MAC Pre-Spring Preview - What Needs Work?
Toledo WR Eric Page
Toledo WR Eric Page
Posted Feb 19, 2011

2011 MAC Pre-Spring Preview - What Every MAC Team Needs To Work On.

2011 Pre-Spring Preview   

What To Work On - MAC

Click for each team's pre-spring lookback and lookahead
East   Akron | Bowling Green | Buffalo | Kent State | Miami Univ. | Ohio | Temple
West  Ball State | Central Mich | Eastern Mich | Northern Illinois | Toledo | West Michigan

2011 MAC Pre-Spring Preview
- MAC Pre-Spring Rankings
- Why Every Team Should Be Excited
- Why Every Team Should Be Grouchy
- What Every Team Needs To Work On 


Moving the ball. The defense wasn't miserable, but it didn't get any help whatsoever. The offense only averaged 268.5 yards and 15.58 points per game with a passing game that couldn't move the chains and a running attack that struggled to establish itself. Simply put, Akron has to put points on the board.

Bowling Green
Running the ball. How bad was Bowling Green's ground attack? Only eight teams in America averaged fewer than 100 rushing yards per game. Only three teams averaged fewer than 90 rushing yards per game. San Jose State was 119th in the nation in rushing averaging 78.54 yards per game. Bowling Green averaged 62.83.

Scoring. It's one thing to be dead-last in the nation in scoring offense, but it's another to be dead-last when playing against so many mediocre defenses. It's not like the Bulls were shut down by Auburn and Oregon; they scored nine against Miami University, three against Ball State, and failed to score more than 17 points in any of the final seven games.
Kent State
Running the ball. Jacquise Terry is a nice back with a good combination of speed and power, and he'll get all five starters back on the line to run behind. The Golden Flashes don't have an efficient passing game, but if the ground game can be a wee bit stronger, the O will be a positive.
Miami University
Running the ball. The O line has to be far more physical than it has in several years, and the attack needs to be more than just the short passing game. Being 113th in the nation in rushing, and 12th in the MAC, isn't going to cut it.

Throwing the ball. Boo Jackson wasn't a bomber, but he's Peyton Manning compared to Phil Bates, a terrific runner and a suspect passer. The bigger problem could be the departure of Terrence McCrae and Steven Goulet, two of the team's top targets. No one will take the ground game seriously without a few plays through the air. Last year, Ohio was efficient through the air, even if the yards weren't there.

Getting more out of the offense. The running game, as good as it was at times, still only cranked out 150 yards a game and the passing game was mediocre at very best. Steve Addazio is supposed to know how to crank out the big offensive numbers, and while he'll be running the ball early on, the difference between winning the division and another also-ran season could be an efficient passing attack.


Ball State
New head coach Pete Lembo has to generate a passing game from Day One. The running game should be fine with Eric Williams and David Brown returning to work behind a strong line, but  QB Keith Wenning has to move the ball down the field on a regular basis. The offense was way too inconsistent and was never clutch.

Central Michigan
Keeping the turnovers in check. CMU isn't good enough to get whacked in turnover margin, and it struggled way too much finishing 12th in the league. Considering the Chippewas lost four games by seven points or fewer, there's a razor-thin margin between being good and another down year.

Eastern Michigan
Doing one thing extremely well. The defense has to find something that works and can't be bad in every phase, while the offense needs to get more of a passing game to go along with a ground attack that averaged a solid 173 yards per game. The team needs an identity.

Northern Illinois 
Getting RBs Cameron Bell and Jasmin Hopkins going. QB Chandler Harnish might be a nice running quarterback, but he can't be the ground game. The offense hummed when Chad Spann was running wild and Hopkins, the team's third leading rusher, has to provide the lightning, while the 242-pound Bell has to bring the thunder.

Pass defense. The miserable punting game needs to find far more pop and the punt return game could use a lot of work, but the secondary needs to do more with a good pass rush to help the cause. Toledo allowed 231 yards per game with 16 scores, and while the 20 interceptions were a positive, there were too many yards allowed.

Western Michigan
Running the ball. It'll be way too easy for the coaching staff to rely on the passing game with a quarterback like Alex Carder and an attack that finished first in the MAC in passing yards, but it would be a big plus of Brian Fields, Aaron Winchester, and the veteran backfield can start to run more after WMU averaged a mere 126 yards per game. The more help Carder gets, the better.