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October 25, 2011

Freeze is cautiously optimistic about season's potential

The Arkansas State Red Wolves are just one win away from bowl eligibility and also have the potential to win a conference championship under first year head coach Hugh Freeze. However, Freeze has stated that his staff is coaching the team to take things one game and one play at a time.

"I am obviously very pleased with how this season has gone so far," said Freeze. "But I am cautiously optimistic at the same time. There is still a lot of football to be played, and I have seen things fall apart before, so we are very guarded about looking beyond the game at hand."

"We constantly remind our players of what got us to this point," said Freeze. "That is the main thing. We don't want to forget what got us to this point. We are just going to play one play at a time, and one game at a time."

The Red Wolves have a big conference match-up with North Texas this Saturday night in ASU Stadium, and Freeze has taken note on the improvement the Mean Green have shown.

"North Texas has a lot of talent," said Freeze. "They are right there where there is plenty of talent in Texas, and they have a new staff that is in transition, and they are getting better and better every week. You can look at the stats from week one all the way to their game last week and see their improvement."

The staff also took note of quarterback Derek Thompson's career game against Louisiana-Monroe last week. Thompson threw for 332 yards and three touchdowns. His three touchdown passes came from nine, 13, and 40 yards.

"He got a lot of protection," said Freeze. "Their offensive line blocked very well for him. He also has a tremendous running back in Lance Dunbar that we will have to slow down also."

Speaking of the running game, Freeze is hoping to get more consistency out of the running game, but also knows that injuries have hampered his offensive backfield.

"We have got to block a little better up front," said Freeze. "We will run the ball however we have to do it. Frankie Jackson has been good for us, but if we have to we will run our quarterback to gain yards in the running game as well. We will just take what the defense gives us. All of our running backs have the ability to be effective in our offense."

The Red Wolf secondary has taken some hits this season. Safety Tausean Holmes went down in week one with an injury, and A.J. Hills has been dismissed from the team due to off the field issues. However, Holmes will make his return this weekend.

"Holmes has been released to play, and will make his return this weekend," said Freeze. "He will add some depth to our secondary, and should help us continue to improve and make plays."

Freeze has also been pleased with the play of his special teams, especially with his kickers Bobby Zalud and Brian Davis.

"Special teams has done well for us this year," said Freeze. "Our kickers have been fairly consistent for us. They have missed some they probably should have made, but they have hit some also that you wouldn't always expect. I would like to see some improvement in our kick return ability, but we have faced some kickers which have not allowed us to return many kicks. When we have been able to return them, we haven't been real effective. We just want to be solid in all phases of our special teams play, and will work to continue to improve on that."

Kickoff for North Texas is slated for 6PM at ASU Stadium in Jonesboro. RedWolfReport.com is picking Arkansas State to earn a homecoming victory and earn bowl eligibility by 17 points.

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