
10 Logan Kilgore r-So. QB
23 D.D. Kyles r-Sr. RB
*Kennedy McGruder r-Jr. RB
12 Jeff Murphy r-Jr. QB
29 William Pratcher r-So. RB
*Tony Rowland r-Fr. RB
*Spencer Wise r-So. QB

Newcomers
6 Timmy Byerly Fr. QB
11 Shaun White Fr. QB
*Nonscholarship

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