#60 Arkansas State Football 2012 Preview

Arkansas State Red Wolves
2012 Overall Rank # 60
#2 Sun Belt Conference
Arkansas State College Football 2012 Team Preview
Arkansas State Team Page


The Red Wolves had a fantastic season, ending with an impressive 10-3 mark and running the table to a perfect 8-0 record in the Sun Belt Conference. They should be right in the thick of things again in the Sun Belt Conference in 2012 under their new head coach, Gus Malzahn.

2011 Record: (10-3, 8-0)   
2011 Bowl: GoDaddy.com Bowl VS Northern Illinois (L 20-38)  
Coach: Gus Malzahn (0-0 at Arkansas State, 0-0 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Rhett Lashlee
Defensive Coordinator: John Thompson

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Ryan Aplin, QB, 802 yards
Passing: Ryan Aplin, QB, 3,588 yards  
Receiving:  Josh Jarboe, WR, 730 yards
Tackles:  Nathan Herrold, LB, 66
Sacks: Ryan Carrethers, DL, 1.5
Interceptions: Qushaun Lee, LB, 2

Other Key Returnees: WR Earl Lucas, RB Frankie Jackson, TE Anthony Kincy, DL Amost Draper

Key Losses: DL Brandon Joiner, LB Demario Davis, DL Justin Robertson, WR Dwayne Frampton

The Red Wolves ten wins were no mistake. They have a strong balance between their offense and their defense. Their aerial assault is headlined by dual threat quarterback, Ryan Aplin, who is entering his final collegiate season. He will be asked to carry the team’s offense again this year on the ground and through the air.  They will rely on him to put up points on the board.

On the defensive side of the ball they boasted a strong run defense and a disruptive one. They tailed 2.69 sacks per game and 7.62 tackles for a loss. That is an impressive feat, but they will have to replace several key players, especially on the defensive front. Either way their defense should still be one of the better units in the Sun Belt Conference.  

Arkansas State surrendered too many sacks a season ago, which hindered how many points they were able to score. They still managed to score a respectable 32.46 points per game, but had they not allowed over two sacks per game they could have scored more. Their offensive line will need to be improved in order for them to continue to have the successful offense that they are accustomed to.

On the defensive front the Red Wolves need to shore up their passing defense. But, with the loss of several key defensive linemen who were able to generate quite a bit of pressure last season, it will be difficult to improve enough so quarterbacks will be able to be more comfortable. Arkansas State will need their secondary to be improved if they wish to compete for the Sun Belt Conference title again.

The Bottom Line:
A perfect 8-0 conference record is a tough act to follow so Arkansas State will have their work cut out for them. They are returning their best offensive player, so the offense should be in good shape. If Michael Dyer, the man who broke Bo Jackson's freshman rushing record at Auburn, is cleared by the NCAA to play this year the offense will be nearly unstoppable. The defense is the big question mark heading into the 2012 campaign. If the defense can keep opponents off the board, this team has a chance to win the Sun Belt, but either way they are one of the better teams in this conference.  

Projected Bowl: GoDaddy.Com Bowl

2011 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 154.23 (64th in the nation, 2nd in conference)
Passing Offense: 293.62 (16, 1)   
Total Offense: 447.85 (24, 1)    
Scoring Offense: 32.46 (31, 1)
Rushing Defense: 103.54 (13, 2)   
Pass Defense: 227.92 (69, 5)
Total Defense: 331.46 (24, 2)  
Scoring Defense: 20.77 (25, 2)   
Turnover Margin: .15 (44, 4)    
Sacks: 2.69 (T-15, 1)
Sacks Allowed: 2.08 (68, 7)  

Madness 2013 NFL Draft Rankings:
#82 Michael Dyer