The biggest surprise coming out of the spring at ULM was at quarterback, where redshirt freshman Kolton Browning wound up No. 1 on the depth chart ahead of returning starter Troy Revell.
"This is pretty much a quarterback-driven offense, and it puts a tremendous amount of pressure on those guys intellectually in what we are asking the quarterback to do in relation to what they have done in the past," said coach Todd Berry, who brought his spread philosophy from UNLV when was named in December to replace Charlie Weatherbie.
"I have coached quarterbacks in the past, and I know this group will come around. They have made huge strides mentally, and we have to continue to close that gap mentally, because most of our mistakes are not physical. They are mental."
Revell started 10 games as a junior last year, completing 57.6 percent of his passes in throwing for 1,739 yards despite missing two games with injuries. He also netted 354 rushing yards, second-most on the team.
He is one of six returning starters on offense for the Warhawks, who are coming off a 6-6 season (5-3 Sun Belt).
Among them are running back Frank Goodin, who rushed for 1,126 yards last season. The top receiver returning is junior Luther Ambrose, who had 34 catches for 455 yards in 2009.
While the situation on offense is promising, the Warhawks have some rebuilding to do on a defense that ranked second in the Sun Belt, holding foes to 347 yards a game.
They welcome back only four defensive starters, but Berry has confidence in the unit.
"When everybody is out there, I think this defense will be very good," he said. "It is a fast defense, and they are comfortable within the scheme."NOTES, QUOTES
-- The Warhawks are hoping for a repeat season from senior RB Frank Goodin. He became the 10th player to top the 1,000-yard rushing mark for ULM when he totaled 1,126 yards last season. His 93.8 average per game ranked third in the Sun Belt, and his 13 rushing touchdowns were one shy of the school record.
-- The Warhawks may return only four defensive starters, but two of them could contend for all-conference honors. Senior LB Theo Smith finished sixth on the team in tackles (57) and had an interception in his first year as a starter in 2009. Junior DE Troy Evans was fifth in the conference in sacks with 6.5.
QB Kolton Browning -- Browning figured to be competing for a backup role behind returning starter Troy Revell when the spring began, but the redshirt freshman emerged as the No. 1 guy heading into fall camp.
C Ryan McCaul -- The junior college prospect who transferred at midterm established himself as the starter in the middle of the offensive line. His play eases coaches' concerns about the position heading into the season.
RG Andrew Stout -- Stout is the only senior among the interior linemen and can play center as well as guard. He is listed No. 1 on the depth chart after playing a reserve role the last three years.
DE Ken Dorsey -- After playing a backup role the last two years, Dorsey moved into the spot occupied by all-Sun Belt performer Aaron Morgan, who had nine sacks last year. ?
QUOTE TO NOTE: "You could throw them in a sack and pick one out and you would be OK." -- Coach Todd Berry, on the situation at quarterback with senior Troy Revell, redshirt freshman Kolton Browning, and sophomore Cody Wells.STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
2010 OUTLOOK: The Warhawks look to press the issue offensively, but improving on last year's 5-3 conference finish could be settled by the defense. They face two SEC opponents in their first four games against Arkansas and Auburn and later play a third when they travel to LSU in November.
SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: First-year coach Todd Berry has had success putting out productive offenses, including a stint as offensive coordinator at ULM back in 2004-05. He already has shaken things up by naming redshirt freshman QB Kolton Browning No. 1 ahead of incumbent starter Trey Revell. The Warhawks return a 1,000-yard rusher in RB Frank Goodin, but will be looking for receiving help. ULM is hoping newcomers provide depth up front.
SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: Personnel losses on defense include first-team all-Sun Belt performers DE Aaron Morgan, LB Cardia Jackson, and FS Greg James and second-teamer James Truxillo. Junior DE Troy Evans had six sacks among his 32 stops in returning at the end on the other side of Morgan. The other returning starters are LB Theo Smith, CB Nate Brown (two interceptions), and SS Darius Prelow. Prelow had 62 tackles and broke up a dozen passes.
SCOUTING THE SPECIAL TEAMS: Junior PK Radi Jabour was only 12-of-20 on field goals last season but had an encouraging spring. Redshirt freshman Thomas Giddens will take over punting duties. Luther Ambrose averaged nearly 22 yards on 38 kickoff returns last year, but the Warhawks are looking to a redshirt freshman, Tavarese Maye, to run back punts.
-- LG Jonathan Gill had offseason shoulder surgery that cost him time in the spring, but the sophomore still is listed No. 1 on the depth chart ahead of junior college transfer Jordan Karriman.
-- LT Justin Roberts has moved from the right side, where he was a starter as a sophomore last season.
Previous Report: 02/05/2010