Rookie running back hits century mark in debut
University of Memphis head football coach Larry Porter met with the media on Monday for his weekly press conference. He discussed last week's loss to Marshall and ending the season at Southern Miss on Saturday.
University of Memphis head football coach Larry Porter met with the media on Monday for his weekly press conference. He discussed last week's loss to UAB and the upcoming home game against Marshall.
University of Memphis head football coach Larry Porter met with the media on Monday for his weekly press conference. He discussed the upcoming home game against UAB.
University of Memphis head football coach Larry Porter met with the media on Monday for his weekly press conference. He discussed last week's win at Tulane and the upcoming road game at UCF.
University of Memphis head football coach Larry Porter met with the media on Monday for his weekly press conference. He discussed last week's loss to East Carolina and the upcoming road game against Tulane.
Larry Porter returned to his alma mater for his first head coaching job, and was named the school's 22nd football coach on November 29, 2009. Porter played for the Tigers in the 1990s and received his degree from the U of M in 1996.
At the official press conference announcing his hiring, Porter's pride in his university stood out more than anything.
"The Memphis job is the perfect job in the perfect place for me," said Porter after being introduced by President Dr. Shirley Raines. "I am a living witness. I am a product of the University of Memphis. This is a great university and a great city, surrounded by quality people."
"I understand the Memphis brand, and I believe in it unconditionally," added Porter. "This football program deserves to be champions."
Porter inherited a program that was 2-10 in the previous season, and led the charge to motivate the team, the staff, the fans and the city of Memphis to "Invest In The Helmet."
"I want you to understand that we are all in this together," Porter said emphatically. "I do not want you to follow me. I want you to join me in taking Memphis football to the championship level, and I believe that it can be done."
Evidence of Tiger Nation "buying in" to Porter's vision of developing a championship culture could be seen in the city of Memphis investing in Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, the alums and administration investing in the weight room and the turf field as well as the players investing in every aspect of the program. Porter truly believes that the Tiger football program has unlimited potential. And, while great strides were made in 2010, there is still work to be done.
Several Tigers received recognition for their contributions in 2010, and the squad also made strides under Porter, including improvements in the classroom and dedicated efforts to community involvement. True freshman punter Tom Hornsey was named Memphis' first Freshman All-American by the Football Writers Association of America after tying or setting school records in punts and yardage. He was also a candidate for the Ray Guy Award, presented to the nation's top punter. Senior linebacker Jamon Hughes was one of five Tigers named to the All-C-USA team, and was Memphis' only first-team pick. Hughes ended the season ranked third nationally in tackles.
Porter set out with a no-nonsense approach to academics, and with the continued dedication and effort from Academic Services Director Dr. Joe Luckey and academic counselors Fred Quarles and Valorie Lott, the Tiger football program registered its highest team GPA since 2006 in spring 2010. In addition, two Tiger quarterbacks, Andy Summerlin and Ryan Williams, posted 4.0 GPAs in consecutive semesters. For the fall 2010 semester, Tiger football landed 21 student-athletes in the 3.0 Club.
"I have a conviction, a passion about it and a vision," said Porter. "I want a guy to leave here a better person than they are a football player. We are going to start out pursuing championships, and that is what it is going to be from start to finish."
A native of Jackson, Miss., Porter spent five years on the LSU coaching staff. He had also worked three years with LSU coach Les Miles at Oklahoma State before joining Miles in Baton Rouge in 2005. He coached the LSU running backs while also holding two key roles on staff assistant head coach and chief recruiter. Porter was elevated to the position of assistant head coach during the spring of 2006. He was twice (2007 and 2009) named as the National Recruiter of the Year by Rivals.com making him one of the top all-around assistant coaches in college football.
In three of his five seasons at LSU, the Tiger rushing unit averaged over 165 yards a game, including a high of 214 yards per game in 2007. That squad closed out the season ranked 11th nationally in rushing. From 2005-08, the Tigers totaled 108 rushing touchdowns, including 35 in 2007.
As LSU's running backs coach, Porter helped develop some of the finest players at that position in LSU's history. From 2005-09, LSU produced a 1,000-yard rusher twice Jacob Hester with 1,103 yards in 2007 and Charles Scott with 1,174 yards in 2008 as well as having five players (Hester, Joseph Addai, Quinn Johnson, Charles Scott, Trindon Holliday) selected in the NFL Draft.
In 2009, the LSU Tigers averaged 123 yards per game rushing and scored 15 of the team's 34 offensive touchdowns on the ground. Scott led LSU with 542 yards in nine games and scored four rushing touchdowns. Scott and Trindon Holliday were both selected in the 2010 NFL Draft, while Keiland Williams signed a free agent contract.
In 2008, LSU again had one of the top running games in the SEC as the Tigers rushed for 166.8 yards per game with Scott getting the bulk of the carries (1,174 yards on 217 attempts). Scott, who earned first team All-SEC honors in 2008, and Keiland Williams (417 yards, 2 TDs on 83 attempts) gave the Tigers one of the top "one-two rushing punches" in the league last year.
Porter and the Tigers had a "running back-by-committee" approach during the national championship season in 2007. Hester led all rushers with a career-best 1,103 yards and 11 touchdowns and was a second team All-SEC selection. He also posted four 100-yard rushing games, including a 120-yard effort against Tennessee in the SEC Championship Game. Williams was second on the squad with 478 yards and six scores, while Trindon Holliday was third with 364 yards and two touchdowns.
As a unit, LSU rushed for 214.1 yards per game and 35 touchdowns. The 214.1 yards per game and 35 rushing touchdowns both ranked second in the SEC. Another impressive feat for the Tiger running backs was the fact that they combined for 432 carries with just one lost fumble, which came against Tennessee in the SEC title game.
Following the 2007 season, Hester was picked in the third round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers. Hester became the fourth running back coached by Porter that has been selected among the first three rounds of the NFL Draft since 2004.
In 2006, Porter juggled running backs as the Tigers started four different players, including two true freshmen, at tailback. In 13 games, the Tigers had five different running backs lead the team in rushing. Hester led the Tigers in rushing with 440 yards and six scores. Hester added another 269 yards and three touchdowns on 35 receptions, which ranked as the third-highest total for a running back in school history.
A pair of true freshmen in Scott and Williams also burst onto the scene during the 2006 season, giving the Tigers a glimpse of the future. The duo combined for 713 yards and 10 touchdowns. Williams capped his first season with the Tigers in a big way, rushing for 107 yards and a pair of scores in LSU's 41-14 blowout of Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl.
As a unit, the Tigers ranked second in the SEC in rushing in 2006 with 165.8 yards per game. The Tigers also had 25 rushing touchdowns, a figure that ranked No. 2 in the league.
In his first year with the team in 2005, Porter made an immediate impact on LSU's running game as the Tigers - despite losing perhaps the top runner in the SEC in Alley Broussard to a knee injury in mid-August - still managed to rush for 1,951 yards and 21 touchdowns. LSU's rushing offense ranked fourth in the SEC, while the 21 rushing touchdowns were the second-most total in the league.
Addai had his best year in a Tiger uniform, rushing for 911 yards and nine touchdowns. Justin Vincent added 488 yards and five scores. Addai had five 100-yard rushing games, capped by a 130-yard, one-score performance in LSU's 40-3 win over Miami in the Peach Bowl. He went on to become a first round draft pick of the Indianapolis Colts in the 2006 NFL Draft, becoming the first LSU running back taken in the first round of the NFL Draft since Harvey Williams was the 21st overall pick by the Chiefs in 1991. Addai was a finalist for NFL Rookie of the Year in 2006 and played a key role in the Colts' Super Bowl victory over the Chicago Bears.
At Oklahoma State, Porter's stable of running backs continued the tradition of "Tailback U," as he coached 1,000-yard rushers for three-straight seasons. In 2004, Vernand Morency earned second team All-Big 12 honors after rushing for 1,474 yards, which ranked eighth in the nation, and 12 touchdowns. Morency was a third round pick of the Houston Texans in 2005.
A year earlier, Tatum Bell earned first team All-Big 12 honors with 1,286 yards and 16 touchdowns. Bell and Morency combined for 2,204 yards and 24 touchdowns for the Cowboys in 2003. Bell then went on to become a second-round draft pick by the Denver Broncos in the 2004 NFL Draft. In his first season at OSU, Porter guided Bell to a 1,096-yard, 11 touchdown season for 8-5 Oklahoma State.
Prior to his arrival in Stillwater, Porter spent three years at Arkansas State, where he coached Jonathan Adams to back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. Adams rushed for 1,004 yards and six touchdowns in 2000 and followed that with another 1,004 yards and five scores in 2001. Under Porter's tutelage, Adams capped his career as the second-leading rusher in Arkansas State history.
Porter began his coaching career at Wooddale High School in Memphis, Tenn., serving as head track and field coach, while assisting with the running backs and secondary on the football squad. After two years at Wooddale, Porter moved to the collegiate ranks, coaching the running backs at Tennessee Martin in 1998.
Porter lettered four years (1990-93) at Memphis, serving as co-captain of the 1993 Tiger squad. He closed out his career with 2,194 yards and 20 rushing touchdowns, ranking seventh in school history in yardage and tied for fifth in touchdowns. As a rookie in 1990, Porter rushed for 206 yards against Arkansas State, the highest single-game total for a freshman in school history. In his first game, he replaced injured starting tailback Marvin Cox and raced 53 yards for a touchdown against Arkansas State on his first college carry.
Porter had a total of six 100-yard games during his career, a figure that ranks tied for fifth in Memphis history. Porter graduated in 1996 with a bachelor's degree in education.
Porter and his wife Sharmane have three children: Brandon, Omari and Olivia.
The Porter File
Birthdate: April 28, 1972, in Jackson, Miss.