Sun Belt Pre-Spring - What Needs Work?
ULM QB Kolton Browning
ULM QB Kolton Browning
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Feb 19, 2012


2012 Sun Belt Pre-Spring Preview - What Every Sun Belt Team Needs To Work On.

2012 Pre-Spring Preview   

What To Work On - Sun Belt


Arkansas State | Florida Atlantic | FIU | Middle Tennessee
North Texas | South Alabama  | Troy | UL Lafayette | ULM | WKU

2012 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
- Recruiting 2012 Sun Belt Rankings & Breakdown

Arkansas State

The rushing attack could stand to be better, and it could be if all works out for RB Michael Dyer’s eligibility. The Red Wolves got production out of QB Ryan Aplin on the move, but he led the team with a mere 588 yards. No. 2 man Derek Lawson is gone, meaning freshman Frankie Jackson has to play a big role no matter what happens with Dyer. Aplin might be the Sun Belt’s best quarterback, but he has to cut down on his interceptions throwing 16 last year to go along with his 19 scoring passes.

Florida Atlantic

Offense, offense, offense. The Owl attack didn’t go anywhere last season amassing fewer than 3,000 yards of total offense and scoring a measly 155 points. It’ll all start with a running game that has to find more options and has to get more from an offensive line that failed to generate any sort of a push. QB Graham Wilbert have to be far more effective after combining for just eight touchdown passes and 16 interceptions. Overall, the penalties have to stop after committing 22 more than the opponents.

FIU

The Golden Panther passing game needs to find new playmakers with all-star WR T.Y. Hilton gone and steady veteran QB Wesley Carroll done. It’s not like the air show was anything special before, throwing for just 2,794 yards, but it was effective for what the team needed. More offensive balance is a must, but the running game could also use a boost after going over 200 yards just three times and not getting in the end zone in six games.

Middle Tennessee

The run defense has to get stronger from Game One. The Blue Raiders got ripped up time and again, giving up 37 touchdown on the year including seven to North Texas and five to Georgia Tech. Strangely enough the best performance was against one of the toughest teams on the slate – Tennessee – but for the most part, giving up big days on the ground was the norm for a team that needed to do a much better job of controlling the clock and the action.

North Texas

The Mean Green has to find ways to come out of the Red Zone with points. They struggled throughout last year in close range, scoring a measly 69% of the time inside the 20 hurt by a slew of missed field goals and other offensive mistakes. The passing game has to be stronger and more effective with just 14 touchdown passes. With RB Lance Dunbar gone, more of the workload will be on QB Derek Thompson to push the offense.

South Alabama

The passing game has to be much more efficient and much stronger. Against the lower level teams the Jaguars still couldn’t get the ball down the field and finished with a mere eight touchdown passes and 18 interceptions. There were only two, 200-yard games and just two other games with more touchdowns than interceptions. Defensively, the front three has to generate more of a pass rush after coming up with just 15 sacks and not making nearly enough plays behind the line on a regular basis. The pass defense didn’t suffer, but that’ll change against the better competition.

Troy

There was a time when the Troy defense wasn’t awful. The offense used to be able to pick up the slack by bombing way, but it didn’t get the job done last season and the defense was too awful to overcome. The defensive line got ripped apart and the secondary gave up yards in chunks finishing last in the Sun Belt in pass efficiency defense. The D allowed 465 yards per game and gave up 38 points or more in five of the final seven games. Offensively, the running game needs to be more consistent to take the head off of QB Corey Robinson.

UL-Lafayette

The secondary has to be better. It’s not like the Sun Belt was full of high-octane passing attacks, but the Ragin’ Cajuns still struggled to stop anyone from pushing the ball deep allowing 261 yards per game. The punt return game was fantastic with Darryl Surgent averaging close to 12 yards per pop, but he was mediocre on kickoffs averaging just under 21 yards per pop. He’s too much of a gamebreaker to not do more.

UL Monroe

Punting game, punting game, punting game. The Warhawks weren’t 4-8 because of poor special teams, but they lost games against Arkansas State, WKU, and ULL that could’ve easily have gone the other way. Something as simple as field position might have been the difference after finishing second-to-last in the nation averaging 32 yards per punt and 110th in the country in punt returns. The offensive line has to be far better in pass protection. The stats are misleading because of mobile quarterback Kolton Browning, but the line still has to improve.

Western Kentucky

The Hilltoppers have to get more out of the passing game. With RB Bobby Rainey gone, the offense has to be more effective through the air after coming up with the Sun Belt’s least efficient passing attack. The bread will still be buttered with the running game, but the pressure will be on Kawaun Jakes and the quarterbacks to produce. For a team that relies so much on pounding the ball and field position, more out of the punt return game is a must after averaging just 5.65 yards per try.

Arkansas State | Florida Atlantic | FIU | Middle Tennessee
North Texas | South Alabama  | Troy | UL Lafayette | ULM | WKU

2012 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
- Recruiting 2012 Sun Belt Rankings & Breakdown