College Football News Preview 2021: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the ULM season with what you need to know.
– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
– Top Players | Keys To The Season
– What Will Happen, Win Total Prediction
– ULM Schedule Analysis
– ULM Warhawks Previews
2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015
ULM Warhawks College Football Preview 2021: Offense
– You could see it coming. The ULM offense lost star QB Caleb Evans, it was a total rebuild, and the O really, really didn’t work. Enter new head coach Terry Bowden and offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez to make it all go again … with a TON of help coming from the transfer portal.
Don’t get comfortable with any sort of depth chart – it’s all a work in progress as the coaching staff keeps looking for more help and more talent.
– No position in more in flux than quarterback. 6-4, 245-pound Colby Suits led the team in passing last year, but he’s not much of a runner. He was in the transfer portal, but he appears to be staying for now. 6-3, 230-pound Jeremy Hunt is another big passing option, but Arizona transfer – and Rich’s son – Rhett Rodriguez is the best fit for the gig. Dad wants the quarterbacks to be mobile.
Leading rusher Josh Johnson is gone, but 210-pound freshman Kadyn Roach is back after finishing second on the team with just 112 yards and a score. This is a work in progress – it’s not a deep group.
– Four of the five starting offensive linemen are back. They have good size and there’s experience and versatility to play around with, but the group has to be far better for the running game and has to be far, far better in pass protection.
– The loss of tight end and leading receiver Josh Pederson to the NFL hurts, but the offense has a good playmaking receiver in Perry Carter – he just needs the ball more. The top five wide receivers are back, and more are on the way through the transfer portal.
NEXT: ULM Warhawks College Football Preview 2021: Defense
4. ULM Warhawks College Football Preview 2021: Defense
– Defensive coordinator Zac Alley has a whole lot of work to do. ULM allowed 465 yards and 42 points per game, and like the offensive side, the transfer portal is very, very active, especially for the secondary that came up with just three of the team’s four picks.
Five defensive backs are in the portal, but the defense gets a good corner option in Adam Sparks from Missouri to go along with veteran Josh Newton. The safeties are a bit deeper with second-leading tackler Austin Hawley back for his super-senior season and Jabari Johnson and Tyler Glass returning after combining for 110 tackles.
– The defensive line needs guys. There aren’t big thumpers on the interior and the pass rush her to show up on the outside. It starts with needing to find tackles, hurt by the loss of starter Kevin Pointer to Wake Forest and nose Mason Husmann done. The end situation is stronger with Seth Mason and Ty Shelby back, but more disruptive forces have to emerge.
– Getting safety-sized linebacker Traveion Webster back is a big deal. He led the team in tackles and was one of the team’s freshman playmakers in the backfield. Getting Jacquez Williams from Wake Forest helps and KeyShawn Johnson is a quick, active tackler for one spot.
NEXT: ULM Warhawks College Football Preview 2021: Top Players
ULM Warhawks College Football Preview 2021: Top Players
Best ULM Warhawks Offensive Player
WR Perry Carter, Jr.
He has yet to breakout and come up with huge numbers, but the 5-9, 177-pound veteran should shine in the new attack – now he needs the ball in his hands more. He was the team’s top wide receiver with 22 catches for 312 yards and two scores, but he can make more big plays averaging over 20 yards per grab in 2019.
2. OT Evan Henry, Fr.
3. QB Rhett Rodriguez, Jr.
4. WR Jahquan Bloomfield, Soph.
5. C Garrett Hirsch, Sr.
Best ULM Warhawks Defensive Player
LB Traveion Webster, Sr.
He’s only 6-0 and 211 pounds, but he can hit. The active veteran on the weakside led the team with 82 tackles last season as he grew into his bigger role in his fourth year in the mix. The super-senior has 148 tackles with 3.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss, and now he’ll be turned loose even more on the outside.
2. S Austin Hawley, Sr.
3. S Jabari Johnson, Soph.
4. DE Ty Shelby, Sr.
5. LB KeyShawn Johnson, Soph.
Top Incoming ULM Warhawks Transfer
QB Rhett Rodriguez, Jr.
The ULM quarterback situation is hardly settled with a few veteran options who got in plenty of work last year, but the big bombers in place don’t fit what new offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez wants to do. His son, Rhett, does. Rhett didn’t get a whole lot of work at Arizona, and he needs to be far, far more accurate when he gets his chances, but he brings an option who fits the attack.
NEXT: ULM Warhawks College Football Preview 2021: Keys To The Season
ULM Warhawks College Football Preview 2021: Keys To The Season
ULM Warhawks Biggest Key: Offense
Get the running game going – and it will. That’s not going to be a problem under Rich Rodriguez – he knows how to get his runners in space to work. Now he needs the backs in place to make it all go, and he needs the quarterback – if it’s not his son, Rhett – who can make big things happen in the clear.
Last year, the Warhawks averaged just three yards per carry and failed to hit 100 yards until the final two games. Even then, the O’s season-high was just 125 yards. The 2019 team hit 100 yards in every game but one and 200 or more eight times.
ULM Warhawks Biggest Key: Defense
Generate a third down stop. The Warhawks were among the worst in the nation at getting the D off the field, allowing teams to convert 42% of their chances with offense after offense going on long scoring marches.
The secondary has to come up with more big stops, pick off more passes, and be far stronger at keeping quarterbacks from taking target practice.
ULM Warhawks Key Player To A Successful Season
PK Calum Sutherland, Sr.
Okay, okay, okay, so the 0-10 team has a whole lot of concerns besides just kicker, but this matters.
The Warhawks struggled with their kicking game, hitting 2-of-5 field goal tries. But it wasn’t just last year – ULM has been awful here for the last few seasons. Enter Sutherland, who came in from Oklahoma and hit just about everything in offseason practices.
Now ULM needs games to be close enough for Sutherland to matter.
ULM Warhawks Key Game To The 2021 Season
Troy, Sept. 25
Just how quickly can everything work? ULM will lose at Kentucky to start things out, and they’ll get a week off to reboot to get ready for Deion Sanders and his Jackson State team. Then the Sun Belt season starts, and it’s a must win against Troy with Coastal Carolina, Georgia State and Liberty to follow. ULM has lost the last two against Troy with the last win coming back in 2014.
2020 ULM Warhawks Fun Stats
– 1st Quarter Scoring: Opponents 143 – ULM 38
– 3rd Down Conversions: Opponents 81-of-142 (57%) – ULM 34-of-133 (26%)
– Field Goals: Opponents 10-of-13 – ULM 2-of-5
NEXT: ULM Warhawks College Football Preview 2021: What Will Happen, Season Prediction
ULM Warhawks College Football Preview 2021: What Will Happen, Season Prediction
Terry Bowden is a terrific head coach who was able to get Akron to the MAC Championship and should be able to turn this around … eventually.
Rich Rodriguez is a terrific offensive coordinator who should get the offense rolling and make it more dangerous … eventually.
There’s a chance, though, that ULM bounces back in a bit of a hurry after going 0-10 in a total rebuild of a campaign, but the program hasn’t come up with a winning season since 2012.
At the very least, the Warhawks will be more interesting.
Set The ULM Warhawks Regular Season Win Total At … 3
The schedule isn’t all that forgiving in an improved Sun Belt. Jackson State is the only non-conference game the team should win – LSU and Kentucky are the others – and it’s tough to find any Sun Belt games that ULM won’t be the underdog.
Maybe against South Alabama at home, and possible against Troy or at Texas State, but it’s going to be a fight.
The new coaching staff will work well enough with the transfer portal and the existing parts to pull off at least two wins, but it’s going to take something special to get into the five-win range.