Anyone who saw my message board idiots post knows what I think about Memphis. Their football program is a relative joke, and very few of their "fans" care about the sport. Still, they beat us two years in a row in 2003 and 2004., so it's not as if their program is one at whom our program should scoff.
But that's neither here nor there. This Rebel team is out for blood, and they're going to punch Memphis in the mouth in a totally legal and non-Blountian manner.
My analysis follows after the jump.
Instead of going through the matchups, something I did last season that I thought was pretty static and uninteresting, I'm just going to hit some talking points with this post. I think that's probably the best way to go about these for teams I don't really care too much about.
Our run blocking has not suffered. Only our pass blocking has. We can still run very well. - Memphis might be able to get pressure on Jevan, but they're not going to be able to bottle up the run. Last year, we struggled running up the middle against Memphis, but I think that was just because our offensive line was still adjusting to new schemes, etc. Brandon Bolden, Cordera Eason, Dexter McCluster, Enrique Davis and Tim Simon should all get carries, and I think all of them will have some success. We're going to have to be able to rely on our running game early in the season while our new offensive linemen adjust to pass-blocking.
Jevan Snead escapability and quick release - While jevan will probably have more pressure put on him than he did last year, he's a good QB under pressure. Jevan's combination of mobility in the pocket and a Marino-like quick release allow him to get plays off before pockets collapse. This strength of Jevan's is going to go a long way in masking what could be a big hole on our offensive line.
Dexter McCluster is "undefendable" with Memphis' roster of defense - Even Tommy West admits that no one on their team can consistently tackle Dexter McCluster. Dexter's level of athleticism is totally unmatched by Memphis, and I expect us to exploit that. I think he'll see at least 14 touches on offense. It could be even more than that if we go to the Wild Rebel a good bit. It's so difficult to predict how often we will use that formation.
Memphis replaces four OL starters and three DL starters - Yeah. You read that right. They have one starter returning on each line. I pity the Memphis offensive line. They're about to get rocked. Oh, also, if we haven't harped on this enough, their starting right tackle weighs 265 pounds. That's smaller than Marcus Tillman. Our DL is going to have a lot of fun.
Last season's game - Last year, we killed Memphis. Chris Bowers played most of the fourth quarter, and the Tigers were able to make the score look a bit more respectable. Remember, we had not come together as a team yet at that point. We looked pretty bad against Samford only two weeks later. If we had played Memphis in November, we would have beaten them by at least 21 points.
Ed Orgeron was 3-0 against them - Don't forget this. Ed Orgeron, who many people claim was the worst coaching hire in SEC history, never lost to Tommy West. West even had DeAngelo one of those years, but he couldn't get it done. Curtis Steele is a pretty good halfback for Memphis, but he's no DeAngelo Williams.
Houston Nutt is 11-0 in his last eleven games against non-BCS opponents - Houston Nutt gets it done in games against vastly inferior teams. While many people have pointed out that he loses some games he should win (a point I don't dispute), he doesn't lose those games to teams that have no business being on the same field as his team. He loses them to BCS conference schools.
Carlos Singleton and Duke Calhoun are freakishly tall. - There's really not a corner on our roster who could compete with Calhoun or Singleton when a well-placed floater dropped into coverage. However, that's probably not too big of a concern with Hall at quarterback. While, he's certainly not bad, I don't see him handling pressure well when waiting for the few deep routes Memphis calls to develop. That brings me to another point. Tommy West doesn't use the right. He throws bubble screens to a 6'8" receiver who isn't shifty and asks him to make a big play. I read that this year West will finally put both of those guys on the field at the same time to stop safeties from cheating over to whichever one of them is on the field. That should help them a lot, but I don't think it's enough to make up for improper use.
Their offensive line isn't as important to their offense as ours is to us. - Memphis runs a quick-release offense, and they don't rely on their offensive linemen holding up for 3 or 4 seconds. However, Texas Tech showed that even quick release offenses can be screwed up with pressure. While we may not get many sacks, I don't thin Hall will feel comfortable in the pocket, and that's the last thing you want in a quarterback who is prone to making poor decisions.
Rebs by 14. Starters rest sporadically during the fourth; for good for the last 5 minutes.
That's my prediction. What's yours?