Sept. 4, 2000
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INDIANS COME TO TOWN
The Memphis Tigers will try to improve their offense and continue their strong defensive play as the Indians of Louisiana-Monroe come to town for just the second meeting between the two schools. The two teams last met 21 years ago in Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. John David Crow was the head coach at ULM and Richard Williamson was in his fifth season with Memphis. Memphis got touchdowns from tailback Leo Cage and quarterback Kevin Betts and Betts threw a 13-yard TD pass to fullback Richard Locke. However, the Indians hung close and scored with just :25 remaining in the contest to take a 21-20 victory. The Tigers would finish the season with a 5-6 record.
TIGER DEFENSE EXCELS
The University of Memphis defense, which climbed from a 106 ranking in 1998 to the 23rd spot in the nation in 1999, appears set to hold onto its lofty rating from a year ago. The Tigers, who were ranked last in Conference USA in 1998, finished the '99 season as the league's second ranked defense. In the season opener against SEC foe Mississippi State University, the Tiger defense limited the Bulldogs to just 127 yards in total offense. Mississippi State managed a mere 45 yards rushing and 82 yards passing. The Bulldogs longest run from scrimmage was a 17-yard naked bootleg by the MSU quarterback and the longest pass completion covered just 18 yards.
KENDALL TOP TIGHT END
University of Memphis senior tight end Billy Kendall has spent most of his career utilized as a blocker for running backs and quarterbacks. However, in between the blocks, the 6'5 Kendall has managed to grab more pass receptions for more yards than any other tight end in Memphis football history. Entering his final season at the U of M, Kendall had caught 53 passes for 601 yards and four touchdowns. He opened the 2000 season with one reception for nine yards against Mississippi State. His 54 receptions place the Maryland native 20th on the Tigers all-time reception list. He is the only tight end to be listed among the school's top 25 pass receivers. His 610 yards ranks him first among all Memphis tight ends in yards receiving and his four touchdown catches ties him for first in career TD catches by a tight end. Rich Coady and Chris Powers also had four touchdown receptions as Tigers.
WHITE RECEIVES HONOR
Junior kicker Ryan White, who set several Memphis field goal records in 1999, was named to the 2000 Playboy All-America Team. The Georgia native became just the third Tiger player in school history to be named to the prestigious team. Former Tiger offensive tackle Harry Schuh was selected to the 1964 squad and All-American kicker Joe Allison received the honor in 1993. White's selection to the Playboy All-America team marked the third AA team that the soccer-styled kicker has been selected on in the past two seasons.
WHITE SETS MEMPHIS & C- USA MARK
With four field goals made in the first half of the UAB game and a school record five made in the third period, Ryan White set the Memphis record for the most field goals made in a half, in a game, the most field goals attempted in a game and also set the record for the most points by a Tiger kicker in a game. He set a new Memphis record becoming the first Tiger in school history to kick four field goals in a half. White, who had booted four field goals in the '98 Cincinnati game, shared the old Memphis single game record of four field goals with Joe Allison (1992 vs Ole Miss) and Rusty Bennett (1977 vs NTSU). His 16 points vs UAB broke the old record for points (15) by a kicker set by White in last year's Cincinnati game. His five field goals made also tied the Conference USA record for FGs in a game.
KENDALL CONTINUES STREAK
Memphis senior tight end Billy Kendall has proven himself to be the best receiving tight end in Memphis history. His 54 career pass receptions rank him 20th on the Tigers all-time receiving list. As impressive is the fact that the Bowie, Maryland, native has now caught passes in the Tigers last 17 consecutive games. The last game that Kendall failed to catch a pass was the 1998 Cincinnati contest.
TIGERS CREATING TURNOVERS
The Tiger defense was able to force two turnovers, one fumble recovery and an interception, against Mississippi State in this year's season opener. The Tigers have forced at least one turnover in 62 of their last 70 games. Memphis has also intercepted pass in 40 of its last 61 contests but has not returned an interception for a touchdown since Scott Singler ran back a pick 55 yards against Arkansas State in 1994.
Since 1990, Memphis' special teams have found a way to change the look of a game in a hurry. Over the last 120 games, Memphis has blocked 42 kicks (26 punts, 12 field goals, 4 PAT) and has blocked 22 punts in the last 79 contests. Under Scherer, the Tigers have blocked 20 kicks (10 punts, 6 field goal, 4 PATs). Memphis last blocked punt was by Quincy Stephenson against Southern Mississippi in 1999. Memphis had three blocked kicks in last season's Louisville game when Tramont Lawless and Michael Stone each knocked down field goal attempts and the team was credited with a block. Memphis again registered three blocks in the last contest of the year. Lawless, Stone and nose tackle Marcus Bell had blocked kicks against Cincinnati in the season finale.
Neil Suber started his 11th consecutive game as a Tiger when he opened the 1999 Louisville game. The Georgia native became Memphis' starter in the 1998 Arkansas State game and worked 11 consecutive contest. However, he gave way to quarterback Travis Anglin on the third series of last year's Louisville contest. Anglin made his first collegiate in the Louisiana Superdome against Tulane last season.
Neil Suber's 930 yards passing in 1998 marked the most yards passing by a Tiger freshman in the history of the school.
Over the past seven years, Memphis has a record of 35-9 when leading at the half.
The Memphis Tigers had seven players named to Lindy's Football Magazine Preseason All-Conference USA Team. Tabbed on the first unit were offensive tackle Artis Hicks, nose tackle Marcus Bell, linebacker Kamal Shakir, safety Idrees Bashir and All-American kicker Ryan White. Offensive tackle DeCorye Hampton and strong safety Fred Powell were named to the second team.
Tiger tailback Dernice Wherry started his first game as a Tiger when Memphis opened the season against Mississippi State. The former all-state (TN) running back responded with 35 yards rushing on on 13 attempts against the number one defense in the nation in 1999. Wherry lettered as a linebacker in 1999 but was moved to tailback in the spring of 2000.
Tiger linebacker Kamal Shakir was named to The Sporting News Freshman All-America Team in 1997. His first team selection by TSN was the first by a rookie Tiger in the school's history. He is a preseason All-Conference USA selection at linebacker this year and is listed as a Dick Butkus candidate.
The U of M may have the most talented defensive secondary the squad has fielded since the 1970s. Four starters return for the 2000 season including preseason All-Conference USA selection Idrees Bashir at free safety. Joining Bashir are corners Marcus Smith and Michael Stone and strong safety Glenn Sumter. Stone is the only senior starting in the secondary.
Ryan White's 52-yard field goal against Cincinnati in 1998 tied for the longest field goal made in Memphis history. The record was shared by Luis Tejada (vs Ole Miss, 1994) and Don Glosson (vs Florida State, 1985). The kick was White's first 50 plus yard attempt of his career.
Placekicker Ryan White set several Memphis kicking records during his freshman season in 1998. He booted 16 consecutive field goals setting a new Memphis benchmark. The old Tiger record for consecutive field goals was 15 by former kicker Don Glosson (1983-85). Glosson booted his 15 consecutive FGs in 1994.
The Memphis defense finished the 1999 season ranked 23rd in the nation in total defense and 11th in scoring defense. Tiger opponents averaged 314.4 yards per game in 1999. Memphis allowed Mississippi State just 127 total yards in the 2000 season opener.
The University of Memphis will have six graduates playing for the squad this season. That number tied the University for third in the nation for number of students in graduate school.
Dernice Wherry, who came to Memphis as an all-state tailback, was moved to outside linebacker in the fall of 1999. He was credited with three tackles in the Ole Miss game and finished the season with 11 total tackles including a season high four stops in the Tulane win. Now the speedy Wherry has been moved back to his old spot in the Memphis offensive backfield. The Munford, TN, native led the Tigers in rushing in the season opener starting in place of the injured Sugar Sanders.
Freshman quarterback Matt Adams, the grandson of former Tiger head coach Fred Pancoast, entered fall camp not fully recovered from shoulder surgery in May of 2000. He participated in fall camp but due to a lack of rehabilitation time, has decided to return to his home in Pensacola, FL. Adams will return to Memphis in January to begin his college career.
Linebacker Kamal Shakir's 16 tackle effort against Ole Miss marked the seventh time in his career that the Georgia native logged double-digit tackles. Shakir totaled eight double-digit games in 1999 and has 14 career games with ten or more total hits. His all-time single game high is a 20 tackle (12 solos & eight assist) effort against Army in 1999.
Memphis quarterback Travis Anglin completed his first career pass attempt when he hit true freshman Casey Rooney for a first down to move the team from the shadows of its own goal post against Mississippi State in 1999.
Freshman quarterback Travis Anglin threw his first career touchdown pass against Arkansas State in 1999. During fourth quarter action, Anglin connected with former wide receiver Damien Dodson for a 32-yard touchdown.
Junior tight end Billy Kendall has a personal best six pass receptions (for 66 yards) in a single game. He accomplished the feat in the Tigers win over Arkansas State in 1999. Kendall's 66 yards versus ASU ranks as the third highest of his career. His top career yardage performance came in the '99 finale when he had 78 yards receiving against Cincinnati.
Tiger tailback Sugar Sanders has had two starts in his brief career and both resulted in wins for the Tigers. In his first collegiate start Sanders rushed for 94 yards against Arkansas State. It was just his second collegiate game and his first extended playing time. Sanders was called on to start the UAB game in Birmingham and responded by scoring his first career touchdown. Sanders was slated to start the 2000 season opener against Mississippi State but was slowed in camp by an ankle injury.
Two Tiger defensive backs recorded their first career pass interceptions in the Tigers win over Arkansas State in 1999. Cornerback Michael Stone, now a senior starter, had his first interception in the opening quarter. The former walk-on grabbed a Cleo Lemon pass at the Tiger six yard line to stop a possible ASU scoring drive. In the fourth stanza, senior safety Fred Powell picked off a Lemon pass and returned it 23 yards. Both are back for the 2000 season and Powell added his fourth career interception in the season opener against MSU.
Tiger quarterback Travis Anglin scored his first career touchdown on a one yard run against Mississippi State in 1999. The scoring drive was setup by a blocked punt by the Tiger special teams player Darche Epting. Epting is now the Tiger starter at fullback.
Neil Suber's 222 yards passing against Tennessee in 1999 ranks as the third best performance of his career. Suber threw for a career high 279 yards against Tulane in 1998 and also had 226 yards passing against East Carolina in 1998.
Wide receiver Tripp Higgins was inserted into the depth chart in 1999 as the Tigers punter returner after an ankle injury to Damien Dodson. He responded at UAB by having the best game of the season by a Tiger returner. Higgins had a season high eight punt returns for 46 yards, including a long return of 26 yards. He also returned one kickoff for 28 yards.
Memphis' win over UAB in Birmingham last season broke a streak of 16 consecutive road losses. Prior to the UAB victory, Memphis had not won a road game since September 14, 1996, when the U of M defeated Missouri 19-16 in Columbia.
Memphis quarterback Travis Anglin returned for fall camp 2000 after having spent the summer rehabilitating his right shoulder. Anglin missed most of spring practice after having shoulder surgery to repair a torn capsular in his throwing shoulder. The Georgia native remained in Memphis all summer working with Tiger trainer Ed Cantler to rehab and strengthen his shoulder. He completed eight passes in the season opener but had numerous balls dropped.
Sophomore quarterback Scott Scherer, the son of head coach Rip Scherer, saw his first duty as a quarterback in the 1999 UAB game. Scherer entered fall camp as the Tigers number three signal-caller but has now climbed into a tie for the backup spot with Neil Suber.
Redshirt sophomore Joey Gerda spent two years working with the Tiger defense and lettered during the 1999 season as a defensive tackle. However, the Georgia native was moved to the offensive line in the spring of 2000 and is now locked in a battle with returning starter DeCorye Hampton for the right tackle position. Hampton started the Mississippi State game
In October of 1999, Tiger kicker Ryan White was named the Conference USA Special Teams Player of the Week for his work against UAB. White booted a school record five field goals against the Blazers. He received the honor three times last season and has earned the Player of the Week Award four times in his two-year career.
Junior cornerback Marcus Smith registered his first career pass interception against UAB in 1999. Smith came into the game to replace injured defensive back Reginald Howard, who suffered a broken neck. He finished the contest with five tackles and one interception. Howard recovered and was signed by the Carolina Panthers (NFL) and Smith, who was pressed into service, is considered one of the best cover corners in Tiger history. Smith had three tackles and a pass breakup against Mississippi State.
Tiger kicker Ryan White finished the 1999 season as the 33rd ranked kicker in the country according to NCAA statistics. White averaged 1.18 field goals made per game. He made his long attempt of 36 yards against Mississippi State to provide Memphis with its only points.
Idrees Bashir's 44-yard fumble return against Tennessee last season stands as the third longest fumble return in Memphis school history.
Cornerback Michael Stone had their first career blocked kick in last year's Louisville game. Stone blocked a field goal attempt in the third period of the contest.
Walk-on tailback Aaron Meadows made the most of his first career action when inserted into last season's Tulane game. The Collierville, TN, native rushed for 44 yards on the Tigers' final drive and capped the drive with a six-yard touchdown run. Meadows is listed as the number three tailback on this year's team. He saw considerable action in the Mississippi State game.
Sophomore quarterback Scott Scherer, son of head coach Rip Scherer, entered the 1999 Tulane game for the final drive of the night and responded by leading his team to a score. Scherer rushed two times for nine yards and completed his first collegiate pass, an eight yard attempt to Aaron Meadows during the drive.
Safety Fred Powell's led the Tigers in interception in 1999 with three and that figure was the most by a Tiger defender since the 1996 season when Keith Spann had five. Powell opened the season with a pick against Mississippi State.
Senior tight end Billy Kendall was named to Lindy's Preseason All C-USA Team.
The Tigers have several nationally ranked players on this year's squad. According to Lindy's Football Magazine nose tackle Marcus Bell is the 15th ranked defensive lineman in the nation. Inside linebacker Kamal Shakir is the 15th ranked linebacker and safety Idrees Bashir is ranked 18th defensive back in the country. Memphis' highest ranked player is kicker Ryan White who is tabbed as the 4th best kicker in the country.
Ryan Johnson's 40 yard kickoff return in the third quarter of the 1999 Tulane game was the longest of the season for the Tigers and the longest of Johnson's career. The receiver from St. Louis, Missouri, also had his career long pass reception when he hauled in a 31 yard toss from Travis Anglin during the Tulane victory.
ANGLIN HAD BIG START
Memphis quarterback Travis Anglin made his first collegiate start against Tulane University in 1999 and the Columbus, Georgia, native made the most of his opportunity. Showing the poise of a veteran, Anglin set career highs as he completed 16-of-23 pass attempts for 221 yards and two touchdowns. Anglin started the final four games of the season and helped the Tigers win three of the four contests. The redshirt sophomore started his fifth consecutive contest when he opened the season against Mississippi State.
WHITE TWO TIME GROZA CANDIDATE
Junior kicker Ryan White was again named as one of twenty semifinalists for last year's Lou Groza Award. It marked the second consecutive year that the Tiger kicker received the honor.
MEMPHIS HAD 8 ON CUSA TEAM
The University of Memphis placed eight players on the 1999 Conference USA football all-star squads. The Tigers had two players selected as members of the first team all-C-USA squad. Defensive end Tramont Lawless, who set the Memphis career sack record during the '99 season, was tabbed as a first team member as was Memphis kicker Ryan White. It was White's second consecutive season to be named first team all-conference. The Tigers had three players named to the second team All-C-USA squad. Offensive lineman Tim Seymour was named as was linebacker Kamal Shakir and nose tackle Marcus Bell. Three freshmen were voted to this year's C-USA All-Freshman squad, including quarterback Travis Anglin, tailback Sugar Sanders and offensive guard Trey Eyre. Anglin was also named the conference's Freshman Co-Offensive Player of the Year.
SCHERER REVAMPS STAFF
The University of Memphis football coaching staff has had a face lift since the conclusion of the 1999 season. Six new coaches have come on board and brought a positive new approach to the team. Former Clemson head coach Tommy West was hired as associate head coach and defensive coordinator to replace John Thompson. Tim Walton, a former defensive captain at Ohio State and the secondary coach at Bowling Green State University, was hired to replace David Lockwood. Rick Whitt, the defensive coordinator at UT-Chattanooga, came in to replace Jim Pletcher as outside linebacker coach. Hank Hughes remained on the staff as defensive line coach. Offensively, Jimmy Kiser, the long time quarterback coach and offensive coordinator at North Carolina State University, took over for Rusty Burns as Memphis' quarterback coach. Clay Helton, who coached the University of Houston running backs last season, was hired in the same capacity at the U of M. Helton replaces Charlie Coe who was named as the Tigers' assistant head coach and wide receiver coach for Rip Scherer. The final piece of the coaching puzzle was put into place when Rick Mallory was hired as the Memphis offensive line coach. Mallory, a five year NFL veteran offensive lineman, had served as five seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Washington where he played collegiality. Russ Huesman, the tight end coach and recruiting coordinator, remained from last year's staff.
WHITE CLOSES IN ON CUSA RECORD BOOK
Junior kicker Ryan White is currently ranked ninth on Conference USA's career scoring list. The junior kicker has 137 career points and needs just 13 points to catch Southern Miss running back for 8th place on the list. Former Tulane kicker Brad Palazzo is the Conference's all-time leading scorer with 255 points. White is ranked fourth in field goals attempted on C-USA's career list and second in career field goals made. He currently holds the conference career record for field goal percentage (82.9%).
SHAKIR COULD SET CONFERENCE TACKLE MARK
Senior middle linebacker Kamal Shakir could become Conference USA's all-time leading tackler by the end of his final season. The Georgia native has registered 297 tackles during his first three seasons. His 143 tackle effort last year moved him into fourth place on the C-USA career list. Former Southern Mississippi linebacker T.J. Slaughter is the current record holder with 383 hits. Shakir will need 87 tackles this season to over take Slaughter.
SCHERER GETS NEW CONTRACT
Tiger head coach Rip Scherer received a contract extension on Tuesday, November 2, 1999, following the Memphis win over Tulane. Athletics director R.C. Johnson stated that the University administration had seen a great deal of improvement in the team and that Scherer had met or exceeded all but one of the criteria set down upon his hiring. His two year extension gives the 48-year old coach a full four year package, through 2003, in which to continue to rebuild the Tiger program.
TIGERS WERE 2nd IN NATION
The University of Memphis special teams attained a lofty mark in the category of blocked kicks during the 1999 season. The block units registered nine blocks on the season and finished the season ranked in a tie for second in the nation. Conference USA foe Southern Mississippi had one blocked kick in the annual AXA Liberty Bowl against Colorado State to tie Memphis for second. The Nebraska Cornhuskers led the nation in blocked kicks with 10 during 1999.