As the Baylor Bears welcome back old faces like Robert Griffin, Jay Finley, and Mikail Baker, the Sam Houston State Bearkats will be looking at fresh faces all over the field for the opening game to the football season Saturday night at Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco, Texas. Here is positional rundown of Sam Houston State.
QB: Senior Blake Randolph is expected to get the start Saturday. Randolph has one career start under his belt (last year vs. Stephen F. Austin), where he was 14/28 for 84 yards. He has split time during the pre-season with Auburn transfer Tyrik Rollison. Rollison, however, may be out for the opener after injuring his hand in the Bearkat's final scrimmage.
RB: The Bearkats will have an entirely new backfield this season. The rushing attack will be led by Louisiana Tech transfer DJ Morrow. The Bearkats also have a trio of freshmen (Cameron Brown, Ridgeway Frank, and Ryan Wilson) they can turn to, as well as recent Kansas State transfer Timothy Flanders. With SHSU switching from a pass-heavy offense to more of a balanced attack, expect to see more than one guy in the backfield.
WR: There are also a lot of unknowns in the receiving corps. The Bearkats lost their six leading receivers from 2009. Brandon Closner and Melvis Pride are the only returnees, combining for 10 receptions for 147 yards last season. Tight End TJ Jones is also back, who had 3 catches for 23 yards in 2009.
O-Line: The SHSU offensive line bring the most experience to the table. Returning are C Travis Watson and LT Chris Crockett after missing last season due to injury. They are joined by tackle Kaleb Hopson, who started as a freshman last year, and sophomore lettermen Rily Smith and Cameron Pound.
D-Line: No starters return from the front line of a defense that gave up 423.6 yards per game last season. Junior defensive ends EJ Nduka and Eddie Decambre along with sophomore JT Cleveland and freshman Dwight Kennedy are expected to lead the front four on Saturday.
LB: Will Henry, the Bearkat's only returning all-conference selection and second leading tackler, is back along with returning lettermen junior Kash David and sophomore Darnell Taylor.
DB: The Bearkats feel confident in their secondary. Cornerback Robert Shaw and safety Kenneth Jenkins both started last season as freshmen. Along with senior corner Jarvis Pippins, they combined for 6 interceptions last season as a part of a pass defense that improved as the season progressed.
Coach: Willy Fritz is making his debut as the head coach of SHSU. Fritz was hired in December after 13 years as the head coach at the University of Central Missouri. He was 97-47 while there and posted a winning record 11 of his 13 seasons.
Sizing Up the Bearkats
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