NEW ... 2010 CFN ULM Preview
ULM RB Frank Goodin
ULM RB Frank Goodin
Posted Aug 14, 2010 2010 Preview - ULM Warhawks

ULM Warhawks

Preview 2010

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By Pete Fiutak

Head coach: Todd Berry
1st year at ULM
5th year overall: 29-60
Ten Best ULM Players
1. RB Frank Goodin, Sr.
2. WR/KR Luther Ambrose, Jr.
3. DE Troy Evans, Jr.
4. S Darius Prelow, Jr.
5. CB Nate Brown, Jr.
6. LB Theo Smith, Sr.
7. QB Kolton Browning, RFr.
8. QB Trey Revell, Sr.
9. TE Alvin Jordan, Sr.
10. C Ryan McCaul, Jr.
2010 Schedule

Sept. 11 at Arkansas
Sept. 18 at Arkansas St
Sept. 25 SE Louisiana
Oct. 2 at Auburn
Oct. 9 Florida Atlantic
Oct. 16 at WKU
Oct. 23 at MTSU
Oct. 30 Troy
Nov. 6 at FIU
Nov. 13 at LSU
Nov. 20 North Texas
Nov. 27 Louisiana

Todd Berry … uh, okay.

Charlie Weatherbie did a nice job with the program, but he couldn't get over the 6-6 hump and after losing the final two games of last year and after seven seasons without getting ULM into the upper levels of the Sun Belt, it was time for a change.

Berry spent a year as the ULM offensive coordinator after a disastrous stint as the Army head coach, trying to bring in a high-powered passing game to a place that can't recruit high-powered quarterbacks or receivers, and it's not like he set the world on fire as the Miami quarterback coach or as the offensive coordinator for a doomed 2009 UNLV team. He's known for being a great offensive mind, and he'll try to bring more pop to the Warhawk attack, but outside of two great years in the late 1990s at Illinois State, he doesn't have a lot to go on.

The one thing Berry has going for him is a decent returning team that wasn't that far away from having a great year. There are major replacements needing to be made on a defense that was among the best in the Sun Belt, but Weatherbie and his staff did a good job of bringing in plenty of great athletes and good speedsters, and if nothing else, the Warhawks will be able to move. There will be problems against the better offenses, but there's no reason ULM shouldn't be in almost every Sun Belt game with the talent returning. Berry, though, wasn't brought in as a defensive coach.

The ULM offense has always centered around a dangerous running game, and the players, led by Frank Goodin, are in place to crank out another good attack. The passing attack needs to find its quarterback with Kolton Browning and veteran Trey Revell battling it out for the job. Berry likes to go with a certain type of playmaker who can keep the turnovers to a minimum and get on the move, and he has two players who can do that.

Since moving up to the D-I/FBS level in 1994, ULM has yet to come up with a winning season. Being as close as it has been a few times over the last few years, the program is due for the right break and the key win to finally get over a hump to become a bigger factor in the Sun Belt. This could be the year if the offense can be more consistent and explosive and if the defense plays like it did last year. It could also be the year if Berry really is the right man for the job.

What to watch for on offense: More of a spread attack. Berry ran the spread when he was at ULM with decent success, but as the offensive coordinator at UNLV his offense was relatively conservative and lacked much pop or production. He has the speed in the backfield to hope for several big runs, but the quarterbacks will have to do more than just keep the chains moving like they did at UNLV.

What to watch for on defense: More of the 3-3-5. The system was great last year, so why change? Defensive coordinator Troy Reffett has some decent pieces to work with in the front six, and while there were some major personnel losses that almost guarantees a bit of a down year compared to a great 2009, there shouldn't be that much of a drop off. With plenty of speed and quickness, this will be an aggressive group that should do even more to get into the backfield.

The team will be far better if … the special teams improve. ULM has to do everything right to have a shot at a winning record, and being better on special teams will be a big part of that. The Warhawks were miserable on returns, finishing 112th in the nation in punt returns and 100th in kickoff returns, and the punting game wasn't anything to get excited about. Throw in the poor coverage teams that allowed 21.9 yards per kickoff with two touchdowns and a 10.7 yards per try with a touchdown on punt returns, and the special teams were a major problem.

The schedule: The Warhawks have a typically brutal non-conference slate with Arkansas, Auburn, and LSU to deal with (along with a layup against SE Louisiana), so there can't be too many misfires in conference play to have any hope of a big year. There's a rough midseason stretch of four road games in five weeks starting with Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee before hosting Troy as an oasis before going back on the road to deal with FIU and LSU. On the plus side, the final two games are at home facing North Texas and Louisiana-Lafayette. If the team can get to late November at .500, the should have a reasonable shot at getting to seven wins.

Best offensive player: Senior RB Frank Goodin. A short, compact 5-9, 211-pound speedster, Goodin has carved out a nice career so far with 2,505 yards and 22 touchdowns along with 54 catches for 532 yards and three scores. While he hasn't been special like Calvin Dawson was before him, he has grown into the starting role and could be a lock for 1,000 yards if he stays healthy. He came up with a massive second half of last season highlighted by a 169-yard effort against Western Kentucky, and he'll be the centerpiece of the attack early on.

Best defensive player: Junior DE Troy Evans. Aaron Morgan was the all-star pass rushing terror of last year with nine sacks and 16 tackles for loss, and now he's gone leaving it up to Evans, a 6-2, 263-pounder, to be the main man for the defensive front. He did a fine job last year on the other side of Morgan making 32 tackles with 6.5 sacks, and now he'll be the one everyone will focus on stopping. He needs to come through with a big year to allow everyone else around him to shine.

Key player to a successful season: Redshirt freshman QB Kolton Browning or senior QB Trey Revell. Quarterback wasn't an issue for the Warhawks last year as Revell came up with a nice season. However, Browning might be the better fit for Berry and he'll get every chance to win the starting job. Revell is faster and bigger, but Browning has a live arm and is a bit quicker. The two might end up rotating with the idea to go with the hot hand while developing Browning to be the main man for the next few years.

The season will be a success if … ULM comes up with seven wins. Weatherbie coached the team to a 6-6 year, one of its best seasons ever, and it wasn't enough. It's not going to be easy, but for a program that wants to take another step forward, getting to seven wins is vital. It's not going to be easy considering the non-conference record will almost certainly be 1-3, meaning the Warhawks have to go 6-2 the rest of the way. Realistically, this is a 5-7 team that will need to luck its way into a few big breaks.

Key game: Sept. 18 at Arkansas State. The Red Wolves are better than the Warhawks, but that doesn't mean the Sun Belt opener is unwinnable. If ULM loses this, it can realistically afford just one more conference loss to still hang around the title picture. With a win, there's a chance at a nice 2-1 start with SE Louisiana coming up after, and there's the possibility of a 3-0 Sun Belt start with a home game against Florida Atlantic and a road date against Western Kentucky to follow in conference play.

2009 Fun Stats:
- ULM 1st quarter scoring: 57 – ULM 2nd quarter scoring: 126
- Red Zone Touchdowns: Opponents 29-of-40 (73%) – ULM 29-of-53 (55%)
- Sacks: UM 27 for 181 yards – Opponents 16 for 98 yards

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