For the fans: Five ob­ser­va­tions from spring foot­ball fi­nale

The Commercial Appeal - - Sports - ALDO GIO­VANNI AMATO

MURFREES­BORO - MTSU foot­ball held its spring foot­ball fi­nale Satur­day at Floyd Sta­dium.

The Blue Raiders wrapped up the spring with a se­ries of drills and scrim­mage in front of a crowd of about 500.

Although not much could be gauged from what was essen­tially a prac­tice, there were still a few things that stood out.

Here are five ob­ser­va­tions from Satur­day’s spring fi­nale:

A heav­ier Shane Tucker

Run­ning back Shane Tucker, who just switched back to his old po­si­tion, looked like his old self out of the back­field. How­ever, Tucker added a lit­tle bit of weight as he looks to be more of power back at 6-foot. Although Tucker was once the start­ing run­ning back, coach Rick Stock­still did not name a starter af­ter spring, and I’Tav­ius Mathers’ suc­ces­sor could re­main un­der wraps un­til the opener against Van­der­bilt.

Wind­ham looks like a starter

Wide re­ceiver CJ Wind­ham was named the most im­proved wide re­ceiver. Wind­ham, a sopho­more, was in­serted into the lineup early last year due to mul­ti­ple in­juries. With nearly a full off­sea­son un­der his belt, Wind­ham ap­pears to be des­tined for a start­ing role on the out­side.

On the side­line

Sev­eral of MTSU’s re­cent signees took time out of their week­end to catch the spring fi­nale. Wide re­ceiver Zack Dob­son, who just had shoul­der surgery, was there with Jor­dan Ferguson, Cain McWilliams, Brian An­der­son and oth­ers. More than half of those in at­ten­dance were re­cruits and their guests.

‘I call it Brent Stock­still Jr.’

Although star wide re­ceiver Richie James was lim­ited this spring af­ter an­other big sea­son, the All-Amer­i­can still showed im­prove­ment. James even prac­ticed with the quar­ter­backs dur­ing drills on Satur­day. James had suc­cess out of the wild­cat role last year, es­pe­cially against Florida At­lantic where MTSU put up 77 points on the Owls out of the for­ma­tion. But don’t call James out of the wild­cat the “Wild Richie.”

“I call it Brent Stock­still Jr.,” James said, ref­er­enc­ing MTSU’s start­ing quar­ter­back.

Of­fen­sive line big con­cern

One of the ar­eas Rick Stock­still said he was most con­cerned about was of­fen­sive line. The Blue Raiders lost six of­fen­sive line­men (four to grad­u­a­tion, two med­i­cally dis­qual­i­fied). How­ever they do have key names re­turn­ing such as guard Chan­dler Brewer, and Robert Be­henan looks like the starter at cen­ter. Still, depth is cru­cial in the spread, no-hud­dle sys­tem and as the sea­son dragged on last year, the of­fen­sive line went from one of the best in the coun­try to mid­dle of the pack.

No­table Blue Raiders not in ac­tion due to in­jury were: quar­ter­back Brent Stock­still, corner­back Mike Min­ter Jr. and run­ning back Terelle West

Reach Aldo Amato at 615-278-5109 and on Twit­ter @Al­do_A­mato.

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