What you need to know ...
The offense became balanced and consistent last year
thanks to no injuries on the line, the emergence of RB Ontario
Sneed, and the play of QB Kent Smith. The line returns four
starters, and Sneed should be an All-MAC candidate, but replacing
Smith is going to be tough. Five players are in the mix for the
starting quarterback job with big Brian Brunner the
front-runner. The winner gets a talented and experienced
receiving corps to work with.
Passing: Brian Brunner
3-3, 21 yds
Rushing: Ontario Sneed
220 carries, 1,060 yds, 8 TD
Receiving: Damien Linson
56 catches, 832 yds, 4 TD
Star of the offense: Sophomore RB Ontario Sneed
Player that has to step up and become a star: Sophomore
QB Brian Brunner
Unsung star on the rise: Junior WR Obed Cetoute
Best pro prospect: Senior OT Joe Staley
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Sneed, 2) Staley, 3) WR
Strength of the offense: Offensive line, receiver
Weakness of the offense:
How can CMU quickly replace Kent Smith who was, arguably,
the MAC's best offensive player last year? Brian Brunner is a
huge first option with a little bit of experience, but it's a
wide-open race for the job with three redshirt freshmen all
getting a shot. Duane Brooks is a runner who has to get
academically eligible, Sean Price is a
passer, and Dan LeFevour can do a little bit of everything.
The key to the unit: Find a starter the team can work
around and stick with him.
Quarterback Rating: 5
- Brian Brunner, Soph. - 3-3, 21 yds, 1 carry, 5 yards
Brunner is a strong, mobile 236 pounds with a good arm and a
solid command of the offense. Even though he was the number two
man last year, he's hardly a lock for the starting job needing
to keep proving himself with each practice. With his time in the
system, and the physical tools to run the attack almost like
Kent Smith was able to last year, he'll be the man to beat after
looking great in spring ball.
- Duane Brooks, RFr.
Brooks isn't nearly as big as Brian Brunner, but he's much
faster and is a smart, accurate passer. At only 5-10 and 174
pounds he needs to show how explosive he can be running the ball
to be in the race for the starting job. Most importantly, he has
to prove he can get his grades together as he might not be
eligible this fall.
- Dan LeFevour, RFr.
While not a shifty runner, the 6-3 LeFevour is mobile with
decent all-around skills. He doesn't have a huge arm, so he'll
have to prove he can keep the offense moving and has to be
consistently accurate. He's still learning after playing
quarterback just one year in high school, but he appears to be
the number two man in the mix.
- Sean Price, RFr.
A record-setting high school passer, Price threw for 8,267 yards
with 93 touchdowns and 17 interceptions at Maine South high
school in suburban Chicago. He's not tall and doesn't have a
huge arm, but he's fast, strong, and accurate.
It would be nice to have a thumper in the mix to provide
a different option, but that's not CMU's offense. Ontario Sneed
is one of the MAC's best all-around backs and should be the
focal point of the offense until a quarterback is settled on.
Anthony Boykins cranks up the speed factor several notches. Now
he needs to be used to hit a few home runs and give Sneed about
7-to-10 plays a game off.
The key to the unit: Develop more running backs to be
eased into the mix and find a true, short yardage back.
Running Back Rating: 7
- Ontario Sneed, Soph. - 220 carries, 1,065 yds, 4.8 ypc,
8 TD, 51 catches, 433 yds, 3 TD
Sneed turned out to be a lifesaver for the offense after all the
off-the-field drama with Jerry Seymour and the rest of the
running game. He showed up from game one ripping off 148 yards
and a touchdown against Indiana and finishing up with four
100-yard games highlighted by a 183-yard effort in the win over
Akron. He's a quick runner with good enough breakaway speed to
crank out big plays, and he has tremendous hands finishing third
on the team in receiving.
- Anthony Boykins, Soph. - 17 carries, 65 yds, 3.8
ypc, 2 catches, 4 yards
Very, very fast. He's only 5-7, but he makes up for it with a
4.38 40, elusive quickness and decent strength at 190 pounds. He
saw a little bit of time as a true freshman getting most of his
carries in the blowout loss against Penn State, and now he'll be
a key number two man to keep Ontario Sneed fresh.
The receiving corps was a bit shaky early last season and
then found its stride. Leading receiver Justin Harper is gone,
but the situation should be even better with the return of Jemmy
Jasmin from a knee injury and the expected emergence of Obed
Cetoute as one of the team's new star offensive playmakers. It's
a deep corps with good size and speed.
Andre Moore and Dave Condeni have to combine to replace
the 33 catches from Jacob Brown.
The key to the unit: Get more deep plays and hope for
Obed Cetoute to turn into an All-MAC candidate.
Receiver Rating: 6.5
- Damien Linson, Sr. - 56 catches, 832 yds, 14.9 ypc, 4 TD
Linson was the team's most productive receiver last year and
should be the number one target yet again after getting bigger
and stronger. He's 5-11 and 184 pounds with good speed and
consistent hands. He was having a good season, and then he blew
up late catching 18 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns over
a two game stretch against Northern Illinois and Western
Michigan. He'll start at the W position.
- Jemmy Jasmin, Jr. - 13 catches, 95 yds, 7.3 ypc
Jasmin appeared to be on his way to being one of the team's
breakout stars when he got knocked out for the year with a knee
injury. He's not all that big at 5-8 and 162 pounds, so his role
is as a field stretcher instead of an underneath target. He's
one of the team's fastest receivers.
- Obed Cetoute, Jr. - 27 catches, 364 yds, 13.5 ypc, 2 TD
It appears the light has gone on for the Quebec native. He's 6-4
and 212 pounds with good speed and the best skills on the team.
His hands have been an issue and he didn't become the playmaker
he was expected to last season. Now he appears ready to be a
dangerous deep threat and a go-to receiver on key downs.
- Tight end Andre Moore, Soph.
The former quarterback will be more of a receiver than a
blocker. He's 6-2 and 221 pounds with great speed, and now he
has to show he has his new position down and can be consistent.
- Bryan Anderson, RFr.
He has big-play potential. The 6-4, 200 pound redshirt freshman
has 4.5 speed and turned into a playmaker this spring. He won't
beat out Damien Linson for the starting W job, but he'll be a
major factor all season long.
- Darren Martin, Soph.
He's one of the team's biggest receivers at 6-4 and 205 pounds.
While he can play the slot W position with his size being a
major plus, he'll start out pushing for time on the outside
behind Obed Cetoute.
- Justin Gardner, Jr. - 3 catches, 32 yds, 10.7 ypc
The former walk-on is a big limited as a receiver, but he's very
athletic and has a little bit of experience seeing time in every
game last year. He'll play behind Jemmy Jasmin at the Z.
- Tight end Dave Condeni, Sr.
He was supposed to be the
starter going into last year, but it didn't happen getting
beaten out by Jacob Brown. He's a good-sized target who should
be physical in the running game.
The line turned into a tremendous strength as last season
went on with all five starters sticking in the same lineup for the
entire year. Only guard Jeff Jenerou is gone, but the Adam Benke is more
than ready to fill in the gap. Eric Tunney will move from left guard to
right guard, Drew Mormino is back for his fourth year as a starter and
his second at center, and Andrew Hartline and Joe Staley form one of the
MAC's better tackle tandems. Experienced depth is a big issue.
The key to the unit: Be a little better in pass
protection and get a rotation going early on. CMU isn't going to go
coast-to-coast again with the same starting lineup.
Offensive Line Rating: 5.5
- OT Joe Staley, Sr.
The former tight end turned in a fantastic season on the left side and
should be an All-MAC candidate. He's fast, big, now that he's up to 299
pounds, and is a great pass protector. He didn't allow a sack last year.
- OG Adam Benke, Soph.
The only new starter to the line, the 314-pound sophomore is experienced
enough to handle the work. He has seen time at tackle and now will take
over at left guard with Eric Tunney moving over to the right side.
- C Drew Mormino, Sr.
A starter from the moment he came to campus, the 301-pound senior made
the successful move from guard to center where he should be an All-MAC
candidate. He's a tremendous run blocker.
- OG Eric Tunney, Jr.
The former defensive tackle was tried out at center early on last year
before starting every game at left guard. He bulked up big time over the
last two years getting up to 290 pounds. Now he'll start on the right
- OT Andrew Hartline, Soph.
Hartline turned in a tremendous first season starting on the right side.
He had a few issues with pass protection, but he has the size and
experience to be better and also turn into a major run blocker.
- T Jeff Gilbert, RFr.
Gilbert is a massive prospect at 6-7 and 302 pounds. He's
surprisingly fast and very strong. Expect him to eventually become a
solid pass protector.
- G Andrew Cribbs, Soph.
At 6-5 and 309 pounds, Cribbs is a bigger option than Eric Tunney on the
right side and could end up seeing a little bit of work on the left