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M-West Pre-Spring Preview - The Concerns
San Diego State WR Colin Lockett
San Diego State WR Colin Lockett
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Feb 10, 2012


2012 Mountain West Pre-Spring Preview - Why Every Mountain West Team Should Be Grouchy

2012 Pre-Spring Preview   

Why To Be Grouchy - M-West
 


Air Force | Boise State | Colorado State | Fresno State | Hawaii
New Mexico | Nevada | San Diego State | UNLV | Wyoming

2012 Mountain West Pre-Spring Preview
- Mountain West Pre-Spring Rankings
- Why Every Team Should Be Excited
- Why Every Team Should Be Grouchy
- What Every Team Needs To Work On 
- 2012 Mountain West Recruiting Rankings

Air Force

There’s always major turnover in the Air Force roster and there are always big question marks, but this could be a big rebuilding season. 2011 was when everything was supposed to come together with a veteran team led by Tim Jefferson – who turned out to be the school’s all-time winningest quarterback. It was a good year, but not a great one, and now the Falcons have to replace eight starters on offense and eight on a defense that couldn’t stop anyone’s running game. Replacing Jefferson will be the toughest task of all with backup Connor Dietz also gone.

Boise State

Boise State won’t fall off the map, but this is going to be a major rebuilding season with ten defensive starters gone and seven gone from the offense. There are good players waiting in the wings, but it’s asking for way too much to expect anyone to instantly fill in the shoes of Kellen Moore. The defensive front should be fine in time, but tackle Billy Winn and end Shea McClellin were special producers who set the tone for the Mountain West’s best defense. There’s no time to rebuild and reload with a date at Michigan State to kick off the season.

Colorado State

Pete Thomas was supposed to be the franchise to build everything around, and it seemed like he would’ve been a perfect fit with Jim McElwain, but he left for NC State. The quarterback situation will be under the microscope, but the bigger concern could be an offensive line that loses three starters including tackle Paul Madsen and veteran center Tyler McDermott. The overall depth is a problem, with running back the biggest hole with little to count on behind leading rusher Chris Nwoke.

Fresno State

It would be nice to have two killer defensive tackles to work the new defense around, and losing Logan Harrell on the inside hurts. There’s size coming back in 305-pound Tyeler Davison on the nose, but Harrell was special. The offensive line should turn out to be fine, but left tackle Bryce Harris and right guard Leslie Cooper are gone. The receiving corps gets back several excellent targets, but it loses Devon Wylie, who was the nation’s fifth best punt returner. Longtime placekicker Kevin Goessling has to be replaced.

Hawaii

Hawaii might be known for its offense, but the defense has been terrific over the last few years and was a killer at getting into the backfield last season. It’ll take some time and retooling with three starters gone off the line and seven starters needing to be replaced. The linebacking pair of Corey Paredes and Aaron Brown, the team’s top two tacklers, are gone. Brown led the team in interceptions, and Richard Torres, who was second on the team in picks, also has to be replaced. The offense should be stronger, but the line has to do some work with Brett Leonard and Andrew Faaumu gone off the left side and London Sapulu done at center.

Nevada

Nevada’s offense is known for its running game, but the passing attack was efficient and effective. Leading receiver Rishard Matthews is gone, as is No. 2 target Shane Anderson. The defense loses three starters up front including all-star tackle Brett Roy and fellow inside presence Zack Madonick. Roy led the team in sacks, and Kaelin Barnett, who’s also gone, finished second. The team’s two most active defenders and top tacklers, linebackers Brandon Marshall and James-Michael Johnson, have to be replaced. Solid punter Jake Hurst is also done.

New Mexico

The potential is there to come up with a big turnaround – eventually. The experience is there, but the talent level isn’t after finishing last in the nation in scoring and 118th in scoring defense. The one area on offense that could use the veterans is the line, and both starting guards have to be replaced. The defense only loses four starters, but they were some of the team’s most productive players. LB Carmen Messina was a tackling machine, and while Jaymar Latchison didn’t do enough to get into the backfield, he was second on the team in sacks behind Messina.

San Diego State

There’s a lot of turnover. A LOT of turnover. Ryan Lindley was one of the best quarterbacks in the program’s history, while Ronnie Hillman was the nation’s fourth-best runner last year and ran for 3,243 yards and 36 touchdowns over the last two seasons. The offensive line loses three starters including both tackles. Defensively, the entire front three is gone as are two of the team’s top linebackers. Miles Burris led the team in tackles and sacks, tackle Jerome Long was second in tackles, tackles for loss and sacks, and all-star Larry Parker led the team in interceptions. They’re all gone, as is punter Brian Stahovich, who averaged close to 44 yards per boot.

UNLV

The Rebels should be better, and they’ll be more experienced with better depth than they’ve had in the last few seasons, but there’s still ten miles ago to be merely decent. The consistency wasn’t there last season for the third-worst passing game in America and an offense that scored more than 20 points just three times. The defense loses both starting ends and three starters are gone from the secondary. There should be a big improvement this year, but that might only mean a four-win season.

Wyoming

Historically, Wyoming always seems to rock when no one is paying attention, and then it has problems when there are any expectations. Now there are expectations. This was a young team that’s about to mature in several spots, but three starters are gone off the offensive line including tackles Clayton Kirven and John Hutchins. The defense loses top ends Josh Biezuns and leading sacker Gabe Knapton, while heart-and-soul linebacker Brian Hendricks, who led the team in tackles, is also done. Part of having a strong season is winning the close games, but teams don’t tend to get the same breaks twice. Last year UW won four games by three points or fewer.

Air Force | Boise State | Colorado State | Fresno State | Hawaii
New Mexico | Nevada | San Diego State | UNLV | Wyoming

2012 Mountain West Pre-Spring Preview
- Mountain West Pre-Spring Rankings
- Why Every Team Should Be Excited
- Why Every Team Should Be Grouchy
- What Every Team Needs To Work On 
- 2012 Mountain West Recruiting Rankings