Saturday presents another game Tennessee fans aren't used to playing. The game with the Arkansas State Indians is another that will be able to be viewed through PPV Video Seat. Just like for the Southern Miss game we present to you a preview of what you will Saturday lining up against your Vols. This is a Preview from Arkstfan over at Tribal Grounds.
Arkansas State is finding its way back into the respectable realm of college football. From 1963 to 1989, the soon to be re-named Indians won a national title in College Division I (think top Division II plus I-AA together), were runner-ups in I-AA, won seven Southland conference titles, made seven post-season appearances, and won over 60% of its games. During that stretch ASU was coached by three men who had been on staff in Jonesboro prior to being named head coach. Bennie Ellender left for Tulane, Bill Davidson’s health issues sent him into administration and Larry Lacewell left to become defensive coordinator at Tennessee. Current Vol assistant Steve Caldwell was one of the coaches who followed him to Knoxville.After 26 very stable years Arkansas State discovered turmoil. Al Kincaid lasted two years, Ray Perkins stayed a year leaving days before national signing day, John Bobo made it four years, and Joe Hollis five before Steve Roberts was hired. In the five seasons he has completed, Roberts has a losing record at ASU but has matched the win total posted in the nine prior years by Bobo and Hollis. He has one Sun Belt title and one bowl appearance at ASU.
Pictured: Reggie Arnold (Photo by Mark Foltz)
OFFENSE. For five years Arkansas State under Roberts has depended on a power running attack but close observers of the program have felt that was a choice forced upon him by available talent rather than choice. With sophomore QB Corey Leonard now having a half season of starting experience under his belt as a freshman, the ASU attack has been more balanced in 2007, ranking 32nd nationally rushing and 36th passing. While the numbers are helped by playing the porous SMU defense, the Tribe posted only 119 more yards offense against the Ponies than against the Texas Longhorns. Leonard is 47th in the nation in pass efficiency and 20th in total offense due to his rushing ability. The rushing attack is led by another sophomore, Reggie Arnold. Nicknamed “Monsta” because his weight room work, Arnold is a bowling bowl runner who scored at Texas after being hit outside the two yard line and bulling his way into the end zone. (video here http://www.asutv.com/ASU-TV/Texas_Game.html) The starting five on the line for ASU has played very well. The lack of experienced depth on the line remains a concern. ASU will often use two tight ends and unlike past seasons, they are receiving targets as well.
Corey Leonard(Photo by Mark Foltz)
Koby McKinnon causes a fumble (Photo By Mark Foltz)
SPECIAL TEAMS. Warning sign that your special teams have issues, your fans are excited about the signing of a top high school deep snapper. That was the case this summer for ASU. A bad snap had given up a TD last season and bad snaps had resulted in some blocked kicks. That part seems fixed. Sophomore Josh Arauco is 3 of 5 on the season placekicking, one miss was a short kick at Texas that was wide left. The other miss would have been one of the longest of his career if he had made it. ASU does not kickoff especially well. Punting is an adventure. Bret Shrable has been inconsistent with his punting but is capable of very long punts, he caught a horrible break against SMU when 40 yard punt from the ASU 2 took a wild high backward bounce and was finally downed at the ASU 28 for a 26 yard punt setting up an SMU touchdown. Kickoff and punt returns have been mediocre so far.
Reggie Arnold (Photo by Mark Foltz)