Memphis Tigers face higher expectations as camp opens - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis Tigers face higher expectations as camp opens


The Memphis Tigers open camp following their best season in 75 years. The team won 10 games in 2014 after winning a total of 10 in four previous seasons. 

For all the good that comes with winning 10 games, it also brought a new set of challenges, with expectations as the most dangerous according to coach Justin Fuentes.

"One of those things we'll talk about as a team is finding our edge again and making sure we are a hungry football team, because success can be dangerous; it's very dangerous," Fuentes said.

With each whistle, Fuentes has been throwing more complex schemes at his team.

"We try to get everything installed, so they're handling it well and you obviously can't put all your offense, defense and special teams in on one day, so for the first five days, it's pretty much installation," he said.

This season, he expects the team to pick the schemes up much quicker, which could potentially make them softer.

"When coach Fuentes first got here, it was ripping, ripping butt pretty hard, but nowadays he's kinda a little bit more relaxed with it," said senior tight end Alan Cross. "You know if we don't get it fixed, he knows we have a veteran squad on offense."

The reasons expectations remain high are the pieces the Tigers return on offense. Third year starter Paxton Lunch is starting to tune in to his leadership role and fill out physically.

"I think we'll see as camp goes along though how he feels running with that weight and that sort of stuff so I think he'll be fine," Fuentes said of his quarterback. "He did fantastic all summer."

Lynch's teammates are also impressed with him.

"He'll go in before a Tuesday practice at 5:30 in the morning and go in and get the game plan down, and if he knows the game plan real well, then he's going to make good decisions and take care of the football," said Cross.

On the other side of the ball, the Tigers lose eight starters and defensive coordinator Barry Odom. Odom's replacement was internal with Galen Scott.

"The new guys are getting it though, it's not like they haven't practiced before, but from overall knowledge stand point, obviously those eight seniors that we had are a little farther ahead or would be," Fuentes said.

The early returns from fall camp have been promising as Fuentes continues to build the team's national profile, but he said there is still a lot of work to do.

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