TOWSON, Md. - With only 15 days remaining before their season opener at Kent State on Thursday, August 30, the Tiger football team returned to the practice field on Wednesday for their 15th and 16th practices of the pre-season.
With each practice session, Running Backs Coach Reno Ferri unravels the situation in the Tiger backfield.
Last season, Coach Ferri was the newcomer on the Tiger coaching staff. As the team's Running Backs Coach, he enjoyed a tremendous first season as Towson led the Colonial Athletic Association by averaging 229.9 rushing yards per game.
Led by a dominant running game, Towson marched to a 9-3 record and its first-ever Colonial Athletic Association championship. Freshman Terrance West scored a school record 29 touchdowns and was named as the winner of the Jerry Rice Award.
Coach Ferri enters the 2012 season with a number of key performers returning in the backfield.
While West is the running back everyone knows, Coach Ferri points to senior Dominique Booker as a key to the Tigers' running game.
"Dominique knows everything he needs to know," explains Ferri. "He thinks and operates like a coach. Among the running backs, he is the most vocal and he keeps everyone focused. There's no question that he's in charge and the younger guys look up to him."
Booker's career statistics are not remarkable. He has played in 27 career games and has rushed for 801 yards with four touchdowns. He has caught 18 passes in his career for 169 yards and a touchdown.
However, whenever there is a big play to be made, Dominique Booker is there.
For instance, on the Tigers' legendary "4th-and-29" play at Old Dominion, quarterback Grant Enders and receiver Tom Ryan got all the credit. However, when you watch a replay, you will see Dominique Booker making a crushing block on defensive tackle Ronnie Cameron (the CAA Defensive Player of the Year) to enable Enders to make the throw.
Coach Ferri admits, "I've been around a lot of solid people in my coaching career and Dominique is as solid as any of them."
In addition to West and Booker, the Tigers return a pair of veterans in junior Sterlin Phifer and Trea Jones. Both of them are second-year players who are transfer students. Phifer came to Towson from Boston College while Jones is a transfer from Colorado.
Coach Ferri says, "Both of them are putting themselves in positions to get a lot of carries."
Clayton Minott, a red-shirt freshman, has also been making progress.
In addition, Coach Ferri has liked what he has seen from freshman fullback Emmanuel Holder.
"The veteran guys are doing what is expected," adds Ferri. "I like our talent level and our depth. But, you can never have too many running backs. Even though you might feel like you have a lot of depth, you can never have too much."Season tickets for Towson University football are on sale now by calling the Athletics Ticket Office at 1-855-TU-TIGER or going online to TowsonTigers.com. Season ticket packages begin at $55 per seat.