Western Carolina started 2021 about how we thought it would, with the Catamounts starting 0-6. But then Kerwin Bell’s system started to take hold and the Catamounts won four of their final five games. Offensively, Western Carolina scored 32 points per game, but they also turned the ball over 32 times, nearly three a game. Defense was a large struggle for the Catamounts, too, where they allowed 41 points per contest.
Those stats show why the Catamounts struggled for most of the year, but there were definitely some positives and Kerwin Bell has more of his players coming in, so I would expect to see some improvement. The defense MUST perform better. This team has a look of a mid-2010s Samford which gave opponents fits offensively but played a lot of shootouts.
WR Raphael Williams had a huge season as a freshman. Look for him to build on the 73 catches, 959 yards and nine touchdowns he put up in 2021.
RB TJ Jones had a solid season last year. He led the run game with nine touchdowns. I would expect that he would have a larger yardage total this year as the offense progresses under Coach Bell.
QB Carlos Davis should get the first look as the starter. He played fairly well when he got opportunities last year, but like the rest of the offense needs to cut down on the turnovers.
Key Game: October 8 at Mercer
Worst Case: The offense takes a step back and the defense remains porous and the Catamounts win 3-4 games
Best Case: The Catamounts offense protects the ball better and the defense reduces their PPG allowed by a few resulting in 6-7 wins.
Western Carolina 2022 Season
Jamie is a proud 2002 graduate of James Madison University. He’s witnessed the growth of the program from no one in the stands in 1998, to the hiring of Mickey Matthews, to the 2004 National Championship, to the 2008 team, to the struggles in the early 2010s, and finally the rebuild under Mike Houston. He also allegedly really enjoys Washington, DC-based Stanley Cup winners.
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