Monday, March 28, 2011

Elon Phoenix 2010 Review

2010 Record: 6-5 (5-3), Tied 3rd Southern
2010 Postseason: None
2010 Schedule/Results: @ Duke, L 41-27, Shaw, W 55-26, @ Richmond, L 27-21, @ Georgia Southern, L 38-21, Samford, W 24-19, @ Appalachian State, L 34-31, Wofford, L 28-21, @ Chattanooga, W 49-35, @ Citadel, W 27-16, Furman, W 30-25, Western Carolina, W 45-14


     After a miserable 2-5 start, the Phoenix really finished strong with a 4 game winning streak that got them over .500 to finish the season. The key was just finding some consistency, which they had all along, but could never master. There is some work to do in the spring to figure out how to better focus as Elon lost 4 games by 7 points or less last fall.
     Scott Riddle was phenominal at QB for Elon. He was extremely accurate, as he completed 67.7% of his passes for an incredible 3231 yards. What adds to the excitement was the Td to pick ratio of 28/6. It was an all time great performance by an Elon QB over an entire season. The bad news is that Riddle graduates, leaving Thomas Wilson and Chris Shafto to battle it out to replace him. It's a huge void.
     Elon implimented a 2 back system in 2010, and AJ Harris joined Brandon Newsome to form the tandem. Harris was just slightly better, as he rushed for 588 yards and 8 TDs, while Newsome rushed for 506 yards and 6 TDs on the year. Newsome moves on, but Harris will be back for more action in 2011. There is very little experience coming back behind Harris next season, so one must wonder if he will become the focal point of the attack.
     Aaron Mallette may have been the only receiver in the conference that was better than Joel Bradford. Mallette had an incredible line of 86-1100-12 to lead the Phoenix, but even better was the fact that the second receiver opposite Mallette had a pretty incredible season as well. Sean Jeffcoat ran up a line of his own with 72-1025-7. Mallette returns in 2011, but Jeffcoat will not, meaning that it may be easier to double up on Mallette in 2011 without a viable option with serious experience out there. Lance Camp, the third receiver, is also moving on.
     Defensively, the Phoenix had a rough time in 2010, specifically against the run, as Elon gave up 197.8 yards per game on the ground. That was a huge cause for the rough start to the season.
     LB Brandon Wiggins had a very busy time last fall, as he racked up 116 tackles as a senior. Junior LB Josh Jones may have to step up his overall game to assume the leadership role,but had only 74 tackles last season. He was the second best tackler on the team but was 42 tackles off of the pace set by Wiggins. Jones certainly will be looked to as a senior in 2011 to take the reins as the leader in the middle.
      The Phoenix did a very poor job of placing pressure on the run or the pass up front, as Wiggins led the team with only 8 TFLs. The lack of pressure opened lanes that a truck could drive through as Elon could not stop the run. Nobody had more than 2 sacks on the whole season.
     In the secondary, Terrell Wilson batted away 5 passes, but was only available for 9 games. He was also a senior, so yet another leader will be lost to graduation leaving another undeniable void to fill in the spring. Freshman Ronnie Hardison also had 5 deflections, leaving him to take a huge leadership role in 2011 as a sophomore. Others need top step up and help. The help could come in the form of Blake Thompson, who will be a senior in 2011, or in Chandler Wrightenberry, who was a freshman last fall. The two combined for 7 picks in 2010.
     Adam Schreiner, a sophomore in 2010, was not getting it done last fall at PK. He only connected on 7 of 14 FG attempts, leaving Elon to try to find a way to improve his skills or replace him through recruiting. Another season like this one in 2011 could be disasterous with several new players in place.


Elon wasted a tremendous season by Riddle, and now they have holes all over the field on both sides. The secondary could be good next season, but will the front 7 be able to step up and make the plays that they were unable to last fall? These are huge questions that need immediate answers, but the truth of the matter seems to be that Elon may have a difficult time matching their 6 wins from 2010.

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