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Central Mich. Preview 2006 - Further Analysis
Posted Aug 7, 2006

Central Michigan Chippewas Preview 2006 - Further Analysis

1st and Ten – Canadian in name only – As the 2005 season dawned, a major question emerged about who would carry the ball for the Chippewas with former star RB Jerry Seymour kicked off the team.  Well, look no more, eh.  It took all of one game for that problem to be solved and forgotten about when true freshman Ontario Sneed took the ball.  And, took a job for a long, long time.  The rookie from Decatur, Illinois put the rest of the MAC on notice that the Chippewa running game was going to be a force and stopping him was now a worry for opposing defenses.  In his first year, Sneed only rushed for over a thousand yards, caught 51 passes for 433 yards and scored a total of 11 touchdowns.  Okay, so the ‘only’ part was a little tongue in cheek.  He probably went up into the stands while the defense was on the field and sold popcorn and sodas, as well.  His magnificent season earned him numerous freshman All-American honors, along with being named honorable mention All-MAC, which is a feat given the talent that the MAC had at RB last season.  With all of his honors and highlights from last season, Sneed has his work cut out for him this year.  Similar to seeing pitchers one time through an order, opposing defenses have been able to watch a full year of film on him to find his tendencies and knocks against him.  However, they won’t find much.  Sneed is 205 pounds of power and speed, and he’s a complete back – running and receiving.  He’ll run inside, he has the burst to the outside and then he’ll catch the ball out of the backfield.  He does have four of his five offensive line starters back this year, but he loses the underrated Kent Smith at QB.  So, this team may be a little run heavy this year, but that’s good news for the Chippewas.  And, bad news for the rest of the MAC.

2nd and Seven – When is being Defensive good?  When you have a Bazuin – Gaining yards is what this game is all about, right?  However, it doesn’t matter how you gain those yards; for example, ‘positive’ yardage is ‘negative’ yardage for the opposing offense.  So, let’s take a look at the effect that star defensive end Daniel Bazuin had on opponents in 2005.  He piled up 26.5 tackles for a loss and 16 sacks last year; that resulted in 327 yards lost by MAC opposing offenses.  With that many yards, Bazuin would’ve been the third leading rusher for the Chippewas last year, only 116 behind former QB Smith in second place.  When you think about it like that, you sense how great Bazuin was last year, and how strong he’s been throughout his career.  No one can block this guy, and there’s a definite future for him on Sundays very soon.  But, with one more year, Bazuin should look to add to his career ‘rushing’ total.  Shoot, he’s only 517 yards away from being a career 1,000 yard rusher.  Pass rusher, that is.

3rd and Three – Moving on and Moving in – You know you’re in good shape when the returning QB had a 100% completion percentage last season.  You know that you’re not in good shape when said QB has only thrown three passes.  See, some good news, some bad news, although this one leans more toward the bad news category.  Brian Brunner is that QB and he’s following one of the most underrated QB in the MAC last season – Kent Smith.  The former Chippewa signal caller was exceptional last year, completing 61% of his passes for 2,799 yards, registering a 16 to 6 TD to interception ratio and running for over 400 yards.  Brunner will have his work cut out following Smith, who recently signed with the Oakland Raiders.  But, then again, he was 100% throwing last year.

4th and One – Time to get over the hump? – With the turmoil that was created by the off-field incident that claimed a number of Chippewa starting players, there was virtually no way that this team could come away a winning record, right?  Well, that message didn’t make it’s way to head coach Brian Kelly’s office, nor did it get to his players.  The Chippewas, behind Smith and Sneed on offense and Bazuin on defense, finished the season 6 and 5 in Kelly’s second year as the head man.  The progress that this program has experienced and shown is remarkable, but Kelly’s done this before, at Grand Valley State, where he made winning D II championships a habit.  The next domino to fall is a bowl game and don’t think that the Chippewas don’t smell a December game in 2006.

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Central Michigan Preview 2006 - Offense
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