2010 Arkansas State Preview - Offense
Arkansas State QB Ryan Aplin
CollegeFootballNews.com 2010 Preview - Arkansas State Red Wolves Offense
Preview 2010 - Offense
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What You Need To Know: Offensive coordinator Hugh Freeze will change things up a bit as ASU makes the change from a running attack to a no-huddle, more balanced game. The hope is to generate more big plays with the passing game, and while the receivers aren't experienced, there's excellent upside with some dangerous young prospects. The O line is big and experienced, but it's not built for a speed game and will have to get everyone healthy after so many problems last year. The backfield has a good back in Derek Lawson, who'll finally get more of a chance to show what he can do, while the quarterback situation should be solid with dual-threat playmaker Ryan Aplin getting the first look and strong passer Phillip Butterfield getting his chances, too.
Star of the offense: Junior RB Derek Lawson
Passing: Ryan Aplin
77-118, 889 yds, 3, TD, 6 INT
Rushing: Ryan Aplin
64 carries, 253 yds, 4 TD
Receiving: Taylor Stockemer
16 catches, 347 yds, 1 TD
Player who has to step up and be a star: Sophomore WR Taylor Stockemer
Unsung star on the rise: Redshirt freshman QB Phillip Butterfield
Best pro prospect: Senior OT Derek Newton
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Newton, 2) Lawson, 3) OG Sifa Etu
Strength of the offense: Line Size, Backfield Quickness
Weakness of the offense: Pass Protection, Receiver Experience
Projected Starter: Corey Leonard was supposed to be a Sun Belt superstar who could take the team to another level, but he sputtered, struggled, and didn't have the season expected. His problems allowed Ryan Aplin to step in and see plenty of action completing 65% of his passes for 889 yards and three touchdowns with six interceptions, and ran for 253 yards and four scores. The sophomore is 6-1 and 213 pounds with excellent quickness and a decent arm, and now it'll be his big chance to take the program and make it his. The dual-threat playmaker out of Tampa is a faster clone of Leonard's style, but now he has to get past a shoulder surgery to be a bit more efficient as a passer and has to cut down on his picks.
Projected Top Reserves Phillip Butterfield was supposed to be in the hunt for the starting job last season but got hit with a knee injury. The 6-2, 205-pound redshirt freshman was a big get for the program with a strong passing arm and enough running ability to be more than just a scrambler. He might not be as fast or as quick as Ryan Aplin, but he's a much better thrower.
Watch Out For … a combination of Aplin and Butterfield. Butterfield is the option with the most upside, but Aplin is so dangerous on the move that he has to see time. It'll be an interesting mix.
Strength: Upside. ASU has brought in two excellent young options with Butterfield a good enough prospect to have received offers from several bigger schools. The future is bright with both players.
Weakness: Experience. Aplin got nine games of time last year but was used mostly as a runner, while Butterfield has yet to see the field. Durability is a major concern considering both are banged up early in their careers.
Outlook: Butterfield will be the better fit in the no-huddle attack, but Aplin has the quickness and the ability to do more early on because of his speed. The Red Wolves are in good shape with either option.
Unit Rating: 6
Projected Starters: Junior Derek Lawson was supposed to play a big role as a complementary back behind the great Reggie Arnold, who led the team with 723 yards and 12 touchdowns, but he only got 56 touches for 244 yards and two scores. At 5-11 and 216 pounds he has decent size, and he has had his moments averaging a whopping 7.2 yards per carry in 2008 with 209 yards and a score against Texas Southern. However, when Arnold was right, Lawson was out of the mix. Now it'll be up to him to carry the workload.
Projected Top Reserves Junior Jermaine Robertson brings a bit more thump than Lawson. At 5-11 and 230 pounds, he was used as a fullback and a blocker so far getting 11 carries for 51 yards and a score, but he needs to show he can be a receiver. He'll be a key factor in the no-huddle attack for his pass protection, and he could be used more in short yardage situations.
Sophomore Don Jones is the speedster in the mix as the Alabama state high school champion in the 100, 200 and 400. He got a little bit of work last season with 149 yards and two touchdowns averaging 6.2 yards per carry, and he'll be used more as a receiver after making 12 grabs for 146 yards and a score. Most of his work came in the 61-0 blasting of Mississippi Valley State in the opener, but now he could explode in the new attack.
Watch Out For … Lawson to be an All-Sun Belt caliber performer. He might not be Reggie Arnold, but he's been waiting in the wings for the last few years waiting to be the main man. He should take the opportunity and run with it.
Strength: No pressure. If Ryan Aplin is under center, the Red Wolves have a dangerous rushing option to take the heat off the backs. Lawson should be great, and Robertson and Jones have a nice blend of talents to make the ASU ground game go.
Weakness: The new offense. ASU struggled at running the ball last year a bit, but the attack under head coach Steve Roberts has been good at cranking out the production. Without a fullback to help out, the backs will be on their own a bit more this year.
Outlook: ASU might be going to a more no-huddle attack, but Lawson is too good to not get the ball in his hands at least 20 times a game. The running backs won't be ignored, but they'll have to do more to catch the ball out of the backfield and won't have to pound it as much.
Unit Rating: 6
Projected Starters: Sophomore Taylor Stockemer is the team's leading returning receiver, but he only made 16 catches for 347 yards and a touchdown. At 6-4 and 195 pounds, he has good size and averaged 21.7 yards per catch, but now he has to be more explosive at the outside X. Very smart and a top recruit for the program a few years ago, he has the skills and the upside to be the No. 1 target and a game-changer who can open things up for the running game.
Working at the Y will be Lucious Henderson, a 5-11, 177-pound senior who came over from the JUCO ranks but didn't do much. He got a carry but didn't go anywhere. With his sprinter's, 4.4 speed, he's a dangerous option with tremendous upside, but the coaching staff has to find a way to get the ball in his hands in a variety of ways.
At 6-4 and 211 pounds, sophomore Allen Muse is a big target who got a little bit of work catching six passes for 57 yards. He started for all four seasons in high school and was enough of a prospect to get a look from LSU and Ole Miss before choosing ASU. Banged up early on, he appears ready to make a big impact at the inside Z position.
Sophomore Kedric Murry ended up starting is a big, strong blocker who started seven times and stretched the field averaging 15.6 yards per catch with seven grabs for 109 yards. At 6-3 and 265 pounds he has the size and is great at coming up with the big downfield block needed. He'll be more of a safety valve with good hands and nice route running ability.
Projected Top Reserves Part receiver, part backup quarterback, sophomore Andre Smith completed one pass for 18 yards last year and ran for 46 yards. Now he'll work more at the inside Z position to use his 6-1, 213-pound size and good quickness to be a bigger part of the offense.
Coming in from the JUCO ranks is Dwayne Frampton a 5-9, 184-pound junior who caught 77 passes for 1,230 yards and nine touchdowns for Los Angeles Harbor College and was used as a punt returner. He's not all that big, but he's quick and moves well enough to be used in a variety of ways.
Carlos McCants is extremely quick and has 4.4 speed, and now he has to show it off on the field after redshirting. He'll rotate with Lucious Henderson at the Y and will be groomed to take over the job next year, and he can be used as a kick and punt returner if needed.
Working with Kedric Murry at tight end will be Jeff Blake, a one-time fullback who has 40 career yards and a touchdown, and he has grown into a nice short-yardage receiver with 11 grabs for 73 yards and three scores over the last two seasons. He's not built for the position at 5-10 and 239 yards, but he's a smart player who can fill a variety of roles.
Watch Out For … Stockemer. He came to ASU with a big billing and he showed flashes last year of what he can become. If he gets decent quarterback play, he has the potential to blow up and become an all-star who can hit the home run from time to time.
Strength: Quickness. Not only are the ASU receivers big, but they move extremely well. They need to get the ball in their hands on the move and need to be a big part of an offense that's been geared around the ground game for the last few seasons.
Weakness: Experience. Four out of the top five receivers are gone, including go-to guy Brandon Thompkins, so the opportunities will be there for several players to step up and produce. Outside of Stockemer and the tight ends, there isn't a lot to rely on from Day One.
Outlook: In time, the ASU corps has the potential to be among the best in the Sun Belt. More passing production is needed from the quarterbacks and the opportunities need to be there to make plays, but there's a good combination of size, quickness and speed to get fired up about. The upside is there.
Unit Rating: 4.5
Projected Starters: Senior Sifa Etu came in from the JUCO ranks and was supposed to be a key factor early on, and he ended up starting ten games becoming one of the team's steadiest blockers at right guard. The 6-1, 304-pounder isn't tall and is a bit squatty, but he fires off the ball and is strong for the ground game. How much of a talent is he? Miami wanted him and he was a great pickup for the Red Wolves.
Starting next to Etu at right tackle will be Derek Newton, the star of the line who earned second-team All-Sun Belt honors. The 6-5, 313-pound senior is the team's steadiest blocker and was a big helper for a line that had to replace an all-star in Mark Clemons. Newton was a star JUCO transfer who runs well and is a punishing all-around blocker. He should be a perfect fit for the hurry-up attack.
In a battle for the starting left tackle job is Delano Moore, a 6-5, 305-pound junior who started three times last year and was just good enough this offseason to take over the No. 1 spot going into the fall. A smart, good-sized blocker, he has the bulk and the movement to be a decent pass blocker, but he needs to be consistent or he'll quickly be replaced by veteran Kiano Prater.
Senior Drew Hilton was a starter at right guard and opened the year at left tackle, but he got hurt with a shoulder injury and is still trying to get back into the mix as one of the team's most versatile linemen. A good recruit a few years ago who had interest from places like LSU and Arkansas, he's tough and athletic, and he has the potential to become one of the team's best all-around blockers and will get the first look at left guard.
Senior Tom Castilaw started the first four games of last year before getting knocked out for the season with a knee injury. He'll be back in time for the season to take back his spot at center, and he has been around long enough and has seen enough time to grow into a steady starter. At 6-3 and 297 pounds he has decent size and the good smarts for the job.
Projected Top Reserves Pushing to start again on the other side at left tackle will be Kiano Prater, a 6-3, 292-pound senior who stepped in for four-time all-star Matt Mandich and was decent, but wasn't great in pass protection. He's athletic, smart, and a veteran who saw plenty of action at San Bernardino Valley before getting into the ASU system. With all his experience, he has to be better on the left side.
6-3, 306-pound senior Alfred Louis started four games in the first half of last year at left guard and will get the first look again. He's a big run blocker who moves reasonably well for his size. He can play either guard spot and will be used to run behind on key short yardage plays.
Sophomore Eric Allen started for most of the second half of last year at center, but he suffered a shoulder injury and was out this offseason. At 6-0 and 300 pounds he's a short, squatty blocker who's built perfectly for the position. He's not great on the move, but he can hit in short spaces.
Watch Out For … an interesting transition. This is a line recruited and put together to blast away for the ground game, and now it'll have to be a quicker group that moves better in the no-huddle attack.
Strength: Size. This is a big line with plenty of experience. The one positive with all the injury issues is the experience gained from so many different players. There are plenty of interchangeable parts and everyone is big and can hit.
Weakness: Health. The Red Wolves only had one player, Derek Newton, play the entire season at one spot. Three key players were out this spring and it might take a little while for the cohesion to come together in a group that struggled to keep the quarterbacks clean.
Outlook: ASU hasn't blocked anyone in pass protection over the last three years, which was partly due to the mobility of the quarterbacks. There's size to push people around in the ground game, but the key will be health and cohesion after so many lineup changes last year. There's great potential, a lot of experience, and good upside to a potentially strong front five.
Unit Rating: 5
- 2010 Arkansas State Preview |
Arkansas State Offense
2010 Arkansas State Defense |
Arkansas State Depth Chart
- Arkansas State Previews