Thursday, September 1, 2005
NASHVILLE --- Opening night is nearing for the Tennessee State University football team and the Tigers have been a busy group since practice began three weeks ago. New TSU coach James Webster has put his squad through what he has called "a tough training camp." The Tigers broke camp following last Saturday night and enjoyed an off day on Sunday before beginning game week preparations on Monday. "It was very tough and challenging camp, but I am proud of the way that the players made progress and worked," said the new Tigers' mentor. "We had some very good practices, and we will be a team that will play hard and compete." TSU enters the new season coming off a 4-7 campaign. After opening the season with three consecutive victories, including an impressive 42-7 triumph over A&M in the John Merritt Classic, TSU would win just once in the final eight contests. The Tigers will be hosting Alabama A&M for the second straight year in the Seventh Annual John Merritt Classic when the teams battle on Saturday night. After dropping the opening game, A*M rebounded to win seven of their next 10, and will bring a four-game winning streak into the opener. "I have heard (A&M) coach (Anthony) Jones say that his team was not ready to play last season," said Webster. "We know they will be very ready this year and hopefully our young men will respond to the challenge against a fine football team." The Tigers escaped the training camp without any serious injuries, but did have "the normal bumps and bruises," according to Webster. TSU will not play at home following the opener until Oct. 22 in an Ohio Valley Conference contest against two-time defending champion Jacksonville State. ************************** Tickets for the Seventh Annual John Merritt Classic remain on sale. For information telephone (615) 963-5841 or visit the Tickets section on the website.