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2011 Spring Preview - MAC Spring Questions
Northern Illinois QB Chandler Harnish
Northern Illinois QB Chandler Harnish
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Mar 5, 2011


The big questions surrounding each MAC team going into spring practices.


2011 MAC Spring Preview

The Big Spring Questions

Click for each team's 2011 spring preview
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 Spring Preview
- 2011 MAC Team-By-Team Schedules 
- 2011 MAC Composite Schedule & Week Rankings 
- 2011 MAC Spring Attitudes  
- 2011 MAC Early Buzz 
- 2011 MAC Positions To Watch 
- 2011 MAC Spring Rankings 

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 

East

Akron
Can the offense come up with anything? Head coach Rob Ianello is supposed to be an offensive coach, coming from Notre Dame last year, but his attack was pathetic, and that’s being kind. The Zips finished 119th in the nation and last in the MAC in total offense, and it only came up with more than 22 points in two games and those were against Gardner-Webb and Ball State, both in double overtime. A lot of players had to get through the fire, and now they have to start producing.

Bowling Green
Will Bowling Green ever have a running game? Not only were the Falcons last in the nation in rushing, averaging 63 yards per game, they weren’t even close with the second-worst team, San Jose State, averaging 78.5 yards per outing. Part of the problem was a line that allowed too many sacks, but the ground game has to come up with something positive to try to balance things out. Sophomore Jordan Hopgood will get the first look to take over for starter Willie Geter.

Buffalo
Can Jeff Quinn come up with a passing game? It wasn’t just that UB couldn’t get the offense going; it was that the offense got worse. The Bulls finished last in the nation in passing efficiency leading to the nation’s worst scoring offense. After scoring 21 points or more in three of the first five games, the Bulls failed to score more than 17 over the final seven games and lost them all. The passing game has to click for the points to start coming.

Kent State
Will the Golden Flashes generate more offense under Darrell Hazell? The defense was fine last year, despite getting blown up late by Army and Western Michigan, but the defense didn’t provide any help and was way too inconsistent. The passing game was bad, the running game was worse, and the production didn’t come when the defense didn’t help the cause. With ten starters returning, the offense can’t help but be far better. The new coaching staff has to make sure of it.

Miami University
Will Don Treadwell run the ball more than Mike Haywood did? Haywood’s offense was all about the short to midrange passing game, and while the strength of the offense is at quarterback and there will still be plenty of throwing, there needs to be more of a ground game. Thomas Merriweather is one of the few lost starters, but Tracy Woods and Danny Green are compact backs who appear ready to do more.

Ohio
Can Phil Bates throw a forward pass? The former Iowa State Cyclone led the team in rushing last season, and now he’ll get the full-time quarterback job with the graduation of Boo Jackson. He’s big, strong, and talented, but he’s not known for being a bomber and he hasn’t been accurate. This spring he has to spend every practice adding more to his passing game to allow the offense to balance things out when needed. It’s Bates’ job to lose, but he’ll be battling with redshirt freshman Kyle Snyder and sophomore Tyler Tettleton.

Temple
Will Steve Addazio be able to generate more offensive production? Everyone knows the running game will be fine with Matt Brown and Bernard Pierce returning, but the offense only averaged 334 yards and 25 points per game last year and it struggled with its consistency. Addazio might have been maligned when he was at Florida, but he’s a good, respected coach who should provide an instant boost.

West 

Ball State
Can Pete Lembo’s offensive success at Elon carry over to Ball State? Lembo’s Elon team only went 6-5 last year, but it won its final four games and finished with the nation’s No. 2 FCS passing offense and No. 8 offense in yards. By comparison, Ball State was 106th in the nation in yards and 109th – and last in the MAC – in passing. Lembo was hired to provide an instant jolt to the offense, and he has enough veteran players to make the Cardinals an X factor in the West race.

Central Michigan
Can Central Michigan get its offensive groove back? The passing game wasn’t all that bad in the first year A.D. (Dan LeFevour), but the running game was a disaster and the offense wasn’t consistent. The big problem was an inability to come through in the clutch, and the hope has to be that QB Ryan Radcliff can make a jump up in his consistency and efficiency, while a running back has to step up and take control of the job. Paris Cotton was the leading runner, but he only averaged 59 yards per game and now has to help provide more pop to balance things out.

Eastern Michigan
Will the defense stop anyone? Ever? Eastern Michigan wasn’t even close last year finishing last in the MAC in total defense, run defense, scoring defense, sacks, tackles for loss, and pass efficiency defense. Eight starters are back and the coaching staff has its pieces in place to have the physical up-tempo group that was hoped for from the start. Step One will be to generate more of a pass rush and be strong on the defensive front, and with three starters returning, it’s time to start coming up with a stop.

Northern Illinois 
Will Dave Doeren be able to keep the Huskie defense productive? While the new head man knows how to coach a defense, he only inherits four returning starters from last year’s defense that led the MAC in points allowed and was 26th in the nation in total defense. The defensive front needs the most help and the secondary loses three starters, so Doeren and defensive coordinator Jay Niemann will have to work a little bit of magic this spring.

Toledo
Does Toledo have a No. 2 receiver to help out Eric Page? On the plus side, Page was a dynamic playmaker for the offense to revolve the passing game around. The negative, though, was that the rest of the receiving corps was awful. Page caught 99 of the team’s 228 completions, RB Adonis Thomas was the No. 2 receiver with 31 grabs, RB Morgan Williams was third with 20 catches, and Kenny Stafford – Page’s backup at the M position – and tight end Danny Noble were tied with 18 catches. One of the primary goals of spring ball will be to find a second target, and it might be Illinois transfer Cordale Scott.

Western Michigan
Will the offensive line be better? A disappointment throughout last year, the line didn’t pave the way for any semblance of a running game and didn’t do enough to protect Alex Carder. The Broncos were 93rd in the nation in rushing gaining just 126 yards per game, and it has to do far more even though the entire interior is gone. Guards Phillip Swanson and Nick Clemens, along with center Nick Mitchell, have to be replaced, and more is needed from tackles Anthony Parker and Dann O’Neill.

Click for each team's 2011 spring preview
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 Spring Preview
- 2011 MAC Team-By-Team Schedules 
- 2011 MAC Composite Schedule & Week Rankings 
- 2011 MAC Spring Attitudes  
- 2011 MAC Early Buzz 
- 2011 MAC Positions To Watch 
- 2011 MAC Spring Rankings