Tigers, Southern Kick Off At Sept. 7, 11 a.m.

Tigers, Southern Kick Off At Sept. 7, 11 a.m.

UofM stays at home for first-time meeting against the Jaguars

by Phil Stukenborg

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – One week after a season-opening victory against Ole Miss at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, the University of Memphis stays home for another 11 a.m. kickoff.

Saturday’s opponent will be Southern University, a team the Tigers have never played and one that appears to present a formidable challenge. The Jaguars were picked to finish first in the SWAC West Division and placed six players on the preseason All-SWAC team.

“Our football team understands we’ve got a lot of work to do,” said Tigers coach Mike Norvell. “This is a critical week for our program in how we prepare and the focus we have in our improvement. We’ve got a team coming in that has talent. This Southern team is well coached. They have great play-makers across the board. We’re going to have to improve and truly focus on ourselves to play at the best of our ability.”

Memphis, the favorite to win its division in the American Athletic Conference, will be operating without one of its top players. Senior running back Patrick Taylor, injured in the second half of last weekend’s 15-10 victory over Ole Miss, will not play after gaining 128 yards in the opener.

Offensive coordinator Kevin Johns said it is “next man up” for the Tigers, who are looking to go 2-0 for third time in four seasons. Next man up means freshman Kenneth Gainwell should have a busier day than he did against Ole Miss.

Gainwell carried 16 times for 78 yards against the Rebels and was particularly effective during the final six minutes when the offense was able to run out the clock. He is also a dependable receiver out of the backfield. In five career games, he has 12 receptions for 98 yards.

But the Memphis offense will follow the lead of quarterback Brady White, who in 15 career games is tied for seventh in completions and eighth in touchdown passes and passing yards. Norvell said White “was efficient” in the opener and that he thought his quarterback “did a nice job.”

If the Tigers can provide White with better pass protection against Southern, Norvell expects even better results.

“In pass protection we have to do a better job of protecting our quarterback,” Norvell said. “We tried to move the pocket quite a bit, and even with that, with some protected plays we didn’t have ourselves in the right position. Brady wasn’t ever really able to set his feet. I think we were 75 percent of completion, or in that range.

“I thought he did a nice job in taking what they were giving us. At the end of the day we have to do a better job of giving him more time so we can push the ball further down the field.”

Defensively, the Tigers were solid against Ole Miss. They limited the Rebels 80 rushing yards and 173 overall. Defensive end Bryce Huff’s late fourth-quarter safety helped seal the win.

Southern dropped its opener to McNeese State, but is 50-30 under coach Dawson Odums, in his eighth season at the school.

The Jaguars could make things interesting for Tigers defensive coordinator Adam Fuller. Southern used two quarterbacks – Glendon McDaniel and Ladarius Skelton against McNeese State. McDaniel took the majority of the snaps and passed for 135 yards and a touchdown, while Skelton passed for 104 yards and two TDs.

“The quarterbacks can spin it around pretty well,” Norvell said. “You have to watch both of them. Both of them are capable with their legs. They present challenging schematic things that we’re going to have to face.

“I want to see our team play fast and with confidence, improving fundamentally with our techniques in the things we’re asking them to do. If we do that, I think we put ourselves in the best position to achieve success.”Tigers, Southern kick off at 11 a.m.

UofM stays at home for first-time meeting against the JaguarsPhil Stukenborg
Sep. 06, 2019 Football

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – One week after a season-opening victory against Ole Miss at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, the University of Memphis stays home for another 11 a.m. kickoff.

Saturday’s opponent will be Southern University, a team the Tigers have never played and one that appears to present a formidable challenge. The Jaguars were picked to finish first in the SWAC West Division and placed six players on the preseason All-SWAC team.

“Our football team understands we’ve got a lot of work to do,” said Tigers coach Mike Norvell. “This is a critical week for our program in how we prepare and the focus we have in our improvement. We’ve got a team coming in that has talent. This Southern team is well coached. They have great play-makers across the board. We’re going to have to improve and truly focus on ourselves to play at the best of our ability.”

Memphis, the favorite to win its division in the American Athletic Conference, will be operating without one of its top players. Senior running back Patrick Taylor, injured in the second half of last weekend’s 15-10 victory over Ole Miss, will not play after gaining 128 yards in the opener.

Offensive coordinator Kevin Johns said it is “next man up” for the Tigers, who are looking to go 2-0 for third time in four seasons. Next man up means freshman Kenneth Gainwell should have a busier day than he did against Ole Miss.

Gainwell carried 16 times for 78 yards against the Rebels and was particularly effective during the final six minutes when the offense was able to run out the clock. He is also a dependable receiver out of the backfield. In five career games, he has 12 receptions for 98 yards.

But the Memphis offense will follow the lead of quarterback Brady White, who in 15 career games is tied for seventh in completions and eighth in touchdown passes and passing yards. Norvell said White “was efficient” in the opener and that he thought his quarterback “did a nice job.”

If the Tigers can provide White with better pass protection against Southern, Norvell expects even better results.

“In pass protection we have to do a better job of protecting our quarterback,” Norvell said. “We tried to move the pocket quite a bit, and even with that, with some protected plays we didn’t have ourselves in the right position. Brady wasn’t ever really able to set his feet. I think we were 75 percent of completion, or in that range.

“I thought he did a nice job in taking what they were giving us. At the end of the day we have to do a better job of giving him more time so we can push the ball further down the field.”

Defensively, the Tigers were solid against Ole Miss. They limited the Rebels 80 rushing yards and 173 overall. Defensive end Bryce Huff’s late fourth-quarter safety helped seal the win.

Southern dropped its opener to McNeese State, but is 50-30 under coach Dawson Odums, in his eighth season at the school.

The Jaguars could make things interesting for Tigers defensive coordinator Adam Fuller. Southern used two quarterbacks – Glendon McDaniel and Ladarius Skelton against McNeese State. McDaniel took the majority of the snaps and passed for 135 yards and a touchdown, while Skelton passed for 104 yards and two TDs.

“The quarterbacks can spin it around pretty well,” Norvell said. “You have to watch both of them. Both of them are capable with their legs. They present challenging schematic things that we’re going to have to face.

“I want to see our team play fast and with confidence, improving fundamentally with our techniques in the things we’re asking them to do. If we do that, I think we put ourselves in the best position to achieve success.”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.