Acceleration on Day One
Aug. 6, 2012
There was little down time for any of the 105 student-athletes who went through the University of Memphis' first practice of preseason camp Monday at the Park Avenue Campus.
The Tigers went from station to station and drill to drill throughout a two-hour workout which focused on teaching and fundamentals. In fact, the afternoon session began a few minutes earlier with a walk through.
"It seemed like it lasted 30 seconds," first-year coach Justin Fuente said of the walk through to start the squad's afternoon on the practice field. "I had so much fun just installing some base things. It is fun to teach."
The Tigers would get down to basics with individual position instruction, followed by skill position and linemen work along with some team periods with special teams time spread in the mix.
"I was encouraged by a lot of things," Fuente said. "I think we have made strides. It is too early to tell how much.
"I think we are in better physical condition than we were in the spring. I take my hat off to Coach (Rohrk) Cutchlow and his staff. I think they did a great job this summer. We wouldn't have made it through that practice in the spring time."
Returning players also spoke of the pace under the Tigers' first-year coaching staff.
"The speed of practice has really increased," said sophomore defensive lineman Terry Redden. "It was kind of hard at first but after two months of summer and being with a new staff, we have become acclimated to the situation."
Senior wide receiver Marcus Rucker added, "It is a high-tempo offense so we are moving every drill, every second. Coach Fuente is hard on us about moving and going high tempo so we have to keep it up."
Now the focus turns to Day Two and how the Tigers will sustain their focus.
"I want to see if we can continue to install - we are going to put more material in - and I want to see if we can come out here and practice when it is not new, when it is not different and it is not fun," Fuente said. "Can we keep doing it? Do we have the discipline to keep working and keep plugging away?"
The Tigers will go through another 4:30 p.m. practice in helmets on Tuesday as the team starts its drive to September 1 and the season opener against UT Martin. Tickets are available for purchase at www.GoTigersGo.com or by calling the Tigers Ticket Office at (901) 678-2331.