When Terry Bowden took over ULM football in the offseason, an unprecedented buzz formed around the university. Bowden brought former Michigan and Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez with him and the excitement grew further. Now the college football world is keeping an eye how much the former national coach of the year can improve a program coming off the worst season in school history.
Bowden and his staff offered a limited look into his team during a media day. Practices have been closed off to the public due to rising COVID numbers and the coaching staff is already quiet about depth charts and potential starters.
The biggest question mark going into the offseason was put on the quarterback position. Last season, quarterbacks Colby Suits and Jeremy Hunt were constantly coming on and off the field when one was pulled for the other. Enter Rhett Rodriguez—Arizona transfer and son of Rich Rodriguez. Rhett Rodriguez has earned the praise of his head coach, his father and his teammates.
“There’s nothing like taking the field with somebody who knows they want to score” said guard Evan Henry. Defensive coordinator Zac Alley credits much of the development of his defensive players to having to practice against Rodriguez. Even though Bowden has stated there’s no plan on releasing a depth chart before their season-opener against Kentucky, he said Rodriguez is likely their starting quarterback.
On the defense, Alley feels his squad is solid but is not quite ready for competition. Unlike the offense, Alley’s defense has returning players with years of experience. With this experience comes leadership to help get his roster ready.
“Nobody cares more about this program than Traveion Webster,” Alley said. The senior linebacker has established a veteran presence on and off the field.
On offense, Rodriguez has to shape up a group with little experience. Rodriguez owns up to his hot-headed reputation. Working with the offense has been challenging. The new scheme has pushed players to their limits.
“Fast is an understatement to describe this tempo,” said tackle Blake Lodes.
Wide receiver Jeremiah Knight, who transferred to ULM from Akron, brings valuable experience and leadership to an otherwise unseasoned offensive. Knight, Rodriguez and many other players would not be at ULM if not for a recent NCAA ruling which allowed transfers to be immediately eligible to play. The Warhawk coaching staff has been a beacon for transfers all offseason. These wandering veterans can make all the difference down the stretch.