#16 Sam Houston State FCS Football 2014 Preview

Sam Houston State Bearkats

Overall Rank: #16
#3 Southland

Sam Houston State Team Page#16 Sam Houston State FCS Football 2014 PreviewBuy Sam Houston State Football Tickets

There are some significant changes to Sam Houston State this year, but the winning ways should not come to an end. On the sidelines, Coach K.C. Keeler takes over the program after spending 11 seasons as the head coach at Delaware. The new faces are not just on the sidelines though as the Bearkats lose 13 starters off of last year’s playoff team.

2013 Record: 9-5, 4-3
2013 Postseason: FCS Playoffs
Coach: K.C. Keeler (0-0 at Sam Houston State, 86-52 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Phil Longo
Defensive Coordinator: Mike Collins, Brad Sherrod

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Keshawn Hill, RB, 536 yards
Passing: Jared Johnson, QB, 82 yards
Receiving: Gerald Thomas, WR, 389 yards
Tackles: Michael Wade, S, 105
Sacks: Mouf Adebo, DE, 4.0
Interceptions: Michael Wade, S, 2

Other Key Returnees: WR Chance Nelson, TE Shane Young, OL Donald Jackson, CB Desmond Fite, DL Sione Latu

Key Losses: QB Brian Bell, RB Timothy Flanders, WR Torrance Williams, WR Richard Sincere, OL Matt Boyles, CB Deantrey Loche, CB Bookie Sneed, LB Eric Fieilo, LB Tanner Brock, DE Andrew Weaver, DE Forbes Baggett, DL Jarrett Brown

It may not be sexy, but the strength of this team is on the lines. On offense, Sam Houston State returns four starters and has one of the best tackles in the nation in Donald Jackson. On the other side of the line, sophomore Brandon DeWitt is coming off of a great freshman campaign. Also back are senior guard John Trotter and junior center Zachary Stevens, both of whom started all 14 games in 2013. On the other side of the ball, technically the Bearcats return just one starter in tackle Sione Latu, but there is a ton of depth. Fellow tackle Gary Lorance tore his ACL, again, in the opening game of the 2013 campaign and is back to team up with Latu on the interior of the line. Sam Houston State also adds Jacobi Hunter, a transfer from Cal. On the ends, Steve York and Mouf Adebo figure to be the starters. But whether they start or not, SHSU hopes to be able to rotate quite a few guys through the end spots to keep the unit fresh.

The rest of the defense has some major holes to fill. Linebackers Tanner Brock and Eric Fieilo are gone after combining for 214 tackles. That is a lot of tackles to replace. The secondary does return senior free safety Michael Wade and senior cornerback Desmond Fite and those are not bad pieces to build around. However, replacing shutdown corner Bookie Sneed is not a simple proposition. On offense, the losses are huge. Quarterback Brian Bell, running back Tim Flanders and wide receivers Torrance Williams and Richard Sincere have done so much for this program over the last four years. Replicating their production will be nearly impossible, but at least Sam Houston State has options and the talent of the line will not let this offense drop too much.

The Bottom Line:
Sam Houston State will not have any time to figure out their new look offense with road trips to Eastern Washington and LSU coming up during the first three weeks of the season. The good news about the schedule though is that SHSU does not play Southeastern Louisiana and gets McNeese State at home. The Bearkats will not be the favorites in the Southland Conference this year, but this is the time when we figure out if the program is bigger than Bell and Flanders.

Projected Postseason: FCS Playoffs

2013 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 265.0 (6th in nation, 1st in conference)
Passing Offense: 185.6 (83, 8)
Total Offense: 450.6 (18, 5)
Scoring Offense: 41.1 (4, 1)
Rushing Defense: 143.2 (39, 1)
Pass Defense: 279.1 (116, 7)
Total Defense: 422.3 (85, 6)
Scoring Defense: 27.6 (65, 3)
Turnover Margin: 0.20 (47, 5)
Sacks: 1.86 (67, 5)
Sacks Allowed: 0.93 (12, 3)

Madness 2014 FCS Football Recruit Rankings:
#70 DraShane Glass
#78 Cole Martin


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