On Memphis Tigers team, seven players from Houston stick together during disaster

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Tigers lineman Trevon Tate has plenty on his mind — the start of fall classes today at the University of Memphis and preparing for his team's opening game Thursday night — but that's not where all of Tate's focus is right now.

"I don't know if my family is going to be alright or not," he said.

Tate is one of seven Tiger players from the Houston area, which has been devastated by Tropical Storm Harvey.

When sophomore running back Patrick Taylor isn't on the practice field or in meetings, he and his teammates from Houston are running to televisions and cellphones for updates on their family and friends.

"Every time I get a chance to you know, asking them how are you doing, how's the weather, are y'all good, how's the house, stuff like that," Taylor said. "When I'm not here, probably every five minutes because I know particularly my neighborhood, there's a lot of flooding  going on, I think it's water that actually went inside of my house, damaged my home a little bit.

"I don't get to talk to my parents as much because we don't have power so if their phone dies they can't charge like that so I talk to her at night and she lets me know what's going on, but throughout the day I kinda worry."

Having a game plan can provide a welcome distraction for these players, but Tigers coach Mike Norvell has made sure to give his Houston-area players time and support to deal with the hardships back home.

"They've handled it well, obviously a lot of phone calls, a lot of make sure checking in on everybody and you know it's everybody in their direct situations is doing okay, but anytime your home is affected, it's a challenge," Norvell said.

"Every person on this team that's from Houston, we're all close so like, if my mom hits me up, she tells me to tell other teammates about their families and you know I try not to let it distract me."

More rain is expected in Houston over the next few days, increasing flooding problems there.

And while these players say it isn't easy being hundreds of miles from home, it certainly helps having each other.