Competition level high at fourth practice

Team anxious for first scrimmage

August 11, 2011 · Athletic Communications

STOCKSTILL THOUGHTS ON THURSDAY'S PRACTICE: "Our intensity and effort were good today. We started out slow but when we went to offense verse defense things picked up, which is usually the case. We have to put a whole practice together but I do like the way we finished. We still have a lot of work to do and things to shore up."

MALCOLM BEYAH ON TODAY'S PRACTICE: "The competition level was very high today. The defense has come out strong the past few days but we came to play today. It should be a fun scrimmage on Saturday because people are wanting to hit somebody."

ERIC RUSSELL ON REPLACING THREE SENIORS: "We have to replace three seniors in the secondary so everybody is battling for positions. Jeremy Kellem, Kevin Brown, and Rod Issac were experience players who spent four years in the secondary but they left a good impression and we all learned from them. I like where we are and think we can be a good unit but we have to keep working and competing."

Nobody in the country knows exactly where they are after four days, but the good thing is we don't play for another 22 days. That will give us a chance to get better. I like the enthusiasm and the energy. The guys seem to be flying around. We've just got to get a little better conditioning to play as fast as we want to play, and run as many plays as we want to run. We have a great attitude, and that is what you worry about coming out of summer. They have shown every day that they know how to come out and work, and that's what we look for. We've got a couple of little details to clean up, but we are on the right track. Once we get into playing shape, I think we are going to be pretty effective.

SIMMONS ON THE OFFENSIVE LINE: I'm pleased with the line. We have a lot of guys returning from injuries, and we were anxious to see what they could do. Brandon McLeroy has stood out as a leader for us. He's a guy that plays with a lot of intensity and effort. He wants to be a great player, and he's showing it every day. We've only had one day when snaps were an issue, so we've been pleased with the operation between the quarterback and the center.

SIMMONS ON THE QUARTERBACKS: The quarterbacks have been solid. Logan (Kilgore) has had a real good camp and Jeff (Murphy) has been steady as usual. Those two guys are competing, and the young guys are coming on as well.

SIMMONS ON THE RUNNING BACKS: We are kind of banged up. D.D. (Kyles) got hurt the first day, and he hasn't been able to do anything, so Benny (Cunningham) has been getting most of the snaps. Of course, he works as hard as anybody, and he is pushing through right now with being the only guy with game experience. William Pratcher is coming along great, and he is really buying into everything. He has worked hard this off-season, and I think he can really help us if he keeps it up.

SIMMONS ON THE RECEIVERS: They have had up and down moments. Of course, they run more than anybody else, so their conditioning level is the biggest thing with them, along with being mentally tough. When you get tired, you blow more assignments, you drop more balls, so they have to develop mental toughness so when fatigue sets in, they can push thru and still be effective.

PRACTICE TIDBITS: NFL scouts from the New York Giants and the Baltimore Ravens attended today's practice ... Former Blue Raider center Mark Thompson dropped by today's workout ... During the 7-on-7 drill Logan Kilgore completed 8 of 12 passes and Jeff Murphy connected on 7 of 11 (Freshman Shaun White was 4 for 6) ... Defensively, LB Norman Washington and DB Marquise Dixon collected pass breakups ... Blue Raider quarterbacks combined to go 26-for-28 during 11-on-11 with Kilgore going 12-for-13 (hit first 11 passes) ... RB William Pratcher recorded a 55-yard TD run during the 11-on-11.

What is the best Halloween Costume that you ever wore?
When I was about six, I dressed up as Peter Pan.

What is the craziest thing you ever did in high school? I dressed up in a Gorilla suit, and asked a girl to the prom in front of the whole school. I gave her a banana that said, 'Will you go to the prom with me?' Thank goodness she said yes.

What famous person would you like to have following you on Twitter? Carrie Underwood.

What is the worst part of pre-season camp? Waiting for that first game.

What is the best part of pre-season camp? Getting to be with your brothers on the team, and work hard.

What is your dream job? Playing in the NFL

What is your home town, and what is it famous for? I am from Apopka, Florida and everyone there goes to the catfish place

What is the best Halloween Costume that you ever wore? Fred Flintstone. I kinda have some qualities of his. That was actually last year.

What is the craziest thing you ever did in High School? Getting into a miniature food fight, throwing rolls, things like that.

What famous person would you like to have following you on twitter? Coach David Bibee.

What is the worst part of pre-season camp? Meetings. Practice is hard, but in meetings you are just there, you're tired and you just want to sleep.

What is the best part of pre-season camp? The first part, when you are fresh and really ready to hit somebody.

What is your dream job? Playing in the NFL, or anywhere in pro football, Canadian, Arena.

What is your hometown, and what is it famous for? Woodstock, Georgia. It's close to Stone Mountain.

FAN DAY IS SUNDAY: Meet the 2011 Blue Raiders and coaches at Middle Tennessee's annual Football Fan Day, Sunday, August 14 from 2 PM - 4 PM at Murphy Center. Autographs, inflatables, free hotdogs and drinks, and loads of fun will be on hand for all members of the Blue Raider family. Bring your kids and friends to get them ready for the 2011 football season. Show you're Blue Raider Pride and pick up 2011 football posters, schedule cards, and much more. Blue Raider fans who would like to purchase the official BLACKOUT t-shirt may do so for $15.00 which will include a ticket to the Oct. 6th game versus WKU. IdeasTees will also be on hand to sell other Blue Raider gear.

FAMILY 4-PACK: When Middle Tennessee opens the 2011 home football season on September 10th against Georgia Tech, families should be well represented among the anticipated sell-out crowd with the debut of the Family-4-Pack. The "Family-4-Pack will consist of four reserved seat tickets, four hot dog vouchers, four Pepsi vouchers and four rally towels. The Family-4-Pack will sell for $100. Family-4-Packs as well as season tickets, and individual game tickets are available by calling 1-888-YES-MTSU or by going online at www.GoBlue Raiders.com/GameDay.

NEXT PRACTICE: The Blue Raiders will practice on Friday at 4:30 PM in shells. The practice is open.

SEASON TICKETS: 1-888-YES-MTSU OR GoBlueRaiders.com.

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