The Bright Side With Jeff Brightwell
Nov. 17, 2011
MEMPHIS, TENN. -
BY: JEFF BRIGHTWELL, Learfield Sports
The Memphis Tigers wrap up their home schedule tonight when they host Marshall at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium at 7 p.m. The Tigers are coming off a heart-breaker against UAB last week while The Herd fell at Houston, 59-17.
Last Saturday, the Tigers carried an 18-point lead into the fourth quarter against UAB only to see the Blazers score 24 unanswered points to take the win. Despite the close game, head coach Larry Porter talked about the frustration at Monday's press conference.
"I know we're growing and improving, but we've got to learn how to finish games and put people away," said Porter. "That didn't happen this past weekend, and it was frustrating."
Marshall comes into Memphis tied for second place in the East Division at 3-3, and is 4-6 overall. The Herd needs two wins to become bowl eligible. Marshall Coach Doc Holliday has not minced words when it comes to what's left for his team.
"They're not stupid, they understand what is at stake and understand that if they don't win, then it's hard to get to six," said Holliday. "The only thing we need to be concerned with right now is going and beating Memphis. We go beyond that and we won't be successful on Thursday night."
Receiver Aaron Dobson highlights the Herd offense with eight touchdowns on the season and the receiving corps has accounted for 17 of the 22 Marshall offensive TDs. Vinny Curry leads the defense as the senior currently has 10.5 sacks on the season and 19 TFL. Porter is well aware of the trouble Curry can cause.
"They're led by an All-American in my opinion, Vinny Curry, who could very easily be the Defensive Player of the Year in this league," according to Porter. "He certainly plays that way."
In the case of the Tigers, a short week may be the best thing coming off last weekend's loss as it gives Memphis a chance to go back on the field and compete quickly.
"Just the way our players approached practice with their attitudes and their work ethic I thought was very good," explained Porter. "We've got to sustain that throughout the week. The short week quickly forces us to turn our attention to Marshall, which is what we've done thus far."
The "Bright Side" for the Tigers is that although the record may not reflect it, Porter has seen improvement and says the close losses will turn into wins.
"We've had two meltdowns in the fourth quarter, one against MTSU and another this past weekend," said Porter. "As opposed to being 4-6 and fighting for our fifth victory this Thursday, we're 2-8 and we're not happy. But in time those games that are close, we'll be able to win. Our guys will understand how to win them."
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.