The Bright Side With Jeff Brightwell
Oct. 5, 2011
MEMPHIS, TENN. -
By: Jeff Brightwell, Learfield Sports
The Memphis Tigers remain on the road this weekend when they travel to Houston, Texas to face the Rice Owls Saturday morning at 11:30 in Rice Stadium. The Tigers are coming off a close loss at Middle Tennessee while the Owls fell at Southern Miss last weekend.
Memphis jumped out to a 17-0 lead before the Blue Raiders scored 21 fourth quarter points to pull out a 38-31 win over the Tigers last week. Despite the loss, the Tiger offense moved the ball for 395 yards and quarterback Taylor Reed accounted for 230 of those through the air including one score. Head Coach Larry Porter had been working with Reed on not being passive in the pocket.
“What I did this past Wednesday was I told him that every interception he threw that day was on me,” said Porter at Monday’s press conference. “You have to be aggressive.”
What he saw that day was Reed making quicker throws and making quicker decisions, which carried over into the game.
The Tiger receivers helped out as six Memphis players caught a pass, led by Tannar Rehrer with 10 receptions for 72 yards. He accounted for seven first downs in the game.
The Tigers will also get some help in the run game as Jerrell Rhodes is expected to be back in the lineup after missing the last four games with an injury. Adding Rhodes to the mix of Artaves Gibson and Billy Foster will give the Tigers more options on the ground.
The Rice Owls return home with a 1-3 record and are currently 0-1 in Conference USA after the loss to USM. The Owls have managed just 305 total yards per game and Rice head coach David Bailiff will look to get his play-makers more involved, including running back Sam McGuffie.
“We have to get Sam involved more in the game than we have,” said Bailiff. “We know we have some great backs. We have to get our play-makers on the field and the ball in their hands.”
Porter feels Rice will try and force Memphis to stop the run, but that they will also have to respect the passing game as well.
“They're committed to the run, and they will take shots,” said Porter. “I think they're truly going to make it a physical ball game and force us to stop the run. That's something we definitely have to prepare for this week.”
The “Bright Side” for Memphis is that they saw improvement last week despite the loss. The offense scored a season-high 31 points, and even though the Tigers did not recover a fumble, they were able for force five. The Tigers have only played one conference game and are only one game behind division leaders Marshall and East Carolina, so a win could keep Memphis in the hunt for the East.
Jeff Brightwell is considered the "voice of Tiger baseball and women's basketball," and serves as the broadcast team captain handling the majority of the production and engineering duties for Tiger football games. A 1996 graduate of the University of Memphis, Brightwell came to Memphis in 2003 after spending six years in Missouri. He has done play-by-play for Southeast Missouri State, Central Methodist College, Truman State, Moberly Community College and the Memphis RiverKings. For the last eight years, the native Memphian has broadcast both home and away contests for Memphis baseball and women's basketball on WUMR FM. He also hosts a weekly Tiger Update web show that is streamed through Memphis Tiger Vision on the athletic department website.
Please see below for a video interview with offensive lineman Michael Antonescu.