Raider’s Ready for Honolulu

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With time between Middle Tennessee’s last regular season game against Florida Atlantic and when the Blue Raiders head to the Aloha Bowl in Hawaii, they have had plenty of time to get some needed rest and relaxation.

After getting a season-ending 77-56 win over FAU on Nov. 26, the Raiders took some time to get off the football field.

“We played FAU, had a team meeting that Sunday, then we had Monday and Tuesday off of that week and they lifted and ran Wednesday, Thursday and Friday,” head coach Rick Stockstill said. “We practiced that Saturday then met Sunday and found out we were going to Hawaii. And this week they’ve lifted and ran around their exam schedule, which ended Thursday.”

The Blue Raiders may not have been on the practice field since the FAU game, but they have still been working out to keep their bodies in peak condition.

“Coach Spray has us lifting every day this week, and we came in around our exam schedule,” redshirt sophomore Richie James said. “So far we’ve just been lifting weights, going to classes and taking exams.”

Even with all of the off the field things players have to handle at the end of the semester, like classes, exams and thinking about the upcoming break, they are working hard to try and keep football on their minds.

But, according to James, that comes after the focus they have to put into the classroom.

“You just have to understand that school is first,” he said. “You have to think about school, and then you can start thinking more about football.”

Middle Tennessee will get back to regular practice work Friday, 10 days before departing for Honolulu.

Since they haven’t been in pads in almost two weeks, the first few days of practice will be a little slower than a regular one in the middle of the season.

“The first couple of days will kind of be easing back in, but the practices won’t be as long,” Stockstill said. “We want to get re-acclimated and get to running again, and go through our base offense and defense. On Sunday we’ll start implementing the game plan.”

When the Blue Raiders make the trip to Hawaii on Dec. 19, they will hopefully have a lot of their game plan worked out. Then, according to Stockstill, they will try to get used to playing in Aloha Stadium ahead of Christmas Eve’s contest.

“I always try to get most of our work in here, but we’ll still have a full week out there to practice,” he said. “I want to do a little bit Monday when we get there to get the jet out of us, but the heavy hitting and all that will take place here.

“We’ll also work with the younger guys here who are redshirting and aren’t playing much, which will be beneficial to them going into spring practice.”

As Christmas Eve nears and the Aloha Bowl inches closer, the Raiders are just excited to be back on the playing field, even if it is in a practice capacity.

“I’m ready to get back out there with my brothers,” James said. “We have another opportunity to get better and to try and win a game.”

The Aloha Bowl between Middle Tennessee and the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors is scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. CT on Dec. 24. The game will be shown nationally on ESPN.

Practice Schedule
Friday: 2:30 PM
Saturday: 9:00 AM
Monday: 1:50 PM
Tuesday: 1:50 PM
Wednesday: 1:50 PM
Thursday: 1:50 PM
Friday: 1:50 PM
Saturday: 9:50 AM
Sunday: Off
Monday: Travel to Honolulu