Friday, September 6, 2013

2013 Preview - Texas A&M-Kingsville

For a program with the most long-term consistency and stability, Texas A&M-Kingsville has undergone quite a few changes since we last saw them on the field.  On the sidelines, David Calloway becomes just the ninth coach in Javelina history (all 8 previous coaches have winning career records).  Roderick Taylor is the team's new offensive coordinator, after a very successful stint at Midwestern State.

On the field, the Hogs will be looking to replace 6 offensive and 5 defensive starters including  Jonathan Woodson, Sherman Batiste, Nate Poppell, Jeremy Aguilar and Steve Harris.  But just how much is left in the pantry?

2012 Recap - Last year was frustrating - the team lost 4 games by one score and missed out on the playoffs for the second straight year.  After starting the year with a couple of wins, TAMK lost four straight, including games to Commerce (their only win of the year) and North Alabama at home.  Late in the season, the team also dropped winnable games at eventual national champion Valdosta State and 10-win Emporia State in the Kanza Bowl.  Statistically, TAMK averaged 392 yards per game (4th in the LSC), but only averaged 25.8 points (6th).  Poor red zone execution played a large part.  The team was second to last in the LSC, scoring just 31 times on 44 trips into the red zone, averaging just 3.7 points per trip.  The running game averaged 128 yards per game, while they passed for 264.  Defensively, they finished third in both scoring average (25.3) and yards allowed (353.5).  The rush defense topped the LSC, giving up 123.4 yards, while opponents passed for 230.1.

Who's Back - The strength of the offense would appear to be the receiving corps.  With a strong senior season, Robert Armstrong can lay claim to several team receiving records.  He is 47 receptions, 5 TDs and 1,041 yards away from TAMK career records.  Clyde Lee, Patrick LaFleur and TEs Derek Tesch and Jake Willingham also return.  Up front, starters Tommy Parsons, Devin Shaw and Cade Shaw (who missed last year) are back as well.  Defensively, Zane Brown, Ricky Marshall and Robert Williams return on the line.  Mark Savere is back at linebacker, and the secondary has Trevor Pesek, Ronnie Ford and Anthony Forker returning as starters.  Not to be overlooked, punter Angel Millan and kicker Matt Stoll are back as well.

Who's New - Most of the changes are from within - backups moving to starting roles, with transfers sprinkled in.  Redshirt freshman Alex Rios is slated to start at quarterback, but senior Dean Brantley and sophomore Aaron Bueno could see time as well. At running back, Cornelius Shackelford and Anthony Washington have moved over from the defensive side and are penciled in as the top two backs. Expect to see Ashton Jefferson on field as well. Musa Mamud is a new WR, transferring from Grambling State were he had 23 receptions for 375 yards and a TD.  The offensive line could see three new starters - redshirt freshman Bo Villareal, and sophomores Christian Garcia and Tiance Gardner.  Defensively, Brandon James is slated to start at linebacker after transferring from Wyoming.  In the secondary, Kenneth Pinkard and Joe Crowe are penciled in as new starters.

2013 Outlook - This is a hard one to call.  Will the team continue to self-destruct (19 turnovers in 6 losses, just 5 in 6 wins), or can they revert to their 2010 form and not beat themselves?  The answer likely lies somewhere in between.  Best case scenario - the offense gels early and the defense returns to the top of the LSC with TAMK winning 9 games and making the playoffs.  Worst case scenario - the offense takes a while to find its way and a tough schedule takes its toll and the Javelinas go 5-6.  Prediction - the Hogs drop games to Valdosta State, West Texas A&M and two from the group of Midwestern State, Tarleton State, Central Washington and Angelo State.

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