Major factors lean in the Texans' direction
By BRAD KEITH
Sports Editor - Stephenville Empire-Tribune
Tarleton State continues to climb in the national polls, registering this week at
No. 14 in both the American Football Coaches Association and D2Football.com polls.
Still, the Texans remain an underdog in the race for the South Division title.
Abilene Christian was the favorite in the pre-season poll, and WT is the two-time
defending champions. Midwestern State is at the center of much title discussion as
well, especially with Harlon Hill candidate Daniel Polk at quarterback. Be reminded,
the Texans split the South title last fall and have won or split divisional titles
in four of the last six seasons.
There are several things that favor the Texans in the battle for supremacy in the
2007 South race:
**Only Tarleton plays all three other contenders at home. The Texans host Midwestern
State Oct. 13, Abilene Christian Oct. 27 and West Texas A&M, in what has become an
annual event in the regular-season finale, Nov. 10.
**Tarleton has the best front seven in the South. Solid quarterback play is a strength
of each of the four contenders. Pressuring those quarterbacks may become the hidden
key to the race, and Tarleton has the best personnel for the task. Tywain Myles, the
returning South Defensive Lineman of the Year, leads a front four that also features an
underrated Chris Bacak. At linebacker, the Texans have Vernon Smith at full speed again,
and Ray Long stepped up with heavy pressure against Southwestern. Add two-time South
Defensive Back of the Year Ranardrick Phillips and his ability to bring pressure in
the blitz, and the Texans are loaded with heavy hitters in all three levels of defense.
**The receivers are as good as any in the South. WTAMU and ACU have the most hype
at receiver, but the duo of Devin Guinn and Shamarr Prentice at Tarleton brings the
vertical aspect of the Texan offense up to the level of the other contenders. Guinn
leads the conference with 106 receiving yards per game. Prentice leads in yards per
catch at 22.4, while Guinn is second at 20.4.
**Scott Grantham is better than you think. Each of the four contenders is led by
phenomenal quarterback play. Because Grantham is a freshman transfer, he is often
overlooked by returning stars Polk at Midwestern and Billy Malone at ACU. Keith Null
isn't a returning starter at WT, but still received a lot of pre-season praise.
Grantham was the unnoticed one, coming in and winning the starting job in an intense
training camp position battle. The coaching staff has been proven correct in their
decision, as Grantham has completed 65.3-percent of his passes with 10 different receivers
registering at least three receptions. Best of all has been his decision making,
resulting in 10 touchdowns and only four interceptions. He played turnover-free
against a D1-FCS defense in the Texans' 27-24 overtime victory over Stephen F. Austin.
With all four of these factors leaning in Tarleton's direction, the Texans appear
to have the necessary ingredients for the recipe they hope will produce the school's
fifth division title in seven years.In the bigger picture, the Texans hope that product
also becomes the first Tarleton team to reach the playoffs since 2003.
Friday, October 5, 2007
The "Big 4" Series - Article 3 - Major factors lean in the Texans' direction
Our next article in the "Big 4" series focuses on why Tarleton State will win the 2007 LSC Football title.. The LSC Scoop would like to thank Brad Kelly, Sports Editor of the Stephenville Empire-Tribune for his contribution to the series. You can check out Brad's fine work at www.empiretribune.com .
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