When ULM feels a need for speed, the number to dial is 22 – sophomore Luther Ambrose. Passing game coordinator Jonas Weatherbie readily acknowledges it. Even with a deep gang of receivers, Ambrose's home run potential begs for chances. He averaged 18.1 yards per touch in his debut season and had a 69-yard touchdown reception against North Texas.
"We've got to find ways to get him the ball," Weatherbie said.Ambrose is as anxious to get those opportunities as his coaches are to turn him loose. His offensive stats overall were modest – three carries for five yards and 12 catches for 160 yards.
"I'd like to catch more balls," Ambrose said. Once football season ended, Ambrose showed off his wheels in track and field. He finished second at the Sun Belt Outdoor Championships in the long jump (25-02.75) and the 100-meter dash (10.44). Ambrose made it to the finals of the NCAA Mideast Regional in the 100-meter dash after running a 10.38.
The fleet athlete from St. James arrived at his second fall camp a little sturdier at 175 pounds, up from 166. Ambrose said the weight gain wouldn't cost him any velocity.
"It's not going to affect my speed," he said. "Hopefully, I can gain a little more. I have a little more power."
Also notable, Ambrose seems more confident and outgoing. Last year, he seemed quiet – even shy at times. Now he's feeling comfortable in his role. Asked how the experience helped him prepare for the new season, Ambrose said: "They won't have to teach me anymore. I just have to freshen things. I get to work faster and work better. I can get in with the ones and get more comfortable with the quarterback."
With much fanfare, Ambrose landed at ULM rated as the nation's No. 17 running back by ESPN. The staff moved him to receiver to give him more space to flash his skills.
"Anyway to get me one-on-one with a cornerback or to make somebody miss," Ambrose said. "Sweeps, quick passes outside, however you want to do it."
Ambrose was one of just four freshmen to play last year and gave the Warhawks reasons to want more with occasional displays. He returned a kickoff 91 yards for a score at Arkansas State, the seventh longest in school history and first for ULM since 2003.
The kicking game is an area where Ambrose can continue helping the Warhawks win the field position tussle. "That's a big thing," Ambrose said. "You can make an impact. Even if they don't kick you the ball or kick it short, that's all field position. Any way to get field position is good."