2013 Western Michigan Preview – Offense

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jun 20, 2013


CollegeFootballNews.com 2013 Preview - Western Michigan Bronco Offense


Western Michigan Broncos

Preview 2013 - Offense

- 2013 Western Michigan Preview | 2013 Western Michigan Offense
- 2013 Western Michigan Defense | 2013 Western Michigan Depth Chart

What You Need To Know: The offense was unbelievable at times thanks to quarterback Alex Carder, a good leader and playmaker who directed one of college football’s deadliest passing games. He’s back but all of his top targets are gone including Jordan White, who caught 140 passes for 1,911 yards and 17 scores. The receiving corps will be a question mark, but the stable of running backs is deep and experienced. The line might not have any all-stars, but it’s versatile and full of good veterans. The pieces are all there for another big season, but it’ll all be up to Carder and how he can make everyone around him shine. He’ll have to make the receiving corps better.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Tyler Van Tubbergen
159-261, 1,825 yds, 15 TD, 11 INT
Rushing: Dareyon Chance
176 carries, 947 yds, 4 TD
Receiving: Jaime Wilson
67 catches, 792 yds, 6 TD

Star of the offense: Senior QB Tyler Van Tubbergen
Player who has to step up and be a star: Redshirt freshman OT Taylor Moton
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore OT Willie Beavers
Best pro prospect: Sophomore WR Jaime Wilson
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Wilson, 2) Van Tubbergen, 3) RB Dareyon Chance
Strength of the offense: Passing Game, Veteran Running Backs
Weakness of the offense: Offensive Line, Consistency

Quarterbacks

Alex Carder came into the 2012 season as the impressive bomber with big-time numbers and a great résumé, but it was senior Tyler Van Tubbergen who ended up filling in and making the offense go. Carder got hurt, and Van Tubbergen, who threw six touchdown passes on a 19-of-21 day against Akron at the end of the 2011 season, rolled in the middle of last year with five scoring throws against UMass and three straight 300-yard games before giving way over the final two games. TVT is a 6-3, 198-pound veteran bomber who completed 61% of his passes for 1,825 yards and 15 touchdowns, but he also had a problem with picks giving away 11 in his six games of midseason action including three against Kent State and three more against Toledo. While he’s not a designed runner, he can take off for positive yards, netting 97 on the season with three scores.

Redshirt freshmen Anthony Maddie and Zach Terrell got their chances this offseason, but they’re fighting it out for the 2014 starting job. The 6-1, 194-pound Maddie took his Illinois high school team to a state title as a dangerous runner as well as a decent passer. Smart and really, really fast, he adds a different element to the game than TVT. The 6-1, 209-pound Terrell is another nice athlete with a live arm and good skills.

Watch Out For … Cameron Thomas, the 6-2, 179-pound local recruit with tremendous accuracy and pro-style skills. Unlike Maddie and Terrell, he’s a passer who could offer a different look next year in the fight for the starting job.
Strength: Van Tubbergen’s passing skills. He can spread the ball all over the field and has no problems hanging around in shootouts. He has enough experience and time in the system to be able to step up and be the main man for the attack.
Weakness: Interceptions. Along with the lack of experienced depth, the concern is TVT’s picks after giving away way too many last season. He had to throw with teams daring him to make plays, but the 11 interceptions in six outings were a problem.
Outlook: Van Tubbergen should be among the MAC’s most explosive passers, but he can’t make so many mistakes again. The backups bring more speed and quickness, and there could be a quick hook if interceptions are a problem again. Maddie is a dangerous runner who could give defenses fits when he gets his chances.
Unit Rating: 6

Running Backs

The Bronco running game is done by a true committee, but it was senior Dareyon Chance who proved to be the most effective last season with 947 yards and four touchdowns. The 5-5, 161-pounder might not bring any power, but he can fly, ripping off 144 yards and a score against Minnesota and 116 yard on just 11 carries against Ball State. Also dangerous out of the backfield, he caught 25 passes for 148 yards. While he’ll get the ball10-to-15 times per game, he’ll still be a part of a rotation.

Senior Brian Fields has been a spot-starter over the years, but he has mostly been a complementary back rushing for 359 yards and two scores while catching 13 passes for 118 yards and a touchdown. While he’ll never be a workhorse, the former top recruit and Delaware high school all-star has tremendous quickness and burst. The 5-8, 196-pounder brings the speed, while 5-11, 205-pound senior Antoin Scriven provides the inside presence. The 5-11, 205-pounder has 13 career rushing scores and seven last season on just 32 carries, but almost all the work came around the goal line. He’s not really a power back, but he knows how to work for the hard yards.

6-0, 215-pound senior Tevin Drake was the team’s leading rusher two years ago with 586 yards, but last year he was banged up running for a mere 107 yards on 22 carries. When he’s right, he’s one of the team’s best blends of speed and power, but staying in one piece has been an issue over the years. Averaging 6.6 yards per carry over the course of his career, he can crank out yards in chunks.

Watch Out For … the new recruits. With all four top options gone next season, the Broncos have to hope for 5-7, 192-pound Fabian Johnson and 5-11, 197-pound Austin Guido to be ready to roll in 2014. Guido is a slippery runner who’s always coming up with positive yards, while Johnson fits the WMU mold with extreme quickness.
Strength: The veteran rotation. The Broncos don’t just have seniors who know what they’re doing; they have four backs who can handle the workload at any time. Keeping everyone fresh won’t be a problem.
Weakness: Steady production. The running game is often an afterthought in the WMU offense, and it showed at times with a hit-or-miss attack. There weren’t any rushing scores over the final two games, and finding any consistency was a problem.
Outlook: There’s sharing the workload, and there’s the WMU backfield. Four different backs serve four different roles, and there’s a little something for every defense and every situation. The ground game will struggle to get close to 2,000 yards, but the fearsome foursome know what they’re doing.
Unit Rating: 5

Receivers

The Broncos had a gaping hole at receiver last season, and Jaime Wilson filled it in his true freshman campaign leading the team with 67 catches for 792 yards and six touchdowns. However, the 5-11, 196-pound Z target did almost all of his work early, catching 11 pass against Eastern Illinois, ten against Minnesota, and ten against Toledo on the way to making 48 of his catches in the first five games. A bit banged up late, he caught just one pass for 12 yards over a three-game stretch before closing out with seven catches for 74 yards against Eastern Michigan. Fast, he’s shifty with terrific deep wheels.

Senior Josh Schaffer is getting the call at the X again after finishing second on the team with 43 catches for 570 yards and three touchdowns. A good home-run hitter, he came up with an 81-yard scoring play against Kent State and a 66-yard dash against UMass. At 6-2 and 207 pounds he has great size and can move. He’ll be backed up by sophomore Kendrick Roberts, a 6-2, 205-pound deep threat who didn’t do much last year with just six catches for 45 yards and a score, but he was a big-time recruit with smarts, skills and a world of upside.

Senior Justin Collins will occasionally work at the Z spot when Wilson takes on the F position in three-wide sets after coming in from the JUCO ranks and making 27 catches for 401 yards and five scores. He blew up over the last few games of the season with 15 catches for 223 yards against Buffalo and Eastern Michigan, and now with his time logged in and 6-2, 212-pound size, he should play a bigger role. Also back is sophomore Timmy Keith, a smart, versatile targets who’ll mainly work on the inside, but could work outside if needed after suffering a knee injury early last season.

The tight ends haven’t been enough of a factor in the offense with starter Clark Mussman only catching six passes for 35 yards. At 6-3 and 233 pounds he has decent size and can block a little bit, and he has the speed to do far, far more as a midrange target. 6-4, 243-pound sophomore Eric Boyden has bigger size and saw time in every game, but he only caught a three-yard pass. The hands and bulk are there to become a better part of the passing attack.

Watch Out For … two of the team’s top recruits. 5-10, 179-pound Darius Phillips was a terrific high school basketball player and a good speedster who’ll likely work in the slot. 6-2, 205-pound Corey Davis is an outside prospect who can stretch the field and be used as a kick returner.
Strength: Production. The Broncos spread the wealth around well with five receives catching three touchdown passes or more. The offense moves the ball around and gets a little bit out of each spot. With interchangeable parts, the coaching staff can always make sure the three or four best receivers are on the field at the same time.
Weakness: Tight end. The position wasn’t used for the passing game last year, and while the wideouts did their part to handle the passing game, it would’ve been nice to get more out of Mussman and Boyden. The Broncos have receiving tight end, but now they have to be a part of the fun.
Outlook: The passing game lost almost everyone of note going into last season, and everything turned out to be more than fine. Wilson needs to be healthy and regain his September form, while Roberts needs to do more than the tight ends have to produce. Schaeffer and Collins will put up big numbers.
Unit Rating: 6

Offensive Line

The Broncos did a nice job in pass protection, but they need some work this year starting with 6-4, 309-pound sophomore Willie Beavers at left tackle. He got in a little bit of work last season starting against Northern Illinois and doing a decent job, but the one-time star recruit should be a rock once he gets a little more work – the tools are all there. Stepping in at right tackle is redshirt freshman Taylor Moton, a great athlete with excellent quickness at 6-5 and 291 pounds. Very smart and with a great high school résumé, he has the potential work at left tackle but will likely start out on the right side.

The line in desperate need of veteran leadership, and it starts with Terry Davisson back in the interior with the ability to work at either guard or center. The 6-6, 297-pounder will start in the middle but can play anywhere up front. He’s not exactly built for the center job, but he’s smart and experienced. 6-5, 280-pound junior Jon Hoffing will be the main backup in the middle after getting the call against UConn. Being tried out both at tackle and in the middle, he’ll be moved around where needed.

Sophomore Jams Kristof was a spot-starter last season and will get the first look at left guard. At 6-4 and 290 pounds, he has good size and is a pounding run blocker who can hold his own in the inside. A good recruit, he should be a mainstay up front for the next three years. 6-5, 290-pound fifth-year senior Gary Peterson is a career backup who hasn’t played up to the billing as a great recruit in the 2009 class. Now he’ll get the call at right guard, but he could move over to the left side if needed.

Watch Out For … Josh Bass, the team’s best guard recruit with 6-4, 271-pound size and tremendous upside. Very athletic and extremely tough, with about 15 more pounds of good muscle he has all-star potential over the next few years.
Strength: Versatility. The coaching staff has to get creative and needs to keep working to find the right parts for the right spots. Everything is being tried out this offseason, and by late fall, in some configuration, the Broncos will have the best five guys up front.
Weakness: Experience. The line grew into a positive last season, but now it’ll be a work in progress with almost no real starting experience to rely on other than Davisson in the middle. On the plus side, it’s a young line that will grow into their jobs over the next few years.
Outlook: This could be an Achilles’ heel early on. Beavers looks like a keeper at left tackle, and the guard situation isn’t bad, but this is a building line – not a rebuilding one – that needs to use its athleticism in pass protection while hoping to generate something positive for the ground game.
Unit Rating: 5
 
- 2013 Western Michigan Preview | 2013 Western Michigan Offense
- 2013 Western Michigan Defense | 2013 Western Michigan Depth Chart