Tigers Hold First Scrimmage At The Liberty Bowl
Aug. 13, 2011
MEMPHIS, TENN. -
Full practice blog available at: http://www.gotigersgo.com/blog/2011-fall-football-blog/
While the offense struggled to really find continuity throughout the 100-plus play scrimmage at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, several offensive players did stand out, including sophomore running back Jerrell Rhodes and receiver Keiwone Malone.
Rhodes rushed for over 150 yards, and broke off several long runs while toting the ball about a dozen times. Rhodes had three runs for over 40 yards, including a 58-yarder about 30 plays into the scrimmage. Rhodes also posted a 43-yard touchdown run on a 3rd and 2 situation from the 43.
“Jerrell Rhodes has done what he has done every single day since we started practicing,” said head coach Larry Porter. “What I saw today, I have seen for nine straight practices. We just have to continue to stay the course with him, and allow him to stay in that rhythm that he is in now.”
Malone, who is eligible to practice with the team after transferring from Alabama right at the start of camp, had four receptions for over 100 yards receiving on the day. He showed tremendous speed as he sprinted into the end zone on a 79-yard touchdown from transfer QB Skylar Jones. He also had a 36-yard pickup on a pass thrown by Andy Summerlin. Malone’s game eligibility status has not been determined at this point.
Nearly 20 different players caught passes in today’s scrimmage. Some of the receiving highlights were nice gains by Curtis Johnson and Kevin Wright, and some good work by some young wideouts. True freshman LaMarvin Ashley had a 24-yard catch off a pass thrown by Summerlin, and another true freshman, Tyriq Patrick, hauled in a 23-yard touchdown pass from Will Gilchrist.
Young running backs Joe Price, Artaves Gibson and Carl Harris got some steady work throughout the day. Gibson led that trio with about 45 yards, including a 25-yard touchdown run on the first play of a red zone situation.
While Porter did not feel ready to name a starter, he indicated that Andy Summerlin had an edge after today’s workout, saying that “none of the other guys have beat him out.” Porter also said that after watching today’s film, he feels he will narrow it down to two guys going into next week.
Summerlin completed about 20 passes and was not intercepted today. Reed and Jones had about the same number of passing attempts, with Jones completing about seven attempts.
“Overall, our quarterbacks were about average today,” said Porter. “We have to be more productive. I think Andy had the better day overall. It is obvious our young quarterback (Reed) is still learning but he did some good things out there. As a group, they are still continuing to take strides in the right direction. What I am looking for is consistency at a high level.”
On the defensive side of the ball, a young up-and-coming defensive back showed some flashes as true freshman Derek Howard logged two interceptions. Several other defenders had pass breakups including Cannon Smith, Bakari Hollier and Terrence Thomas. There were five sacks on the day, and Tommy Walker, who moved from the offensive line to defensive line this season, picked up several TFL and was credited with a sack. Also, making big stops were Corey Jones, Daniel Thomas, Kenyata Johnson, Terrence Thomas, Dasmine Cathey, Johnnie Farms and Dontari Poe.
The defense did a nice job of holding the offense on third down and goal line work. On one of the third down situations, Chris Bertucci came up with a fumble recovery off a muffed exchange. On the first red zone series, Summerlin recovered from an offsides penalty with a 24-yard pass to Ashley, but three plays later, the drive stalled with a big stop by Kenyata Johnson at the 1. The next series was the 25-yard TD run by Gibson. The final red zone series was orchestrated by Skylar Jones. Walker came up with a TFL before Jones bolted 16 yards on the next play, but back-to-back stops for losses by Cathey stalled that drive. In goal line action, the defense held its own, and did not give up the end zone through six plays.
“For the most part, I thought the defense did some really good things today,” said Porter. “Our front played hard; our secondary made some plays; our young guy Derek Howard had two interceptions, which is a good start for him. Cannon Smith made a couple of big plays out there on goal line today.”
For practice reports, photo galleries and video interview links throughout fall camp, check out the practice blog at: http://www.gotigersgo.com/blog/2011-fall-football-blog/