#98 Louisiana-Monroe Football Preview

Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks

Overall Rank: #98
#3 Sun Belt
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Louisiana-Monroe Team Page

2010 Record: (5-7, 4-4)
2010 Bowl: none
Coach: Todd Berry (5-7 at Louisiana-Monroe, 10-43 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Steve Farmer
Defensive Coordinator: Troy Reffett

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Kolton Browning, QB, 385 yards
Passing: Kolton Browning, QB, 2,552 yards
Receiving: Luther Ambrose, WR, 752 yards
Tackles: Jason Edwards, LB, 75
Sacks: Cameron Blakes, DE, 6.0
Interceptions: Darius Prelow, S, 2

Other Key Returnees:  DE Ken Dorsey, RB Jyruss Edwards, G Jonathan Gill, WR Brett Leonard, WR Tavarese Maye, WR Anthony McCall, C Ryan McCaul, S Isaiah Newcome, CB Otis Peterson, G Justin Roberts

Key Losses: RB Frank Goodin, DT Quantez Hunter, LB Alex Ibe, CB Robert Nelson, LB Theo Smith

All the pieces are in place for this to be Lousiana-Monroe’s best team in a long time. One of the things lacking is a running game. Last year Frank Goodin was supposed to be a fine running back, but he had a disappointing year. However, Jyruss Edwards had a pretty good year as a freshman, tallying 375 yards and four touchdowns on 84 carries. It remains to be seen if the 5-11, 189 pound back can endure the workload of an entire season as a starter, but he will have some help from Arkansas transfer Michell Bailey and Centarius Donald.

The inconsistency of the offense forced the defense to play a big role in the team’s relative success in the Sun Belt. Their 3-3-5 defense can cause the opposition some trouble and the defensive end duo of Troy Evans, who missed most of last season with an injury, and Ken Dorsey is one of the best in the conference. If those two can continue to get consistent pressure on the opposing quarterback, the defense should be better this year. Linebackers Jason Edwards and Cameron Blake are back after leading the Warhawks in tackles a year ago and their return should keep Louisiana-Monroe as the best rush defense in the league. The secondary returns plenty of talent, led by Darius Prelow who is making the move to the rover position. There he should lay out some big hits and add a spark to a defense that needs to create more turnovers.

Kolton Browning had a superb freshman campaign at quarterback, throwing for 2,552 yards and rushing for 385 more. In total he accounted for 22 touchdowns. However, this was a young group who was vastly inconsistent. Will a year of experience fix that problem? Browning has all the tools to be a great dual-threat quarterback and returning his top four receivers should make things a little easier. Luther Ambrose, Tavarese Maye, Anthony McCall and Brent Leonard may not be the most explosive group of receivers, but they have been around for a while and that should help ease Browning into a successful season. Ambrose is a blazer, but it is Maye that has the potential to turn into a dynamic receiver. He has superb speed as well and is developing into a decent pass catcher. If Browning can get Maye the ball in space, he can use his speed to make things happen. The key to the offense could end up being the offensive line. The unit is now full of experienced upperclassman, but they did not do a very good job of keeping their quarterback on his feet or pave many holes for the ground game.

The Bottom Line:
If Browning turns into a more efficient quarterback and the line can give him time to look down field for his receivers, this could be a very good offense. The rushing attack should be much improved with a trio of decent backs and that will keep the defense off balance. One statistic to keep an eye on is the Warhawks scoring defense. While they ranked second in the conference last year in total defense, they were seventh in scoring defense. Much of that was due to turnovers and the offense putting the defense in a bad position. If Lousiana-Monroe hopes to get to their first bowl, the turnover margin will need to be much better than it was in 2010.

Projected Bowl: none

2010 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 120.33 (96th in nation, 7th in conference)
Passing Offense: 226.67 (56, 4)
Total Offense: 347.00 (85, 7)
Scoring Offense: 20.83 (101, 8)
Rushing Defense: 159.08 (67, 1)
Pass Defense: 219.25 (58, 6)
Total Defense: 378.33 (67, 2)
Scoring Defense: 32.42 (97, 7)
Turnover Margin: -.50 (88, 7)
Sacks: 2.00 (61, 5)
Sacks Allowed: 2.83 (103, 7)

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