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2012 WAC Preview - Team Breakdowns & Picks
New Mexico State QB Andrew Manley
New Mexico State QB Andrew Manley
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 8, 2012


Preview 2012 - CFN WAC Team By Team Quick Looks and Predicted Finish


Preview 2012

WAC Team By Team



- 2012 Idaho Preview | 2012 Louisiana Tech Preview 
- 2012 New Mexico State Preview2012 San Jose State Preview
- 2012 Texas State Preview | 2012 Utah State Preview
- 2012 UTSA Preview

- 2012 WAC Preview
- 2012 WAC Unit Rankings
- 2012 CFN All-WAC Team & Top 30 Players
- 2012 WAC Schedules & Picks
- 2012 WAC Team By Team Looks & Predicted Finish 
- 2011 WAC Preview | 2010 WAC Preview

Predicted Finish

1. Louisiana Tech
2012 CFN Pred: 9-3
2012 WAC Pred: 6-0

Offense: When is all the fun going to begin? Sonny Dykes was supposed to step in and blow up the WAC with a high-octane passing attack and lots and lots of yards. It could be this season thanks to a terrific receiving corps led by Quinton Patton, a legitimate All-America candidate who could push for 100 catches is the quarterback play is a little bit stronger. Colby Cameron is a good veteran passer who’ll get plenty of time to work behind a veteran line that gets four starters back. The offense will get just enough of a running game to get by, but with this receiving corps and with Cameron’s experience, the passing game will start to shine even more.
Defense: Defensive coordinator Tommy Spangler’s 4-2-5 alignment worked. The Bulldogs went from a disastrous 2010, finishing 116th in the nation in total defense and no production from the secondary, to leading the WAC and doing a great job against the run. However, the stars are gone with the linebacking tandem of Adrien Cole and Jay Dudley done along with top ends Matt Broha and Christian Lacey. This year the secondary should be the star with Jamel Johnson and Chad Boyd two terrific safeties leading the way, but the corners have to hold up better against the more effective passing attacks. The line will be strong in the interior with Justin Ellis leading a good rotation of tackles, but the ends have to prove they can get into the backfield on a regular basis.

T2. San Jose State
2012 CFN Pred: 5-7
2012 WAC Pred: 4-2

Offense: The offense that was so good through the air last season loses bombing quarterback Matt Faulkner and has several options to play around with. JUCO transfer David Fales is the perfect fit for the attack, but he’ll have to battle to be the main man. With Noel Grigsby and tight end Ryan Otten leading a loaded receiving corps, the passing attack should keep cranking out big numbers up top. The woeful running game gets a huge boost with former Minnesota top back De’Leon Eskridge ready to go after sitting out all of last year and with former Washington Husky Dalton Freeman returning from a broken arm, but only two starters – tackle David Quessenbery and guard Nicholas Kaspar – return up front from a line that was a rock in pass protection.
Defense: The defense did little to get into the backfield – finishing 100th in the nation in both sacks and tackles for loss – and was awful against the run even with end Travis Johnson cranking out a huge 9.5 sack season. Keith Smith is one of the WAC’s best linebackers, but he had to do way too much by himself for a corps that needs to develop more depth and has to get production out of two new starters. With little help from the pass rush the secondary had its problems, but it gets good-tackling safety James Orth back and should get a stronger year out of top corner Ronnie Yell.

T2. Utah State
2012 CFN Pred: 7-5
2012 WAC Pred: 4-2

Offense: The offense exploded with the emergence of QB Chuckie Keeton and the play of fill-in Adam Kennedy leading the way to an efficient passing game and a terrific ground attack. However, Robert Turbin ran for 1,517 yards and 19 scores and Michael Smith added 870 yards and nine touchdowns. Both top backs are gone, putting the pressure on Kerwynn Williams to handle the workload. Keeton and Kennedy form a strong quarterback tandem, and Matt Austin is a nice No. 1 receiver, but the rest of the receiving rotation is iffy. Tyler Larsen might be the nation’s best center, but the line depth is paper thin and two new starters have no experience. Even so, the offense will run fine with well over 3,000 rushing yards.
Defense: The Aggie defense came up with a terrific year finishing first in the WAC allowing 366 yards and doing a great job against the run. However, that was with tremendous linebackers Bobby Wagner and Kyle Gallagher, who combined for 247 stops. They’re gone, putting more pressure on the line in the 3-4 to do even more against the run. Defensive coordinator Dave Aranda has a strong secondary with great tackling corners, but coming up with more picks is a must. The defensive backs came up with one pick last season and that was with a decent pass rusher. This won’t be a star-studded group, but the D will still be far better than it was a few years ago.

T4. Idaho
2012 CFN Pred: 3-9
2012 WAC Pred:3-3

Offense: New offensive coordinator Jason Gesser, the former Washington State quarterback, has a ton of work to do. First and foremost, the Vandals have to get their passing game back after an inefficient and ineffective season. The receiving corps needs to come up with more big plays, and the running game has to be more effective with former Arizona State transfer Ryan Bass needing to stay healthy. The line is huge, but it has a ton of holes to fill and the production has to be far, far better than it’s been in years. The quarterback situation will be a question mark going into the fall with Dominique Blackman, Taylor Davis, and several untested prospects all getting a shot.
Defense: The defense made a few improvements, statistically getting better against the run, but that was mostly because everyone bombed away on the secondary. The Vandal pass rush has to be far more consistent, and the pass defense has to start picking off more passes and making more big plays. There’s good size up front and decent versatility and experience in the back seven, but the defense that finished 107th in the nation and 110th against the pass has to find something that works.

T4. New Mexico State
2012 CFN Pred: 4-8
2012 WAC Pred: 3-3

Offense: The New Mexico State offense started to find something last year with the passing game. New offensive coordinator Jerry McManus will keep the bombing going, and while the offense had to throw to try to make up for problems on defense, it should be even more efficient and more consistent. QB Andrew Manley is back after getting knocked out early last year, and even though the top three pass catchers are gone, the deep passes should be there with a good-looking group ready to shine. The running game has a slew of quick backs who can all catch, but they need more room to run behind a line that struggled in pass protection. The attack should crank out around 400 yards per game again, but don’t expect much balance. It’ll be Manley or bust.
Defense: New defensive coordinator David Elson has a lot of work to do. The defense finished 112th in the nation in both yards and points allowed, mostly because the front seven couldn’t get behind the line and couldn’t make enough plays against the run. Enough veterans return to combine with a slew of JUCO transfers to hope for a little bit of improvement, but the D needs playmakers to come forward immediately. The front four is quick and active, and the linebacking corps has potential, but they have to cut down on the leaks so the secondary doesn’t have to make all the plays again. A ball-hawking defensive back has to emerge early on.

6. Texas State
2012 CFN Pred: 3-9
2012 WAC Pred: 2-4

Offense: The Bobcats spread offense runs the ball and uses the passing game to connect on the big play when defenses worry about the ground game. Veteran quarterback Shaun Rutherford is a good dual-threat playmaker, but he’s not all that big and will take some shots, meaning the ground game could rely even more on the rotation of running backs Marcus Curry and Terrence Franks. The tight ends are solid led by Chase Harper, who might be the best in the WAC, while there’s enough speed at receiver to overcome the lack of experience. The line is the biggest concern with three new starters and no developed depth whatsoever.
Defense: Defensive coordinator Craig Naivar has some interesting pieces to play around with in the 4-2-5 alignment. For the most part the system worked last year with a great pass rush and strong secondary, but top pass rusher Michael Ebbitt is gone and it’s going to take the entire front six to pick up the slack. There’s no size on the line, but the linebackers make up for it and are strong against the run. However, the stars are in the secondary with the top three tacklers last year all defensive backs and all returning. There’s depth in the defensive backfield – the team’s biggest strength - and plenty of options.

7. UTSA
2012 CFN Pred: 4-8
2012 WAC Pred: 0-6

Offense: The Roadrunner offense is really, really, young, but it’s also really, really experienced. The coaching staff threw the youngsters to the wolves with as many as eight freshmen starting. Only one starter is gone, and now there are a slew of veterans and options to play around with. The running game uses several players, but could use a true No. 1 option, while the receiving corps gets everyone back including a good set of tight ends. The line is versatile and can move, but it’s about to get a rude awakening in the FBS against better lines. Eric Soza is a veteran dual threat quarterback, but he’ll be pushed hard by JUCO transfer Tucker Carter.
Defense: The 4-2-5 defense is loaded with experience, but it needs to find playmakers in the secondary in a big hurry and could use more pass rushers up front. The linebackers could be terrific, only needing two, with Steven Kurfehs and Brandon Reeves one of the best 1-2 punches in the WAC. Marlon Smith is a tremendous pass rushing end, but the young line needs an interior pass rusher and could stand to find a consistent playmaker on the other side. Nic Johnston is a huge-hitting safety, but the more production from the rest of the defensive backs, the better.
 
- 2012 Idaho Preview | 2012 Louisiana Tech Preview 
- 2012 New Mexico State Preview2012 San Jose State Preview
- 2012 Texas State Preview | 2012 Utah State Preview
- 2012 UTSA Preview

- 2012 WAC Preview
- 2012 WAC Unit Rankings
- 2012 CFN All-WAC Team & Top 30 Players
- 2012 WAC Schedules & Picks
- 2012 WAC Team By Team Looks & Predicted Finish 
- 2011 WAC Preview | 2010 WAC Preview