Team preview: Arkansas State

Blue Ribbon Yearbook previews the 2005 college football season, exclusively on Insider.

Updated: August 4, 2005, 11:41 AM ET
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Editor's Note: ESPN Insider has teamed with Blue Ribbon College Football Yearbook to provide a comprehensive look at all 119 Division I-A teams. To order the complete 2005 edition of Blue Ribbon College Football Yearbook, visit www.blueribbonyearbook.com or call 1-866-805-BALL (2255).

(All information as of July 1, 2005)

COACH AND PROGRAM


During the Steve Roberts era, Arkansas State has been the school of hard knocks. Making the decision to play young talent over less talented experience left the Indians' record battered and bruised last season, but Roberts argues that it's all getting ready to pay off.

Arkansas State took on LSU, Missouri, Mississippi and Memphis in addition to the conference schedule on its way to a 3-8 record, but Roberts sees last season as an investment in the future.

"We're just now seeing the fruits of that labor with those youngsters growing up because we took our lumps in order to put this program in a position to be successful in the future," he said.

Roberts came to Arkansas State in 2002 with his "I Will" philosophy and guided the Indians to a 6-7 season, narrowly missing out on the Sun Belt championship and a bowl appearance. The Indians then went 5-7 in 2003 before finishing 3-8 last season. Roberts is optimistic about 2005, citing all the returning players who stepped up last year.

"I think that the overwhelming thing that everybody noticed was the emergence of those red-shirt freshmen and true freshmen as being pivotal players in our program," he said. "There was so much excitement in seeing them grow and mature."