ULM Starts The New Season
Warhawks’ Beginning Of The 2017 Season
As a fan of ULM, I can say that the Warhawks’ beginning of the 2017 season is one of their best. the won their first three conference games, including the powerhouse Appalachian State, before falling in Sun Belt contests the team then went ahead to wrap up the 2017 season at 4-8 which may not seem very impressive to many. however, this set the pace for the 2018 season.
If you have been following the ULM like me you would realize that ending the season on 4-8 is a great deal. Before Matt Viator became the head coach of the Warhawks in 2016, they had a disappointing fan base and 2-11 program. In just one season, Viator led the inexperienced team to a record 4-8.
ULM maintained the 4-8 record the following season (2017) which changed the opinion of the fans regarding the team. For me, this sustained success is an indication that the team was undergoing a rebuilding process – and the result was almost in view.
The Offensive Line
The preseason was not a mere hype for the Warhawks. It gave the fans an insight of what to expect from the team this season in terms of tactics and here is what I discovered. At the offensive, ULM has lots of brilliant receivers that are ready to cause severe damage to their opponent.
The man at the center of the offensive quarterback is Caleb Evans who has an all-purpose yard of 3,447 and 30 touchdowns. At the backfield, there are some solid guys who contribute tremendously to the game. The prominent names here are Derrick Gore and Josh Johnson.
Analysis of the Warhawks offensive will not be complete without mentioning the wide receivers RJ Turner and Marcus Green. The only guy that is missing for the offensive line is Brian Williams
RJ Turner and Marcus Green are undoubtedly the most talented guys in the Sun Belt Conference. As a terrific thrower, Caleb Evans has a handful to work with. It was also sad to learn that Frank Sutton will not be returning to the team in the 2018 season.
The Defensive Line
Defensively, the Warhawks still has a lot to do. Looking at the 2017 season, one thing was clear, the Warhawks had the highest-scoring offensive in the league but still ended 4-8. It is easy to push the blame to the defense.
I am optimistic that the 2018 season will be different considering the fact that the team returned 8 starters and brought back twelve of its fifteen top tacklers. Again, it is the third year of the staff tenure and from records, it’s about the time it takes the staff and players to blend.
Again, I believe some of the woes the team suffered in the defensive line in the 2017 season were as a result of injuries sustained by the big guns. Going into the 2018 season, the injured players will return. In addition, head coach Matt Viator and Mike Collins, the defensive coordinator have done a good job in recruiting defensive backs.
Warhawks Unlikely Motivations
At the start of the 2018 season, there were rumors that Marcus Green would be leaving the team. Green has been brilliant on the field with catches for touchdowns or legging out long kickoffs. Speaking to ULMWarhawks.com, Green made it clear that his future was committed to the Warhawks. This made the head coach Matt Viator happy shortly after the end of the 2017 season. His stay did not just make the coach happy; it also served as a motivation for the team’s offensive line.
Another unlikely motivation that the team got was the announcement of Dough Pederson as the honorary team captain. Having such a big name that has played for the team come to cheer the players was an unlikely source of motivation. Pederson’s presence is largely believed to have inspired the players to the win against USM.
Every athlete must admit that a large audience plays a significant role in motivation. Recently, the head coach of the Warhawks, Viator was seen in a pep rally encouraging the students to come and watch the games. I expect to see a fuller stadium in subsequent games. This should further spur the Warhawks to victory.