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August 5, 2010

Warhawk Inside Slant

Warhawk Inside Slant
The competition at quarterback between returning senior starter Trey Revell and redshirt freshman Kolton Browning isn't the only issue new Head Coach Todd Berry will have to settle as ULM prepares for its fall camp next week.  Berry, who was named to replace Charlie Weatherbie in December, is also seeking a backup running back to veteran starter Frank Goodin, shifting through a lengthy list of candidates to handle the load at wide receiver, and searching for a number of safeties to do the job in ULM's 3-3-5 scheme.

"We're fortunate to have some depth at safety and could see a number of players who could play in ballgames for us," he said.

Still, there's no question what issue is going to get the most attention.

"Certainly the highest profile battle is at quarterback," Berry said, "and that's going to be the one that's going to direct us kind of as to which direction we want to head the offense."

Browning goes into fall camp listed ahead of the veteran Revell, but Berry calls the competition "close."  Revell completed 57.6 percent of his passes last year for 1,739 yards and 12 touchdowns, but he also had a dozen interceptions.

The Warhawks also have a third candidate in sophomore Cody Wells, who started two games last year when Revell was hurt.  Wells completed 55.7 percent of his attempts for 762 yards and six touchdowns, but he also had seven interceptions. He was 1-1 as a starter with a win over Western Kentucky and a loss to Troy, the last- and first-place teams, respectively, in the Sun Belt.

Assuming one of the quarterbacks delivers, the Warhawks have the capability of doing some damage on offense. Goodin ran for 1,126 yards last year and is a legitimate threat to end his career as ULM's all-time leading rusher.

Junior Luther Ambrose is the top returning receiver with 34 catches for 455 yards and four touchdowns, and Berry sees potential in receivers like junior Tim Taylor, who hasn't seen a lot of time in the past, sophomore Brent Leonard and redshirt freshman Tavarese Maye.

"I think we've got a lot of answers," Berry said. "Now we have to see that they have the opportunity to get the ball in their hands."

Defensively, however, there's no question of the rebuilding that lies ahead. Preseason All-Sun Belt selection Troy Edwards is the only returning starter up front. Senior Theo Smith is back at linebacker, and juniors Nate Brown and Darius Prelow return in the secondary.

 

NOTES, QUOTES

 

 Senior RB Frank Goodin goes into the season with a career total of 2,505 yards rushing and is well within reach of the school record held by his former teammate Calvin Dawson. Goodin was a redshirt freshman when Dawson finished his career with 3,378 yards in 2007. Goodin is within 873 yards of catching Dawson. He ran for 1,126 yards last year even though, he said, he was "out of shape" entering the season.

 Todd Berry may be in his first season as head coach of the Warhawks, but he is very familiar with the program. Berry was offensive coordinator in 2004-05. The Warhawks won the league title in '05 and QB Steven Jyles was the Sun Belt player of the year and the offensive player of the year.

 In a preseason oddity, returning starter Troy Revell goes into the season on the Johnny Unitas Award Watch List, which goes to the top senior quarterback in the country. But he is No. 2 on the depth chart behind redshirt freshman Kolton Browning and also is fighting off a challenge from sophomore Cody Wells.

Spotlight On September:   The Warhawks have an opportunity to make a big early statement. They open the season Sept. 11 against Arkansas in a game to be played in Little Rock. The Hogs, who open a week earlier against Tennessee Tech, are looking to challenge Alabama in the SEC Western Division. A week later, the Warhawks are at Arkansas State for their Sun Belt opener.

Keys To Success:   The Warhawks have some depth at wide receiver, and RB Goodin is one of the Sun Belt's best. If he has a season similar to last year, the Warhawks should be able to move the football. Newcomers look to be cast in key roles on a defense that loses seven starters, but the secondary in the 3-3-5 scheme looks to be solid with junior CB Nate Brown (two interceptions in 2009) leading the way. The unit's other three returning starters-DE Troy Evans, LB Theo Smith, and S Darius Prelow-have all-conference potential.

Areas Of Concern:   The offensive line faces rebuilding with the loss of three starters and has only one senior, RT Anthony Montgomery. The defense not only loses seven starters but also is undersized up front with the three starters averaging only 271 pounds.

 

Quote To Note:   "I don't think it's settled yet. I don't think any position on our football team is settled."-coach Todd Berry on, the situation at quarterback.

 

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

Head Coach:   Todd Berry, first year (overall 5-42).

Most Important Player:   RB Frank Goodin-With senior QB Troy Revell facing a challenge and actually entering fall camp behind redshirt freshman Kolton Browning on the depth chart, Goodin figures to have to carry a big load, especially early in the year. He ran for 1,126 yards last year, averaging better than five yards a carry. He also is a receiving threat (18 catches, 138 yards).

Breakout Star:   DE Troy Edwards-Edwards had a solid sophomore season with 6.5 sacks (fifth in the Sun Belt), two of them on back-to-back plays on Arkansas State's final drive in a 16-10 ULM victory.

Newcomer To Watch:   C Ryan McCall-With the attention given to redshirt freshman QB Kolton Browing, McCall could be easily overlooked. But the junior college transfer (Northeast Oklahoma A&M), who enrolled early to take part in spring drills, needs to come through to anchor the middle of an interior line that will have two new starters to his right.

 

Projected Starting Lineup:  

Offense-Qb Kolton Browning, RB Frank Goodin, WR Anthony McCall, WR Luther Ambrose, WR Tim Taylor, TE Keavon Milton, LT Justin Roberts, LG Jonathan Gill, C Ryan McCaul, RG Andrew Stout, RT Anthony Montgomery.

Defense-DE Ken Dorsey, DT Aaron Moore, DE Troy Evans, LB Theo Smith, LB Jason Edwards, LB DaCorris Ford, CB Nate Brown, CB Robert Nelson, S Darius Prelow, S Khairi Usher, H Alex Ibe.

 

Roster Report:  

-  LG Jonathan Gill missed the spring with shoulder surgery but is No. 1 on the depth chart entering fall camp. He moves over from right guard, where he started all 12 games as a redshirt freshman last year.

-Three players go into the season with 23 career starts each. They are Goodin, Brown and PK Radi Jabour. LT Justin Roberts has 22 career starts.

- Michael Connor of Shreveport, La. is expected to walk on and compete for punting and kicking duties

 



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