Sports 56 WHBlog Q

October 11, 2008

Tigers’ Special teams not so Special

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg Gaston @ 1:00 am

The Memphis Tigers should have beaten Louisville Friday night, but they didn’t. Why?…..SPECIAL TEAMS.
There are many times when you look back and examine why a team lost a game and you end up overanalyzing it. There are still other times when the answer to the aforementioned question is plain and simple. This was one of those games.

In front of an announced crowd of 40,000 and change, and a National television audience, the Tigers went toe to toe with their old rivals from Louisville. Old, because the Cardinals now play in the Big East and the two former Conference foes hadn’t played since 2004. Despite all that, there was something special about Friday night…and everyone knew it!
Tigers Coach Tommy West had his team ready, willing and able. They scored first, they rallied from a 14 point defecit at halftime, and they took it to the finish line only to lose in the end.

The Tigers rolled up 481 total yards against the Nation’s 9th rated defense. They pulled out trick plays that stunned their opponents, and delighted the fans. The Tigers much maligned “D” continued on it’s road to recovery by limiting the Cardinals to 299 yards and just 133 through the air. But all the good meant diddly squat because the Special Teams collapsed like a cheap folding chair.

Let’s remember that special teams make up one third of the game of football. Unfortunately for the Tigers, majority did not rule. Winning two of the three facets of the game was not enough.
After grabbing a 14-7 lead, the Tigers gave up a 95 yard kickoff return to Trent Guy who tied things up at 14. The Tigers had him bottled up, before Guy broke out, reversed his field, and went the distance.
Trailing 21-14, The Tigers tried a 47 yard field goal on the last play of the first half and low and behold the glass slipper fell off the foot of kicker Vinny Zaccario, as the Cardinals not only blocked the 3 point attempt, but they turned it into seven as Brandon Heath returned it 60 yards for the score. (That’s a 10 point swing).
Even with all that, the Tigers rallied in the second half to tie things up, only to fall in the end 35-28.

After the game West seemed excited about the future of his team, but was seething from the performance of his special teams.(an area of the game he formerly coached). Now the goal will be to put it all together, because in this case, Meatloaf was wrong……two out of three is bad.

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