2013 Middle Tennessee Spring Analysis
2013 Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders ... Head Coach: Rick Stockstill
Why To Get Excited … the backfield will keep the Blue Raiders competitive in a lot of games this season. Third-year starting QB Logan Kilgore is now a senior, coming off his tightest season in Murfreesboro. The new star, though, is RB Jordan Parker, who led the team in rushing as a rookie, going for well over 100 yards in three of the final four games.
| 2013 Schedule|
8/29 Western Carolina
9/7 at North Carolina
9/21 at Florida Atlantic
9/28 at BYU
10/5 East Carolina
10/12 at North Texas
10/26 OPEN DATE
11/2 at UAB
11/16 OPEN DATE
11/23 at Southern Miss
Why To Be Grouchy … the offense is going to put up points, but the D may give them back just as quickly. Middle Tennessee doesn’t harbor a lot of playmakers on defense after precocious FS Kevin Byard. The Blue Raiders ranked near the bottom of the Sun Belt in far too many key categories, while getting bowled over for more than 4.6 yards per carry.
The Number One Thing To Work On Is … the pass rush. Creating pressure can be the great equalizer for a program light on defensive talent. However, the Blue Raiders managed just 14 sacks a year ago, too few from the D-line. DE Shubert Bastien flashes potential, but someone has to step up and fill the shoes of Omar McLendon on the other side.
Non-Conference Games: Western Carolina, at North Carolina, Memphis, at BYU
Games Against the West: at North Texas, UTEP
Realistic Best Case Record: 7-5
Worst Case Record: 3-9
Likely Finish: 4-8
Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: Western Carolina, Memphis, at Florida Atlantic, FIU
Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: at North Carolina, at BYU, East Carolina, at North Texas, Marshall, at UAB, at Southern Miss, UTEP
Schedule Analysis: The Blue Raiders have to win the Sun Belt games. Starting out against Western Carolina will be a much-needed scrimmage before going to North Carolina and hosting an improved Memphis. However, if they can beat Florida Atlantic in the Conference USA opener and get by North Texas on the road and FIU at home, this could be a decent season. It’s going to take a few upsets – like UTEP in the regular season finale or on the road against UAB and Southern Miss – to have any hope of going bowling. It’s going to be a hard fight no matter what to get to six wins.
Team Concerns For 2013: The Blue Raiders have to start getting more out of their pass rush to help out a beleaguered secondary. It was a trickle down effect; the front four didn't get behind the line and the defensive backs got burned time and again. All four starters are back in the secondary, and three were underclassmen, but they're going to have a nightmare of a time in Conference USA unless someone can get to the quarterback. The punt return game has to be far better after finishing
114th in the nation.
The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Offensive linemen. The Blue Raiders went the JUCO route a few years ago, and this time they're building for down the line. Tackle Jordan Harris has the frame to grow into a starting tackle, while Daniel Stephens is a fireplug of a guard who should eventually be good for the running game. Watch out for JUCO transfer Devin Clarke at receiver and prep prospect Kamani Thomas at running back - they could be the featured stars in 2014. Kicker Canon Rooker is good enough to fight for time the second he sets foot on campus.
2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking:
116. That Class Was Heavy On ... Receivers. The Blue Raiders haven’t been shy about going after skill players over the last few classes, and last year was about beefing up the lines, but the offense needs more pop for the near future. There’s no receiver depth to count on going into the year, so the JUCO route might be important to help out right away.
2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 117. That Class Was
Heavy On ... Offensive linemen. After getting a bit of instant help from the JUCO ranks and the skill players over the last few seasons, the coaching staff is forming more of a foundation for the offensive front with a few solid prospects with 6-4, 300-pound JUCO transfer Micah James ready to step in and start tomorrow. J.D. Jones is a good, big center prospect who could play guard, and Darius Johnson will be a decent tackle once he hits the weight room.
2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 105. That Class Was
Heavy On ... Key JUCO
transfers. This was a good MTSU team last year and
it should be in the mix for the Sun Belt title this
season, but to get over the hump and win the
championship it needed a few more pieces to the
puzzle. In come five JUCO transfers to provide help
for the depth chart with Logan Kilgore likely to be
the No. 2 QB behind Dwight Dasher, Jamar Brown and
Jared Bamber sure to be key targets in the passing
game, and Arness Ikner a shut-down corner who needs
to see time right away.
2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 99. That Class Was
Heavy On ... Skill players. There’s a sprinkling of new recruits here and there, but the stars are at the skills with QB Jamal Ramsey one of the league’s best prospects and running backs David Jones and William Pratcher each good enough to change around the woeful running game. The receivers have size and speed, but they’re extremely unpolished.