#32 Wofford FCS Football 2014 Preview

George Hammond

Wofford Terriers

Overall Rank: #32
#3 SoCon

Wofford Team Page#32 Wofford FCS Football 2014 PreviewBuy Wofford Football Tickets

The 2013 season was a disappointment for the perennial Southern Conference contenders as the Terriers suffered through a 5-6 season. Simply put, they couldn’t fill the void left by the absence of the school’s best running back in history – Eric Breitenstein. Wofford and its well-known triple-option attack had a rushing average output that was down 80 yards in 2013, a big reason for the sub .500 mark. The Terriers, who had made the FCS playoffs in five of the last seven years, got crushed by Baylor 69-3 in the opener last year and never got on track. They suffered a rare four-game midseason losing streak that was the first time that had happened since 1997, and it was only the second time in the last 12 years Wofford had had a losing record. So there’s plenty of motivation but the task won’t be easy as last year’s seniors went 32-17 in their four years in Spartanburg, South Carolina, with two SoCon titles and three playoff appearances. Nate Fuqua, a longtime assistant on the staff, takes over as defensive coordinator.

2013 Record: (5-6, 4-4)
2013 Postseason: None
Coach: Mike Ayers (175-121-1 at Wofford, 187-142-2 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Wade Lang
Defensive Coordinator: Nate Fuqua

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Will Gray, RB, 486 yards
Passing: Michael Weimer, QB, 313 yards
Receiving: Will Irwin, WR, 220 yards
Tackles: Kevin Thomas, LB, 80
Sacks: Boston Bryant, DE, 3; Kevin Thomas, LB, 3
Interceptions: Chris Armfield CB, 3

Other Key Returnees: DE Tarek Odom, QB Brad Butler, FB Jonny Martin, QB, Evan Jacks, LB Travis Thomas, HB Octavius Harden, TE Zach Muller, TE Taylor Bragg, OL T.J. Chamberlin, NT E.J. Speller, CB Bernard Williams

Key Losses: OL Jared Singleton, OL Ty Gregory, LB Alvin Scioneaux, LB Mike McCrimmon, K Kasey Redfern, WR Jeff Ashley, OL Tony Goodwin, TE Michael Harpe, S Josh Holt, S James Zotto

With several question marks surrounding this team, look for the defensive front to be among the Terriers’ strongest units. And this group is headed up by senior defensive end Tarek Odom. Although the Terriers were hit hard at linebacker with the departure of Alvin Scioneaux and Mike McCrimon, the defensive front should be a real plus. Besides Odom, E.J. Speller and Boston Bryant also return. But head coach Mike Ayers hopes new defensive coordinator Nate Fuqua can generate more sacks out of this unit than last year. Wofford finished sixth in the SoCon in sacks and it was fourth in the league in total defense, and that is not counting Georgia Southern or Appalachian State who were technically reclassifying. Still, this group has the ability to be a formidable presence. Although Scioneaux and McCrimon will be missed, Wofford does return experienced linebackers Kevin Thomas (team’s top returning tackler) and Travis Thomas. Also, corners Brion Anderson, Bernard William and Chris Armfield all return. On offense, fullback Jonny Martin showed last year he could be effective as he stepped in when Donovan Johnson got hurt to supply 399 yards rushing and seven touchdowns and running back Will Gay averaged nearly seven yards a carry last year.

Let’s see, Wofford has a young, inexperienced offensive line, an inexperienced linebacking corps, new safeties, inexperience at wide receiver, and the quarterback position needs to be solidified. Other than that, there aren’t many questions. That’s not to say there isn’t talent, but there are places in the Terriers’ lineup where inexperience will be rampant. Among the most scrutinized areas will be the offensive line where four starters need to be replaced. In the Terriers’ triple-option attack, the offensive line (no seniors) is obviously crucial so how this unit develops during the course of the season could go a long way in determining Wofford’s success. Wofford needs its quarterback to be a running threat too, and last year the Terriers’ quarterbacks totaled just 474 rushing yards. Coming out of spring, redshirt freshman Brad Butler has moved to the top of the depth chart although he hasn’t taken a collegiate snap.

The Bottom Line:
Last year was a huge disappointment at Wofford and observers hint that part of the problem might be due to team chemistry that wasn’t up to the usual standards. How Butler progresses will be key along with the offensive line. But even with all the inexperience, this team has a chance to rebound. The second half of the schedule will be tough with games at Samford (Oct. 18), Chattanooga (Nov. 8) and Furman (Nov. 15). Expect a loss to open the season at Georgia Tech, but the key games might be at Gardner-Webb (Sept. 20) and The Citadel (Oct. 4). Wofford needs to win those games to build momentum for the second-half grind. The SoCon no longer includes Georgia Southern or Appalachian State so the league definitely has a new look with VMI and Mercer on the schedule this year.

Projected Postseason: None

2013 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 269.9 (5th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Passing Offense: 85.4 (121, 6)
Total Offense: 355.3 (76, 6)
Scoring Offense: 21.2 (94, 6)
Rushing Defense: 172.5 (66, 2)
Pass Defense: 220.6 (61, 6)
Total Defense: 393.2 (68, 4)
Scoring Defense: 24.9 (47, 3)
Turnover Margin: -0.50 (96, 7)
Sacks: 1.00 (116, 6)
Sacks Allowed: 1.64 (39, 3)

Madness 2013 FCS Football Recruit Rankings:
#148 Andre Stoddard


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