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C-USA Pre-Spring Preview - What Needs Work?
Southern Miss QB Austin Davis
Southern Miss QB Austin Davis
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Feb 18, 2011


Southern Miss and Austin Davis have to figure out how to win closer games, SMU needs to run the ball better, UCF has to throw the ball more efficiently, and EVERYONE needs to improve something defensively. The league should be as strong as ever, but there's plenty of issues. In the 2011 Conference USA Pre-Spring Preview - What Every Team Needs To Work On.

2011 Pre-Spring Preview   

What To Work On - C-USA


Click for each team's pre-spring lookback and lookahead
East UAB | UCF | East Carolina | Marshall | Memphis | Southern Miss
West  Houston | Rice | SMU | Tulane | Tulsa | UTEP

2011 Conference USA Pre-Spring Preview
- Conference USA Pre-Spring Rankings
- Why Every Team Should Be Excited
- Why Every Team Should Be Grouchy
- What Every Team Needs To Work On 

East

UAB 
Pass defense. The Blazer defensive backs will hit like linebackers, but can they cover the pass? Despite getting decent support from the pass rush, UAB was 104th nationally in pass defense and intercepted just nine balls.

UCF
Improving the efficiency of the passing game. QB Jeff Godfrey has a world of talent, but at this stage of his career, he’s a more reliable runner than thrower. The ground game is set, so it’ll be up to the quarterback to provide balance through the air.

East Carolina
Defense. The Pirates were a sieve in 2010, giving up at least 40 points on 10 different occasions. If this area can’t get resolved, true progress in Greenville will not be possible.

Marshall
The passing game. Conference USA has become a breeding ground for team’s that can air it out. It’s time Marshall joins them, and makes better use of its talented, young receivers.
 
Memphis
Turnovers. When you’ve got a dearth of talent, it’s imperative to protect the ball and do the little things well. The Tigers didn’t last year, ranking 118th in the country in turnover margin.

Southern Miss
Winning the close games. This was the difference in Hattiesburg between a good season and a great one. Each of Southern Miss’ last four losses was by six points or fewer.

West 

Houston
Run defense. The linebackers have range and quickness, but can often get overwhelmed at the second level. Houston yielded almost 200 yards a game on the ground, which wore the defense down.
 
Rice
The entire defense needs work, but especially the secondary. With no help from the pass rush, Rice gave up 34 touchdown passes and picked off just six balls.

SMU
Turnovers. The Mustangs have enough talent by Conference USA standards, but were saddled by mistakes last fall. They were 10th in the league in turnovers gained and lost, a huge reason why the team finished .500.

Tulane
Stopping the run. Gashed regularly, Tulane allowed almost 200 yards rushing a game and five yards a carry. Life doesn’t get any easier following the graduation of top interior lineman Justin Adams.

Tulsa
Pass defense. No one gave up more yards per game through the air than Tulsa, which also yielded 33 touchdown passes. It’s a good thing the defensive backs are ball hawks or else the situation on D would have been far worse.

UTEP
Getting to the passer. The defense was at a year-long disadvantage, trying to compensate for a front four that produced just 14 sacks and was 116th nationally in tackles for loss.
    
Click for each team's pre-spring lookback and lookahead
East UAB | UCF | East Carolina | Marshall | Memphis | Southern Miss
West  Houston | Rice | SMU | Tulane | Tulsa | UTEP

2011 Conference USA Pre-Spring Preview
- Conference USA Pre-Spring Rankings
- Why Every Team Should Be Excited
- Why Every Team Should Be Grouchy
- What Every Team Needs To Work On