Memphis, TN-By the time Saturday evening rolls around, the other nine members of the American Athletic Conference will have played their first games of the 2013 season. The Memphis Tigers however, will have a week to settle into what will be the routine of attending classes, study sessions and the time commitment of playing Division I football.
Tuesday marked the first practice of the week for the Tigers.
“Some good. Some bad,” summarized second-year head coach Justin Fuente of Tuesday’s practice. “We went and tried to get better today which is good. We have a long way to go. I think our guys are starting to get excited. I think they thought today was a little different. We’re getting closer to playing.
Memphis opens its season Sept. 7against Duke. The Blue Devils will play host to North Carolina Central on Saturday to open the season.
After breaking camp over the weekend, the Memphis team will continue to adjust to the school-year schedule this week. The open week culminates Saturday with a mock game walk-through as part of Fanfest at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.
“It’s kind of like the weather, it is what it is. You just have to go make the best of it,” Fuente said of the Tigers’ schedule and the open week to begin the season. “I think it will be good for some of our young guys to watch games (this weekend) and realize that seven days from now that it will be them. Other than that I don’t think they get much out of it other than getting to set back and watch some ball.”
With a later opener, Memphis actually began practicing later in August than most teams did. Just over a week and a half of practices remain before the Duke game and Fuente has stated he is happy the Tigers don’t play this week but has also said he likes the strides the team is taking.
“I like our attitude. I like our demeanor. Our work ethic is improving and so is the squad,” Fuente said. “It’s hard to put a finger on where we are at. I just know we are going in the right direction. “
Saturday’s Fanfest begins at 11 a.m. with face painting, balloon artists and inflatables for children. At 12 noon, fans will be able to enter the stadium and attend the walk-through. Following the practice, fans will be invited on the field at approximately 1:30 to get autographs and photographs with their favorite players.