Yes, Karam is a junior, meaning he graduated in three years. He did so magna cum laude in university studies/pre-law.
"He's a pretty sharp guy," said Memphis coach Justin Fuente. "The thing we keep telling him is he's just got to continue to make the average play, every time. We're not looking for the spectacular."
The Tigers have had trouble moving the ball, only gaining 202 total yards last week in a 44-13 loss at Southern Methodist. Their season high is 399, just 35 yards more than Marshall's season low.
But they have Rippon's full attention. Then again, after watching Central Florida rack up 568 yards last week, Rippon is not eager to have his defense known for jump-starting the Memphis offense.
Once again, Marshall is crossing paths with one of two assistant coaches who worked all 10 years of "The Decade, The Dynasty" of the 1990s - Tim Billings.
Billings coaches the Tigers' defensive line after six seasons at Wake Forest. Those years were mostly productive, beginning with the Demon Deacons' Atlantic Coast Conference championship team of 2006. He tutored wide receivers in 2006-07 and defensive backs from 2008-11. He served as co-defensive coordinator in 2011.
He came to Wake Forest after a rough six-year stint as head coach at Southeast Missouri State. The Redhawks went 8-4 in 2002, but he finished his time at Cape Girardeau 25-43.
Those wins match Marshall's losses for the entire decade of the 1990s, against 114 victories. Billings' final act in Huntington was to lead the defense in the program's most accomplished season, the 13-0 record and No. 10 final national ranking in 1999.
The last time Billings coached against Marshall was his first game as a head coach, and it was ugly - with Byron Leftwich running the offense for the first time, the Herd hammered SEMO 63-7 in the 2000 opener.
The other assistant to work at Marshall every year in the 1990s is Mark Gale, still around as assistant athletic director for football operations.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130 or dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.