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MAC Pre-Spring Preview - The Concerns
Western Michigan QB Alex Carder
Western Michigan QB Alex Carder
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Feb 8, 2012


2012 MAC Pre-Spring Preview - Why Every MAC Team Should Be Grouchy

2012 Pre-Spring Preview   

Why To Be Grouchy - MAC

 
East   Akron | Buffalo | Kent State | Massachusetts | Miami Univ. | Ohio | Temple
West  Ball State | CMU | Bowling Green | EMU | Northern Illinois | Toledo | WMU

2012 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 
2012 Recruiting Rankings - MAC East | MAC West 

East

Akron

After a nightmare of a run since winning the 2005 MAC title, Akron will create a little bit of a buzz with Terry Bowden taking over. There might have been issues and he might not have left Auburn on the best of terms, but he did a good job at getting the program through a rough time and producing on the field. After winning just two games in the last two seasons, and going 6-34 in the last 40 games, the Zips are ready for something positive. A rejuvenated Bowden should be it.

Buffalo

The team still has a long, long way to go to become more consistent. Only two of the team’s seven losses were by fewer than double digits, and getting blown out by Bowling Green at home, Eastern Michigan, and Miami late in the year wasn’t a good step forward. The offense has to be more explosive, and while Alex Neutz is emerging as a nice playmaker, Ed Young and Marcus Rivers are gone and Alex Zordich has to step up at quarterback with Chazz Anderson done.

Kent State

The defense that led the MAC in pass efficiency defense loses both starting corners, Josh Pleasant and Norman Wolfe, and loses good all-around end Lee Stalker. The offense gets most of the key starters back, but it also has 25 miles to go to merely be mediocre. The attack finished second-to-last in the nation total offense and had a painfully inefficient passing game. The lines have to be far, far better, and they’re probably not going to be strong enough to make a big difference.

Massachusetts

The Minutemen have enough talents across the board to not be awful starting out life in the FBS, but the offense is gone with do-it-all running back Jonathan Hernandez done. The passing game that was so strong at times loses its top five receivers and top three wideouts including Julian Talley, Jesse Julmiste, and tight end Emil Igwenagu, who combined to catch 11 of the team’s 13 touchdown passes.

Miami University

The linebacking corps loses two key cogs in Jerrell Wedge and Ryan Kennedy, and free safety Anthony Kokal will be sorely missed. Offensively, just about everyone of note returns, but that’s not necessarily a plus for a line that was among the worst in college football at keeping the quarterback upright and did nothing for the nation’s worst running game. The RedHawks don’t have a running back who can carry the load.

Ohio

The bulk of the team returns, but several stars are gone. WR LaVon Brazill was the gamebreaker and top punt returner, and his running mate, Riley Dunlop, will also be missed. Both starting offensive tackles are gone as is leading rusher Donte Harden. Heart-and-soul middle linebacker Noah Keller is done, as is end Curtis Meyers off a front seven that can’t lose pass rushers and playmakers in the backfield. This will still be one of the East’s best teams, but the division should be even stronger in 2012.

Temple

The offensive line has to be almost totally retooled with four starters gone and only right tackle Martin Wallace back. Matt Brown is a good, proven back, but he’s not Bernard Pierce, who took off a year early for the NFL after leading the MAC and finishing sixth in the nation in rushing. The defense also has some work to do with all-stars Adrian Robinson and Morkeith Brown off the ends and top linebacker Tahir Whitehead also done. In all, seven starters are gone on offense and six are done on D. In a loaded MAC East, that might be enough

West 

Ball State

The Cardinals have some key holes to fill. QB Keith Wenning might have come up with a good sophomore season, but now he’ll have to carry the passing game even more with top targets Briggs Orsbon and Torieal Gibson gone. The defense that finished second-to-last in the nation, and now it has to find several new starters with three starters gone off the defensive front along with both safeties Joshua Howard and Sean Baker.

Bowling Green

The passing game will be fine thanks to the coaching staff and QB Matt Schilz, but it’ll still hurt to lose veteran targets in Kamar Jorden and Adrian Hodges. Four starters might be back on the offensive front, but center Ben Bojicic was a terrific leader and the glue who held things together. Getting Murray State early on the schedule will help, but there isn’t another sure thing on the non-conference slate with Tulsa, Indiana, and Mississippi State to deal with.

Central Michigan

Most of the starters might be back on offense, but top running back Paris Cotton is gone after being the only one who produced for the ground attack. David Blackburn was a good all-around tight end who turned into a nice safety valve and was a decent blocker. Defensively, all the starters are back on the line, but linebackers Armond Staten and Mike Petrucci are both done and won’t be easily replaced. This might be a far more experienced team, but it still has a long way to go to be more consistent.

Eastern Michigan

It’s Eastern Michigan, so six wins was six wins was six wins, and it doesn’t really matter where they came from, but it was a wee bit of a mirage. The victory over Western Michigan gave the season a bit of credibility, but the other five wins came against Howard, Alabama State, Akron, Central Michigan, and Buffalo. The defensive front loses two good starters in Brad Ohrman and Brandon Slater, while middle linebacker Marcus English and both safeties will be missed. Receivers Corey Welch and Trey Hunter are gone.

Northern Illinois

While the overall talent level is still high, the defending MAC champs have some massive holes to fill. Four starters are gone off the offensive line and leading running back Jasmin Hopkins needs to be replaced, but that’s nothing compared to losing QB Chandler Harnish. The reigning MAC player of the year did everything for the offense finishing ninth in the nation in total yards. Defensively, the linebacking corps loses leading tackler Pat Schiller and running mate Jordan Delegal.

Toledo

Tim Beckman isn’t the only big departure from last year’s nine-win team. Gamebreaking receiver Eric Page won’t easily be replaced, while leading rushers Adonis Thomas and Morgan Williams are also gone. Counting the running backs, four of the top five receivers have to be replaced. Three starters including both tackles are done on the O line, while three starters have to be replaced both on the defensive front and in the secondary.

Western Michigan

Jordan White was special. He took advantage of his sixth year of eligibility by leading the nation with 140 catches for 1,911 yards and 17 scores. Also gone are Chleb Revenell and Robert Arnheim, too good complementary receivers who took advantage of all the attention paid to White. Most of the key parts are back on defense, tackle Drew Nowak was for the line what White was to the offense. Nowak was one of the nation’s leaders in tackles for loss and was second in the MAC in sacks. WMU might manufacture pressure from several spots, but it’s not going to generate the same pressure from the inside.

East   Akron | Buffalo | Kent State | Massachusetts | Miami Univ. | Ohio | Temple
West  Ball State | CMU | Bowling Green | EMU | Northern Illinois | Toledo | WMU

2012 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 
2012 Recruiting Rankings - MAC East | MAC West