Tigers Hold First Spring Scrimmage
April 2, 2011
MEMPHIS, TENN. -
Coach Larry Porter took his Tigers through about a 100-play scrimmage on the ninth official practice of the spring at the Murphy Athletic Complex on Saturday. It was the first full-scale scrimmage for the squad, and Porter said at the end that the ones worked about 60 plays and the twos were in on about 40 plays.
Porter also worked in some punting and kick off situations. Coach Porter spoke after practice about how he was pleased with the cleanliness of the scrimmage, with only one turnover on the day.
"For a first scrimmage, I thought we were off to a pretty good start," said Porter. "There was some good and bad on both sides of the ball."
"We still have some growing to do offensively in a number of areas," added Porter. "But, knowing that the execution of the offense from a timing standpoint and not having turnovers and not making it sloppy, you can really point at some ways to make yourself better offensively."
On the offensive side of the ball, Porter spoke highly of Billy Foster, Marcus Rucker and Jerrell Rhodes. He was also pleased with Kevin Wright, who made some big plays in the redzone. Today was the first day of practice that Rhodes was allowed to take contact and he made some solid plays.
Rhodes carried the ball nine times for about 40 yards and also caught three passes, one of them a 20-yard TD from Andy Summerlin. Foster had two receptions and rolled off about 65 yards on seven carries, while Rucker hauled in six receptions, with two for more than 20-yard gains. He hauled in a 20-yard TD strike from Summerlin near the end of the workout. Tanner Rehrer also posted multiple receptions along with junior college transfer Jamere Valentine and redshirt freshman Kevin Wright. Walkons Brandon Hayes and Casey Calvin both had a couple of big runs on the day.
Summerlin attempted 27 passes and completed 19 for over 150 yards, while Will Gilchrist completed half of his 12 attempts for about 50 yards. Summerlin completed six passes for 15 or more yards. Gilchrist's long pass of the day was a 15-yard gain to Cam Baker.
"As far as the quarterback play today, we have to continue to improve," said Porter. "We have to be better in our decision making and be more efficient in throwing the ball. There were about five or six balls that I thought got away from them and they should have completed, but they didn't. As of right now, they are not where they need to be."
"Defensively, it was hit and miss," added Porter. "We played strong for most of the day up until we got in the back end of the redzone. Lonnie (Ballentine) got an interception, which negated a drive, but we have to be better in the redzone. As a whole, I think we are playing well as a defense.
"I am just challenging them to be better than what they are," added Porter. "We have some things to address such as tackling in space. They are in position to make plays on a number of balls, but they were about 50-50 on that."
Ballentine had the lone interception today, but the defensive front made some big stops. Dasmine Cathey and Frank Trotter made sacks on consecutive plays while Dontari Poe and junior college transfer Zach Gholson were also credited with sacks. Trotter opened the scrimmage with a sack. Chris Bertucci and Tommy Walker later combined for a sack and Walker was in on another sack with Johnnie Farms about midway through the scrimmage.
The Tigers have five more practices and the Blue-Gray game, which will be held at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium on Saturday, April 16. Some of the festivities surrounding the game include a pep rally, autographs with the players and coaches, a performance by Rockasaurus Rex and inflatables for the children. The autograph session will be before the game out in Tiger Lane from about 11-11:30 a.m. The team will be dropped off by bus on Paul "Bear" Bryant Blvd., at approximately 10:45 a.m. All events are free and open to the public. This is also the perfect time to buy season tickets for the 2011 season that features six home games for as low as $100.
For more information about the Blue-Gray Game, CLICK HERE.