(Editor's note: With the offseason in full gear, BH will be providing previews of OU's 2013 opponents. We'll go in chronological order, starting with the Sooners' season opener over Labor Day weekend, the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks.)
In their first three games of 2012, the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks stunned Arkansas, 34-31, in overtime, lost to Auburn, 31-28, in overtime and nearly toppled Baylor. ULM tied for second in the Sun Belt Conference and finished the season with a 9-4 mark. The Warhawks were blown out by Ohio, 45-14, in the New Orleans Bowl.
Todd Berry, coach of the year in the Sun Belt Conference last year, begins his fourth year at ULM carrying an 18-19 overall record into 2013.
Berry will have eight returnees on offense, needing to replace a wide receiver, tight end and right guard. Senior quarterback Kolton Browning (6-1, 203), the Sun Belt’s player of the year returns. He completed 63.8 percent of his passes last year for 3,049 yards with 29 TDs and 10 INTs. He will not have his leading receiver (Brent Leonard) next year, but the next four behind him will be back. They combined for 167 receptions for 2,092 yards and 14 TDs.
Jyruss Edwards (5-11, 198, Sr.) ULM's leading running back missed the final five games of the 2012 season with an injury. He carried the ball 99 times for 446 yards and 6 TDs. Senior Monterell Washington (5-10, 206) filled in and picked up 354 yards on 81 carries with 6 TDs.
Center Josh Allen (6-3, 315) returns to anchor the front line. He was named to the Sun Belt’s second team all-conference in ’12.
Louisiana-Monroe – 2012 Statistics
|Offense (Nat'l. Rank)||Defense (Nat'l. Rank)|
|33.8 (32nd)||Scoring (PPG)||29.2 (72nd)|
|142.1 (85th)||Rushing (YPG)||142.2 (39th)|
|290.7 (27th)||Passing (YPG)||276.5 (108th)|
|432.8 (42nd)||Total (YPG)||418.8 (78th)|
The Warhawks run a 3-3-5 defensive alignment and will return nine starters from a year ago. The front line will be anchored by senior nose tackle Kentarius Caldwell (6-2, 273), who missed the final eight games last year with a knee injury.
ULM will be looking to replace two linebackers who have graduated. Junior Ray Stovall (6-2, 232) of Tulsa Washington is the lone returnee. He was fifth on the team with 63 tackles last year, including 13.5 behind the line of scrimmage. He had 3 sacks and 4 quarterback hurries.
Safety Isaiah Newson (5-11, 191, Sr.) will lead a secondary that returns all of its players. Chosen to the Sun Belt’s second team in 2012, he made 57 tackles last year with 4 INTs and 9 passes broken up. Overall, the secondary made 205 tackles, intercepted 9 passes and broke up 43 more.
Special teams will see the return of junior kicker Justin Manton (6-2, 190), who will again punt and placekick. He averaged 39.8 yards per punt last year, made 57 of 58 PATs and 5 of 9 field goal attempts with the longest at 47 yards.
Sophomore Cortney Davis (5-9, 181), the top kickoff return specialist, will continue the duty this year. He averaged 22 yards on 34 returns but didn’t find the end zone. The Warhawks will seek a new punt return specialist as that job was Leonard’s also.