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  1. #1
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    Way too early Predictions for 2019 Season


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    I know it is only the beginning of March, but I am still energized (and upset for getting snubbed) about last years team! We have a lot of talent coming back this year to make a push for the third FCS playoff appearance in ISU history. I will giving my input and predictions for the upcoming season, as well as who I expect to make contributions. I apologize for the long article, but I hope everyone enjoys it! Roll Trees!

    Season Prediction: 11-1. I can see our team winning every FCS game and I have Kansas being a toss up game. I believe that we can beat Kansas, however our defensive depth is my concern. I believe we will bring the first MVC football championship to Terre Haute, and find ourselves in the FCS playoffs.

    Offense:
    On offense we have 9 starters coming back, including MVFC Newcomer of the Year, QB Ryan Boyle. Boyle was without a doubt a breath of fresh air in Terre Haute last season when he made his first start vs. EIU in a shootout victory. Losing Keys and Covington hurts, but not as bad as one might think. Titus McCoy is going to be in his third season with the Sycamores and is taking a leadership role as being the most experienced player in the RB room. Joining McCoy is University of Toledo transfer, Nick Sims. Sims is a very explosive back, similar to Keys, but with better speed (4.38 40) and a bigger ceiling. True sophomore Chris Childers will be looking to push for some playing time this season as well. Childers is physically impressive (6'0, 220) and is starting to learn the offense a little better. Peterson Kerlegrand will also be looking to get reps this Spring after an impressive 100+yd performance last year in the season finale vs. WIU. I look at this group of running backs as a nice compliment to one another, Sims and Childers are able to run between the tackles, and McCoy can torch you on the edge. At the wide receiver spot the Sycamores are LOADED! All of the receiving corps is returning this year including freshman All-Americans Dante Hendrix and Dakota Caton (Ret.). Team captain Michael Thomas returns this season after playing injured through the first four games last year and then opting to get surgery. Due to the new NCAA redshirt rule, Thomas was able to use last season as a redshirt. Joe Wildt and Dante Jones are the two older guys in this position that came on late last year due to injuries. Rontrez Morgan is coming back from a wrist injury that was suffered in the overtime loss to #3 South Dakota State last year, despite catching two touchdowns. Morgan appeared later in the season against Western Illinois, but had very little impact. Daijon Collins is also coming back from and injury. Collins has explosive speed and a quick change of direction that will make him a nightmare in the open field for defenses. A key guy in the receiving corps that you need to keep your eyes on is redshirt freshman Matae Thomas. The younger brother of fellow receiver Michael Thomas, Matae is in impressive 6'5 225lbs target that the Sycamores plan to utilize in the redzone, and in some packages at tight end. The tight end position has returning starters Zack Larkin and Tynan Williams. Larkin is the true number one tight end and more of a receiving target, while Williams comes in for the two tight end personnel plays and is a great blocker. On the offensive line there are four returning starters with the only position not returning is the left tackle spot. As of right now I have Mason Flechler penciled in as the starter. Flechler was a starter two years ago before University of Kentucky graduate transfer Tate Leavitt came to ISU. Flechler played sparingly last year as a fullback/tight end in heavy packages, but has the ability to play tackle. Wyatt Wozniak and Isaiah Edwards earned All-MVC honors following last season, and are joined by three year starter James Lang, and Kevin Kcehowski.

    Defense:
    On defense there are four returning starters. The defense is lead by senior All-American middle linebacker Jonas Griffith. Along side Griffith is senior Clayton Glasco and junior Matt Thompson as the outside linebackers. Glasco is in his second year at ISU after transferring from Monroe College in NY. Glasco got playing time last year, but is expected to have a heavier load coming into his senior campaign. Matt Thompson is a transfer from division two St. Joseph's college. Thompson has had a key role in special teams and is expected to be a playmaker in the linebacking corps. In my opinion, the linebacker spot in the most solid group on the defense, led by defensive coordinator, Brad Wilson. The defensive line does get DE Inoke Moala back this year after losing him early in the 2018 season. Along side Moala is another DE Cade Peratt who appeared in many games last season and got meaningful playing time towards the end of the season. Kris Reid Jr. is also a name you need to look out for this year at the defensive end position. Reid was an all state track athlete in high school, I expect him to utilize his speed and get to the quarterback a couple times. Two huge JuCo transfers coming to the defensive line are DE Isaac Fotu (Snow College, UT), and Alton Nobles (Monroe College, NY). Fotu complements the other defensive ends very well and will be used as a pass rush specialist with a high motor and great work ethic. Nobles plays DT and I could see him as a true one-technique. Nobles plays with great explosiveness and pad level that makes him a force in the middle. Nobles presence needs to be immediate with the departure of last years defensive tackles Rex Mosely and Pishon Powell. Helping in the rotation at DT is Kaleb Brewer. Brewer had glimpses of greatness last season, and looks to build on his performance las year. I expect Brewer and Nobles to anchor the defensive and let the linebackers roam. At the cornerback position Dwayne Thompson II and Kaelub Newman are my projected starters. Thompson II started a couple games last year as a true freshman and was a solid piece to the defensive unit. Newman came into last year after transferring from the College of Dupage (IL) two years ago. Newman provided depth last year and make a couple of really good plays in his first start at EIU. Mekhi Ware looks to bounce back in 2019 after missing all of 2018 with an undisclosed injury. Ware, a highly touted recruit in 2017 and started as a freshman in 2017 is excited to get back on the field and make an immediate impact and a position that the Sycamores lack depth at. Rounding out the cornerback position are two former receivers in C.J. Rutherford and Isaiah Bryant. At the safety position Denzel Bonner is the lone returning starter at safety. Bonner had a huge impact last year in his first season with ISU. Alongside Bonner I have Tyreeon Hambright starting as well this season. Hambright played last year in a couple games and had a huge interception late in the game against SIU. Nehemiah Montague is another player that could find himself working into the rotation at safety. Montague was a corner last season and will continue his role as a special teams captain.

    Special Teams:
    Jerry Nunez, Travis Reiner, and Wyatt Harwood are all returning starter for the Sycamores. Nunez, who was All-MVC two season ago, looks to build in the offseason after sealing a last second winning field goal vs WIU in last year's finale. As for Reiner and Harwood, I expect much of what we got last year, consistency.

    All in all, I believe that the 2019 Sycamores have the ability to do something special. The coaching staff is tremendous, the incoming recruiting class has a couple of really good looking kids that could get playing time this year, and the team is hungry after getting snubbed from the 2018 FCS playoffs.
    Last edited by ISU FBALL ALUM; 03-07-2019 at 10:48 PM.

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  3. #2
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    Looking forward to the season and your perspective on it! Go Sycamores!!
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  5. #3
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    Just updated the original post, enjoy!

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    Very nicely done. Great read. I am going to see spring practices to see how they go.

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    Good stuff ISU Fball Alum-

    It is way too early, but with Spring practice here, there is decent information out on each team to play predict outcomes.

    I've got Indiana State 10-2 in 2019.

    The offense should be high powered for sure. I'm hopeful that Coaches Switzer and Hastings realize early in the season...like game 1...that will more than likely have to put up some astronomical numbers on offense to win. So, being ultra aggressive and creative on offense will be key and we can't start like we did last year with conservative play calls on 3rd and 4th and 1, and inside the 5 yard line. Play calling was a prime contributor to losses against UNI, SDSU and Mo State. Summary: To have a great year, we will HAVE TO OUTSCORE TEAMS!

    I've been perusing some of the enemy chat boards and opposing fans had IndSt as a win last year. Hard to argue with their confidence considering we were coming off 0-11 in 2017. This year, the enemy boards are once again marking us down as a win, though with some hesitancy (SD, SIU and W.Ill at least show some respect and recognize the significant improvement we made last year.) The games I'm worried about at Kansas (I'll get to them in a moment), SDS, UNI (they return a number of weapons on offense) and ILL St. However, most of our schedule has a great number of starters returning.

    KANSAS (3-9 in 2018). Again, they already have us down as a W. With Les Miles as their new coach, the fan base appears to be far too optimistic and most are calling for a 6-6 type season. From what I'm seeing on paper, I'm not seeing it. From their 2018 roster they lost: starting QB, 3 of their top 4 WRs, their entire D-Line and their replacements appear to be undersized, their top LBs and their best player (running Back Pooka Williams) is presently suspended for domestic battery. We'll have to see how long the suspension lasts. They have a very young, unproven O-Line. Kansas hit the JuCo market for a QB (Thomas MacVittie) - however his passing is suspect as he only completed 53% of his passes at the JuCo level. He appears mobile (ran for 250 yards) so we'll have to keep him contained. Interestingly, I'm only counting 63 athletes presently on scholarship at Kansas - so their depth/numbers advantage may not be there (but I could have that wrong). Why I'm worried: Hecklinski was the architect of the IndSt offense...he knows our formations, plays, players, tendencies. It's BS that players get blocked from transferring to opposing teams when their present team is on the schedule the next year, but coaches have no boundaries. Cornerbacks Hasan Defense, Corione Harris and safeties Torneden and Lee are all returning starters and seniors and have a combined 82 starts, the 4 of them intercepted 16 passes last year, which ranked in the top 20 nationally. PROJECTED RETURNING STARTERS: 10 (5 offense/ 5 defense). I like our chances in a high scoring game. Win 42-38.

    DAYTON (6-5 in 2018). An improved team, but plays a weak Pioneer league schedule. We have way too much size, speed and balance on offense. Dayton loses its all-time leading rusher, 3 of its top WRs and most of its defense. PROJECTED RETURNING STARTERS: 9 (5 offense/ 4 defense). Win 56-21.

    EASTERN KENTUCKY (7-4 in 2018). A bit of a trap game. The Colonels are a good team and have key pieces returning. I'm picking a win, but don't feel extremely confident. PROJECTED RETURNING STARTERS: 15 (7 offense/ 8 defense). They have a new OC and offensive staff putting in a new scheme. Similar to the Sycamores they ended the season on a winning streak (won 4 to our 5) and had hopes to make the playoffs. The program has won 10 of their last 16 games. Hoping we outscore them! Win 35-28.

    EASTERN ILLINOIS (3-8 in 2018). We had a shoot out against them last year, but Boyle was coming off the sprained MCL and Hecklinski was still getting accustom to his weapons. Our defense looked horrible and gave up 455 passing yards. Hopefully, we'll be able to defend the pass better this year and our athletic defensive ends will light up their O-line. They’ll have a new HC, coaching staff and likely new schemes to learn. They lose their top WRs and RB. The QB (Brantley) returns and is talented. The defense returns 8, including all of its LBs and DBs, from a dreadful D. PROJECTED RETURNING STARTERS: 13 (5 offense/ 8 defense). We'll handle them easier this time around at home . Win 56-21.

    SOUTH DAKOTA (4-7 in 2018). They have a lot of good players returning and put up 600 yards of offense last year. We'll be able to move the ball against them and we'll be better with pass defense. PROJECTED RETURNING STARTERS: 15 (8 offense/ 7 defense). They return a bunch of offensive skill position players. An interesting competition to watch will be the Yotes QB battle with incumbent Simmons vs Iowa State transfer Devon Moore. Trees win another close one. Win 35-31.

    WESTERN ILLINOIS (5-6 in 2018). They lose their QB McGuire, their best RB McShane, their NFL bound DT Saunders, their best LB Swenson and safety Moon. Good depth at WR and RB. We played them in freezing sleet in November at Macomb. PROJECTED RETURNING STARTERS: 11 (6 offense/ 5 defense). I like the Sycamores at home in early October. Win 38-21.

    SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 10-3 in 2018). Yea, we lost to them early and could have won in the OT match up. We trailed most of the game and had to perform heroics late to tie it up. They return a lot. They’ll have to replace Taryn Christion with either J’Bore Gibbs or Kanin Nelson (the back up last year). Look to the Jacks to run more with MVFC freshman of the year Pierre Strong who only rushed 6 times for 95 yards against us last year. PROJECTED RETURNING STARTERS: 15 (8 offense/ 7 defense). Our offense will score, but we lose a close one and their depth and experience shows through. Loss 31-28.

    ILLINOIS STATE (6-5 in 2018). Strong team that chocked in 2018. They have a bunch of returning starters, a decent QB and they did we'll in the transfer market as usual (Trey Creamer, CB, from Iowa; Blake Fehrman, LB, NM; Aaron Mends, LB, Iowa). PROJECTED RETURNING STARTERS: 16 (8 offense/8 defense). Can't win them all and this is a tough road game. Loss 28-24.

    SOUTHERN ILLINOIS (2-9 in 2018). We traded places with the Salukis in 2018. They had a tough year with numerous injuries. Guess who else had a bunch of injuries...the Sycamores (Moala, Ware, Copeland, Keys, Covington, Thomas all lost for the year and Larkin and Morgan were out for a good portion of the season with injuries). Hell, even Boyle was out the first 2 games of the season. We didn't use it as an excuse. In 2019, the Salukis lose both QBs and several other key guys. Kare Lyles (a Wisconsin/JuCO transfer will likely win the QB job). The Salukis will have a new DC (Jason Petrino) and a few excellent defenders for him to build around (Anthony Knighton and Jeremy Chinn). PROJECTED RETURNING STARTERS: 16 (6 offense/10 defense). Hopefully we have more offense than them. Win 35-31.

    NORTHERN IOWA (7-6 in 2018). They got us early last season when we were still figuring out our formula and identity. Really poor play calling and every break seems to go the way of the Panthers. UNI lost Weymiller and Douglas on D and their QB (who was over-rated). If their new QB can pass, they have a number of offensive weapons, especially at WR. PROJECTED RETURNING STARTERS: 10 (6 offense/4 defense). Unfortunately, playing in the UNI-Dome. Fun fact, Boyle has never lost a game as a starter in the UNI-Dome (he won 4 play-off games, 2 championships and a Shrine Bowl). Win 38-35.

    YOUNGSTOWN STATE (4-7 in 2018). Bo has lost it and his team is in rebuild mode. They lose Tevin McCaster at RB and Armand Dellvade at LB. Only one starter returns on their O-Line. We handled them easy in 2018. PROJECTED RETURNING STARTERS: 9 (4 offense/5 defense). Carl Pelini returns at DC and assistant HC. Win 42-28

    MISSOURI STATE (4-7 in 2018). We lost this one last year in a last second fade toss in the corner. Inches and seconds from a victory...before we knew how to win. Most of their team returns on defense. However, the Bears return only one full-time starter on the offensive line. Their senior QB (Huslig) returns, but he has been a turnover machine throwing 27 interceptions the last two years. With a rebuilt O-Line, we need to pressure him and make errors. The Bears were better than their 4-7 record, especially their defense. PROJECTED RETURNING STARTERS: 14 (6 offense/8 defense). That loss still hurts...our D just couldn't stop them…this time we will. Win 27-14.
    Last edited by Ktulu; 03-18-2019 at 10:09 AM.

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  10. #6
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    Does anyone think that maybe missing out of the playoffs last year could pay big dividends this year? Don't get me wrong, I would have liked to have made it, but having these guys carry that chip around for a year may end up bringing bigger things.

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    Awesome work. Amazing what one years time brings to the board. This year brings hope and promise. I am optimistic and realistic at same time. Cant wait to watch spring game.

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    Les Miles must be a little nervous aboutt playing us. He hired our OC and hired EIUís recently non renewed head coach.

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    I just compared the new roster to last year, the turnover is minimal. The following players are not coming back:

    Tommy Richardson
    Nakia Gier, probably graduated, he was going to be a red shirt Senior
    K Kilpatrick no longer on roster, I’m sure he is on an NAIA team somewhere.
    Trashawn Britt
    Garrett Carr

    Jonathan Moffet is moved to DL from LB
    Caleb Hamilton moved to RB, good move, he is the super kid for class 1a Eastern Green a couple years ago.

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    I overlooked another player, I think had a bright future, Jay Perras OL, that could have a negative effect on next years OL.


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