Tigers' Offense Looks to Veterans for Success
Tennessee State head football coach James Webster and his staff are gearing up for players to report for the 2008 preseason practice.
Players are scheduled to report on Saturday, August 2, 2008. Freshmen and new players are set to report on campus at 2:00p for physicals with veterans set to report at 4:00p. The first day will involve physicals and various meetings.
On Sunday, August 3rd, the Tigers will continue with morning meetings and take team and individual photos in the afternoon. Media and fans are welcome to capture Tiger photos during “Picture Day” in Hale Stadium from 5:00-6:00p.
On Monday, August 4th, the players will take the practice field for the first of twenty-five scheduled practice sessions prior to their season opener at Alabama A&M on Labor Day weekend, August 30th. Tennessee State will play a twelve game schedule in 2008, which includes “Classic” games against Jackson State, Southern and Florida A&M.
The 2008 TSU football team returns twenty of twenty-six starters, including preseason All-Ohio Valley Conference selections Javarris Williams (RB), Chris Johnson (WR), Cornelius Lewis (OL) and Remond Willis (LB).
The Tigers’ offense returns as the OVC’s top rushing offense (210.8 ypg) and will return four of five starters on the offensive line. Running back Javarris Williams begins his senior season as the OVC’s top returner in rushing yards, all-purpose yards and touchdowns. His 3,292 career rushing yards, ranks second on the TSU career rushing list and is third most among active FCS players nationally. Williams is tabbed by some sources as the preseason OVC “Offensive Player of the Year”. Wide receiver Chris Johnson returns as the OVC’s top receiver and is expected to be on the receiving end of passes from quarterback Antonio Heffner, who looks to return to league-leading form after suffering a broken leg last season. Heffner passed for 1,486 yds and 10 touchdowns in seven games and led the OVC in passing and total offense until that time.
The TSU defense is poised for improved performance in 2008, with the appointment of coach Rod Reed as the defensive coordinator. Reed previously coached the Tigers’ defense as coordinator when TSU led the OVC in defense (2003). Top returning players are linebackers Remond Willis and Kalvin Baker, the top returning tacklers from last season. The defensive backfield looking to replace departed NFL first-rounder Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, has a core of veteran starters in senior Larry Williford and junior Anthony Levine.
-- See Attached Practice Schedule --