As the 2019 football season approaches, the Memphis Tigers prepare for their clash with the Ole Miss Rebels. The Tigers lost their second straight title game to UCF last year and are now looking for ways to get past that mark. While the defense has been the highlight of fall practices for their major improvements on the line, the offense also offers three key players who will set the tone for this season.
Quarterback Brady White has returned to the Tigers after posting over 3,000 passing yards and 26 touchdowns with only nine interceptions. During the off-season, White set goals for himself to help him improve. He not only gained extra weight to absorb hits and get stronger throughout his body and improved his arm strength, but also bonded more with his teammates.
“The biggest thing was growing with my teammates and forming that brotherhood, getting closer with them off the field, which only helps us on the field as well,” White said.
White said he thought this off-season went more smoothly than last year.
“Last off-season was a quick one because I was rushed here and I had to learn not only plays but everyone on the team as well, but now I know everyone and we’ve been training non-stop so we all can accomplish our goals,” White said.
With less pressure on him during the off season, White looks to become a more vocal quarterback, improve the deep ball and get rid of the turnovers.
Patrick Taylor Jr.
After following behind Darrell Henderson last year, Patrick Taylor will be the new face of the running back group. Taylor had an outstanding season last year, rushing for over 1,000 yards and recording 16 touchdowns. During the off-season, Taylor took the time to work on vision and knowing where to go and what hole to hit.
“I really worked on attention to detail and knowing where I have to go during pass protection and stuff like that,” Taylor said.
Taylor wants to help his team out any way possible. One aspect he wants to focus on is consistency as a running back, which means constantly gaining positive yardage and moving the chains. Some expect Taylor to achieve that 1,500 yard threshold on ground and hit the same if not more touchdowns as last season.
After a season where he was the number one receiver, Damonte Coxie is clearly a threat to opposing teams. He reached 1,000 yards receiving on 72 catches and 7 touchdowns. On a team where the running backs starred last season, Coxie had to pick his spots during the season on getting the ball. The main issue Coxie worked on this off season was his health.
“Going on my fourth year at Memphis, we do a lot of lifting and conditioning,” Coxie said. “So I wanted to make sure my body was in the best condition for this upcoming season.”
He has worked out with White and other receivers so they all can get closer as a team and get better on the field.
“We worked a little bit on timing and stuff, and I feel like we grew closer and hope that leads to more,” Coxie said.
I see a big season out of this three-headed monster. This team will be a fun one to watch as they were last season, but there is a different feeling about this year. They all have grown closer as an group. All three players are on award watch lists for their specific position. The team is projected to win the West division again for third straight year. The question of whether the Tigers’ training will pay off or not will be determined in their upcoming game against Ole Miss on Aug. 31. Football is back, Tiger nation!