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Spring Practice #4, Feb. 27, 2012

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The Tigers are down to just one more practice before spring break as Coach Justin Fuente set up this spring session in three different segments of five practices each. He and his staff will evaluate the first five practices and determine where adjustments need to be made for the second segment of practice, which will begin on March 14th.

The tempo of Monday's practice was much higher, though Fuente says it will get much faster as the squad gets more comfortable with the way he and his staff expects them to practice.

There was a large media turnout at today's practice, and former Tiger kicker Stephen Gostkowski, who just represented Memphis in his second Super Bowl with the New England Patriots, came out to watch practice today.

One of the areas that stood out today was the running game as Jerrell Rhodes, Artaves Gibson, Joe Price and Carl Harris made some nice runs. Rhodes, the veteran of the group, punched through and busted off some big yardage on several plays. The secondary also was flying around quite a bit today and made some nice plays.

When asked about what he wants to see specifically on Wednesday when the squad will be out in full pads for the first time in a closed workout, Fuente had this to say:

"I want to see us be physical on both sides of the ball," said Fuente. "I want us to be smart and practice the right way, but I want to see us play physical. That is the biggest thing we need to get accomplished. We need to get some real toughness out there."

Fuente elaborated more on having the Tigers become more physical when speaking with members of the local media after practice.

"Everybody gets lost in the fancy Xs and Os and this game is still very much about toughness," explained Fuente. "We have to establish physicality and toughness. That comes from several things. It comes through confidence; it comes through strength in the weight room and it comes through a mindset. I sure hope we can preach toughness, and toughness in the right way, not putting up a false front. I knew that this was something I was going to want to enforce from the very first day."

Photo gallery from today's practice.

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