Memphis Football Fall Camp Update


Tiger Football FanFest (Aug. 29, 2009)

FanFest Photo Gallery

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Fall Camp - The Final Day (Aug. 28, 2009)

The Tigers officially ended fall camp today and were provided a special treat after practice.  Members of the Highland Hundred football booster organization brought watermelons for the team.  The squad raced to the truck carrying the sweet treat and all appreciated the efforts of those who provided it today.

 

The squad welcomed the refreshing treat after about a two hour practice in 90-degree heat.  There were hints of a slight breeze at times, but it remained hot throughout the workout.  The Tigers worked out in shells and is beginning game prep for the season opening matchup with the nationally-ranked Ole Miss Rebels on Sept. 6.  Kick off is slated for 2:30 p.m. at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.  Tickets are $55 for all seats for this game. 

 

A new ticket promotion has begun for a Mini Combo Plan, and fans who purchase a ticket to the Ole Miss game will be able to add a ticket to the UT-Martin game for just an additional $5.  The Tigers host UT-Martin on Sept. 19 at 7 p.m.

 

 When asked about how he felt the three weeks of camp have gone, Coach Tommy West said, "We made progress. We still have a ways to go in cleaning stuff up. I kind of expected this when you have so many new guys. We are better than we were, but we are still trying to get everybody on the same page every play."

 

Tiger Football FanFest will be held this Saturday, Aug. 29, from 3-5 p.m., at Echles Field on the U of M campus. Echles Field is located east of the Larry O. Finch basketball practice facility at the corner of Goodman and Spottswood. Parking will be available in lot 15 on the northeast corner of Southern and Goodman. The event is free and open to the public.

 


Fall Camp - Day 15 (Aug. 27, 2009)

Head Coach Tommy West Interview

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The Tigers made the short drive to the Liberty Bowl for the final scrimmage of fall camp Thursday afternoon. The temperatures hovered in the 90s and the sun was blazing down on the turf, much like it could be for the home opener against Ole Miss on Sunday, Sept. 6, at 2:30 p.m.

Arkelon Hall opened the scrimmage with a seven-yard pass to Carlos Singleton and then hit Singleton with the long ball for a 56-yard completion. He then had consecutive strikes to Marcus Rucker (11 yds) and Steven Joachim (12 yards). The drive ended with a seven-yard pass to Duke Calhoun.

Hall completed 16 of 26 passes and tossed three touchdowns in the 81-play scrimmage. He logged 191 yards and tossed one interception, which was picked off by Deante' Lamar. His touchdown passes were to Marcus Rucker (13 yds), Curtis Johnson (15 yds) and Carlos Singleton (21 yds). A redshirt freshman, Johnson led the way in receptions with five for 38 yards. Singleton led the way in yardage, totaling 110 yards on four catches. Deven Onarheim, Rucker and Jermaine McKenzie all had multiple receptions today.

"I think Arkelon has played well in this camp," said head coach Tommy West. "I think he has played well enough to be our guy. Again, I'll go back and look, but right now in my mind, I am looking for someone to back him up."

"We didn't make the progress at backup quarterback through the camp that I wanted to make," added West. "I don't think anybody jumped out and really said `Hey, I'm going to take this job away.' I was trying to create competition to make everybody better and if somebody did jump up and take it away, then we are better than we thought we'd be. I don't think anybody did that, so I am a little disappointed there."

Lance Smith had the only rushing touchdown of the day on a one-yard run on 2nd-and-goal when West set up for redzone situations. The offense scored three times when set up in the redzone, with the Smith run, the 13-yard touchdown from Hall to Rucker, and a 14-yard touchdown pass from Will Hudgens to Onarheim. Hudgens completed five passes for 73 yards. He had long completions to McKenzie (25 yds) and Singleton (26 yds). Brett Toney saw limited action, completing 2 of 4 passes and tossing an interception that was picked off and returned for a touchdown by Bryan Wright. Tyler Bass did not participate after having to have fluid drained from his knee.

Additional defensive highlights included pass breakups by Dontari Poe, D.A. Griffin and Lamar. Several defenders logged sacks including Jada Brown, Clay Lee, Tim McGee, Steven Turner and Griffin , while Charlie Bryant, Terrence Thomas and Justin Thompson were credited with TFLs.

"It's tough to grade the defense when you are not tackling," said West. "I put the defense at a disadvantage and obviously I did it for a reason. We're too close to the game. You don't have enough guys now to bang them all the time. I wasn't going to come out here today and hand the ball off to Curtis Steele and to T.J. Pitts and lose somebody. We don't need to do that. We are fine physically. Mentally I am disappointed in some dumb plays."

"We still have too much jumping offsides, throwing a pick coming out," added West. "We worked hard this week at cleaning up the mistakes, and we made enough today to lose. We have a slogan that is `I'm in', and if I'm in, then I am not going to be that guy who makes that mistake that lets a team that is not as good as you win. We are going to have to go back and be more responsible as individuals. They are lucky because we have time to get it corrected. It's not as bad as last Thursday, but still too many errors."

The Tigers will practice in the afternoon on Friday and will end camp with the morning practice on Saturday. The team will meet its fans Saturday afternoon at FanFest from 3-5 p.m. at Echles Field. Players and coaches will be signing autographs and there will be games and festivities for the children. In addition, FanFest will serve as the official first birthday party for TOM III, the university's Bengal tiger mascot.


Fall Camp - Day 14 (Aug. 26, 2009)

Sophomore QB Tyler Bass

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Freshman DB DeRon Furr

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Day 14 Photo Gallery

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The Tigers had a two-a-day session Wednesday, with both practices being in just shoulder pads and helmets. The morning practice was about 12 periods of position work and then four periods of special teams.

In the afternoon, the players came out with great energy and Coach West appeared pleased with the practice. There were a couple of scrimmages worked in there and the receivers got some additional work out there today. In addition, for the final two periods, the Tigers worked two-minute drills with redzone offense and third down offense.

"I thought we had a really good day," said West. "We had great energy. We have been pretty physical, so we backed off the run game and worked some of the throwing game. We got what we wanted today."

Senior Arkelon Hall continues to work with the ones, and West said he would use Thursday's scrimmage to gauge where the quarterback competition stands. Though, he did say that Hall has had a good camp, and that after the scrimmage, he will know if the competition at QB is continuing or if there will be a solid backup QB. With the scrimmage, West looks to clean up some of the mistakes and miscues that occurred in last week's scrimmage.


Fall Camp - Day 13 (Aug. 25, 2009)

Senior OL Malcom Rawls Interview

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Junior DL Justin Thompson Interview

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The Tigers had just a single practice this afternoon and the temperature was considerably warmer than it had been for the last couple of days. The squad was out on the field in full pads at 3 p.m. and had a solid practice session that lasted for right around two hours.

The squad continues to mix in several small scrimmages throughout the practices as Coach Tommy West continues to evaluate starters for the opening game against Ole Miss in 12 days. When pressed after practice about the quarterback race which includes competition with seniors Arkelon Hall, Will Hudgens and Brett Toney as well as sophomore Tyler Bass and true freshman Will Gilchrist, West was not ready to commit to a starter. He said he will continue to evaluate the competition through Thursday's afternoon scrimmage at the Liberty Bowl.

Running backs Curtis Steele, Lance Smith, T.J. Pitts and Darcel Johnson are looking like a solid ground attack. Pitts, who missed all of last season while still recovering from a broken ankle suffered in the 2007 New Orleans Bowl, doesn't appear to be feeling many affects of the injury. He has had solid reps in the scrimmages, while Steele and Smith have broken several big runs during camp. Johnson, a transfer from Arkansas, is also proving to be a solid threat as well. Gregory Ray has missed the last couple of practice sessions with a sore back.

While the receiving corps has taken a bit of a hit with the loss of receivers Billy Foster and Cam Baker to injuries, there are still quite a few viable threats for a Tiger air attack. Seniors Carlos Singleton, Duke Calhoun, Steven Joachim and Brian Hall have made big plays throughout camp, and the offense is also getting solid efforts from freshmen Marcus Rucker and Curtis Johnson, who both have a year in the system. The Tigers are also getting great work out of tight ends DajLeon Farr and Deven Onarheim, who are both big targets at 6-5 and 6-7, respectively, and have good hands.

Fans will have their first opportunity to meet the Tigers up close and personal this Saturday at FanFest. The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held from 3-5 p.m. at Echles Field, which is located near the Larry Finch Practice Facility located off Southern and Goodman. All of the Tiger players and coaching staff will sign autographs and will take pictures with fans. In addition, this event will be TOM III's first official birthday party (he turns one on Aug. 31). Come out and support the U of M Tigers!


Fall Camp - Day 12 (Aug. 24, 2009)

Head Coach Tommy West Interview

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Day 12 Photo Gallery

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The Tigers had two practices today, but it was much lighter than last week's two-a-day sessions, which were much more physical. The squad came out in shells this morning and only worked for about an hour and a half. They basically worked in each of the position groups and did not do any scrimmage work.

"This week, we need to be sound mentally," said Coach Tommy West. "By Sunday of this week, I want to mentally be ready to play the game. Physically I think we are in a good place right now. We worked them really hard last week physically. Mentally, we need to clean it up this week so that's why this morning was a little lower intensity from the physical standpoint, to pick up the intensity mentally."

In the afternoon, the Tigers were in full pads and had several short spurts of scrimmage work. Senior safety Alton Starr was back in pads in the afternoon, as was senior linebacker Greg Jackson and junior linebacker Derrick Odom. Offensive lineman Malcom Rawls participated in both practices today, his first of fall camp. Rawls has been rehabbing a knee injury, and while Coach Tommy West said early in camp that Rawls may not be ready for the season opener, he said he now thinks he can be ready in time for Sept. 6 when the Tigers face Ole Miss at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. Rawls started five games last season at right guard, and is one of just three current Tigers to see action on the offensive line in 2008.

The Tigers are expected to have their second full-scale scrimmage at the Liberty Bowl on Thursday afternoon.

"I feel good about this team right now," said West. "Obviously we are not ready to play right now, but probably nobody is. I feel good about where we are. "


Fall Camp - Day 11 (Aug. 22, 2009)

Day 11 Photo Gallery

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The Tigers seemed to have a little more pep in their step today at the Murphy Athletic Complex. Part of the reason could be that they had a little time to get refreshed as Coach West canceled meetings Friday night and moved practice from 7:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Another reason could be the great weather that made way for 80 degree temperatures, overcast skies and a light breeze.

Even West noticed a difference in his squad today.

"We had a good practice today," said West. "They came to work today. We took off last night and let them sleep in this morning. I could tell they were a little fresher."

West also acknowledged that there are quite a few players banged up right now, particularly at linebacker. Greg Jackson and Derrick Odom have both been on the sidelines, and West said that Jamon Hughes is also struggling with a minor injury. In addition, Malcom Rawls still has not been able to practice, though West said he thought Rawls was getting close to being ready. Alton Starr is expecting a return to the field on Monday after sitting the last few days with pain in his knee. Starr has played a limited role in practice, being held out of contact, as he continues to strengthen his knee, which he injured in the St. Petersburg Bowl. True freshman receiver Marcus Hightower was in full pads today and is a welcome addition to the offense.

If there's one place that the Tigers appeared to have plenty depth, it was at receiver. But in the last week, the receiving corps has taken a huge hit. Sophomore Cam Baker is out approximately four weeks with a knee injury; Junior transfer Billy Foster will miss the season and will redshirt after suffering a fracture dislocation of his ankle; and transfer Jermaine McKenzie learned that the NCAA has denied his petition for a waiver to play this season. McKenzie, who transferred from Miami, will not be eligible for games, but can continue to practice. His twin brother, Tremaine, is a defensive back who should make an impact in the secondary after transferring from College of Siskiyous. West is also awaiting the arrival of receiver Dejarrius Adams, who signed with the Tigers out of El Camino College. Adams is awaiting academic clearance in order to join his teammates.

The squad will just have meetings on Sunday and will return to the field Monday for a two-a-day session. Fans will have a chance to get up close and personal with their favorite players next weekend at Tiger Football FanFest, which will be held on Saturday, Aug. 29, from 3-5 p.m. at Echles Field on the U of M campus.


Fall Camp - Day 10 (Aug. 21, 2009)

Day 10 Photo Gallery

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The Tigers had their third two-a-day session today, working in full pads in the morning and coming out in shells in the afternoon. The weather was nice, particularly during the morning practice when there was a light breeze and cloud coverage.

Receiver Billy Foster, who suffered a fracture dislocation of his right ankle in yesterday's scrimmage, had successful surgery this afternoon. Foster was expected to be a factor for the receiving corps after joining the team this week for practice. He missed the first week of camp while awaiting academic clearance after completing classes at College of the Sequoias.

Two Tigers made it back out on the field today as receiver Marcus Hightower and safety DeRon Furr both worked out with the team in the afternoon. Hightower had been rehabbing a shoulder injury and Furr is still in a cast following the dislocation of his thumb. The cast was heavily covered as he worked some during the abbreviated scrimmages.

Former Tiger quarterback Patrick Byrne made it out to practice today to observe some of his former teammates. Byrne lettered for the Tigers from 2003-06. He is currently working locally for the AutoZone Liberty Bowl as the director of sales and marketing.

The Tigers will get a chance to sleep in a bit tomorrow as Coach Tommy West moved Saturday's practice from early morning to 2:30 p.m. at the Murphy Athletic Complex.


Fall Camp - Day 9 (Aug. 20, 2009)

Head Coach Tommy West Interview

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Junior DB Malcolm Jones Interview

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The Memphis Tigers held their first full scale scrimmage Thursday morning at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. The scrimmage lasted 83 plays as the squad worked throughout several light rain showers.

Senior running back Curtis Steele and senior receiver Duke Calhoun both scored twice today as Steele had scoring runs of 11 and four yards, and Calhoun hauled in TD passes of 41 and 39 yards. Steele finished the day with 68 yards and two scores on 11 carries. He dominated the second to last series of the scrimmage, totaling five carries for 39 yards and a touchdown. His longest run of the day was his 17-yard scamper during that series, and he scored on a four-yard carry. T.J. Pitts and Darcel Johnson also logged yardage from the run today. Pitts totaled 28 yards on eight carries and Johnson logged 14 yards on five carries.

Calhoun caught a 41-yard touchdown pass from Brett Toney on the second series of the scrimmage. He later caught a 39-yard TD pass from Will Hudgens on the 73rd play of the day. Calhoun finished the scrimmage with four catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns. Two other receivers had multiple catches as Carlos Singleton totaled two receptions for 20 yards. Steven Joachim tallied two receptions for 38 yards.

Kicker Matt Reagan worked both punting and field goals today. Two highlights were field goals of 43 and 47 yards. West opened his post-scrimmage presser with praise for Reagan.

"On the positive side, I thought Matt Reagan was great, kicking and punting," said West. "He was the best I had ever seen him."

"Curtis Steele does everything the right way," added West. "He gets short yardage, he buckles it up and gets first down yardage."

All five Tiger quarterbacks got some reps today, and coach Tommy West singled out Will Hudgens for his poise during the scrimmage. Hudgens completed two of five passes for 49 yards and the 39-yard TD to Calhoun. Brett Toney logged 58 yards, 41 of which were on the TD pass to Calhoun, in completing two of four passes. Arkelon Hall was 6-of-13 for 33 yards while Tyler Bass was 2-of-4 for 32 yards and an interception. He was picked off by Bryan Wright, who raced 70 yards into the endzone. Bass also rushed for 33 yards and logged a two-yard touchdown run on the 26th play. True freshman Will Gilchrist worked two series and had one completion, a 10-yard strike to Billy Foster, and threw one interception that was picked off by Malcolm Jones.

"I won't call it a surprise, but the biggest positive of the day was Will Hudgens," said West. "I thought he played with great poise. He came in when things were falling apart a little bit offensively and settled us down. He made some nice throws on the deep ball and so I think that was the biggest positive."

Foster suffered a devastating injury late in the scrimmage. He has a fracture dislocation of his right ankle and will have reconstructive surgery tomorrow morning. Foster joined the team for practice earlier this week after transferring from College of the Sequoias. In addition, receiver Cam Baker was on crutches today after a knee injury in practice yesterday. He had an MRI today to determine the extent of the injury.

Additional defensive highlights included tackles for loss by Josh Weaver, Ricky Holloway, Jada Brown and Dasmine Cathey. Weaver dropped Hall for a 10-yard loss on an errant snap that resulted in Hall scrambling for the ball. Justin Thompson was credited with applying the pressure that led to Wright's interception, and Winston Bowens forced a fumble midway through the scrimmage. Brown also had a sack, while Jimmy Robinson and Lester Lawson teamed up for a sack. Torenzo Quinn had two pass breakups and D.A. Griffin also broke up a pass.

"The negative today is that we didn't get what I wanted to get," stated West. "I wanted to play without busts on defense and we couldn't stay onsides, and offensively I wanted to play without putting the ball on the ground and we had five turnovers with three fumbles and two picks. We didn't really get what we have been coaching. We need to get a little bit more attention to detail from our players and we need to coach them better than what we are coaching them right now. Overall, I thought it was sloppy."


Fall Camp - Day 8 (Aug. 19, 2009)

Senior DL Jada Brown Interview

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Senior K Matt Reagan Interview

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Day 8 Photo Gallery

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Severe weather that drenched the fields last night forced the Tigers to practice in the turf room this morning. The offense met and did some walk-throughs in the main lobby while the defense practiced. And after about an hour, the defense took to the meeting rooms while the offense got some work in.

The team was back out on the fields this afternoon for the second workout of the day. The squad went out at 3 p.m. instead of 4:45 to try and beat any incoming weather. While there were some overcast moments that gave short relief from the heat, it certainly was hot out there on the fields, and probably a little closer to what the team will experience on opening day against Ole Miss at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.

The squad has settled into a pretty consistent routine of some drill work, abbreviated scrimmages and a mix of special teams action.

Coach Tommy West will take his squad to the Liberty Bowl tomorrow for an extensive scrimmage - one that should start showing how the offense and defense stack up in full-speed game action. West typically looks for a high tempo and attention to detail during the scrimmages.


Fall Camp - Day 7 (Aug. 18, 2009)

Senior QB Brett Toney Interview

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Junior LB Winston Bowens Interview

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2009 Preseason Highlight Video

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Day 7 Photo Gallery

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The Tigers had a single session of practice this morning at the Murphy Athletic Complex, but they practiced a little later than they have been and the heat was certainly becoming stifling as practice rolled on.

Coach Tommy West was looking for the players to push through the heat and to up the intensity during the abbreviated scrimmages. Again, they worked mainly the run, and both Curtis Steele and Lance Smith broke through some holes and logged some impressive yardage.

"It was really humid today," said West. "This morning it was awful, but we got great work. We took our time and got our work in and it was good. We lost a couple of big guys to fluids, but the humidity got up to 90 percent at one point."

Several players were out with some minor tweaks, and freshman receiver Marcus Hightower continues to work with the athletic training and strength staffs to get his shoulder stronger. Offensive lineman Malcom Rawls is also continuing his rehabilitation for his knee. DeRon Furr observed practice from the sidelines after suffering a thumb dislocation yesterday. Alton Starr is still being held out of contact, but he has been in full gear and working out with the squad the last couple of days.

Junior college transfers Billy Foster and Mike McDonald worked out with the squad this morning after both were cleared academically to join the Tigers. Foster is a Ft. Lauderdale native who transferred from College of the Sequoias, and McDonald is a native of Wilmington, N.C., who joins the squad from Lackawanna Community College. Both have tremendous speed and will be looking to contribute to this team early on.

West is still awaiting the arrival of receiver Dejarrius Adams who is completing class requirements to transfer from El Camino College.

After practice, West was asked if he had settled on a starting quarterback at this point, and he said he would like to wait until at least after the scrimmage on Thursday to evaluate his options, which include seniors Arkelon Hall, Will Hudgens and Brett Toney, sophomore Tyler Bass and true freshman Will Gilchrist.

The Tigers will practice twice on Wednesday and then West is planning on a full-tilt scrimmage Thursday morning.

This afternoon, it was announced that offensive lineman Dominik Riley was named to the 40th annual Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List. The award is given to the top college football lineman, offensive or defensive.


Fall Camp - Day 6 (Aug. 17, 2009)

Day 6 Photo Gallery

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Head Coach Tommy West Interview

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Junior DB D.A. Griffin Interview

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Junior RB Lance Smith Interview

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The Tigers had their first double practice session today, coming out in full pads at 6:30 a.m., and then shells at 4:45 p.m. The morning session featured several abbreviated scrimmages, working mostly the run. It is no secret that the Tigers have plenty weapons for the ground attack this year, including Doak Walker Award candidate Curtis Steele, Wisconsin transfer Lance Smith, Arkansas transfer Darcel Johnson, veteran back T.J. Pitts and junior college transfer Greg Ray.

One of the keys to success of the running game will no doubt be the offensive line and how the group come together as a unit. Coach Tommy West has appeared to be pleased with the work of the line, and the ones in particular. Working with the ones at this point are returnees Ronald Leary and Dominik Riley, who both saw considerable action in 2008. Leary was named to the 2008 C-USA All-Freshman Team and Riley was a C-USA Preseason pick heading into this season. In addition, two former defenders Tommy Walker and Joel McCleod are competing for a starting role. Junior college transfer Brad Paul has been working at center while Riley is set at right guard.

DeRon Furr, a safety who transferred from Auburn last year, was sidelined in the morning practice with a thumb injury. Furr, who was the defensive MVP of the 2009 spring game, had a cast on at lunch and West indicated he would have an x-ray to determine the extent of the injury. By the afternoon session, West stated Furr had dislocated his thumb, but that he did not sustain ligament damage, which was welcome news.

West was not very pleased with the defense this morning from a fundamental and toughness standpoint.

"There is a reason they call you Coach, because you have to push your guys to be the best they can be, said West after practice. "And that's what we have to do. We have to push our guys to try and be a football team. Right now, I am not impressed with our attention to detail, our toughness, the fundamental part. I don't want to be a football team that out-schemes people all the time. I want to be a team that can be tough, physical. We need to run the ball, stop the run, those things and right now we are a little bit behind. We have a long ways to go and we are going to have two really good weeks of work here."

"I tried to push them a little bit today and the offense did good, but the defense gave in," added West. "The offense kind of poured it on them. It will be interesting to see if the defense comes back this afternoon and answers the bell. This is where people have to define their roles. The guys that will give into it, can't play. Regardless of who you are or how talented you are, if you give in, you can't play. The guys that our tough and keep coming back to get a little better will play for us on Sept. 6."


Fall Camp - Day 5 (Aug. 15, 2009)

Day 5 Photo Gallery

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Head Coach Tommy West Interview

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The Tiger Football team upped the intensity this morning after throwing on full pads for the first time during camp. The squad hit the field around 7:30 a.m., and even worked some scrimmage action in full gear.

Prior to the start of practice Fred Smith, the chairman, president and chief executive officer of FedEx Corporation, addressed the team. Following his talk, Tiger offensive lineman Dominik Riley presented Smith with a ball signed by each member of the team.

Some key offensive highlights during the scrimmage action included a 24-yard completion from Arkelon Hall to Carlos Singleton. Running back Lance Smith rolled off a nine-yard run and receiver Brian Hall gained 28 yards on a run. True freshman quarterback Will Gilchrist showed why he is considered a dual-threat, gaining 29 yards from the run.

Defensively, the front was applying pressure and freshman Dontari Poe, who should factor strongly into the Tiger defense this season, logged a sack for minus 11 yards. Tremaine McKenzie made a stop for a loss of three yards, while Charlie Bryant and Jada Brown teamed up for a six-yard loss.

"I thought it went good today," said West. "We came out a little bit later and I think the heat got us a little bit at one point. When you first put on the pads and start going full speed, you start getting some missed assignments. I thought our ones on both sides of the ball were okay today."

"The key is not really how you did today, but how you improve from today," added West. "We will take the tape and study it and walk through it tomorrow and then come back out here Monday morning."


Fall Camp - Day 4 (Aug. 14, 2009)

Day 4 Photo Gallery

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Q&A with Junior S Darius Davis 

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Junior S Darius Davis Interview

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Senior WR Duke Calhoun Interview

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The Tigers continued with early morning practice sessions today, starting under the lights at the Murphy Athletic Complex. They were in shells again, and appear to be anxious to come out in full pads tomorrow. The energy level remains high and coach Tommy West ended the workout with a couple of periods of light scrimmage work, or as much as could be done without full pads on.

"I keep talking about energy, but there is a different intensity level," said West after practice. "There was in shorts and there is now in shells. Now we are through that, and we put the pads on tomorrow, so we will start playing some football tomorrow. They have set a bar now for the level of competition. That probably has a lot to do with our energy level. We have a lot of competition going on for positions."

A special teams highlight that stood out this morning was freshman kicker Paulo Henriques, who had a chance to kick off some today. Henriques showed why West has eluded to the true freshman being vital to the kicking game. He was logging consistent shots deep into the endzone. Senior kicker Matt Reagan is expected to handle the punting and field goals at this point, with Henriques taking on the kick off duties.

Senior safety Alton Starr continues to work with the athletic training and strengths staffs to rehabilitate his knee, but today he did some non-contact, light team work with the defense. He looked like he was more confident in his motions and appeared to be in high spirits.

Coach West introduced former Tiger Marcus Bell (1997-2000) to the team after practice. Bell, who had NFL stints with the Detroit Lions and the Arizona Cardinals, will work with the team as an assistant for player personnel/development with JC Crouse. West, who spoke highly of Bell as a leader, said he looks to Bell to be a person that players can talk to and look to for advice.

The Tigers will throw on full pads Saturday morning, and will have their first two-a-day session on Monday.


Fall Camp - Day 3 (Aug. 13, 2009)

Day 3 Photo Gallery

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Senior TE DajLeon Farr Interview

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Junior DL Charlie Bryant Interview

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The Tiger football team donned shoulder pads for the early practice Thursday morning.

The squad came out on the field to cool temperatures and dew on the ground at just after 5:30 a.m. The squad worked out for just over two hours at the Murphy Athletic Complex. With the addition of shoulder pads came a little more contact and a higher tempo. Coach Tommy West continued to be impressed with his team's energy and enthusiasm despite the early morning sessions.

"We put the shoulder pads on today and you could tell they hadn't put them on in a while," said West. "The energy is the thing I am most impressed with out here. I love the intensity of practice. Our coaches are doing a good job."

Transfers Billy Foster, Dejarrius Adams and Mike McDonald are still awaiting academic clearance to begin joining the Tigers on the field. Freshman receiver Marcus Hightower was sidelined this morning with a light shoulder sprain he suffered in practice Wednesday.

Working with the defense for the first time today was Landon Hoefer, who came to Memphis from Texas Tech. Hoefer lettered three seasons as a receiver for Texas Tech, and will be a quality control assistant for the Tigers. While he still had one year of eligibility remaining before choosing to join the U of M, he earned a bachelor's degree in exercise and sport science in December 2008 and was working on his master's this past spring.

The Tigers will be in shells again Friday before throwing on full pads on Saturday morning. The first scheduled two-a-day session is slated for Monday.

Fans will have their first opportunity to catch a glimpse of the newcomers on Friday at the Highland Hundred Kick Off Banquet. The event is hosted at the Holiday Inn-University of Memphis and is $30 per person. All fans are invited, regardless of membership status with the Highland Hundred booster organization. The social hour begins at 6 p.m., with the banquet to follow at 7 p.m. As is the tradition, the newcomers will introduce themselves to the crowd that evening.


Fall Camp - Day 2 (Aug. 12, 2009)

Day 2 Photo Gallery

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Senior CB Deante' Lamar Interview

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Sophomore OL Ronald Leary Interview

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As summer school continues this week, the Tigers are working out early in the morning so that many of the players can get to class after practice. The early morning session also provides relief from the heat.

Today's practice was much the same as yesterday as the squad was still in helmets and shorts. They will add shoulder pads tomorrow.

"We are going to keep doing what we are doing and trying to get better at it. That way, by Friday I want to do what we are doing, but I want to do it full speed," said head coach Tommy West. "Friday will be a 40-50 minute scrimmage, but done in segments. I am going to take these first five days and see where we are at. Saturday, we will get after it."

Senior cornerback Deante' Lamar is a veteran in the secondary and is enjoying his last camp with the Tigers. "This is my last camp, so I am excited right now." Lamar also noted that there is great competition going up against such a strong receiving corps every day. "We don't want to let them score or anything. We try to bring our A-game every day."

To view the full interview with Deante' Lamar, click here.

Sophomore offensive lineman Ronald Leary is competing for a role in the line that was depleted heavily by graduation. Leary was named to the Conference USA All-Freshman Team last season, and knows how important it is for the line to gel as a group. "We are a work in progress right now. I see a lot of potential in the offensive line. We are all big and athletic and can move."

To view the full interview with Ronald Leary, click here.


Fall Camp - Day 1 (Aug. 11, 2009)

Opening Practice Photo Gallery

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Head Coach Tommy West Interview

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Senior QB Arkelon Hall Interview

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Senior DL Josh Weaver Interview

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The Tiger Football team had an early wake-up call Tuesday for the first day of practice at the Murphy Complex.

The squad was out on the field just after 5:30 a.m. warming up and mixed things up a bit with a walk-through prior to stretching that then led into 17 periods of practice. The squad was out in helmets and shorts and will go through the same type of workout on Wednesday morning. The Tigers will add shoulder pads on Thursday and will come out in full pads on Saturday.

Coach Tommy West was pleased with how the team came out and was ready to go for the first practice.

"The good thing about this morning was the energy," said West. "I thought we had great energy. Now we kind of set a place and I'm going to hold them to that, and make them have the same energy every day. We had a typical first morning. Everybody was jacked up and ready to go. We even started 10 minutes early. Everybody's on cue, but I thought it was a good start."

"In shorts it's hard to tell, but I thought they all moved around well," added West. "We are just learning how to play right now, get good body positions and play the game the right way and by Saturday, we'll put pads on and we'll be able to tell who can play football."

All but two players reported today. Dejarrius Adams, a junior college transfer from El Camino College, and Mike McDonald, a transfer from Lackawanna CC, both were awaiting academic clearance. McDonald is expected to practice Wednesday morning.

The Tigers worked for over two hours with drills and mixed the special teams work in throughout practice. The special teams unit is being led by assistant coach John Wozniak, who was hired in June from Montana State. Five quarterbacks got some reps today including seniors Arkelon Hall, Will Hudgens and Brett Toney, sophomore Tyler Bass and true freshman Will Gilchrist. All are competing for the starting job when the Tigers open the 2009 season against Ole Miss on Sept. 6.

"I thought they worked really good today," said West. "We've got more depth than we had and I think we're a little ahead offensively running our stuff. We've got backs that have played, wideouts that have played, quarterbacks that have played, so we're a little bit ahead of where we usually are when we start. Defensively, I expect our defense to be a little bit behind. But I love their energy today."

Two Tigers were on the sidelines working with the strength and conditioning staff today. Senior safety Alton Starr is continuing to rehabilitate his knee after suffering an ACL tear in the St. Petersburg Bowl, and senior offensive lineman Malcom Rawls is strengthening his knee after undergoing a scope over the summer.

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