Jeff Reed – Spring Wrap: Red Wolves Football


Jeff Reed Author PageLooking back at the 2014 Arkansas State Red Wolves football season it took a Tuesday night nationally televised game on one of the ESPN brands to expose the weakness in one of the Sun Belt Conference’s best teams.

Many, especially those who follow and support the Red Wolves will remember what UL-Lafayette did to their team that night. To that point, teams had basically tried to finesse the Red Wolves, who came into the game at 4-2 and 2-0 in the Sun Belt.

That night was nasty in a lot of ways.

But the ULL formula was repeated by Appalachian State, Texas State and finally Toledo in the GoDaddy Bowl, as the Red Wolves dropped three of their final four games.

Looking back at the 2015 Red Wolves’ spring football game we see a different football team. Those who were close to the program knew there was a delicate condition along the interior defensive line. It really made the fans appreciate the work of Ryan Carrethers, now with the San Diego Chargers, performed along the front line the previous three years.

The Red Wolves went into 2014 with one experienced interior defensive lineman with the graduation of Carrethers and the death of Markel Owens, who was killed in a home robbery.

If teams run over the Red Wolves next season it won’t be because there weren’t big, able, mature bodies up front. The Red Wolves added 340-pound Waylon Roberson, 320-pound Robert Mondie and 290-pound Jake Swalley in the December signing period. Mondie fell victim to UAB closing its program and joined his brother Devin, a starting offensive lineman at A-State, while Roberson and Swalley are junior college transfers.

Swalley did not get to play in Friday night’s spring game but he did have a solid spring. But having big healthy bodies along the front line was the biggest need for the Red Wolves this spring. It looks better. In the fall we will find out how much.

There are still areas of concerns. The offensive line has been an experiment of sorts this spring, trying to find the best 5 guys to put on the field. That started with finding a center where Devin Mondie was the topped candidate but he was dinged in a scrimmage and missed the final 2 weeks.

Other areas of need: who will be the linebacker; the corner backs, the backup quarterback and backup up running back?

This is a team that has a lot of experienced skill talent returning. Filling in the holes could make a difference in a fifth-straight bowl appearance.

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Jeff Reed is editor of

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JONESBORO, Ark.  – The Arkansas State football team held its annual spring game Friday night at Centennial Bank Stadium, and “Coach Experience” winner Angie Gallaher led the Red Wolves’ offense to a 55-47 victory over the defense using a special scoring system put in place by the coaching staff.

Gallaher was introduced as the offense’s head coach for the spring game at an 11 a.m. press conference today in Jonesboro.  As part of the promotion, she chose Meredith Poland to act as the head coach on the opposite sideline.  Both Gallaher and Poland communicated with the coaching staff on the headset throughout the entire game, while also giving their team’s pregame and halftime speeches.

“We had good energy, a great crowd, and I think the fans had a good time before, during and after the game,” said A-State head coach Blake Anderson.  “I hope that both our coaches had a good time, and I think they did.  Really, I thought it was a good night that was great for the community.”

The offense piled up 630 yards total offense, including 406 passing and 224 rushing yards, and scored eight touchdowns.  The defense earned points during the contest for forcing multiple 3-and-outs, collecting two turnovers and scoring one touchdown.  While it didn’t gain points for sacks or tackles for loss, the defense finished with seven and 14, respectively.

The defense scored first and held the lead throughout the first half, putting its initial points on the board for back-to-back 3-and-outs to start the contest.  An interception return for a touchdown by senior cornerback Rocky Hayes helped the defense build a 37-21 lead by the end of the first quarter, but it clung to just a 44-42 halftime advantage.

“We were able to accomplish what we wanted tonight, and I think we came out of it fairly healthy,” said Anderson. “I thought early the defense was going to run away with it.  The offense gave up two turnovers and there was a 21-point swing with the way the scoring system was set up, and that put the offense way behind in terms of how the game was going.  It was good to see the offense battle back, get a couple of scores and make it a close game at halftime.  There were some big plays on both side of the ball, though, and we saw some good things from both units.”

The offense took its first lead on a DeKeathan Williams 22-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter, pulling ahead 48-47.  Starting with Williams’ score, the offense was responsible for the scrimmage’s final 13 points.

Sophomore Cameron Birse and redshirt freshman James Tabary alternated at quarterback, finishing with a combined three touchdown passes.  Birse hit 11-of-21 pass attempts for 199 yards and a touchdown, which was a 65-yard completion to senior wideout Tres Houston that was the longest play of the day.  Tabary went 15-of-21 passing for 183 yards with touchdown passes to receiver Dijon Paschal and running back Johnston White.

Twelve different players had at least one rushing attempt, led by running back Logan Moragne with a game-high 78 yards and one touchdown.  Michael Gordon followed with 64 yards and a score, while Katon Hill and Terrance Hollingsworth also had one rushing touchdown.  Receiver Sterling Stowers hauled in a game-high five passes, while Houston was responsible for a team-best 103 receiving yards.

Defensively, linebacker Austin Copeland recorded a game-high nine tackles and also finished with the squad’s only fumble recovery.  Six different players combined to record seven sacks, including defensive lineman Chase Robinson with a team-high two.  Additionally, 14 players combined to post 14 tackles loss for loss.

Arkansas State will conclude its 2015 spring camp with one additional practice set for Monday.

2015 red wolves football


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