Intense action on first day of full pads at Express camp
By Dylan Rubino, Memphis Express Team Reporter
SAN ANTONIO — “We will not have that here. We have a lot of work to do in a hurry.”
That’s what Memphis Express head coach Mike Singletary said to his team after practice after a scrum broke out between the offensive and defensive line toward the beginning of the day.
It was the first day of full pads at Express camp Wednesday morning as the players came out with excitement, energy and aggression.
Skirmishes and scrums were expected on an intense day of full pads, but Singletary wants to see more discipline from his players going forward. Singletary made his team run after practice as a result.
“Chances are in the early going in pads, tempers will flare a little bit,” Singletary said. “If they don’t allow it in the games, we can’t allow it out here. We all have to come together. If it happens again, we’ll run more. Hopefully the message gets across that way.”
The training room at Cornerstone Christian High School was packed as players lined up to get taped and receive their full pads. The excitement of full pads since players got off the bus and entered the locker room.
There was an extra jolt in energy and every player felt the same way.
“It was great to put the pads on today. There was a lot of energy,” linebacker Davis Tull said. “Obviously putting the pads on is a different feeling and you got to get used to it for some the guys that have been out of football for a while.”
“It felt great for me, especially for me since I’ve been out of football for a full year,” offensive lineman Dallas Thomas said. “It’s good to get the kinks out. Feels great.”
Singletary said after practice Tuesday afternoon that the players get excited to put the pads on until they actually strap it on. The players looked forward to making a name for themselves.
“It’s just a lot of testosterone out there,” Thomas said with a laugh. “It’s just who’s the biggest and who’s the baddest. Coach got it out of us afterwards because we ran for it. I don’t think there will be anymore of that.”
One of the early standouts from camp on the defensive side of the football is Tull. Coming out of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Tull played three seasons in the NFL with the Saints, Falcons and Rams. Tull is the Southern Conference’s all-time sack leader with 37.0 and was the conference defensive player of the year in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Now back in his home state of Tennessee, Tull looks to make another run at professional football in the state he knows best.
“There’s a lot of good talent here,” Tull said. “I was fortunate enough to get three seasons in the NFL. I’ve been around it and we got some really good talent so it’s good to go against it.”
From today and throughout the rest of training camp, the intensity will pick up and names will be heard as the pads clash each day.
“There was some guys that came alive a little bit. It’s good to hear the thud of the pads. I like that,” Singletary said.
- Quarterback Troy Cook looked sharp throwing the football today in situational drills. Cook connected with wide receiver Ryan Timmons on a go-route for 30 yards down the right sideline.
- Running backs Rajion Neal and Kenny Hilliard looked sharp hitting the holes up the middle and catching passes out of the backfield. Hilliard hit a big run up the middle towards the end of the day.
- Linebacker Dale Warren stood out on defense and made some big plays in the opposing backfield.