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2007 Western Michigan Preview

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jul 17, 2007


Preview 2007 Western Michigan Broncos

Western Michigan Broncos

Preview 2007

By Pete Fiutak

- 2007 WMU Offense Preview | 2007 WMU Defense Preview
- 2007 WMU Depth Chart | 2006 CFN Western Michigan Preview 

Bill Cubit came into Western Michigan two years ago believing the program could be a major MAC powerhouse again. He proved to be right in a big hurry. 

It wasn’t all that long ago that the Broncos were among the perennial players in the conference title race, and then they dropped off the map with four straight losing seasons bottoming out with a 1-10 2004 campaign. With a great offense, aggressive defense, and good coaching, they’re back and should be one of the challengers to win their first championship since 2000.

Head coach: Bill Cubit
3rd year: 15-9
8th year overall: 52-27-1
Returning Lettermen:
Off 16, Def 16, ST 8
Lettermen Lost: 11
Ten Best Bronco Players
1.
DT Nick Varcadipane, Jr.
2. CB Londen Fryar, Jr.
3. DE Zach Davidson, Jr.
4. FS Louis Delmas, Jr.
5. QB Tim Hiller, Soph.
6. QB Thomas Peregrin, Sr.
7. C Robbie Krutilla, Sr.
8. SS C.J .Wilson, Jr. 
9. CB E.J. Biggers, Jr.
10. WR Jamarko Simmons, Jr.

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
6-6

Sept. 1

at West Virginia

Sept. 8

Indiana

Sept. 15

at Missouri

Sept. 22

Central Conn. St

Sept. 29

at Toledo

Oct. 6

Akron

Oct. 13

at No Illinois

Oct. 20

Ball State

Oct. 27

at Eastern Mich

Nov. 6

Central Michigan

Nov. 17

at Iowa

Nov. 24

Temple

2006 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
5-7
2006 Record: 8
-5
Preview 2006 predicted wins

9/2 at Indiana L 39-20
9/9 Toledo W 31-10
9/16 at Virginia W 17-10
9/23 Temple W 41-7
10/7 at Ohio L 27-20
10/14 Northern Illinois W 16-14
10/21 at Ball State W 41-27
10/28 Eastern Mich W 18-13
11/4 Miami Univ. W 27-24
11/10 at Central Mich L 31-7
11/18 at Florida State L 28-20
11/24 at Akron W 17-0
1/6 International Bowl
Cincinnati L 27-24

2005 was about the offense, with players like Greg Jennings and Tony Scheffler putting up big numbers. 2006 was about the defense, led by All-America pass rushing linebacker extraordinaire Ameer Ismail. 2007 should be about balance with both sides of the ball loaded with experience and enough talent to shoot for a ten-win season and consider a bowl game a lock.

Ismail might be gone, but eight starters, all sophomores last year, return from the nation’s 11th best defense that led the country in sacks with 46. There’s decent size up front, good speed and quickness in the linebacking corps, and an exciting secondary that should prove to be the class in the MAC is there pass rush is even close to as good as last season’s.

Offensively, the return of Tim Hiller, after sitting out last season with a knee injury, gives Cubit the quarterback he needs to make the attack shine, but Thomas Peregrin will battle hard for the number one job. Including Hiller, nine starters are back including Jamarko Simmons and Brandon Ledbetter, and top recruit Schneider Julien, to add more pop to the passing game, while the 1-2 rushing combination of Mark Bonds and Brandon West will bring balance.

So watch out West Virginia on September 1st. Missouri and Iowa also need to be on alert. This could be the MAC’s best team on the verge of doing some very big things.

 
What to watch for on offense: Better production from the passing game. After losing Jennings and Scheffler to the NFL, the WMU air attack took a predictable dip. Now Hiller, or possibly Peregrin, last year’s backup behind Ryan Cubit, has an experienced receiving corps to work with that should be far more consistent. Even with the added production, the running game will be just as dangerous if Bonds repeats what he did his junior year.

What to watch for on defense: Keep up the pressure. Ismail might have ripped off 17 sacks, but he was hardly the team’s lone threat. End Zach Davidson is a premier pass rusher, while the coaching staff is great at inventing ways to get to the quarterback. With E.J. Biggers and Londen Fryar forming the league’s best cornerback tandem, the front seven can take more chances.

The team will be far better if … it can punt. Jim Laney was one of the best punters in the nation in 2005, and then the production dropped thanks to poor coverage. Laney doesn’t have a booming leg, but it’s good enough to help the team net more than 30.62 yards per kick.

The Schedule: The Broncos aren’t taking it too easy with the non-conference schedule going on the road to face West Virginia, Missouri and Iowa, but they get Indiana in Kalamazoo and are allowed a breather against Central Connecticut State. In MAC play, the get a monster break playing Temple from the East, along with Akron, but two of the toughest West games, Toledo and Northern Illinois, are on the road. On the plus side, the Central Michigan game is at home. Of interest to note, the schedule alternates road and home games, so there aren’t two in a row of either.

Best Offensive Player: Senior QB Thomas Peregrin or Sophomore QB Tim Hiller. Peregrin did a great job of filling in for Ryan Cubit early last year, leading the team to two big wins over Toledo and Virginia, while Hiller did a better job of filling in for Cubit at the end of 2005 before getting knocked out in the season-finale, and for all of last year, with a knee injury. The one who wins the quarterback job this fall will complete around 65% of his throws with at least 25 touchdown passes.

Best Defensive Player: Junior DT Nick Varcadipane. There are several great Bronco defenders who'll be among the team's best, including corner Londen Fryar, end Zach Davidson, and safeties Louis Delmas and C.J. Wilson. Varcadipane is somewhat quietly becoming one of the most productive tackles in MAC history, and should once again be great against the run as well as a top interior pass rusher.

Key player to a successful season: Junior LBs Cornelius Robinson and Austin Pritchard. Everything is set on the WMU defense except the linebacking corps that loses All-American Ameer Ismail and top player Paul Tithof. Pritchard and Robinson won't be as good as their predecessors, but they'll be productive. If they're great, the Bronco defense will be dominant.

The season will be a success if ... The turnaround under Cubit is complete and WMU wins the West. The Broncos have the defense to hold down most of the league’s better offenses, while the attack should be among the MAC’s best as long as the passing game keeps improving. It’ll be a tough road in the West, but WMU has the talent and the makeup to pull it off as long as there’s at least a split of road games against Toledo and NIU to go along with a home win against Central Michigan.

Key game: Nov. 6 vs. Central Michigan. The Broncos had a shot to take control of the West title chase in the showdown with the Chippewas last year but lost 31-7. To get to the MAC title, a win over the in-state rival might be a must with road games against Toledo and Northern Illinois to deal with.

2006 Fun Stats: 
- Third quarter scoring: Western Michigan 85 – Opponents 49
- Sacks: Western Michigan 46 for 327 yards – Opponents 17 for 135 yards
- Kickoff return average: Western Michigan 22.3 yards – Opponents 16 yards

  

Related Stories
2007 Western Michigan Preview - Offense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 17, 2007
2007 Western Michigan Preview - Defense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 17, 2007
2007 Western Michigan Preview - Depth Chart
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 17, 2007








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