By this time next week we will know a lot more about the Arkansas State Red Wolf Football team.
Going into the season opener against Big 10 member Illinois in Champaign there are a lot of unanswered questions surrounding this ASU Football team.
WIth a new head football coach, a new defensive system, an almost completely new offensive line, the question marks are plentiful.
There is more excitement and buzz around this program than most have ever seen in recent years.
Many wonder if the Red Wolves can step on the field and go toe to toe with the much bigger Illini team.
No matter what the results are from the season opener, Red Wolf fans can rest assure that this is a better football team than in the past.
Arkansas State can ill afford any major key injuries, after losing back-up quarterback Phillip Butterfield, the Red Wolves lack of overall depth became glaringly obvious.
After watching this football team practice and prepare during fall camp I feel that there a few things the Arkansas State faithful can count on.
This team will give it everything they have both mentally and physically for this coaching staff.
They will represent this University with the utmost pride and character.
This coaching staff cares about this team and the young men on it, well beyond the playing field.
On numerous occasions both coaches and players have said time after time how close of a family unit this team really is. You can count on it.
This team will run through a brick wall for Coach Freeze and his staff.
While Illinois may and should be physically superior to this Red Wolf squad, I would have my doubts that will be the case in the regards to the wide receiving corp of Arkansas State. If they can put four better wideouts and athletes on the field, I would be shocked.
Another area of surprise for the Red Wolf fan base will be the play of it's defense.
Under Coach Dave Wommack you will see a much more aggressive attack than in previous years.
This defense will be a key reason why this team is better in 2011.
Illinois will line up and try to run smack dab over the Red Wolves defensive front and the ASU linebacking corp. This my friends should be a battle that every defensive minded person in the country will enjoy watching.
Expect Illinois to come into this game not only expecting to win but to win by big numbers. The 20.5 spread indicates that. There may be a lot of angry fans in Las Vegas come next Sunday.
Arkansas State's offense is known for scoring a lot of points, it may not take as many as it did last year for the Red Wolves to be more successful.
Guys don't forget that this is an Illinois defense that gave up 67 points against a not very good Michigan team last year.
Could this be a big shootout?
I truly think if the Red Wolves can score a lot of points against Illinois last week, we will be dancing in the streets in Jonesboro late Saturday night.
No matter if Arkansas State wins or loses this inaugural game of the Hugh Freeze coaching era, one thing is for sure, better times are ahead for this team.
Next Sunday we should know a lot more about this Red Wolf Football team.