Tuesday, August 30, 2011

2011 Texas A&M-Kingsville Preview

2010 Review
The 2010 season got off to a bang, with the Javelinas opening the season at #1 Northwest Missouri.  After spotting the Bearcats a 7-0 lead, Texas A&M-Kingsville would totally shut down NW, taking a hard fought 16-7 win over the defending national champions.   Despite losing stars Fred Winborn, Delashaun Dean and Matt Romig during the season, TAMK finished the regular season with just one loss, a 31-24 decision to #5 ACU in week 5.  That set up a rematch with Northwest Missouri in round 2 of the playoffs.  The Javelinas took the lead early, and held a 31-21 advantage early in the fourth quarter, but the Bearcats scored the winning TD with 18 seconds left, ending TAMK's season.  The team did struggle at times, barely beating Angelo State and Tarleton State and a lackluster effort in week 2 at ECU.

In his first season as a starter, QB Nate Poppell threw for 2,671 yds, with 16 TDs, but also 10 Ints.  His favorite target was Ryan Lincoln (65-833-5), who ended his TAMK career with a school record 210 receptions and 2,926 yds (2nd on the all-time list).  Freshman Robert Armstrong had 45 catches for 590 yards, with the biggest being a 62 yd TD pass with 1:44 to go, lifting TAMK to a 28-21 win over Angelo State.  With the dismissal of Winborn after week 3, Jonathan Woodson moved from WR to RB, leading the team with 608 yds and 7 TDs, and 1,422 all-purpose yards.  Overall, the offense was 7th in the LSC in scoring (28.2 pts) and 6th in total offense (395 yds).

It was the defense that set the tone for the Javelinas.  The Border Bandits led the LSC in scoring defense (16 pts), pass defense (195 yds), rushing defense (57 yds, #1 in the nation), and total defense (252 yds) despite playing 4 teams ranked #7 or higher during the season.  Four players were named to the LSC South first team (DT Johnny Tivao, LB Tressor Baptiste, S Corey Robertson and S DeIra Glover), four to the second team (DE Matt Romig, LB Marcus Sanders, CB Derrick Thomas and S Kendrick Matthews) and honorable mention Dondi Cooks .

2011 Preview
In his four seasons as the Javelinas head coach, Bo Atterberry has seen his team improve each year - going from 3-8 in his first season, to 7-4 in 2008, 9-3 in 2009 and last year finishing the season 10-2.  The next step is to make a deep run in the playoffs.

It helps to have an experienced QB, and TAMK does in Nate Poppell.  Poppel's 2,671 yards is third on the single season charts for TAMK, but he needs to cut down on last year's 10 Ints.  Backup Daniel Ramirez has shown the ability to move the team when called up.  With WT up 24-6 in the second quarter, Ramirez led the Javelinas 75 yards for a critical TD, keeping the Javelinas in the game.  Jonathan Woodson returns to the backfield, and will have plenty of backup help in transfers Jai Cavness and Randall Toney and RS freshman Charles Coleman.  Despite losing Lincoln to graduation, the receiving corps should be in good shape with the returns of Armstrong, Batiste, a healthy Damian Couthren and Christian Taylor.  New faces include Arron Fisher moving over from defense, transfer Shane Prater and walk-on Patrick Lafleur who stood out in spring practices.  Up front Keenan Woods and Cory Baumann are returning starters will be joined by Lee Mattingly, Chris Hudgins and Marcus Stager as the opening game starters.  There is sollid depth with Cade Shaw, Karl Willie, Devin Shaw, Joe Vazquez and Patrick Daniel ready to contribute as well.

The defense will have to replace a lot of graduated talent.  It starts up front with preseason All-American Johnny Tivao at NT.  He will be getting help in the middle from Texas Tech transfer Bobbie Hampton.  Roderick Benman and Marquis Singleton are the starters at the ends.  Darnell Hicks, James Cannell and Justin Chambers bring experience to the table in backup roles.  Marcus Sanders led the team with 77 tackles and will be paired with Jeremy Aguilar in the starting lineup.  Justin Young transfers in from Southeastern Oklahoma, where he had 65 tackles as a freshman defensive back.  The biggest question mark on defense is the secondary, where no starters return from 2010.  The projected starters are Jeff Phillips and Cliff Baker at cornerback, Robert McCormick and Rockeem Collins at safety, and Trevor Pesek at rover.  Listed as second teamers are Eddie Smith, Kerry Wheatfall, Marc Kinney, Quincy Williams, and Angelo Looney.  Kinney, who started the first two games last season before an injury, McCormick and Collins are the only ones on the two deep chart who saw playing time for the Javelinas last fall.

On special teams, both Matt Stoll (14-20 FGs, 39-41 PATs, 36.9 punt avg) and Angel Millan (38.1 punt avg) return.  Fisher (6.5 PR, and 23.1 KR) and Woodson (26.9 KR) return as the return men.

Out With The Old
RB - Fred Winborn - 394 yds in 3 games
RB - Connell Davis - 349 yds rushing
WR - Ryan Lincoln - career 210 receptions for 2,926 yds and 12 TDs, LY 1,095 All Purpose Yds, 10 TDs
WR - DelaShaun Dean - 25 receptions for 336 yds in 6 games
OL - Trent Perkins, Colby Lowrie (both 2nd LSC South), Timothy Byerly (HM LSC South)
DL - Michael Talamantez, Dondi Cooks - combined 71 tackles, 11.5 TFL, 5 sacks
LB - Tressor Baptiste - 66 tackles, 8 TFL, LSC LB of the Year
DB - DeIra Glover, Corey Robertson, Mardrick Johnson, Derrick Thomas, Kendrick Matthews, Josh Luck - combined for 240 tackles, 11.5 TFL, 7 Ints, 33 passes broken up

Welcome Back
QB - Nate Poppell
RB - Jonathan Woodson
WR - Robert Armstrong, Sherman Batiste, Christian Taylor, Damian Couthren
OL - Keenan Woods, Cory Baumann
DL - Johnny Tivao, Roderick Benman
LB - Marcus Sanders
K/P - Matt Stoll, Angel Millan

In With The New
RB - Randall Toney, Jai Cavness, Charles Coleman (RS)
WR - Shane Prater, Patrick Lafleur
OL - Cade Shaw, Patrick Daniel
DL - Bobbie Hampton
LB - Jeremy Aguilar (RS), Justin Young
DB - Cliff Baker, Trevor Pesek, Eddie Smith, Kerry Wheatfall, Quincy Williams (RS), Angelo Looney

All Conference Candidates
QB - Nate Poppell
RB - Jonathan Woodson
WR - Robert Armstrong, Sherman Batiste
OL - Keenan Woods
DL - Johnny Tivao (All-American candidate), Bobbie Hampton, Marquis Singleton
LB - Marcus Sanders, Jeremy Aguilar
DB - Trevor Pesek, Robert McCormick
K - Matt Stoll

Big Games
Week 1 - Central Washington   The Javelinas have fared well the past two seasons against Delta State and Northwest Missouri in opening games.  The Wildcats had the #10 ranked defense last year, while the Javelinas were #6.  A win here puts TAMK a step ahead of the competition, while a loss puts them in an early hole.
Week 3 - West Texas A&M   This game gets the big stage, finishing off the Lonestar Football Festival at Cowboys Stadium.  The early scheduling could benefit TAMK - an early test on the road, followed by a game to work out the kinks, before facing another talented Buffalo team.  Winner assumes the top challenger to ACU role, while the loser will have little margin for error going forward.
Best Case Scenario - 11-0 -  The Hogs are in better shape heading into the 2011 season than they were last year, and there were just 7 points from an undefeated regular season.  If the offense can improve on last year's performance and the defense is close to as good as last year, the team could go through the regular season unblemished for the first time since 1989.
Worst Case Scenario - 7-4    If the defense is not close to last year's stellar group and the offense is unable to pick up the slack, TAMK could find themselves on the short end against some stout competition.

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