Scouting Report On Arkansas State

What this summer looked like a second game against a lower Division I opponent that went to a bowl game in 2005, now looks like possibly the stiffest nonconference challenge for Oklahoma State. Arkansas State opened up its season last Saturday by dominating Army 14-6 in a game that was not that close. ASU avenged a 38-10 loss to Army last season at West Point.

Arkansas State almost doubled up Army in total offense (319 to 164 yards) with a strong multiple running attack featuring a redshirt freshman running back. On defense the Indians were as good at stopping the run as they were running the football. Army, which majors in run offense, was practically shut down as they were held to 69 yards on the ground.

The Indians pose several challenges to Oklahoma State that appear to be the best trials the Cowboys will get prior to starting Big 12 play. They also appear to have a couple of weaknesses that the Cowboys can magnify in their pursuit of going 2-0 on the season. What follows is a look at Arkansas State on offense, on defense, and their special teams.

ASU Offense
Make no mistake about it, the Indians are going to come at you running the football. They did it in Stillwater last season as senior Antonio Warren rolled up 132 yards, and the offense had 200 yards rushing and 322 yards of total offense. Warren is gone and so is veteran quarterback Nic Noce. Replacing Noce for now is a dual quarterback situation with sophomore Travis Hewitt and redshirt freshman Corey Leonard. The two combined for no interceptions and 11-of-16 passing for 97 yards against Army. As we said earlier ASU won't beat you through the air.

Redshirt freshman Reggie Arnold picks up where Warren left off as he rushed for 140 yards on 25 carries - with a 17-yard touchdown run right up the middle - on Army. Arnold is 5-9, 217 pounds, has speed, strength, and appears to be difficult to tackle. He is backed up by sophomore Chris James, who had 18 yards on four carries in the opener. They mix up their runs well as they use isos, draws, traps, powers, and speed option to get it done.

The offensive line features three senior starters and four returning starters, including Dave Remington Award candidate Tanner Jenkins at center. The 6-1, 279-pound Jenkins is a tough, hard-nosed football player who is also very smart and makes all the line calls for the Indians. The line is not very big, averaging 6-3 and 294 pounds, but they play well as a unit.

Top receiver Levi Dejohnette will miss the game because of injury. He has a cast on his arm. There is no real "go-to" guy or a big play receiver as the passing game is primarily short and of the ball control variety.

ASU Defense
The Indians employ a traditional 4-3-4 defensive scheme that they will get multiple with. They favor over/under fronts, and will blitz from the linebacker and safety positions. In the back end they really mix up coverages well using primarily cover one, two, and three.

On the defensive line they have good size, and 6-2, 275-pound Jamarrow James was named the Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Week for his seven tackle, three tackles for losses effort against Army. They did not register a sack in the opener with Army.

The linebackers are the playmakers in the ASU defense as Josh Williams (6-1, 255) is considered an NFL prospect. Williams had seven tackles and 1.5 tackles for losses. Williams, the middle linebacker, is not especially fast, but reads the offense well and seems to always find his way to the play. Koby McKinnon (intercepted a pass vs. Army) and Devrett Wade have excellent speed at the outside linebacker positions.

The secondary is the strength of the defense with another NFL prospect in safety Tyrell Johnson leading the way. The 6-1, 197-pounder has good speed and is a sure tackler. OSU offensive coordinator Larry Fedora said he thought the corners were good players after watching the Indians opener on tape. Darren Toney (5-11, 185) is a senior and Dominique Williams (5-10, 172) is a sophomore that had an interception against Army. Size at corner is something OSU might be able to exploit. The secondary, including free safety Khayyam Burns, really moves around well and they will all strike you. This group can really hit and does so often.

ASU Special Teams
There wasn't much special about them on Saturday as they didn't get much production on their punt and kickoff returns. Kicker Josh Arauco had his only field goal try blocked, and punter Brett Schrable punted six times for a 36-yard average. The coverage units weren't very impressive. Many of the personnel on special teams and the specialists are new.

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