Memphis Spring From Another Perspective

April 9, 2014


Thursday will mark the final practice scheduled for the Billy J. Murphy Complex for the Memphis football team prior to spring camp culminating Friday night with the Blue-Gray Spring Game at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.

The practice slated for Thursday – the 14th of spring – will include a breakout and individual work for both the Blue and Gray teams.

Throughout the spring, Memphis has had several former players return to campus. Earlier this spring, former Memphis defensive back Robert Steeples, who has signed a three-year contract with the Minnesota Vikings, attended a couple of practices and spoke to the Tigers’ cornerbacks.

In speaking with the current group of Tiger corners, Steeples talked about confidence, having knowledge of the defensive system and having a plan.

“You can’t just go through the motions,” he said. “Being a cornerback is how you look at the position. A lot of guys look at the position as a job to defend the receiver. But the way I look at the cornerback position now is that it is the receiver’s job to beat me.

“Even though the job is about reaction, you can dictate to them what you want to do. That comes with confidence and technique.” 

Steeples said from his time watching Memphis’ workouts he could see the progression in how practices are approached and strategies which were in their infancy when he played for the Tigers.

“The intensity and enthusiasm of practice is there,” Steeples said. “And the physicality of practice is definitely there. Now I think it is just a matter of discipline. It is definitely heading in the right direction and I’m impressed.” 

Steeples originally joined the Vikings in 2013 as a practice player. He would go on to play in two, late-season games for the Vikings, a 48-30 win over Philadelphia and a 14-13 win against Detroit. 

“This has been a mini vacation for me before reporting back early to Minnesota for camp,” Steeples said on his spring visit. “I’m excited to get back up there but it has been fun to be here. Coming in as a player here, I expected to contribute a lot to this program but I probably ended up getting more from this team and its coaches than I have given them.”

Kickoff for Friday’s Blue-Gray Spring Game is 7 p.m. Tailgate activities on Tiger Lane will begin at 5 p.m. and continue until kickoff. The team will hold its traditional Tiger Walk through Tiger Lane at 6 p.m.



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