Mike Norvell

Memphis football head coach Mike Norvell talks with reporters following practice. Memphis kicked off spring training Saturday.

The University of Memphis football team had their first official practice March 16. Despite the masses of people who attended because it was open to the public, the practice fields were full of players and coaches running through a wide array of drills.

Multiple coaches and players spoke with the media following the conclusion of practice and shared their excitement for what the spring would bring.

Changes to come along the offensive line

After losing key starters to their offensive line from last season, it’s clear that one of the primary objectives of this off-season is to retool their offensive line.

Offensive line coach Ryan Silverfield spoke with the media about the changes to his group but said he understands having depth will go a long way when determining starters.

“I love competition,” Silverfield said. “We’ve made moves to our offensive line, but we’ve got the ability to play anybody we want at all positions. Right now just because a player is the starting right tackle, that doesn’t mean you can’t get reps at right guard.”

Quarterback Brady White is ready to get back to work

After a good showing in his first season with the Tigers, starting quarterback Brady White seems like he’s more than ready to improve this upcoming season. To do that, he’ll have to overcome changes to both his offensive line and the offensive coaching staff.

White maintained a positive attitude when talking to the media and said he believes as he enters his second season, he’s more prepared.

“I’ve gotten more comfortable as a leader for this team,” White said. “It’s a lot more comfortable for me to have a full season with my teammates and to have grown with them. Not just as teammates, but off the field as brothers.”

Former Tiger Alan Cross is quickly taking to the team

Just a few months ago, Alan Cross was catching passes from Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, and now he’s a graduate assistant with the team. Even though he primarily played tight end during his time at Memphis and in the NFL, he’s assisting with the offensive line.

Cross spoke with the media to explain his decision to leave the NFL to pursue what he said has been his lifelong dream.

“I’ve always wanted to coach ever since I was a kid,” Cross said. “I never really dreamed about playing in the league. It sort of just happened. I’ve always had coaching in the back of my mind, so when I got my three years in, I knew I could retire.”

Cross played with the Memphis Tigers from 2012 to 2015 before joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In his three seasons with the team, he played in 36 games, had 13 career receptions, 105 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown.

As he enters his first season as  a part of the Tigers’ coaching staff, he said he was optimistic about his opportunity and just wants to help make the team better.

“I just hope that I can bring knowledge to the team,” Cross said. “I want to help guys get to the next level the right way.”

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