In Bo Atterberry's three years as head coach, the Javelinas have improved from 3-8 in his first year, to 7-4 in 2008, to 9-3 last season, with the team garnering a share of their 27th LSC championship and returning to the D2 playoffs for the 14th time since 1988. There were some big wins (3 ranked teams, plus a road win at WTAM), but some disappointing losses (MSU for the 5th straight year, ACU for the 6th straight year, and the heartbreaking playoff loss to Tarleton State). After winning their first seven games, TAMK was ranked as high as #6 nationally, their best mark since 2005. The offense averaged 425 yards (4th in the LSC) and 34 points (3rd) per game, while the defense gave up 359 yards (5th) and 28 points (6th). Running back Fred Winborn led the LSC with 1,295 yards and 17 TDs rushing. DeIra Glover led the defense with 89 tackles, and scored 4 defensive TDs.
Out with the old
Billy Garza threw for almost 5,500 yards with 40 TDs over the last two seasons, playing a major factor in the Javelina's turnaround. Joe Williams did not put up huge numbers for the season at running back, but he helped propel the team with 3 rushing TDs against Delta State in the season opener. E J LeBlanc did a nice job at WR (38-432 3 TD) in his one season. Markeith Wesley (two time 1st LSC South) and Jorge Guerra (2nd LSC South) started side by side on the offensive line for four seasons. That experience and familiarity will be hard to replace.
On the defensive side, DTs Jimmy Saddler-McQueen (currently with the Dallas Cowboys) and Jason Garcia leave a hole in the middle of the line. LBs Jeff Edwards (2nd LSC South) and Arlen Childress combined for 117 tackles, 9.5 for losses, and 3 interceptions. The secondary will need to replace two of the teams top 3 tackers in John Reeves (2nd LSC South) and Eric John (HM LSC South) as well as Stuart Moffitt (HM LSC South).
Punter Cody Smith was a two-time 1st LSC South, and two-time HM LSC South selection. E J LeBlanc was a 1st LSC South selection as a return specialist.
Running backs Fred Winborn (1,295 yards and 17 TDs rushing) and Connell Davis (491 yards and 8 TDs rushing) return to give the Javelinas a formidable 1-2 punch out of the backfield. They also combined to catch 33 passes for 387 yards and 4 TDs. Wide receivers Sr. Ryan Lincoln (145 career receptions, 2,093 yards), Jr. Damian Couthren (77-1,050), and Soph. Sherman Batiste (35-471 4 TDs) provide a solid nucleus of returning starting receivers. Jonathan Woodson and Robert Armstrong are two youngsters who could make an impact. On the offensive line, center Timothy Byerly (HM LSC South) and Colby Lowry have each started for three seasons, while tackle Trent Perkins (HM LSC South) looks to transition from right tackle to the left side.
Defensively, Matt Romig (HM LSC South) and Michael Talamantez are back at the ends (combined for 91 tackles, 17 for losses and 7.5 sacks), while Dondi Cooks returns to man the interior. Marcus Sanders, Hector Sobers, and Aaron Buckley are ready to step out of the shadows at linebacker. The most returning experience is in the secondary where leading tackler DeIra Glover and Corey Robertson both garnered 2nd LSC South honors. Marc Kinney and Derrick Thomas are also slated to return. That quartet combined for 220 tackles, 15 for losses, 4 interceptions, and 17 passes broken up.
Kicker Christian Brom (HM LSC South) hit 46-48 PATs and 9-14 field goals, with a 45 yarder. Jonathan Woodson averaged 21 yards per kick return.
In with the new
TAMK added more firepower at the receiver position with Arizona transfer Delashaun Dean (132 career receptions) and Texas State transfer Mishak Rivas (66-901 7 TDs and 1,564 all-purpose yards in two seasons). Rivas should also contribute to special teams, as he averaged 23 yards on 22 kick returns. For the offensive line, Sifa Pinomi and Kenan Woods should be ready to step in either as starters or to provide experienced depth.
On the other side of the ball, newcomers NT Johnny Tivao, Zane Brown, Darnell Hicks and Marquis Singleton will help to solidify a line that was banged up during the season. Tivao oringinally signed with the University of Washington out of Junior College. New linebackers Tressor Baptiste (Hofstra) and Roman Pula should see plenty of playing time. In the pass-heavy LSC, newcomers Kendrick Matthews (Kansas State), Josh Luck (Northern Arizona) and Arron Fisher will be counted on early.
All Conference Candidates
RB - Fred Winborn, Connell Davis
WR - Ryan Lincoln, Sherman Batiste, Delashaun Dean, Mishak Rivas
OL - Trent Perkins, Colby Lowery, Tim Byerly
DL - Matt Romig, Johnny Tivao, Michael Talamantez
LB - Marcus Sanders, Roman Pula, Tressor Baptiste
DB - DeIra Glover, Corey Robertson, Derrick Thomas, Josh Luck, Kendrick Matthews
K - Christian Brom
All American Candidates
RB - Fred Winborn
WR - Delashaun Dean
DL - Johnny Tivao
DB - DeIra Glover
9-2 at Northwest Missouri - season opener at the defending national champion
10-2 Abilene Christian - early LSC South challenge starts a brutal four game stretch
10-16 West Texas A&M - preseason LSC favorites will want to avenge last year's OT loss
10-23 at Tarleton State - Javelinas will want revenge for Texans' team that knocked them out of playoffs in '09
11-6 Midwestern State - This is likely a defacto playoff game with the winner looking good for postseason play
Best Case Scenario
10-1 The Javelinas are loaded with playmakers on offense, and appear to have to have upgraded their defense, especially the line and secondary. Tough opener at defending national champion, Northwest Missouri, but TAMK does get TAMC, ACU, WTAM, MSU and SOSU at home. If the Javs get quality quarterback play, the offense should be better than last year. The defense should be improved as well, with some serious additions across the board. LSC title and NCAA playoff contender.
Worst Case Scenario
6-5 If the Quarterback situation never solidifies and opposing defenses are able to concentrate on slowing down the running game, the Javelinas could find themselves on the outside looking in come playoff time. A difficult schedule offers no margin for error.