Tigers Open Spring Practice at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium
March 19, 2008
MEMPHIS, TENN. - The Tiger Football team opened its spring season Wednesday afternoon at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium under cold and rainy conditions.
The first practice was delayed by a day because of approaching bad weather that drenched the fields at the Murphy Athletic Complex and forced the squad to make the short trip to the stadium. Today was a shorts practice that turned out to be more of a sweats practice because temperatures had dipped into the 40s. A misty rain fell through stretching and the first couple of periods of practice before there was a noticeable break in the weather.
The squad worked on position drills through the first 19 periods of practice and then the offense and defense worked against each other in a 15 minute scrimmage. Junior college running back Curtis Steele broke off a couple of shifty runs and both Arkelon Hall and Matt Malouf shared reps at quarterback. Hall and Malouf are challenging for the starting role at QB along with freshman Dallas Walker.
"I thought we had a good practice today as far as first practices go," said head coach Tommy West. "We had good attention to detail and everyone was working hard today. We will have one more day in shorts and then we will put on the pads and get after it."
Fullback Stacy Jones was on the field for the first time in over a year since overcoming cancer. Jones missed last spring and all of the 2007 season while undergoing treatment and was cleared to begin working out and regaining his strength and stamina during the fall. He has reached his goal of getting back out on the field in the spring.
"Stacy is back out here and it is great to have him back," said West. "Stacy has been through so much and he can tell these guys how thankful they should be to be able to be out here."
A couple of players remained sidelined and were working with the athletic training and strength and conditioning staffs including receiver Duke Calhoun, running back T.J. Pitts and linebacker Tommy Phelps. Calhoun had knee surgery following the bowl game to repair damage he suffered during the season. Pitts broke his ankle in the New Orleans Bowl and had to have surgery as well. Phelps recently tore his pectoral muscle in workouts.
The Tigers will work out again Thursday at the Liberty Bowl.