At the conclusion of Arkansas State's last practice before traveling to Monroe, coach Hugh Freeze said he thinks the team is ready for the difficult task at hand: to win a road game two weeks in a row in the house of a tough Sun Belt opponent.
IMPORTANCE OF ANOTHER ROAD WIN
Winning on Saturday would be the first time Arkansas State has ever won back-to-back away games against Sun Belt opponents. Freeze said the team hasn't talked about the importance of another road win in the context of setting a record, but they have talked about what that means for the rest of this season.
"If you win two on the road, you only have two more on the road and four more at home, which puts you in a real good spot I think to be in the mix," Freeze said. "If you can steal the first two on the road knowing you have four more at home, you've gotta feel like you have a chance."
On top of the confidence a win would give the Red Wolves for their chances of winning the Sun Belt, two road wins in a row will hopefully play a part in having an enthused, pumped up crowd at ASU Stadium for the Oct. 18 home game against FIU.
"I think it makes a big difference," Freeze said. "I know how important winning two road games will be to our kids."
The update on injured running backs Frankie Jackson and Sirgregory Thornton was about the same as yesterday — both will travel and try to play. Freeze reiterated his comments from before, that he's uncertain of how effective they will be.
He did say, however, that if he wasn't confident that they would have a good chance of being able to play, he wouldn't be bringing them. Just the fact that they're both traveling is promising for the Arkansas State offense.
As for the offensive line, Freeze still said they'll stick with what they've been doing and said, "They're my boys." They have their work cut out for them, as the ULM defensive line tends to shuffle around a lot.
"We're gonna make mistakes against what they do, because they line up 8 thousand different ways. They don't ever end up where they start," Freeze said. "You just hope you can limit those. I expect to see them play better."
FREEZE'S TAKE ON ULM
Of any Sun Belt team, Freeze said Monroe is the most similar to Arkansas State on offense. ULM plays with two different quarterbacks, but Freeze said preparation from them hasn't been much of an issue because they play pretty similar to one another.
"They've both been very good at times, but you're preparing the same plan for either, so it hasn't presented a huge challenge like you're planning for one quarterback to run a different offense. They do the same things," Freeze said.
"They've got other receivers that can play too, but those two really scare you that they can run by you and score touchdowns," Freeze said.
Ambrose, who led the team a year ago, only has 5 receptions for 22 yards all season so far.
"I hope it stays that way. He hasn't played an enormous amount of snaps, I don't know if he's been injured or what, but I know him well and know that he can," Freeze said.
ULM had a bye week last weekend, though, and Freeze said he expects that they've gotten everyone healthier in that off time and he expects to see them try to get Ambrose the ball.
Aside from a few individuals, the experience of this ULM team is perhaps their next biggest threat. With a majority of it's starters back from last year, Freeze said ULM is a more mature football team.
"They've had another year to develop maturity, another year for the coaching staff to be there together, they're all back with the exception of one guy, so their system is more familiar with them," Freeze said.
Overall, coach said today that he feels like the team is prepared and ready to take on the challenge ahead of them in Monroe this weekend.
"It won't be easy, but great teams have to go make plays to win on the road. We found a way last week, and hopefully we can do the same this week," Freeze said.
The game kicks of at 6 p.m. Saturday. Follow @AStateNation on Twitter for live updates on the game.