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What To Expect: Memphis Defense vs Cincinnati Offense

The advanced stats say that the Memphis Tigers have one of the better defenses that the Bearcats will see in American Athletic Conference play. But how will they approach the game against the Bearcats?

Jamie Sabau

The blueprint never really changes for the Tigers. They are a team that wants to be aggressive and to attack offenses. I personally am expecting the Tigers to blitz more often than any team the Bearcats have played to date. They are a team that likes to blitz early and often, but that blitz isn't consistently effective. There is no doubt that being without Martin Ifedi is a problem for the defense, and that everything would be just a little bit better having him in the fold. But that isn't something that should be expected for this game. That forces the Tigers to be a little bit more aggressive with their blitzes, and that means sending Tank Jakes as a rusher more often. He is good in that role, but he is also the Tigers best defender in coverage.

If the Tigers blitz is unable to get home against a Cincinnati offensive line which will be starting its fourth combination in as many games it will put their secondary in a bad spot. I really like Bobby McCain and think that he is probably the best cornerback in the AAC right now, but he does not have a lot of help. I don't think that Memphis will be able to contain the Bearcats passing game for the entire game.

The Bearcats simply have too many weapons in the passing game for the Tigers to get a real handle on them. Shaq Washington is due for a really big game. The Tigers aren't a defense that is going to invite the deep ball like Ohio State did. They don't play much cover four or man and for the most part stick to their zone blitzes. They tend to play two banks of three behind their blitz which will often have the drop man or a linebacker checking Shaq, that is a win.

The big question for the Bearcats on offense is whether they will be able to find any traction on the ground against the Tigers. I was pretty happy with the way that they ran the ball against Ohio State. Tion Green is once again showing flashes of being the feature back that everyone wants him to be. But it is still to early to call the running game as being back. We need another solid day against a pretty good, but not great Memphis run defense.