#40 Jacksonville FCS Football 2015 Preview

Jacksonville Dolphins

Overall Rank: #40
#1 Pioneer

Jacksonville Team Page#40 Jacksonville FCS Football 2015 PreviewBuy Jacksonville Football Tickets

On the field, Jacksonville was the best team in the Pioneer Football League in 20014, going 7-1 and 9-2 overall. However, a self-imposed postseason ban kept the best team in the league out of the playoffs yet again. The program avoided NCAA penalties, but the conference came down in July and decided the school would again be ineligible for the playoffs in 2015. Coach Kerwin Bell and company have the talent to win the title again, but they will not be going to the playoffs.

2014 Record: 9-2, 7-1
2014 Postseason: None
Coach: Kerwin Bell (57-33 at Jacksonville, 57-33 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Kerwin Bell
Defensive Coordinator: Jerry Odum

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Ulysses Bryant, RB, 1,005 yards
Passing: Cade Bell, QB, 3,181 yards
Receiving: Andy Jones, WR, 684 yards
Tackles: Grady Redding, LB, 82
Sacks: T.J. Jenkins, DL, 3.5
Interceptions: Dallas Jackson, DB, 5

Other Key Returnees: RB Frantz Claudio, K Brandon Behr, P Ryan Giaratano, LB D.J. Howard, DB Terrance Bryant, DB Amani Sampson, DB Brandon Roe

Key Losses: WR D’Andre Randle, WR Andrew Robustelli, OL Montavis Mack, DB Jorda Dewhirst, LB Mike Klein

This should be the most potent offense in the Pioneer. Last year they clearly were, ranking tops in the conference in passing offense, total offense and scoring offense. Kade Bell is back after throwing for 3,181 yards and 31 touchdowns as a junior. He is a superb talent and should put up similar numbers despite losing most of his top targets. Andy Jones, who caught 46 passes for a team high 684 yards, is back, but the Dolphins do need to find some options beside Jones. Damien Strange, who caught 21 passes for 255 yards and one touchdown, is the most experienced secondary option and will certainly be involved, yet Coach Bell will need younger options to step up. The running game was often overlooked since the passing attack has been so potent, but Ulysses Bryant deserves a lot of credit too. The junior back rushed for 1,005 yards and seven touchdowns last year. Frantz Caudio is a talented change of pace back and is more than capable of carrying the load himself. But he will not have to. The worst case scenario is that the new wide receivers take some time to develop and Jacksonville can tilt their offense a little more to the ground behind Bryant and Caudio.

For the most part the defense played very well in 2014. Against PFL opponents, they were especially potent. It was against better competition that there were some problems. The defense allowed just 17.5 points per game, but they allowed more yards than one would think. Jacksonville had a knack for picking off passes last year, totaling an impressive 24 on the season. With Dallas Jackson and Brandon Roe returning, who combined for nine interceptions, the Dolphins could very well continue to intercept that many passes. However, that is a tough statistic to continue from year to year. If the turnovers do not come quite as easily, Jacksonville will need to play better straight up defense to win the conference title.

The Bottom Line:
Without San Diego on the schedule, Jacksonville has the potential to go 8-0 in league play. However, there are a couple tough road trips in late October at Drake and Dayton. Those are the two conference games that could give this team some trouble. The only non-conference game against a Division I opponent is the opener at Delaware. It may be asking too much for Jacksonville to win that game, but at this point it is as close as they are going to get to a contest that feels like a playoff game.

Projected Postseason: None

2014 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 187.5 (37th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Passing Offense: 312.4 (9, 1)
Total Offense: 499.9 (6, 1)
Scoring Offense: 35.4 (18, 1)
Rushing Defense: 136.4 (27, 4)
Pass Defense: 198.5 (43, 4)
Total Defense: 334.9 (26, 3)
Scoring Defense: 17.5 (6, 1)
Turnover Margin: 0.82 (14, 2)
Sacks: 2.00 (60, 3)
Sacks Allowed: 2.09 (69, 8)


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