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How do you guys think y'all will do this upcoming season? Who are the big studs we might need to look at for? Can't wait till the last week of the regular season!! Time for a little revenge!! :D
Hey, ULM is going to get its arse kicked by stAte this year :D
Cajunman02 Wrote:How do you guys think y'all will do this upcoming season? Who are the big studs we might need to look at for? Can't wait till the last week of the regular season!! Time for a little revenge!! :D
Here is a link to their preview over on the CollegeFootballnews.com website

<a href='http://www.collegefootballnews.com/sun_belt/2004_Previews/UL_Monroe_Preview.htm' target='_blank'>LINK</a>

of course we all know they are not the most reliable source :rolleyes:
I really look forward to the game against ASU. Hopefully we can play an entire game and not just the first half. The last 2 games have reminded me somewhat of the Florida St/Miami wide right games.
Yeah, our schools had some good football games in the past and will have some good games in the future as well. It is a good regional matchup!

ULM's so-so Sunny forecast
Paul Letlow

July 20, 2004

NEW ORLEANS - Louisiana-Monroe safety Chris Harris saw the All-Sun Belt Conference preseason football team on Monday and took it as a sign that things are looking up for the Indians.

Harris was one of four ULM players named to the preseason team, which was announced in conjunction with Sun Belt Football Media Days. ULM senior offensive tackle Bruce Hampton, junior punter Joel Stelly and junior return specialist Charles Estes were also voted to the team by the league's head coaches, sports information directors and media.

"That speaks a lot about the talent we have on this team," Harris said. "I understand that we went 1-11 last year but that doesn't speak of the talent that we have. We could have easily been 8-4 if we turned a couple of plays around. We lost seven games by seven points or less."

Coming off a 1-5 Sun Belt finish in 2003, the Indians were picked eighth in the nine-team conference. However, ULM was one of four teams to collect a first-place vote. Second-year coach Charlie Weatherbie said with a revamped coaching staff and 23 seniors returning this season, the Indians could surprise.

"We think we've got some real fine football players," Weatherbie said. "It's going to come down to doing the little things right - making sure we win the turnover battle, which we did not do last year."

Only North Texas, the runaway choice to win the Sun Belt title for a fourth consecutive year, had more All-Sun Belt picks than ULM with eight. League newcomer Troy State, picked second behind North Texas, also had four players on the preseason team.

"I feel like the gap is closing," Harris said. "This past year we played (North Texas) tough and it came down to one or two plays and we should have won that ballgame. We ended up losing 28-26."

North Texas collected 15 first-place votes of confidence to win the league again. The Mean Green will bring the nation's longest conference winning streak into the 2004 season at 18. ULM, which knocked off North Texas in 2001 at Malone Stadium, is the only team to have beaten the Mean Green in Sun Belt play.

North Texas running back Patrick Cobbs, who led the nation in rushing last year at 152.7 yards per game, is the Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. Teammate Adrian Awasom, a senior defensive end who had 44 tackles and four sacks last year, is the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

Harris, Stelly and Estes made the All-Sun Belt first team at the end of the 2003 season while Hampton was a second-team pick. Harris was a second-team All-Sun Belt selection after the 2002 season.

A four-year starter, Harris goes into his senior season ranked ninth in ULM history with 287 tackles. Last season he ranked fourth in the Sun Belt with four interceptions and seventh in the conference with 86 tackles.

Hampton is set to start for his third straight year at left tackle for the Indians. He won or shared three "Warrior" awards on the team last year for outstanding play.

Stelly finished third nationally among punters with an average of 46.3 yards per kick while setting a school record for the season.

Estes led the Sun Belt in kickoff and punt returns in his junior season. His 27.4 average ranked ninth nationally while his punt average was 7.4 yards per return.

"We have as much talent as anybody in the Sun Belt Conference," Harris said. "I feel real confident going into this season."
Indians lose some players, could regain others as off-season ends
Paul Letlow

July 20, 2004

NEW ORLEANS - There's good news and bad news to report as the Louisiana-Monroe football roster takes shape for the 2004 season.

ULM coach Charlie Weatherbie said Monday at the Sun Belt Conference Media Days that senior wide receiver Floyd Smith, once thought to be an academic casualty, now has a chance to gain his eligibility after a summer of diligence in the classroom.

"He's got to graduate by the end of the summer to get his fourth year because he was a prop coming out of high school," Weatherbie said. "He's got a chance of being eligible. We'll just have to wait and see."

Smith, a versatile threat on trick plays for the Indians, ranked third on the team in receiving last year with 37 catches for 403 yards. Smith did not participate in spring football practice.

The NCAA has granted senior offensive tackle Josh Wade a sixth year of eligibility. Wade missed last season after he suffered a head injury in an act of random violence that occurred last summer. Wade, a 6-5, 276-pounder with experience at guard and tackle, needed to shore up his academic status this summer to return to the field.

"He's got to get a B in one of the courses he's taking this summer," Weatherbie said. "He's very capable of doing that."

Already stacked at running back with Kevin Payne and Jason Schule competing for a starting job, the ULM backfield pool should be a little deeper with the addition of tailback Mason Denham. After rushing for more than 700 yards and 11 touchdowns at Hinds Community College in 2002, Denham signed with ULM but was not eligible to play last season. He enrolled at ULM and has been in school for a year.

"We haven't seen him except for his junior-college video," Weatherbie said. "But he has great quickness and great lateral movement. I think he'll give us a different look in there."

The Indians did take a few hits over the summer: Senior defensive tackle LeKeith Robinson and redshirt freshman safety Louis Thomas both left the team for personal reasons.

"Hey, if they don't want to be on the football team, they need to move on," Weatherbie said. "We need guys who it means something to be out there and bringing a program back to life."

Robinson was listed as the starting nose tackle at the end of spring practice. A former linebacker, he made 34 tackles in 12 games last year. Thomas is a product of Shaw High School who redshirted last season. Thomas was expected to play as a backup in the secondary.

West Monroe product D.J. Ernst, who battled back problems in high school and had surgery last year in an effort to play for ULM, is no longer on the team. Ernst was unable to recover sufficiently to gain medical clearance to compete.

ULM also lost junior college defensive tackle Thomas Chambliss and offensive tackle Rene Encarnacion to academics.

"We oversigned because we knew there would be some casualties," Weatherbie said. "But you hate to lose the offensive and defensive linemen. That's a key area for us. But you move on and find somebody else."

Both Chambliss and Encarnacion, products of Pasadena (Calif.) Junior College, were expected to add experienced depth up front.

"Junior college players have a little more maturity but they still have to learn what you are doing," Weatherbie said. "I think there are some freshmen we are bringing in that are mature."

Offensive lineman Adam Hill, an incoming freshman from Lamar High School in Arlington, Texas, and defensive lineman Kyle Cunningham - a product of Oklahoma City who was enrolled at a prep school last year - could see early action, Weatherbie said.

"They're young guys who are a little more physically and mentally mature than most freshmen," Weatherbie said.

SUN BELT ON TV: ULM is set to appear on television once in 2004 in an Oct. 30 game at North Texas that will be carried by ESPN Regional Network.

The Sun Belt will gain more high-profile exposure with two regular-season games broadcast nationally on ESPN2 and at least seven on ESPN Regional. In addition, the Wyndham New Orleans Bowl has moved from ESPN2 to ESPN.

"Each year, our ESPN and ESPN Regional television package gets more and more exciting," Sun Belt commissioner Wright Waters said. "The great friendship we have with ESPN gives us the best chance to showcase the league throughout the country. It also makes a huge impact on recruiting and gives our institutions a better chance to get the highest quality student-athletes."

On Thursday, Sept. 9, Missouri will visit new Sun Belt member Troy State at Movie Gallery Stadium in Troy, Ala. On Friday, Nov. 5 at 9 p.m., North Texas will travel to face Louisiana-Lafayette. ESPN2 will carry both games.

The 2004 Wyndham New Orleans Bowl will again kick off the bowl season on December 14th. The game features the Sun Belt champion against a representative of Conference USA in the Louisiana Superdome.

ARROWHEADS: The Indians' full squad will report for fall practice on Aug. 5. The first practice is Aug 6. ULM will conduct a preseason scrimmage in Shreveport at the Independence Bowl on Aug. 21. ... ULM will have 23 seniors this season. ... The team will wear new Nike uniforms with maroon helmets this season. Weatherbie said ULM plans to unveil the new look and all its combinations to the media in the next week or so.
Front and center
Depth is a question, but Indians have confidence in offensive line

The big guys on offense are the big question marks for the Louisiana-Monroe football team this season.
But even after losing three starters up front, the ULM offensive line won't necessarily be the weak link.

The Indians, who report for fall camp on Thursday, return a pair of solid blockers in left tackle Bruce Hampton and center Hayden Wadsworth. Both enter their third years as first-teamers.

"I understand where everybody thinks there's a big issue there," said new ULM offensive line coach Steve Farmer, who coached at Eastern Michigan last year. "But we've got two seniors that are big-time leaders in Hayden Wadsworth and Bruce Hampton. Not only do you have vocal leaders but guys who do things right on and off the field."

Farmer said Hampton - a preseason All-Sun Belt selection - is on pace to graduate in August while Wadsworth should finish school in December. It's a pattern of leadership that he hopes will rub off on ULM's younger players."You've got kids doing things right," Farmer said.

Hampton, a former walk-on from New Iberia, said he learned his trade from veterans in the past. He knows the value of mentoring."If I can do it, they can do it," Hampton said. "I learned from (former ULM linemen) Roderick Daniels and Larry Pink. They showed me to work hard and do the best that I can. If you give 100 percent, you can't go wrong."

In an offense that returns veteran quarterback Steven Jyles and appears loaded at the skill positions, the development of the offensive line could make or break this season. The Indians begin practice on Friday intent on turning things around after a 1-11 finish in 2003."

There will be some growing pains right away," Farmer said. "But the good thing is we've got a great quarterback, great running backs, a great group of wide receivers and solid tight ends. When you've got that, it's hard to take advantage of the offensive line being a little bit green. Hopefully we can take advantage of spreading the ball around to hide some of those experience deficiencies."

Back to those question marks - there's a youth movement afoot that will push a herd of freshmen onto the field."You hate to play with inexperience," ULM coach Charlie Weatherbie said. "But how does inexperience gain experience?"

The preseason depth chart lists redshirt freshmen Brent Gregston (6-3, 290) and Joseph Joseph (6-3, 275) as the starters at both guard spots. "

That's the scary part," Farmer said. "You just hope having spring ball and having last year's practices, then this fall camp coming up that they'll grow up."

Joseph, a product of Nimitz High School in Houston, came out of spring practice as the starter at left guard. He had the third-best bench press among the offensive linemen in the spring at 370 pounds.

Gregston is a former honor student from Center (Texas) High where he played football, baseball and was a member of the powerlifting team. Right tackle Alandee Brown was a top reserve as a junior college transfer last year. The 6-7, 301-pounder has reportedly made remarkable progress this summer in the weight room. He's expected to be a starter.
"I think his bench press has improved 50 pounds or more since January," Farmer said. "That's unheard of."

The Indians caught a break when the NCAA granted senior tackle Josh Wade a sixth year of eligibility. Wade, who owns experience at guard and tackle, missed last season after suffering a non-football injury.

Joey Zimmer, a sophomore with no game experience, is listed as a top backup at guard. Incoming freshmen offensive linemen Adam Hill, Tyler Dool and Patrick Avinger will almost certainly play right away.

"Ideally, you'd redshirt them," Farmer said. "But this will pay dividends. Instead of sending them to the scout team where I never see them, I get to work with those kids.
"When it all shakes out," Farmer said, "I think this will be a good group."

ULM loses Mitchell to academics
One Louisiana-Monroe prospect who is not expected to report this week is defensive tackle Josh Mitchell, a signee from Catholic-New Iberia.ULM coach Charlie Weatherbie said that Mitchell did not qualify academically."He's going to probably end up being ineligible this year," Weatherbie said. "So what we'll end up doing is try to get him some hours and get him hooked up here next fall, hopefully." Mitchell (6-3, 300) was a first-team Louisiana Coaches Association all-state selection as well as all-district and All-Acadiana. His high school team went 19-5 the last two seasons.As previously reported by The News-Star, ULM also lost junior college defensive tackle Thomas Chambliss and offensive tackle Rene Encarnacion to academics. Both Chambliss and Encarnacion, products of Pasadena (Calif.) Junior College, were expected to add experienced depth to the defensive and offensive lines.Additionally, senior defensive tackle LeKeith Robinson and redshirt freshman safety Louis Thomas both left the team over the summer for personal reasons.West Monroe product D.J. Ernst, who battled back problems in high school and had surgery last year in an effort to play for ULM, is no longer on the team. Ernst was unable to recover sufficiently to gain medical clearance to compete.

The News-Star
August 2, 2004
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