2008 Arkansas State Red Wolves Football Preview
Arkansas State Red Wolves - Sun Belt
Arkansas State 2007 Record: (5-7, 3-4)
2007 Bowl: none
ASU Head Coach: Steve Roberts (31-41 at Arkansas State, 80-74-1 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Doug Ruse
Defensive Coordinator: Kevin Corless and Jack Curtis
Returning Leaders for Arkansas State:
Other Key Returnees: K Josh Arauco, DE Alex Carrington, DE Brian Flagg, TE David Johnson, WR Kevin Jones, OT Matt Mandich, DT Khari Mayes, LB Javon McKinnon
Key Losses: S Khayyam Burns, WR Levi Dejohnette, CB Montis Harrison, DT Prince Hickman, S Tyrell Johnson, OT Kyle Koets, C Heath Lockley, LB Koby McKinnon, G Matt Reibe, G Vincent Thrower, CB Darren Toney
Arkansas State has been slowly slipping down the Sun Belt standings since winning the conference in 2005. This is the year that the newly named Red Wolves, formerly the Indians, need to show that they will be an upper echelon team in the conference. Otherwise, they could slip into Sun Belt mediocrity.
Arkansas State 2008 Strengths:
Coach Steve Roberts has plenty of weapons on the offensive side of the ball to move the team back into title contention. Quarterback Corey Leonard had a decent freshman campaign, throwing for 2,235 yards and rushing for 547 more. Leonard needs to show his age now that he has a year of experience and cut back on his 15 interceptions and increase his average 52.1 completion percentage. With just about every receiver returning except last year’s leader Levi Dejohnette, Leonard has plenty of talented and familiar targets. Brandon Thompkins, who caught 41 passes for 503 yards last season, will be asked to become the new main threat. Reggie Arnold is back after rushing for over 1,000 yards as a sophomore. His backup, Preston Brown, also returns.
Arkansas State 2008 Weaknesses:
However, it remains to be seen if the ground game can remain as effective without four of the five starters on the offensive line returning in 2008. Left tackle Matt Mandich is a good player to have back and should be on everybody’s all-conference lists, but this is a line that could very easily go from good to average this season. At least players like transfer Mark Clemons and center Brandon Ciaramitaro have some experience. The secondary must replace all four starters, including two of the best safeties in the conference in Khayyam Burns and Tyrell Johnson. There is not much experience left and the group will need to play like veterans if ASU wants to have a successful season.
The Bottom Line for the Red Wolves of Arkansas State:
The secondary also needs help from the front line, which rarely got any pressure on the opposing quarterback. Last year’s defensive backs were talented enough to stick with receivers for a long time…that will not be the case this year. Upperclassmen ends Alex Carrington and Brian Flagg need to find a way to at least disrupt the quarterback and make things a little easier for the back four.
2007 Team Stats for the Arkansas State Red Wolves:
Rushing Offense: 176.00 (39th in nation, 4th in conference)
Passing Offense: 203.83 (76, 4)
Total Offense: 379.83 (70, 6)
Scoring Offense: 24.25 (82, 5)
Rushing Defense: 165.00 (71, 2)
Pass Defense: 197.25 (19, 2)
Total Defense: 362.25 (43, 1)
Scoring Defense: 27.58 (62, 2)
Turnover Margin: -.33 (86, 5)
Sacks: 1.08 (112, 8)
Sacks Allowed: 3.25 (110, 7)
By Joel Welser
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