Thursday, November 20, 2008

2008 Season Review - Eastern New Mexico

When you put in a totally new offensive scheme and put young players in key positions, you are building for the future, not the present. And the young Greyhounds showed enough flashes on offense to give hope for the future. Freshman J. J. Harp threw for 1,902 yds and 14 TDs. His top target was fellow freshman Darian Dale (62-704, 4 TDs), with freshman Matt Handler not far behind (36-365 6 TDs). Another underclassman, Joseph Banyard, was the leading rusher (420 yds, 6 TDs) and the third leading receiver (49 receptions). The changes resulted in 6 fewer points and 80 fewer yards per game, compared to 2007. Somewhat of a suprise, the defense found themselves at the bottom of the LSC, allowing 419 yards per game (last) and 35 points per game (second from last).

The season started off on a bad note, as ENMU lost their opener to NAIA Southern Nazarene 9-16, in a game delayed by bad weather. They rebounded to beat Southwestern Oklahoma the following week 37-24, but followed that up with 8 consecutive losses, though several of the games were competitive. The Greyhounds have lost 13 straight LSC South Games, outscored by a 263-573 margin. The team did close the season on an up note, beating Oklahoma Panhandle State 59-13.

Among the Seniors moving on...
DB Jeremy Hibbler 235 tackles, 8 for losses, 2 Ints in 2 years (2nd Team All-LSC South 2008, Honorable Mention 2007)
DL Ronald Green 79 tackles, 17.5 for losses, 4.5 sacks in 1 year (2nd Team All-LSC South 2008)
DL Kyle Wilson 171 tackles, 46 for losses, 18.5 sacks in 4 years (2nd Team All-LSC South 2006, Honorable Mention 2007, 2005)

Selected LSC Statistical Rankings
#8 Scoring Offense (#5 in 2007)
#5 Passing Offense (#13 - improved by 210 yds per game)

#12 Scoring Defense (#8)
#11 Total Offense (#8)
#13 Total Defense (#9)
#13 Rushing Offense (#2 - decreased by 289 yds per game)
#11 Rushing Defense (#8)
#13 Passing Defense (#13)
#13 Passing Efficiency (#12)
#12 Passing Efficiency Defense (#10)
#13 Sacks Allowed (#1)
#13 Sacks by Defense (#1)
#12 Third Down Conversions (#4)
#12 Third Down Conversions Defense (#9)

From Coach Ribaudo

I think the future looks bright. The offense is young , but talented. We have some good young QB’s, WR’s, RB’s and OL’s. It was the 1st year in the offense, I think we laid the foundation. We need to improve our run game (that could have gone better). We expect to improve in all areas of the offense (pass pro, run game, yards after catch), on defense our pass coverage and pass rush need to improve quit a bit. We will miss Jeremy Hibbler and Ron Green. They made a lot of tackles.

We only had 12 seniors on the team and have less than 10 juniors. We are a young team with a lot of potential.

LSC Scoop Preseason Outlook
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.

Actual Record 2-9 Losing the opener didn't help matters, but the team continued to play hard all year long, and almost upset Texas A&M-Kingsville late in the season.

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