Rick Holloway talks about his move to the fullback position this season, while Akeem Davis comments on defensive coordinator Jay Hopson and more.
The University of Memphis media relations staff released today the 2011 Memphis Football Fact Book. Currently, the guide is offered only electronically, but plans are being made to make hard copies of the guide available for purchase online in the near future. The media relations staff will alert the public when hard copies of the guide can be obtained.
The 2011 fact book contains information on the media, facilities, coaching staff, current roster and player bios, opponents, 2010 statistics, records and history. To view the electronic version of the guide, click here.
The Tiger football team added full pads for their Tuesday afternoon practice session on the turf at the Murphy Athletic Complex.
Coach Larry Porter was pleased with today's workout, calling it "the best day of camp so far."
"There was a lot of energy and enthusiasm," said Porter. "I thought both units were challenged with adversity and both responded and that went back and forth throughout the course of practice, and that is what we have to have. A number of guys made some plays and overall it was a good day."
"This was a day of progress for our team as a whole," added Porter. "There were still a lot of mistakes, but I felt like today we played together more as units."
Sophomore running back Jerrell Rhodes showed some big play ability in his runs today. He made several touchdown runs and showed speed and power running throughout the day. Rhodes is the leading returning rusher from last season. He rushed for 469 yards and one touchdown on 116 carries as a true freshman in 2010.
"Jerrell had a good day today," said Porter. "He did some really good things out there. As far as our backs go right now, though, we are a work in progress. I am not ready to label anybody until we are more of a cohesive unit. Those young players practice hard and they are a really good group, and I think in time they will serve us well."
Porter also talked about his quarterbacks having a better day today as far as making better decisions and their productivity.
Sophomore defensive back Lonnie Ballentine was back on the field practicing for the early part of practice. He worked the position drills but was on the sidelines once they started working more contact situations. Junior receiver Marcus Rucker is still rehabbing his injury.
Ron Leary, Mitch Huelsing and Jerrell Rhodes talk to about the anticipation of the squad's first day in pads.
The Tigers had a little break in the heat today by way of the weather, and by being on the grass field instead of the turf. There is more construction going on around the Murphy Athletic Complex as fields two and three are being leveled and having sprinklers installed. That project is supposed to wrap around the first of October.
The squad was in just shells for the final day as they will put on full pads for Tuesday's workout. Despite just being in shells, Coach Porter has noted quite a bit of contact already. He again sees more that he likes on the defensive side of the ball.
"I think defensively we continue to get better, but offensively we are still experiencing growing pains," said Porter after day four's practice session. "We have to put ourselves in position to clean some things up so we can start operating more efficiently as an offense."
"As far as quarterback play, today was an average day," added Porter. "We are doing some things and have guys showing some flashes, but we just have to put it together."
Porter did commend the special teams unit after practice, noting that he felt like punter Tom Hornsey and kicker Paulo Henriques were doing things well and that this group would "be an advantage for us." Porter is trying several guys out in the return game, and feels as though there are certainly capable and talented players vying for those roles.
Some of the players mentioned as returners were Bakari Hollier, Keiwone Malone, Bobby McCain, Reggie Travis, Trey Johnson, Billy Foster, Kevin Wright and some of the young backs such as Artaves Gibson, Joe Price and Carl Harris.
When asked why he felt this team would be better than last year, Porter had this to say:
"Right now, in terms of chemistry, continuity and execution, defensively we are better. We aren't giving up a bunch of big plays. I believe as a whole, we are better. You can literally see it out there. Offensively, I still think we are better at the offensive line; we are talented at receiver and we are talented at running back; and our quarterbacks are better as well. Again, it's about putting it together in a new system. We are having too many self-inflicted wounds. The receiving corps needs to step up. We are talented, but I haven't seen what I want to see in them yet. "
Trey Johnson, Taurean Nixon, and Billy Foster each answered questions from the media prior to the fourth day of preseason football camp.
The Tiger Football team added shoulder pads for their third practice of fall camp. While practice was open, only a small group of folks came out to watch in the blazing heat. The squad practiced for about 24 periods on the turf, which certainly added a few degrees to the triple-digit temps already.
The athletic training staff was buzzing around providing water and Gatorade throughout the workout, and closely monitoring the players for any heat-related issues.
The Tigers will be out in shoulder pads again Monday before adding full pads on Tuesday.
Coach Larry Porter continues to like what he is seeing out of the defense but would like to see much more consistency with the offense. With four quarterbacks who have not taken a snap in a game for the Tigers vying for the starting job, there is a much expected pressure to have leaders emerge in that group to guide the offense.
"The first three days have been what I thought, not good, but we are seeing improvement and progress," said Porter. "Again, I am liking the direction we are going with the defense. We are more in sync in terms of chemistry and they are truly playing with a lot of energy out there."
"Offensively, there is just too much inconsistency," added Porter. "It's all about continuity and rhythm and we are not in sync at all. We've grown, but just not fast enough."
Coach Porter indicated that receiver Marcus Rucker and defensive back Lonnie Ballentine should be back out on the field soon. Both are nursing injuries that have sidelined them already during camp.
Though they were in just shoulder pads today, the hit of the day was delivered by Akeem Davis. He broke free through the line and caught freshman LaMarvin Ashley right as he took the handoff and several players on the sidelines gave him props for the stop.
Kicker Paulo Henriques was commended after practice for hitting a 50 yarder with pressure on during the special teams work. Henriques ended the 2010 season having hit his last nine field goal attempts, including five for 40 or more yards.
Please see the link below for photos from today's practice.
Hundreds of fans came out in the scorching heat to usher in the 2011 season with FanFest, which was held on Tiger Lane. There were inflatables for the kids as well as face painting and giveaways. Once the team had a brief moment to eat and soak in a little air conditioning following practice, they made their way to Tiger Lane and signed autographs and took photos with the fans.
Several of the players, including quarterbacks Andy Summerlin and Taylor Reed, running back Jerrell Rhodes and kicker Paulo Henriques willingly took turns in the dunk tank. Punter Tom Hornsey even booted a couple of punts to a few fans, two of which caught their attempts and received season tickets and a prize pack.
The cheerleaders and Pouncer mingled amongst the fans, and Tiger Nation had many photo opportunities as TOM III, the helmet car, the Tiger fire truck and the Tiger Fanbulance were all out on Tiger Lane. Fans also had a chance to see the fountain and the entrance into the stadium completed.
Several hundred fans braved the heat and came down to Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium to watch the second practice of fall camp before FanFest 2011. The Tigers were again in just helmets and shorts as the NCAA-acclimation period continues. Sunday and Monday they will add shoulder pads before loading on full gear on Tuesday. Sunday's practice, which is the final open workout, will begin around 3:50 p.m. at the Murphy Athletic Complex on campus.
The Tigers rolled through about two and a half hours at the Liberty Bowl and continue to work on fundamentals. Coach Porter thought there were improvements from Friday's practice in which he was disappointed in the offensive production.
"I thought it was a better day for the offense," said Porter. "They started to come together and challenge today but there is still a lot of work to do. "Defensively, there were some things we put in from a situation standpoint that I thought we needed to improve on, and they answered the call. In certain aspects of practice, I thought it was better."
"We have to continue to grow at quarterback," added Porter. "We are not where we need to be from an execution standpoint or from a productivity standpoint."
Sophomore defensive back Lonnie Ballentine and junior receiver Marcus Rucker were on the sidelines with injuries, while sophomore transfer Nick Chartain was on the field for the first time today. Chartain is an offensive lineman, who transferred from Independence Community College.
Please see the video interview below with Coach Porter as well as the photo gallery from practice.
There was a nice crowd at the Highland Hundred Kickoff Banquet that was held on campus at the Holiday Inn Friday night. As always, one of the main highlights of the evening is when the newcomers introduce themselves. Please see Coach Larry Porter's comments about camp below as well as the newcomer intros.
MOST RECENT POSTS