Depth Chart |
It wasn't all that long ago, 2000 to be precise, that
Western Michigan was one of the MAC's superpowers appearing in
back-to-back title games. And then things went downhill in a hurry with four
straight losing seasons bottoming out with a horrific 1-10 2004
campaign. Cubit turned things around in one season bringing the
program back to among the MAC living, and now things are about to
18 starters return to a team that saw its starting quarterbacks
go down with injuries like Spinal Tap went through drummers, and
struggled with a
pass defense that was just this close to being the worst in
America despite having the MAC's best pass rush to help out
generating pressure. Last year's problems should turn into this season's
positives with a stronger, more experienced secondary and two great
quarterback options in Ryan Cubit, the head coach's son, and Tim
Hiller, once he returns from a knee injury.
Head coach: Bill Cubit
2nd year: 7-4
7th year overall: 44-22-1
Off 16, Def 19, ST 4
Lettermen Lost: 8
Best Bronco Players
1. LB Ameer Ismail, Sr.
DT Nick Varcadipane, Soph.
QB Ryan Cubit, Sr.
4. C Robbie Krutilla, Jr.
5. P Jim Laney, Jr.
QB Tim Hiller, Soph. Inj.
7. WR Joe Chapple, Sr.
8. SS Antwain Allen, Jr.
9. SS Louis Delmas, Soph.
10. RB Mark Bonds, Jr.
at Ball State
at Central Michigan
at Florida State
2005 Record: 7-4
2005 predicted wins
at Virginia L 31-19
at Toledo L 56-23
at Temple W 19-16
Buffalo W 31-21
L 60-57 5OT
at Bo Green W 45-14
Kent State W 44-14
at Eastern Mich W 44-35
Central Mich W 31-24
at Northern Illinois L 42-7
What the Broncos don't have is Greg Jennings, the record setting
receiver who caught 238 career passes for 3,539 yards and 39 touchdowns,
tight end Tony Scheffler, who caught 117 career passes for 1,345 yards
and 13 touchdowns, or Trovon Riley, who ran for 1,004 yards and six
touchdowns. While the offense should take a little bit of a step back
after averaging 32 points per game, the defense should be better with a
strong front seven highlighted by Ameer Ismail and the linebacking
Now the question becomes whether or not the Broncos can build off last
year's momentum. After losing the opening two games of the year at
Virginia and at Toledo, they went on a great run with a stunning
overtime 60-57 slip at Ball State the only hiccup over an eight game
stretch. The bar has been raised high again.
If Akron can win the MAC title last year, then Western Michigan can do
it this season. It has the experience, the overall athleticism, and the
coaching to be a power again and battle Northern Illinois and Toledo in
the West. No, it's not crazy to suggest that the road to the MAC
championship might go through Kalamazoo.
Broncos can't ask for much more with the two really, really big
conference games, Toledo and Northern Illinois, at home. The only
downside is the finishing kick with three straight road games to finish
things up in November including a nasty trip to Tallahassee to face
Florida State the week before playing defending MAC champion Akron.
There' no much of a break from the East side playing Miami University
along with the season finale against the Zips.
Offensive Player: Senior QB Ryan Cubit and/or sophomore QB Tim
Hiller. Both suffered bad knee injuries last year, but Cubit's came
early enough in the season to be able to heal in time for this year.
Hiller's injury came in the season finale making him questionable to be
a part of the quarterback race. Each proved he can lead the offense, but
life is going to be tougher without Greg Jennings and Tony Scheffler to
Defensive Player: Senior LB Ameer Ismail. The Bronco ends don't
generate much pressure, so it's up to the 225-pound weakside linebacker
to blow things up in the backfield. He was terrific at getting to the
quarterback with the speed and killer instinct to make plays behind the
to a successful season: Sophomore CB Londen Fryar. Western Michigan
finished 118th in the nation in pass defense; better cornerback play is
a must. E.J. Biggers should be improved at one corner, so it'll be up to
the son of former NFL star and Nebraska Cornhusker, Irving, to be a rock
on the other side.
will be a success if ...
Western Michigan wins the West. There are plenty of holes
and the team might be a year away from truly being a threat for the MAC
title, but the schedule works out well and there's enough experience to
be the division champion right now.
Nov. 10 at Central Michigan. The Toledo and Northern Illinois games
are key for MAC title hopes, but those are in K-Zoo. The Central
Michigan game is the beginning of the three game road tilt to end the
season and comes before facing Florida State and Akron. In other words,
WMU had better beat the Chippewas.
The Last Time Western Michigan…
- Field goals: Western Michigan 12 of 19 - Opponents 6 of 14
- Western Michigan second quarter scoring: 132 - Western Michigan second
half scoring: 122
- Third down conversions: Opponents 78 of 177 (44%) - Western Michigan
65 of 163 (40%)
…played in a bowl game…1988 (California Bowl vs. Fresno State)
…missed a bowl game…2005
…pitched a shutout…2004 (Tennessee-Martin)
…was shutout…2004 (Bowling Green)
…scored 50 points…2005 (Ball State)
…won a conference title…1988 (MAC)
…had a 3,000-yard passer…1999 (Tim Lester)
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…2005 (Trovon Riley)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…2005 (Greg Jennings)
…had a first-round draft choice…2004 (DE Jason Babin)