Opponent Watch 2018 - Memphis

(Patrick) #1

Memphis has added Keith Patterson and TJ Rushing to its football staff and will bring Will Hall aboard as well when a new NCAA rule allowing a 10th assistant coach takes effect next week.

The Tigers also announced they have promoted quarterbacks/tight ends coach Kenny Dillingham to offensive coordinator. Dillingham replaces Darrell Dickey, who left to become Texas A&M’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

Patterson will take over as linebackers coach while Rushing will coach defensive backs. Hall will be associate head coach and tight ends coach.

Patterson and Hall replace Dan Lanning and Marcus Woodson. Memphis coach Mike Norvell said Lanning and Woodson left to pursue other opportunities.

Georgia coach Kirby Smart said Tuesday that Lanning had accepted a position as outside linebackers coach on the Bulldogs’ staff.

(Cary) #2

They are the competition for the AACCG next year. Sucks we have to play them on the road. I have friends in Memphis, I may have to go to that game.

(Mike Higdon) #3

I almost always go to the Memphis game – except when it conflicts with Thanksgiving.

(Patrick) #4

Memphis may have found their Ferguson replacement:

(Patrick) #5

Memphis Commercial Appeal is doing a series previewing Memphis:

(Patrick) #6

There’s been flashes of good moments so far between Brady White, David Moore, Brady Davis and Connor Adair. But neither coach Mike Norvell nor offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham has been willing to give one a step above the other.

(Cary) #7

Memphis historically (at least since CUSA) has probably been the team that resembled UH the most, IMO. Great recruiting ground, insane team speed, urban university. They are a few years behind us in investing in their program, but they have always had ridiculous talent. I still hate D’Angelo Williams… I am sure they still hate the deadly combo of Keenum, Alridge, and Avery.

(Patrick) #8

Memphis Tigers
Head coach: Mike Norvell (10-3, second year)

2017 record and S&P+ ranking: 10-3 (20th)

Projected 2018 record and S&P+ ranking: 9-3 (42nd)

Five key points:

Despite relying heavily on freshman defenders, Memphis fielded its best team since the 1960s last fall.

The Tigers will likely regress, but maybe not as much as you think. Freshman defenders are now sophomores, and despite losing star WR Anthony Miller, most of the skill corps returns.

It’s been a while since UM had shaky QB play, and between blue-chip transfer Brady White and athletic sophomore David Moore, another strong starter will potentially emerge.

The aggressive defense was a bottle rocket, often capable of beautiful explosions and occasionally taking the owner’s hand off. Experience should mean fewer glitches.

The schedule is kind. S&P+ projects the Tigers as an underdog in only two games and suggests they’re still the safest bet in the AAC West.

(Patrick) #9

With eight returning starters on defense, the Tigers have their most experienced unit since coach Mike Norvell took over before the 2016 season. Ball said that helps breed a familiarity of what to expect and how to continue building on what they’ve done.

“This group is special when it comes to not being afraid to work,” Ball said. “Any time you’ve got that type of culture, you have a chance to be pretty good.”

(Patrick) #10

Final assessment
Some key faces have changed and the questions at quarterback are real, but if those questions can be answered, this team could win the AAC. There are a number of explosive skill players at running back and receiver to go along with an experienced offensive line. Memphis hasn’t ranked in the top 65 in scoring defense in two seasons under coordinator Chris Ball, but there is a load of experience back, and it won’t have to rely on so many freshmen this year. If Memphis finds a quarterback and the defense can take a step forward, it should be another big year for the Tigers.

(Patrick) #11

As you can tell, a strong-armed QB that can be taught how the offense attacks the defense and to make accurate throws off quick reads becomes very deadly in this scheme. The Tigers already have former Arizona State blue chip QB Brady White queued up to potentially be the next trigger-man if he can beat the competition of former 3-star David Moore and then hang on against another JUCO they have waiting in the wings.

This is run-centric football in which the QB is set up to produce huge numbers because he’s being asked to make simple reads and throws to athletes operating in a lot of space. Again, with the use of the TEs in the run game, and occasionally slipping past aggressive safeties on PA seam routes, the defense has to commit seven defenders near the box which leaves them four defenders to handle three receivers. Or in the double TE sets, three defenders to handle two receivers. That doesn’t leave much margin for error against a guy like Anthony Miller, who broke a lot of tackles in space over the last few years en route to 3590 career receiving yards and 31 touchdowns.

The 2018 squad has to replace Anthony Miller out wide and Riley Ferguson from behind center but returns both RBs, four starting OL (including All-AAC LT Trevon Tate), and is now working off multiple years of Norvell and Justin Fuente recruiting explosive players to feature in the spread. If Norvell can parlay that into Memphis’ first AAC title then he’ll be the next AAC coach to get snatched up by a P5 program.

(Paul Marlow) #12

Memphis may become a victim of their winning and have people trying to hire Norvell away during the season and causing a loss or two. We have seen this story play out before.

(Gerald) #13

If he is smart he will follow the lead of Coach Frost. Don’t make any grandiose statements and keep everything about the current team.