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American Athletic Coaches Talk Anonymously About Conference Foes for 2018

Memphis Tigers Football

Memphis Tigers Football

It's not easy getting college football coaches to honestly comment on another coach, player or team. Most coaches don't want to give opposing teams billboard material, which is why there is a lot of coach speak or overused cliches used during the year.

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In order to get an accurate assessment of teams heading into 2018, Athlon asked coaches in the AAC to talk anonymously about their opponents.

Note: These scouting reports come directly from coaching staffs and do not necessarily reflect the views of Athlon's editorial staff.

AAC Coaches Talk Anonymously About Conference Foes for 2018


"You have to talk about their recruiting class first and foremost, because their current staff didn’t get what they needed to start fresh in terms of talent."

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"Luke Fickell is a great fit for that program. Even with that signing class they’re probably another year away, but their quarterback [Hayden Moore] is back, so they could show some improvement scoring points if they can build some targets for him."

"They’re disciplined and well coached, and you see the Ohio State influence."

Related: American Athletic Conference Predictions for 2018


"They’re still a rebuild. Even though Randy Edsall has won big there before, that’s a ground-up rebuild."

College Football Rankings: UConn

"They tried some interesting stuff on offense last season but they just didn’t have the personnel."

"They’ve got a coach who obviously knows what to do to win there, they just have to get their development cycle back up and running. That takes years."

East Carolina 

"There’s more talent there than the record shows."

College Football Rankings: East Carolina

"Offensively they’ve got some playmakers on tape but they haven’t found a way to build around them."

"This is the one program that hasn’t been as aggressive as you need to be in the AAC with the Houstons and Florida schools leading the way." 

Related: College Football's Top 50 Wide Receivers for 2018


"They have some of the best players in the league and Ed Oliver is probably the best defensive player in the nation but they don’t have the same clear identity from when Tom Herman was there."

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"Hiring Kendall Briles with his baggage shows they’re really serious about getting back to where they were as quickly as possible."


"They’re obviously going to have a drop off replacing Riley Ferguson but we don’t expect it to be steep."

College Football Rankings: Memphis Football

"That’s still a dangerous offense From what we can tell Coach Norvell and his guys have been developing and recruiting at the same level Fuente was."

"A lot of coaches in the league thought they were as good as UCF going into December."

Related: College Football's Bowl Projections for 2018

"Exactly what you think they are, every time you play them, every damn year."

College football rankings: NAVY

"It’s still possible to get ahead of them because they lack for elite level talent on defense, but if you don’t, or if you start screwing around and making mistakes they will wear you out."

"Always hell to see them coming up on your schedule."

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"Even though it’s a new coach and a new system Sonny Dykes can fit the pieces there pretty quick."

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"Chad Morris came out of the Texas high school culture Dykes knows."

"This league doesn’t let you play as pass heavy as the Big 12 and he knows that. They’ll run the ball more than you might think."

Related: College Football's Top 30 Coordinator Hires for 2018


"That staff really got it together and going late last year."

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"The ‘17 roster wasn’t as deep as some of the Rhule teams."

"Looked like they were still figuring it out on offense but on the other side, it’s a Geoff Collins defense, and they seem to rally the whole team around that crazy defensive attitude."

"They need to show an identity on offense."


"The one team in the league that’s been the most steady improving under a new coach, damn near game by game."

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"You can’t scheme like an option academy team because they can do more with that system."

"The talent still isn’t all the way there but we expect them to be much more multiple and creative with their pass game."

Related: College Football's Top 25 Breakout QBs for 2018


"There were a lot of visible problems with their offense last season but they were better than their record [2-10] would tell you."

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"Their quarterback play wasn’t strong enough for what that system needs."

"Montgomery is one of the really respected minds in the Baylor tree."

"You have to assume they’ll come out this year more consistent in the pass game."


"Josh Heupel is a great offensive coach."

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"They’re probably going to do a lot of the same stuff Frost did on offense at first and they’re set up well to keep winning."

"Don't forget their defense, either."

"The battle for them is to keep recruiting Florida players aggressively and manage the head coach transition. Memphis did that well, Houston feels like they’re still recovering."

Related: Ranking All 130 College Football Teams for 2018


"You could argue they didn’t get the attention they deserved because UCF went undefeated."

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"They’re losing a lot on both sides but Charlie [Strong] is really at home there. That didn’t look like a first-year staff with the roster when we saw them."

"They’ll probably dip a little bit just because of the turnover at quarterback and defensive line, but not much."

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