DT Corey Williams

2002 Statistics

Coach: Steve Roberts
6-7, 1 year
2002 Record: 6-7
at Virginia Tech LOST 7-63
at Illinois LOST 7-59
at Louis.-Monroe WON 33-21
at Mississippi LOST 17-52
at Louis.-Lafayette LOST 10-13
at Idaho WON 38-29

2002 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2003 Outlook

The needed trends in Jonesboro should be obvious - offensively, the QB has to compliment the rest of the well-seasoned positions. Getting the balls to proven receivers is a priority, as is establishing the successor to Danny Smith. The OL has to play at 2002's stellar level to give this team any edge in advancing these fundamentals. Defensively, too, the line has to be an anchor of sorts. This side of the ball has less potential pitfalls (the secondary has the most question marks), so it can be a banked on as a building block for Little Rock-native HC Steve Roberts. Nine starters return for the Indian D, a number easily factoring into any subsequent success.

Roberts got State more conference wins - six - in his first year (2002) than they had earned in any one of the last eleven seasons since joining I-A. He took them from just 2-9 the previous year to 6-7 and within 15 points of the Sun Belt crown. Stability is evident when you inspect to whom they won and lost - better teams beat them while they buried any underdogs. But look out for that sophomore slump, Stevie boy. Expectations will be high, meaning disappointment is right around the proverbial corner. A similarly consistent performance is needed, otherwise, beating a few schools to whom they're underdogs won't outweigh losing to a few they should have beat. Questions and judgments then begin, and it's only a matter of time unless extreme success steps in.

Likely losses at Texas A&M and Mississippi need to be offset by strong showings and/or wins at New Mexico State (NMSU leads series 6-1), at Utah State, at North Texas, and at home versus S.E. Missouri St. These Sun Belt foes will be the measuring stick in which to evaluate all the above listed criteria. Middle Tenn. St. is another big game, but defensively, they should make this one simple. But with this 2003 defense set to lose many of its component players/parts for 2004, the iron is hot and striking time is now. A bowl game is a realistic ending for these hungry Indians. Winning the SBC title is a longer shot, but not out of reach.

Projected 2003 record: 6-6
LB Les Echols
QB Elliott Jacobs
LB Reggie Everett
RB Shermar Bracey
QB - 2.5 DL - 3.5
RB - 2 LB - 3.5
WR - 3 DB - 2.5
OL - 2.5 ..

Passing: Elliot Jacobs, 258-136-7, 1751 yds., 7 TD

Rushing: Antonio Warren, 134 att., 554 yds., 3 TD

Receiving: Jason Wood, 22 rec., 185 yds., 1 TD

Scoring: Eric Neihouse, 10-22 FG, 31-32 PAT, 61 pts.

Punting: none

Kicking: Eric Neihouse, 10-22 FG, 31-32 PAT, 61 pts.

Tackles: Les Echols, 107 tot., 46 solo

Sacks: Corey Williams, 9 sacks

Interceptions: Jonathan Burke, 5 for 59 yds.

Kickoff returns: Jerome Stegall, 14 ret., 19.4 avg.

Punt returns: Lamar Lee, 3 ret., 7.0 avg.


OFFENSE: Garry Johnson-OT, Jesse Duncan-OG, John Crossley-OG, Shane Tolleson-FB, Danny Smith-RB, James Hickenbotham-WR
DEFENSE: Jon Bradley-DT, Chuck Allen-CB, Maurice Joyner-WS, Mike Alexander-P

written by Dave Hershorin

The offense will pick up this campaign. 2002 was evidently an adjustment period for new HC Steve Roberts and his young staff. The limited dimensions of still-starting QB Elliot Jacobs hampered the offensive production. An option-type QB in prep, his drop-back abilities needed a year's seasoning. Stats like 4th quarter scoring (ASU was outscored 90-58) and 3rd-down conversion rate (33%) reflect such immaturity. But his foot skills are still there, so expect much more from Jacobs. He has competition in red-shirted freshman Reid McKinney and junior Bryan Gauthreaux. Gauthreaux is listed as second-string due to limited 2001 playing time. But McKinney's superior arm and comfort in the pocket make his eventual real-game showing something both will have to anticipate and accept. This bodes well for State, which could utilize all in effective sequences, regardless. If this is pulled off, only the best defenses will be able to stop a changed up presentation, so a sneaky rotation could work here. If Jacobs can hit his targets early and often, he should have the job until his accuracy falters. His decision-making has to be keen, or else we see Gauthreaux or McKinney injected for those reasons, too.

Running back is an area that needs development, but should be viable, anyway. Now-departed Danny Smith set the school's single-season rushing mark in 2002. Antonio Warren is the likely replacement. From 2002's performances alone, he wins the spot. His two cracked ribs weren't enough to keep him from still backing up Smith. Toughness is an intangible coaches love. But that, along with one 193-yard game (9/7/02 vs. Tulsa), isn't enough to cement him the spot. Look out for juco-transfer Shermar Bracey. His durability is in question (only one year each of high school and juco football), but his combo of size and speed (6'3", 225, 4.38 sec in the 40) isn't. Expectations are being kept low until he proves his I-A worth. Clinton Roy is a bruising wildcard who could definitely help at either back position.

FB is another story. The position looks to be juco-transfer Ramon Williams' to lose. Walk-on Oren O'Neal is undersized, but can amply plow just the same. Look for the backfield to be underestimated by most opponents to allow for early success, which will critically need to be continued into the season's second half if the Indians are to go anywhere.

The strongest part of ASU's 2002 offensive squad was their hole-opening, QB-protecting line. Allowing seven sacks and forging a 4.4 yds per carry average qualifies them as a special unit on that struggling offense (19.9 points per tilt was 99th in all I-A). They lose two four-year starters, but the hungry replacements have extensive starting and/or real-game minutes logged. The Indians will reshuffle many of the positions and who plays at each as the fall approaches, but bank on another strong performance from these Jonesboro hogs. If Jacobs stays in, look for their sacks-allowed number to remain single-digits.

Wide receivers abound at State, but finding the starters seems to be the biggest problem for this deep roster of snarlers. It really isn't any evaluation of these players that reflects the passing game's larger concern - its QB. All of these guys can catch and run once they have the ball. Mike Cox can stretch defenses, making him an assured start. Chuck Walker also proved enough in spring to get the nod. Jerome Stegall also has eventual starting potential, and will supplement the return game, too. Regardless, the WRs have the talent that cuts a QB's work out for him well. If this dimension remains underutilized, it will spell demise for this offense. Any lack of balance will be sniffed out and exploited, accordingly.


WR Mike Cox


Returning Starters in bold
QB Elliot Jacobs-Jr Bryan Gauthreaux-Jr
RB Antonio Warren-Jr Clinton Roy-So / Oren O'Neal-So (FB)
WR Jason Wood-Jr Gary Vincent-Fr
WR Chuck Walker-Jr Jerome Stegall-Jr
WR Mike Cox-Sr Jason Boyd-So
TE Mike Brooks-Jr Manuel Burton-So
OT Matt Roth-Jr Darrian Billups-Fr
OG Steven Gibbs-Jr Anthony Mitchell-Sr
C Tab Slaughter-Jr Tanner Jenkins-Fr
OG Brandon Crocker-Jr Bo Mitchell-So
OT Kimani Jones-Sr Frank Arritt-Sr
K Eric Neihouse-So ..



written by Dave Hershorin

Employing a 4-2-5 means the line has multiple duties. With only two, opponents often pull LBs into decoy coverage, meaning one or more ASU linemen has/have to react (and often cover) differently than most in case it's a pass. This produces quick-responding, discerning giants that garner national recognition. Seniors Corey Williams and John Bradley make for a pair of middle cloggers that produce as well as distract. Either can handle a double-team well enough to then make the play. Bradley is a ball-hawk, forcing five fumbles in '02, while Williams chalked up 13 QB-hurries. Which one to double-team…hmmm? And both sacks and pass-breakups are part of this duo's profile, too. Memphis-bred sophomore Courtney Todd and fellow DE Zach Grigsbey show little or no sign that their undersized physical qualities keep them from achieving. And freshman Myron Anderson, along with Bryant Berry, give depth and precision play to form possibly the best overall non-major conference DL in the country. Returning all starters and essential second-teamers easily allows for this. Look for the 4.1 yards per rush they allowed to significantly decrease as their sack total of 33 goes the other way. They need to keep points off the board, though, seeing as 21 rushing TDs allowed isn't poor, but could easily improve with the potential of this bunch.

Les Echols and Steven Tookes return for the Indians to ground the LB position well from a starters standpoint. The teams first and third leading tacklers, respectively, should make even more of an impact - this will be their second year of being the only glue in the middle. True-sophomore Jermaine Montgomery will push for playing time after destroying everything he saw on special teams. Others will give depth to this unit and make run-stopping a must if anything is to change.

The secondary is another story. There is major talent in returning Texarkana-born Alex Peoples and junior Jonathan Burke. Peoples' nose for the ball allowed him to be second in tackles, while Burke is a sizeable corner who can cover man-to-man exceptionally well. Senior corner Lamar Lee lends experience, speed, and innate radar to this ungelled grouping of talent. Chris Littleton is young, but his trial-by-fire initiation from 2002 worked well as Littleton excelled. Juco-transfer Lamar Adams was an All-American before ASU got him, so expect Adams to amply contribute to the safety position's development. 2002 saw the Indian's best-ever finish in the I-A pass protection rankings, 16th. This unit will be hard pressed to repeat such a feat. Look for the front six to change enough game dimensions to make this area seem strong through their numbers produced. But, if the run-stoppers struggle, the secondary will show its shortfalls (as a group or otherwise).


CB Jonathan Burke


Returning Starters in bold
DE Zach Grigsby-Sr Anthony Camp-So
DT Jon Bradley-Sr Myron Anderson-So
NT Corey Williams-Sr Bryant Berry-Sr
DE Courtney Todd-Jr David Vargas-Sr
LB Steven Tookes-Jr Reggie Everett-Jr
LB Les Echols-Sr Eddie Walker-Jr
CB Lamar Lee-Sr Joe Williams-Sr
CB Jonathan Burke-Sr Kelvin Cox-Fr
WS LeKeith Grace-Sr LeUndo Adams-Jr
SS Chris Littleton-So Josh Ward-Fr
FS Alex Peoples-Jr Casey Venters-Sr
P Eric Neihouse-So ..




There is a problem in 2002's punting numbers that ASU has to fix. They didn't allowed many return yards, but they didn't punt it too far, either. Old punter - gone; new punter - same guy who placekicks, Eric Neihouse. He should get some walk-on competition, but for now, Neihouse is the only punter on campus. Coverage is the variable obviously in focus. Same goes for kickoffs - they cover well, yet few touchbacks, so look for keen coverage to compensate. Stegall and Walker will return KOs as well as their blocking allows, while Lee will have punts in hand. Field goals are their own problem with Neihouse. He went 10-for-22 (0-for-6 from 40+, four FGAs blocked) but showed signs in spring ball of putting his awful freshman season well behind him. Grounded special teams can lift a .500 club to a few more wins, so ASU has even more work cut out here to both assure any marginal success and simultaneously avoid giving away any games.