2011 M-West Spring Preview
The Spring Buzz
Click on each team for the 2011 Spring Preview
Force | Boise State
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Diego State |
2011 Mountain West Spring Preview
Mountain West Team-By-Team Schedules
Mountain West Composite Schedule & Week Rankings
Mountain West Spring Attitudes
Mountain West Big Spring Questions
Mountain West Positions To Watch
Mountain West Spring Rankings
Normally, Air Force goes into each season with massive turnover in key spots, and the results are always positive with new guys plugged into the system and producing. This year, there's reason to get really, really fired up with eight starters back on defense and six on offense, and there's reason to think that this year might be a bit different with the experience in place to expect a win or two over the big boys. Without Utah and BYU to deal with anymore, there's TCU, Boise State, and non-conference games against Navy and Notre Dame. There shouldn't be too many problems with anyone else, so the excitement is there that this might be the year when Troy Calhoun's program takes another step forward.
- Boise State
Welcome to the Mountain West. Granted, the loss of Utah and BYU makes Boise State's new boss appear to be the same as the old boss, but there's still a perceived jump up in class and level. It's going to be business as usual for the program that's used to being talked about for the BCS Championship, and things aren't changing. The big question mark will be the changes, if any, on offense with new offensive coordinator Brent Pease taking over. If there's a dip in production this year, the blame might go to the new guy unless the Broncos keep on rolling like normal.
Can Steve Fairchild finally put it all together? The Ram head coach started out his hot with a good first season in 2008, and then the wheels came off as the offense hasn't worked over the last few years and the defense has been a disaster. The buzz around this spring surrounds Pete Thomas, the true sophomore who got his feet wet last year and now has the program in his hands. This spring is when he has to take the team by the horns and make it truly his, and for Fairchild, who put the pressure on from the moment he set foot on campus, he's going to ramp up the intensity that much more and demand even more from his veteran team.
Mike Locksley is still the New Mexico head coach, and this might be his last spring if there's another 1-11 season. Through the scandal of 2009 and the disaster of 2010, Locksley has been able to stick around, but there's going to be even more of a sense of urgency going into this spring considering the Lobos were three points away from a winless season. The program has been building towards this season and it's loaded with veterans. Now the pressure is on. Really on.
Brady Hoke is in Michigan just as San Diego State was finally, finally turning the corner, and now it'll be up to Rocky Long to show that he can be more than the Point A to Point B guy he was at New Mexico. The defense should be fine, Long's teams always bring the lumber, and there will be a running game with Ronnie Hillman pounding away, but all the talk is about whether or not the program can keep moving forward. Now Long has to show that turning down the defensive coordinator gig at Michigan was the right move.
Considering the national title spotlight is on now, all the non-Big East talk is about the schedule. Why didn't TCU decide to take on Wisconsin in a Rose Bowl rematch? It's because of the Badgers wanted the Horned Frogs to come to Madison and weren't going to travel down to Fort Worth to return the favor, but TCU had a chance to make a major statement early on and backed out. However, TCU was also on the other end of a dumping as Texas Tech ducked out of a scheduled date. That means the only chance to make any sort of a non-conference statement will come against Baylor to open the season and in Cowboys Stadium against BYU. The other non-conference dates are against ULM, Portland State, and SMU. That's not exactly going to move the needle.
There's a chance the secondary could be much better in a big hurry. The pass defense wasn't always awful last season, mostly because everyone ran the ball on the Rebels, but the secondary was 117th in the nation in pass efficiency defense. Getting top corner Quinton Pointer back from a knee injury should be an instant jolt, while the recruiting class went after defensive backs with JUCO transfer Kenneth Spigner looking to be a factor by the end of fall camp. Already in place are two promising young players in free safety Eric Tuiloma and corner Sidney Hodge, who went through the fire as true freshmen.
All of a sudden, Wyoming football isn't going to be all that warm and fuzzy under head coach Dave Christensen. After going 3-9 in a disappointing season, the program is taking on an angry, clamp-it-down look and it's starting from the top with Christensen as spring practices closed off to the media and fans after about a half an hour in order to try to get the team more focused. The pressure is on to try to turn things around, and spring ball is going to be serious in Laramie.