Chris Forcier is a highly regarded transfer who comes from UCLA after disagreeing with new coach Rick Neuheisel. He was a 4-star quarterback coming out of high school and has brought excitement to the Furman fan base. The highly regarded Forcier could end up be starting QB this season for the Paladins, or it could be last year's starter, Jordan Sorrells. The senior quarterback completed his first full season of starting last year by completing 61% of his passes while passing for 2,537 yards and 16 touchdowns compared to only 10 interceptions. Either way they go, Furman will have a solid quarterback. Although the Paladins return both of their starting receivers from last season, neither seems to be a big play threat for the offense. Expect Furman to be able to move the ball, but against a FBS defense I wouldn't expect anything too spectacular.
Running Backs/Offensive Line:
The offense runs a spread style, so don't expect much of a running game from this team. When they do run, Mike Brown will most likely be the guy they go to. He will return for his senior season after rushing for over 800 yards and 5 touchdowns last season, all while averaging over 5 yards per carry. Brown's success in 2009 will no doubt be affected by the play of his offensive line, a unit that lost 3 of its starters from last season. Former left tackle Joel Bell is the main loss from the offensive line because he was a near consensus FCS All-American last season and should be almost impossible to replace. An offensive line must gel if they want to be good, so this loss of more than half of the line could be detrimental for a school without much recruiting power.
Furman's defense finished around 4th in their conference last season, but they only return 4 starters this year. 2008 All-Southern Conference nose guard Justin Brown is back to anchor the 4-man front of the Paladins along with senior defensive tackle Corey Ray (sat out last season because of academic reasons). Although the defensive line seems to be fairly set, the linebackers are a completely different story. It is a very weak and inexperienced position, but the Furman faithful seem to think that Kadarron Anderson has the most potential to be good out of the linebackers that they have.
Furman runs a 4-2-5-style defense, so they basically play with 3 safeties (called a safety, bandit and rover). Starting at rover will be All-Southern Conference candidate Max Learner who you may know from the MTV series "Two-A-Days," a show that chronicled an Alabama high school's football team. The secondary will be full of youth because the Paladins lost each of their starting cornerbacks and their starting safety from a year ago. Who will step up as the starting cornerback? Furman fans have their eyes on sophomore Ryan Steed.
This game will be like the SEMO game from last year, obviously. It should be an easy game at home. They have been good in the past in the FCS, but they haven't won over 8 games in a season in the past 4 years. The tougher games start in the weeks to come.