#12 Sam Houston State FCS Football 2013 Preview

Sam Houston State Bearkats

Overall Rank: #12
#2 Southland

Sam Houston State Team Page#12 Sam Houston State FCS Football 2013 PreviewBuy Sam Houston State Football Tickets

Two years in a row Sam Houston State made it to the national championship game. Two years in a row they lost. Back in 2011 the Bearkats won 14 games in a row before running into North Dakota State in the finals. Last season was much more up and down, but the Bearkats still made a great run through the playoffs, knocking off Cal Poly, Montana State and Eastern Washington before again falling to North Dakota State.

2012 Record: 11-4, 6-1
2012 Postseason: FCS Playoffs
Coach: Willie Fritz (31-10 at Sam Houston State, 31-10 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Doug Ruse
Defensive Coordinator: Mike Collins

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Timothy Flanders, RB, 1,642 yards
Passing: Brian Bell, QB, 2,715 yards
Receiving: Chance Nelson, WR, 671 yards
Tackles: Jesse Beauchamp, LB, 94
Sacks: Andrew Weaver, DE, 5.0
Interceptions: Bookie Sneed, CB, 4

Other Key Returnees: G Matt Boyles, DE Jarrett Brown, G Donald Jackson, DT Gary Lorance, WR Richard Sincere

Key Losses: DT J.T. Cleveland, WR Trey Diller, OT Kaleb Hopson, S Kenneth Jenkins, TE T.J. Jones, C Chris Rogers, CB Robert Shaw, OT Riley Smith, S Dax Swanson, LB Darius Taylor, S Darnell Taylor, G Joey White

With the return of running back Timothy Flanders, quarterback Brian Bell, wide receiver Chance Nelson and do-it-all Richard Sincere, Sam Houston State does not lack in offensive firepower. Flanders is one of the best backs in the nation. He is an absolute workhorse who is just as good in the fourth quarter as he is in the first. On 288 carries, Flanders totaled 1,642 yards and 17 scores. The offense works through Flanders, but Bell is certainly capable of making big plays of his own whether it is on the ground or through the air. Bell has a nice arm, although he is not always the most accurate passer. He did throw for 2,715 yards and 25 scores during his junior campaign. More impressively, he was sacked just five times. Nelson should be his favorite target in 2013. He is a big play receiver who averaged nearly 20 yards per catch as a freshman. Richard Sincere rushed for 607 yards and caught 17 passes for 235 yards. He even threw a touchdown pass.

The problem on offense is the inexperienced line. Donald Jackson is the only returning starter and there is hardly any other experience returning. And the line SHSU sported in 2012 was extremely talented. Even if some of the newcomers surprise and turn into all-conference caliber players, this unit will take a step back. It was the defense that nearly won championships for the Bearkats. The team allowed fewer than 99 yards per game on the ground last season, but six starters are gone, including five who started at least 30 games at Sam Houston State. The defensive line returns three experienced starters. Ends Jarrett Brown and Andrew Weaver can get into the backfield and tackle Gary Lorance is a three year starter. The back seven returns just two starters. Linebacker Jesse Beauchamp recorded 94 tackles last season and SHSU hopes Eric Fieilo is ready to return after missing 2012 with an injury. Bookie Sneed is a great corner, but the rest of the secondary is full of inexperience.

The Bottom Line:
Coach Willie Fritz may not have as much returning talent as he did a year ago and there is good reason to think that this group will have to overachieve to make another massive playoff run like they did in 2011 and 2012. However, this is not a program that has to rebuild; they reload. By the end of the year the Bearkats will be a dangerous team, but a lot of pieces need to fall in place.

Projected Postseason: FCS Playoffs

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 268.33 (7th in nation, 1st in conference)
Passing Offense: 190.20 (76, 6)
Total Offense: 458.53 (10, 2)
Scoring Offense: 40.00 (2, 1)
Rushing Defense: 98.53 (6, 1)
Pass Defense: 234.93 (83, 6)
Total Defense: 333.47 (27, 1)
Scoring Defense: 21.47 (29, 2)
Turnover Margin: .67 (16, 2)
Sacks: 2.53 (25, 2)
Sacks Allowed: 0.40 (2, 1)

Madness 2013 FCS Football Recruit Rankings:
#39 Luc Swimberghe


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