UL Monroe Preview 2006

Posted Aug 8, 2006

UL Monroe has had six five-win seasons since 1996, but last year's will be the one the program remembers as the most interesting since moving up to the D-I ranks.

Offense | Defense | Depth Chart | Further Analysis

Six games were decided by a touchdown or less, so for the close gaffes to Northwestern State and Florida International that the team will look back on as the reason it couldn't come up with a winning season, the Indians also got their fair share of close wins. When you have a quarterback like Steven Jyles, you can pull off several close games. But now Jyles, as well as the team's nickname, are both gone.

UL Monroe will have to undergo several changes with Kinsmon Lancaster taking over for longtime starter Jyles, the entire defensive line has to be replaced, the top receivers are gone, and the nickname has gone from the Indians to the Warhawks. All those changes aren't going to help ULM get over the hump this season and win the conference title.

However, this is the Sun Belt, and wacky things tend to happen. The offensive line should be among the league's best and the secondary should be outstanding with two pro prospects in corner Chaz Williams and safety Kevin Payne. Now the team has to win all the close games, and not just a few of them.

Head coach: Charlie Weatherbie
4th year: 11-23
14th year overall: 56-87
Ten Best ULM Players
1. FS Kevin Payne, Sr
2. CB Chaz Williams, Jr.
3. OT Kyle Cunningham, Jr.
4. OG Aaron Schutz, Soph.
5. NT Ricky Williams, Jr.
6. QB Kinsmon Lancaster, Soph.
7. CB Quintez Secka, Sr.
8. S Josh Thompson, Soph.
9. RB Calvin Dawson, Jr.
10. OG Joseph Joseph, Jr.

2006 Schedule
CFN Prediction: coming

9/2 Alcorn State
9/9 at Kansas
9/16 at Alabama
9/30 Florida Atlantic
10/7 at Arkansas State
10/14 at Troy
10/21 MTSU
10/28 at Arkansas
11/11 FIU
11/18 at Kentucky
11/25 North Texas
12/2 at UL Lafayette

2005 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2005 Results: 5-6

Preview 2005 predicted wins

9/1 Nwestern St L 27-23
9/10 at Wyoming L 38-0
9/17 at Georgia L 44-7
9/24 at Fla Atlantic W 28-21
10/1 Arkansas State W 31-27
10/8 at Arkansas L 44-15
10/15 Troy W 27-3
11/5 Florida Intl L 31-28
11/12 at MTSU W 34-31
11/19 at North Texas W 24-19
11/26 UL Lafayette L 54-21

This is the fourth year under head coach Charlie Weatherbie and it's a transition season. While he got the team in range to win the title last year, a season-ending 54-21 blowout by UL Lafayette ruined New Orleans Bowl dreams. It's going to be at least a year before the Warhawks will field the strongest team over the last several years, so Weatherbie and his staff will have a tricky task of blending the young backups with the decent veterans. With only six senior starters, every game has to be about improving with an eye towards the future.

Of course, ULM isn't going to just pack it in and not play. Since UL Lafayette and North Texas appear to be the league's best teams going into the year, and the Warhawks don't play them until the end, there's a chance to be in the thick of things up until late November.

Can ULM fill in the gaps and stay alive long enough to have a shot at the end? Probably not with too many tough road games, but it'll come up with a few big wins and should show glimpses of what it'll be in 2007.

The Schedule: It's not that there are seven road games that's a killer, it's that the Sun Belt away dates are at Arkansas State, Troy and UL Lafayette. The Warhawks can't win the conference title unless they win two of those three. On the plus side, MTSU and North Texas have to come to Malone Stadium. Can the team survive four road games in the first six?? There aren't two home dates in a row to put together a run.

Best Offensive Player: Junior OT Kyle Cunningham. The team needs quarterback Kinsmon Lancaster to quickly grow into the team's best player, but he'll get time to work with a good line in front of him led by guard Aaron Schutz and Cunningham. Each will get a look from an NFL camp in the near future with the 6-4, 285-pound Cunningham showing enough potential to be the league's best lineman.

Best Defensive Player: Senior FS Kevin Payne. The former running back and now punter has also turned into a next-level caliber safety. He's big, fast, and learning the ins and outs of being a top defensive back. Junior corner Chaz Williams could also be considered the team's top defender.

Key player to a successful season: Sophomore QB Kinsmon Lancaster. He has the speed, the moves and the arm, no he has to prove he can be a consistent passer and has to become Steven Jyles-like at making things happen

The season will be a success if ... UL Monroe wins six games. This isn't as good as last year's team, and it's still a year away from big-time success, but it's good enough to beat Alcorn State, Florida Atlantic, and come up with a few home wins against teams like MTSU, FIU and North Texas. It'll take a few road upsets to get to six wins, so five victories might be the ceiling.

Key game: Oct. 7 at Arkansas State. ULM needs at least two Sun Belt road wins to realistically be in the hunt for a winning year. After beating the Indians 31-27 last year, ULM has to pull the same feat off on the road before going on a road trip to Troy.

2005 Fun Stats: 
- Third quarter scoring: Opponents 110 - UL Monroe 35
- Sacks: UL Monroe 18 for 128 yards - Opponents 9 for 70 yards
- Punt return average: Opponent 11.8 yards per return - UL Monroe 3 yards per return

The Last Time UL-Monroe…
…played in a bowl game…never
…missed a bowl game…2005
…pitched a shutout…1999 (Middle Tennessee State)
…was shutout…2005 (Wyoming)
…scored 50 points…2002 (Utah State)
…went undefeated…never
…won a conference title…1992 (Southland)
…had a 3,000-yard passer…1993 (Robert Cobb)
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…2002 (Bryant Jacobs)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…2002 (Mack Vincent)
…had a first-round draft choice…1971 (RB Joe Profit, 7th overall, Atlanta Falcons)


Related Stories
UL Monroe Preview 2006 - Offense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Aug 8, 2006
UL Monroe Preview 2006 - Further Analysis
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Aug 8, 2006
UL Monroe Preview 2006 - Depth Chart
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Aug 8, 2006

Add Topics to My HotList
Get free email alerts with news about your favorite topics. Click link to add to My HotList.
Football > Louisiana-Monroe
[View My HotList]