Memphis Football Closes Out Spring With Blue-Gray Game Friday
April 11, 2014
Memphis, Tenn. - The University of Memphis football team closed up its 2014 spring drills with the annual Blue-Gray game in front of 7,400 fans at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium Friday night.
The Blue Team won the game 42-21 in an offensive showcase, as both teams showed fans glimpses of what to expect for the upcoming season. Both squads featured the up-tempo offense that Memphis head coach Justin Fuente helped implement as offensive coordinator at TCU.
"We've got a long way to go to be what we envision here offensively," said Fuente. "At times we flashed something that had the chance to be explosive. We just have a lot of work to do, but I think you could see a little bit of it there today."
Blue opened the game, scoring touchdowns on its first three possessions. The Blue defense also forced the Gray to fumble on its first two possessions.
Paxton Lynch went 9-of-9 with a TD to start the game for the Blue team, including a 19-yard pass to Tevin Jones and an 11-yard strike to Sam Craft. Lynch finished the game 17-of-20 for 200 yards and connected with seven different receivers in the game.
Brandon Hayes carried the ball 17 carries for 82 yards and three TD for the Blue team. Doroland Dorceus led the Blue team with 19 carries for 148 yards. Dorceus had a 51-yard TD in the second quarter.
Jackson Dillon finished with five tackles, including one TFL and one pass breakup for the Blue team. Ryan Coleman added four tackles and a fumble recovery. Charles Harris, Jeremy Williams Award recipient as the Tigers spring MVP, had two tackles, one TFL and a pass breakup.
"The team has, without a doubt, gotten closer on both offense and defense," said Harris. "We've gotten better every day we've stepped on the field, and that's the only thing you can ask of us. We want to continue doing everything we're doing and make the most of the 2014 season."
Phillip Sumpter had a game-high 10 tackles for the Gray team, and Lewis Edwards had nine tackles. Christian Johnson finished with six tackles for the Gray and teamed with Chris Morley for a sack. Morley added seven tackles.
"I think there's no doubt it's the best one (spring) we've had," Fuente said. "That doesn't mean anything in the fall if you don't apply it. We've got a tremendous test coming in the fall. I think it's been our best complete spring. I know it's a lot better than our first one, and I think it's more consistent than what we had last year."
Harris Named 2014 Recipient of Jeremy Williams Award
University of Memphis senior linebacker Charles Harris has been named the winner of the Jeremy Williams Award, presented to the most outstanding player during the 15-practice spring session.
The annual honor was renamed the Jeremy Williams Award in the spring of 2010 to honor the former Tiger defensive back who ranks second in career tackles by a defensive back at Memphis and was a CoSIDA/GTE Academic-All-District selection during his career as a four-year starter.
Williams was diagnosed with ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease, in 2008. ALS is an incurable disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement. He was named the National High School Coach of the Year for 2010 by the National High School Coaches Association (NHSCA) after coaching Greenville, Ga., High School to a 10-0 regular season. Greenville finished the season with an 11-1 record as the team was eliminated from the state playoffs by the eventual state champion.
Harris is a three-year letterman who has been a member of Memphis head coach Justin Fuente's Leadership Council the past two seasons. Last year as a junior linebacker, Harris led the Tigers with 74 total tackles, had three pass breakups and two quarterback hurries while starting all 12 games.
"It means a lot. It means that I'm doing the right things on and off the field and it's not going unnoticed," Harris said. "That's the most important part. Individual accolades don't really mean that much to me. I'm always grateful when I get them, but as long as I'm continuing to make my team better, continuing to make this city better and continuing to do everything right, that is what my goal is."