True freshman quarterback Taylor Reed will start next week against Arkansas State, University of Memphis coach Larry Porter announced Monday at his weekly press conference.
In the Tigers’ 59-14 loss Thursday to No. 20 Mississippi State, Reed replaced Andy Summerlin and was 23-of-35 for 149 yards and one touchdown. He also threw an interception.
“I think (Reed) was productive,” Porter said. “His performance warranted him being the starter this week.”
Summerlin and Reed were both involved in a tight quarterback competition throughout fall camp. While Summerlin ultimately emerged from camp as the starter, he struggled mightily against the Bulldogs, passing for just 25 yards.
With Summerlin behind center, five of the Tigers’ first nine plays from scrimmage were called back because of penalties. Porter said Reed simply played with more poise.
“I thought (Reed) really settled down our offense,” Porter said. “It got to the point where we were getting some rhythm, and he was productive.”
After the Bulldogs shredded the Tigers for a school record 645 yards on offense, Porter said he’s looking hard at also making personnel changes on the defensive side of the ball at all three levels — defensive line, linebackers, and secondary.
“We gave up too many big plays,” Porter said. “Three or four of them were based off of missed tackles, which we definitely have to clean up. When we’re in a position to tackle the ball carrier, we just have to bring him to the ground. A couple other ones, we just didn’t fit well and it cost us.”
Porter said starting running back Jerrell Rhodes is doubtful with a bone bruise. Rhodes left Thursday’s game with what was believed to be a hyper extended knee.
Senior tailback Billy Foster will start in his place while true freshman running back Artaves Gibson, who gained 89 yards on 17 carries against the Bulldogs, will get significant playing time, as well.
Still no word on Malone
U of M coach Larry Porter said Monday that the University still has not received word on Alabama transfer Keiwone Malone’s potential eligibility.
Malone transferred to Memphis several weeks after Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban placed him on suspension for an undisclosed violation of team rules.
“You’ll know when I know,” Porter said, “because you’ll hearing me yelling and screaming through the city.”