2012 Independent Preview - Team Breakdowns
Army QB Trent Steelman
Army QB Trent Steelman
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 13, 2012


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


Preview 2012

Ind. Team By Team

 
- 2012 Army Preview | 2012 BYU Preview
- 2012 Navy Preview | 2012 Notre Dame Preview  

- 2012 Independents Preview
- 2012 Independents Unit Rankings
- 2012 Independents Schedules & Picks 
- 2012 CFN All-Ind. Team & Top 30 Players
- 2012 Ind. Team By Team Looks & Breakdowns  

Army
2012 CFN Prediction: 4-8

Offense: Running game good, passing game bad. It’s that simple. Army led the nation averaging 346.5 rushing yards per game, and it should be at least that strong, if not better, with all the running backs returning along with QB Trent Steelman, who’s going into his fourth year as a starter. The line is full of linebacker-sized blockers, but it’s experienced and should be effective. And then there’s the passing game that finished dead last by a ten-mile wide margin with just 605 yards on the year. The receivers can block, but they need to make more big plays and the passing game has to be far more efficient.

Defense: Co-coordinators Payam Saadat and Chris Smeland have a lot of work to do and a lot of guessing on how to put the pieces of the puzzle together. There wasn’t any production against the run and there was little pass rush to count on, but there isn’t much hope for a major improvement with a defensive line full of linebacker-sized options. This is a small, SMALL defense that’ll get pounded on and has to hope to stay off the field with the offense grinding out drives. The secondary is full of interchangeable options and should be fresh, while the linebacking corps should be active and should fill the stat sheet as it cleans up the messes left by the line.

BYU
2012 CFN Prediction: 8-4

Offense: The BYU offense has been awful over the last two years when it’s had to face a defense with a pulse, and then looks great when going against the mediocre WAC and Mountain West teams on the slate. This year, though, offensive coordinator Brandon Doman has enough good pieces in place for the attack to be great no matter who it’s facing. The problem across the board is proven depth, but the starting 11 should be solid helped mostly by a terrific receiving corps. Cody Hoffman, Ross Apo and J.D. Falslev form an outstanding trio, and now quarterback Riley Nelson has to build on his strong 2011 and spread the ball around. The running game will be powerful with a big group of backs working behind a strong line. Tackle Braden Brown and guard Braden Hansen will be all-stars who’ll blast away.

Defense: Head coach Bronco Mendenhall took over the defensive coordinator duties two years ago and the production turned around. This year the defense could be his best year despite finishing 13th in the nation in yards allowed. The linebacking corps should be special with Kyle Van Noy a terrific pass rusher and Brandon Ogletree and Uona Kaveinga two strong tacklers. The line in the 3-4 isn’t going to get into the backfield, but it’s very big and very tough against the run. The overall pass rush has to be stronger to help out a good secondary that held its own last year and should be even better with almost all the key parts back. Everyone on the Cougar D can tackle, and size isn’t a problem, but now the big plays have to start coming on a regular basis against the better teams.

Navy
2012 CFN Prediction: 8-4

Offense: The Navy offense will do what the Navy offense does. It’ll run for over 300 yards per game, and it’ll hit on the occasional big pass play, but will it be more dominant and can it control games again? The line has to make some key changes, but it’s big and should be a strength as the season goes on. The receiving corps might be underutilized in the passing game, but Brandon Turner and Matt Aiken are good veterans who could be in for a strong season if they can get the ball their way a bit more. Trey Miller is the next star quarterback, and he has a veteran group of slotbacks to work with. However, there’s a question mark at fullback without Alexander Teich to rely on.

Defense: The Navy 3-4 defense doesn’t get into the backfield and it doesn’t generate any sort of a pass rush, but it has to be more aggressive and far tougher against the run. The line shouldn’t be bad with good size in the middle and nice veterans on the outside, but again, it won’t make anything happen behind the line. The linebacking corps will be solid in the middle with the aggressive Matt Warrick and Brye French making a slew of stops. The secondary can tackle, and the safeties will be good, but it has to stop allowing big plays and has to be better against the better passing teams.

Notre Dame
2012 CFN Prediction: 8-4

Offense: With Charley Molnar leaving to take over the UMass head coaching job, now it will be up to new offensive coordinator Chuck Martin to get more out of a veteran bunch that has the upside and firepower to average more than he 413 yards and 29 points it did last season. However, make no mistake about it; this is Brian Kelly’s offense. The first step will be to find a starting quarterback and stick with him, but with four good options the issue probably won’t be settled all season long. Step Two will be to get everyone to hang on to the ball after the O turned it over 29 times. The running game has the potential to be more dangerous with Cierre Wood and speedsters Theo Riddick and George Atkinson III working behind a very good, very experienced line. The front five will be terrific again in pass protection, but the passing game will take a step back with Michael Floyd gone. Tyler Eifert might be the nation’s best tight end, but the Irish desperately need TJ Jones to become a No. 1, go-to wideout.

Defense: The talent and athleticism on the Irish defense has improved by leaps and bounds over the last few years, but now it all has to come together for a more consistent season with more big plays. The defense came up with a mere 14 takeaways and rarely did anything to change games around. Losing top pass rusher Aaron Lynch hurts – he transferred to South Florida – but the D got a huge break with Manti Te’o - arguably the best linebacker in America – choosing to return for one more year. He leads a strong 3-4 that should be a rock against the run with good size and experience up front, but has to find consistent playmakers who can get into the backfield. The concern is a secondary that’s paper thin across the board, but is athletic enough to get by.

- 2012 Army Preview | 2012 BYU Preview
- 2012 Navy Preview | 2012 Notre Dame Preview  

- 2012 Independents Preview
- 2012 Independents Unit Rankings
- 2012 Independents Schedules & Picks 
- 2012 CFN All-Ind. Team & Top 30 Players
- 2012 Ind. Team By Team Looks & Breakdowns