The season opener against Alabama A&M is still two weeks away but it looked a lot like game day activities during Saturday morning’s Middle Tennessee football practice.
Blue Raider Head Football Coach Rick Stockstill put his team through a dress rehearsal of sorts at Floyd Stadium in preparation of the Sept. 3 opener. Kickoff is 6 p.m.
It has become customary throughout Stockstill’s career to conduct what is called the “Beanie Bowl” each year. The purpose is to put the Blue Raiders through every situation possible during the scripted scrimmage.
“It was a scripted practice where we went through different kicking plays that can occur in a game from onsides to hands teams to kick after a safety, a return after a safety, a regular kickoff, kickoff return punt safe and punt block,” Stockstill said.
“Then we put the first-team offense against the second-team defense in certain situations during a 10-play drive.”
Not only did players go through the pregame and various situations created by the coaching staff but the Blue Raider offensive and defensive scout teams represented the Alabama A&M offense and defense, respectively.
Attention to detail was prevalent throughout the scrimmage, from prior to kick-off when Stockstill addressed where players would be on the sideline, to the flip of the coin and other various situations throughout the nearly three-hour workout. Coaches wore headsets and relayed the plays onto the field from the press box. Officials were working the field and replay officials were in the booth.
As important as the run-through is for the players, Stockstill says it is equally important for the coaches.
As important as the run-through is for the players, Stockstill says it is equally important for the coaches and everyone who is involved with the program during the course of the game.
“A lot of times people think this is just for the players but this is a very valuable practice for our coaches as well,” said Stockstill. “We work on everything from the pregame warm-up to the coin toss. It’s all very important and we want to make sure everybody knows what to do during any type of situation.”
Plays went according to a pre-determined script regardless of what the outcome of a particular play may have been.
“No matter what happened on the play, whether it was a 40-yard gain or a 10-yard sack, we moved the ball on the next play to a different situation,” said Stockstill. “We did this so our coaches can call a game with 2nd-and-5, 3rd-and-2 or whatever, while also working in various kicking situations. Everybody had to be alert and attentive on the sidelines with our substitutions.”
Players even went through pre-game warm-ups and were sent out to the field in their respective groups, as will be the case on game days. They went through the entire Game Day routine and conducted warm-ups in their Game Day areas.
Fall camp concluded with Saturday’s practice as classes begin for students Monday.
For more on the “Beanie Bowl,” or other Blue Raider Football news, click here.