2007 Toledo Offense Preview |
2007 Toledo Defense Preview
2007 Toledo Depth Chart
2006 CFN Toledo
Imagine Michigan being a Big Ten also-ran or Oklahoma finishing with
a losing conference record. In MAC terms, Toledo finishing 5-7
overall and 3-5 in league play is the equivalent after 12 straight
winning seasons and four bowl appearances in five years.
Don’t expect the Rockets to be down for long after a very strange,
very inconsistent season. The team was good enough to beat Kansas,
and flaky enough to lose to Eastern Michigan. Even with all the
problems, had star tight end been able to make a grab in the second
overtime against Iowa State, and if there was even a little bit of
an offense against EMU and Ball State, Toledo would’ve been 8-4 and
no one would be saying anything about the rebuilding year.
Head coach: Tom Amstutz
7th year: 50-25
Off. 23, Def. 26, ST 3
Lettermen Lost: 14
Best Rocket Players
2. TE Chris Hopkins, Sr.
3. SS Barry Church, Soph.
4. FS Tyrrell Herbert, Sr.
5. RB Jalen Parmele, Sr.
6. LB Greg Hay, Sr.
7. DE Sean Williamson, Sr.
8. LB Keith Forestal, Jr.
9. QB Aaron Opelt, Soph.
10. OG Jared Dewalt, Soph.
CFN Prediction: 7-5
at Central Mich
at Ball State
at Bowling Green
2006 predicted wins
at Iowa St L 45-43 3OT
at Western Mich
Kansas W 37-31 2OT
at Pitt L 45-3
at Kent State
at Eastern Mich
at No Illinois W 17-13
big problem with the setback, and why this year is so important, is
because of the next step the program wanted to take. It was on the verge
of being a bigger player outside of the MAC after 45-13 win over UTEP in
the 2005 GMAC Bowl, and then 2006 proved the team wasn’t
The dip might be short lived as long as the quarterback situation, which
was a stunning mess throughout all of last year, is finally settled and
the defense plays more like it did over the second half of the season
than the first half. Unfortunately, all the teams with the big offenses
came before mid-October, so any positive momentum from the end of the
year might be a bit of a mirage.
Nine starters are back on defense while the running game should be
dominant with the MAC’s deepest stable of running backs. If nothing
else, Clint Cochran and Aaron Opelt each got plenty of experience under
center and should be more seasoned and accurate.
And then there’s the coaching. You don’t win as many games as Tom
Amstutz has over the last six years without doing something right. It’ll
be a stunner if he and his staff don’t have the Rockets back in the MAC
title hunt and in a bowl game again.
And then there’s Scooter. Hanging over the program is the ugly cloud
from point shaving allegations against suspended running back Scooter
McDougle. If Toledo gets back to its place among the MAC’s top teams,
it’ll have gone through a down year, a quarterback issue, and a scandal
of all scandals. This team should be good enough to do it.
What to watch for on offense:
More passing efficiency. Clint Cochran appeared to be a solid
replacement for Bruce Gradkowski after carving up Iowa State for 367
yards and three touchdowns in the season opener, but then his accuracy
fell off the map, he got knocked out with a knee injury, and then wasn’t
right the rest of the season. Aaron Opelt, more of a runner than a pure
passer, wasn’t quite ready for primetime when thrown into the spotlight.
Now the quarterback situation might be a plus considering the experience
and talent. They’re good; they just needed time. Opelt will be far
What to watch for on defense: More plays in the backfield.
Defensive coordinator Tim Rose is big on taking the fight to the offense
and not reading and reacting. Unfortunately, there weren’t enough sacks,
not enough plays in the backfield, and too many problems in the
secondary early on. With plenty of returning experience and great depth
on the line, Rose can open things up a bit and create more ways to swarm
around the ball.
The team will be far better if … the penalties slow down. For a
team in search of consistency, it needs to cut down on the sins. The
Rockets averaged close to seven penalties a game for 67 yards. While
that might not seem like much, it made them 103rd in the
nation in penalties. Then again, Florida was 118th.
The Schedule: Unlike most MAC teams, Toledo gets a few home games
in a row. Not only is there one three game homestand, but there’s two
with chances to make some big-time noise in the West. While the showdown
with defending MAC champion Central Michigan is on the road, the Western
Michigan and Northern Illinois games are at home. Playing Ohio from the
East isn’t a good break, but at least the game’s in Toledo. Closing out
with two road games at Ball State and Bowling Green might be tougher
Best Offensive Player:
Senior OT John Greco. Tight end Chris Hopkins is also worthy of being
considered the team’s top offensive player. Greco is a 6-5, 318-pound
rock at left tackle, but could play on the right side if needed. He’s a
brick wall in pass protection and the one the team runs behind for hard
Best Defensive Player:
Barry Church and/or Senior FS Tyrrell Herbert. The 6-2, 215-pound
tackling machine came on like gangbusters in his freshman season leading
the team with four interceptions while making 71 tackles. He’s great at
getting into the backfield and tremendous at helping out in pass
Key player to a
QBs Clint Cochran,
Aaron Opelt and Brandon Summers. A championship season could quickly
fall apart if the quarterback play hasn’t improved. Someone has to take
the job by the horns and show that this is his team. All three saw time
last season with no one playing with any consistency. Cochran is likely
the best option of the trio right off the bat, but Opelt has the most
The season will be a
... Toledo wins the West. The schedule is too favorable, and the defense
too experienced, to shoot for anything lower. As long as the quarterback
situation is settled, and if the running game can be more in control in
early games, there should be a return to MAC powerhouse status.
Sept. 8 at Central
Michigan. Talk about setting the tone for the season, if the Rockets can
come out of Mount Pleasant in the second game of the year, they have a
shot to run the MAC table. Until mid-November, there’s only one other
conference game on the road, at Buffalo.
2006 Fun Stats:
- Third quarter scoring: Opponents 77 – Toledo 28
- Punt return average: Opponents 13.6 yards per return – Toledo 4.9
- Field goal attempts: Toledo 7 of 8 – Opponents 12 of 17