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Sun Belt Pre-Spring Preview - Why To Be Happy
North Texas RB Lance Dunbar
North Texas RB Lance Dunbar
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Feb 12, 2011


2011 Sun Belt Pre-Spring Preview - Why Every Sun Belt Team Should Be Happy

2011 Pre-Spring Preview   

Why To Be Excited - Sun Belt


Click for each team's pre-spring lookback and lookahead
Arkansas State | Florida Atlantic | Florida International | MTSU
North Texas | Troy | UL Lafayette | UL Monroe | Western Kentucky

2011 Sun Belt Pre-Spring Preview
- Sun Belt Pre-Spring Rankings
- Why Every Team Should Be Excited
- Why Every Team Should Be Grouchy
- What Every Team Needs To Work On

Arkansas State
Ryan Aplin. The junior-to-be threw 21 touchdown passes and ran for 11 scores, and while he sputtered a bit late and he threw a few too many picks, he was a strong all-around playmaker who’s back to lead the attack. Taylor Stockemer and Allen Muse are good targets to work around.

Florida Atlantic
The offense can’t be nearly as bad as it was last year. Seven starters are back with RB Alfred Morris too good to not pound the ball a bit more behind a line that returns all five starters. The defense had its moments, and now it gets back seven starters including end Kevin Cyrille and free safety Marcus Bartels.

Florida International
The offense might not have been a killer, but it got better as the season went on and the potential is there to be even stronger with WR T.Y. Hilton choosing to come back for another season rather than turn pro, and with QB Wesley Carroll and running backs Jeremiah Harden, Darriet Perry, and Darrian Mallary all back. The defense has some good up-and-coming replacements for the four lost starters.

Middle Tennessee
Seven starters are back on offense, and while Dwight Dasher might be gone, considering how he played last year it could be an addition by subtraction situation. Four starters are back on the offensive front, and depending on who’s healthy and who’s in the mix, the new starting quarterback should get plenty of time to work. Even with the losses on defense, the Blue Raiders always generate production up front.

North Texas
Injuries. The one plus side to all the injuries the 2010 team suffered is that it threw a ton of unproven players to the wolves and got them enough experience to count on going into this year. 16 starters are back from the team that finished up the end of last season battling with Kansas State and Troy, and that doesn’t include the 12 starters lost to injury with most of them coming back. The team is not only getting plenty of experience back for Dan McCarney to work with, but it’s loaded with ready depth.

Troy
Seven starters return to a defense that was phenomenal at getting into the backfield. DE Jonathan Massaquoi has Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year potential, while five starters are back on the defensive back seven that can’t help but be a bit stronger. Offensively, the left side of the line returns intact led by James Brown, a special-looking left tackle. The recruiting has been so impressive and so strong that the Trojans have more talented depth than ever.

UL Lafayette
The running game should be far better. Mark Hudspeth knows how to get the ground attack going, and he’ll be able to mix things up at quarterback with Chris Masson and Blaine Gautier working like Mississippi State quarterbacks did (at least before Tyler Russell got hurt), and all the top running backs, including Aaron Spikes, are back.

UL Monroe
Nine starters are back on each side of the ball. The losses on both sides are replaceable, and now the players who had to grow up last year should be comfortable and more consistent. Throw in the return of the kickers, and the Warhawks have 20 players back with a defense that should be among the best in the league. If the running game comes around, and all five starters return to the offensive line, there’s a chance to be in the title hunt all season long.

Western Kentucky
Experience isn’t going to be a problem with 20 starters returning, eight on each side of the ball and both kickers, and RB Bobby Rainey is back for what could be a Sun Belt Player of the Year season. The nation’s third leading rusher last year will be the centerpiece of an attack that has to hope for QB Kawaun Jakes to be more consistent. The defense struggled to generate any semblance of a pass rush, but all four starters return to the defensive front and all four starters are back in an improved secondary.

Click for each team's pre-spring lookback and lookahead
Arkansas State | Florida Atlantic | Florida International | MTSU
North Texas | Troy | UL Lafayette | UL Monroe | Western Kentucky

2011 Sun Belt Pre-Spring Preview
- Sun Belt Pre-Spring Rankings
- Why Every Team Should Be Excited
- Why Every Team Should Be Grouchy
- What Every Team Needs To Work On