2008 ULM Preview
ULM TE Zeek Zacharie
ULM TE Zeek Zacharie
Posted Apr 30, 2008

CollegeFootballNews.com 2008 Preview - Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks

UL Monroe Warhawks

Preview 2008

By Pete Fiutak

- 2008 UL Monroe Preview | 2008 ULM Offense Preview  
- 2008 ULM Defense Preview | 2008 ULM Depth Chart
- 2007 UL Monroe Preview | 2006 CFN UL Monroe Preview 

Preview ULM's opening day opponent  2008 CFN Auburn Preview

Now if the team could just find a way to get off to a decent start.

A tremendous closer over the last two seasons, ULM was out of the Sun Belt picture and scrambling for its life after horrific starts. Sure, it's hard to get hot early when you schedule most of the good non-conference games in September, but the Warhawks went 0-4 against the Sun Belt in 2006 before making a mad dash at the end winning their last three in conference play, and they went 3-0 against Sun Belt teams, including a win at eventual champion Florida Atlantic, after a 1-2 conference start.

Head coach: Charlie Weatherbie
6th year: 21-37
16th year overall: 66-101
Ten Best ULM Players
1. LB Cardia Jackson, Sr.
2. S Greg James, Jr.
3. Rover Josh Thompson, Jr.
4. RB Frank Goodin, Soph.
5. TE Zeek Zacharie, Sr.
6. QB Kinsmon Lancaster, Sr.
7. DT Alex Ford, Jr.
8. P Scott Love, Jr.
9. OG Aaron Schutz, Sr.
10. WR Darrell McNeal, Jr.

2008 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
CFN Record: 0-0

Aug. 30 at Auburn
Sept. 6 at Arkansas
Sept. 13 Alabama A&M
Sept. 20 at Tulane
Sept. 27 OPEN DATE
Oct. 4 UL Lafayette
Oct. 11 at Arkansas State
Oct. 18 North Texas
Oct. 25 Florida Atlantic
Nov. 1 Troy 
Nov. 8 at Middle Tennessee
Nov. 15 at Ole Miss
Nov. 22 at FIU 

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2007 Results:

Aug. 30 Tulsa L 35-17
Sept. 8 at Clemson L 35-17
Sept. 15 at Texas A&M L 54-14
Sept. 29 at Troy L 24-7
Oct. 6
Arkansas St W 30-13
Oct. 13 at No Texas L 31-21
Oct. 20 FIU W 28-14
Oct. 27 at FAU W 33-30 3OT
Nov. 3 Middle Tenn L 43-40
Nov. 10
Grambling St W 28-14
Nov. 17 at Alabama W 21-14
Nov. 24 at UL Laf. W 17-11

ULM won five of its final six games last year including the huge upset over Alabama, and it almost upset Kentucky two years ago in November. In other words, watch out Ole Miss on November 15th because this team knows how to put it together late.

Now it has to get hot early, at least in league play

The potential is there to finally break through and win the Sun Belt title, and the key could be using September as exhibition games for the real season; conference play starts for ULM on October 4th. Before then, the corner situation has to be settled by mid-October when North Texas, who beat the Warhawks last year, come to town, and the O line needs to patch the holes in a hurry or the early games against Auburn and Arkansas are going to be big blowouts.

But everyone has things to worry about, and ULM has fewer than most in the Sun Belt. Considering it lost has lost four games in the last three Novembers with three coming by a grand total of seven points, this is a team and a coaching staff that knows how to adjust during the season. Unlike past years, this group might not be making too many tweaks early on.

Even with the relative disappointment of last year, when everyone returned to a seemingly loaded offense, and didn't do much of anything until it was too late, it was an important season. It was the first time the program had won more than five games in a season since moving up to the D-I ranks in 1994, and it shouldn't take too much more to squeeze out another victory this year and finally come up with a winning season.

Then again, Alabama isn't on the schedule.

What to watch for on offense: A decent balance. It'll be up to
Frank Goodin to take over for heart-and-soul running back Calvin Dawson, and he has the quickness and the talent to explode behind a big, decent line. he receiving corps might be among the Sun Belt's most talented with Darrell McNeal and LaGregory Sapp a dangerous wideout tandem and tight end Zeek Zacharie a good NFL prospect. The offense was one of the worst in the Sun Belt last year, but it won't be again. 

What to watch for on defense: The league's best run defense could be even better. Everyone was able to throw on the ULM secondary, so the stats are a bit skewed, but the Warhawk run D really was good. Tackles Alex Ford and Brandon McCray will bottle up everything inside, while linebacker Cardia Jackson is a machine. The safeties can hit.

The team will be far better if … more plays are made in the backfield. The crazy part about the run defense stats is that there were almost no sacks and few tackles for loss to bring the total down. Alaric Coleman is a decent pass rusher, but not an elite one, and to help out a secondary that'll need to protect the corners, hitting the quarterback will be a must.

The Schedule: Did the Warhawks join the SEC? Auburn, Arkansas and Ole Miss can't take the supposed layup game lightly after the way ULM beat Alabama last season and almost beat Kentucky two years ago. There's a winnable game at Tulane before a well-times week off coming before the rivalry date with UL Lafayette. Unfortunately, that's the only week off with the other open date coming at the end of the year. Closing out with three straight road dates isn't a plus, but Florida Atlantic and Troy come to Monroe in back to back weeks. If ULM can win those two it'll be in the thick of the Sun Belt title hunt.

Best Offensive Player: Sophomore RB Frank Goodin. Tight end Zeek Zacharie might be the team's most talented offensive player, but Goodin is about to blow up into a Sun Belt star as he takes over for Calvin Dawson. While he's not all that big, he's tremendously quick and should be a lock to 1,000 yards if he can stay healthy.

Best Defensive Player: Junior LB Cardia Jackson. Everything works around the team's leader and top tackler. Jackson is seemingly around every play and is the one who keeps the short runs from turning into something big. A big-time hitter who plays more physical than his 228 pounds, he'll be the signature player on what could be the league's best defense.

Key player to a successful season: Redshirt freshman CB Nate Brown. The safeties are fantastic, but there's not going to be too much of a pass rush and the nation's 101st ranked pass defense isn't going to be any better unless the corners improve. ULM needs a No. 1 cover-corner, and Brown, a former wide receiver who has taken to his new spot, needs to be a star from day one. He'll get picked on, but he has to win his share of battles.

The season will be a success if ... ULM wins the Sun Belt title. It's the next step in the progression. With two of the league's biggest contenders, Troy and FAU, at home, and with all the returning experience and the talent at the skill positions, the Warhawks can legitimately dream about going bowling.

Key game: Oct. 4 vs. UL Lafayette. There are bigger, more important games down the road, but ULM can't afford to lose the Sun Belt opener, especially at home, if it has any hope of winning the title. Considering the slow starts the team has gotten off to in past seasons, this would be a tone-setter with a trip to Arkansas State to follow.

2007 Fun Stats: 
- First quarter scoring: Opponents 82 - ULM 45
- Penalties: ULM 100 for 815 yards - Opponents 76 for 592 yards
- Total attendance for all five ULM home games: 83,255 - Attendance at Alabama's Bryant-Denny Stadium, site of ULM's 21-14 win: 92,138



Related Stories
2008 UL Monroe Preview - Offense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Apr 30, 2008
2008 UL Monroe Preview - Defense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Apr 30, 2008
2008 UL Monroe Preview – Depth Chart
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Apr 30, 2008

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