Tigers prepare for conference matchup vs. Tulane

Memphis travels to New Orleans to face Green Wave on Friday

Mike Norvell on Short Week vs. Tulane

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Coming off a 52-35 win against South Alabama last Saturday, the Memphis Tigers take their 3-1 overall record on the road to face Tulane on Friday.

The Tigers suffered their lone loss of the season on the road against American Athletic Conference western division rival Navy in early September, and the U of M now looks for its first conference win of the season against the Green Wave.

Tigers head coach Mike Norvell previewed the upcoming matchup at his weekly press conference on Monday:

Opening Statement...

"We've got a short week so it's a quick turnaround. Guys are coming off of an off day just like we did on our first short week. I thought we came out and had a pretty good energy and focus. First day of installation and there some things we are going to have to clean up. I liked our guys approach and we know it is going to be another showcase game on ESPN2 this Friday night. We have to go on the road to a big conference opponent. This is a huge game for us. We have to prepare at a high level. We know that this is a very well-coached football team and a very talented team. We have to put everything together, make sure we play a complete four-quarter game, clean up some of the mistakes that we had on Saturday night and continue to work to get better."

On how the team finished against South Alabama...

“I was really proud of our guys for the game Saturday night and being able to finish. I want to see us continue to work on the little things and continue to clean up the mistakes that cost us in some situations. It was great to see our guys respond. It was great to see them finish it at the end. I was really pleased with the outcome.”

On playing the first two conference games on the road...

“This year is unique, with our first two conference games both on the road. With this being on a Friday night on short week, we really have to do a wonderful job in our preparation. We can’t control the atmosphere and we can’t control the weather. All we can control is ourselves. That’s the biggest focus for this week as we are working towards Friday night.”

On Tulane...

“There are going to be a lot of people who have tough games against Ohio State. That’s one of the best football teams in the country. It’s pretty remarkable seeing them on film. But this is a team that battles, a team that is very physical and has some extremely athletic young men on the team. Their quarterback is a dynamic player who can really make some things happen. You have to keep him contained. He throws one of the best deep balls that I have seen of anybody this year. They have two exceptional receivers that have played at a high level. They do a wonderful job of keeping a balance in their offense. Defensively, they have some youth up front but its talented youth. You look in the back end and they are very experienced. You are going to see a mix of coverage, they are going to play man and some zone. They will be aggressive in their pressure packages. This is a team that is very capable and one that we have to play at a high level. All the things that it takes to win a conference game on the road, we have to do. We weren’t able to accomplish that in our first attempt so we have to show that we’ve learned from it.”

On the play of the defensive backs against South Alabama...

“Details and fundamentals. There were some things going back to the film, alignment wise that we were really poor in. There were times that you have to give credit for guys that went up and made plays and contested catches. The biggest thing was fundamentally putting ourselves in the right position to be able to make the play. That is something that we have to take a great deal of pride in. I think its pretty well know that our defensive backfield is filled with talent. But it showed that if you don’t bring your ‘a game’ that you can get exposed. I’m looking for a big response from those guys in the back end. Everybody is responsible. We have to generate a pass rush, we have to get home whenever we can, we have to disrupt the quarterback. That’s something that I am looking forward to hopefully seeing this week.”

On the nonconference schedule preparing the team for conference play...

“I think when you look at it, Week 2 was a quick jump into conference play. There were some things we did in that game that gave us no chance to be successful. I think we’ve responded to that, coming off of the last game, offensively, we had 100% ball security, we were able to create two takeaways. We did enough things in that game to put us in some difficult situations, so we’ve got to clean that up. We’ve got to make sure that special teams is an absolute weapon for us, I think it has for three of the first four games. We had some breakdowns last week, but we’ll get those corrected. Offensively, we need to keep consistent in taking what the defense gives us. We’ve got some really explosive playmakers, and we’ve got guys that show up. I was really proud of Pop Williams, having a couple of really big catches. Joey Magnifico showed up huge in the game in a lot of different areas. Being able to keep playing at a high level, everybody’s kind of seen the three backs, and what they’ve been able to do, but continuing to see those guys elevate themselves at this time of year.”

On the conference race...

"Total focus in the conference race goes to Tulane on Friday night. I fully believe that if we take care of our business, everything will take care of itself. Playing in this league, any team can beat you on any given week. This is a very competitive league, especially when you’re on the road, which us and Navy have seen. We’re going to have to go play at an extremely high level on Friday night, if we even want to have a conversation about anything beyond that. "

On Brady White making plays under pressure...

“He’s done a great job. You sit there and chart that as a coach, and there were a couple of plays where he had some missteps in his footwork, those were the only negatives, but he really played at a high level. When they brought pressure, he made them pay, and that’s something you like to see. He’s very calm, collected, when people blitz, he’s able to get the ball out. He processes information really quickly, and he’s done a nice job when it’s come to that.”

On Damonte Coxie...

“He’s done well. Damonte (Coxie) has all of the physical tools, he has a great catch radius, really good speed, and he’s a good route runner. The thing I’ve been most pleased with is the mental progression he’s had. The details, putting himself in the right position at a high percentage of the time, I think that’s showing up. Last week, he carried the hammer for us because when he steps on that field, he plays with that dog mentality. To see that and approach practice with the same mental aspect of a game, that’s what makes him dangerous.”

Memphis vs. Tulane is set to kick off Friday, Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. on ESPN 2.

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