Fiu, Cirminiello, Mitchell on TV - Campus Insiders | Buy College Football Tickets

2011 Spring Preview - The MAC Buzz
Western Michigan QB Alex Carder
Western Michigan QB Alex Carder
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Mar 5, 2011


The MAC might not generate a ton of national interest, but it could have one of the best conference races of 2011. With a slew of terrific quarterbacks, like NIU's Chandler Harnish, CMU's Ryan Radcliff, and Western Michigan bomber Alex Carder, there should be plenty of fireworks. Check out the early buzz around each MAC team going into spring practices in the 2011 Spring Preview.


2011 MAC Spring Preview

The Spring Buzz

 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
After such a disastrous first season, the Zips needed an upgrade in all areas and they got a big one for the defensive side of the ball with the hiring of defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove. The former DC for Nebraska and Wisconsin, and the head of the Minnesota defense over the last two years, is a strong, accomplished defensive mind and he should make an immediate impact this spring with a veteran defense.

Bowling Green
The offense has been strong in the first two years under head coach Dave Clawson, but the defense has been a joke and has limited what the team has been able to do. A particular problem has been a defensive line that has been miserable against the run and has done nothing to get into the backfield, and now there’s some help with Larry McDaniel coming in to coach the defensive front. He spent the last several years at Kent State where his defensive lines have been among the best in college football at generating pressure, and the hope is that he turns things around right away.

Buffalo
After a horrible first season under head coach Jeff Quinn, the first step back is going to be figuring out the quarterback situation and hoping for some sort of production. The team fizzled over the second half of last year because of the problems under center, and the talk throughout spring ball will be about Jerry Davis vs. Alex Dennison vs. Alex Zordich to see if one of them can take the program on his back. If the quarterbacks don’t shine this spring, it’ll be uh-oh time going into fall camp.

Kent State
It’s not like Kent State was that bad over the last few years, but a gag down the stretch meant a change had to be made. In comes Darrell Hazell from Ohio State, and while he might need a little bit to get the recruiting classes in place to do things like he wants to, he’s not going to get much of a grace period as he’s expected to improve on a 5-7 season. Can he keep the defensive pressure from the old regime while getting more out of the offense? The pressure will be on from the start this spring.

Miami University
New head coach Don Treadwell isn’t going to try to reinvent the wheel. The defending MAC champions are loaded with experience and should be even better than last year. Treadwell will not only try to keep the momentum going from the Mike Haywood era, but he’s also making a big deal about the tradition of MU football and is looking to return some of the old school ways that were around during his playing days. Treadwell is a RedHawk through and through, and it has showed right away.

Ohio
The spring will be all about defense, defense, and more defense. The Bobcats didn’t come up with a great defensive season, but they were solid allowing just 353 yards and 24 points per game. Now they have to replace seven starters and have several big question marks, but one of the most interesting areas will be linebacker with three starters from the bowl loss to Troy returning and with Ron Collins, the former defensive coordinator at Colorado, taking over the linebacker coaching gig.

Temple
It’s not the worst thing in the world to put together a Florida Gator-like coaching staff. New head man Steve Addazio is generating some excitement just by hiring some good assistants like Scot Loeffler as the offensive coordinator. Loeffler has been around the block. The quarterback coach for the Gators last year, Loeffler should help the always-struggling Owl quarterbacks right away, but obviously the spotlight is on Addazio. He has a big enough reputation and a good enough résumé to expect the program to keep the momentum going.

West 

Ball State
Stan Parrish had to follow Brady Hoke’s act and couldn’t do much. Two years later, in comes Pete Lembo from Elon in an attempt to start from scratch with new ideas and a new energy. Instead of trying to cling to old ways, Lembo and his staff dove in to figure out how to upgrade the talent level right away. This spring, Lembo has the experience in place and just enough talent to work with to not have to blow everything up, but things will definitely be different and it all starts with improving the offensive attack.

Central Michigan
After a rough year that, to be nice, was a rebuilding one, second-year head coach Dan Enos had some work to do to shake things up. Looking for more from the passing game, and trying to get more help for the receiving corps, former Purdue star Taylor Stubblefield was brought in to coach the receivers, while the defensive line that was a stunning disappointment will look to get a boost from Vinson Reynolds, who’ll take over as the coach for the front. Enos is putting together a relatively young coaching staff, and the hope has to be that the energy translates into more production.

Eastern Michigan
Welcome to do-or-die time. Head coach Ron English has to come up with just two wins in two years, and the two came last year by a combined seven points. English doesn’t have to take EMU to the MAC title game, but there have to be more signs of life after struggling so much on offense and lacking enough pop on defense. There’s always a sense of urgency around struggling programs once spring ball opens, but this could be the last one for English unless something special starts to happen.

Northern Illinois 
With Jerry Kill off to Minnesota, the spotlight is on Dave Doeren, who’s expected to make the NIU defense a killer while keeping the running game rolling. NIU is almost like a mini-Wisconsin in style, and Doeren, the former Badger defensive coordinator, is going to try to keep the production going after a strong 2010. It’s not necessarily a bad thing that the biggest knock on Doeren so far is that he’s expected to be so good and so upwardly mobile that he might not be around DeKalb for long.

Toledo
It’s usually misguided to assume a team is going to be fired up after a close loss in a bowl game and a rough end to an otherwise great season, but that doesn’t appear to be the case with Toledo. The Rockets, according to head coach Tim Beckman, have been more fired up than normal over the last few months since the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl loss to Florida International, and there appears to be a sense around the program that it’s close to becoming a true MAC powerhouse. This is a veteran team returning, and it’s acting like it.

Western Michigan
The defense comes back loaded with experience, and while the offense was supposed to be fine thanks to the return of QB Alex Carder, it got a huge boost when No. 1 receiver Jordan White was given a sixth year of eligibility because he missed all of 2006 and 2008 with a knee injury. All he did was set the school record with 1,378 yards and ten touchdowns on 94 catches. Considering Juan Nunez and his 91 catches and ten touchdowns is gone, this was a huge, huge break for the Bronco attack.

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