Football completes first spring intrasquad scrimmage
Quarterbacks throw for a combined 207 yardsMarch 31, 2012 · Athletic Communications
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Middle Tennessee’s football team ran through 97 offensive plays Saturday in the first spring intrasquad scrimmage of 2012 at Floyd Stadium in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Redshirt junior quarterback Logan Kilgore led the four signal callers with a 14-of-21 performance for 124 yards and two touchdowns. He tossed a pair of scoring strikes, both to redshirt junior Kyle Griswould, of 26 yards and 20 yards.
Redshirt senior Jeff Murphy also saw extensive action, completing seven of his 13 passes for 44 yards. Redshirt freshman Shaun White connected on 4-of-6 attempts for 37 yards with a touchdown and interception. His scoring pass was an 18-yarder to redshirt sophomore Reggie Whatley.
Redshirt junior Spencer Wise also attempted one pass, a two-yard gain, to give the Blue Raider quartet 26 completions on 41 attempts for 207 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.
Griswould was on the receiving end for most of the passes, registering five receptions for 74 yards. Senior Tavarres Jefferson added four catches for 20 yards and redshirt senior Anthony Amos also had four grabs for 17 yards.
Senior Jamal Gray contributed three catches for 19 yards, while Whatley and redshirt senior Vincent Van Horne each had a pair of receptions for 23 yards. Whatley leapt and turned in mid-air to track down his touchdown catch from White.
Leading the rushing corps was a 58-yard effort on 12 carries and a 14-yard touchdown by redshirt junior Drayton Calhoun. Senior Benny Cunningham posted 38 yards on seven touches, while redshirt junior William Pratcher gained 41 yards on 10 rushes.
Defensively, Middle Tennessee accumulated six sacks, including two from redshirt freshman Alexandro Antoine. Redshirt freshman O’Shae Bridges, redshirt sophomore Jiajuan Fennell, redshirt junior Craig Allen and redshirt sophomore Max Ugboaja also stopped the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage.
Redshirt freshman Kevin Byard came away with the lone interception and added a pair of pass breakups to his outing. Byard also blocked a 47-yard field goal attempt off the foot of senior Carlos Lopez.
Lopez attempted seven field goals on the day, converting three from distances of 26, 40 and 26 yards.
The Blue Raiders will return to the practice fields Tuesday afternoon.
Head coach Rick Stockstill
We got in 97 plays. We did it a little bit different. I put 38 points up on the board for the defense to start the game, just to create a little competition. It came down to the last possession and the defense held them off by one point.
I thought it was a good first scrimmage. We competed. I thought Logan (Kilgore) looked sharp, he missed a couple of throws, but he did a good job of running the offense, protecting the ball.
I thought Benny Cunningham got better as the day went along, really all of our backs got better as the day went along. (William) Pratcher and Drayton Calhoun kinda danced early, then they started putting their foot in the ground, which it takes some time for running backs to get the feel of that. I was pleased with that.
For the most part, I thought our receivers caught the ball well.
Defensively, we played hard up front. We had some guys play well in the secondary. Kevin Byard showed up in the secondary. Sammy (Seamster) had a nice day, (Kenneth) Gilstrap looked like he competed better, so did Jajuan Harley.
I guess the thing I was most pleased with was our effort. We competed, now we just have to clean up some of the little things, an offside penalty here, a bad snap, a missed assignment there on both sides of the ball, so we have to get better there.
I was really pleased for the first scrimmage and I told them we were halfway (thru spring practice) now, and if we improve as much next week as we did this week, then we have a chance to continue to get better. We’ve only had one bad practice where we determined that we didn’t get better out of the eight so far.
On redshirt freshman LB Alexandro Antione
He would have been in the mix last year had he not gotten hurt. What he did today wasn’t a surprise or a shock. He’s just got to continue to get better, he’s got great strength in both upper and lower body, he plays hard, he’s a smart young man, a smart player. I thought he played well.
On guys playing well in a scrimmage that have not played in a game yet
You hope what you see in camp is what you are going to get on Saturday. Jajuan plays hard and practices hard. You just hope it will transfer out there when the coach isn’t standing behind you and telling you ‘deep half’, ‘deep third’. I thought he played well too. He’s a bigger presence in the run game, run support. We’ve got three really physical safeties when you add David Jones. He’s a really physical guy who can run.
I am really pleased on both sides of the ball right now, in practice and how we are playing.
I was just happy to be out there knowing I would get to play this year and I was happy that I could contribute to the team. Some of the other guys are hurt, so I was just trying to step up and do what I could do. I like the rotation that we have and the competition that we have in the backfield.
I am trying to work on my blocking more. It’s coming pretty good this year, they have made it easier for me and I am doing pretty good at it. I’m just trying to cut out missed assignments.
Practices are different when you know you are going to get a chance to help the team this year.
I think the scrimmage went well. I think we have a lot to improve on, but the effort and the intensity was there. We can build on the other stuff. Our wide receivers did a great job all day. We have been emphasizing our downfield blocking for our running game and I think they did a good job in an area that most people wouldn’t see. A lot of those guys, Kyle (Griswould), Anthony Amos, Vincent Van Horne, they all are getting downfield and getting good blocks on guys, springing those longer runs.
In the pass game, we’ll get better. Some of those guys had some great individual effort. Overall, I think the receivers did really well. I like the control that this new passing game philosophy gives us. The defense was changing things up, giving us a lot of different looks. I think I had a pretty good handle on putting us in the right position. It’s a testament to our o-line being calm. We did have a few penalties, but just getting all the terminology down, and the checks right, is a big part of what we did today.
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