New coach takes Titans to LP Field for run through

Mike Munchak is a Hall of Fame offensive lineman and a veteran

assistant coach with years of experience. Yet, even he wants a

little dry run before his first exhibition game as a new head

coach.

Munchak capped the first week of training camp Saturday by

taking his Titans to LP Field for a practice billed as a mock game.

It offered a nice run through for the exhibition opener Aug. 13

against Minnesota and a thank you to the 4,100 fans who turned out

on a wet day.

”It’s for the fans to give them an opportunity to come out to

the stadium, to get the players back over here realizing this is a

home field we have to start taking advantage of again, all the

newness with the coaching staff, the players,” Munchak said of his

reason for coming to the stadium.

His assistants worked from the press box, and coaches used the

same headsets for communication as during games. The public address

announcer called out the plays, and even T-Rac the mascot was on

hand.

Munchak scheduled the day to mimic a game day with a pregame

meal four hours from kickoff before taking the team to the stadium

for taping and stretching.

But the threat of rain forced Munchak to start off the session

30 minutes early to squeeze all the work in before another round of

storms hit. That meant many fans came in with the Titans already

working, but the timing wound up nearly perfect.

The Titans wrapped up the practice and had 30 minutes for

players to sign autographs for fans before the rain started again.

The rain was so heavy early that new quarterback Matt Hasselbeck

thought the session might be canceled.

”No one was affected by it here,” Hasselbeck said. ”This is

real rain. I’ve been in Seattle where it rains a little. This is

like that sideway rain at times.”

Hasselbeck said offensive coordinator Chris Palmer wanted to

make sure the quarterbacks, receivers, tight ends and running backs

all worked through their pregame routine to be ready.

”I think for everybody it was just a good first step, the

mechanics of it. We talked about doing halftime and just doing all

those kinds of things knowing where to line upa and stretch,”

Hasselbeck said.

The Titans started off the session with a real kickoff. But the

90 minutes on the field focused on 4-minute, 2-minute, red zone,

first-and-10, backed up at the goal line, 2-minute at the end of

games and 2-point plays.

Hasselbeck was intercepted twice, first by Alterraun Verner who

stepped in front of Yamon Figurs, and then by Frank Walker who had

a ball tipped to him in the end zone by safety Michael Griffin.

Hasselbeck later found Nate Washington for a touchdown.

Rookie Jake Locker, the No. 8 pick overall, also had his ups and

downs.

Backed up at his own goal line, Locker threw a pass too low for

Herb Donaldson to catch and came back with a 20-yard dart to tight

end Cameron Graham for a would-be first down. Locker also had a

pass picked off by Pete Ittersagen at the goal line, while finding

Michael Preston twice for TDs near the end.

Locker said it was nice to get into the stadium, especially for

rookies to know what to expect in a week.

”I feel like guys will be able to play with more confidence

because they know the routine. They know what to expect when they

get here, and they won’t be wondering,” Locker said.

The Titans offered free parking Saturday and $1 hot dogs at the

concession stands as an outreach to fans.

Brandon Roser made the three-hour drive with his family from

Dyersburg to take advantage of the practice and so his 6-year-old

son, Cooper, could see his new favorite player in Locker. Roser

said he’s glad the NFL is back at work after the lockout and likes

the changes the Titans have made.

”I like they’re starting over with a new quarterback,” Roser

said.

NOTES: LT Michael Roos (back) could have practiced, but Munchak

said Roos will be back Monday. … WR Kenny Britt (right hamstring)

also watched but is also expected to return Monday. … CB Jason

McCourty did not practice. Munchak said McCourty got his head

banged a bit Friday. … Rookie P Chad Cunningham (right leg) also

did not practice.