From the Other Sideline – UL-Monroe (Summer Edition)

Dusty Thibodeaux (Twitter) sounds like a guy who grew up in Louisiana, doesn’t he? Nope, he is a 1997 graduate of Auburn High School who moved to Monroe, LA to attend then Northeast Louisiana University, graduating from now ULM in 2002 and 2006. As we traverse through Auburn’s 2012 schedule, Dusty returns this summer after a previous Other Sideline to give us a good look at our favorite Sun Belt team. You can read his other works at WarhawkReport.com.

1. No offense, but I haven’t really kept up with the WarHawks much recently. I know Cam Newton and Co. beat them pretty badly during the National Championship season, but how have things with the program been since?

The Warhawks finished the 2010 season with a 5-7 record, but it could’ve easily been a 7-5 season. ULM took a step back in 2011 with a 4-8 record due to tons of injuries.

2. What are the biggest concerns for ULM this year?

Over all this will be the best team ULM has had in a while. The biggest concern is depth at offensive line. While the Warhawks have a good mix to allow players to stay fairly fresh, should a player go down there is a talent drop off from the starting bunch to the lower strings of players.

3. What would be the WarHawks’ greatest strengths?

Offense is the big strength. The Warhawks return QB Kolton Browning, and a bulk of the receiving corps that include Brent Leonard, Jeron Hamm, and Tavarese Maye.

4. Who are two players that Auburn fans may need to look out for?

Missouri transfer Gerrand Johnson at the DT position will be a big force to handle. Arkansas linebacker transfer Austin Moss is a force to deal with. Look for these players to have the all-conference honors after the season.

5. ULM starts of the season with Arkansas, Auburn, and then Baylor. Excuse me, what? Not exactly a confidence building slate…

It’s the down side of mid-major football and is something that will continue throughout college football as the automatic qualifier schools continue to separate themselves from the non-AQs.

6. Just for fun, give me a very early analysis and prediction for the game.

I do have concerns about the ULM defense being able to stop the Auburn offense. I also believe if given time, the passing game of Browning should shine and put the Warhawks in position to keep the game close, but for how long is unknown.

7. Lastly, do you know the Robertson’s of Duck Dynasty? If so, do you think they would come to my tailgate?

I did a recent interview with Willie Robertson from the show. He is a ULM alum and was great to talk to. All of the Robertson family are great people and go out of their way to talk with people, take pictures, and sign autographs for any and every one.

8. Oh, and is Monroe crawling with vampires as True Blood suggests?

Big fan of the True Blood show, and while there are definitely some weird characters in downtown Monroe, I’m yet to hear of any vampires surfacing.