SFA is coming off a really bad season, finishing 3-9 and firing head coach JC Harper. Clint Conque takes over after spending 14 seasons at Central Arkansas. SFA has been traditionally known in the FCS ranks as having one of the top air raid offenses in the country. Even in last year’s 3-9 season SFA ranked #1 in the nation with 389 passing ypg. You’d think an offense that good would mean we were actually good. But our defense was close to last in the FCS, and we turned the ball over constantly. Conque will have more of a balance attack but a very powerful offense (UCA was 5th in FCS passing last year), along with a more physical and fundamental program. Here is a break down on returning players as well as position breakdown.
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS
- Sr RB Gus Johnson – 5’10 224
- Sr WR Tyler Boyd – 5’10 185
- Sr WR DJ Ward – 5’11 182
- Sr DB Trey Vallier – 6’0 194
- Sr LB Collin Garrett
SFA will be replacing 3-year starter Brady Attaway, who accumulated over 11,000 yards and 88 TDs…but also 64 INTs. Coach Conques son, Zach Conque (6-5 230) has been named the starter. This will be Zachs first year after transferring from UTSA. Back up is Joe Minden, who got limited time in 6 games last year.
Gus Johnson is one of if not the top RB in the Southland Conference this year, just not sure he’ll be able to display it against KSU. Close to 2,500 yds and 28 TDs in his career, Gus will get the bulk of the carries and is somewhat of a bowling ball type back. Cameron Washington is a newcomer that could make some noise for the ‘Jacks this season that I imagine will get a few carries in Manhattan.
Tyler Boyd was the top WR last year, hauling in 79 passes for 1,183 yds and 8 TDs. He and DJ Ward are preseason first team All-SLC receivers, both are small, speedy players. Aaron Thomas is another WR who could have a big year.
Stephen F. Austin brings back a very solid offensive line, who rarely gave up many sacks in the past few seasons. It always helps when we can get the ball off instantly.
Defense in general is going to be a huge question mark. As I mentioned it was a joke last year. We gave up just under 600 yards to Prairie View A&M in a loss last year (we also had 850 yards, yeah). We have two DTs that came in last year from Baylor and A&M that I’d expect to get a lot of reps this season, along with some new freshmen down the DLine. We got REALLY excited when Devonte Fields decided to come to SFA…that last about 24 hours. Collin Garrett is a name you might recognize, played his freshman season at KU. Definitely the defensive leader of the team and a very good LB. DBs were pretty abysmal last year. Hoping Hipolito Corporan (real name), played in 10 games for Utah last year, can step in.
Solid kicker in Jordan Wiggs, but all other facets of our Special Teams was below poor last year.
Overall we have really no idea what to expect. With a new coach, new QB…I’ve set no expectations on the season. It definitely should be better than last year. But in terms of our game, should pose much of a threat. Definitely nothing close to the level that North Dakota State plays at. As long as don’t turn the ball over we won’t embarrass ourselves. We’ve got some talent to compete on the FCS level, and Conque in the past has performed well against FBS teams. But still I’d go with something like 48-17 Wildcats
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