Memphis and Vanderbilt, committed to separate conferences, decided to dedicate this friendly weekend to prepare for what lies ahead. The weekend worked out wonderfully in that regard and the Tigers clearly could see the good, the bad and the ugly of our current status. We decided on open subs and three 30 minute periods. We would use the period breaks for coaching opportunities, and would mix players to see them in different situations.
I knew we would be rusty, expecting handling errors, but was surprised to see tactical errors as well through the match. The holiday time off had certainly had degraded our skills.
However, there was a lot to be proud of. The set pieces were solid, the rucks were well executed for the most part. The biggest problem we faced was defensive alignment in the backline, along with tactical kicking and kick coverage. (We will sort that out this week.)
Another positive for the Tigers is the fitness of the first 22 players. It is obvious that many took the opportunity to improve their post season fitness and this gives us a base with which to work.
Vandy outscored the Tigers in the end, but we knew this was a possibility, since we worked so many new players into the match. Best v best would have worked out differently.
Phil Elliott our top scorer for last season led the day with 10 points, scoring tries in the first and third period and dropping a conversion. Josiah Shipley took a try in first period. Rookie Mark scored in the second period and Kasra Koleini completed the conversion while Phil was on break.
Three cheers to coaches Swat and Mimms who effectively managed the day while Coach Cole was convalescing.
Kennesaw State travels to Memorial field this Saturday for a 1:00 pm kickoff. Come out and watch the fireworks. Should be lively.