2007 UL Monroe Preview - Defense
UL Monroe Warhawk Defense
Preview 2007 - Defense
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2006 CFN UL Monroe
What you need to know: The same problems ULM had last year
appear to be the same issues going into this year with a
questionable run defense and no proven pass rush, but the
strength, the secondary, will be the same even without Kevin
Payne and Chaz Williams. The 4-2-5 did its job against mediocre
offenses, but got ripped apart by any offense with a pulse.
Unless the line is better, the Warhawks will be pounded on by
everyone in the Sun Belt.
Josh Thompson, 83
Aaron Morgan, 4
Interceptions: Josh Thompson, 6
Star of the defense: Junior S Josh Thompson
Run defense, proven pass rush
Player that has to step up and become a star:
Senior DTs David Cooper and Kendall Mouton
Unsung star on the rise: Redshirt freshman S Alex Ibe
Best pro prospect: Thompson
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Thompson, 2) CB Quintez
Secka, 3) LB Cardia Jackson
Strength of the defense: Secondary
Weakness of the defense:
Projected Starters: The line didn't do nearly enough to
get into the backfield last year, and that means sophomore ends
Alaric Coleman and Jameson Jordan have to boost the
production. The 6-3, 250-pound Coleman played 12 games as a reserve
making a sack and two tackles for loss among his nine tackles. He's a
pure pass rusher who should be a big upgrade on one side, while Jordan,
who made 25 tackles, has to do something, anything, to start making more
big plays after registering just one tackles for loss. While he
generated some pressure, he didn't close. He has a 6-5, 235-pound frame
that's tough to throw over.
On the inside, ULM has excellent beef to anchor around. 315-pound senior
Kendall Mouton is back on the nose after making 11 tackles as a
reserve. The former JUCO transfer is too big and too experienced to not
become more of a factor against the run.
273-pound senior David
Cooper also came in from the JUCO ranks to make 19 tackles. While
he isn't much of an interior pass rusher, he's one of the team's
stronger players and should do more on the inside.
Projected Top Reserves: Hope for more of a pass
rush comes from 6-5, 215-pound sophomore Aaron Morgan, who might
look like a big wide receiver, but he's physical and very, very quick
off the line. With just a little bit of work, he came up with a
team-leading four sacks. Now he'll start out behind Coleman.
293-pound DeMarcus Carmouche was decent in a reserve role making
15 tackles while coming up with two sacks. The junior has all the
potential in the world to become a special player, but it hasn't kicked
in yet. He has the size, the quickness, and the strength to be far
On the end, junior Travis Eickman, at 6-3, 230 pounds,
is a smaller, quick option behind Jordan. While he has the drive and
the speed to be a regular pass rusher, he only came up with one sack and
23 tackles last season.
Watch Out For ... more plays behind the line. 19
sacks and 47 tackles for loss aren't going to get it done for this
group. It has to be a far more active front four.
Strength: Size in the middle. The tackles might
not be all that quick, but they're big enough to clog things up against
most Sun Belt teams. There will be a good rotation of beef at both
Weakness: A sure-thing pass rusher. Morgan is a sure-thing pass
rusher, but he's not big enough to be a full-time end. Coleman and
Jordan have to be more creative at getting to the quarterback.
Outlook: There's too much experience not to be
better. It's a wonder the secondary was as good as it was without the
benefit of a pass rush, but more importantly in the Sun Belt, the line
has to get to the runner in a bigger hurry. 114th in the nation in
tackles for loss isn't going to cut it. If Cooper and Mouton can be
solid inside, there should be a good enough rotation on the ends for
this to be a better year.
Projected Starters: Junior Jeremy Moll is back
after making just 19 tackles, but he was limited to just eight games of
action. He has to do a far better job of stopping the run to hold on to
the job going into the fall, when a slew of top prospects are coming in.
While he bulked up to 220 pounds, he's still quick enough to be
disruptive. Now he has to produce.
Next to Moll will be sophomore
Cardia Jackson, the team's second leading returning tackler
finishing fourth with 58 stops. While he was decent enough against the
run, he didn't do enough to get into the backfield or make plays against
the pass to secure him in a spot this fall.
Projected Top Reserves: The starting twosome will
still be determined later this summer when top recruit Alvin Jordan
hits campus. A tough high school running back as well as a tackling
machine at linebacker, the 228 pounder will get every shot to win one of
the starting jobs.
230-pound junior, Chance Payne, started out
his career a quarterback completing 34 of 58 passes for 404 yards and
two touchdowns with an interception as the backup behind Kinsmon
Lancaster. Now he'll be a backup linebacker using his size, smarts and
toughness to play behind Jackson.
Sophomore Josh Thomas walked on
last season and made 18 tackle sand three tackles for loss in a reserve
role. He's a smart player, but he'll likely just be a special teamer.
Everything will change this fall when Lincston Jones, Kenneth
Dorsey, and Theo Smith come in. The strength of the
recruiting class, these four could all take over the corps at some point
Watch Out For ... all the freshmen. Moll, Jackson,
and Thomas are just linebackers leaving open the possibility for others
to quickly step in. Jordan might start from day one.
Strength: Potential. It's never a good thing to
rely so heavily on true freshmen, but the defense only needs two of them
in the 4-2-5 to stand out. Moll and Jackson are serviceable until the
new guys get their feet wet.
Weakness: Backups. It's asking a lot for a quarterback (Payne)
to play a key role, and Thomas isn't top-starting material. If the
freshmen play like freshmen and need seasoning, there will be big
Outlook: This might be the team's wild-card.
Everyone needs to be better against the run, and two linebackers have to
emerge as major disruptive forces. Jackson is the best of the bunch and
will likely hold down a starting job, but everyone's waiting to see what
the baby 'backers can do.
Projected Starters: Rover Josh Thompson stepped in
as a true freshman and had a nice 40 tackle season, and then he
blossomed as a sophomore finishing second on the team with 83 stops and
six interceptions showing hitting skills and an ability to get to the
ball like a corner. He has decent size at 215 pounds, terrific range,
and the potential to be an All-Sun Belt star as the leader of the
The big issue will be at free safety, where sophomore
James Truxillo will step in for now-Chicago Bear Kevin Payne. A
strong reserve last year with 35 tackles, Truxillo will put up good
stats, but he doesn't have the range or hitting ability of Payne.
third safety spot will be senior James Wright, a 6-2, 206-pound
walk-on who came up with 26 tackles and an interception. He'll be used
more like a linebacker than a safety.
The corners should be a strength with the return of seniors Quintez
Secka and Darrius Battles. Secka has nice size and lock-down
athleticism making ten tackles in three games before having issues with
a hamstring injury. He's back and should be one of the best in the Sun
Belt. Battles missed all of last year working on his studies. He made 29
stops in 2005 and picked off four passes and should be strong on the
weakside. He'll be one of the team's leaders in picks.
Projected Top Reserves: Sophomore Greg James
was fantastic last season in place of Secka making 46 tackles and
five interceptions. He's built like a safety with excellent ball skills,
and while he'll play behind Secka, he'll see more than his share of time
among the five starting defensive backs.
It'll be up to a slew of redshirt freshmen to fill in among the reserves with speedy Alex
Blake working behind Battles on the weakside, 6-3, 197-pound Alex
Ibe ready to provide a big hitting presence at rover behind
Thompson, and Preston Fuller will find time behind Wright and
could push for the starting job come fall.
Watch Out For ... the corners to be fantastic. It
might seem like a concern with Secka coming off an injury and Battles
out last year, but these two will be great against the mediocre Sun Belt
Strength: Hitting safeties. Losing Payne isn't a
plus, but Thompson, Truxillo and Wright will all tackle well. They need
to be rocks in run support with average linebackers in front of them.
Weakness: Experienced reserves. There's talent among the strong
secondary, but there's not a lot of veteran backups to rely on. James is
a solid corner, but he's the extent of the experience behind the
Outlook: Normally, Sun Belt teams don't quickly
recover after losing NFL talents like Kevin Payne and Chaz Williams, but
ULM should still have one of the league's best pass defenses. There are
a lot of question marks, but the overall talent is goo denough to keep
most passing games under 200 yards.
Projected Starters: Punter Kevin Payne is off to the
Chicago Bears (as a safety) after averaging 40.5 yards per punt. He
wasn't great with his accuracy, but he could air it out. Taking over
will be sophomore Scott Love, who got a little bit of work last
year when Payne was hurt averaging 36.8 yards on five kick. The numbers
are a bit skewed because of a shank, but he has a decent enough leg to
average around 40 yards per try. However, consistency is going to be a
big issue, and he has to learn to get more air under the ball.
kicker Cole Wilson is back after hitting 14 of 15 field goal
attempts, with the one miss coming from 50 yards; he's automatic
Watch Out For ... the return game to continue to be
an issue. There wasn't anything from the punt returns last season
averaging just 4.56 yards per try, and while Darrell McNeal has the
speed and quickness, he needs more room to run.
Strength: Wilson will once again be among the best
kickers in the country. He might not have much in the way of deep range,
but topping out at around 45 yards is hardly anything to sneeze at.
Weakness: Love. If spring ball was any indication, he has a lot
of work to do to become a weapon of a punter. However, ULM was 101st in
the nation in punting with Payne, so things can't be too much worse.
Outlook: Wilson will be the difference in at least
two games, but the rest of the special teams will be mediocre. Calvin
Dawson and Darrell McNeal will be fine on kickoff returns, but McNeal
has to do more with punt returns and the coverage units have to be far,
far better. Love will be the big issue needing to be consistent.