Can Louisiana-Monroe’s Offense Turn Into One of the Best in the Sun Belt?

Can Louisiana-Monroe’s Offense Turn Into One of the Best in the Sun Belt?


During the 2010 campaign Louisiana-Monroe had a freshman quarterback and a running game that never got off the ground. They ranked second to last in the Sun Belt Conference in total offense and 101st in the nation. Considering they had road trips to Arkansas, Auburn and LSU, it is quite impressive that they managed to win five games. The defense, most notably the rushing defense, deserves most of the credit for the Warhawks 4-4 conference mark. But this time around it could be the offense that takes Louisiana-Monroe and Coach Todd Berry to their first ever bowl game.

With eight starters returning, there is plenty of hope that the offense can turn things around. Quarterback Kolton Browning had a superb freshman campaign, passing for 2,552 yards and 18 touchdowns. He will continue to develop more accuracy and start to make smarter decisions, but he has all the tools to be a great dual-threat quarterback in the Sun Belt for the next three years. Browning has all of his favorite targets back too. Luther Ambrose, Tavarese Maye, Anthony McCall and Brent Leonard all caught at least 30 passes last year. Ambrose and Maye are both speedsters who can get down the field in a hurry and McCall and Leonard have a little more size to fight off opposing defenders. Whatever their specialty, Browning has a lot of nice options.

The success or failure of the offense will mostly fall on the line. Not long ago, just back in 2009 in fact, ULM running back Frank Goodin rushed for 1,126 yards and 13 touchdowns. Following the 2009 campaign the offensive line had to pretty much be completely rebuilt and the scheme was changed. The result was an awful senior season for Goodin and a team that rushed for just 120.3 yards per game. A year earlier Goodin nearly eclipsed the 100 yard per game mark on his own. Instead he accounted for 405 yards in 2010. That rebuilt line does have a year of experience now and they are all upperclassmen. The lack of depth behind them may be an issue sooner or later, but it is hard to imagine that the line will be as bad as they were a year ago. Not only will that help keep Browning on his feet, but it could pave the way for a big year for sophomore running back Jyruss Edwards and Arkansas transfer Mitchell Bailey.

If the offense lives up to its potential, Louisiana-Monroe could be one of the most dangerous teams in the Sun Belt. Their schedule is tough yet again and there are pretty much three guaranteed losses with Florida State, TCU and Iowa on the slate, but if they can take care of business in conference play, the Warhawks could get their names back on the back of their jerseys with a trip to a bowl.

Read the in-depth football preview of this team