Running Backs Coach Reno Ferri (left) on sidelines with Dassin Blackwell.
Courtesy: Brad Messina
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Running Backs Coach Reno Ferri (left) on sidelines with Dassin Blackwell.
| @Towson_FB Practices In Shoulder Pads
Courtesy: Athletics Media Relations  
Release: 04/02/2013

TOWSON, Md. - On Tuesday morning, the Tigers practiced in shoulder pads for the first time this spring.

A practice with full pads brings a smile to Coach Rob Ambrose's face. He says, "Nothing sounds better than the sound of pads against pads. To me, it sounds like football."

The Tigers have a number of areas where there are vacancies but the offensive backfield isn't one of them. Running backs Coach Reno Ferri has a veteran group competing for carries.

With Sterlin Phifer, Trea Jones and All-American Terrance West back in the fold, the competition for playing time will be intense.

"All of these guys are motivated," says Ferri, who is starting his third season with the Tigers. "If they are complacent, we will get some guys in here who want to play. All of them know there are a limited number of carries available. Each of them has strengths and weaknesses but we have some really good material."

Although the Tigers have plenty of depth returning, Coach Ferri laments the loss of Dominique Booker. One of the leaders of the Tigers' back-to-back Colonial Athletic Association championship teams, Booker graduated in May.

"I miss him a lot," says Ferri. "He was one of the brightest players I've ever coached. Honestly, I've been trying to recruit him to become a coach. He keeps saying no - but I keep asking."

A two-time All-American, West ran for 1,046 yards and scored 14 touchdowns last year. Phifer battled through injuries but finished the season with 246 yards on 44 carries. Jones was also slowed by injuries and ran for 38 yards on nine carries.

However, Ferri knows that every good team needs more than one good running back.

The Tigers' ground game has also been enhanced by the presense of fullbacks Emmanuel Holder and Dreon Johnson. Both of them did well as freshmen. Holder even earned honorable mention Freshman All-America notice.

"Right now, Emmanuel is the only one healthy so he is getting a lot of work," says Ferri. "Last year, our fullbacks didn't have a great start but they came on strong by the end of the year. Emmanuel really looks good in the spring and he should have a good year."

The Tigers return to the practice field on Thursday morning at 5:30 a.m.


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