2014 Toledo Preview: What You Need To Know
Toledo WR Alonzo Russell
Preview 2014 - What You Need To Know About Toledo (Getty Images)
2014 Toledo Preview
What You Need To Know...
2014 Depth Chart & Unit Rankings To Come This Summer
What You Need To Know About The Offense:
Offensive coordinator Jason Candle has to figure out the quarterback situation and needs sophomore star RB Kareem Hunt to stay in one piece, but the running game should be stellar and the passing attack should have some pop. All five starters up front are seniors working around tremendous guards Greg Mancz and Jeff Myers leading the way for a group that gave up just six sacks. Alonzo Russell is a dangerous deep threat for a big, talented receiving corps that should make the new starting quarterback shine. However, after finishing 14th in the nation in rushing, there should be even more production from Hunt and a young backfield full of options.
What You Need To Know About The Defense: Seven starters are back on a defense that has options and great potential, but has to produce. Defensive coordinator Jon Heacock has a loaded linebacking corps to work with led by Junior Sylvestre and Chase Murdock, who should combine for well over 200 tackles. If Trent Voss can stay healthy, this should be the best trio in the MAC. The secondary has to start coming up with more key stops, but the veterans are in place to improve and take advantage of a potentially strong pass rush. Treyvon Hester is the main man in the middle of a line that has decent size, but needs someone to replace Jayrone Elliott and his nine sacks.
Players You Need To Know
1. LB Junior Sylvestre, Sr.
Not just the league's second-leading tackler with 118 tackles, he was a dangerous playmaker in the backfield with the timing and the knack to come up with the key play at the right time. While he's only 6-0 and 222 pounds, he holds up well as a tackling machine making ten stops or more in seven games including 17 against Navy and 53 in the first five games. A one man wrecking crew against Bowling Green, he hung out behind the line making three sacks and 12 stops. Part of a great linebacking trio, he's the star on the weakside who should be good for well over 100 tackles again.
2. RB Kareem Hunt, Soph.
The expectations were high after running for 2,685 yards and 44 touchdowns as a high school senior, and he didn't disappoint. At 5-11 and 200 pounds he has good size, terrific balance, and good workhorse ability, taking over the ground attack over the second half of the season with most of his 866 rushing yards and all six of his touchdowns coming in the final six games. He tore off 100 yards or more in five or the last six, running for 91 in the loss to Northern Illinois. Can he hold up? He destroyed Akron for 168 yards in the season finale, but he left hurt. It'll be tempting to give him the ball 25 times a game, but he needs to be part of a rotation.
3. OG Greg Mancz, Sr.
Very smart and very tough, the Second Team All-MAC performer has 6-5, 300-pound size, years of experience, and the versatility to play either right or left guard. Quick enough to operate on the left side, he's a pounder for the hard yards but can also handle the speed interior speed rushers as well.
4. OG Jeff Myers, Sr.
The 6-3, 290-pound Third Team All-MAC performer might not be massive, but he's an active, aggressive blocker who's been a part of the starting mix for the last two years starting 25 straight times. Able to play either left guard or right, he saw most of his time on the left side last year, but he's better suited for the right.
5. WR Alonzo Russell, Jr.
Bernard Reedy might have been the No. 1 target, but Russell was a close No. 2, catching 59 passes for 728 yards and six touchdowns averaging 12.34 yards per pop. The 6-4, 190-pound speedster ripped up Missouri for 101 yards on seven catches and blasted Ball State for 147 yards on nine grabs. With deep ball ability, he didn't make as many big plays as he did in 2012, but he was still an all-star. Now he'll be the main man for the passing game and the go-to home run hitter.
6. PK Jeremiah Detmer, Sr.
An all-star over the last few years, he's not that big, but he plays large hitting 24-of-29 field goals in 2012 including his last 17 tries. Even stronger last season, he nailed 19-of-20 field goals only missing a 35-yarder against Eastern Washington and got hot again like two years ago connecting on his final 13 tries. Showing off a bigger leg, he doesn't have 50-yard range, but nailed a 47-yard try against Navy and connected on all six of his tries from beyond 40. Deep in the hunt for the Lou Groza Award, he'll be a weapon.
7. LB Chase Murdock, Jr.
While not quite as celebrated or as spectacular as Junior Sylvestre, he was still a top tackler from his spot in the middle making 109 stops with nine coming behind the line and four sacks. While he's only 6-0 and 215 pounds, he's active, consistent, and smart. The former high school running back moves well and changes direction on a dime. He doesn't need things funneled his way, but he doesn't miss when he gets the opportunity.
8. DT Treyvon Hester, Soph.
The Rockets needed someone to step up on the inside, and Hester did just that making 39 tackles with 3.5 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss. Quick for a 6-3, 290-pounder, he's great at getting off the ball in a hurry showing big-time promise and upside earning All-MAC honors. A fantastic get for the program, he had several options, but he's going to be the key cog on the interior for the next three years. He doesn't have to be the anchor, that's what veteran nose tackle Orion Jones and others are for – he'll be turned loose.
9. LB Trent Voss, Jr.
Showing the promise and potential to grow into a superstar after a great freshman season, he made 47 tackles with 3.5 tackles in 2012. Last year the 6-3, 220-pound strongside defender started the season on a tear with 60 tackles in the first seven games including ten stops against Florida and 14 against Navy, but he suffered a broken arm and was lost for the season. Healthy again, the pure hitting machine is going to be among the team's leading all-around statistical stars if he can get through the season.
10. QB Logan Woodside, Soph.
Is it going to be Woodside, or will Alabama transfer Phillip Ely end up grabbing the job? The 6-2, 210-pound Woodside saw time as a true freshman completing 51% of his passes for 240 yards and a score in mop-up duty while doing also doing a good job against Eastern Washington. The team's top recruit last year is a pinpoint passer who can spread the ball around well, but he has to fight to be the man to run the attack.
- 2014 Toledo Preview