What you need to know ...
Ten points per game. Ten. That's what the 2005 UB offense
cranked out scoring a mere seven points in the first quarter. New
offensive coordinator Gerald Carr has his work cut out for him. The
first step to respectability will come from better play on the line, but
that won't happen for a while. Drew Willy is a decent quarterback
prospect who needs time to work, the receiving corps is full of decent
prospects that need time to develop, and the backfield is full of decent
prospects who need room to move. That means it's up to the huge,
inexperienced line that has to be far, far better than last season.
Passing: Drew Willy
149-246, 1,481 yds, 6 TD, 12 INT
Rushing: Steven King
136 carries, 532 yds, 3 TD
Receiving: Brett Hamlin
38 catches, 371 yds
Star of the offense: Senior TE Chad Upshaw
Player that has to step up and become a star: The entire
Unsung star on the rise: Freshman OT Derek Newell
Best pro prospect: Upshaw
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Upshaw, 2) FB Steven
King, 3) QB Drew Willy
Strength of the offense: Running back
Weakness of the offense:
Scoring, offensive line
They're not horrible, but the team's best quarterback is
the head coach. Fine, so the UB QBs combined to throw seven
touchdown passes and 15 interceptions, but Drew Willy showed
good accuracy as a true freshman and the promise that he might
be the player to build around over the next three seasons. James
Starks is too fast and too explosive not to play somewhere, and
he'll get several cracks at winning the starting job. Stewart
Sampsel has starting experience and will make more of a push for
time this summer.
The key to the unit: Efficiency. Drew Willy completed
his throws last year, and now he has to make bigger plays and
get the ball in the end zone.
Quarterback Rating: 4.5
- Drew Willy, Soph. - 149-246, 1,481 yds, 61%, 6 TD, 12
Thrown to the wolves when things started going south, Willy had
a better true freshman season than the stats might indicate. He
threw 12 interceptions bottoming out with a four picks in the
season finale against Eastern Michigan, but he set a school
record completing over 60% of his throws. He's a big 6-3,
213-pound passer with decent mobility and a live arm. Now he has
to be a better decision maker and can't press so much.
- James Starks, RFr.
While he's not ready yet, he'll be a key player in the mix as
the season goes on. The 6-2, 206-pound redshirt freshman isn't
nearly the passer Drew Willy is, but he's a phenomenal athlete
who might end up seeing time at receiver or running back just to
get him on the field.
- Stewart Sampsel, Sr. - 25-61, 41%, 310 yds, 2 INT, 26
carries, 41 yds, 1.6 ypc
The 6-3 Sampsel got the call in the first three games of last
year before getting knocked out with a collarbone injury. The
light was starting to go on has he was having a strong game
against Rutgers before getting hurt.
This should be one of the team's strengths if
the offensive line can open up a few holes. 2005 was a nightmare
averaging 2.9 yards per carry with only 1,199 net rushing yards,
but there are four good options with the speed of Jared
Patterson, the power of Steven King and Ike Nduka, and the
all-around ability of Chris McDuffie combining to form a decent
group of runners. There isn't a special, All-MAC type of talent
in the group, so getting the most out of each player's abilities
will be vital.
The key to the unit: Get a good rotation going using
all the backs to generate more than 108 yards per game.
Running Back Rating: 4.5
- Chris McDuffie, Jr.
McDuffie has the best blend of speed and power in the running
back corps and will be a key all-around factor after missing all
of last year hurt. He ran for 404 yards in 2004 highlighted by a
74-yard scoring run. A cutback runner, he'll explode if he gets
a few holes to run through.
- Fullback Steven King, Sr. - 136 carries, 532 yds, 3.9
ypc, 3 TD, 20 catches, 137 yds, 6.8 ypc
The leading rusher over the last two seasons, the 209-pound King
will be used as a big runner and a blocker for Chris McDuffie
and Jared Patterson. He'll also be a more dangerous receiver
used even more as a safety valve after finishing fifth on the
team in catches. He'll also be used to crank out the tough
- Jared Patterson, Sr. - 90 carries, 374 yds, 4.2 ypc,
2 TD, 9 catches, 31 yds, 3.4 ypc
Health has been Patterson's problem over his career, but he has
been productive when given the chance. He's the team's fastest
back with the hands to grow into a more dangerous receiver.
Combining with Chris McDuffie to share the workload, he'll be
asked to become a home-run hitter.
- Ike Nduka, Fr.
The star of the recruiting class, the 220-pound true freshman
got to school early and proved he can grow into a workhorse.
He'll start out behind Steven King at fullback, but he has too
much size and potential not to get the ball at least five times
More explosion is needed after averaging only
9.8 yards per catch. Brett Hamlin is a rising star for the
offense as a reliable number one receiver, and now speedy Evan
Wallace has to break things open on the outside. Tight end Chad
Upshaw is good enough to eat defenses up underneath and be among
the MAC's best. The reserves need experience and time with
Earnest Jackson needing to play like he did over the final four
games of last season and Gary Rice and Alex Pierre adding a
little bit of quickness.
The key to the unit: More big plays and home runs are
needs from the two receiver slots and from Chad Upshaw at tight
end. Reliable depth needs to quickly be developed.
Receiver Rating: 4
- Brett Hamlin, Sr. - 38 catches, 371 yds, 9.8 ypc
Hamlin turned into the shining star to of the passing attack
leading the team as a true freshman. Even though he wasn't
explosive and didn't get into the end zone, he showed a good
chemistry with QB Drew Willy becoming a reliable go-to receiver.
With his experience, he has to become a more dangerous target
and has to make more plays after the catch.
- Evan Wallace, Sr. - 25 catches, 357 yds, 14.3 ypc, 2 TD
With the best speed in the receiving corps, the 5-9, 174-pound
Wallace has to find more of a role as a field stretcher. He made
a few big plays and was by far the team's top deep threat. The
more he's able to hit teams deep, the better things will be
underneath for the possession receivers like Brett Hamlin.
- Tight end Chad Upshaw, Sr. - 37 catches, 359 yds, 9.7
yoc, 3 TD
He'd be an All-MAC star if he played for anyone else. The 6-4
senior has 59 career catches for 553 yards and six touchdowns
highlighted by an eight-catch, 116-yard day against Ohio last
season. He has fantastic hands and is one of the league's most
reliable blocking tight ends.
- Ernest Jackson, Soph. - 7 catches 89 yds, 12.7 ypc
Jackson made a bit of an impact an impact in his freshman season
catching seven passes over the final four games. He's a big,
physical 6-2 and 214 pounds adding a stronger option behind the
speedy Evan Wallace.
- Gary Rice, Soph.
The speedy sophomore was one of the surprises of spring ball
challenging for time behind Brett Hamlin. While he's not all
that big at 5-9 and 163 pounds, he's extremely quick.
- Tight end Jessie Rack, RFr.
He has the potential to grow into a key receiver in the
offense. While not as big as Chad Upshaw and not nearly the
blocker, he's athletic enough to be used in two tight end sets
and potentially be dangerous on third downs.
The line has to be night and day better after an awful
season giving up 43 sacks and paving the way for a mere 109 rushing
yards per game despite having veterans like Mike Schifano, Zack Love and
Leroy Auguste to work around. It's a big line averaging 313 pounds per
man among the two-deep; now it has to learn how to play. There's only
one senior in the group, tackle Gerry Weissinger, and he's replaceable.
It's a young line that needs every practice and every game to jell and
The key to the unit: Do one thing well. It's not a
good enough line to be dominant, so it has to be good at either run
blocking or in pass protection.
Offensive Line Rating: 3.5
- OT Ray Norell, Soph.
Norell saw a little bit of time as a true freshman getting three starts.
He's 292 pounds with the feet to grow into a decent left tackle.
- OG Jon Geddes, Soph.
Geddes got in much better shape working his way town to 328 pounds and
now should be a force on the left side. He's a surprisingly good athlete
with a little bit of experience seeing time in three games. Once he gets
his feet wet he should grow into one of the line's better run blockers.
- C Jamey Richard, Jr.
The 6-4, 301-pound junior started every game on the inside and was
decent, but not dominant. With his size and experience, he needs to
become one of the lead blockers and a stronger quarterback on the line
- OG Jeff Neidermeier, Soph.
Niedermeier took over the starting role half way through his redshirt
freshman season and never gave it up. One of the line's stronger
players, he'll grow into the job over the next three years at right
- OT Gerry Weissinger, Sr.
The former defensive lineman is 6-5, 310 pounds and aggressive, but he
struggled through the first half of last season and was replaced after
starting the first five games. Now he'll have to turn into a steady pass
blocker at left tackle.
- T Jon Burgio, Jr.
At 6-9 and 358 pounds, Burgio is needed for
his bulk on the right side behind Gerry Weissinger.
He hasn't made much of an impact yet, but he's too big not
to be used.
- T Derek Newell, Fr.
Expect the true freshman to quickly find a starting spot. He's 6-5 and
322 pounds with more athleticism than the other tackles. All he's
missing is playing time.