Inside this September 2011 edition of the L Club Newsletter:
- L Club Welcome
- Great season predicted in football
- Pre-Season Recognition
- EDITOR'S NOTEBOOK: Great Expectations
- Scogin Room Socials
- Show Your Warhawk Pride!
- Director's Letter
L Club Welcome
Dear L-Club Members,
The fall semester is underway and big expectations are in the air with our athletic teams as they begin the 2011 campaigns.
Coach Berry and the football team had an awesome off season and pre-season program and are eager to soar into the Sun Belt Conference with pride. Our soccer and volleyball teams are already in action and the golf program will be teeing it up soon. There are a lot of activities this semester and we want you to come be a part of the excitement.
Speaking of excitement your L-Club board has been working hard for some time to secure our organization a home and we are excited about some of the options currently under discussion. More details will follow soon, but we need your help and membership now more than ever as we work to build a location for us all to be proud of and a place to hold reunions and socials for our groups to return to as we celebrate our past and cheer on the future.
Don’t forget to return your membership and I challenge each and every one of you to recruit at least one of your teammates to do the same. Just that effort alone could double our membership and allow us to continue to plan and build for the future. Be watching the mail or monitor this Web site as we will be bringing some fall meeting dates and events to life soon and we want you to be a part of it.
Thanks as always for your support and efforts and we are looking forward to seeing you at a game this fall.
Larry W. McDonald, Jr.
Great season predicted in football
by Bob Anderson
After a better-than-predicted football season in 2010, an even better one is expected this fall.
Sun Belt Conference coaches have picked ULM to finish in a tie for third place in their annual pre-season football poll but most Warhawk fans are even more optimistic than that. ULM has the most returning starters of any SBC squad after Coach Todd Berry's first Hawk team went 5-7 with great performances against the league two best teams and missed bowl eligibility by one point. ULM closed out the 2010 season with an oh-so-close 23-22 defeat at the hands of state rival Louisiana-Lafayette.
Most of the stars of that young team are back this fall, led by 21 returning starters including four who have been picked on the pre-season all-conference team — WR Luther Ambrose, C Ryan McCaul, DE Ken Dorsey and safety Darius Prelow.
Ambrose, of St. James, was third in the NCAA 100-meter dash two years ago and an all-SBC second team football selection last fall after ranking third in the conference with 65 catches for 752 yards and six scores. His catch total is the fourth best season figure ever for a ULM player.
McCaul, a junior college transfer, started at both tackle and center during the 2010 season and was chosen on the all-Louisiana second team at fall's end. He's from Moore, OK, and played at Northeast Oklahoma JC.
Dorsey was a first team all-Louisiana choice after ranking fifth in the SBC with 13 tackles for losses and eighth with five sacks. Voted a permanent team captain, he is a graduate of Homewood, AL, High School but grew up in New Orleans.
Prelow was a second-team all-SBC defensive back last year after finishing first on the ULM team with seven pass break ups and second in tackles with 74 and in interceptions with two. He's from Shreveport and graduated from Southwood High.
All four players are seniors.
The Warhawks also have an outstanding player returning at quarterback in sophomore Kolton Browning, an excellent receiving corps, all of last year's starters in the offensive line and have had the SBC's second best defensive record for the past two years. It all adds up to an optimistic outlook in the ULM fan base, coaches and players, says Berry as he goes into his second year as head coach.
"We have high expectations of what we can do," says the ULM coach. "Last year we went into the season with questions at several positions and that opened the door for a lot of freshmen to play. This season we have lots of experienced players and we feel good about our two-deep. If some of our freshmen can break into that two-deep, that's good because they'll have to be pretty good players to do that. We have a better comfort level on both sides now — we coaches know our players and they know our staff and what is expected of them."
Berry says the ULM schedule, usually the toughest in the Sun Belt, contributes to a feeling of confidence in the Warhawk players.
Last year ULM played three of the top 12 teams in the country — Auburn ended the season as the national champion, LSU was No. 8 in the final rankings and Arkansas was No. 12. This year's schedule again features some of the best teams in the country.Florida State, the opening opponent Sept. 3, is ranked as high as No. 4 in one of the national preview magazines, Rose Bowl champ TCU (Sept. 17) No. 15 and Iowa (Sept. 24) No. 26.
"Playing teams like these helps create the right attitude in our players," says Berry. "They're excited about playing nationally ranked teams and not afraid of anybody." Since ULM began regularly scheduling top teams in 1995, it has beaten three squads from the nation's most powerful league, the Southeastern Conference, the latest being Nick Saban's Alabama club in 2007.
QUARTERBACKS — Browning's presence at quarterback gives ULM one of the nation's most exciting young performers at the game's most important position. The young man from Mabank, Texas, made the College Football News Freshman All-America team in 2010, and was Louisiana and Sporting News Sun Belt Freshman of the Year. He finished third in the NCAA among all freshmen with 244.8 yards per game in total offense and led his team in both passing and rushing.
Browning (6-1, 202) tied former NFL star Stan Humphries' school records with eight straight games with at least 200 yards passing and with his five TD passes in the win over North Texas. ULM has an experienced player behind Browning in junior Cody Wells (5-11, 195). He has played under center in seven games over the past two seasons and started against Kentucky and Troy in 2009, completing 44 of 80 throws for 546 yards and four touchdowns in the two games.
Soph Aaron Munoz (5-11, 186), ULM's punter last year, returns to the QB position after brief stints at DB and WR. Other players at the position are sophomore Ian McCoig (6-2, 207) and incoming freshmen Brayle Brown (6-1, 180) and Earnest Carrington (6-1, 203).
RUNNING BACKS — Frank Goodin, ULM's No. 3 all-time rusher, has completed his eligibility. That leaves soph Jyruss Ewards (5-11, 189) atop the depth chart after four starts in 2010. His 4.5-yard rush average was the best among the team's RBs.
Another sophomore, Centarius Donald (6-0, 211) came out of spring practice as the No. 2 RB ahead of Arkansas transfer Mitch Bailey (6-0, 224). Bailey played in four games as a true freshman at Fayetteville, three of them SEC contests. Other runners on the roster include Carl Elie (5-8, 195), Montrell Washington (5-10, 200), Todd Muse (5-6, 174) and recruit DeVontae McNeal (5-11, 215), who ran for 2,405 yards as a senior at Quitman, Texas, HS.
WIDE RECEIVERS — Not since its glory days of the 1980s and 1990s has ULM had so many and so talented a group of wide receivers. Ambrose is the leader but sophomore Tavarese Maye is perhaps even more dangerous. He had 43 catches for 505 yards and three TDs last year plus 104 yards and one touchdown on 11 end-arounds.
Senior Anthony McCall (33-479-2), junior Brent Leonard (33-377-3) and soph Je'Ron Hamm (8-111-1) round out a group of regular or part-time starters. Other WRs available are Julian Griffin (Jr,, 6-1, 199), Zarrell Sanders (Jr., 5-10, 175), Colby Harper (RFr,, 5-11, 168) and four incoming freshmen — Rashaud Bell (6-5, 205) of Atlanta, Ga., Tyler Cain (5-8, 180) of West Monroe, Rashon Ceaser (6-0, 170) of Clinton, La., and Justin Ginyard (6-0, 200) of Ouachita.
TIGHT ENDS — This position has been strengthened by the return of big junior Keavon Milton (6-4, 271) after playing most of 2010 on defense. Also available is veteran Ty Kittle (Sr., 6-2, 226), Kevin Steed (So., 6-3, 209), Ronnie Anderson (Sr., 6-2, 238) and incoming frosh Harley Scioneaux (6-6, 215) of Reserve.
OFFENSIVE LINE — Starters back in the blocking line are tackles Patrick Dvoracek (Jr., 6-3, 311) and Anthony Montgomery (Sr., 6-4, 309), guards Justin Roberts (Sr., 6-4, 307) and Jonathan Gill (Jr., 6-3, 302) and McCaul (Sr., 6-4, 293) at center.
Also returning are two other linemen with starting experience, center Josh Allen (So., 6-2, 272) and guard Jon Fisher (So., 6-3, 298) along with OT Demiere Burkett (RFr., 6-1, 278), OT Jeremy Burton (RFr, 6-1, 298) and OG Christian Lyrse (So., 6-1, 350). Incoming freshmen are Dillon Jordan (6-4, 264) of Rowlett, Texas, Colby Mitchell (6-3, 290) of Bartlesville, Okla., Ben Risenhoover (6-3, 280) of Jenks, Okla., and Joseph Treadwell (6-4, 270) of Pine Bluff, Ark.
DEFENSIVE LINE — ULM has fielded one of the most active and effective defenses in the Sun Belt Conference ever since aggressive Troy Reffett took over as defensive coordinator two years ago. ULM's attacking defenders have forced 42 turnovers and recorded 51 sacks in those two years.
The Warhawks should have one of the best front lines in the conference this fall.
The loss of Milton to offense at defensive end is offset by the return from the injury list of Troy Evans (Sr., 6-1, 250). Evans was fifth in sacks in the SBC in 2009 and made the 2010 pre-season all-conference first team. Dorsey (Sr., 6-0, 270) will be the other end and is an almost unanimous pre-season all-league choice after ranking fifth in the SBC in tackles for loss and eighth in sacks. Malcolm Edmond (RFr., 6-1, 250) and Darius Livley (RFr., 6-2, 219) came into fall as the backups.
Jordan Landry (Sr., 6-3, 225) will also see action and another possibility is Elliot Hilliard (RFr., 6-3, 246). Incoming freshmen are Joey Gautney (6-2, 250) of Whitehouse, Texas, and Jackson Randle 6-2, 223) of Lufkin, Texas. Former end Kentarius Caldwell (So., 6-2, 254) moved to the top of the depth chart at nose tackle in the spring ahead of 2010 starter Emmanuel Jefferies (So, 6-2, 266). Also in the mix is John Nard (RFr., 6-0, 279).
LINEBACKERS — The Warhawks have two of the SBC's best in Jason Edwards (Sr., 5-10, 230) and Cameron Blakes (Jr., 6-1, 218). They were 1-2 atop the team's tackle chart in 2010, Edwards with 75 and Blakes with 74 including a team-high six sacks.
The surprise of spring practice was the emergence of Lincston Jones (Sr., 6-0, 240) at the other LB position. Hampered by injuries during his previous years, Jones came out of the off-season drills as a starter after playing on special teams last fall. Ray Stovall (So., 6-2, 216), C.C. Carpenter (Sr., 5-11, 226) and Tristan Warren (So., 6-0, 205) came into fall as the backups. ULM added a linebacker with big time experience this summer when R.J. Young (5-11, 232) joined the team.
Recruited out of high school by Coach Berry, who played college ball with his father, Young is a graduate of the University of Arizona and so is eligible immediately. He played in all 13 games for the Pac 10 team last fall and started one. He will have two years of eligibility at ULM. Other experienced LBs available are Shaq Belson (Sr., 5-9, 228) and DaCorris Ford (Jr., 6-1, 218) while there are three incoming freshmen, all from Arkansas — Michael Johnson (6-2, 210) of Maumelle, Hunter Kissinger (6-3, 210) of Springdale and Cody Robinson (6-1, 200) of Des Arc.
SECONDARY — Otis Peterson (So., 5-9, 179) moved from wide receiver to cornerback last fall and took over as the starter in game two. He's back after making 42 tackles, intercepting a pass and forcing a fumble. Vincent Eddie (So, 5-8, 153) ended last season as the starter on the other corner and had the job as the fall began.
A pair of redshirt freshmen, Memphis transfer Rob'Donovan Lewis (5-10, 171) and Justin Criswell (5-8, 188) came into camp as the backups. Another corner in the mix is Marcus Godfrey (RFr., 5-9, 193). Former cornerback starter Nate Brown (Sr., 5-9, 181) is now at safety and is backed by Khairi Usher (Jr., 5-9, 199). Isaiah Newsome (So., 5-11, 185) returns at the other safety ahead of former receiver Tim Taylor (Sr., 5-9, 179).
The new man at the Hawk position is pre-season all-SBC Darius Prelow (Sr., 6-0, 204), backed up by Henry Mitchell (Jr., 5-11, 185). Other returning safeties are Trevor Dillard (RFr., 5-9, 178), Brandon Hardy (Jr., 5-10, 208), Oliver Jackson (So., 5-11, 191), Cordero Smith (Fr, 5-11, 182) and Roland Veal (So, 6-0, 193). Incoming freshmen DBs are Mitch Lane (6-1, 200) of Pine Bluff, Ark., Allen Tatum (6-2, 185) of Warren, Ark., and Devon White (6-1, 175) of New Orleans.
SPECIAL TEAMS — ULM returns all its special team players led by senior kicker Radi Jabour (6-0, 195) who raised his FG percentage from 60 % (12-20) in 2009 to 80% (8-10) last year. Jabour has made 26 FGs during his ULM career. He was 26-29 on PATs and led ULM in scoirng with 50 points last fall.
Cody Wells will be Jabour's holder while Alex Chace (Sr., 5-11, 299) returns to handle the short snaps and Madison Tharp (So, 5-11, 199) will be the long snapper. Jyruss Edwards is back to return kickoffs after averaging 24.3 yards to rank No. 4 in the SBC.
Brent Leonard is expected to handle the punt returns. Sophomore Aaron Munoz handled the punting last year and averaged 38.6 yards. Two incoming freshmen will challenge for two kicking jobs--Caleb Gammel of Buckeye is a punter and Justin Manton (6-2, 166) of St. Amant is a place kicker.
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|Luther Ambrose||All-SBC 1st||All-SBC 1st||All-SBC 1st||All-SBC 1st||All-SBC 1st|
|Ryan McCaul||All-SBC 1st||All-SBC 1st||All-SBC 1st|
|Ken Dorsey||All-SBC 1st||All-SBC 1st||All-SBC 1st||All-SBC 2nd||All-SBC 1st|
|Darius Prelow||All-SBC 1st||All-SBC 3rd||All-SBC 1st||All-SBC 2nd||All-SBC 1st|
|Cameron Blakes||All-SBC 1st||All-SBC 1st||All-SBC 1st||All-SBC 2nd|
|Justin Roberts||All-SBC 2nd|
|Jason Edward||All-SBC 2nd|
|Anthony McCall||All-SBC 3rd|
|Kolton Browning||All-SBC 3rd|
|Jonathan Gill||All-SBC 4th||All-SBC 2nd|
|Troy Evans||All-SBC 4th|
|Nate Brown||All-SBC 4th|
|Jyrus Edwards||All-SBC 4th-KR|
EDITOR'S NOTEBOOK: Great Expectations
By Bob Anderson
Expectations are high for ULM's football season, maybe the highest since the Warhawks joined the Sun Belt Conference.
ULM is picked to finish in a tie for third place by conference coaches this year and that matches the highest prediction ever for the Warhawks. The 2008 team — a year after beating Alabama and going 6-6 — was also predicted to finish third but wound up 4-8 overall and tied for fifth in the league with a 3-4 record.
But that 2008 team didn't have 21 starters returnng and 48 lettermen. And the predictions notwithstanding, ULM fans don't expect third place--they are thinking championship and bowl bids.
Will it happen???
The Warhawk faithful have good reason to be optimistic but winning a championship has never been easy for anybody but it seems especially so for ULM, which has only one three-way title tie, no bowl bids and several frustrating close calls to show for its years in BCS (1-A) football.
The SBC predictions reflect ULM's past failures.
FIU's and Troy's first and second-place positions in the coaches' poll were expected because Troy has been to the Sun Belt what Ohio State has been to the Big Ten — the perennial champion — while FIU is almost unanimously considered the league's rising star.
Middle Tennessee's share of third in the prediction was a little unexpectd but the Blue Raiders have been there and done that--three bowls since 2006 — and ULM hasn't.
Still, this COULD be the year.
ULM seemingly has the parts necessary to climb to unfamiliar heights after a 2010 season that was not spectacular but better than expected. Warhawk fans have two good reasons for their great expectations.
One is the high number of returning stars. The main reason perhaps is the great performances against co-champions Troy and FIU last fall. ULM upset Troy in Malone Stadium for the third consecutive time, 28-14, snapping the Trojans' 15-game winning streak in Sun Belt play.
Then the Warhawks almost beat FIU the next week in Florida before finally losing in two overtimes, 42-35. The team finished 5-7 overall and 4-4 in the Sun Belt for a share of fourth place instead of the predicted seventh.
To win a championship you need a good quarterback and we have one in sophomore Kolton Browning.
He was the Sporting News Freshman of the Year in the Sun Belt in 2010 and Louisiana's top rookie as voted by the state's sportswriters. There were a lot of good QBs in the Sun Belt last year and will be again this fall, like Troy's Corey Robinson, ASU's Ryan Alpin and FIU's Wesley Carroll. But Browning had a better completion percentage than Alpin, accounted for more touchdowns and gained almost 400 more yards rushing than Carroll and decisively outplayed Robinson in their head-to-head meeting.
You need a good and experienced offensive line and ULM has every starter returning up front. You need a good defense and ULM has ranked second in the SBC in total defense and rushing defense for two consecutive years. You need experience and ULM has 30 players who have started at least one game — the most in the SBC.
So what else do the Warhawks need?
Well, they need to beat Troy at Troy, which they have never done before. They need to snap a five-game losing streak against Middle Tennessee. They need to snap a three-game losing streak against ULL and beat the Cajuns in Lafayette. They need to beat conference favorite Florida International in the final home game Nov. 19.
They need to kick away from the conference's most dangerous player, T.Y. Hilton — kick to the other side, kick out of the end zone, kick onside, just don't give him a chance to touch the ball. He returned a kickoff 95 yards and caught passes of 67, 60 and 25 yards — all for touchdowns — in FIU's win last fall.
And it wouldn't hurt to win all the other league games, too.
Another need is to rev up the running game. The Warhawks were No. 7 in the SBC in rushing offense last year with 120 yards a game, the main reason the team was also seventh in total offense.
We'll certainly miss Frank Goodin but there's good depth at the RB position with Jyruss Edwards, who had the best average among the Hawk runners at 4.5 yards in 2010, and a couple of promising big guys, sophomore Centarius Donald (211 lbs.) and Arkansas transfer Mitch Bailey (224 lbs.).
The best depth on the team is at the wide receiver positions where speedster Luther Ambrose (65 catches, 752 yrds, 6 TDs), soph Tavarese Maye (43-505-3), Anthony McCall (33-479-2) and Brent Leonard (33-377-3) return.
Defensively, the top three tacklers — linebackers Jason Edwards (75) and Cameron Blakes (74) and safety Darius Prelow (74) — return along with pre-season all-SBC Ken Dorsey.
There is no such thing as a perfect schedule but ULM's 2011 slate is not bad. Of course, there are the three brutal money games — all on the road and all against national powers, Florida State (predicted No. 7), TCU (No. 20) and Iowa (No. 26).
In the Sun Belt, ULM will play three of its top four predicted opponents — FIU, Middle Tennessee and Arkansas State — in Malone Stadium.
ULM's first home game is Sept. 10 vs Grambling State.
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Dear L-Club Members,
Greetings L-Club Members,
I hope you and your families were able to experience some adventures this summer while your children or grandchildren were out of school.
Fall is hopefully around the corner as well as some cooler weather. Cooler weather or not, football, soccer and volleyball seasons have begun on the ULM campus. Volleyball opened August 30 against McNeese State. The ULM Soccer team under Stacy Lamb’s guidance has begun play in search of the Sun Belt title this year.
The Warhawks football team also looked solid against Florida State on Sept. 3.
Home games will have more for L-Club members this Fall! The L-Club will be hosting socials in the Scogin Room prior to each home game this season. The Scogin Room will open 2 hours prior to game time and close 30 minutes prior to kickoff. We will have light refreshments and time to gather and renew our friendships. I hope to see you there.
The membership renewal information is in route to you in the next week or so. I appreciate the assistance and guidance that Dan O'Dowd and Megan Jefcoat have provided me over the past year.
I also am appreciative of the efforts of our Board of Directors over the past year to move our organization forward. If you would be interested in becoming a board member next year please let me know.
Please take a few moments when you get your renewal form to send your membership back to us. You are the reason for this organization and you are vital to its success!
L Club Executive Director
(318) 342-5428 /822-927-4295