Tigers Go Through Paces on Day 1
Feb. 28, 2013
With the momentum of a three-game win streak to end the 2012 season now in the past, the University of Memphis Tigers went through their first team workout of 2013, opening spring drills with a two-hour practice Thursday afternoon at the Billy J. Murphy Athletic Complex.
The season-ending success of last season is certainly something the Tigers can look to build upon but following Friday's workout second-year head coach Justin Fuente said this year's team will have to find its own identity as the program is challenged by a more competitive schedule in 2013.
"You have to first explain to them that those guys are gone and this team is different," Fuente said. "We can build on the accomplishments of the seniors last year and the way they finished strong. We also have to understand that we have to carve our own path.
"We need to have a step up in competition (at practice), raise our level of expectation and change our frame of reference," he said. "It's easy for guys to say, `We are better than we were last year.' Yea, that's true but we are playing better people and last year is not good enough."
Returning senior running back Brandon Hayes also referenced last year's senior group after Thursday's practice.
Memphis' first workout included position work along with team drills. As in the fall, the team also focused on special teams for several periods of the practice.
"They weren't always right or always in the right spot but they showed some enthusiasm and showed some grit," Fuente said of the Tigers following the first practice.
One aspect this spring that Fuente is excited about is the competition at positions across the board.
Returning senior quarterback Jacob Karam said competition will make the 2013 squad better.
"Competition brings out the best in everybody," Karam said. "I am excited about the completion around the team. We're lucky we have some really good quarterbacks so we are going to push one another really hard."
Memphis is back on the practice fields of the Murphy Complex Saturday at 11 a.m. for the team's second workout. The practice will mark the final opportunity for fans to see the team prior to the spring game on April 6th at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.
Prior to spring break, the Tigers will get through the first third of spring camp. The team will also practice Sunday along with next Tuesday and Thursday before the university goes on spring break the week of March 11-15.