Memphis football picks up where it left off in spring game – The Commercial Appeal

Memphis football picks up where it left off in spring game – The Commercial Appeal
  • Tiger's return for spring scrimmage
  • Mike Norvell talks final Memphis practice before spring game
  • Mike Norvell previews Friday Night Stripes
  • Mike Norvell evaluates Memphis' half-scrimmage
  • Mike Norvell on the Tigers, spring ball winding down
  • Jackson Dillon on his return to Memphis after injury-plagued 2016
  • Memphis QB David Moore talks spring ball, gaining weight
  • Mike Norvell talks about what he wants to see in remainder of spring ball
  • Memphis defensive coordinator Chris Ball talks early spring impressions
  • Mike Norvell recaps Memphis' practice
  • Mike Norvell on Memphis' first spring scrimmage
  • 170324 Arthur Maulet
  • Memphis wide receiver Sam Craft talks new role
  • Mike Norvell on the first day of spring ball in pads
  • Mike Norvell
  • Memphis offensive coordinator Darrell Dickey
  • A look at the 2017 Tiger football schedule
  • Memphis coach Mike Norvell
  • A look at the incoming Memphis football recruits
  • Tigers Boca Raton Bowl Pep Rally
  • Tigers' Beach Party
  • Memphis Tigers are Boca Bound

EDITOR’S NOTE: Tom Schad was one of the guest coaches for the overtime period of Memphis’ spring football game.

Anthony Miller sprinted through the secondary. Riley Ferguson lobbed a pass through the air into his waiting arms for a 55-yard completion. The blue-clad fans packed into the lower bowl of Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium on Friday night let out a roar.

And, if only for one night, Memphis football was back.

The Tigers returned to the Liberty Bowl on Friday for their annual spring game, Friday Night Stripes, and showed many of the same things that fans came to expect from them in 2016. Ferguson completed all four of his passes in two drives, including a 10-yard touchdown pass to Miller. The first-team defense continued its spring growth, with three interceptions and several sacks. There was speed all over the field, and the energy that coach Mike Norvell said he was hoping to see.

“I think you saw a lot of back and forth,” Norvell said. “The ones defense, I thought, did an exceptional job. The ones offense showed some great flashes. I was really excited about the fast start. Riley, Anthony connected on some big plays. Our running backs all had a big-play opportunity throughout the game.

“If one side came out and totally dominated, we probably wouldn’t be feeling all too great about it.”

Quarterbacks Brady Davis and David Moore, who are competing to back up Ferguson, split repetitions for much of the game. In the two regular quarters of play, Davis completed 12 of 20 passes for 114 yards and two interceptions, while Moore finished 10-of-14 for 190 yards with one touchdown pass and one interception. Moore also ran for a score.

Norvell said he saw flashes from both players, but the backup quarterback competition will carry over into the fall.

There were plenty of standout defensive performances, too. Jackson Dillon, who missed almost all of last season with a knee injury, had a sack and tackle for loss on the first-team defense’s first series. Jonathan Cook, Austin Hall and Thomas Pickens each recorded interceptions. Hall returned his pick more than 50 yards.

After the two regular periods of play, the Tigers participated in an overtime period with local media members serving as guest coaches.

All in all, Ferguson said the event was every bit as fun as he expected.

“I love it,” he said between signing autographs for fans. “It’s great just being out here and having all the fans here.”

The Tigers have one spring practice remaining, during which they will start the process of fixing the mistakes from Friday night.

The spring game was a fun showcase, Norvell said, but it’s still just another step in the process.

“I’m excited about these guys. I’m excited about what they’ve done, all the work they’ve put in,” Norvell said. “There’s a lot of things to correct, and part of the reason why we still have one more practice is we wanted to be able to take this film and be able to learn from it.”

More coverage:

5 things to watch at Memphis football’s spring game

Memphis eager to return to Liberty Bowl for spring game

Memphis’ Jonathan Cook showing versatility this spring

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