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
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
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,”
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
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
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.