Dave has SJC ranked as his #6 independent.
6. Saint Joseph's Pumas (4-7, 3-2 GLFC in 2007)
Coach: Lou Esposito (19-14 in 3 seasons)
Returning Starters: 15 (8 offense, 7 defense)
Offense: Probably the best QB in the history of Saint Joseph's football, Anthony Lindsey, has graduated, and with nobody else getting experience last season, it will be up to a new face to take snaps for the Pumas. Possible candidates include sophomores Nick Keim, Marquise Brown and Matthew Kramer as well as incoming freshman Mike Hladik, on whom Coach Esposito is very high. RB Greg Ford has also graduated, but sophomore Jashon Banks (530 yards, 5 TD) should be able to step up and take his place with possible support from junior Terrence Freeman (52 yards, 2 TD). Mack Ogletree (396 yards, 3 TD) is the lone returning starter among WRs with junior Andre London (115 yards) possibly earning a starting job. One favorite target could be TE Michael Cochran (192 yards), who returns for his junior year. Six players could be rotated in as starters on the offensive line: seniors Addison Bowman and Lee Shaver, junior Mitch Dean, and sophomores Wes Schroder, Steve Foster, and John Brasch.
Defense: Saint Joseph's, for the last two seasons, has typically run a nickel defense as its standard, but that could be difficult this season. Two of the starting DL positions should go to junior Devin DuBose (50 TT, 11 TFL, 4.5 sacks, 1 fumble recovery) and sophomore Grevin Fields (37 TT, 8.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks). The third starter could be either junior William McKenzie (11 TT, 0.5 TFL, 0.5 sacks) or sophomore Kellen Mackin (12 TT, 1.5 TFL, 0.5 sacks). Two of last year's LBs remain in seniors Rob Perricone (50 TT, 7 TFL, 4 sacks, 1 fumble recovery) and Payne Schoen (69 TT, 10 TFL, 2.5 sacks). Both starting cornerbacks from last season have graduated, but sophomore safety David Wallace (57 TT, 3 TFL, 3 INT, 1 fumble recovery) is still around. Several players got experience at safety last season, and the leading candidates for starting jobs look to be sophomore Deshon McClendon (37 TT, 4 TFL, 2 sacks, 2 INT, 2 forced fumbles), sophomore James Wyatt (27 TT, 0.5 TFL, 1 fumble recovery), and junior Shane Powell (24 TT, 0.5 TFL, 1 fumble recovery).
Special Teams: Senior Michael Binder (4-11, 32-37 PAT, 35.5 punt average) should return as the starting kicker and punter in 2008.
Schedule: The Pumas have their work cut out for them this year with only three home games on the schedule: non-conference tilts with Kentucky State (Sept. 6) and Fairmont State (Oct. 18) and the season finale against GLFC foe Central State (Nov. 8). A season opening trip to Hillsdale (Aug. 30) could be tough while trips to Virginia State (Sept. 13) and Lake Erie (Sept. 20) could produce wins. The last game of a four game road trip, a visit to Missouri S&T (Oct. 4), could be the de facto GLFC championship.
Prognosis: This could be a very difficult year for Saint Joseph's. Key players that helped make the offense run in 2007 have departed, and there's very little depth in some other positions. There are new offensive and defensive coordinators following last year's disappointing campaign. The schedule is unkind with seven of the Pumas' ten games being on the road. I don't see this team being able to win the GLFC in 2008, and anything better than a 5-5 record should be a huge success in Rensselaer.
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