ULM comes into this new season hoping for more success than it enjoyed in 2010 when first-year head coach Todd Berry led the Warhawks to a 5-7 record.
This is not an awful football team. The Warhawks are far from good, but there are easily 30 teams ( of the 120 in D1) worse than than Louisiana Monroe. This team is on the level of a Duke or Wake from last season.
|Louisiana Monroe Offense|
|QB 15 Kolton Browning (6-1, 196, So., , Texas)|
|14 Cody Wells (5-11, 196, Jr., , Ala.)|
|RB 7 Jyruss Edwards (5-11, 198, So., , La.)|
|5 Centarius Donald (6-1, 216, So., , La.)|
|WR 83 Anthony McCall (6-1, 190, Sr., Ala.)|
|86 Je’Ron Hamm (6-3, 214, So., La.)|
|WR 18 Brent Leonard (6-2, 182, Jr., Texas )|
|13 Colby Harper (5-11, 180, R-Fr., Texas)|
|WR 8 Tavarese Maye (5-11, 171, So., Petal, Miss.)|
|84 Julian Griffin (6-1, 201, Jr., Texas)|
|WR 22 Luther Ambrose (5-9, 185, Sr., St. James, La.)|
|19 Tyler Cain (5-8, 179, Fr., La.)|
|TE 80 Keavon Milton (6-4, 274, Jr., Texas)|
|87 Ty Kittle (6-1, 230, Sr., Conn.)|
|LT 65 Joseph Treadwell (6-4, 290, Fr., Ark.)|
|53 Patrick Dvoracek (6-3, 315, Jr., Kan.)|
|LG 66 Josh Allen (6-3, 280, So., Texas)|
|69 Justin Roberts (6-4, 302, Sr., Texas)|
|C 72 Ryan McCaul (6-5, 294, Sr., Okla.)|
|78 Jon Fisher (6-3, 288, So., Miss.)|
|RG 77 Ben Risenhoover (6-1, 284, Fr., Okla.)|
|56 Jonathan Gill (6-3, 299, Jr., Texas)|
|RT 57 Anthony Montgomery (6-4, 304, Sr., Ala.)|
|67 Jeremy Burton (6-1, 299, R-Fr., Okla.)|
The game preview will be available at 1:15 Eastern
With few options, coach Berry decided to pin his team's hopes on a freshman quarterback in Kolton Browning last year, and the rookie delivered. Browning, who accounted for 244.8 total ypg to rank third among all freshmen in the country, threw for 2,552 yards and 18 TDs with 12 INTs. Also a threat to take off and run if the situation warrants it, Browning is the team's leading returning rusher after amassing 385 yards and four TDs in 2010.
Four starters return along the offensive line from last year, but interestingly, true freshman Joseph Treadwell won the job at left tackle over Dvoracek, so only three returning starters will actually start. The Warhawks will also start a freshman at right guard.
Browning will need plenty of time to throw the ball to speedy WR Luther Ambrose. Last season, Ambrose, who is an NCAA sprinter, was credited with 65 receptions for 752 yards and six TDs. In all, the top four receivers from 2010 are back for another go, making the ULM passing attack one of the most formidable in the Sun Belt.
"It is the best group of receivers I have been around in a long time," says coach Berry. "There is certainly some talent there and some guys that create some explosion plays. The chemistry with the quarterback is what I am really excited about."
With Browning's exploits in the passing game expected to carry the ULM offense for the most part, there are questions about the run game. Sophomores Jyruss Edwards and Centarius Donald have talent, but neither has done much to this point after combining for 478 yards and five TDs as rookies last year.
This option operates entirely from the shotgun. Monroe will use a bunch of motion. Except for Ambrose, the Warhawks do not have the athletes to hurt a team the caliber of Florida State, so they must hope that the superior team didn't study film all that intently during the week and leaves a guy wide open. Browning should be much better in his second season.
Last year this was the 107th rated offense in the country, better than only Ball State, Middle Tennessee, Bowling Green, Marshall, Purdue, Kent State, Kansas, Vanderbilt, Akron, Memphis, New Mexico State, New Mexico and Buffalo.
They were young, and some improvement should be expected, but one has to wonder how much talent this unit has.
|Louisiana Monroe Defense|
|DE 52 Ken Dorsey (6-0, 266, Sr., Ala.)|
|98 Malcolm Edmond (6-1, 250, R-Fr., Texas)|
|-OR- 99 Joey Gautney (6-1, 254, Fr., Texas)|
|NT 91 Kentarius Caldwell (6-2, 255, So., Texas)|
|90 Emanuel Jefferies (6-2, 274, So., Miss.)|
|DE 55 Troy Evans (6-1, 251, Sr., La.)|
|44 Jordan Landry (6-3, 232, Sr., La.)|
|LB 51 R.J. Young (5-11, 232, Jr., Texas)|
|45 DaCorris Ford (6-1, 219, Jr., Texas)|
|LB 54 Jason Edwards (5-11, 235, Sr., La.)|
|49 C.C. Carpenter (5-11, 222, Sr., La.)|
|LB 35 Cameron Blakes (6-1, 231, Jr., La.)|
|41 Lincston Jones (6-0, 241, Sr., La.)|
|CB 4 Rob’Donovan Lewis (5-10, 173, R-Fr., La.)- filling in for injured starter.|
|33 Trevor Dillard (5-9, 181, R-Fr., La.)|
|S 26 Nate Brown (5-9, 187, Sr., Texas)|
|3 Khairi Usher (5-9, 194, Jr., Miss.)|
|Hawk 37 Darius Prelow (6-0, 211, Sr., La.)|
|31 Henry Mitchell (5-11, 191, Jr., Ga.)|
|S 25 Isaiah Newsome (5-11, 194, So., Miss.)|
|46 Cordero Smith (5-11, 183, Fr., Texas)|
|CB 27 Vincent Eddie (5-8, 155, So., Texas)|
|10 Tim Taylor (5-9, 180, Sr., La.)|
Turning an eye to the defensive side of the ball, Louisiana Monroe employs a 3-3-5 scheme, giving opponents a look they don't see all that often, and they are fortunate to have the top three tacklers from 2010 back in place.
More on the 3-3-5 defense. Like on offense, the Warhawks do not have the personnel to beat an elite team 1-on-1. They rely on a lot of deception, trickery, angles and numbers games. They try to outnumber the opponent at the point of attack and confuse the opposing offense into blocking one defender with two blockers, leaving a defender unblocked to make the tackle.
And they were pretty good at this last season. Here are the defenses than which Monroe was better:
Hawaii, Washington, Nevada, Miami (Ohio) Western Michigan, Temple, Middle Tennessee, Navy, Toledo, Colorado, Tulsa, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Florida Atlantic, Iowa State, Central Michigan, Arkansas State, Army, Troy, Duke, UAB, Louisiana Tech, Cincinnati, UL-Lafayette, North Texas, Idaho, Utah State, Wake Forest, Bowling Green, Tulane, Kansas, Northwestern, Kansas State, Virginia, Western Kentucky, Minnesota, Ohio, Akron, Houston, Baylor, San Jose State, Indiana, Wyoming, Memphis, New Mexico, Ball State, Washington, State, Colorado State, Rice, Michigan, New Mexico State, UNLV, East Carolina, UTEP and Eastern Michigan.
There are some big names on this list. While the offense was really bad last season, the defense could definitely play.
"There is rhyme and reason to everything, but it sure doesn't look like it," Berry said. "People are flying around all over the place. It's very difficult to prepare for, but simple in the players' eyes with calls and what's going on." -ULM DC http://www.thenewsstar.com/article/20110829/SPORTS/108290318/Edwards-ULM-defense-catching-scheme
Six starters return from that unit, and it all starts up front where seniors Ken Dorsey and Troy Evans are big-time performers at the defensive end position. Last season, Dorsey earned All-Sun Belt honors and figures to be even better against both the run and the pass with the return of Evans, who was held out of action last season with an injury. Against the run, however, they must rely on deception and shooting gaps, as they are not stout enough to consistently take on elite blockers.
Veteran linebackers Cameron Blakes and Jason Edwards have performed well in the past, and Edwards is the leading returning tackler (75 stops), while Blakes notched six sacks a year ago.
Three two (starting CB injured) of the five starters are back in the secondary, including a pair of sophomores who learned on the job as rookies last year. The lone senior among that trio is senior Darius Perlow, an All-Sun Belt selection who picked off a pair of passes last season. There's not much depth here, so look for Monroe to stay in its base 3-3-5 defense
While the offense should take a big step forward, the defense will likely take a slight step back. More than one publication picked the Warhawks to win their side of the Sunbelt, and this won't be as easy as many think.
Stay tuned for the game preview at 1:15