NCAA Football

2011 College Football Season Preview: Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks

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2010 Record: (5-7, 4-4 in Sun Belt)

Head Coach: Todd Berry (5-7 at ULM, 34-67 All-Time)

Schedule

9/3: at FSU

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9/10: Grambling State

9/17: at TCU

9/24: at Iowa

10/8: Arkansas State (2010 result: lost 34-20)

10/15: at Troy (2010 result: won 28-14)

10/22: at North Texas  (2010 result: won 49-37)

10/29: Western Kentucky (2010 result: won 35-30

11/5: at Louisiana (2010 result: lost 23-22)

11/12: Middle Tennessee (2010 result: lost 38-10)

11/19: FIU (2010 result: lost 42-35 OT)

12/3: at FAU (2010 result: won 20-17)

2010 Offensive Statistics:

Scoring: 20.8 ppg (8th in Sun Belt, 101st in Nation)

Rushing Yds/Game: 120.25 yds/game (7th in Sun Belt, 97th in Nation)

Passing Yds/Game: 226.8 yds/game (4th in Sun Belt, 56th in Nation)

Total Yds/Game: 347.0 yds/game (7th in Sun Belt, 85th in Nation) 

2010 Defensive Statistics:

Scoring: 32.4 ppg (7th in Sun Belt, 97th in Nation)

Rushing Yds/Game: 161.08 yds/game (1st in Sun Belt, 68th in Nation)

Passing Yds/Game: 219.3 yds/game (6th in Sun Belt, 58th in Nation)

Total Yds/Game: 380.3 yds/game (3rd in Sun Belt, 68th in Nation)

2010 Misc Stats:

Turnover Margin: -0.50 per game (7th in Sun Belt, 88th in Nation)

Penalties: 65.8 yds/game (7th in Sun Belt, 109th in Nation)

Returning Starters:

Offense: 10

Defense: 8

Kicker/Punter: 2

Top Returning Statistical Leaders:

Passing: QB Kolton Browning, Soph (234 of 378 for 2553 yds, 18 TD, 12 INT)

Rushing: QB Kolton Browning, Soph (171 for 385 yds, 4 TD)

Rushing: RB Jyruss Edwards, Soph (84 for 375 yds, 4 TD)

Receiving: WR Luther Ambrose, Sr (65 rec for 752 yds, 6 TD)

Tackles: LB Jason Edwards, Sr (75)

Sacks: DE Ken Dorsey, Sr (5)

Interceptions: S Darius Prelow, Sr (2)

In 2010 the ULM Warhawks came close to snapping their streak of winless seasons. The last time they posted a winning season was in 1993 when they went 9-3 under Dave Roberts and made the I-AA playoffs. Last year they pulled off a great win against Troy to pull to 4-4 on the season but then lost a heart-breaker to FIU in OT, got routed at LSU and then fell to Louisiana by one point putting them at 5-7 to finish off the year.

The good news for the Warhawks is that they return a large amount of players this year and look poised to make a run at that winning record. They play a really tough out-of-conference slate that includes FSU, TCU and Iowa (gotta pay those bills!) but with some breaks could they have a team that could make a run at the top half of the Sun Belt? We caught up with Dusty from WarkhawkReport.com to get an inside look at the 2011 ULM Warhawks. Make sure you follow them on Twitter @WarhawkReport to get updates on ULM and the Sun Belt Conference.

Todd Berry was 5-7 in his debut season at ULM. What are his biggest strengths as a coach and what does he need to do better this year to get ULM to the next level?

The biggest strength that Head Coach Todd Berry has is that he's sold his vision of the program to the players, both old and new.  Adding to that is that they are buying into it and believing that giving their all to him and the team will result in success.  As for what Berry will need to do to get ULM to the next level is continue to have patience.  While I believe the 2011 team will be a better team, their record will not reflect it and are still one year away from being competitive.

For those that don't follow the Redhawks that closely...who are the players to watch on this team?

The Warhawks are a fun uptempo team to watch.  The standouts are majorly on the offensive side with senior receiver Luther Ambrose headlining. Ambrose's speed, he was third in the NCAA 100m last year, makes him a threat every time he touches the ball.  Getting the ball to him is sophomore QB Kolton Browning.  Browning has a unique southpaw delivery that allows him to have a quick release.  Also he's not the fastest, but is not afraid to break out of the pocket to run down field.   One big player to watch this season will be Arkansas transfer Mitchell Bailey.  The bruising back is quick and a solid player in every aspect of the game.  I look for him to be used more as a full back in short field situations.

Looking at the schedule, what are the most important games for ULM this year?  

The first four games of the season are rough.  The biggest game early on has to be the season home opener against FCS Grambling State.  While the Warhawks will be the favorite, and the game atmosphere will be second to none, there is always a fear in the back of everyone's mind that a let down performance on the field would be a tough loss to swallow.  Beyond that game, the Oct 8th game against Arkansas State is always a good litmus test as to how the season is going to go.

What is the one game on the schedule that the fan base wants to win the most this year? 

I think the games that most fans have circled on the schedule are the non-conference match ups with TCU and Iowa.  Both of these teams lost significant talent from last season and are in a rebuilding year.  While I don't see ULM sneaking up on both, I do believe that they will be close games.

Who are some newcomers that you think can come in and immediately challenge for playing time?

There are no incoming JUCOs, however freshmen Ben Risenhoover (OL), Harley Scioneaux (TE), and Joey Gautney (DE) could all be ones to watch for when fall camp opens in August.

What is your gut feeling on the final record for the 2011 season and what makes the season successful in your eyes?   

The Warhawks didn't really lose too much from last season's team, however the team remains young and still a little inexperienced.  Based on that I see a slight let down of the season with a 4-8 record, but with several close losses.  For the season to truly be a success though ULM needs to break through the .500 mark and go 7-5. 

Next Preview: SMU

2011 Team Previews

C-USA- Houston , Southern Mississippi

MAC- Bowling Green, Buffalo , Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Temple, Toledo

MWC- UNLV, Wyoming

Sun Belt- FAU, Middle Tennessee, North Texas, Troy

WAC- Idaho