Preview 2008 - Offense
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2008 ULM Offense Preview
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What you need to know: After getting all the starters back
from the league's best offense the attack was a disappointment,
but now the O should be solid even with the loss of a few key linemen
and the school's all-time leading rusher, Calvin Dawson. JUCO
transfer Keating Helms and Ryan Dercher will fill in the gaps on
the line, while speedster Frank Goodin is explosive enough to
have a huge season now that he has the starting tailback gig. The passing game
should be better with veteran Kinsmon Lancaster throwing to one
of the league's best receiving corps. TE Zeek Zacharie is an
all-star, and the 1-2 receiving punch of Darrell McNeal and
LaGregory Sapp is consistent and dangerous. The key will be the
coaching with Steve Farmer moving from handling the offensive
line to the coordinator spot, but he knows what he's doing.
Passing: Kinsmon Lancaster
174-294, 1,866 yds, 13 TD, 10 INT
Rushing: Frank Goodin
116 carries, 596 yds, 4 TD
Receiving: Darrell McNeal
54 catches, 502 yds, 4 TD
Star of the offense: Sophomore RB Frank Goodin
Player who has to step up and become a star: Sophomore OG
Unsung star on the rise: Junior C Keating Helms
Best pro prospect: Senior TE Zeek Zacharie
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Goodin, 2) Zacharie, 3)
QB Kinsmon Lancaster
Strength of the offense: Skill players, running game
Weakness of the offense:
Backup offensive linemen, passing
Projected Starter: The former high school receiver turned
into a top all-around playmaker. Senior Kinsmon Lancaster
proved last year that he could be a leader in tight games and
could keep the offense moving by throwing for 1,866 yards and 13
touchdowns and finishing third on the team with 398 rushing
yards and a score. He's only 5-11 and 202 pounds and he's not
the most efficient passer around, completing 59% of his throws
with ten interceptions, but he was terrific in the win over
Alabama and ripped apart a good Middle Tennessee defense for 138
rushing yards and 264 through the air. The key is keeping the
interceptions to a minimum. He threw two picks in four games
last season and ULM lost three of them. While he doesn't have a
howitzer of an arm, he can push the ball deep and he can escape
tough situations with his mobility.
Projected Top Reserves: Sophomore Trey Revell
stepped in as a true freshman and showed signs of
potentially being a top player for the Warhawks throwing for 235
yards and three touchdowns while running for 58 yards. At 6-4
and 210 pounds, he's a tall passer with a rocket for an arm, and
he's mobile. When pressed into duty, he picked apart North Texas
for 196 yards and three scores with an interception, but he has
to work on his accuracy after completing just 49% of his throws
on the year. He'll be the understudy behind Lancaster for one
more season before taking over next year.
6-0, 203-pound redshirt freshman Antron Mason will be a
key scout teamer as he's groomed to be part of the quarterback
mix in the near future. A terrific athlete, he's more mobile
than Trey Revell and he has a nice enough arm to get the passing
game going. Now he needs playing time, and he'll get it
somewhere. Don't be shocked if he switches positions.
Watch Out For ... Trey Revell to get more work.
Kinsmon Lancaster has the potential to be an All-Sun Belt
performer, but he takes some big shots. Revell, if nothing else,
will be folded into the game-plans a bit more to get him ready
for next year.
Strength: Mobility. Lancaster can do a little of
everything and can be used primarily as a runner when needed.
Revell can take off at any time and Antron Mason is a potential
Weakness: Efficiency. Lancaster struggles when he tries to force
things. He has the running game and he has the receivers, and
now he has to get the ball to everyone in spots where they can
do something positive.
Outlook: Lancaster is a baller who's at his best
when games get into shootouts. He simply makes things happen
when he has to. Now he has to be more efficient and more
effective throughout the season no matter who he's going
against. He has to be just as good against North Texas as he is
against the Alabamas.
Projected Starter: The loss of a player like Calvin
Dawson, who ran for 3,290 career yards and 30 touchdowns to go
along with 71 catches, would be devastating, but ULM has a nice
talent waiting to be unleashed in sophomore Frank Goodin.
As a true freshman the 5-9, 194-pounder was a good second option
running for 596 yards and four touchdowns averaging 5.1 yards
per carry. With good hands, he made 11 catches for 117 yards and
a touchdown. Even though he's not big, he's a hard-nosed runner
who can slip in and out with ease, and while it's asking a lot
for him to be a 100-yard threat every time out like Dawson, he
proved he can handle a decent workload running 23 times against
Grambling and rushing for 102 yards and a score against Clemson.
Projected Top Reserves: Junior Gary Frazier
will get the first look at the backup job behind Frank Goodin,
but he'll have to work to keep the spot. The 5-8, 209-pound is a
compact runner with some pop. Mostly a blocking fullback so far,
he'll get a few carries as a change of pace to the speedy Goodin.
On the way is true freshman Luther Ambrose, the team's
top recruit who could be used in a variety of different ways.
While he's only 5-9 and 165 pounds, he can move. Really move. He
was the Louisiana high school spring champion tearing off a
10.59 in the 100 to beat current USC star back Joe McKnight, and
he's been clocked at 4.29 in the 40. Despite missing close to
half his senior season, he ran 1,360 yards and 20
touchdowns averaging over ten yards per carry.
Watch Out For ... Ambrose. You don't get a weapon of
his caliber and keep him on the shelf. The coaching staff has to
find some way to get his speed on the field right away.
Strength: Quickness. Ambrose is a blazer, Frank
Goodin can cut on a dime, and sophomore Quinton West can dart.
There might not be a Calvin Dawson in the bunch, but all the
backs can zip.
Weakness: Backup experience. Goodin isn't going to be a
25-carry-a-game back. Gary Frazier and West have to be
productive in the rotation from the start.
Outlook: It'll take a combination of players to
match the 1,414 yards and 12 touchdowns of Calvin Dawson, but
the players are there to do it. Frank Goodin should shine with
the increased role, while the backups are all promising. Dawson
wasn't exactly slow, but there's more home run hitting potential
Projected Starters: Junior Darrell McNeal has been
a bit of a hybrid player as a part fullback, part tight end,
part receiver. Now he's just a receiver after leading the team
with 54 catches for 502 yards and four touchdowns. The former
quarterback will also get a few throws this year on trick plays,
but his worth is as a steady target. At 6-0 and 210 pounds, he's
a strong, quick receiver who's good at getting open, and now he
has to do more to get into the end zone. Of his four scores last
year, two came against Arkansas State and two came against FIU.
Senior LaGregory Sapp had a
great sophomore year with 43 catches for 796 yards, and was left
out of the picture at times last season catching 33 passes for
486 yards and three touchdowns. He has all the measurables with
great speed in a 6-3, 200-pound frame, and he's been productive
over the last few years. Now he has to be more of a home-run
threat on the outside.
A combination of players will work
at the third receiver spot with senior Marty Humphrey
getting the first look. The 6-1, 187-pounder saw a little bit of
starting time last year and caught 13 passes for 170 yards and a
score, with the touchdown coming in the shocker over Alabama.
He's an experienced possession receiver who'll be good in a
The team's number two receiver in
each of the last two seasons has been tight end Zeek Zacharie,
a 6-3, 240-pound senior who has made 66 career catches for 842
yards and eight touchdowns with six coming last year. More of a
big receiver than a bruising tight end, he's a consistent target
who's great at keeping the chains moving. He has soft hands and
always finds a way to get open.
Projected Top Reserves: Working with Marty
Humphrey at one receiver spot will be junior J.J. McCoy,
a former cornerback who's back after missing all of last year
with an Achilles injury. He was blossoming into a playmaker
making 16 catches for 216 yards and a score two years ago before
getting hurt. Extremely quick, he's a good slot receiver who
needs to hold up over the course of a full season. At 5-10 and
165 pounds, he can't take too many big shots.
Working in the fourth receiver slot from time to time will once
against be junior Aaron Stringfellow, a 5-11, 186-pound
backup who made 12 catches for 103 yards and a score. He's a
fast option who should grow into more of a producer once he gets
back in the mix after missing spring ball.
out Zacharie at tight end will be junior Mitch Doyle, a
6-5, 280-pound blocker who can make a few short-range catches.
He made 11 grabs for 19 yards and a touchdown two years ago, but
he missed all of last year with a knee injury. He'll mainly come
in when two tight ends are needed and as a big blocker for the
Watch Out For ... this to be among the best Sun Belt
receiving corps, even if the stats don't show it. Getting J.J.
McCoy back boosts an already decent group that has plenty of
experience and enough options to take some of the focus away
from the running game.
Strength: Experience. Almost all the key receivers
from last year are back with several options to spread the field
and let Kinsmon Lancaster work. The trio of Darrell McNeal,
LaGregory Sapp and Zeek Zacharie are good enough to add more pop
to the passing game.
Weakness: Workload. ULM doesn't totally abandon the passing
attack like some Sun Belt teams do, but it's not going to wing
it around 50 times a game. The players are in place to do more
through the air, and now they need more work.
Outlook: The talent is there to do more with the
passing game. At the very least the targets are in place to be
more efficient. Zeek Zacharie might be the league's best tight
end, while the 1-2 punch of Darrell McNeal and LaGregory Sapp
are consistent and dangerous. There's even a little bit of depth
to count on, unlike last year.
Projected Starters: There's a big loss of talent up front,
but one returning star is junior Aaron Schultz on the right side.
A 6-3, 310-pound run blaster who has been a steady rock despite having
back problems early on last spring, he has lived up to hype of being a
top recruit a few years ago.
At the other guard spot will be 6-2, 290-pound sophomore Andrew Stout,
who turned out to be a key backup as a redshirt freshman. While he's not
the all-around blocker that Schultz is, he's incredibly strong and
versatile enough to play either guard position.
One of the team's new stars should be JUCO transfer Ryan Dercher
at left tackle. He has big shoes to fill replacing Kyle Cunningham, but
the 6-6, 295-pounder is an excellent fit for the Warhawk offense. A
big-time run blocker, he'll be able to open some holes, but his pass
protection and consistency will be the question marks early on. Even so,
he's expected to be an all-star right away.
Also ready to step in right away from the JUCO ranks is 6-2, 300-pound
junior Keating Helms. A JUCO All-American helped lead Mississippi
Gulf Coast CC to a national title as the top lineman in an attack that
averaged 248 rushing yards per game. A great recruit for ULM, he was
wanted by all the Mississippi schools.
6-5, 290-pound Larry Shappley is back at right tackles after
starting every game last season and turning into a productive all-around
blocker. A big concern going into 2007 after suffering a knee injury,
the senior turned out to be consistent and tough for the running game
while not losing any of his athleticism.
Projected Top Reserves: While Keating Helms will
be the established starter at center, 6-3, 270-pound sophomore Brett
Thompson can play. A top reserve for the last few years, he can step
in at either guard or center and start if needed. He got a starting call
at right guard against FIU last season, but he'll mainly be a center
6-5, 275-pound sophomore A.J. DeGroot isn't all that big, but
he's a good-looking guard prospect who could see time at either spot.
He'll start out at right guard behind Aaron Schultz. He'll push hard for
one of the starting jobs.
Watch Out For ... not much of a drop-off. This was
one of the Sun Belt's best lines last season and it should still be
solid eve with the loss of Kyle Cunningham, Adam Hill and Patrick
Strength: Athleticism. This isn't a big, beefy
line, but it's hardly small. Everyone fits a certain type checking in
between 275 and 295 pounds, and everyone can move.
Weakness: Veteran backups. The line was able to plug some huge
holes with good recruits, but the cupboard is bare as the depth. There
was a total of two starts missed by the entire starting five last year.
There's no way to get that kind of good luck again, and the backups have
to be ready.
Outlook: The loaded line of last year that was so
good for the running game and so strong in pass protection lost three
great starters, but the expected emergence of guard Andrew Stout and the
great gets from the JUCO ranks should ease the transition. Junior
recruits Ryan Dercher (tackle) and Keating Helms (center) need to play
up to their billing, and veteran Larry Shappley needs to have a strong
year at right tackle.