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Spring Practice #8, March 19, 2012

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The Tigers had their eighth of 15 practices of the spring session at the Murphy Complex today. The squad worked drills for about eight periods before moving into a scrimmage that lasted for about an hour and a half.

"There were some good things on both sides of the ball," said Coach Justin Fuente following the scrimmage. "The defense forced some turnovers, but the flip side of that is the offense turned it over. The offense had a couple of big plays, but again, the flip side of that is the defense gave up some big plays. We got some good work in, but we have a long way to go."

Fuente has continued to stress that this team needs to be more physical, and he seems to be seeing more physicality from the defensive side of the ball. He did say that he felt the defensive line at this point is the most physical unit on the field.

When asked what steps need to be taken to make his team more physical, Fuente had a few key points to stress.

"I think part of developing physicality is getting more reps, but also physical toughness and mental toughness and part of it is strength in the weight room," explained Fuente. "All of those things develop confidence and help establish a physical presence."

While the Tigers are about halfway through their spring, Fuente hopes to continue to fine tune things and to continue to work more situational aspects in the next two weeks.

Just as Fuente spoke about after practice, there were a couple of long offensive plays today during the scrimmage, including two receptions of about 60 yards by Marcus Rucker from Jacob Karam. Tyriq Patrick also scored on a reception of about 60 yards from Taylor Reed. Kevin Wright continued his steady play, making several grabs, including one for nearly 50 yards for a score.

The offense also got a few good runs by Artaves Gibson, and tight end Jesse Milleson also had a couple of nice catches today.

Defensively, a couple of the plays that stood out were an interception and long return by corner Bobby McCain and a fumble recovery and forced fumble on separate plays by linebacker Kenyata Johnson. Redshirt freshman linebacker Reggis Ball, the brother of former Tiger safety Marcus Ball, was swarming around today and had a couple of nice hits for lost yardage. There were several sacks during the workout today and Akeem Davis forced a turnover when he stripped a ball away following a reception early in the scrimmage.

The Tigers will return to the field on Wednesday.

Photo Gallery from today's practice

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