ULM, like a lot of teams in the Sun Belt, has questions at quarterback after losing three-year starter Kinsmon Lancaster.However, coach Charlie Weatherbie is excited about his defense that will employ a new 3-3-5 scheme. The Warhawks return 10 starters and the group should certainly be the team's strength.
ULM is typically a slow starting team that improves. However, that didn't happen a year ago. Winning close games has also been a problem.
"(In 2007) we were 6-6 and last year we were five points away from being bowl eligible," Weatherbie said. "It's important for us to win those close football games. We lost a couple by one point and lost one by three."
ULM isn't expected to be a factor in the league race, but in the past it has exceeded expectations when picked to finish low in the Sun Belt. While the defense should be a force in the Sun Belt, it will ultimately come down to the offense and first-year starter Trey Revell at quarterback.
The running game is sound with junior Frank Goodin, and there are playmakers at receiver. Replacing a three-year starting quarterback, however, could be most difficult.
This Week's: at Texas, Sept. 5-The Warhawks pulled off a huge upset two years ago when they beat Alabama. However, Sun Belt teams have not fared well against Texas, and nothing figures to change this week. ULM is inexperienced at quarterback, and its highly-touted defense will likely be overmatched by the Longhorns' offense.Series: Texas 0, ULM 0 (first meeting)
• Junior RB Frank Goodin rushed for more than 600 yards as a freshman and led the team with 783 yards last season. He'll likely have the opportunity to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark this season because he figures to get more carries.
• Senior WR Darrell McNeal, who led the team with 51 receptions last season, should be the team's top playmaker. He also has been used in fall drills at quarterback in a Wildcat-type formation, known as Warhawk.
Scouting The Offense: The Warhawks lost three-year starting quarterback Kinsmon Lancaster to graduation. Junior Trey Revell takes over after throwing just 28 passes in nine games a year ago. Helping Revell are very athletic wideout position players, headlined by McNeal, LaGreggory Sapp, and Anthony McCall. The offensive line's play, however, will likely dictate how successful the offense will be in 2009. Junior tailback Frank Goodin should be a 1,000-yard rusher.
Scouting The Defense: The Warhawks allowed just 23 points a game last season, and they return almost their entire unit intact. The defensive line is solid, but the linebacking corps led by Cardia Jackson and Josh Thompson stacks up with any in the Sun Belt. The secondary also is talented and deep, and anxiously awaits the return of senior safety James Truxillo, an all-conference caliber player who missed last season with a knee injury.
-ULM coach Charlie Weatherbie.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
Players To Watch:
RB Frank Goodin-The junior could be more of a focal point in the offense this season. He gained a team-high 783 yards and scored five touchdowns last season.
LBs Cardia Jackson and Josh Thompson-The duo combined for 235 tackles, including 11 for losses and five sacks last season.
DB James Truxillo-The senior sat out last season with a knee injury, but will add to an already talented secondary. His experience and leadership should be invaluable.
• ULM senior WR Darrell McNeil, who missed the spring due to academics, is eligible.
• Senior LB Cardia Jackson has been named to the Lombardi Award watch list.
• True freshman RB Isaiah Newsome was a pleasant surprise in fall drills and could be a good section option to go with junior Frank Goodin.