It's day six and the Tigers continue to work hard during fall camp to prepare for their season opener against Mississippi State on Thursday, Sept. 1. The squad opened practice with special teams work, and then worked through 24 periods with some live game action mixed in throughout practice.
Kicker Paulo Henriques and punter Tom Hornsey both looked ready to pick up right where they left off last season. Coach Larry Porter continued to commend the two for their efforts at practice. He is still trying out guys in the return game, which is a place the Tigers really struggled in 2010, particularly in punt returns. The Tigers averaged less than a yard on punt returns last season and just 18 yards per kickoff return.
"Our kicking game is continuing to step forward and be strong for us," said Porter. "As far as our return game, we are still trying to put ourselves in position to identify who those return guys are. We have a number of options and that is starting to clear itself up as well. Overall, I couldn't be more excited about where we are. We just have to continue to build."
Offensively, a couple of newcomers showed some flashes today, including receivers Tyriq Patrick and Tevin Jones who both had a few nice grabs. Running back Carl Harris also showed speed and strength in some of his runs. Junior receiver Curtis Johnson had a great catch and bolted down field for a touchdown in an impressive show of speed. Johnson is one of the top three returning wideouts for the 2011 season. He tallied 230 yards on 22 receptions, and was just behind Tannar Rehrer, who totaled 284 yards on 23 receptions. Marcus Rucker, who is still sidelined with an injury, led the Tigers last season with 704 yards and eight touchdowns on 41 receptions.
Coach Porter was again pleased with how the Tigers worked today.
"Again, today was another spirited practice," said Porter. "I thought they were really competitive and challenged each other. I thought both sides of the ball did some good things, as well as made some mistakes, but overall it was a good day for our football team in terms of growth."