Memphis football’s Ryan Silverfield responds to unhappy Tigers fans:

PHILADELPHIA — Moments after his team’s win at Temple, Memphis football coach Ryan Silverfield offered an impassioned defense of the Tigers’ nine-win 2023 regular season.

Asked how he viewed his team’s season as a whole, Silverfield compared fans who are unhappy with the Tigers’ 2023 season to people who would “boo Santa Claus.”

“I’ll be the first to say, the goal was a championship, right?” he said. “And as I mentioned previously, we fell short of it. But I’m not going to sit here and boo-hoo off a nine-win season. I like to reflect on all the positive things.

“The people that are going to be unhappy with a nine-win season are the same people that, when we went 8-3 my first year, beat UCF and won a bowl game, that reached out, ‘Coach, please don’t ever leave Memphis. Please don’t ever leave Memphis.’

“And then seven months later, ‘Hey, let’s help you pack your bags.’ They’re the same people that complain about politics but refuse to vote. The same people that’d probably boo Santa Claus in this place. Like Nick Saban says, ‘You can’t make everybody happy. If you can, you’ve got to sell ice cream.’

“And so I’d like to reflect on the positives. Our tremendous fans that have been so supportive in good times and bad, that show up to the games, that love these guys that, man, are proud of the fact that every year I’ve been the head coach we’ve had the highest graduation rate. Those fans that just pour and love that stuff.

“One of 10 teams in 108 years to get nine wins. All these positive things are just so tremendous. And the momentum moving forward, the opportunity to play in a bowl game to get our 10th (win), a lot of great things this year.

MEMPHIS ROUTS TEMPLE:Memphis football cruises to Black Friday win over Temple, preserves shot at 10-win season

“In any college football season, right, even the year we went to the Cotton Bowl, a laundry list of things to get cleaned up. And no different this year, a laundry list of things we’re going to get better on. That’s going to start on Sunday . . . And that’s my job as a head coach, to get those things done and in the right direction and continue to see how we can make this program better. But, man, looking back on the regular season, 9-3, it’s a tremendous effort.

“And full credit, full credit should go to those young men in the locker room. Just so pleased for them.”

Memphis (9-3, 6-2 AAC) beat Temple (3-9, 1-7) in Philadelphia on Friday 45-21, and now awaits its bowl destination.

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