Well, here we go again, Lion fans. 10AM this Saturday, at The Hawk, we get our first preview of the defending National Champions. There is so much anticipation, and so many thoughts. Here’s five key issues that could provide some answers.
- Who Steps Up?-Let’s start with the obvious. Three offensive line starters, including All American left tackle Jared Macharro, are gone. Wide Receiver D’Arthur Cowan, the hero of the Harding game, veteran Buck Wilson, and the Harlon Hill winner, Luis Perez, have left as well. Who fills the gaps? Will it be Preston Wheeler, or the flashy transfer, Kane Wilson? Kelan Smith, who preformed so admirably in the abscence of Wilson, is sure to get his opportunities. And there is still the untapped talent from a bountiful high school recruiting class yet to be seen.
- Is the Blue Gang Still the Blue Gang?-The cupboard is a little more full here, with nine starters returning. The defensive losses include linebacker Kieston Carter and ballhawking defensive back Yusef Sterling-Lowe. Will the high school phenom T’Kai Lloyd crack the lineup once he gets on campus? You can rest somewhat easy, Lion fans, the Lions played many freshmen and sophomores at times last year, and gained valuable experience. The biggest question of all remains….how does Colby Carthel replace the defensive genius of Justin Deason? Carthel is a former defensive coordinator, and is sure to maintain a strong foundation. We should take heart that the future of the Lion defense is in good hands.
- Hunt or Be Hunted-It has been said the most difficult thing in sports is to defend a title once it’s won. Coach Carthel has preached the mantra of competing year after year. The idea that the road to Kansas City swings south down Interstate 30, and through a little town an hour east of Dallas. Can the Lions maintain that focus and hunger that guided them through one of the toughest playoff gauntlets in college football history, at any level. It will be interesting to see, but the hunch here at The Lion Wire, is, if there’s any team that could pull it off, it’s this one.
- Which Transfer Shows Out?-Which of the incoming transfers makes their presence felt? Kane Wilson is the one that stands out so far. Which of the redshirts from last season steps forward? There are so many questions in this area, and so many opportunities. A strength of the Lion coaching staff has been providing the opportunity, and keeping players in the fold.
- Cashing In-In talking with Brian Pate over the last few months, there was one thing that kept coming up, and is becoming more important. As defending champion, the Lions are sure to be every opponent’s playoff game this year. They will get the best shot from every team they play. How do they trade in a few of those gems from the gifted toe of Kristov Martinez(the best pressure kicker in all of college football)in for touchdowns? The more inspired that teams the Lions will face play this season, those four points could very well make the difference.
Well, there it is, Lion fans. Will it be the beginning of another season of great expectations? We get our first look this Saturday. See you there