League coaches invade Memphis

MEMPHIS — Conference USA’s football coaches arrived in Memphis Saturday in anticipation of today’s annual Football Media Kickoff. It marks a return to the Blues City after visits to Dallas in 2006 and New Orleans in 2007.
This year conference officials spared no expense as the event is being held at the internationally renowned Peabody Hotel, widely considered the South’s Taj Mahal. Even so, it isn’t the world famous Peabody ducks that are the biggest draw on this hot July day.
Here’s a preview of today’s storylines:

Missing in Action
Absent from the media frenzy will be the familiar drawls of former league coaches Jeff Bower and Art Briles. Bower was fired last year from Southern Miss, while Briles bolted Houston for Baylor and the Big XII.

Bower had been the league monarch since its inception, and he also was a media favorite for his candid responses and opinions. You never left an interview with Bower wondering where he stood.
Briles’ Texas twang was the antithesis of his offensive philosophy. His offenses were as fast-paced as his speech was slow, and both were so distinct that they were unmistakably Briles.
With their absence, the league is beginning to run low on good-ole-boy rhetoric. Thankfully, Memphis coach Tommy West is still around to pick up the slack.
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