Four things to watch in preseason for Memphis

Starting tomorrow, University of Memphis football players will report to campus for fall camp. Inside, TigerAuthority.com takes a look at the four biggest storylines surrounding Memphis this preseason.

Starting tomorrow, University of Memphis football players will report to campus for fall camp. Inside, TigerAuthority.com takes a look at the four biggest storylines surrounding Memphis this preseason.

4. Offensive line
This season, Memphis lost offensive line stalwarts Dominik Riley and Brad Paul to graduation. The Tigers return seniors Michael Antonescu and Ronald Leary, but other than that, it's unclear who will help anchor the offensive line this season. Offensive line play was spotty last season, and if the Tigers want to give halfback Jerrell Rhodes and whoever's under center (more on this later) a chance to get anything going, they'll need more consistent play from their offensive lineman. Jordan Devey, a transfer from Snow Junior College, is a 6-foot-8, 320-pounder who will probably be a starter on opening day. It'll be interesting to see who emerges in the first few days of fall camp.

3. Larry Porter
Memphis football coach Larry Porter has transformed in recent weeks. Rather than secluding himself from the public eye, Porter has embraced his situation at Memphis and done his best to spread his message, which this season is that his Tigers are going to be more competitive than they were last year. That's a start. What remains to be seen, however, is if he'll maintain that approach after piling up a few losses in a row, practically an inevitability considering his roster isn't much better than last season's. If not, things could get ugly again. And quickly.

2. Quarterback
Skylar Jones, formerly of Wake Forest, transferred to Memphis this summer and will spend his last season of eligibility here. Jones will go head-up with Andy Summerlin, who was projected to be the starter prior to Jones's transfer.

Skylar Jones
Jones, a dual-threat quarterback, is better suited to the new spread option offense as he's more mobile than Summerlin, a generic pocket passer. Of course, freshman Taylor Reed could also dazzle Porter during fall camp and start on Sept. 1 against Mississippi State. It's a situation worth monitoring.

1. Keiwone Malone
Yes, the biggest story around Memphis during fall camp is about a guy that might not even get to play this season. Keiwone Malone, a graduate of Memphis Mitchell, transferred from Alabama to Memphis last week after Tide coach Nick Saban suspended him indefinitely for an undisclosed violation of team rules. As the receiver red shirted for the Tide last season, he would be eligible immediately to play for the Tigers. However, because he was suspended at the time of his transfer, he will most likely have to sit out a full season anyway. If Malone can become eligible, the Tigers‘ offense instantly becomes upgraded and, with a receiving core of Malone and junior Marcus Rucker, the new spread offense suddenly looks a lot more potent.

NCAA Bylaw 14.5.2.1: "A student who transfers to any NCAA institution from a collegiate institution while the student is disqualified or suspended from the previous institution for disciplinary reasons (as opposed to academic reasons) must complete one calendar year of residence at the certifying institution."


Tiger Authority Top Stories