Memphis Tigers Football: 2015 Season Preview

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Oct 19, 2013; Memphis, TN, USA; Southern Methodist Mustangs wide receiver JaBryce Taylor (83) fumbles the ball after being tackled by Memphis Tigers defensive back Reggis Ball (39) during the fourth quarter at Liberty Bowl Memorial. Southern Methodist Mustangs defeats Memphis Tigers 34 – 29. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive Breakdown

And here is where we reach the bad news. The defense lost eight starters from last year, and they also have to deal with a new defensive coordinator in Galen Scott. Six of the back seven are gone, but we will get to the coverage problems in a minute.

Let’s start with the okay news. The defensive line is not in terrible condition. Jakson Dillon is back after nine tackles for a loss last year, three and a half sacks, and two forced fumbles. Latarius Brady and Ricky Hunter are also both back after seeing some action on the line last year. If somebody can step up at tackle, the line should be fine.

The linebackers? That’s a different story. Everybody is gone. Leonard Pegues and Noah Robinson will have to step up there after seeing some action last year, and there are other guys with experience but nobody who stands out. We’ll just have to wait and see here.

In the secondary, the top three corners are gone along with safety Fritz Etienne. Free safety Reggis Ball is at least back, and there are six other players on the roster who have in-game experience plus a few junior college transfers who can make an immediate impact. Among them, somebody will need to step up.

But if Scott installs a new system, coverage will suffer the most anyway. So expect the penetration up front to be okay, and expect the secondary to be decent, but there will be some confusion in coverages, particularly at linebacker. This year, the Tigers will be lucky to have a Top 25 defense.

At least, along with Elliott back, punter Spencer Smith is back as well after nailing 18 punts inside the 20 yard line last year. Special teams, junior college transfers, and a deep rotation from last year can help offset the losses that have come on defense.

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