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2008 CFN Memphis Preview
Memphis DT Clinton McDonald
CollegeFootballNews.com 2008 Preview - Memphis Tigers
2008 CFN Memphis Preview
2008 Memphis Depth
2007 CFN Memphis Preview
2006 CFN Memphis
Head coach: Tommy West
8th year: 41-44
14th year overall: 72-72
Off. 22, Def. 26, ST 4
Lettermen Lost: 24
Ten Best Tiger Players
1. WR Duke Calhoun, Jr.
2. WR Carlton Singelton, Jr.
3. OT Brandon Pearce, Sr.
4. DT Clinton McDonald, Sr.
5. WR Maurice Jones, Sr.
6. FS Brandon Patterson, Sr.
7. OG Malcom Rawls, Jr.
8. LB Greg Jackson, Jr.
9. DT Freddie Barnett, Sr.
10. SS Tony Bell, Sr.
Aug. 30 at Ole Miss
CFN Prediction: 5-7
Sept. 6 Rice
Sept. 13 at Marshall
Sept. 20 Nicholls State
Sept. 27 Arkansas State
Oct. 2 at UAB
Oct. 10 Louisville
Oct. 18 at East Carolina
Oct. 25 Southern Miss
Nov. 1 OPEN DATE
Nov. 8 at SMU
Nov. 15 OPEN DATE
Nov. 22 UCF
Nov. 29 Tulane
CFN Prediction: 6-6
Sept. 1 Ole
Miss L 23-21
Sept. 22 at
UCF L 56-20
at Arkansas St
Marshall W 24-21
East Carolina L 56-40
So Miss W 29-26
W 59-52 3OT
New Orleans Bowl
Dec. 21 Memphis L 44-27
Although winning seven games and returning to the postseason was a
pleasant surprise, head coach Tommy West realizes that Memphis is not
going to contend for a league championship until it toughens up on
2007 Fun Stats:
The unit has been abysmal the last two seasons, responding poorly to
constant coaching changes and forcing the offense to air it out more
than the staff would like. West has changed coordinators again, hiring
former Miami assistant Tim Walton, who was also offered this job
following the 2006 campaign. He inherits a defense that has potential
up front, but needs a complete overhaul in the back seven. Defense is
one of West’s trademarks, which has made the last couple of years
especially maddening for the coach.
Last fall’s unexpected turnaround was a big boost to a program that had
reached a crossroads in the post-DeAngelo Williams era. The Tigers only
lose 14 seniors from that team, returning enough depth and experience to
be right back in the hunt for a mid-level bowl game. And with a little
help from the defense and a retooled backfield, the schedule just might
help usher Memphis into East Division contention.
What to watch for on offense: The Tigers feature a veteran
offensive line that believes it can be the most dominant in the West
era. Exactly who the group will be blocking for has yet to be
determined. Underappreciated QB Martin Hankins needs to be replaced
after throwing 43 touchdowns over the last two seasons. Since the
strength of the team is at wide receiver, the staff must uncover an able
distributor. Versatile Matt Malouf brings an interesting blend of run
and pass. The wild card, however, is JUCO transfer Arkelon Hall, a
former Washington State signee and one of the highest-rated pocket
passers of 2005. The running game has been ravaged by graduations,
defections, and injuries, creating opportunities for transfer Curtis
Steele, sophomore Jeremy Longstreet, and redshirt freshman Mike Davis.
What to watch for on defense: The strength of the Tiger defense
resides on a line that returns all four starters and is led by
all-league candidate Clinton McDonald, a penetrator from the inside.
The unit will need to be extra special to compensate for a back seven
that has holes at linebacker and is virtually defenseless versus any
passing game with a pulse. The Tiger defensive backs like to take
chances and play aggressively, accepting the occasional blown coverage
for takeaways that go the other way. Unfortunately for the defense, the
corners get burned regularly, but the momentum-changing plays have been
non-existent. Walton’s lofty goal for Memphis is to maintain that
frenetic, high-energy personality, while improving its tackling and
The team will be far better if… the defense generates more
pressure up front. After finishing 11th in the league in
sacks and tackles for loss, the talent is there for Memphis to spend
more time in opposing backfields. And so is the need. Saddled with a
suspect group of linebackers and defensive
backs, the Tigers need to make more plays up front before they even have
a chance of reaching the second and third levels.
The Tigers have as good a league schedule as they could reasonably ask
for with Southern Miss and UCF
coming to the Liberty Bowl, and getting Tulane and SMU from the West. If
they can get to November with a relatively decent record, they should be
fine with two off weeks in a three week span before finishing up with
UCF and Tulane. Tough dates against Ole Miss and Louisville are offset
by relative layups against Nicholls State and Arkansas State.
WR Duke Calhoun. On a program that’s flush with talented receivers,
Calhoun is the best of the group. An outstanding all-around athlete at
6-4 and 185 pounds, he has the speed to run past defensive backs and the
hops to soar above them on jump balls. A future pro, Calhoun paced
Memphis a year ago with 62 catches for 890 yards and five touchdown
Best defensive player: DT Clinton McDonald. The defensive catalyst
in every imaginable way, McDonald sets the tone up front and is a team
captain. Despite being just 6-3 and 265 pounds, he can beat double
teams with a quick first or with his underrated strength. The winner of
the offseason Iron Tiger Award given to the program’s most complete
athlete, he runs a 4.7 in the 40, squats up to 615 pounds, and can out
jump most of the receivers.
Key players to a successful season: The defensive backs. Memphis
needs more from its secondary. A lot more. In last year’s six losses,
the pass defense allowed 13 touchdowns and picked off just three passes,
routinely putting the Tigers in comeback mode. Although the front seven
has potential, for this defense to approach West and Walton’s
expectations, the defensive backfield must tighten up and create more
The season will be a success if ... Memphis contends in the East and
returns to a December bowl game. A spot in the Conference USA title
game would be nice, but it’s not a must for a school that’s still a step
behind UCF and East Carolina. If the Tigers can find some answers in
the offensive backfield and earn a second straight postseason invite,
they’ll have officially turned the corner on the 2-10 low point in 2006.
Oct. 18 at East Carolina. If the Tigers have any designs on winning the
division, it’ll help knocking off the Pirates, one of the two favorites
in the East. The Memphis defense has been shredded by East Carolina for
91 points over the last two seasons, a trend that has to be reversed if
the Tigers are going to engineer the upset in Greenville.
- Punt returns average: Opponents 17.8 – Memphis 9.4
- Average yards per carry: Opponents 5.1 – Memphis 3.8
- Fumbles: Opponents 21 (lost 13) – Memphis 13 (lost 4)