Western Michigan Preview 2006 - F. Analysis

Posted Aug 7, 2006

Western Michigan Broncos Preview 2006 - Further Analysis

1st and Ten – Wanted:  Offensive Playmaker – The Western Michigan offense in 2005 was solid throughout the year.  They averaged nearly 400 yards in total offense and put up points on just about everyone in the league, averaging over 30 points per game.  However, look at the most productive players on that offensive unit.  Stellar wide receiver Greg Jennings was the go-to receiver and he caught 98 passes for nearly 1,300 yards and 14 touchdowns.  Second round NFL draft selectee Tony Scheffler, the Broncos star TE, added 57 grabs and 9 touchdowns.  The QB situation was all over the map, but Tim Hiller was the most effective of the trio, completing 65% of his passes, along with having a 20 to 3 TD to interception ratio.  Trovon Riley ran for over 1,000 yards and six touchdowns.  So, the point?  The point is that all of the aforementioned players are former Broncos (well, Hiller is a question mark given his injury), and the offense has some massive holes to fill – especially at the ‘playmaker’ position.  Sure, it’s not a specific position, but it’s what the Broncos must have in 2006.  Jennings, in particular, gave the Broncos a little bit of everything and replacing him will be a nightmare, but that’s what Joe Chapple, the team’s leading returning receiver, must try to provide.  Ryan Cubit should help make his dad, Bill, the head coach, happy by coming back to the QB position after missing most of the year with an injury.  Hiller was stellar as a freshman, but his return is in question as he rehabs an injury suffered in the NIU game.  But, the Broncos are going to have a true running back emerge, one who they can hand the ball to 25 times a game.  Consequently, a play maker must emerge if the Broncos are going to take the next step.

2nd and Seven – Stat Sheet Stuffer – The term stat sheet stuffer, obviously, relates to the stats that a player can produce in any given game or season.  But, underlying the use of the moniker is the fact that a stat sheet stuffer is a guy who provides a high level of versatility to a respective unit.  That’s what linebacker Ameer Ismail gives the Broncos.  Here’s a guy who had 93 tackles, 20 tackles for a loss, 8 sacks, 1 forced fumble and three fumbles recovered – yes, all in one season.  This guy is a game changer and he returns along with the other two linebacker starters, Paul Tithof and Dustin Duclo.  This threesome should provide the Bronco defense with leadership and physical play.  It’s just another year for Ameer to pile up some more stats, even if his stat sheet is a bit stuffed already.

3rd and Three – Stability Needed – For as good as the Bronco offense was last year, the QB situation was all over the place.  Three guys put in a good day’s work, including the aforementioned Hiller who was magnificent.  But, Hiller is attempting to return from a knee injury suffered in the last game of the year.  That injury puts Ryan Cubit back into the driver’s seat for the spring.  It’s a wonderful problem to have – two quarterbacks who have experience and have proven they can lead this offense.  It’d be nice to have one of them make it through the season unscathed.  Boy, a coach can dream, can’t he?

4th and One – Is the drought over? – After finishing the 2005 season 7 – 4, the Broncos had a small glimmer of hope that they might get a shot at a bowl game, but, along with Central Michigan and Northern Illinois, the Broncos bowl invitation never made it to Kalamazoo.  But, if the Broncos continue to win at that clip in 2006, a potential December bowl game is a possibility.  Considering that the team had a 10 game losing streak coming into the season and lost its first two game of the 2005 season, the 2005 campaign was quite impressive (seven wins in the final nine games).  However great last season was, the Broncos might have to make a serious bid for the MAC title to go bowling, end the school’s 18 year bowl game drought.

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Western Michigan Preview 2006 - Depth Chart
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Western Michigan 2006 Preview - Offense
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Western Michigan 2006 Preview - Defense
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