NASHVILLE — The unveiling of the 2019 Tennessee State Tigers football team came in the annual Blue and White Spring scrimmage at Hale Stadium Saturday afternoon.
The contest was a full-on scrimmage with 15 minute running clock quarters and no official scoring. The Blue offense and White defense trotted out in 7-personnel before the full 11-man squads took the field in the third quarter.
Head coach Rod Reed was satisfied with the flow of the game and happy to see no injuries took place on the slippery field after the light drizzle earlier in the day.
“I thought our kids played hard today and we saw what we wanted to see out of our 1’s and 2’s,” Reed said. “At the end, we did a little live contact and it was what we expected. We’re trying to find out who we can win with in the fall and that’s a big part of the spring. We had a pretty clean game and that’s what we were looking for.”
Michael Hughes started the game at quarterback for the Tigers, who saw his first pass attempt completed on the sideline thanks to a diving catch by wide receiver Robert Lilley-Sneed. The short drive fizzled out after an incompletion and short pass completion.
No special teams trotted onto the field on the first possession by either unit.
Cameron Rosendahl earned the second start at quarterback and looked comfortable both running the ball and inside the pocket. Rosendahl led the first scoring drive of the game the resulted in a field goal. Rosendahl was able to complete a pass to receiver Steven Newbold for the first first-down completion of the game.
Rosendahl was also able to orchestrate dynamic plays with a deep, back shoulder fade to Lawrence Segree and lengthy run on run-pass option that set up a score later in the third quarter.
“For me I think it’s just confidence in myself,” Rosendahl said. “How you get confidence is how you put in work. If you put in a good amount of work, you start feeling confident about yourself. I have nothing to lose and I always saw myself as an underdog. I just go out there and play and do me.”
Reed said he is excited about the quarterback situation. Demry Croft is coming off surgery, so he didn’t play in the Blue and White scrimmage. Reed said once Croft returns, he expects a competitive race.
Running back Te'Kendrick Roberson also received his first carry of the game on the drive, which was also the first run of the scrimmage. He rushed for two nifty runs on back-to-back plays when he was able to speed around the outside.
Roberson was the roommate of Christion Abercrombie, who was all smiles at the Blue and White game with friends and family. Abercrombie will announce the 5th-round draft pick of the Tennessee Titans during the NFL Draft on April 25-27.
Roberson said his goal of the game was to get into a rhythm.
“It felt good to get out here and compete,” Roberson said. “It has been a minute since the season. The game went good. We just kept it simple.”
The biggest highlight of the game arrived in the second quarter on an interception return for a touchdown by defensive end Justin Brown. Brown tipped the pass attempt by Hughes, hauled it in and raced to the end zone.
“It felt good,” Brown said. “All the hard work paid off. The coach put me in the right position and said get your hands up when you're out there. My teammates blocked for me and got the pick-6 and I was happy about that."
The goal was clear for each player on the team Saturday, and Brown spelled it out clearly.
“We still have a lot of work to do,” Brown said. “We just need to maintain and stay focused and become the OVC champions we want to be.”