Ex­press names ‘Air Raid’ guru as of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor

League’s in­au­gu­ral sea­son be­gins Feb. 10 A win against Tulsa would mean the Tigers are bowl el­i­gi­ble for the 5th straight sea­son

The Commercial Appeal - - Sports - Ja­son Munz Mem­phis Com­mer­cial Ap­peal USA TO­DAY NET­WORK - TEN­NESSEE Evan Barnes

The Mem­phis Ex­press ap­pear in­tent on em­body­ing their moniker.

The team, one of eight mem­bers of the first-year Al­liance of Amer­i­can Foot­ball league, an­nounced Hal Mumme will be its of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor for the in­au­gu­ral sea­son which be­gins Feb. 10 at the Birm­ing­ham Iron.

Mumme, most re­cently serv­ing as the of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor at Jack­son State, is con­sid­ered a pi­o­neer of the "Air Raid" of­fense.

“Hal Mumme brings many pos­i­tives to our team and of­fense,” Ex­press coach Mike Sin­gle­tary said in a press re­lease.

“First and fore­most, it’s his cre­ativ­ity. I know it’s called the air raid sys­tem, but I want to use his imag­i­na­tion to get into the end zone and bring bal­ance to the of­fense.

For all of Mem­phis’ strug­gles this sea­son, Sat­ur­day against Tulsa could be a chance to cel­e­brate at least one goal on the Tigers' list.

A win means Mem­phis (5-4, 2-3) is bowl el­i­gi­ble for the fifth con­sec­u­tive year, ex­tend­ing its pro­gram record. It’s why Mike Norvell preached the mes­sage of legacy to his team as he broke prac­tice on Tues­day.

It was a cau­tion against lazy ef­fort but a re­minder of what’s at stake. Ex­cept for sixth-year se­niors Jack­son Dil­lon and Sam Craft, ev­ery player at Mem­phis has ended a sea­son with a bowl game

Here’s five things to know for the game, which be­gins at 11 a.m. CT and will be tele­vised on ESPNU. It’s a good thing Mem­phis’ of­fense came alive against ECU be­cause I know the phys­i­cal­ity that I want to have on our team. I want to bring mus­cle to the pass­ing game.”

Mumme re­signed from his post at Jack­son State on Oct. 3, af­ter hav­ing been hired in De­cem­ber 2017.

“Our sys­tem is fast-paced and de­signed to make the de­fense cover the en­tire field,” Mumme said.

“We in­cor­po­rated a lot of con­cepts from for­mer coaches Lavell Ed­wards, Bill Walsh, June Jones and Mouse Davis’ sys­tems for roughly six years while putting to­gether ours through­out the years. I’m ex­cited, hon­ored and hum­bled to Tulsa (2-7, 1-4) hasn’t al­lowed a team to pass for more than 237 yards. Tulsa is ranked 12th in the na­tion in pass de­fense (173.2 yards per game).

The Tigers' of­fense thrived last week against East Carolina, play­ing to Brady White’s strengths with short to in­ter­me­di­ate passes. They’ll need to do that again to win.

You know Mem­phis’ two-headed run­ning back mon­ster of Dar­rell Hen­der­son and Patrick Tay­lor Jr.? Meet Tulsa’s two-headed mon­ster join the Mem­phis Ex­press as the of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor un­der Mike Sin­gle­tary. I’ll be work­ing with great peo­ple and all my friends in Mem­phis.

“Mem­phis Ex­press GM Will Lewis and Coach Sin­gle­tary have done a great job gath­er­ing ta­lent. Par­tic­u­larly based on what I’ve seen from the re­ceivers, our train­ing camp is go­ing to be ex­tremely com­pet­i­tive.”

Along­side cur­rent Wash­ing­ton State coach Mike Leach, Mumme was a lead­ing in­no­va­tor of the "Air Raid" of­fense at

of Shamari Brooks and Corey Tay­lor II.

All four are ranked among the AAC’s 13 lead­ing rush­ers with Hen­der­son lead­ing the con­fer­ence (1,280 yards) and Brooks lead­ing Tulsa with 774 yards.

Tulsa leans heavy on its rush­ing at­tack, but its run de­fense is ranked 118th in the coun­try. Ex­pect a lot of car­ries on both sides.

Sack at­tack

Only three teams have al­lowed more sacks than Tulsa, which has given up 32.

Mem­phis has at least one sack in all but one game so the Tigers need to ramp up the pres­sure up front, es­pe­cially with Tulsa start­ing a fresh­man quar­ter­back in Seth Boomer.

Play all 60 min­utes

Mem­phis shook some of its fourthquar­ter strug­gles by scor­ing 21 points to close out ECU. The Tigers need to be just as sharp against a Tulsa team that has won its last three trips to the Lib­erty Bowl (2006, 2010, 2016) but strug­gled to fin­ish games.

Tulsa led in the fourth quar­ter against USF, Hous­ton and Tu­lane and lost all three. If this game is close, Mem­phis needs to de­liver the fi­nal punches.

Dress warm

Be­sides fans pack­ing their fa­vorite break­fast foods for early tail­gat­ing, they should also bring ex­tra lay­ers. Per the Weather Chan­nel, the high for Sat­ur­day will be sunny and 43 de­grees. It’ll also be colder for pregame fes­tiv­i­ties and the Tiger Walk, which starts at 8:30 a.m. So, bring an ex­tra coat and stock up on warm bev­er­ages be­cause it’ll be a chilly, fun at­mos­phere at the Lib­erty Bowl.




Univer­sity of Mem­phis run­ning back Patrick Tay­lor Jr. (mid­dle) dives for a touch­down against the Univer­sity of Tulsa de­fense dur­ing third quar­ter ac­tion in Tulsa, Okla., Fri­day, No­vem­ber 3, 2017. MARK WE­BER/THE COM­MER­CIAL AP­PEAL

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