Monday, July 18, 2011
Lone Star Conference 2011 Preview
Abilene Christian Wildcats
2010 Record: 11-1
The Wildcats had an incredible run last fall, winning 11 games before falling to Central Missouri in the playoffs. Mitchell Gale was one of the best QBs in the country last fall, and he was only a sophomore. Gale passed for 3595 yards and 38 TDs, all while tossing only 3 picks on the season. He will drive the machine one more time. Daryl Richardson comes back as the starting RB, and he is more of a complimentary piece, after rushing for 517 yards and 7 scores. Edmund Gates was incredible at WR, but he's gone now, and so are his 13 TD receptions. The entire receiver corps must be rebuilt. Aston Whiteside will return after leading the defense with 7 sacks last fall. He collected 14.5 TFLs overall. Darien Williams returns after picking off 4 passes last season.
Season Opener: 9/1 Tarleton State
Angelo State Rams
2010 Record: 5-5
Josh Neiswander departs at QB along with his 27 TDs, leaving the Rams to rebuild at QB. Tristan Carter returns at RB after rushing for 603 yards and 5 TDs, but the Rams will likely need more from him this season to help out the new QB. Dakarai Pecikonis and CJ Akins will be the top receivers, and Pecikonis racked up 838 yards last fall. Austin Benson returns to lead the defense at LB, after collecting 66 tackles. Benson collected 8.5 TFLs, but only had 4.5 sacks. Alvin Johnson picked off 4 passes last fall, and will anchor the secondary.
Season Opener: @ Western State
Eastern New Mexico Greyhounds
2010 Record: 5-6
Wesley Wood was an enigma in pads last fall. He passed for 3313 yards and 30 TDs, but also tossed an embarrassing 22 picks. Imagine what he can do if he manages to cut back on those picks, and he converts some of those into additional TDs? Wood also returns as the leading returning rusher. ENMU needs to find a RB to support him. Darian Dale returns as the leading WR after catching 65 passes last fall. Tillman Stevens departs after collecting 122 tackles, but Curtis Jackson returns after collecting 98 tackles after moving to defense from RB. Bracy McCoy will be depended on to create pressure up front after collecting 9 TFLs. Keith Davis returns and will be the leader in the secondary after defending 8 passes. The Greyhounds do lose a combined 32 defended passes with the departure of Stevens, Rodney Mitchell, and Tavius Bigelow.
Season Opener: 9/3 New Mexico Highlands
Incarnate Word Cardinals
2010 Record: 3-8
Paden Lynch returns as a junior, but he failed to pass for 1000 yards last fall, so not much can be expected. Trent Rios was solid, but more is needed. He rushed for 888 yards and 8 scores last fall. Dominic Hamilton returns to lead the receivers after posting 53-627-5 last fall. If Lynch can improve, so will Hamilton. The Cardinals need improvement on defense, as there were no solid tacklers on this team, and there was next to no pressure up front. Todd Lyons and Devan Avery both return in the secondary after defending 8 passes each last fall. It would be nice if someone could actually pick off a pass every now and then.
Season Opener: 9/3 East Central
Midwestern State Mustangs
2010 Record: 8-4
The Mustangs made a trip to the playoffs last fall, bu it ended badly with a 45-14 loss to Washburn. Brandon Kelsey will likely start at QB this fall, but has limited experience. Lester Bush returns at RB, after rushing for 598 yards and 9 scores, but Keidrick Jackson was solid as a freshman and will push for time. David Little led the receivers last fall, and returns after posting 63-689-7. The Mustangs need someone to step up on defense, after nobody ranked in the conference top 20 in tackles. JD Corcoran led the team with 6 sacks, but more will be needed from him to take the Mustangs to the next level. Corcoran led the team with 10.5 TFLs as well, so he has that to build on. Coryan Briggs gives the Mustangs a play maker in the secondary after defending 9 passes last fall.
Season Opener: 9/10 @ Missouri S&T
Tarleton State Texans
2010 Record: 3-8
There is no real experience coming back at QB. Evan Robertson returns at RB, and he will be extremely important to the scheme. Robertson rushed for 695 yards and 6 TDs. He is the only hope on offense until someone else steps up to show something. The Texans could ill afford to lose their top two tacklers, but that's what happened. In all reality, the Texans could be worse this season than they were last fall. The first game will be the first major setback.
Season Opener: 9/1 Abilene Christian
Texas A&M-Commerce Lions
2010 Record: 3-8
The Lions start over at QB after the departure of Adam Farkes, but that could be addition by subtraction, as Farkes tossed 16 picks to only 5 TDs. Marcus Graham should be the focus on offense at RB, as he rushed for 815 yards and 7 TDs. LB Danny Mason recorded 99 tackles last fall as a sophomore. The Lions lacked any kind of defensive pressure, as they did not have a single defender in the conference top 25 in sacks. Mason led the team with 8.5 TFLs. He is also the returning pass defense leader, with 6 passes defended last fall.
Season Opener: 9/3 @ Upper Iowa
Texas A&M-Kingsville Javalinas
2010 Record: 10-2
The Javalinas have a pretty healthy history, and last season brought the Javalinas back to good graces, but they fell in their first playoff game against Northwest Missouri. Nate Poppell returns at QB, but he was up and down last fall. Poppell passed for 2671 yards and 16 TDs, but also tossed 11 picks. He has some work to do to get Kingsville deeper into the playoffs. Jonathon Woodson showed promise at RB as a sophomore, but now it's time to step it up. Robert Armstrong will be elevated to the top receiver spot after the loss of Ryan Lincoln. Marcus Sanders returns at LB after posting 77 tackles. The Javalinas can improve up front, as they lacked pressure. Derrick Thomas led the secondary with 9 passes defended, but they lacked picks.
Season Opener: 9/2 @ Central Washington
West Texas A&M Buffaloes
2010 Record: 8-4
The Buffaloes had an up and down run, but it was good enough for a playoff birth, as they fell to Central Missouri in the first round, 55-35. The defense just disappeared. Taylor Harris was amazing for the Buffaloes last fall, but he is gone after passing for 4806 yards and 38 TDs. That will be very difficult to replace. They also lose leading rusher Kelvin Thompson, and it's up in the air as to who can replace him. Whomever comes in at QB, will at least have one of the best receivers in the nation to pass to in Tyson Williams, who posted 96-1321-8 last season. They lose Stephen Burton, so Brittan Golden steps up, but that's not a bad thing, as Golden caught 11 TD passes last fall. Junior Kyle Voss will step up at LB to be the new unit leader. Voss collected 8 TFLs. The biggest loss on this unit is LB Shad Baichtal, who collected 22 TFLs last fall, ranking 6th in the nation. Tae Evans is lost as well with his 16 passes defended. Caleb Randolph will take over the leadership role, after defending 11 passes last fall.
Season Opener: 9/1 Colorado State-Pueblo