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Raiders complete first week of spring practice

10 more practice sessions remain in the spring

March 29, 2014 · @MTAthletics

PHOTO GALLERY

MURFREESBORO - Rainy weather didn't dampen the Blue Raiders fifth practice of the spring on Saturday. Middle Tennessee conducted 24 periods, which included live scrimmage and tackling work.

"I have been pleased so far with spring other than the weather," noted head coach Rick Stockstill. "I like the attitude of our team. I like the effort that we are practicing with. I think we are making improvements. I have been really pleased with where we are right now after five days."

Despite the myriad of weather the team has faced this week, the Raiders see it as an opportunity to build mental toughness.

"Nobody wants to play in the rain," said redshirt junior Kevin Byard. "But we are a mentally tough team. We can do anything we put our minds to."

"I talk about toughness all the time," said Stockstill. "You have to be mentally tough to block that out. You can't make excuses. It rained at Southern Miss last year. I think our guys are doing a good job of that."

With five practices in the books and 10 more to go, the focus of the spring has been on fundamentals, along with helping the younger players get acclimated to the system.

"Our effort has improved tremendously," said offensive lineman Darius Johnson. "We are trying to get better at our techniques and working on scoring more in the red zone. I see everybody improving every day."

Stockstill admits this is the critical time for the incoming transfers and younger players. "We have to develop our guys. We have a lot of young guys out there, especially on the lines."

The Blue Raiders resume spring practice on Tuesday. Middle Tennessee will conduct its first scrimmage of the spring next Saturday, April 5.

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