February 5, 2012

Warhawks Inside Slant

ULM coach Todd Berry announced a signing class of 22 members heavy on defense, but it wasn't just the 14 players on the defensive side of the ball that distinguished the group.

First, there were no defectors among those who had "committed" to the Warhawks, or gone "All-in" as coaches often say.

Second, that will be true in the fall as well.

"I'm excited about the athleticism and character of this group," Berry said. "All these athletes are academically qualified so we know they will be showing up in August."

Besides the emphasis on defense, with 14 of the signees playing on that side of the ball, there is big dose of Texas in the class. Half the group-11 in all-come from the Lone Star state, four more than are Louisiana natives.

"We focused on finding the athletes that give us multiple opportunities to put them on the field, which includes special teams," Berry said.

Top Of The Class

LB Austin Moss-Already on campus, the transfer from Navarro JC in Texas will compete for time in the fall after going through spring practice. He began his collegiate career at Arkansas, playing 11 games in the 2009 season.

LB Jacob Tyson-Tyson is a local product from West Monroe High and should fit in with the Warhawks' 3-3-5 scheme.

CB Tryen Hills-Hills, from Boutte, La., got three stars from Rivals.com. At 6-1, 180, he has the size to cope with bigger receivers.

NOTES, QUOTES

ULM has added Travis Niekamp, who played for coach Todd Berry at Illinois State and Army, as their new tight ends coach. Niekamp came from Washington State, where he spent three of his four years as linebackers coach and one as coordinator of football development. His appointment was announced Jan. 24.

The Warhawks will go into the 2012 season looking for their first winning record since it began competing at the FBS (then Division I-A) level in 1994. The best mark since then has been 6-6 in 2007 and 2010.

Spring Snapshot:

Practice begins/ends: March 5/March 24

Practice priorities: The Warhawks must come up with some key replacements on defense if they want to live up to the big things that some predicted for them in 2011-when they failed to do so. The offense could use some polishing, especially in the running game.

Quote To Note: Overall this group looks like Division I athletes when they walk into the room."-Coach Todd Berry, on ULM's signing class.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

Key Losses: The loss of DEs Ken Dorsey and Troy Evans leaves a big gap up front on defense, and there are two key spots that must filled in the secondary with the losses of Darius Prelow and Tim Taylor. C Ryan McCaul is the key departure on offense.

Players To Watch In 2012:

QB Kolton Browning-Browning won the starting job in the spring of 2010 and hasn't let go. In just two years, Browning has moved into sixth place in the ULM record book for passing yardage (5,035) and should reach No. 3 on the list (Raymond Philyaw with 7,061) with his usual production in 2012.

RB Centarius Donald-Donald rushed for 414 yards, posting two games over the 100-yard mark, before his season was cut to seven games because of a leg injury in 2010. He rushed for 414 yards in seven games with two games over the 100-yard mark.

RB Jyruss Edwards-Edwards had to contend with nagging injuries all seasson, but led the Warhawks in rushing with 667 yards. He also had 31 receptions.

NT Kentarius Caldwell-He can get into an opponent's backfield almost at will. About one in every five of his tackles in 2011 resulted in a loss for an opposing ball carrier.

Player Notes

DE Ken Dorsey was one of three ULM players to be named to the All-Louisiana Football Team as selected by members of the Louisiana Sports Writers Association. He was a first-team selection. DB Darius Prelow and QB Kolton Browning were second-team picks.




 

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