2007 UL Monroe Preview

Posted May 16, 2007

Preview 2007 UL Monroe Warhawks Preview


UL Monroe Warhawks

Preview 2007

By Pete Fiutak

- 2007 ULM Offense Preview | 2007 ULM Defense Preview
2007 ULM Depth Chart | 2006 CFN UL Monroe Preview 

The Sun Belt is the nation’s quirkiest league, and no one in the Sun Belt is quirkier than UL Monroe. That’s what happens when you have a really, really young team.

Full of veterans in 2005, the Indians needed to beat UL Lafayette to win the Sun Belt title and go to the New Orleans Bowl. They got blasted 54-21. In 2006, the inexperienced, rebuilding Warhawks were arguably the nation’s worst team over the first two months of the year and going nowhere fast with a seven-game losing streak, and then the offense went ballistic.

Head coach: Charlie Weatherbie
5th year: 15-31
15th year overall: 60-95

Returning Lettermen: 44
Lettermen Lost: 1
Ten Best ULM Players
RB Calvin Dawson, Sr.
2. S Josh Thompson, Jr.
3. QB Kinsmon Lancaster, Jr.
4. PK Cole Wilson, Sr.
5. OT Kyle Cunningham, Sr.
6. TE Zeek Zacharie, Jr.
7. CB Quintez Secka, Sr.
8. WR LaGregory Sapp, Jr.
9. C Adam Hill, Sr.
10. OG Aaron Schutz, Jr.
2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
Aug. 30 Tulsa
Sept. 8 at Clemson
Sept. 15 at Texas A&M
Sept. 29 at Troy
Oct. 6 Arkansas State
Oct. 13 at North Texas
Oct. 20 FIU
Oct. 27 at Florida Atlantic
Nov. 3 Middle Tennessee
Nov. 10 Grambling State
Nov. 17 at Alabama
Nov. 24 at UL Lafayette

2006 Schedule
2006 Results:

9/2 Alcorn State W 24-6
9/9 at Kansas L 21-19
9/16 at Alabama L 41-7
9/30 Florida Atlantic L 21-19
10/7 at Arkansas St L 10-6
10/14 at Troy L 24-19
10/21 MTSU L 35-21
10/28 at Arkansas L 44-10
11/11 FIU W 35-0
11/18 at Kentucky L 42-40
11/25 North Texas W 23-3
12/2 at UL Lafayette W 39-20

The young team grew up, especially on offense, to average over 34 points per game over the final four highlighted by a brilliant performance in a 42-40 shootout loss to Kentucky. Now the sky’s the limit for an attack that gets ten starters back on loses only one player of the offensive two-deep depth chart.

This will be the league’s most balanced offense with Calvin Dawson, the Sun Belt’s leading rusher last year, certain to be an all-star working behind a veteran line, while Kinsmon Lancaster, one of the league’s best passers, is on the verge of Offensive Player of the Year status if he plays like he did over the last month of 2006.

Defense is a different story losing NFL-caliber talents Kevin Payne and Chaz Williams from the secondary along with three key pieces of a front seven that didn’t do anything to get into the backfield. Fortunately, the offense should be able to make up for most of the defensive problems against the mediocre teams.

For a program that hasn’t had a winning season, or been able to crank out more than five wins, since it moved up to D-I in 1994, it will take just a little bit to come up with one or two more victories to have the best year in the program’s history. This is the team to do it.

What to watch for on offense: Explosiveness. Everyone knew ULM had more work to do than anyone in the league, but when things started to click, they really started to click. Now all the freshmen receivers are grizzled veterans, Lancaster has a grip on the offense, and the running game should be tremendous. If this isn’t the league’s best all-around offense by a long shot, it’ll be an upset.

What to watch for on defense: Takeaways at the sacrifice of a pass rush. ULM doesn’t sell out to get into the backfield, preferring to provide the big hit while trying to create the big play. The plan works, for the most part, doing a fantastic job of forcing turnovers while preventing the short to midrange passes. However, the run defense tends to get bowled over and when a sack or quarterback pressure is needed, it isn’t there.

The team will be far better if … there’s even a little bit of production from all aspects of the punting game. Cole Wilson is an All-America caliber placekicker and Darrell McNeal is an adequate kickoff returner. Now the punting game has to be better despite the loss of safety/punter Kevin Payne. McNeal has the potential to be a good punt returner, but he didn’t do much as ULM averaged just 4.56 yards per try.

The Schedule: It’s enough to prevent a winning season and a shot the Sun Belt title. Starting out against Tulsa, at Clemson and at Texas A&M isn’t going to inspire much confidence before starting out the Sun Belt season at Troy. Getting Middle Tennessee at home is a major plus, but it’ll be a rough second half of the season with road games at Florida Atlantic, Alabama and UL Lafayette to likely end things on a down note.

Best Offensive Player: Senior RB Calvin Dawson. He won’t have to carry the entire workload like he did over the second half of last year when he was amazing, but he’ll be a near-lock for 1,000 yards and double-digit touchdowns working behind a strong line. Kinsmon Lancaster and an improved passing game will help take the pressure off.

Best Defensive Player: Junior S Josh Thompson. While he’s less than 200 pounds, he’s such a good hitter that he’ll be a key backup linebacker as well as the top popping rover. He was second on the team with 83 tackles to go along with a team-leading six interceptions. He has range, toughness, and the talent to be the leader of the defense.

Key player to a successful season: Senior DTs David Cooper and Kendall Mouton. The Warhawks have to be better against the run to have any hope of competing for the Sun Belt title, and it’ll start in the middle with Cooper and Mouton. They’re big enough to hold their own, but they’re not going to get into the backfield so if they’re not stopping the run, they’re not of much use.

The season will be a success if ... ULM finishes with a winning season. It has as much star power as anyone in the Sun Belt, but the schedule is a bit too tough to win the title with battles with Troy and UL Lafayette on the road. Being in the top three is a must for a team with as much potential as this one.

Key game: Sept. 29 at Troy. This is the tone-setter for the Sun Belt season. Win the conference opener, and the title will be there for the taking. Lose it, and there’s no margin for error with three conference road games, and home dates with Middle Tennessee and Arkansas State, still to deal with.

2006 Fun Stats: 
- Penalties: UL Monroe 85 for 643 yards – Opponents 69 for 552 yards
- Punt return average: Opponents 12.1 yards – UL Monroe 4.6 yards
- Sacks: UL Monroe 19 for 126 yards – Opponents 13 for 83 yards


Related Stories
2007 UL Monroe Preview - Offense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  May 16, 2007
2007 UL Monroe Preview - Defense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  May 16, 2007
2007 UL Monroe Preview - Depth Chart
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  May 16, 2007

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