March 2010 Archives
Here is a short interview with Coach McCray from the GoBlueRaiders.tv crew....
After a long period of very high anticipation the 2009 New Orleans Bowl Championship rings have just arrived. The rings were a gift provided by the bowl game and were partially designed by Coach Stockstill. Director of Football Operations, Chris Matusek, placed the order in January after the final design was set. Since then everyone has been waiting on this special delivery. Here is the very first look at these pieces of Middle Tennessee Football History...
Here is an interview GoBlueRaiders.tv did with MT QB Dwight Dasher last week...
No doubt you heard about Middle Tennessee's record setting Pro Day two weeks ago, now you can get a special glimpse of some of the highlights from that day with this film from Video Coordinator Andrew Rossetti...
Saturday's weather proved to be great for the first scrimmage of Middle Tennessee's spring practice session. After 7 practices the team was eager to put on full pads and let loose for a full speed game simulated scrimmage. Of course the scrimmage was controlled as Coach Stockstill had planned where every drive would start, but it was very close to a real game with officials, chains and penalties.. With that said here are some action shots from yesterday's action..
Even though it started off cloudy and cold by the time practice rolled around the weather was perfect for the team to get out an get some quality time in before the first scrimmage of the spring. Saturday's scrimmage will be the first this spring and will also mark the halfway point in the team's spring session. The scrimmage will be held at 11:45am in Floyd Stadium and will be open to the public...
Here are two short interviews from Wednesday's practice from our friends at goblueraiders.tv
As announced Thursday ESPNU has decided to pick-up Middle Tennessee's season opening September 2nd Thursday Night match-up against Minnesota. The Blue Raiders, already the Sun Belt leaders in Nationally Televised games with 10 in the last 4 years, will now have 3 nationally televised games already set for the 2010 season. Two of these games are home contests during the week which makes MT the center of attention during prime time next season.
Graham Watson of ESPN recently did an interview with MT's record setting QB Dwight Dasher. Check out what the two discussed...
>>CLICK HERE FOR THE ARTICLE
Wednesday was a beautiful day for practice as there were clear skies and temps in the low 70's. Here are some shots from yesterday's practice #6...
A great read on new Offensive Coordinator Mike Schultz by GoBlueRaiders.com
Mike Schultz is the Blue Raiders' new offensive coordinator.
Mike Schultz joined the Middle Tennessee Coaching Staff in early March, replacing Offensive Coordinator Tony Franklin. Like Franklin, he will also coach the quarterbacks. Schultz came to Middle Tennessee from the University of Illinois where he was the OC and tight ends coach. His 31 years of experience also includes stops at TCU (11 years), New Mexico (6 years), Tennessee Tech and SW Texas (2 years) and Texas, Kansas State and UTEP (1 year each). At TCU, Schultz coached, among others, a running back named LaDainian Tomlinson. Here are his impressions on certain topics in his three weeks here at Middle Tennessee.
Q: Before you
came here, you had not been on the same team or staff with Head Coach
Rick Stockstill. How did you meet him?
Actually, I did not know him. Of course, I knew of him and knew who he
was. We had a couple of ties, people that knew both of us, so it was
thru a couple of guys that had known me for a while, but had also known
Coach Stock, so that is how we got together.
Looking back on your career, you had coached both offense and defense
at various stops, but from the time you coached running backs at New
Mexico until now, it has been solely offense. Was that by choice, or
SCHULTZ: More by
chance, it just worked out that way. But I do feel very strongly that
coaching defense as long as I did helped me prepare in being an
offensive coach, and I think that goes both ways. If you coached
offense, it would help you prepare as a defensive coach. I am fortunate
to have had that opportunity, and to have been in that situation. There
is no question that coaching defense helped prepare me to coach offense.
Q: WHAT WILL BE YOUR STYLE HERE? WILL MIDDLE
TENNESSEE BE MORE RUN ORIENTED?
We'll do what we need to do to put us in the best position to win.
Offensively, they had a very strong nucleus here last season and what I
hope I can do is add a few things that can contribute to that success.
But it is not "my" style. This is Coach Stockstill's offense, and this
is his defense. Our style is going to be Coach Stockstill's style. My
deal is to make sure I keep him happy.
You have to remember
that Coach Stockstill is a great offensive coach. He's been on offense,
he understands offense, and he is a darn good offensive coach. All I am
trying to do is come in and take what they already have in place, which
has been very successful, and maybe add a few things to it.
Is the fast-paced tempo of practice sessions at Middle Tennessee
something that you have done in other places before coming here?
SCHULTZ: It is very similar to what we
did at TCU. There, we were very, very up tempo, fast-paced, lot of reps
on offense. We practiced very much like this at TCU when I was there.
And, actually, we did some of that at New Mexico as well. Going fast and
being up-tempo has a lot of advantages to it.
You have inherited a very good quarterback in Dwight Dasher. As QB coach, what is your
initial impression of him?
There is no doubt that Dwight is a heck of a football player. He has
the ability to; as I call it, get you out of trouble. And he has done
that in the past. He is very exciting and very explosive, he can make
people miss, and sometimes he can take a bad call and make it into a
good call. He has a tremendous amount of ability and he has a good grasp
of the offense. Is he perfect? No. Are there things we need to work on?
Yes. It is my job to make sure he blends in with what we are trying to
do, and keep trying to cultivate that situation and get everybody to do a
little bit better job.
Q: Despite having been
practicing only a little over a week, have you had a chance to form an
opinion on junior college QB Logan Kilgore, who came in at the start of
think Logan Kilgore has a huge upside. I didn't know a lot about Dwight,
Logan or Brent (Burnette) before I got here. I had watched a little
film on Dwight, and knew what kind of football player he was, but I
really had no idea about Logan or Brent. After a couple of practices, I
felt like Logan would be able to come in if something happened, knock on
wood, to Dwight. I feel that we've got some other guys in place, in
addition to Kilgore, that could come in and help us win football games.
Logan is a coach's kid. His dad is a coach and I think that has
benefited him. He's had a very enriched background as a coach's kid, you
get to hang around, a little bit of a gym rat, and I think Logan does
that. He has a great understanding of the game at a very young age, and I
just think that he's a long way in terms of understanding coverages and
the things we are doing. The more reps he takes, the more comfortable
he is going to feel in our offense. I am real excited about him and his
Q: When you were at TCU, you coached a
fellow named LaDainian Tomlinson. We don't have someone of that stature
here, so will our running game be by committee, or will one back get
most of the carries?
know, we only had LaDainian for three years, but we also had a couple
of other 1,000 yard rushers during that span. Right now, I think it is
too early in the process to get into that as far as which way we will
go, but from what I have seen, I think we have a couple of guys that can
be pretty good at tailback.
Q: Will you use a
fullback in this offense?
We used a fullback a little bit at both TCU and Illinois. I'm not going
to tell you what we are going to do, or not going to do, here because I
want Minnesota and the rest of our opponents to have something else to
think about. I want those guys out there wondering what is going to be
Q: Our receiving corps lost several
key players from last year. Have you had a chance to evaluate our
current receivers yet?
I have taken a look at a few of them. We have some junior college
transfers, and we will get some help in that area. We had some guy's
red-shirt last year that are starting to grow up and do a few things
better. From what I have seen so far, I think our receivers have a
chance to be as good as we were last year.
The offensive line only lost center Mark Thompson off of the starters last
year.. How good can that unit be in 2010?
The center position is a big deal, and Jimmy Ray (Stephens) has done a
nice job with that group. We have to do a good job of grooming our next
center and bringing him along. When you talk about the offensive line,
the first thing you have to talk about is staying healthy. First of all,
we have some junior college guys and transfers that will help us. I
think there is a chemistry that is usually built between five offensive
linemen. They get used to working together, each one of them has to make
different calls on different plays, and do different things and have
different assignments. Not to undersell the depth issue, but I think
injuries become very important, because when you get five guys who are
working well together, you don't ever want to tinker with that
continuity. We have to stay healthy upfront. If we stay healthy, and
they keep progressing like they are, I think we have a chance to have a
pretty solid offensive line.
Q: You have only
been here three weeks. Have you had a chance to look around yet, to get
settled in? Is your family here yet?
My youngest daughter, Jordan, is probably going to end up
transferring here to Middle Tennessee from TCU. My two oldest daughters,
Taylor and Kendall, have already graduated from college and are living
in the Fort Worth area. One graduated from TCU, the other one from the
University of Texas.
We have looked around and are very excited to be here. The city, or The 'Boro as they call it, has a lot of things to offer, and its only 30 minutes from Nashville if you want even more things to do. If you can't find it here, it is probably in Nashville, and if you can't find it in Nashville, you probably can't find it at all. Cindy and I are excited about being here. I am a southern guy, being from Texas, and its just warmer here. I like being in the south. My oldest daughter, Taylor, was born while I was at Tennessee Tech so she is already a real Tennessean.
The Middle Tennessee Athletic Department loves to give back to the community that supports it and one of those ways is the relationship that has been formed with Murfreesboro area elementary schools. Every team at MTSU has a local elementary school that it sponsors, teams go out several times a year to visit the school to read or join in activities with the kids. The athletes enjoy any chance they get to visit the schools, probably even more so than the kids if you could imagine that considering the screams and rockstar treatment the athletes get from walking down the halls of the school.
The football program is a sponsor of nearby Blackfox Elementary School right down the road from the university. Recently several players went out to visit the 1st grade and take part in a reading day program.
Its been a while since we posted an update on the locker room lounge renovations but things have been progressing very nicely. The walls are painted, flooring is in, lighting is set, wiring in place and TV mounts are set. With just a few more items to be purchased the final touches on the room should be completed in the very near future.
Last Thursday Middle Tennessee held their annual Pro Day for NFL Scouts to check out the senior class. This year was one of the best in school history which is another indicator that the talent level and product on the field is improving for the Blue Raiders. If you want to read more about the day's activities check out this GoBlueRaiders.com article>>CLICK HERE FOR THE ARTICLE
Teams in attendance:
New York Giants
New England Patriots
*Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Photos Courtesy of MT Athletic Communications
With this month being March Madness there will be plenty of last second buzzer beaters and amazing long distance shots. In keeping with that theme here is an amazing shot from Blue Raider fan Tommy Vaughan (no relation) last month. This shot won Vaughan a cool $10,000 from Mountain Dew.
The Blue Raiders have been busy preparing for the 2010 season since last Tuesday. If you haven't had a chance to make it out to Floyd Stadium to get a glimpse of the 2010 Blue Raider Squad make sure to check the calendar below and plan your trip. Practices are open to the public and most weekday practices begin around 4pm, for weekend practices make sure to call ahead for times (615) 898-2926.
GoBlueRaiders.com just did a great one-on-one interview with MT's new Defensive Coordinator Randall McCray. Below is the article in its entirety thanks to MT Athletic communications....
Randall McCray is the Blue Raiders' new defensive coordinator.
Randall McCray joined the Middle Tennessee football staff in February as the Defensive Coordinator, replacing Manny Diaz. McCray came to Middle Tennessee from Wisconsin where he coached defensive line, linebackers and safeties and was also the recruiting coordinator in his four years with the Badgers. Here are his responses to questions in an interview during the first week of spring practice:
Q: After a couple of practices, compare the tempo of the sessions here with other places that you have coached.
McCRAY: I like the tempo; it's like the speed of the game. The game is moving toward where nobody huddles anyway. We have not been huddling on offense on any team that I have been a part of since 1999. That part of it doesn't bother me. You just have to get the kids lined up defensively a lot quicker. The kids have to communicate with each other a lot better now. The tempo is so fast at practice here that we don't have time to coach on the field at all. We do all of our coaching in the film room afterwards. You may have time to make one or two comments to a kid on the field, but that's it.
Q: Is that normal?
McCRAY: It is here.
Q: In addition to being defensive coordinator, you also coach linebackers. Have you had a chance to evaluate the talent here?
McCRAY: We have a couple of guys that stand out athleticly. Obviously, you have experience in Antwan Davis as a starter, and playing time in Gorby Loreus and Justin Jones, but you don't try to replace guys like Danny Carmichael and Cam Robinson. You build and coach and teach, and that is what we are doing right now.
Q: The red-shirt freshmen linebackers come highly-touted. Have you evaluated them yet?
McCRAY: Roderic Blunt, Craig Allen and Stephen Roberts are really, really athletic and can move to the ball. They are gifted. The good lord gave them some gifts, some tools to work with. Now we just have to get their minds caught up with their bodies, so to speak. It's a matter of can they learn the intricacies of the position, and know where to be all the time, and right now they are doing a pretty good job. The thing they need to realize is that they are not working on the scout team any more, they are competing for a job and playing time now. They have been on the scout team for a year, and didn't really learn anything about our defense, so its like they are freshmen all over again.
As far as talent, they are as talented as the linebackers we had at Wisconsin, by far, when it comes to sheer speed and things like that. But the guys we had at Wisconsin were experienced and they knew what they were supposed to do, where they were supposed to be. They were always in position. These guys have got to get to that level in their minds.
Q: What is your impression of the defense as a whole?
McCRAY: I think we run well. We've got some guys that are really gifted, we've got some leadership in the back end, and a little bit up front. Jamari Lattimore doesn't say much, but leads by example. Kevin Brown does a really good job, and the secondary communicates really, really well. Antwan Davis does a good job of leadership among the linebackers. My first impression is that we run well, and we are preaching getting to the ball. We are not big, but we get to the ball in a hurry and that's how you create take-aways.
Q: Now that you have had a chance to look at the personnel, what will be your defensive philosophy?
McCRAY: We have tweaked some things that we as a staff believe will make us a little bit more sound, but the calls are exactly the same as last year, the schemes are pretty much the same, the signals are the same. I told Coach Stockstill in the interview that it would be a lot easier for me to learn new terminology than for 32 players and three or four other coaches to have to change to my system, so all of that will stay the same. Coach Diaz did a good job here, it worked and the kids enjoyed it, so it doesn't make sense to change it.
Q: What are your impressions of Middle Tennessee, Murfreesboro and the surrounding area?
McCRAY: I played here at Middle Tennessee in a playoff game when I was a junior at Appalachian State in 1989, and we played at Vanderbilt when I was coaching at South Carolina, and I married a girl from Chattanooga, so I am familiar with the area. I have always liked the middle Tennessee/east Tennessee area. I coached at Murray State and my brother was head coach at Austin Peay where I visited him a lot. Now, Murfreesboro is totally different from Madison, Wisconsin. Madison has a "big town" atmosphere, even moreso than Nashville, but I like Murfreesboro, and it won't take long to get used to living in this area again. My wife will be here next week, and she is excited about being close to Chattanooga.
Q: Have you moved your family here yet?
McCRAY: Not yet. My family will be down here next week, during spring break up there, and will stay for a week. We are trying to sell our house in Wisconsin, and as soon as we do, we'll move down here. If we get a house here, they may come down beforehand, we just don't want to have two house payments. I just want to get them down here as fast as possible. My son, Matt, will be eight next month, and we'd like to get him in school here before the end of the year so he can start making friends before school starts next fall.
Q: Before you were in the running for a coaching job here, what was your impression of the football program at Middle Tennessee?
MCCRAY: My experience with the program was in the 1-AA period, when I played at Appalachian State, and then my first two years at Murray State, we were in the same conference (OVC). Coach Boots Donnelly was here then. My impression was that Middle was a big, hard-nosed 1-AA football team that had run the OVC along with Eastern Kentucky. They were a good solid football team that always did the little things right, special teams, and things like that. They were always big, and a really tough, physical football team. When they made the jump to 1-A, we didn't know if that would be a good move or not, because nobody knew then how things would work out for Sun Belt football. But I can tell you one thing for sure. We were happy to get them out of the OVC. If Middle had gone independent, I would have thought it was not a good move, but the way things developed with the Sun Belt Conference, it has turned out to be a great move.
Q: You were at Clemson when Coach Stockstill was there. Did that influence your decision to come here now?
McCRAY: I knew Coach Stockstill. I knew he was a good man, a good person, and I know he's a good family man, and that right there influenced me more than anything else. The 10 wins last year didn't influence me, but being a coordinator did a little bit. It was the kind of family man that he is. The way I knew that my eight year old boy could come to practice with me every day and stand on the sidelines while I coached, and I had never been able to do that in the past. I was worried that my boy would grow up and I would miss it. That was what influenced me to come here.
When I was with him at Clemson, he was solely responsible for me getting the job at Bethune-Cookman. He had been there in his early years, and when the job came open, they called Stock and he impressed upon them that they should hire me. And they did, so he's responsible for me getting two jobs now. When he called me about this job, I kinda felt like he had done me a favor and that this was the kind of guy that I wanted to have in my life.
Q: Last season, we scored several times in less than two minutes of possession time. Is it a problem for the defense when the offense scores that quickly?
McCRAY: It does put some pressure on the defense, but here is what I think some defensive coaches are selfish about. You hear some guys complaining 'you scored too fast'. I don't think you can score too fast, or often enough. That's like telling the offense that they got the other team three-and-out too quick. That's not fair. They are out there to score points, and I can kinda understand what they are talking about with a four-minute offense and things like that, but they still scored and put you ahead. Now its your job to stop the other team. And if you don't stop them, then you weren't good enough that day. Don't blame it on the offense when they score too fast. If they score a bunch, and often, and quick, then we are going to be pretty good. All we have to do is stop them once in a while and we'll win.
Graham Watson of ESPN just wrote an article that is a nice read on MT's new Offensive Coordinator Mike Schultz. When Coach Stockstill had to find someone to lead MT's offense at the last minute he turned to Coach Schultz who has hit the ground running...
>>CLICK HERE FOR THE ARTICLE
After a totally unexpected hiatus to switch software providers and to completely rebuild the site we hope The Stock Report is back and here to stay without any glitches. We thank all of you for your continued readership and support as we try to find new ways to improve your experience on the OFFICIAL blog of Middle Tennessee Blue Raider Football.
If you have any stories you want to know more about or any ideas on how we can make your experience even better send us an email.
Thanks again & GO BLUE!!
- The CoachStockstill.com Staff