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2007 Toledo Preview - Offense
Posted Jun 12, 2007

Preview 2007 Toledo Rocket Offense Preview

Toledo Rockets

Preview 2007 - Offense

- 2007 Toledo Preview | 2007 Toledo Defense Preview
2007 Toledo Depth Chart | 2006 CFN Toledo Preview 

What you need to know: Injuries hit the offensive line last year and killed the production and the consistency. With John Greco back at left tackle and a slew of big redshirt freshmen, the front five should be better and could be fantastic is David Perkins and Jerry Aguwa return to their pre-injury form. The spread offense should improve with quarterback Aaron Opelt looking better and Clint Cochran healthy again after a knee problem. The receiving corps is big, fast, and so far, disappointing. That could quickly change considering all the interesting targets. Jalen Parmele and DaJuane Collins form a good 1-2 rushing punch that needs to stay healthy with the off-the-field issues of Richard Davis and Scooter McDougle.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Clint Cochran
96-169, 960 yds, 6 TD, 4 INT
Rushing: Jalen Parmele
207 carries, 1,131 yds, 8 TD
Receiving: Chris Hopkins
54 catches, 565 yds, 7 TD

Star of the offense: Senior OT John Greco
Player that has to step up and become a star: Junior WR Nick Moore
Unsung star on the rise: Redshirt freshman OG Jan Gewont
Best pro prospect: Greco
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Greco, 2)
TE Chris Hopkins, 3) RB Jalen Parmele
Strength of the offense: Quarterback, top running backs
Weakness of the offense:
Proven receiver production, experienced depth


Projected Starter: While the starting quarterback job is still technically up for grabs going into the fall, sophomore Aaron Opelt has the inside track. With the biggest upside and most potential for the spread offense, he's the one who could make the offense explode with his combination of skills rushing for 261 yards and four touchdowns to go along with 875 passing yards and six touchdowns. He threw five interceptions, but only tossed one over the final five games. As well as he played at times, he didn't get the offense moving consistently enough. That should change with a year of experience under his belt.

Projected Top Reserves: Junior Clint Cochran was supposed to be the next great Toledo quarterback, but he had problems staying healthy with a knee injury limiting him to just seven games and four starts. Even so, he completed 57% of his throws for 960 yards and six touchdowns highlighted by a brilliant 367-yard, three touchdown day in the loss to Iowa State. He doesn't have nearly the mobility of Opelt, but he's a little bit bigger and has a more consistent passing touch.

The third man in the hunt is sophomore Brandon Summers with a decent, accurate arm and good running skills. He's not all that big at 6-0 and 187 pounds and will have to be amazing to have any shot of beating out the other two.

Watch Out For ... Opelt to go from good to All-MAC status. He was a more poised, more polished quarterback in spring ball making better decisions and looking like the starter he didn't always appear to be last season. The light has gone on.
Options. All three quarterbacks can play with Cochran and Summers just as good to lead the offense as Opelt; they just don't have the same promise.
Proven accuracy. Yeah, they all are great in practices and Cochran was great in mop-up duty a few years ago, but someone has to become a 65% passer on a regular basis. It doesn't help to follow in the footsteps of Mr. Accuracy, Bruce Gradkowski.
Outlook: It's a great situation. Cochran is healthy again and should be the passer everyone thought he'd grow into before the knee problem. Opelt is sharper, more mature on the field, and ready to be the star, and Summers is as good a number three as anyone in the MAC can ask for. Expect more overall production from the position, and also expect the race for the top job to last up until the last minute. More talent is on the way with
D.J. Lenehan and Travaris Cadet two of the team's star recruits.
Rating: 6

Running Backs

Projected Starters: Senior Jalen Parmele hasn't been at Toledo for 14 years; it just seems that way. The talented All-MAC runner tore off 1,170 yards and eight touchdowns last season as he finally got most of the workload to himself after finally staying healthy. A powerful 222 pounds with excellent quickness and vision, he got better as the season went on finishing with four straight 100-yard games (and a 99-yard effort against Eastern Michigan to start the run) as the offense revolved around him more and more. While he's not a weapon as a receiver, he'll make a few grabs here and there catching 16 passes for 128 yards last season.

Projected Top Reserves: After Scooter McDougle's problems from an alleged involvement with a gambler, the last thing the program needed, especially the backfield, was another problem. It got it as junior Richard Davis, the team's second leading rusher with 282 yards and three touchdowns was arrested on charges of attempted aggravated burglary. That means the MAC's deepest backfield now becomes Parmele and sophomore DaJuane Collins, who saw time in ten games rushing for 261 yards and three touchdowns averaging 5.6 yards per carry. Getting him more work is a good thing. He's a very quick, very athletic runner who should shine once he starts to become more involved. Now he has to prove he can handle the responsibility.

Redshirt freshman Dontae Jones is a 215-pound banger who goes from being lost in the shuffle to becoming a key weapon in the rotation. On the way is top freshman
Morgan Williams, a two-time Ohio Player of the Year who ran for 4,864 yards and 65 touchdowns in his final two years.

Watch Out For ... the coaching staff to be nervous about Parmele's health. At the moment, he's the running game and the one player the offense can't afford to lose. He got just one carry in the spring game, and he's not going to get any more work than he has to early on.
Quickness. All the Toledo backs can zip and dart through the holes, and all can rip off five yards a crack when they get a shot. If Aaron Opelt is under center, the entire workload won't fall on the backs and they'll be even more effective.
Depth. All of a sudden a strength has turned into a weakness, or at least a concern. It's not like Collins and the rest of the young backs aren't talented, but it would've been nice to have McDougle and the versatile Davis to work with.
Outlook: As long as Parmele is right, the running game will be more than fine and could flirt with 2,000 yards if Collins has a great year. Expect several young, untested backs to get key carries early on to get their feet wet.
Rating: 7


Projected Starters: It's time for junior Nick Moore to go from being a strong complementary receiver to a star number one. He caught 20 passes for 200 yards and no touchdowns, but he has the talent and ability to do far more. At 6-4 and 192 pounds, the brother of former Rocket star Lance Moore has to use his size and his deep speed to replace Steve Odom as the go-to wide receiver.

Senior Andrew Hawkins is the smallest Rocket receiver in the mix at only 5-8 and 163 pounds, but he has the speed to become a dangerous weapon. Hurt throughout last year, he only made eight grabs for 104 yards and a touchdown.

Sophomore Stephen Williams is one of the team's most intriguing offensive with 6-5, 195-pound size and the wheels to get deep. Now he has to be consistent and take advantage of single coverage after catching just six passes for 87 yards and a touchdown despite getting five starts.

The team's best target is tight end Chris Hopkins, a legitimate Mackey Award candidate who led the team with 54 catches for 565 yards and seven touchdowns. With great hands, fantastic route running ability and good blocking skills, the 6-5, 255-pound senior can do it all as long as he hangs on to the ball. If he catches everything that comes his way, he could be a 70-grab target.

Projected Top Reserves:
Senior David Washington started seven games last year but only caught four passes for 26 yards. At 6-6 and 219 pounds with speed, everyone's been waiting for him to become a major playmaker. It hasn't happened yet. With a body and athleticism that should make him a dream in the red zone, the hope is for everything to finally come together behind Williams.

Junior Andre Redd is another receiver with all the tools to be a big player in the rotation, but without the production to back it up. He's quick with a little bit of experience making eight catches for 83 yards two years ago.

6-4, 211-pound junior Trumaine Smith is another big Rocket receiver with talent, but he only caught one pass last year in six appearances. Considering his size and 4.3 speed, that has to change in a big hurry.

When Toledo goes to four-wide sets, yet another big target, 6-5, 187-pound sophomore Robin Bailey, will step in. Hurt for most of last year, he didn't catch a pass. That'll change very early on. Soon to add more speed to the mix will be recruit Tim Cortazzo with 4.3 speed.

Backing up Hopkins at tight end will be junior John Allen, who at 6-5 and 215 pounds is smaller than some of the wide receivers. A good receiver in two tight end sets, he caught 11 passes for 144 yards averaging 13.1 yards per catch.

Watch Out For ... the starting lineup to change several times, several ways. With the three and four wide sets the Rockets use, there are plenty of opportunities for playing time and there are more than enough great prospects to get involved.
Size. Is there a bigger receiving corps in America? Of the eight top options, five are over 6-4 and David Lewis is 6-2. There are matchup nightmares all over the place.
Can any of the great looking targets actually play? Moore has yet to remotely resemble a number one receiver, and there isn't any proven production to rely on right away. The team's best receiver is Hopkins. The wide receivers have to do far more.
Outlook: The receiving corps looks the part, and now it has to play as good as it looks. It's an intimidating crew with all the size and speed, but now they have to start making more plays. If everything comes together and everyone starts playing up to their potential, look out.
Rating: 5.5

Offensive Linemen

Projected Starters: There might not be a better blocker in the MAC than 6-5, 318-pound senior John Greco, a rock of the line for the last three years. The leader of the offense as a team captain last season, he made the successful move from the right side to the left without any trouble using his experience and strength to become an even better run blocker. Everything will revolve around him.

While he's still trying to get back into playing shape after missing last year, 6-4, 295-pound senior Jerry Aguwa is a veteran blocker who'll immediately make a big difference in the line's pass protection.

There will be a veteran battle for the left guard spot between 6-4, 295-pound sophomore Jared Dewalt and 6-2, 308-pound senior David Perkins.  Dewalt stepped in when Perkins got hurt and did a nice job despite struggling early on with his consistency. Even so, he didn't play like a true freshman and now should be even better. Perkins has the versatility to play center or guard with tremendous strength and good mobility. Now he has to find a spot.

For the time being, 302-pound redshirt freshman Levi George will handle the job in the middle after a strong spring, but watch for Perkins to step back in before the start of the season. 6-6, 305-pound redshirt freshman Jan Gewont will take over the right guard job after working his way into a potential star up front. He'll be one of the rocks of the line over the next four years.

Projected Top Reserves: Until Aguwa is back to 100%, massive 6-7, 310-pound redshirt freshman Chris Meenan will play right tackle. Listed as the starter coming out of spring ball, he has the long frame and athleticism to become a MAC star for the next several years. He doesn't have the technique of a redshirt freshman.

6-2, 304-pound sophomore Chris Dyko will back up Gewont at right guard, and while he doesn't have the same talent, he should be a regular in the rotation.

Watch Out For ... the line to be far better. It didn't do nearly enough in pass protection last season and was mediocre for the running game. Injuries and inconsistency were the problem, and even though several young players have to play key roles, the production will be there.
Greco. With Dewalt and Perkins potentially combining at left guard, if Perkins doesn't move over to center, and with Greco at tackle, the left side should be dominant. Greco will end up being a first-day draft pick and a possible All-American.
Youth. Three redshirt freshmen might end up starting, and while they're talented with great potential, they're still redshirt freshmen. Consistency will be a problem early on unless Perkins and Aguwa take back starting spots.
Outlook: Can the pass protection be there after surrendering 30 sacks? It'll help with the quarterbacks making quicker, better decisions, but they also need more time. This is a big group that should potentially jell into one of the MAC's best as long as Perkins and Aguwa are healthy again and Greco is Greco.
Rating: 6


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2007 Toledo Preview - Defense
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2007 Toledo Preview - Depth Chart
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