NT Albert Means

2003 Statistics

Coach: Tommy West
17-19, 3 years
2003 Record: 9-4
at Southern Miss LOST 6-23
UAB LOST 10-24
at Mississippi State LOST 27-35
at Houston WON 45-14
at Tulane WON 41-9
at Louisville WON 37-7
North Texas WON 27-17

2003 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2004 Outlook

From an outsiders perspective, it's hard to understand just how big last season's New Orleans Bowl win over North Texas was for the program. Prior to their nine-win season, Memphis had been mediocrities' whipping boy. From 1998 to 2002, the Tigers totaled nineteen wins. They managed five consecutive losing seasons, and looked like a program with no direction. Head coach Tommy West has changed that. And as the seconds ticked down in New Orleans last December, the nation took notice.

Now the Tigers must deal with something no player on the roster has ever faced - expectations. The offense is being hyped as one of the best in both school history and the country, and the defense features numerous veteran performers. Fans are hoping for an encore presentation. Wimprine and Williams will make the offense almost unstoppable, with the offensive line gladly paving the way. The fate of the season will fall on the defense.

Under coordinator Joe Lee Dunn's tutelage, the unit is bound to thrive, but how long will it take? Playmakers must be found in the secondary and the entire linebacker corps must be replaced. Dunn is renowned for developing young talent and speeding up the progression time of players. He will need to work his magic yet again. With such overall talent returning, it's hard to put a cap on the program's potential. A Conference-USA championship is possible, as is a legitimate run at the national rankings. For years, Memphis has had nothing to build on. Now that they do, they may find the construction to be much easier. The opener at Mississippi, along with back-to-back home dates in November with Louisville and Southern Miss, will genuinely define how good these Tigers are. They will beat (maybe) two of these teams, but will likely lose to a foe they easily out-talent. Memphis will know it has arrived when consistency is found, so expect 2004 to fall a bit short of the true quality level they will field.

Projected 2004 record: 8-3
QB Danny Wimprine
QB - 4 DL - 3
RB - 4.5 LB - 2.5
WR - 4 DB - 3
OL - 3.5 ..

Passing: Danny Wimprine, 440-246-13, 3174 yds., 22 TD

Rushing: DeAngelo Williams, 243 att., 1430 yds., 10 TD

Receiving: Maurice Avery, 49 rec., 742 yds., 8 TD

Scoring: Stephen Gostowski, 19-29 FG, 44-44 PAT, 101 pts.

Punting: Brandon Roberson, 50 punts, 39.5 avg.

Kicking: Stephen Gostowski, 19-29 FG, 44-44 PAT, 45 long

Tackles: Wesley Smith, 98 tot., 51 solo, 4 TFL

Sacks: David McNair, 3 sacks

Interceptions: Wesley Smith, 3 for 40 yds.

Kickoff Returns: DeAngelo Williams, 13 ret., 23.0 avg.

Punt Returns: Cole Hoppe, 27 ret., 7.8 avg.


OFFENSE: Darren Garcia-WR
DEFENSE: Eric Taylor-DE, Treveco Lucas-DE, Coot Terry-WLB, Will Hyden-MLB, Greg Harper-SLB, Derrick Ballard-LCS

Senior Danny Wimprine is a true field general. He emerged as one of the better quarterbacks in the nation with a strong junior campaign, and will likely continue that ascension. While he isn't the most polished of pocket-passers, Wimprine is fearless and usually makes good decisions with the football. When he is on top of his game, he is nearly unflappable, with secret speed he can use to escape. Just ask Mississippi and Mississippi State, both of whom Wimprine threw for over 350 yards against. He is primed and poised for a stellar final season and will lead the Tigers back to the postseason. Fellow senior Bobby Robinson understands the system well, and brings some valuable game experience and leadership to his reserve role.

Running Back
Shifty DeAngelo Williams is a rare talent. He has a low center of gravity, yet enough speed to reach the corner. His versatility makes him special, and after a promising freshman season, his potential came to fruition with a 1,400-yard year. One unique aspect of his game is that he is incredibly consistent. Unlike some runners, who string together a brief streak of achievement to pad their numbers, Williams is reliable and steady. In each of his last ten games, he rushed for over 100 yards. He has legitimate All-American potential and should only flourish more as he matures. Derron Parquet is an accomplished backup. His bruising style of running is perfect for goaline situations, though he is not a one-dimensional back. Starting in place of Williams in the final game of 2003 against South Florida, Parquet rushed for 164 yards. Junior LaKendus Cole is a scatback type, but may struggle to find carries in a one-back scheme, especially behind Williams and Parquet.

Wide Receiver
This group lacks a superstar, but the entire starting squad returns to compliment one another and form one of the better groups in the conference. Maurice Avery is the headliner. He became Wimprine's go-to guy last season and has big-play ability. More importantly, he has a developed knack for getting open in the ednzone. He and Darron White both stand over six feet tall, and create glaring matchup problems with opposing cornerbacks. Tavarious Davis is a talented third option and had a 92-yard touchdown reception against Mississippi in 2003. Look for one of Mario Pratcher and Chris Kelley to emerge as a viable playmaker. Pratcher, especially, is a player to watch. As a sophomore, he began to develop consistency. When three-, four-, and five-receiver sets are used, Pratcher will often be lined up against a dime corner or safety, something Memphis will spot and upon which they will capitalize.

Tight End
John Doucette is a perfect fit for the system. Because of the playmakers around him, he doesn't need to put up gaudy statistics, but rather be a capable blocker and while catching the occasional pass. He has the size of a small guard, and uses his body well in short yardage situations to free the corner for the talented stable of running backs.

Offensive Line
Memphis has one of the more complete offenses in college football, and the offensive line is a big reason why. Though the unit is collectively undersized, the return of five seniors starters ensures that experience and know-how will more than make up for the slight in stature. Center Gene Frederic is the anchor. He is a savvy coach on the field, and makes the players around him better. Fredric and tackle Jeremy Rone both earned second team All-CUSA honors, and should challenge for first team consideration. Look for guard Jason Matthews, the group's largest player, to settle in to the position after a transition year via the junior college route. Jason Johnson and Andrew Handy are veteran bookends, who protect Wimprine's blindside well. This unit led the rushing attack at the rate of 4.5 yards per carry, while giving up a mere 14 sacks. Few lines can boast such accomplishments and say they are returning all who contributed to them.

Few teams nationally can match the Tigers' talent and experience on offense. Wimprine and Williams are All-American candidates, the receivers are more-than-capable and the offensive line features five seniors. Simply put, Memphis will have one of the most explosive units in the game. Memphis' balance was good enough for the 16th-rated total offense, and with all eleven back on this side, they again will have defenses constantly on their heels. Memphis comes out and gets it done, pulling ahead early and then controlling the clock. That says a lot for this three-receiver scheme that runs more than it passes.


TB DeAngelo Williams


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Danny Wimprine-Sr (6-1, 216) Bobby Robison-Sr (6-4, 210)
TB DeAngelo Williams-Jr (5-10, 215) Derron Parquet-Sr (6-0, 200)
WR Ryan Scott-So (6-4, 208) Mario Pratcher-Jr (6-4, 215)
WR Maurice Avery-Jr (6-1, 195) Chris Kelley-Sr (6-1, 190)
WR Darron White-Sr (6-1, 188) Tavarious Davis-Sr (6-0, 192)
TE John Doucette-Jr (6-2, 262) Isaac Daniel-Sr (6-0, 245)
OT David Davis-Sr (6-4, 285) Jason Johnson-Sr (6-4, 290)
OG Andrew Handy-Sr (6-2, 304) Blake Butler-So (6-3, 280)
C Gene Frederic-Sr (6-4, 288) Stephen Schuh-So (6-2, 270)
OG Jason Matthews-Sr (6-3, 300) Bobby Garafolo-Jr (6-4, 305)
OT Jeremy Rone-Sr (6-3, 280) Willie Henderson-So (6-7, 350)
K Stephen Gostkowski-Jr (6-1, 195) ..



Defensive Line
Remember Albert Means? The former prep All-American has had a tumultuous career, but has been dominating this spring practice. Based on talent alone, few tackles in the nation have as much upside as Means. He is almost 350lbs, moves well, and is as active a lineman as they come. Another aspect of his game is flexibility. Though recruited as an interior lineman, Means is experimenting at end. He could rotate between both positions. Experienced tackle Kenyun Coleman will man the interior, and team with LaVelle Washington to create a formidable inside duo. Washington doesn't make many plays in the backfield, but he is a space eater, and demands attention. Aside Means, smallish David McNair will try and bring pressure from the corner. A former tight end, McNair is a great athlete, and should be a player to watch. Depth is a concern here, and though Means has promise, the Tigers must get more production at defensive end. It may take the line a few games to gel, become acclimated with one another, and reach their potential.

With all three starters having fulfilled their eligibility, questions are abundant. Tim Goodwell has pristine size for an outside linebacker, and based on production alone, he becomes the leader by default. He is an every down player, with no glaring weaknesses, but like his peers, has never been a full-time starter. Carlton Hunter is a wild-card, and has proved to be an active performer during off-season scrimmages. Considering the assumed inconsistencies of the defensive front and the fact that there are only three down-linemen, the linebackers will need to be able to play sideline-to-sideline. Hunter has that ability. One of last season's occasional contributors, or a talented newcomer, will have to step in and fill a void.

Defensive Back
With such uncertainty along the front-seven, this group assumes leadership duties. Proven talent is abundant, but the Tiger secondary must make more big plays. The secondary totaled three interceptions last season, and that type of production is unacceptable. With three years of experience at the position, safety Scott Vogel is a relative coach on the field. He excels at each aspect of the game and is teaching the art of versatility to younger safety O.C Collins. Both players roam near the line of scrimmage, and have no qualms with assisting in defending the run. While the young linebackers mature, they have to. The corner position is a big of a question mark. Nearly everyone returns, but there is no proven star. Together, they are a complete cornerback. Individually, they are somewhat unproven. True freshman Greg Hinds has high accolades, and could enter into the mix.

The outcome of the season will depend on the defense. Their play, and on-field progression, will either guide the Tigers atop the conference and towards another postseason appearance, or hinder the team and fall behind as the offense reaches unprecedented success. There is talent in the front-six, but it must be groomed. With a six-man run-stopping approach, the green rust will make for some close games early in the campaign. They won't come close to again ranking 9th for total defense. But the balance of these units will be found, and they will be an asset by November.


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DT Marcus West-Jr (6-4, 245) Shaka Hill-Sr (6-3, 244)
NT Albert Means-Sr (6-4, 335) LaVale Washington-Jr (6-1, 250)
DT David McNair-Sr (6-3, 250) Lane Garcia-Fr (6-3, 230)
SLB Carlton Baker-Jr (6-2, 235) Mike Snyder-So (6-2, 220)
MLB Tim Goodwell-Jr (6-2, 230) Jarren Humphry-Fr (6-2, 225)
WLB Quinton McCrary-So (6-2, 220) Sheldon Taylor-Jr (6-1, 220)
LCS Scott Vogel-Sr (6-1, 190) Lionel Pieh-Sr (5-10, 185)
RCS Sam Brewer-So (6-1, 190) Cato Mott-Jr (5-10, 180)
CB Cameron Essex-Sr (5-11, 170) Tristan Thomas-Sr (6-1, 175)
CB O.C. Collins-Jr (6-0, 180) ..
FS Wesley Smith-So (6-3, 192) Jamaal Rufus-So (6-3, 210)
P Brandon Roberson-Sr (6-0, 180) ..




Stephen Gostkowski is exceptional from inside 30 yards. He lacks range; however, and is inconsistent at best from long distance.

Brandon Roberson doesn't have a booming leg, but he is efficient. The former JUCO transfer averaged nearly 40 yards a punt, and should be expected to improve some.

Return Game
This area is pretty anti-climatic. DeAngelo Williams is the primary kick return man, but is much better suited in the backfield. Cole Hopp handled all of the punt return duties in 2003, but look for more skill position players to be thrown into the shuffle. The Tigers did not score via return last season and really never came close. The coverage squad is adequate on punts, but has to improve for kickoffs.


Backup QB Bobby Robison proves there is depth behind Danny Wimprine. Robison busted out a 235 yard, three TD outing in the spring game, earning him MVP honors. Wimprine had the better cumulative spring stats, though. After sitting out the bowl game with a knee injury, RB DeAngelo Williams was back in full effect this spring. The run game, overall, looked good, as the Tigers were able to get awesome exhibitions from a group of runners. Backup TB Derron Parquet led all rushers in the spring game, but ran into some legal troubles and may see the possibility of suspension. WR Maurice Avery has had quite an eventful offseason. After an extremely productive and exciting spring, he found himself caught up in a federal investigation this summer. It's looking, however, as though he had NO part in an alleged counterfeit scandal and will be fit to play this season.

NT Albert Means was so dominating this spring that during the second scrimmage, he was asked to head to the sidelines and take the remainder of the afternoon off. Blockers had constant fits trying to keep him away from the action. Now that he finally has his head on straight, he is ready to be the All-American lineman he was made out to be. West has nothing but praise for this young man. Backup LB Carson Hunter made a name for himself with a praiseworthy tackling performance in the spring. Look for him to move up the depth chart, strengthening the depth at that position. Fellow LB Tim Goodwell firmed up his grip on the starting MLB position. The Tigers are slim behind the starters in the secondary and may call on freshmen recruits Greg Hinds and Rod Smith to shore up the depth.

LB Carlton Baker (jr)
WR Earnest Williams (fr)
DB Rod Smith (fr)
DB Greg Hinds (fr)