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American Athletic Coaches Talk Anonymously About Conference Foes for 2019

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 bulletin board material, which is why there is a lot of coach speak or overused cliches used during the year.

In order to get an accurate assessment of teams heading into 2019, 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 2019


“Night and day difference in two years. They’re bigger and way more physical."

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"The only thing that will slow them down is Luke (Fickell) taking another job.”

"You can see that Ohio State blueprint on defense and they’ve been really good running the ball."

"We didn’t expect them to get it together until this year, now they’re really strong."

"Probably the best special teams unit in the AAC."

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“If everything breaks the right way, they’re going to try and be a physical run team, but they have so many areas of concern."

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"It’s a really tough job there.”

"He’s (Randy Edsall) really struggled to keep them going and our league is so much more talented than when he was here last. You feel for that guy."

East Carolina

“There was no energy on that team. They were flat from warm-ups to postgame. You don’t want any coach to lose his job, but they needed an overhaul.”

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"They really need to recruit their way back, and it will take a while."

"They don’t look like the old ECU. You might have one or two guys who are comparable at receiver or DB, but where are the bodies at linebacker? On the line? You’re in an area where you can recruit size that has speed."


“I think Dana (Holgorsen) will tear up that offense and run out of the spread."

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"They didn’t look cohesive at all last year, and there was no team culture.”

"Before Scott Frost got to UCF this was always the most talented team in the AAC year and year out. They still have a ton of size and some really good speed at receiver and in the backfield." 

Related: American Athletic Conference 2019 Predictions


“They look a little bit more dangerous every year because they’re fitting recruiting with their identity in a good area of the country.”

College Football Rankings: Memphis Football

"Mike Norvell is one of the brightest offensive minds in the country. They’re really building consistency there."

"They’re not as deep as UCF or Houston but they’re as talented at the 1’s."

"They’re great at getting you out of a game plan to go punch for punch in a high scoring game."

“They weren’t as athletic as some other years with their backfield, but they have that specific system of developing guys; they can fix that.”

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"Don’t expect last season to repeat itself."

"They took a lot of hits and made a tough change bringing in [new defensive coordinator Brian] Newberry."

"Army is definitely close to their level now, but in league play they’re still a hard team you don’t want to see late in the year."

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“They’re very athletic on the edges, but they struggle with size and depth."

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"Their lines show you the difference between them and a school like Houston.”

"Sonny (Dykes) has done a great job with their skill position guys."

"Sonny’s system is always the right quarterback away from a huge season."


“I think with the new staff, they have to keep it really simple and keep preaching hard-nose ball."

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"This isn’t the MAC. You can use your size in this league.”

"They used physicality as a calling card for a long time, but you really have to appreciate the talent they’re sending to the NFL."

"They’re not runts anymore, they don’t really fit that underdog thing Matt Rhule built. Geoff did a hell of a job bringing in players."


“The offensive coordinator change is going to be interesting. Willie (Fritz) is trying to change the identity of a team that was successful at what they did.”

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"I think they’ve been a lot better recruiting their defensive guys under Fritz than any Tulane team before."

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“Honestly, no coach could really tell you why things haven’t worked out lately. Is it culture? They should be better than they’ve been.”

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"Quarterback play hasn’t been great, but still."

"Phil (Montgomery) is a respected coach and proved he could succeed there. You see their guys and they’re fast and execute well on both sides. If they struggle again this year you have to look at the off-field intangible stuff." 


“Absolutely the best team in the league."

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"They’re athletic everywhere; they’ve recruited Power 5 talent to the positions our schools struggle with the most.”

"They would have a winning conference record in the ACC or the Big 12."

"McKenzie’s (Milton) injury is a massive blow, because he was one of the best quarterbacks we’ve ever faced. He was as good at decision making as he was talented."

Related: American Athletic Conference 2019 Predictions


“They’re sloppy, and they need to work on their discipline."

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"They have players, but they’re a step off from the top programs in the league.”

"You always compare USF and UCF, and right now USF is the almost version of the Knights. They look as talented and big, they can score and they have bodies on defense, but they’re not the same."