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WAC Preview 2006 - Unit Rankings

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 9, 2006


2006 WAC Preview CollegeFootballNews.com WAC Unit Rankings

Offenses
1. Boise State
If you're looking for a big drop-off now that Dan Hawkins is gone and Chris Petersen is running the team and not the offense, it's not going to happen. Bryan Harsin will handle the attack and everything will keep on humming with the WAC's best line paving the way for a good backfield and allowing QB Jared Zabransky more time to try to get his groove back. The receiving corps is loaded with experience and talent. If Zabransky can cut down on his interceptions and be more efficient, 40 points a game is an attainable goal.
2. Hawaii
3. Fresno State
4. Nevada
5. Louisiana Tech
6. Idaho
7. San Jose State
8. Utah State
9. New Mexico State

Quarterbacks  
1. Hawaii
The knock on Hawaii quarterbacks was that they were all products of the system; anyone can produce in this passing offense. While that's true, the Warriors have a quarterback with the skills to play just about anywhere. Colt Brennan is a great player in a great system, and the results should be eye-popping. Tyler Graunke is a strong number two who'll see time in blowouts, while Inoke Funaki will be more of a runner if he ever sees time.
2. Nevada
3. Boise State
4. Fresno State
5. Idaho
6. Louisiana Tech
7. Utah State
8. New Mexico State
9. San Jose State

Running Backs
1. Fresno State
The loss of 1,313 yards and 15 touchdowns of Wendell Mathis and 536 yards and five scores of Bryson Sumlin hurts, but the return of Dwayne Wright from a knee injury that cost him most of the last two seasons. He was a star back in 2003 and looks as good as new after the time off. There's speed to help him out with Clifton Smith and Shannon Dorsey each able to pop a home run and each waiting for their turn to shine. Roshon Vercher is one of the best blocking fullbacks in the nation.
2. Boise State
3. Nevada
4. Louisiana Tech
5. Idaho
6. New Mexico State
7. San Jose State
8. Hawaii
9. Utah State

Receivers
1. Hawaii
This isn't just an ultra-productive, ultra-experienced group, it's full of great talent led by super sophomores Davone Bess and Ryan Grice-Mullen. They weren't heavily recruited by any of the big names, but they proved last year that they should've been. Chad Mock and Ross Dickerson are explosive receivers who'll see their share of big games with all the attention paid to Bess and Grice-Mullen. There's more than enough depth to go around helped by the return of Jason Rivers back after missing last year.
2. Fresno State
3. Boise State
4. Utah State
5. Nevada
6. Louisiana Tech
7. Idaho
8. New Mexico State
9. San Jose State

Offensive Lines
1. Boise State
All-American Daryn Colledge might be gone, but tackle Ryan Clady and guard Tad Miller are all stars who'll lead the way for the league's best line. There's more than enough experience and talent elsewhere to easily match the production of last year's front five, and now there's more depth and more options to play with. The most interesting spot will be at right guard where the massive Andrew Woodruff will step in for an injured Pete Cavender.
2. Fresno State
3. Nevada
4. Hawaii
5. San Jose State
6. Louisiana Tech
7. Idaho
8. Utah State
9. New Mexico State

Defenses
1. Fresno State
The Fresno State defense led the WAC in every appreciable category last year and will be close to as good despite the loss of three All-WAC stars in DT Garrett McIntyre, CB Richard Marshall, and FS Tyrone Culver. The linebacking corps will be the early strength for the ultra-aggressive D with Dwayne Andrews certain to be in the hunt for WAC Defensive Player of the Year. The secondary will be great after the two open spots are secures, and the line should be better against the run with a pair of 330 pounders at tackle.
2. Boise State
3. Nevada
4. Hawaii
5. Louisiana Tech
6. Idaho
7. Utah State
8. San Jose State
9. New Mexico State


Defensive Lines
1. Boise State
The line isn't full of stars, but it has enough talent to form a good rotation to keep everyone fresh and allow the coaching staff to tinker with the lineup. The one sure thing is Andrew Browning at tackle; everyone else is interchangeable. While there's not a killer pass rusher in the group, sophomore backup Mike T. Williams is close. This will be an active group that finds its way to the quarterback, but could use a few more tackles for loss.
2. Fresno State
3. Nevada
4. Hawaii
5. Louisiana Tech
6. Idaho
7. Utah State
8. San Jose State
9. New Mexico State

Linebackers
1. Boise State
Korey Hall and Colt Brooks are two of the WAC's most active, most talented defenders leading one of the WAC's best linebacking corps. There's a good blend of size and speed with players like David Shields and Kyle Gingg fast enough to add more athleticism to the group, while backup Josh Bean is a good-looking reserve behind Hall in the middle.
2. Fresno State
3. Nevada
4. Louisiana Tech
5. Hawaii
6. Idaho
7. Utah State
8. New Mexico State
9. San Jose State

Defensive Backs
1. Fresno State
The WAC's best pass defense won't slip too much if speedy Elgin Simmons and Damon Jenkins can combine to replace Richard Marshall, who left a year early to go to the NFL. Marcus McCauley is a next-level caliber corner who'll shine as the team's number one man, while big-hitting Josh Sherley and speedy senior Vincent Mays are good safeties who'll have big seasons. The depth is young and inexperienced, but very, very athletic.
2. Boise State
3. Nevada
4. Louisiana Tech
5. Hawaii
6. Idaho
7. Utah State
8. San Jose State
9. New Mexico State

Special Teams
1. Fresno State
Clint Stitser is on the verge of being an All-WAC kicker with a monster leg and good consistency. Mike Lingua is a serviceable punter who plays his role well enough to not allow the FSU punting game to be a problem. The big issue will be replacing Adam Jennings, who averaged 12.4 yards per punt return and 29 yards per kickoff return. Joe Fernandez averaged 22.6 yards on his five punt returns, but Clifton Smith, the likely main man, averaged 63 taking two of his three tries for a score. Fernandez will handle the kickoff returns.
2. Boise State
3. Louisiana Tech
4. San Jose State
5. Idaho
6. Nevada
7. New Mexico State
8. Utah State
9. Hawaii