2013 Arkansas State Spring Football Analysis
2013 Arkansas State Red Wolves ...
Head Coach: Bryan Harsin
Why To Be Excited Many of the pieces are still in place from the powerhouses that rolled through the last few seasons. Four starters return to the offensive line with Aaron Williams at left tackle the best of the bunch helping to pave the way for running back David Oku. Replacements are needed across the defensive front, but the secondary should be among the best in the league with three starters returning.
8/31 ASU-Pine Bluff
9/7 at Auburn
9/21 at Memphis
9/28 at Missouri
10/5 OPEN DATE
10/19 OPEN DATE
11/2 at South Alabama
11/9 at ULM
11/16 Texas State
11/23 Georgia State
11/30 at WKU
Why To Be Grouchy There has to be a step back. Head coach Bryan Harsin has some tough shoes to fill over the success of the last few seasons, but the bigger problem is the loss of all-star quarterback Ryan Aplin and leading tackler Nathan Herrold. Phillip Butterfield and Fredi Knighten will battle it out to take over for Aplin, but the focus this spring should be on a defensive front seven that loses four starters.
What Needs Working On The special teams can’t be much worse. Brian Davis is one of the team’s biggest positives hitting 17-of-21 field goals last year, but that’s about it for the special teams. The punting game was the worst in America netting 31.43 yards per kick, but Neely Sullivent is gone. Oku and the kickoff return unit didn’t do much, while the punt return game averaged an abysmal 4.27 yards per try. Defensively, coming up with more of a pass rush is a must after coming up with a mere 19 sacks.
Non-Conference Games: Arkansas State-Pine Bluff, at Auburn, at Memphis, at Missouri, Idaho
Realistic Best Case Record: 9-3
Worst Case Record: 5-7
Likely Finish: 7-5
Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: Arkansas State-Pine Bluff, Troy, at Memphis, Idaho, at South Alabama, Texas State, Georgia State
Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: at Auburn, at Missouri, Louisiana, at ULM, at WKU
Schedule Analysis: The Red Wolves have to come up with several big replacements, but they’ll get one week to try tuning up getting Arkansas State-Pine Bluff. Going on the road three times in four weeks with dates at Auburn, Memphis and Missouri wrapped around the Sun Belt opener against Troy will be a test, and then it’s time to rest with just one game – Idaho – from the end of September until late October. It’s a Sun Belt run to close things out with three of the last five on the road and with ULM and WKU away from Jonesboro.
Team Concerns For 2013: The Red Wolves first and foremost have to hope that Bryan Harsin can be the next great head coach after Hugh Freeze and Gus Malzahn were so successful. More than anything else, his team has to be far, far better on special teams. The placekicking was fine, but the punting game was the worst in the nation and the return game was miserable.
Offensively, replacing Ryan Aplin will be a chore, and it won't be a plus to not have receivers Taylor Stockemer and Josh Jarboe to help out the new starter. The defense has to generate more of a pass rush.
The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Defensive backs. It's not a star-studded class, but it's not too bad considering the coaching change. JUCO transfer Chandler Rogers will boost the quarterback depth, while defensive tackle Logan Carl was a great get who'll eventually anchor the line. Eventually, receiver Dijon Paschal will be a No. 1 target. Safety Jeremy Fulcher and corner Mark Johnson lead a deep group of defensive back options to build around for the next few seasons.
2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 80. That Class Was Heavy On ... Skill players. Last year’s class focused mostly on the offensive backfield, and the transfer of Auburn’s Michael Dyer will eventually give new head coach Gus Malzahn a star to work around, but this year’s class is about to be loaded with running backs. Quarterback is the concern going into 2013, and this year’s class will bring options.
2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 96. That Class Was Heavy On ... The offensive backfield. The defensive front got the most help last year and the receiving corps of 2009 should come into its own this year, and now the skill players are in place for the backfield of the near future. Speedy RB Artez Brown is the gem of the class, but Quintin Sparkmon has nice potential. Quarterbacks Darion Griswold and J.D. McKissic are totally different prospects. The 6-5, 240-pound Griswold is the passer, the 5-8, 170-pound McKissic is the runner.
2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 106. That Class Was
Heavy On ... Defensive
linemen. While the offense got a lot of help,
especially at running back with the instant help
from JUCO transfer Dwayne Frampton and his sub-4.4
speed, but the defense will get the most immediate
upgrade with two fantastic linebacker prospects in
Quashaun Lee and JUCO transfer Michael Lombardo and
four strong defensive linemen. JUCO transfers Blake
Chavis and Brandon Joiner each likely to start or at
least be major factors in the end rotation.
2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 116. That Class Was
Heavy On ... Receivers. QB Phillip Butterfield is the star of the show here, and he’ll have plenty of targets to work with including Carlos McCants, a smallish, quick receiver who should be a number one target at some point. JUCO transfer Lucious Henderson is for right now. The defense was almost completely ignored.