The tenth season of Sun Belt Conference football kicks off
on Saturday with a trip to Jonesboro, Ark. to square off against the Red Wolves
of Arkansas State. Last season, the Warhawk defense made a series of late stops
to preserve a 16-10, rain soaked win in Malone Stadium.
"I think this conference has a tremendous amount of parity,
in both an athletic stand point and a coaching stand point," first year Head
Todd Berry said. "All the football teams in our conference are going to be
Although their record may not indicate it, the Red Wolves
are a solid football team ready to haul in their first victory of the season.
The game will be an uphill battle for ULM. The home team
has won the last five straight games, and the Warhawks have not left ASU
victorious since 2001. In addition to history not being on their side, the
Warhawks will again have to battle with young personnel. In last weeks season
opener a total of nine true freshmen and 15 others got their first start.
Offensively ASU is led by sophomore quarterback
Ryan Aplin. Aplin set a new school record last week in a loss to
Louisiana-Lafayette. Entering the fourth quarter, the Red Wolves trailed 31-7.
Aplin would go on an offensive tear as he ended the game with 453 yards in the
31-24 loss. The passing total is the most by any FBS quarterback this season.
"The scouting that we've done on these guys, we've had to
throw out the window, as they've made some adjustments, and that's good for
them, that's the mark of a good coach," Berry said. "I think their quarterback
has done a good job managing the game, he distributes the ball really well and
they have the same spread mentality."
Aplin's favorite target,
Dwayne Frampton, is not a secret to the ULM coaching staff. The JUCO
transfer currently leads the team in receptions with 13, and set a new career
best last week against the Cajuns.
"They are going to try to get him the ball," Berry said.
"He moves around real well, and he's a good little player that can create some
explosive plays for them."
Defensively, senior defensive end Bryan Hall anchors their
attack. Hall, the preseason Sun Belt Conference defensive player of the year,
has the full attention of redshirt freshman
"They are pretty well coached upfront," Browning said.
"They are pretty aggressive and run some stunts upfront, and are kind of similar
to Arkansas to me. I think our o-line can handle them though and we'll be
Kickoff for the televised game is scheduled for 7pm on the
Sun Belt Network.