It gets harder every week trying to find the "light" in the latest loss by University of Memphis Tigers' football team. And if it's tough for the media, it has to be extremely taxing on the Memphis players.
The Tigers lost to Marshall last weekend (Nov. 3), sinking to 1-8 on the season, which would be enough to frustrate even the most steadfast. Yet, Memphis is staying positive.
Even though the Tigers didn't come away with a victory against Marshall, they did hold one of the nation's most powerful offenses to well below its season averages.
The Marshall Thundering Herd has been averaging 542.9 yards a game, ranking fifth among all NCAA D-1 teams. Memphis "limited" the Herd to 433 yards.
Still, the discipline issues are what have been haunting the Tigers all year and their most recent outing was no different. Memphis was penalized 16 times for 131 yards and added two more lost fumbles to a dismal season total.
It seems that every week it comes back to these types of mistakes. And it is worthy to keep making note of them, as these blunders truly can be the difference between winning and losing.
Head coach Justin Fuente has a difficult job trying to keep his players' mentalities from slipping to the dark side.
"I think you have to do a good job of letting them know you appreciate their effort and work," said Fuente. "It's not easy, but nothing worth having ever is."
Seems a bit cliché, yet it still rings true.
From day one this season, Fuente has put forth two simple goals for Memphis: To achieve team unity and to be better at the end of the season then they were at the beginning. These goals seem to be up for interpretation, but Fuente wants his players this year to be able "to look back and say they were the foundation of building this football team."
The Tigers are back at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium this weekend (Nov. 10) to take on the Tulane Green Wave. Tulane got off to a rocky start, but has made mid-season strides, going 2-2 over the last 4 weeks and putting up points left and right.
Said Fuente, "We take it one week at a time."