Sabre last edited by
Line him up, Geoff."
That’s what the guy hollered to me after the game was done. He leaned over the railing at the Liberty Bowl so I wouldn’t miss his message.
“Line him up, Geoff.”
As in, line up Memphis coach Tommy West and take my shots.
Explain why it’s well past time for the guy to be fired.
And I could do that, I suppose. There’s no shortage of material. But after a game like Saturday’s, it almost feels like piling on.
This is over, isn’t it?
It has to be over. After nine seasons and a lot of good memories, the Tommy West era at Memphis will end after this year.
It gives me no pleasure to write this, but it’s not some great mystery.
West has lost five of his last six games against teams from the Sun Belt Conference.
He has abandoned many of the things he believed in to recruit players who were kicked off other teams.
And Saturday, before a crowd of maybe 12,000, his Tigers lost to a lousy Marshall team, 27-16, in what could be the last game of the year they’ll be favored to win.
Seriously. Look at the remaining schedule and find the winnable games for Memphis. Not East Carolina, not Houston, not Tennessee, not Tulsa, not Southern Miss.
At Central Florida, maybe? Home against UTEP or UAB?
They won’t win any of those games – not one of them – if they play the way they played Saturday.
“Right now, we are not a good enough offensive football team to win games,” said West.
He then said it’s all his fault, it’s all on him, and you know how he sounds after a loss.
He’s a stand-up guy. Everybody likes Tommy West.
Even the fans who can’t wait for the coach to be fired want it to be done – this is how they always put it – with class.
Because nobody is under any illusions as to what really ails the football program. Nobody believes the nonsense the university administrators like to spread about the program’s first-class facilities.
The Tigers have to practice on a high school field when it rains. The Liberty Bowl – here, in the 21st century – does not have wireless in the press box.
It’s an on-the-cheap program with on-the-cheap facilities and exactly-as-you’d-expect results.
But none of that is an excuse for a 1-3 start to this season. None of that can absolve West for what happened against Marshall on Saturday.
The Tigers were out-hit, out-coached and out-right awful. They couldn’t tackle, cover punts or line up and get a play off.
This last part is not an exaggeration either. In two astonishing, back-to-back drives in the third quarter, the Tigers committed four penalties – false start, illegal procedure, false start, illegal procedure – before the snap of the ball.
The first of the penalties took place on 1st-and-goal from the 3. Instead of a touchdown, the Tigers got a field goal.
“That’s discipline and that’s on me,” said West, which was magnanimous but also true.
It’s all on him at this point. The state of the program is on him.
The losses to Middle Tennessee and Marshall are on him. The failure to recruit a quarterback is on him. The inexplicable play-calling, the phantom tackling, the 12,000 fans are on him.
This is not to take shots at West, either. It’s simply a statement of fact.
This is West’s program. There’s nobody else to blame.
The lousy facilities can help explain some of the program’s failings, but they can’t explain what happened Saturday.
So West will go. Barring a miracle, he will go. What other choice does the university have?
“Line him up,” the guy hollered.
I should have hollered back: “The scoreboard already did.”
Tigerpete last edited by
Ahh the Memphis Tigers! My brother’s a fan of this mob.