Arkansas State Red Wolves Preview 2022: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the Arkansas State season with what you need to know and keys to the season.
Arkansas State Red Wolves Preview
Head Coach: Butch Jones, 2nd year at ASU, 2-10
13th year overall, 86-64, 2021 Preview
2021 Record: Overall: 2-10, Conference: 1-7
Keys To The Season | Season Prediction, What Will Happen
Arkansas State Top 10 Players | Arkansas State Schedule
Arkansas State Red Wolves Preview 2022
It’s been a rough run for a program used to playing for big things in the Sun Belt.
While others like Louisiana, Appalachian State, and Coastal Carolina have become the stars of the conference, and with other good new parts coming into the league, Arkansas State has sputtered and struggled over the last two seasons with no defense, not enough of an offense to keep up, and without and semblance of a break.
Butch Jones is a solid head coach. Things might not have gone perfectly at Tennessee, but he’s got the chops to use 2021 as a rebuilding season and turn this year into a big step forward.
First, getting more out of the defense would be nice. More on that in a moment.
Arkansas State Red Wolves Preview 2022: Offense
The Red Wolves have the passing attack. Part of the reason they were on top of the Sun Belt in passing was out of necessity. They had to keep throwing to try keeping up the pace, but they also had the parts.
The O averaged close to 400 yards and 25 points per game, but the ground game wasn’t good enough and the offensive line gave up way too many sacks. The passing attack really was strong, but …
Losing top wide receiver Corey Rucker to South Carolina hurts, but 6-1, 208-pound Te’Vailiance Hunt and deep threat Jeff Foreman are decent veterans to start with. This was a very, very, young group, and now there’s decent depth to keep rotating into the mix.
Former Florida State starter James Blackman was terrific at times over the first half of the year before getting knocked out for the season with a shoulder injury. Layne Hatcher stepped in and kept bombing away, but with Blackman back he’s gone to Texas State. The Red Wolves will keep throwing, but …
Again, the ground attack has to be better. That starts with needing more from a line that had a mix or different parts last year but now will go younger, a slew of new guys will be in the mix, and … it might take a little bit to come together after a rough spring. It’s not a massive line outside of 340-pound tackle Robert Holmes, but this group should be able to move.
Now the backs need more work. Arkansas State only ran 349 times last year for 989 yards and four scores. Averaging under three yards per carry, the backs had nowhere to go. Smallish speedster Lincoln Pare led the way with 455 yards and a score, but now he’s in the transfer portal.
Arkansas State Red Wolves Preview 2022: Defense
Not everything was awful about the Arkansas State defense. Yeah, it was last in the nation against the run, and yeah, it was the second-worst in college football overall, and it allowed 506 yards and 39 points per game, but …
There was pressure. Not enough of it, but former Tennessee transfer Kivon Bennett generated eight sacks and 16.5 tackles for loss from one defensive end spot, and fellow former Volunteer John Mincey is a veteran to start with on the inside. Now this group has to hold up a wee bit against the run, even with a slew of new guys in the rotation.
The linebacking corps isn’t big, but it can move. The plays behind the line mostly came from the line, but 6-1, 216-pound junior Jaden Harris and 5-10, 180-pound Melique Straker have the quickness to do more.
Teams were so busy running on ASU that the secondary caught a bit of a break. This group should take a bit to come together, especially at safety. The corners will be fine in time, but losing second-leading tackler Jarius Reimonenq to James Madison stings.