Aug. 31, 2011
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — There’s one number to consider when talking about the Florida State football team’s first opponent of the 2011 season: 19.
Louisiana-Monroe will venture east to Tallahassee boasting a veteran squad that returns 19 total starters from its offensive and defensive units. The team also has experience in big games against some of the nation’s top teams.
“They are a very well-prepared team,” FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher said. “They played Arkansas last year, they played LSU last year and they played Auburn last year. So they’ve been in big-time environments and have played very well. They played Arkansas extremely well in the  opener. It was 7-0 at halftime, 14-0 at the end of the third quarter. Arkansas is an extremely talented team. That was their first game. Now they’ve got 18 starters back [and are] preseason pick to with the Sun Belt. I expect an experienced team that will be very well coached to be ready to come in here and play.
Seminoles.com Senior Writer
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“That’s why we need to be ready and prepared to play our ‘A’ game.”
Like the Seminoles, the Warhawks’ 2011 campaign will be the second for their head coach.
Todd Berry took over the program last year and guided a young team to a 5-7 overall record and 4-4 mark in conference play. Combine an extra year of continuity on the coaching staff with a bevy of returning starters and ULM is poised to show improvement this season.
“That’s a great feeling because we’ve got a chemistry with the guys,” said ULM senior defensive end Ken Dorsey, who was an All-Louisiana First Team and All-Sun Belt Conference Second Team selection last season. “And also having the starters we had come back and the people that played to have all that chemistry with the coaches and players is very important.”
While Dorsey is the top player on a defense that allowed 32.4 points per game last year, the Warhawks’ can only go as far as quarterback Kolton Browning takes them offensively.
Browning began his career last season, starting as a redshirt freshman and performing well. The Mabank, Texas native averaged 244.8 yards of total offense, which was the third-highest average by a freshman in the NCAA last season. He accounted for 409 yards alone in an overtime loss to FIU last year.
ULM’s signal-caller said that he gained more and more confidence as his first season wore on.
“It feels good; the comfort level that I have come to,” Browning said. “My first year as a redshirt freshman starting everything slowed down as the season progressed. I got my comfortable in the pocket along with reads and coverages and stuff like that.”
Browning is aided on offense by a speedy corps of skill players.
Wide receiver Luther Ambrose placed third in the 100-meter dash at the 2010 NCAA Championships and is on the verge of moving into the top 10 in two separate receiving categories in ULM history.
The Warhakws averaged 347.0 yards of offense last season.
“There’s a lot of motion stuff,” FSU cornerback Greg Reid said. “I was watching film of them last night and their quarterback is pretty good; all the motion and different stuff like that.”
Florida State hosts ULM at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. If you have not already purchased tickets for the game, you can do so online or by calling 1-888-FSU-NOLE.