MEMPHIS – As we close in on kickoff for the Tigers, most of the focus has been on Seth Henigan and his new bevy of playmakers.

But that Memphis offense might not be the only reason this Tiger team contends in this new look AAC.

Lost in the disappointment of last year’s second straight 6 and 6 regular season, was a defense that played very well, especially down the stretch and this year, it returns many of its best players.  Players like preseason first team all-conference defensive end Jaylon Allen and Memphian Cormontae Hamilton.

Even Defensive Coordinator Matt Barnes is back for a second season and his message is one that resonates through the entire team.

“Just imagine those games if we finished what we started. Who knows where we could be. So that’s my main focus for this year and going into this season.  It’s just finishing,” Allen said.   “Finishing plays. Finishing games. Finishing the season, right? So just finishing, man. Finish.”

“I like to think of our team and particularly our defense as sort of a representation of the city of Memphis. We want to be a gritty defense. We’re proud of the city that we represent and the people in the city,” Barnes said.  “The Cormontae Hamilton’s and Greg Ruben’s and those guys who are from Memphis, we’re excited for them to put their best foot forward.”