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2011 CFN Preseason Rankings - No. 101 to 110
UAB QB Bryan Ellis
UAB QB Bryan Ellis
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 3, 2011


Preview 2011 CFN Preseason Rankings No. 101 to 110 ... Near the Bottom


    
Preview 2011 - Preseason Rankings

Near The Bottom - No. 101 to 110


2011 CFN Preseason Rankings  
81 to 90 | 91 to 100 | 101 to 110 | 111 to 120
61 to 70 & 71 to 80 COMING WED. AFTERNOON
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There's one very important distinction in the CFN preseason rankings: these are based on how good the teams are going into the season and NOT how they're going to finish. Some teams have easier schedules than others, some get tougher road games and some will need a little bit of time to jell meaning they might be better than their final record might indicate. Going into the year, these are how good the teams appear to be from No. 1 through 120.

101. UAB Preview
Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Relative Strengths: Quarterback, Offensive Line
Relative Weaknesses: Defensive Line, Special Teams

What to watch for on offense: The development of the young receivers. The wideouts are the one missing piece of the puzzle for an offense that has chance to be very. Four of last season's top seven pass-catchers are gone, leaving a running back as the most productive holdover. The Blazers will lean on a combination of veterans and freshmen, hoping they can support Bryan Ellis and the passing game. While Patrick Hearn and Jackie Williams flashed upside a year ago, it's time for Nick Adams to shine and reach his full potential.

What to watch for on defense: Go West young men. A problem for years in Birmingham, UAB is entrusting its tattered D to long-time veteran coach Tommy West. At face value, it appears to be a great choice by head man Neil Callaway. West is a Conference USA veteran from his days leading Memphis, and has a deep and decorated resume. A no-nonsense preacher, he'll command strong fundamentals from his Blazers. While the talent isn't going to change, the new coordinator has a chance to get more out of it.

102. Arkansas State Preview
Offense | Defense Depth Chart

Relative Strengths: Quarterback, Special Teams
Relative Weaknesses: Offensive Line, Defensive Line

What to watch for on offense: More bombing away. The running game has several good backs to work with. Derek Lawson and Jermaine Robertson could carry the offense, while the quarterbacks can run. However, the attack will revolve around the passing game with Ryan Aplin a veteran, seasoned decision-maker with a loaded receiving corps to work with. Taylor Stockemer is a dangerous, big deep threat, Dwayne Frampton is a quick interior receiver, and Allen Muse is a 6-4 slot target who finished second on the team last season. Throw in both starting tight ends and the possible emergence of troubled former Oklahoma prospect Josh Jarboe, and a 4,000-yard passing season isn't crazy.

What to watch for on defense: The run defense. Last in the Sun Belt and 110th in the nation, ASU gave up 207 yards per game and allowed 21 touchdown runs. It didn't help to start out the season against Auburn and having to deal with Navy, but seven teams cranked out 200 yards or more with great backs like WKU's Bobby Rainey and UNT's Lance Dunbar running wild. The Red Wolves went 2-5 when allowing 200 yards or more, and now the defensive front six – and occasionally a front seven – has to do more even with two new tackles.

103. Ball State Preview
Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Relative Strengths: Running Back, Secondary
Relative Weaknesses: Quarterback, Defensive Line

What to watch for on offense: Move, move, move and with more passing, passing, passing. Ball State finished a woeful 109th in America in passing offense averaging a pathetic 154 yards per game with 18 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. Under Lembo's reign, Elon finished second in the FCS in passing attack. QB Keith Wenning has good size and a decent receiving corps to work with, and now the new coaching staff will make sure everyone is hustling and the tempo is as fast as possible. Wenning will get time to grow into the new job requirements, but he has to prove he can move the chains.

What to watch for on defense: The pass rush. Defensive coordinator Jay Bateman has to show that things will be different at Ball State than they were at Elon. The Phoenix was terrific against the run two years ago allowing just 104 yards per game while finishing eighth in the FCS in sacks and fourth in total defense. Elon, however, slipped finishing 102nd against the run and was 105th in sacks and 100th in tackles for loss. Considering how pathetic the Ball State line was at getting into the backfield, Bateman will need to prove that his group can get to the quarterback. Everything trickles down from there for a D that needs as many big plays as it can get.

104. Utah State Preview
Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Relative Strengths: Running Back, Linebacker
Relative Weaknesses: Quarterback, Defensive Line

What to watch for on offense: The quarterback situation. Nine starters are back. Robert Turbin is back at running back, the offensive line is full of veterans, and the receivers have good potential and playmakers at all three spots. What's missing? A quarterback. It looked like it might be Jeremy Higgins going into spring ball, but he fell behind the pack and ended up transferring. Now it'll be up to Adam Kennedy and Alex Hart to fight it out, while top recruit Chuck Keaton will be given a chance to take over. Considering Diondre Borel was the main man for the offense, the Aggies have to get production out of the spot and they'll have to live through the mistakes.

What to watch for on defense: Gary Andersen. The head coach has had enough, and he's not going to take it anymore. After years and years and years of Utah State struggling on defense, the head man realized that the best man for the job is the head man, and he's going to personally see a D that gets a loaded linebacking corps back and has just enough size and experience across the board to be solid. Considering the Aggies finished 109th in the nation in sacks and 117th in tackles for loss, Andersen is going to dial up the pass rush from the start.

105. Marshall Preview
Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Relative Strengths: Defensive Line, Linebacker
Relative Weaknesses: Quarterback, Offensive Line

What to watch for on offense: Van trailin'. While RB Travon Van will begin summer camp fourth on the depth chart, it's hard to imagine him staying there through August. After originally committing to Florida, he changed his mind and headed to Huntington. A dynamite all-around athlete from the same high school that produced Reggie Bush, he's capable of stoking a running game that ranked 114th nationally a year ago. If he can get the offense down in a hurry, he'll quickly rise up the pecking order in a Herd backfield flush with mediocrity.

What to watch for on defense: Siccin' Curry. Knowing that he'll be double and sometimes triple-teamed, the coaching staff will do whatever is necessary to free up all-star DE Vinny Curry. It'll move him around and even drop him back in coverage at times. Still, he's going to make his plays this fall. The key, however, will be the response of his linemates. If the opposition is throwing a bunch of resources at the senior, it'll be up to the other ends, Jeremiah Taylor, James Rouse, and Trevor Black, to take advantage and make the other team pay.

106. WKU Preview
Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Relative Strengths: Running Back, Secondary
Relative Weaknesses: Linebacker, Defensive Line

What to watch for on offense: The maturation and improvement of Kawaun Jakes. The junior quarterback struggled at times last year with the passing game and he didn't do enough to consistently get the offense moving, but he had his moments. More than just a guy who'll hand it off to Bobby Rainey, Jakes appears to be ready to take on more of a leadership role. Symbolically, it started with cutting off his dreadlocks and saying he's planning on being more active in being the team's main man. If he can come up with more of a passing game, the offense will be more balanced and far more effective.

What to watch for on defense: The corners. The defensive line is experienced and the linebacking corps needs a lot of work, but the secondary should be terrific in a little bit of time. Three sophomores will start with two strong corners in Tyree Robinson and Arius Wright and has a good playmaker in senior Derrius Brooks, who led the team with three picks. The line might have several veteran ends, but the pass rush isn't going to be stellar. That means the very quick, very promising corners have to start doing even more and have to lock down the outside.

107. New Mexico Preview
Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Relative Strengths: Quarterback, Running Back
Relative Weaknesses: Offensive Line, Defensive Line

What to watch for on offense: The line. B.R. Holbrook, Tarean Austin, and Stump Godfrey are all talented quarterbacks who can lead the offense. Kasey Carrier and James Wright are two good, fast backs who can be more than fine with a little bit of room. Reed and Kirk are terrific receivers, and Ohio State transfer Lamaar Thomas leads a slew of ultra-athletic pass catching options. Can the line block anyone? Dillon Farrell could be the league's best center, but he needs help around him with just one other starter, tackle Darryl Johnson, returning.

What to watch for on defense: The 4-2-5. It's a strange time to make a change to the alignment considering the team's strength might be at linebacker where Carmen Messina, Joe Stoner, and Spencer Merritt all decent veterans who make lots and lots of tackles. Four starters return to the secondary and the one new starter in the five man alignment, JUCO transfer DeShon Marman, might be the most talented of the bunch. The defense should be more athletic now and it should be more active, but it'll still have problems against the power running teams. Something had to be changed, though, for the nation's second-worst defense.

108. San Jose State Preview
Offense | Defense | Depth Chart 

Relative Strengths: Wide Receiver, Special Teams
Relative Weaknesses: Offensive Line, Defensive Line

What to watch for on offense: The quarterback situation. This is the biggest indicator for what the coaching staff wants to do with its season. Senior Matt Faulkner might be the safe choice because of his age and maturity – he was the No. 2 last year – but he didn't exactly light it up this offseason. If he's the starter, the coaches are playing it close to the vest and are trying to win now. If it's sophomore Dasmen Stewart, the best runner of the lot, or redshirt freshman Blake Jurich, or true freshman Joseph Gray, the program is being built for the future. The key will be to find the best of the young options and plan on sticking with him thick or thin over the next few years.

What to watch for on defense: The return of the banged up linebackers. Keith Smith and Vince Buhagiar combined for 205 tackles as true freshmen, and now they're the established stars of the front seven. On the plus side, former starters Kyler O'Neal and Pompey Festejo are back after missing most of last year hurt, and combining with the true sophomores and senior Tiuke Tuipulotu, the linebacking corps could be a major plus with great depth and lots of options.

109. Rice Preview
Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Relative Strengths: Running Back, Defensive Line
Relative Weaknesses: Receiver, Secondary

What to watch for on offense: Taylor's swift. The coaching staff can't say enough good things about young quarterback Taylor McHargue, the sophomore who provided an instant jolt of energy to the team in November. Not only is he quick with his feet, but he's picked up the offense and his role within it in a hurry as well. Poised beyond his years and able to make things percolate in a dual-threat fashion, prepare for the inevitable comparisons to Chase Clement, one of the best quarterbacks to ever play for the school.

What to watch for on defense: Solomon's return. No, one player won't transform the leaky Owl defense, but the return from injury of DE Scott Solomon provides an immeasurable boost to the unit. A second team all-star two years ago, he plays with maximum intensity on every down. Built like a tackle at 6-3 and 280 pounds, he moves like a lighter player, beating opponents with his fundamentals and quick first step. With the NFL watching, he could surpass his 2009 production, 63 tackles, 10.5 stops for loss, and 6.5 sacks.

110. Florida Atlantic Preview
Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Relative Strengths: Quarterback, Running Back
Relative Weaknesses: Receiver, Secondary

What to watch for on offense: The quarterback battle. FAU got terrific production out of Rusty Smith, and then Jeff Van Camp took over and did a nice job. Now there's a fight for the starting job. David Kooi and Graham Wilbert are built like NBA small forwards, and they have the big-time arms to go along with their size. The more they can push the ball down the field on a regular basis, but more the running game will finally have some room to move. But first, the coaching staff has to settle on one guy to be the main man. Kooi has a little more talent, but Wilbert has the tools to be great.

What to watch for on defense: The move to a 3-4 alignment. The Owls have never had a slew of big, beefy space-eaters up front to count on, relying more on smallish, quick playmakers who can swarm around the ball. This year the defense will settle into the four linebacker sets to better utilize players like Cory Henry and others who have hybrid skills. The defensive ends still aren't going to be all that big, but now the job of getting into the backfield will fall almost completely on the outside linebackers.

2011 CFN Preseason Rankings  
Preview 2011 | 1 to 5 | 6 to 10 | 11 to 20 | 21 to 30 | 31 to 40 | 41 to 50
51 to 60 | 61 to 70 | 71 to 80 | 81 to 90 | 91 to 100 | 101 to 110 | 111 to 120 
 
 










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