Practice #7, Aug. 11, 2011

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It has taken a full week of camp, but Coach Larry Porter finally seemed to feel like the quarterbacks are turning the corner and had a much more productive day. That was evident with all the nice grabs that the receiving corps was hauling in throughout the workout.

"I thought our quarterbacks did a pretty good job today of executing situations today," said Porter. "They eliminated some of the mistakes that they had made through some of those first few practices."

Regardless of whom the starter is when Memphis hosts Mississippi State on Sept. 1, the signal caller should have no issues finding targets to get the ball to.

The receiving corps is again filled with talent and speed, and should have tremendous depth this season. While junior Marcus Rucker remains sidelined, returnees Curtis Johnson, Billy Foster, Cam Baker and Tannar Rehrer all have game experience heading into 2011, and are continuing to lead this group. In addition, Kevin Wright and Reggie Travis, who both redshirted in 2010, are making big plays and should see significant game action after having a year to learn behind the veterans. Several newcomers are vying for playing time and making their cases during camp, including Tyriq Patrick, LaMarvin Ashley, Ryan Byrd, Tevin Jones and Darius Poole. Alabama transfer Keiwone Malone is also looking like a prime target at receiver, though his eligibility status still is not determined.

Coach Porter also spoke highly of the offensive line, saying that he likes what they are doing out there.

"The offense is starting to grow, and I think that all starts up front," explained Porter.

He also singled out sophomore transfer Nick Chartain for his productivity in camp. Chartain missed the first two days of camp but appears to be grasping the system even quicker than expected. The 6-5, 320-pound guard is originally from New Orleans and played one year of junior college ball at Independence CC. Porter also spoke of the battle at center between A.J. Antonescu and Chris Schuetz. Antonescu redshirted in 2010 after transferring from Holmes CC. Schuetz looked like he was going to redshirt as a true freshman last year, but was called into action midway through the season because of injuries in the line. He played two games before suffering an injury that required surgery. Schuetz was limited in the spring, but has been challenging Antonescu during this first week of camp.

The o-line also has a good bit of depth and Porter spoke of steady contributions from senior Ron Leary, transfer Jordan Devey and converted lineman D'Angelo McCray. McCray played nine games with the defensive line last season, but made the move to the offensive side of the ball in the spring. Leary has started 24 of his 32 career games for the Tigers, and Devey was a highly-touted JuCo transfer out of Snow College.

"This team is truly growing," said Porter. "The thing I am the most impressed with is how they are responding to adversity, especially when they are fatigued this late in practice. Their spirits are still high and they are still fighting through, and that is something we are going to have to have to become a better football team."

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