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August 5, 2009INSIDE SLANT If it's true there's no substitute for experience, things are truly looking up for Arkansas State as the Red Wolves enter the 2009 season. The Wolves, 6-6 last year (4-3 in the Sun Belt), list a depth chart that has only one underclassman, with 15 seniors mixed into the opening 22. Offensively, Arkansas State broke a 57-year-old school record for total offense last year, and coach Steve Roberts thinks his team should be even better on that side of the ball in '09. "I definitely think we can be better," Roberts said during the conference's media conference hookup. "We broke a 57-year-old school record last year for total offense. We were able to achieve offensively last year most of the time. With those players coming back and the skill players coming back, we feel like we are going to have an opportunity to make plays. ? We have a chance to have a good year offensively." That starts with quarterback Corey Leonard, the Sun Belt's preseason co-Offensive Player of the Year, and running back Reggie Arnold. Both are on the verge of record-setting senior seasons. Kicker Josh Arauco is also considered the Sun Belt's best. On the other side of the ball, defensive end Alex Carrington is shooting to become the first player ever to be named league Defensive Player of the Year two straight years. The Red Wolves, bowl eligible for three of the last four years (and a bowl team in 2005), were picked to finish second in the conference by the league coaches, behind only Troy. NOTES, QUOTES ? Arkansas State was picked to finish second in the Sun Belt Conference in the poll of the league's nine coaches, ASU's highest preseason league ranking. ? QB Corey Leonard and DE Alex Carrington were named Sun Belt Conference Offense and Defensive preseason Players of the Year, respectively, with Leonard sharing his honor with Florida Atlantic QB Rusty Smith. ? RB Reggie Arnold, OG Drew Hilton and K Josh Arauco were also picked first-team in the league's preseason selections. ? Arkansas State has added a 2011 game at Virginia Tech. Key Game: Sept. 12 at Nebraska-The Red Wolves broke a 15-game losing streak against Big 12 teams and scored the program's first victory over a BCS conference school with a win at Texas A&M in last year's opener. They'd love to make another statement against the Huskers.
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