The God has spoken and when the God speaks, you listen-or in this case, you read.
Bill Connelly has never met an FBS school he couldn't write a few hundreds of words about and, thankfully, Arkansas State isn't the first such school. Here, I have my four takeaways from Connelly's guide but because I am a good company man and because Connelly is a God amongst men, I recommend that any and every Red Wolves fan read the guide in its entirety. Go ahead, I'll wait.
Done? Okay, good. I will say that reading this left me with a weird feeling that maybe, just maybe, Bill Connelly is my Red Wolf, but it quickly passed-I remembered he wrote nice things about the Ragin' Cajuns as well.
Expect big things for the 2015 season
... especially on offense! Fredi Knighten used his first year as a starter to lead a unit that finished the season more or less among the FBS's 50 best and the biggest surprise was how effective he was as a passer. We knew Knighten would manage to run the ball, in part because he could lean on Michael Gordon and Johnston White.
After an excellent season, well, just about everyone returns-or, to be more precise, those responsible for 98 percent of the team's rushes and 91 percent of the targets through the air. Let's let the God say it in his own words.
ASU might have the best offensive depth in the Sun Belt, and the talent is spread out beautifully by class. McKissic and Gordon might be tough to replace after 2015 -- Gordon because of his explosiveness, McKissic because of his absurd efficiency -- but the candidates are lining up.
We'll worry about 2016 when we get there, Bill.
The run defense was awful in 2014
... especially at the second level. Now, this is a theme I've harped on over and over, as Marcus Cox, Kareem Hunt, Elijah McGuire and Larry Rose III obliterated A-State on the ground, but Connelly has a wrinkle. The Red Wolves were especially bad at the second level-often, the front seven managed to stop a runner with Chris Stone, Chuks Ota, Xavier Woodson, Qushaun Lee and Ja'Von Rolland-Jones. It's only when that group missed that it spelled trouble for A-State. (Admittedly, this happened more and more often in the second half of the season.)
Please find a kicker
Luke Ferguson and the stud Logan Spry shared placekicking duties and performed relatively bad, combining to make only 11 of 18 field goals while missing eight PATs. Maybe it's because I'm a man of simple taste, but I don't mind the unreliable kicking game because I believe it brings Blake Anderson that much closer to eventually just eschew it altogether from the playbook and always go for it on fourth down.
The home date against Louisiana looms large
Preemptively file this under the "missed opportunities" header but Connelly is aware that the Ragin' Cajuns may be the Red Wolves' kryptonite. Since the 2006 season, A-State has only three wins against Louisiana, prompting me to say that a muy caliente diet doesn't sit well with Red Wolves.
We don't know when the game against the Ragin' Cajuns will be in 2015, but we know that it will be at Centennial Bank Stadium. In 2014, the sad run odyssey in Lafayette started the team's descent into the abyss, let's make sure our howl doesn't fall flat in 2015.