Memphis Express Daily Update
- The Express started practice at 10:15 am CT on Thursday at S.T.A.R. Soccer Complex.
- Thursday marked the first of two joint practices this week. The Express met the Atlanta Legends for the final hour of Thursday's practice, competing in 7-on-7s, line drills, 11-on-11, two-minute drills, and overtime situations.
- On three consecutive plays during the first segment of 11-on-11 work, QB Christian Hackenberg (Penn State) delivered completions, first finding WR Fabian Guerra (Fairmont State) tumbling over the middle. Hackenberg and Guerra connected again on the following play, for another diving first down catch. Hackenberg finished the string with a throw to WR Chris Givens (Wake Forest).
- QB Brandon Silvers (Troy) found WR Drew Morgan (Arkansas) on a completion to set up a touchdown strike high-pointed by WR Xavier Rush (Tulane) over a defender in coverage.
- RB Rajion Neal (Tennessee) turned a pair of consecutive runs into a touchdown in red zone work, lowering his shoulder to deliver a bone-rattling hit on a defensive back. Neal took the next carry seven yards for six.
- LB DeMarquis Gates (Ole Miss) showed good awareness and timing to tip a pass away on Atlanta's first two-point conversion attempt, preserving a lead for the Express.
- QB Zach Mettenberger (LSU) fared the best of the Express quarterbacks in the two-minute drill, completing three passes to WR Fabian Guerra (Fairmont State) for 28 yards and a 40-yard connection to WR Chris Givens (Wake Forest).
- CB Justin Martin (Tennessee) helped the Express finish the day on a high note, intercepting a fade in the end zone during the second set of overtime plays. Following the turnover, QB Brandon Silvers (Troy) found WR Pig Howard (Tennessee) inside the five to set up a RB Kenny Hilliard (LSU) touchdown run bounced to the outside.
- Head Coach Mike Singletary on the team's first action against an opponent: "It was okay. It was exciting to see the guys compete. It was exciting to get something on film that we can really teach from, from somebody that we haven't seen before. That part will be good."
- Head Coach Mike Singletary on correcting mistakes: "I have to remember that some of these guys have never played on the professional level. Maybe some of these guys have never played on a good team. It's just taking a group of guys with a limited time to shape and mold, and helping them understand how important it is to do their job. All the other stuff, we don't have time for that. It's just getting us to be professionals, getting us to that point. We've got some work to do, but thankfully we come out tomorrow and have another opportunity, so I'm excited about that."
- Head Coach Mike Singletary on the team's strong finish: "It's always good to finish strong. We were able to keep some kind of composure and come out of it feeling good about some of the things we saw."
- WR Fabian Guerra (Fairmont State) on his thought process through camp: "I've been waiting for this moment for two years. I've been working hard, keeping my head down, grinding, and waiting for a moment like this, to catch passes from Hackenberg after seeing these guys in the league last year. It's a dream come true. I keep my head down, grind, learn everyday, and when it's my chance, make a play."
- WR Fabian Guerra (Fairmont State) on being coached by Mike Singletary: "It's crazy just to be getting coached by a hall of famer. I look up to him. I'm blessed that he gave me an opportunity to play. He's right, we can't be fighting. It's football. It's a game of controlling your emotions and taking it out on the field during the play. We've got to fix that."
- CB Justin Martin (Tennessee) on the defense's performance: "At first we were riled up to be playing a new team, seeing new looks for the first time. At the end, we brought the defense up. We got calmed down, slowed down, and played football like we're used to."
- CB Justin Martin (Tennessee) on Coach Singletary's speech to the team at the end of practice: "Whenever Coach Singletary talks you soak it up, because he's one of the greatest football players to ever play. When he says something, you want to listen and take it in, because he's not telling you anything that could hurt you. It's all for the betterment of the team."
Images from this story
Channing Stribling of the Memphis Express (left) in a joint practice with the Atlanta Legends
Memphis Express take on the Atlanta Legends in a joint practice
Zac Stacy of the Memphis Express runs through the Atlanta Legends during a joint practice
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