HERO Sports welcomes you to "Two-a-Days", where we will preview every single one of the 125 FCS programs, with two being released each day from June 18 to August 18 (with the final day having three in one day). Today we give you … Incarnate Word.
INCARNATE WORD (1-10)
Southland (UIW was 9th in the Southland in 2017)
COACH: Eric Morris – 1st year (0-0)
2017 OFFENSE: 21.2 ppg (82nd in FCS)
2017 DEFENSE: 47.7 ppg (123rd in FCS)
SUM IT UP: There's a buzz around Incarnate Word with the hire of former Texas Tech offensive coordinator Eric Morris — knowing what kind of fireworks he brought to the Red Raiders' offense. You have to think that if you're a wide receiver like Phillip Baptiste — who was already electric last year averaging 20-plus yards per catch — there's been a big grin on your face this ll year. That goes for the other nine returning starters on the offense. The six returning starters on defense — including some proven individual playmakers — and two returning specialists have to be excited, too.
Only three years ago, UIW won 6 games while a member of the Southland Conference, so this is a program that has the potential — with the help of Texas recruiting — to be competitive. Last year's one-win season was frustrating, but the soundbytes out of the team during spring football show optimism. To make any headway, the defense will have to tighten up, so that will be something to watch.
BEST-CASE SCENARIO: This is easy to pin point — the program needs to notch a couple of wins and go from there. No brainer, right? Easier said than done. It'll be interesting to see how quickly Morris' offense cranks up — and things like this don't necessarily happen over night. That'll have a lot to do with any improvements in 2018.
TOP RETURNEE: WR Phillip Baptiste (31 receptions, 623 yards, 3 TDs).
THE NEXT BEST: QB Sean Brophy (1,277 yards passing, 11 TDs); LB Mar'Kel Cooks (leading tackler in 2017 – 88 tackles, 8.5 TFL); DL Darrius Montgomery (4 blocked kicks – 33 tackles, 6.5 TFLs, 4 sacks); DB Jamarkese Williams (9 PBUs, 25 tackles); RB Ra'Quanne Dickens (407 yards rushing, 3 TDs); DB Jawun Jiles (55 tackles); WR/KR Kody Edwards (caught 39 passes for 712 yards and 8 TDs in 2016, missed last year).
TOP NEWCOMER: LB Isaiah Paul (6A 1st Team All State in Texas – 117 tackles, 16 TFLs, 4 kick blocks as a senior).
DID YOU KNOW?: NBA Hall of Famer and two-time NBA champion David Robinson went back to school after basketball and got his Masters Degree at Incarnate Word.
THE QUOTE: "The spring was good. I think the kids are buying into the culture change that we are trying to bring. They are doing all of the little things that we are asking. It's pretty tough to get them up at the hours that we do. They are full time students and still put in all the work in the weight room and on the field for us, but they are buying into what we are preaching. Now we just need to gain some confidence going into the season. Winning cures everything, and that's the ultimate goal, winning football games." — Head Coach Eric Morris said after spring practice
SOCIAL MEDIA SPOTLIGHT
THE HASHTAG: #TheWORDisOUT
FOOTBALL TWITTER: @UIWFootball
After watching the new turf video… pic.twitter.com/52X7Uk2JOW
— UIW Football (@UIWFootball) May 26, 2018
FCS QB TRANSFERS: Who Tops The List?