2014 Ball St Preview: What You Need To Know
Ball State LB Ben Ingle
Ball State LB Ben Ingle
Posted Jun 1, 2014

Preview 2014 - What You Need To Know About Ball State

2014 Ball State Preview

What You Need To Know...

- 2014 Ball State Preview 
2014 Depth Chart & Unit Rankings To Come This Summer

What You Need To Know About The Offense: Can the offense move on without QB Keith Wenning and WR Willie Snead? The Cardinal offense bombed away for 324 passing yards per game and cranked up over 38 points per game, and it's not going to do that this time around with a quarterback situation that's still in question and a revamped receiving corps. That's where the running attack kicks in with Jahwan Edwards and Horactio Banks an outstanding 1-2 tandem working behind a good-looking line that could be among the MAC's best. Offensive coordinator Joey Lynch will balance out the offense a bit, but the passing game should still be effective and efficient.

What You Need To Know About The Defense: The defense improved in a big way over the last few years starting with a better pass rush and more production against the run. The line has to replace top sack man Jonathan Newsome and needs Nick Miles to be a superstar for the revamped front four that's thin in the middle and needs to come up with a good rotation. Fortunately, the linebacking corps should be outstanding with Ben Ingle and Zack Ryan two possible all-stars, and the secondary might be among the best in the MAC with big-hitting safety Brian Jones and corner Eric Patterson two excellent veterans to work around.

Players You Need To Know
1. RB Jahwan Edwards, Sr.
He'll go from being a key part of the puzzle to the main man for the Cardinal offense. The 5-10, 219-pound senior became exactly what the offense needed, cranking out a 1,410-yard, 14 touchdown season in 2012 – helped by a run of five straight 100-yard games – and following it up with 1,110 yards and 14 scores despite missing the Army and North Texas games early on. While he has played at around 230 pounds, and he can get physical when needed, he's checking in at under 220 on his 5-10 frame – he should be even quicker. A bit of a pinball-back, he can bounce off tacklers, but he's better when he gets a chance to make his one cut through the hole. A workhorse when needed, he's at his best as part of a rotation getting just under 20 carries a game. However, he can handle the entire workload when he gets into a lather.

2. LB Ben Ingle, Jr.
The plan was for Ingle to become a statistical star after moving up into a starting role, and he did just that with a team-leading 116 stops with an interception and 3.5 tackles for loss working on the weakside. He's not much of a pass rusher, but at 6-0 and 230 pounds he has decent size and good, sure-thing hitting ability making 38 tackles in the final three games and with nine tackles or more in every game buy three. Able to get to everything, he's tough against the run, and now the All-MAC star has to be more disruptive.

3. C Jacob Richard, Jr.
While he's not huge, the 6-1, 285-pound veteran has been a sound, solid veteran quarterback for the line earning Third Team All-MAC honors last season and doing a terrific job in pass protection. Very smart and very strong, he's an all-star in the classroom as well as on the field. The former walk-on might not have the right look or the right body type, but he's a try-hard blocker who'll be the leader of a good front five.

4. WR Jordan Williams, Jr.
It's asking a lot for him to be another Willie Snead, but the 6-2, 224-pound deep threat has to make things happen from the outside X position after finishing second on the team with 72 catches for 1,050 yards and ten scores, highlighted by a 12-grab, 124-yard, two touchdown day against Akron. Big and strong, he blossomed last year and showed he could become a No. 1 target at times, but he'll have to control the passing game on short-to-midrange plays with a new quarterback throwing his way and no Snead to take the heat off.

5. SS Brian Jones, Sr.
One of the biggest keys to the pass defense's improvement was the big play of Jones, a 5-10, 202-pound big hitter who finished second on the team with 97 tackles with six broken up passes and three recovered fumbles. A great athlete who can move, he was a playmaker all over the field doing a fantastic job against the run early on with double-digit stops in four of the first six games. He made 37 stops over a three-game stretch against Eastern Michigan, Toledo and Virginia, and while he was used more as a pass defender over the second half of the season, he was still effective.

6. LB Zack Ryan, Soph.
The team's second-leading tackler came up with a fantastic freshman season finishing third on the team with 92 tackles with 2.5 sacks and eight tackles for loss. While he's undersized at 5-10 and 224 pounds, he's tough-as-nails in the middle making double-digit stops three times with 11 tackles against Army and 11 more against Northern Illinois. Quick, he has great range and can get into the backfield from time to time. He's a pure tackler who doesn't miss a stop.

7. PK Scott Secor, Sr.
The Cardinals only played two games decided by three points of fewer, but they'll have a slew of tighter games this season. Secor was terrific, hitting 19-of-24 field goals including a 47-yarder against Army, but a blocked 38-yarder against Arkansas State sealed the 23-20 bowl loss. He has 50+ range, but he missed on his two long kicks – 54 and 51 yards, both against North Texas. Ultra-reliable, he hit 13 in a row before the final block in the GoDaddy.com.

8. DE Nick Miles, Sr.
With Jonathan Newsome and his eight sacks gone, it'll be up to the 6-2, 250-pound Miles to be far more effective as the main pass rusher. He might not be all that big, but he's a good veteran who can get behind the line, making five sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss to go along with 42 tackles. He turned it on over the second half of last year with all five of his sacks coming in the last seven games, but he was helped by all the attention paid to Newsome.

9. CB Eric Patterson, Sr.
The pass defense improved in a big way last year, helped by a good year out of Patterson, a 5-10, 189-pound veteran boundary corner who led the team with two picks and nine broken up passes two years ago and came up with 63 tackles with an interception and seven broken up passes last year. He has great open-field tackling ability and the lockdown talent to handle everyone's No. 1 target.

10. QB Ozzie Mann, Soph.
Is it going to be Mann, or redshirt freshman Jack Milas getting to pilot the Ball State attack in an attempt to replace Keith Wenning? The 6-1, 205-pound Mann got in a little bit of mop-up work, and he struggled missing on all five of his throws against Army and completing 2-of-3 throws against Army, finishing the year hitting 2-of-9 passes for 29 yards with a pick. He's a good passing option with decent athleticism, but he's nowhere near Wenning in terms of spreading the ball around. Milan is a 6-0, 215-pound accurate option with a live arm. The former baseball pitcher can bring the heat.

- 2014 Ball State Preview