Wednesday, August 6, 2008

LSC Football - Eastern New Mexico Preview

2007 Recap - Overall, the Greyhounds were a respectable 5-6 last year, beating Bacone and Panhandle State in non-conference games, beating NSU, ECU and UCO in crossover games, but going winless in 6 LSC South divisional games. ENMU averaged 29.4 points per game, while allowing 29.6. Take out the Bacone and Panhandle State games, and ENMU was outscored by an average of 11 points per game, while allowing 120 more yards of offense as well. Looking at just the LSC South numbers, and the Greyhounds were outscored by 25 points per game, while allowing 228 more yards offense per game.

2008 Outlook

Out with the old - Goodbye to Michael Benton (and 3,884 career rushing yards and 49 TDS) and the option offense. Also moving on, honorable mention LSC-South LBs Tony Johnson and Kenneth Odie and DB Jimmy Wright.

Welcome Back - Four starters on the offensive line, including Ryan Torres who received honorable mention LSC-South honors last year. Top 3 receivers (but in the option attack they had a combined 23 receptions for 357 yds and 3 TDs). Leading passer (and part-time starter) Anthony Ramos. Defensively, ENMU returns 8 of the top 11 in tackles, including HM honorees DB Jeremy Hibbler (108 tacklers), LB Brandon Haug (79 tackles), LB Texavier Henry (63 tackles), and DE Kyle Wilson (52 tackles, 14.5 TFL and 8 Sacks). Randall Hutchison returns to the other defensive end positions, and Brandon Dominguez and Tillman Stevens join Hibbler as returning starters in the secondary.

In with the new - High school QB recruits Travis Chrisman and J.H. Harp, each of whom threw for over 3,000 yards last year. At running back, ENMU brought in TCU transfer Joseph Banyard at RB, as well as high school recruits Kedric Carver, Kiethy Flye, Terrence Griffin, and Robert Carter. New additions at WR include JJ James, Matt Handler, and Darian Dale. Adam Robinson, Evan Fraley and Ira Wallace highlighting a group of offensive line recruits that may be asked to contribute early on.

Defensively, the Greyhounds are switching to a 3-4 alignment to get more speed on the field. J.T. Thompson is moving from QB to DB to better utilize his athleticism and will be joined by HS recruit Reggie Butler. NMMI transfer Edward Zamora and high schoolers Jason Fidge and Taniela Vake will try to fill the two LB vacancies. The defensive line will have several youngsters looking for playing time, led by Josey Childs, Isaiah Yandell, Nick Adams and high school teammates Matt Cornett and Patrick McGrath.

All Conference Candidates
RB - Joseph Banyard
OL - Ryan Torres
DL - Kyle Wilson (All-American Candidate)
LB - Brandon Haug
LB - Texavier Henry
DB - Jeremy Hibbler
DB - Tillman Stevens

Big Games
Week 2 - Southwest Oklahoma - the Greyhounds will have a game under their belt, so this will be a good test for their new offense
Week 6 - at Angelo State - The Rams escaped Blackwater Draw last year with a 28-21 Double OT win. This could be ENMU's best shot at LSC South win
Week 9 - Texas A&M-Kingsville - another close loss last year in Kingsville. The Javelinas have had trouble at Blackwater Draw in the past.

Best Case Scenario
6-5 Youngsters are ready to contribute, OL adjusts to new blocking schemes, and defense improves with a year of experience. ENMU comes out of the gate quickly beating Southern Nazerene in the opener, then taking two of three crossover games, and stealing a couple of LSC South games before closing with Panhandle State.

Worst Case Scenario
2-9 Youngsters suffer growing pains, Air Raid offense slow to take shape, defense changes fail to slow down opponents. Even struggling the Greyhounds should be able to win their non-conference games, but they could go 0-9 against the LSC as youth and inexperience with brand new systems on both sides of the ball prove to be too much for the team to overcome.

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