The University of Memphis football team will have their first open scrimmage of spring practice at Father Ryan High School in Nashville 3 p.m. Saturday.
This is the second consecutive Saturday in which coach Mike Norvell’s squad will hold a scrimmage. However, last weekend’s was closed to fans and media. The scrimmage, which will be free for all fans, is the first to be held outside of Memphis.
Memphis football began spring practice March 22. As of Friday, the Tigers have completed seven of its NCAA allotted 15 practices, one of which was a closed scrimmage last Saturday. Spring practice concludes with “Friday Night Stripes”, Memphis’ annual spring football game, April 22 at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.
Norvell, who took over for former coach Justin Fuente when he left to take the Virginia Tech job in December, will hope to build off Memphis’ success in 2014 and 2015. The Tigers won a combined 19 games in the last two seasons, the most in any two-year stretch in program history.
One of the key position battles, arguably the most important one, that will continue at Saturday’s scrimmage is the starting quarterback job, now vacant due to Paxton Lynch’s departure for the 2016 NFL Draft. Norvell has said on several occasions he does not plan on naming a starter until fall, and for the time being it remains a three-horse race between redshirt junior transfer Riley Ferguson, redshirt freshman Brady Davis and redshirt senior Jason Stewart.
Also in last week’s scrimmage the Tigers’ defense, coached by new defensive coordinator Chris Ball, had the edge, according to Norvell. Norvell also said there was some confusion between the quarterbacks and wide receivers on offense.
In addition, the U of M Alumni Association will host a pre-game tailgate at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. Free hot dogs and soda will be available. For those who would like to RSVP, email AlumniAssociation@memphis.edu or call 901-678-2586.
University of Memphis football coach Mike Norvell giving instructions during spring practice. Norvell took over the departing Justin Fuente last December.