Monday, March 14, 2011

McNeese State Cowboys 2010 Review

2010 Record: 6-5 (5-2), 2nd Southland
2010 Postseason: None
2010 Schedule/Results: Lamar, W 30-27; @ Missouri, L 50-6; Cal Poly, L 40-14; @ Northwestern State, W 24-7; Stephen F. Austin, L 32-27; @ LSU, L 32-10; @ Southeast Louisiana, W 13-10; Nicholls State, W 24-14; @ Sam Houston State, W 33-28; Texas State, W 36-6; @ Central Arkansas, L 28-24


     The Cowboys had lost 4 of their first 6 games of the 2010 season, and things were looking pretty bleak. But then the Cowboys went on a run and won 4 of their last 5 and actually challenged Stephen F. Austin for the Southland ttle. They didn't pull off the upset, but boy did they build for next season with their late season success.
     Jacob Bower was the leader at QB, but Cody Stroud played in 8 games as well, and with Bower having been a senior, the job is now Stroud's to lose. Neither Bower nor Stroud lit the world on fire in 2010. Bower only averaged 147 yards per game, while Stroud only averaged 73, and neither player tossed more TDs than picks.
     Andre Anderson and Marcus Wiltz shared the load at RB, and they combined for 1118 yards on the season. Anderson was the slightly better of the two, as he rushed for 804 yards on the season, with Wiltz only rushing for 314, but when you look at their per game totals, they are almost even, with Anderson barely getting by on TDs at 5-3.
      Nobody on the team managed to catch more than 30 passes on the season, with that being a direct result of the poor passing attack for the Cowboys. Corday Clark led the team with 30 grabs, but only averaged 8 yards per catch. 5 different Cowboys picked up at least 200 yards receiving, but nobody on the team eclipsed 300 yards. Not good, especially due to the fact that there was not a prolific running back on this team, nor was the running game overly powerful.
      Defensively, there were not many players making plays on the season for the Cowboys. Only two defenders made the Southland top 20 for tckles per game, with DB Darrell Jenkins being the highest ranked defender at 13th with only 6.18 tackles per game. LB Deron Minor was next at 17th with 5.64 per game.
      Playmaking up front was not exactly what I would call a force, with Desmund Lighten coming in at the team TFL leader with 10 on the season. Nobody else came up with double digits in TFL count. Teams basically did not fear the rush of McNeese, as opponents scored 27 points or more 7 times in 2010. Joshua Ellison did finish 3rd in the league in sacks, but only had 6.
      The secondary was basically missing on the season, as teams passed for 231 yards per game against the back 4. Only Seth Thomas and Jenkins ranked in the top 20 in passes defended (they tied for 19th) with 5 each. And only Malcolm Bronson finished with 5 picks on the season.
      Josh Lewis was a very bright spot at PK, as he hit 13 of 16 FG attempts in 2010 as a sophomore. He is a virtual gurantee when you need points, and the Cowboys have him for two more years. The problem in the kicking game was punter Ben Bourgeois, who finished dead last in punting in the Southland with a 36.96 average. That is going to have to be fixed for this defense to have any hope in 2011.
     Bernardo Henry was the 4th best kick return man in the Southland, having taken one return back for a score. Henry averaged over 25 yards per return on the season. That being said, the ount return game was a disaster.

There was nothing to jump around about on either side of the football for the Cowboys in 2010, but there were a few bright spots, and there is some experience coming back in 2011. The problem seems to me that this program was just sort of flatlined in 2010, with no major emotion or fire coming from any one spot expect the kicker. That cannot sustain long term growth or success, so the Cowboy staff has to get out and find someone who can electrify this team and can make plays on either side of the ball. It's evident that this player is not on the roster right now, and so they have to create a persona and build around it. Right now, this team is more boring than vanilla ice cream.

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