Depth Chart |
While the Blue Raiders haven't been a disappointment on a big time
scale, they've had the talent and production to not just win a Sun
Belt title, they've had everything in place to win several.
Instead, there have been four straight losing seasons with no New
Orleans Bowl appearances in the five years as a Sun Belt member. The
program started off its conference life on a strange note going 8-3
in 2001 only to miss out because it lost to a North Texas team that
How frustrating was last season under former head coach Andy
McCollum? All four Sun Belt losses last season were by a touchdown
or less. MTSU lost to UL Monroe in the final :43 and to UL Lafayette
with 1:04 to play. There was a 45-7 pasting of eventual league
champion Arkansas State, and a win at Vanderbilt that would turn out
to be the bowl killer for the Commodores. The defense only allowed
18.73 points per game, but the offense often couldn't take advantage
struggling to average just 19 points per outing.
Head coach: Rick Stockstill
Off. 23, Def. 21, ST 4
Lettermen Lost: 22
Best MTSU Players
1. QB Clint Marks, Sr.
2. LB J.K. Sabb, Sr.
CB Bradley Robinson, Jr.
RB Eugene Gross, Sr.
5. WR Bobby Williams, Soph.
6. TE Stephen Chicola, Jr.
7. OT Germayle Franklin, Sr.
8. OT Franklin Dunbar, Soph.
9. FS Jonathan Harris, Jr.
10. NG Trevor Jenkins, Soph.
at North Texas
at UL Monroe
at UL Lafayette
at Arkansas State
at South Carolina
2005 Record: 4-7
2005 predicted wins
at Alabama L 26-7
North Texas L 14-7
Akron L 17-7
at Vanderbilt W 17-15
at Fla Atlantic
at NC State L 24-3
at Troy W 17-7
at Florida Intl L
All the frustrations and all
the near misses meant the end of the McCollum tenure and the beginning
of the Rick Stockstill era in what'll be an interesting experience
until the new coaching staff gets its feet wet. This is Stockstill's
first head coaching gig after spending time as an assistant at Clemson,
East Carolina and South Carolina over the past several years. He's known
for being a top recruiter and a nice developer of offensive talent, and
he has some good prospects to work with.
Senior QB Clint Marks has been the starter for two years and has more
than enough experience to handle himself well and be just the type of
leader to carry the offense between coaching staffs. Bobby Williams, if
he gets out of the doghouse after being suspended for spring ball, should be one of the Sun Belt's best receivers. Eugene Gross leads a
small, quick backfield running behind a big, decent offensive line.
The defense won't be the killer it was last year after losing seven top
starters, but it's not going to fall off the map with several good
prospects ready to step in and linebacker J.K. Sabb and corner Bradley
Robinson to build around. If the offense comes though with a better
season, the D will be good enough to win the Sun Belt title with.
And that's the measure of success for Stockstill ... Sun Belt
championships. The league is even, but it's not good enough to not be
taken by storm if a program get hot. A little more luck in close games
and a few better bounces here and there and MTSU will be the league's
The Schedule: It's
tough with the biggest games on the road. North Texas, UL Monroe, UL
Lafayette and Arkansas State should be among the Sun Belt's best
teams, and all four are away from Murfreesboro. The non-conference
slate isn't going to be fun playing at Maryland, at Oklahoma and at
South Carolina to go along with a home date with Louisville and a
layup against Tennessee Tech, so there will be little margin for
error if MTSU wants its first winning season since 2001.
Offensive Player: Senior QB Clint Marks. The left-handed senior
saw his production dive last year with no running game to balance
things out. There should be a 50/50 split of the workload, and
that'll only help Marks by giving him more options to work with. If
MTSU wins the Sun Belt title, Marks will likely be the Player of the
Defensive Player: Senior LB J.K Sabb. The former JUCO All-American
came in and rocked right away leading the team in tackles and
tackles for loss. He's a great sized playmaker on the weakside and a
fearsome pass rusher.
player to a successful season: Junior CB Roy Polite. The secondary
was one of the rocks of last year's team, and it will be again as
long as Polite has a big year. The junior has been a quality reserve
with good size and nice skills. Now he'll have to be a big producer
with everyone looking to stay away from Bradley Robinson on the
season will be a success if ... MTSU wins the Sun Belt title.
Finishing second means nothing in this league. It needs to get by a
nasty conference draw and has to survive three two-game
road trips, but the team should be good enough to beat anyone on the
slate outside of Maryland, Oklahoma, Louisville and South Carolina.
game: Sept. 30 at North Texas. The Mean Green is better than last
season's 2-9 disaster. One of those wins was a 14-7 clunker against
the Blue Raiders pushing the record between the two to 5-0. MTSU
needs this Sun Belt road opener coming off an almost certain blowout
at Oklahoma and a near-certain blowout against Louisville coming up
the following week.
The Last Time MTSU…
- First quarter scoring: MTSU 48 - Opponents 19
- Fourth down conversions: MTSU 9 of 12 (75%) - Opponents 3 of 15
- Interception return average: Opponents 24.4 yards on seven
interceptions - MTSU 9.1 yards on 14 interceptions
…played in a bowl game…1964 (Grantland Rice Bowl vs. Muskingum)
…missed a bowl game…2005
…pitched a shutout…2004 (Utah State)
…was shutout…2000 (Florida)
…scored 50 points…2005 (UL-Lafayette)
…won a conference title…2001 (tie, Sun Belt)
…had a 3,000-yard passer…never
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…2002 (Dwone Hicks)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…2004 (Kerry Wright)
…had a first-round draft choice…never