Thursday, August 21, 2008

LSC Football Preview - Texas A&M-Commerce

2007 Recap
The Lions started off the 2007 with a respectable showing @ Pitt State. They ended up losing 28-14, but were actually tied up at 14-14 well into the 4th quarter. That also was the first time everyone got a look at QB Terry Mayo. Mayo went 16-30, 260 yds and 2 TD's. The next great QB in the LSC appeared to have arrived in Commerce. But that would be the only game the entire season Mayo was anywhere near healthy.

The following game against Ouachita Baptist, Mayo disclocated the thumb on his throwing hand, and was never even close to healthy the rest of the season. The 6'4 245 pd QB bravely played the entire season suffering through the pain, while backup QB Trent Miller was also playing through a knee injury. With Mayo being the focal point of the Lions offense, everything suffered from then on.

Stunned by the loss of Mayo, the Lions lost a shocker to Ouachita Baptist. They also lost to UCO by 1 point in OT, and the last game to Southwestern Oklahoma. Those 2 LSC North losses cost them a sole claim on the North, and contributed to their 5-6 season record.

However, 2007 was a step forward for the Lions in many ways. The "find" of their season was easily RB Nabil El-Amin. Coming into the season, El-Amin actually backed up RB Eddie Moss until Week 6. Even though the season was more than half over before he was named the starter, El-Amin ended up with 984 yards, including 100+ yards in each of the final 4 games of the season.

After the Lions finished up the 2006 season dead last in Scoring Offense (12.5 ppg), 12th in Passing Offense (67.7 ypg), and 11th in Total Offense (250.8 ypg), their 2007 totals were vastly improved. They nearly doubled their points per game (23.1), tripled their Passing Offense (196.9 ypg), and improved their Total Offense to 307.9 ypg.

2008 Outlook
Out with the old
WR JaMichael Palmer (1st LSC-N - WR of the Year)
OL Deveon McKinney (1st LSC-N)
OL Luis Salazar (1st LSC-N)
LB Garnet Smith (1st LSC-N)
LB Faoki Fafita (1st LSC-N)
FB Trae Grimes (HM LSC-N)
WR Meldrick Grice
RB Eddie Moss
TE Anthony Eustace
DL Marcus Smith
WR Orlando Hernandez

Welcome Back
QB Terry Mayo (2nd LSC-N)
RB/RS Nabil El-Amin (1st LSC-N both positions)
OL Darron Sheppard (1st LSC-N & OL of the Year)
DL AJ Johnson (1st LSC-N)
CB Elliott Jones (1st LSC-N)
S Alex Contreras (1st LSC-N)
P Daniel Swaim (2nd LSC-N)
WR Chris Miller (LSC-N Freshman of the Year)
S Courtney Edmond
DL William Green (Missed all but 3 games - injury)
QB Trent Miller
LB Chad Washington
LB Andrew Gamboa
LB Alonzo Menifield
DL Andree Smith
LB Arsenial Richardson
TE Darr Nieuwoudt

In with the new
OL R.J Brisbon - Transfer from Baylor
WR Matt McLaren - Freshman
WR Earnest Quander - Transfer from Kilgore JC
OL Daniel Stantz - Transfer from Solano JC
WR Willie Thornton - Transfer from Central Florida
RB Maurice DuPont - Transfer from Solano JC

All Conference Candidates
DB Alex Contreras
DB Courtney Edmond
RB/RS Nabil El-Amin
DL AJ Johnson
DB Elliott Jones
QB Terry Mayo
OL Darron Sheppard
P Daniel Swaim
WR Willie Thornton
LB Chad Washington
OL R.J Brisbon

All American Candidates
QB Terry Mayo
OL Darron Sheppard
DB Elliott Jones

Big Games
Week 3 - @ Abilene Christian - It's going to be very difficult for the Lions to pull out a win in Abilene, but a good showing here would go a LONG way in possible post-season discussions.

Week 8 - ECU in the Cotton Bowl - The Lions should easily win this game, but the reason this game is so important is the location. If the Lions can go into the Cotton Bowl and put on a show, it would be a huge step in recruiting, respect and towards winning the LSC North again.

Week 9 - vs Southeastern Oklahoma - In what most people think will be the battle of the North's 2 best teams, the Lions will be looking to put this game away in Commerce. If they can pull it off, it should mean a 2nd consecutive LSC North title.

Best Case Scenario
8-2 and possibly playoffs. The game @DIAA Northwestern will be a tough one to win, as will the ACU game in Abilene. Outside of that though, the Lions should be favored in every other game they play. Actually running the board will be tough though. With a 10 game season (with 1 not counting towards SOS), the Lions are going to have to have some things break their way to get into the playoffs even if they do go 8-2. But it would be a big step in regaining momentum for the program.

Worst Case Scenario
5-5 The only negative facing the Lions at this point appears to be their O-Line. If it becomes a major problem and Mayo can't stay on his feet, the entire offense will crumble. Their schedule is fairly easy this year, so even with a bad squad, .500 looks to be about as bad as it can get.

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