Blue Raiders conclude spring drills with Blue-White game

Fans introduced to new format
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SPRING GAME STATS

PHOTO GALLERY

HIGHLIGHTS

MURFREESBORO, Tenn.
– Fans were treated to a new format for the annual Blue-White Spring Game as spring drills concluded at Floyd Stadium Saturday

Instead of the traditional offense vs. defense scrimmage, Blue Raider Head Football Coach broke the afternoon down into a series of drills, followed by a 50-play scrimmage.

"All in all, I thought it was a good spring for us and it ended on a good note," Stockstill said. "The biggest thing is that we improved and we came out of the spring pretty healthy overall. With a new offensive coordinator (Tony Franklin) and some new coaches in different areas, this spring was important. I feel we got a lot accomplished and have a lot to build upon going into the summer and fall."

The offense collected 258 yards and averaged 5.5 yards per play, scoring four touchdowns with three coming on the ground and one through the air. The ground game managed 110 yards and the Blue Raiders finished with 148 yards through the air.

Quarterbacks Brent Stockstill and John Urzua combined to go 14-for-24 for 148 yards and one interception. Stockstill was 6-for-11 for 52 yards. Urzua was 8-for-13 for 96 yards and one touchdown. He also threw an interception.

I'Tavius Mathers led the ground game with 49 yards on four carries, including an eye-popping 34-yard touchdown run. Ruben Garnett added 44 yards on five carries, including a touchdown run.

After the defense came up with stops on the first two offensive series of the scrimmage, the offense finally got on the scoreboard when Terelle West pounded it in from the 3. The key play on the scoring drive was a fourth-down completion from Stockstill to Demetrius Frazier on fourth-and-3 from the 18 going in. Stockstill was 4-for-6 for 48 yards on the drive that covered 65 yards in 12 plays.

The second offensive touchdown came with a burst. Mathers took a handoff from Stockstill and turned on the burners, breaking into the open field and galloping 34 yards untouched to paydirt. His electrifying run gave fans a glimpse of Mathers' ability and immense talent.

The offense provided a second straight scoring drive when quarterback John Urzua rifled a 24-yard strike to Tristan Walker.

The final score turned in by the offense was a 28-yard scoring run by Ruben Garnett that concluded the scrimmage.

The defense was not without its share of playmaking stars.

Linebacker D.J. Sanders curtailed one scoring drive when he intercepted Urzua in the end zone. Defensive end Peter Bailey had a sack and Alex Dale had a pass break-up. Corner Dontavious Heard was active and turned in several tackles early in the scrimmage. Jahmal Jones, Charles Okoree-Bah and Sanders were among the leading tacklers.

Proceeding the scrimmage part of the afternoon, a change in the Spring Game format allowed fans to zone in specific areas of interest for them. During the early field goal portion of the scrimmage, Canon Rooker was 8-of-10, including six straight makes from 46 yards or longer.

The Blue Raiders also conducted 1-on-1 goalline routes, 1-on-1 routes, inside drill, punt/cover, pass skeleton and pass rush drills prior to the 50-play scrimmage.

Following the scrimmage Stockstill named the Spring Practice Award winners and there also was an autograph and picture session on the field with Blue Raider players and coaches.

The Blue Raiders will open the 2016 season against Alabama A&M at Floyd Stadium. Kickoff is tentatively set for 6 p.m.

2016 Spring Practice Awards
Terry Whiteside Award* – Brent Stockstill
* - Excellence in academics, football, strength training, community service and campus activities.

Grinder Awards
Quarterback – Brent Stockstill
Running back – I'Tavius Mathers
Wide receiver – Jevontey Smith
Offensive lineman – Chandler Brewer
Defensive lineman – Chris Hale
Linebacker – Chris Melton
Safety – Jovante Moffatt
Corner – Jeremy Cutrer
Specialist – William Eads

Most Improved
Quarterback – John Urzua
Running back – Desmond Anderson
Outside wide receiver – Demetrius Frazier
Inside wide receiver – Terry Pettis
Offensive lineman – Josh Chester
Defensive lineman – Darrius Liggins
Linebacker – Darius Harris
Safety – Jovante Moffatt
Corner – Charvarius Ward


 
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