Thursday, August 7, 2008

LSC Football - East Central Preview

2007 Recap
The Tigers were a disappointing 2-9 in 2007, going winless in the LSC North and the only team not to share the divisional title. They were close, losing heartbreakers to Central Oklahoma and Southwestern Oklahoma. Marcus Johnson enjoyed a solid season at QB, completing 60% of his passes for 2,500 yds and 14 TDs. His best game came against Angelo State, in which he threw for 386 yards and 6 TDs. For his efforts, he was named first-team All-LSC North and the offensive back of the year. The offense was good at moving the ball, amassing 377 yards of offense per game (5th in the LSC), but only converted that into 20.1 points per game (10th in the LSC). The defense struggled allowing 457 yards (12th) and 35.2 points (last).

2008 Outlook

Out with the old - The top three WR's, all of whom were 2nd team All-LSC North, have graudated, along with fellow 2nd Team OL David Thompson, Honorable Mention DL Charles Cohee, DL Avery Anderson, and LB Steven Marshall, leading rusher Jazz Holland, the top 5 defensively (and 10 of top 13) in tackles.

Welcome Back - The Tigers return Marcus Johnson and backup Josh Phillips at QB. Second leading rusher Larry Carter (257 yds), as well as WR Keewan King (32 receptions, fourth on the team) will be back as well. Second team All-LSC OL Jay Reaves leads 4 returning starters on the offensive line. The six returning defensive starters are linebackers Curtis Niccum, Tait Langston, and Kevin Avey, and cornerbacks Lionel Young and Derrick Suggs and strong safety Dionte' Dean.

In with the new - Jerold Loveless and Tyrone Gibbs will look to replenish the WR corps, while transfer Alex Woodley is expected to switch from DB to RB. Jorge Rodriguez and Chad Roark look to solidify a line that has 4 returning starters. The defensive line will welcome Nebraska transfer Craig Roark, Maurice Lanclos, Darnell Barnes, and Jared Garrett. Ty Gower and Robbie Prescott join the LB crew, and Colorado transfer Dominique Brooks, along with Jared Burl, should make an impact in the secondary.

All Conference Candidates -
Marcus Johnson (All American Candidate)
Keewan King
Jay Reaves
Craig Roark
Curtis Niccum
Dominque Brooks
Lionel Young

Big Games
Week 2 - Texas A&M-Kingsville - The Tigers look to make it two in a row against the Javelinas in their home opener.
Week 5 - Northeastern State - The LSC North opener for ECU, a win could set the tone for divisional play
Week 8 - Texas A&M Commerce (at the Cotton Bowl) - another divisional game with the added incentive of doing well on a big stage
Week 11 - Southeastern Oklahoma - Rivalry game could have LSC North title implications.

Best Case Scenario
6-5 New receiving corps gels with Johnson, and experienced OL allows running game to improve, giving ECU a more balanced offense. New blood on defense leads to improvements, especially run defense. ECU finds a way to win close games.

Worst Case Scenario
2-9 Improvement in running game does not materialize, WRs not up to last years standards, and offense relies too heavily on Johnson. Run defense allows opponents to control game and clock. With games against IAA Sam Houston State and Tarleton in first three weeks, ECU's confidence takes a hit and does not recover.

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