2019 UL-Monroe Warhawks Team Preview

After going 4-8 in their first two years under Matt Viator, ULM improved to 6-6 last year, although they were one of a handful of bowl-eligible teams did not receive a bowl invite because of a lack of spots due to people on twitter complaining there were a couple of 5-7 teams in bowls a few years ago.

It was an up and down here for the Warhawks, winning their first two games, then dropping four straight, then winning four straight, then dropping their final two.

The schedule isn’t great and getting back to 6-6 in 2019 may be tough, but Caleb Evans, one of the most prolific passers in program history is back and he will likely be the key to whether or not the Warhawks are able to reach .500 for the second straight year.

Offense

QB Caleb Evans is back for his senior season after being inconsistent in 2018 (16 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, 70.8 PFF grade). Evans will lose his top target in Marcus Green (853 yards, eight touchdowns, 17.1 YPC) along with #2 RJ Turner, who is transferring to Texas Tech. Slot man Xavier Brown and senior Markis McCray will be the top two returnees, but both have been injury-prone in the past.

Despite being a pass-first team, the run game was far more efficient last year for the Warhawks. Leading rusher Derrick Gore is gone, but Austin Vaughn and Kayin White both return after averaging five+ yards per attempt last year. Josh Johnson may be the most talented of the bunch but has been inconsistent in the past.

The offensive line also gets back all five starters and is one of the most experienced lines in the country.

There are mixed indicators for this offense but I think they should improve on last year’s numbers as Evans hopefully settles down after a tough year and will be playing behind an experienced line that has proven to be best in pass blocking.

Defense

The ULM defense wasn’t great last year, but it was a whole lot better than it was the two years before that (especially 2017), and pretty much everyone is back with the exception of LB David Griffith and S Collin Turner.

With eight starters back including star run-stuffing NT Larance Shaw, there really is nowhere to go but up for this D, and I expect them to take a pretty big step forward.

2019 Outlook

The schedule is rough with three games against top-35 teams in the nonconference and games @ Appalachian State and @ Georgia Southern as two of their cross-over games with the East division. Throw in a game @ ULL and you’d have to run the table to make a bowl, and I just don’t see that happening even if this team is probably bowl worthy in a vacuum.

Schedule

DateOpponentOpP. RANKProj. Margin
31-AugGrambling StateNRN/a
7-Sepat Florida State34-17.0
21-Sepat Iowa State31-17.5
28-SepSouth Alabama1237.3
5-OctMemphis30-11.7
10-Octat Texas State112-2.4
19-Octat Appalachian State52-14.8
2-NovArkansas State76-5.5
9-NovGeorgia State1206.3
16-Novat Georgia Southern93-9.0
23-NovCoastal Carolina12810.2
30-Novat LOUISIANA88-9.7

Average Projected Record: 5.0 wins, 7.0 losses (3.5 wins, 4.5 losses)