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MAC Pre-Spring Preview - Team Problems
Akron LB Brian Wagner
Akron LB Brian Wagner
Posted Feb 19, 2011

2011 MAC Pre-Spring Preview - Why Every MAC Team Should Be Grouchy

2011 Pre-Spring Preview   

Why To Be Grouchy - 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 


The talent level isn’t quite there. Losing Nate Allen and Nate Burney kills the running game, which was the one positive at times last season, and the team has to go a long, long way before it can be stronger. Eight losses were by double digits.

Bowling Green
The defense has yet to come up with a stop under head coach Dave Clawson. It was miserable in 2009 and struggled last year. There wasn’t any pass rush, and now the D has to come up with two new ends while hoping more can be generated up the middle.

Seven starters are gone off a defense that did everything it could to keep the team alive throughout the second half of last year. Gone is all-star safety and tackling machine Davonte Shannon, All-MAC safety Domonic Cook, and four starters on the defensive front seven. For 2011 to be better, one of the nation’s worst offenses will have to suddenly be able to pick up the slack.

Kent State
It’s asking a lot to get the same production out of a defense that loses so many key players. After finishing first in the league and tenth in the nation in total defense, and third in the nation in tackles for loss, the Golden Flashes have to replace six starters as well as defensive playbook from the old coaching staff.

Miami University
It’s not like the offense was a juggernaut. There was no running game, the offensive line was miserable, and the points didn’t fly on the board with just two performances with more than 28 points. The offensive front gets back four starters, but it has to be far better.

The defense needs a lot of work. Ohio always comes up with effective defenders, but the entire defensive front is gone and three defensive backs have to be replaced. Ohio will be a rock at times against the weaker MAC teams, but the D has to be great from the start to win the conference title.

The anchors of the terrific run defense are gone. 288-pound nose tackle Elisha Joseph was good, 305-pound defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson, who left early for the NFL, was better, and they’re both going to be missed. Linebackers Elijah Joseph and Amara Kamara were great playmakers who’ll be missed.


Ball State
The pass rush was a disaster last season finishing 12th in the MAC in both sacks and tackles for loss, and now the Cardinals have to go on without the best pass rusher, Robert Eddins. The non-conference schedule isn’t a plus with Indiana, at South Florida, Army, and at Oklahoma to deal with.

Central Michigan
The linebacking corps and the offense needs more playmakers. Radcliff might be a good piece to start with, but the anemic running game has to find more punch and the passing game needs more targets to help take the heat off of Cody Wilson. Matt Berning and Nick Bellore were fantastic defenders who’ll be missed.

Eastern Michigan
1995. This isn’t the first time EMU has returned a slew of veterans, but there’s a reason the program has gone more than 15 years without a winning season. The team has 78 miles to go before it can be decent. Dates at Michigan and Penn State early on aren’t going to be confidence-boosters.

Northern Illinois 
New head coach Dan Doeren might have done a terrific job with the Wisconsin defense, but he has a lot of work to do on an NIU D that loses seven starters. Three starters are gone from the secondary, including both starting corners, and three starters are gone from the defensive front including pass rushing terror Jake Coffman.
The non-conference schedule has a nice break with New Hampshire to start the season, but the other three games are at Ohio State, Boise State, and at Syracuse … yuck. While most of the starters are back on offense, two of losses are on the line with center Kevin Kowalski leaving a big hole and right guard Nate Cole gone after a solid year. The D might only lose three starters, but linebacker Archie Donald was one of the team’s top performers and an All-MAC star, while CB Desmond Marrow and DE Alex Johnson will be missed.

Western Michigan
WMU should find some new targets in a hurry, Robert Arnheim should be a No. 1, but 20 of the 30 passing scores are gone with the graduation of Jordan White and Juan Nunez. The line gets the tackles back, but the interior is gone. Nine starters might be back on defense, but the team’s leading tackler, WLB Jamail Berry, and third-leading tackler, SS Mario Armstrong, are gone.