Monday, June 27, 2011

Ohio Valley Conference 2010 Review

Southeast Missouri State Redhawks
2010 Record: 9-3 (7-1), 1st
2010 Postseason: 1st Round, Lost to Eastern Washington 37-17
     The Hawks were led by a beast of a RB in Henry Harris last fall. Harris was the offense in and of himself, as he ran for a total of 1735 yards and 18 TDs. Harris averaged 138.5 yards per game last season, and averaged 5.4 yards per carry. As Harris went, the hawks went with him.
     Matt Scheible was the caretaker of the QB position, but he only had to worry about getting the ball to Harris. Scheible managed well, as he passed for 1246 yards, never missing a snap, and he passed for 8 TDs, and only tossed 3 picks all season. Scheible was also a major threat running the ball, as he totalled 802 yards rushing last fall with 7 TDs.
     Defensively, the Hawks were solid for the most part, but they struggled to stifle the run, as they allowed 152.3 yards per game on the ground. Josh Jackson was the leader with 85, but he moves on, so expect Justin Woodlief to take over as the defensive leader in 2011. Woodlief finished with 77 tackles last fall. The Hawks did a very poor job in pressuring the backfield last season, a problem that plagued them in the playoff loss.
     Only Aaron Grimes managed to surpass the 5 passes defended mark, as he knocked away 6 passes on the season. Tyler Brock led the team and the OVC with 6 picks on the season.
     Drew Geldbach was up and down as PK last fall, hitting 12 of 17 FGs. Harris was also a major threat in the return game, as he averaged 24.68 yards per return, finishing 41st in the nation.


Jacksonville State Gamecocks
2010 Record; 9-3 (6-2), 2nd
2010 Postseason: 1st Round, Lost to Wofford 17-14
      JSU stayed in the #1 spot in the Power Ratings Index last fall for most of the season, as they opened with a major win on the road over an SEC team in Ole Miss, and the Gamecocks went on to win their first 8 games of the season. The wheels then fell off, as they finished by losing 3 of 4. The offense scored 47 times, and JSU had one fo their best seasons since joining the FCS ranks.
     Marques Ivory finished 3rd in the conference amongst elegible QBs, as he passed for 2248 yards and 18 TDs, while only tossing 9 picks on the season. Coty Blanchard was the hero against Ole Miss, completing the game winning pass in the 49-48 victory, however, he was limited in action on the season, but still tossed 8 TD passes.
     Calvin Middleton led the team with 7 rushing TDs, but as the leader in the run game, only managed 494 yards on the season. He did miss 3 games, but he was hardly productive when in. Jeff Cameron was the star in the receiving corps, as he posted 39-728-5. James Shaw caught 6 scoring passes, while Alan Bonner added 5 more.
     Antonio Bonner was the tackle leader on defense with 81. JSU struggled against the run, as they allowed 161.5 yards per game on the ground. No other Gamecock defender finished in the OVC top 20 in tackles. Rodney Garrott led the team with 13 TFLs on the season, and will be back as a senior in 2011. JSU was extremely poor when it came to pressuring the QB, as nobody had more than 2 sacks on the team. Keginald harris led the team with 5 picks, but nobody defended as many as 5 passes in the secondary.
      James Esco struggled at PK, as he connected on only 13 of 20 FGs last fall. Alan Bonner finished with an average of 10.79 yards per return on punts, ranking 24th in the nation. He ranked 25th in the nation in kick returns as well, as he averaged 25.92 yards per return with one TD.

Eastern Kentucky Colonels
2010 Record: 6-5 (5-2), 3rd
2010 Postseason: None
     EKU is a traditional power in this conference, but they have been down lately. The Colonels pushed back over .500 this fall, but they have yet to turn the corner. They did finsh with a 4 game win streak, so there is something to build on here.
     TJ Pryor was highly average at QB last fall, as the sophomore struggled to stay above water. He passed for 1613 yards on the season, but his ratio was dead even at 12/12. If EKU wants to compete for a title, this has to get better. Pryor did lead the rushing attack with 9 TDs, but the run game was largely absent from the scheme last fall, and Pryor will need some support there next fall. Orlandus Harris was his top target, and at times, it seemed as if there were no other receivers on the roster. Harris posted 56-940-7 as a sophomore, and he is an emerging star in this conference.
     You could pass all day long against the EKU defense, and teams did that to a tune of 244 yards per game. EKU allowed a respectable 125 yards rushing per game, but temas could pass easily, so the run was not important against EKU. Patrick McClellan was the only defender in the top 20 in tackles in the OVC, as he collected 68 on the season. That's a huge problem. Anthony Brown was solid up front in placing pressure on the backfield against the run, as he collected 12.5 TFLs on the season. Andrew Soucy and Tyson Patrick just missed double figures with 9.5 each. Brown also led the team with 6.5 sacks on the season.
     McLellan and Javarius Riley both finished with 5 passes defended in the secondary, and Jeremy Caldwell led the team with just 3 picks, but as you saw, the Colonels need more depth, and they definately need more production out of this unit.
     Logan O'Conner was awful at PK, as he only hit 5 of his 12 FG attempts last fall. Hit the reset button. Jordan Berry led the OVC in punting, averaging 42.93 yards per punt, good for 7th nationally. Jeremy Caldwell was highly succesful in the return game, averaging 33.71 yards with 2 scores, He was good for 2nd nationally.


Murray State Racers
2010 Record: 6-5 (5-3), 4th
2010 Postseason: None
     The Racers are an emerging team in the OVC, and are one of my early favorites to win the OVC title in 2011. The Racers won 5 of their final 6 games last fall, and are red hot coming into next fall.
    Casey Brockman was one of the top QBs in the league after taking over last season as a freshman. In 9 games, Brockman passed for 2447 yards (271.9 per game) and tossed 15 TDs with a very mature 6 picks on the season. He is emerging to become the best QB in this conference.
     Junior RB Mike Harris finished 2nd in the OVC in rushing last fall with 876 yards in 9 games, good for an average of 97.3 yards per game. He ran for 10 TDs, while averaging 6.3 yards per carry. Brockman showed major worth in the run game as well, as he ran for 7 scores on the season.
      Marcus Harris was a monster of a reciever in 2010, having posted 84-1057-9 on the season. Bad news...he was a senior. Good news...Arthur Brackett was a freshman, and he posted an amazing 62-617-3 freshman season. He should team with Brockman for the next 3 seasons to form one of the best QB/WR combos in FCS football. It's going to be a great 3 years. Rashad Daniels departed as well, after posting 52-545-1. Dexter Barnett should be a solid second option, after posting 38-332-4.
     In all, the offense averaged 449.7 yards per game, including 313.5 yards per game passing. They scored 47 TDs.
     The defense gave some of that back, and that was one of the issues last fall. It was extremely easy to run against the Racers last season, as they gave up over 190 yards per game on the ground. Add to that the 208 yards passing that were given up, and Murray State has some room to grow.
     Freshman DB Brandon Wicks led the Racers with 73 tackles on the season, and he was followed by Dontrell Johnson (67), Zach Kutch (65), Nathan Brinkley (62), and Erik Fennell (60). The Racers were busy chasing guys around a bit, as the defense was leaky against the run. If they can shore themselves up on the front line, the Racers would be extremely dangerous. Kutch led the team with 9 total TFLs last season, but he is departing. Joe Gamsky had 8 TFLs, and will be back in 2011. The Racers definately need to develop a pass rush.
    Dontrell Johnson finshed tied for 4th in the OVC with 8 passes defended last fall, and he will also return as a senior next fall, and Nate Brinkley led the club with 3 picks on the season. There is work to be done on the defensive side of the ball, as I have said, and if it can be figured out, look out for these guys in 2011.
      Kienan Cullen had an up and down season in 2010, making only 15 of 23 FGs on the season. That being said, his 1.36 FGs per game was good enough to rank 11th in the nation. Cullen was very good as a punter, having averaged 40.75 yards per game, good for 22nd in the country.
      Dontrell Johnson was the man on punt returns, as he averaged 22.8 yards per return. He scored twice as well, and he actually finished as the best return man on punts in the nation. The good news is that he returns next fall. Hannibal Beauford ranked 53rd in the nation with a 23.27 yard average on kick returns.

Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks
2010 Record: 6-5 (5-3), Tied 3rd
2010 Postseason: None
     Derek Carr was the second best QB in the OVC. As a sophomore in 2010, Carr passed for 2543 yards, but his ratio was not the best, as he finished with 13 TDs and 12 picks. Carr struggled with accuracy, as he only completed 58.23% of his passes.
     Jason McNair rushed for 547 yards and just 2 scores on the season, and that was basically the crux of the run game for the Skyhawks. UTM is moving in the right direction, but without a steady run game, Carr will be exposed, and badly. Steve Shiver was the leading receiver, but only caught 36 passes on the season. Shiver used his limited opportunities for the best, as he piled up a quick 634 yards and 5 TDs. The rest of the receiving corps was lacking.
     UTM rebounded on a strong defensive effort last fall, as they only gave up 299.3 yards per game. The bad news is that they had no defenders that finished in the upper tier of OVC tacklers. Josh Bey finished with 12.5 TFLs on the season, and Justin Darden finished just shy of double figures with 9.5. Darrin Nails led the team with 5 total sacks on the year.
     CJ Estelle was a step up defender in the secondary, as he led the team with 7 passes defended on the season. He was the only member of the secondary to have at least 5 on the season. Kendell Harper led the team with just 3 picks.
     Cody Sandlin finished strong at PK, as he hit on 11 of his 14 FGs on the season, and will return as a junior in 2011. Joe Hook was strong on punts as well, averaging 40.48 yards last fall. Estelle was the leader on punt returns, with a very strong 11.47 yard average per return, while AJ Williams finished 30th in the nation on kick returns with a 25.48 yard average. He took one in for a score last season. This entire group returns next fall.

Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles
2010 Record: 5-6 (4-4), 6th
2010 Postseason: None
     Tech had a horrible passing game in 2010, averaging just 157 yards passing per game. That number appears better than it actually was. Tre Lamb had more snaps than anyone, but only played in 8 games. He passed for 974 yards, while tossing 11 TDs against just 3 picks.
      You would have expected more out of the run game, but there wasn't much there either, as the Eagles were led by Jocques Crawford with 568 yards and 8 scores. Not much to love about that. Tim Benford was the only real threat in the receiving corps, as he posted 50-812-10. Nobody else was in the game nearly as much.
     Defensively, TTU just could not stop the run, as they gave up 193.9 yards per game. Marty Jone finished with 87 tackles, while Kelechi Ordu (76), Dustin Dillehay (71), and Jake McIntosh (69) all finished in the OVC top 20 in tackles. Jones ranked 64th in the country, while Ordu ranked 66th. Dwight Evans led the team with 10.5 TFLs on the season, good for 76th in the country, and Marcus Edwards led the OVC in sacks with 7.5, good for 18th nationally.
     Richmond Tooley was the only member of the secondary to finish with at least 5 passes defended, as he cleared that hurdle with 8 on the season. Tooley also led the team with 3 picks on the season, a spot he shared with Marty Jones, who also had 3.
     Matt Barker struggled as the PK, hitting only 9 of 15 FGs on the season, but will be back as a junior. There is some serious overhauling that needs to happen with the special teams as a whole.

Eastern Illinois Panthers
2010 Record: 2-9 (2-6), 7th
2010 Postseason: None
     With the Bob Spoo era having ended, the new era didn't fare much better for the Panthers. EIU only won two games last fall, and improvement looks like a long and slow burning process.
     Jimmy Garapollo started at QB, but he was average at best, as he passed for 1639 yards with a barely passable 14/13 ratio. He missed 3 games, so there is much work to do here. He only managed to complete 58.8% of his passes as well.
     The run game was a mess, as Jimmy Potempa led the team with 424 yards and 2 scores. Nobody else rushed for 200 yards on the season. Erik Lora (50-478-2) and Kenny Whittaker (42-368-1) led the team in receptions, but it was Chris Wright who led the team in yardage with just 21 grabs, as he gained 557 yards and 6 scores while averaging 26.5 yards per reception.
     EIU must have been using paper dummies up front againt the run, as the Panthers allowed an overwhelming 212.7 yards rushing per game. Nick Nasti had to be nasty, as he led the OVC in tackles and finished 20th in the nation with 114 tackles on the year. EIU has to replace that production, as Nasti moved on after the season. Nasti was our OVC LB of the Year last fall, despite the team's struggles. Cory Leman will step into his role this fall, after finishing with 95 tackles of his own. Spyros Bazigos finished with 13.5 total TFLs last fall as he wrapped up his career, while Artavius Dowdell came in second on the OVC behind Bazigos with 12.5. Dowdell led the team in sacks with 4.5.
     Nick Martinez and Rashad Haynes both finished with 5 passes defended, Sean Campbell led the club with 2 picks. Who needed to worry about defending the pass wheneveryone was able to run at will?
     Cameron Berra was dependable on FGs, as he hit 8 of his 11 attempts. Kevin Cook ranked 8th in the country, as he averaged 42.91 yards per punt on the season. Lorence Ricks was a spark on kick returns, as he averaged 24.8 yards per return, good for 37th nationally.

Austin Peay Governors
2010 Record: 2-9 (1-7), 8th
2010 Postseason: None
      This team is outclassed in the OVC. Jake Ryan matched that assessment by only passing for 1120 yards with a 7/11 ratio on the season. He was just a sophomore, but he has much work to do to even rate as a passable QB in this league. Terrence Holt showed some game, as he rushed for 793 yards and 8 TDs, while averaging 5.4 yards per carry on the season. Holt needs to be replaced after graduating. The governors did not have a receiver rank in the top 20 in the conference.
     The defense got destroyed last season, as they gave up 230 yards passing and 221 yards rushing per game last fall. Darrick Dillard (84), Antwaun Majors (84), and Amius Smith 82) all got a solid workout chasing players around last fall, and all three ranked in the OVC top 20 in tackles. Antonio Faulkner was the only defender up front making plays in the backfield, as he finished with 12.5 total TFLs. APSU had virtually no pressure up front when it came to attacking the QB.Smith and Steve Ragin both finished with 6 passes defended to lead the team, but nobody else came close, and Jeremy Ross led the team with a meager 2 picks.
     Stephen Stansell struggled at times, but finished 29th nationally with 1.09 FGs per game after hitting 12 of 18. Ryan Key finished 16th in the nation as a punter with a 41.23 yard average per punt. Holt finished ranked 50th in the nation on kick returns with a 23.4 yard average with one score.

Tennessee State Tigers
2010 Record: 3-8 (0-7), 9th
2010 Postseason: None
     Jeremy Perry finished his Tiger career at QB with a whimper, having only passed for 1469 yards with a 9/6 ratio. He only hit on 53% of his passes. Donte Thomas finshed 52nd in the nation with 793 yards rushing and 6 scores, and he returns as a senior in 2011. Joseph Hills (40-462-4) and Calvin Mcnairl (34-429-4) were the receiving leaders.
     Defensively, it was not as much as a free for all as it could have been ,but it wasn't great. Eugen Clifford (83) and Rico Council led the team in tackles, but it was a huge drop from there. The pressure up front was just not there. Clifford led the league in passes defended with 10, and Justin Bather, Marquez Hall, and Rayshawn Weatherspoon all finished in the OVC top ten in that category last fall. Clifford and Hall have now moved on.
     Jamin Godfrey was really bad on FGs, as he only hit 8 of 19. Taylor Cisneros was solid on punts, as he averaged 40.8 yards per punt on the season as a senior. Julian Mallory averaged 8.4 yards per return on punts, and Weatherspoon averaged 24.8 yards per return on kickoffs, giving the Tigers a solid return game, but this team is still a mess on the entirety of it.

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