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2008 MAC Insider Spring Questions & Answers
Ball State QB Nate Davis
Ball State QB Nate Davis
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Mar 4, 2008


With spring ball kicking in, here are some of the MAC's key questions answered by the inside sources, the Scout publishers.



2008 Spring Preview

Key MAC Questions Answered

- 2008 MAC Spring Analysis

Is the Ball State coaching staff planning on making the offense balanced and varied, or is it going to go with its star and make it Nate Davis, Nate Davis, Nate Davis?

From Doug Schrader, Publisher BallStateInsider.com    

The entire offense is returning with considerable depth and experience as compared to last season. MiQuayle Lewis will be returning for his junior season at RB after suffering an injury that ended his year at Nebraska. He's a good back and started as a freshman, but suffered injuries his freshman and sophomore years. The injuries at RB last season did create a considerable amount of depth that has big game experience which should really give the already potent offense a big boost. Cory Sykes a small but extremely quick RB from Harvey, Illinois (Thornton HS) enrolled in January and will challenge immediately veterans Lewis and Frank Edmond's. Coach Hoke said Cory may be the fastest guy on the team which is saying something as this team has good speed.

There will also be additional help for the offensive line which is full of 3 and 4 year starters with good size that are very experienced but should be challenged by a couple of red shirt freshman that are also very talented. Receiving corps is very solid with the return of Dante Love and Darius Hill, but has quality depth and speed to back them up as well.

Offensively, Ball State should be even more potent than last year as Nate will have another year of experience and his leadership will come to him naturally this year. Davis has been steadily improving in his decision making and ability to read defenses, but in my view has also begun to develop into much more of a threat to run when the pass is not there. We really started to see that the last half of the year. With a stable full of quality RB's with experience Ball State will be much more balanced offensively as long as they stay healthy. Even if they loose a couple of backs this season they have the depth and experience to continue to make the running game a threat. Last year that was not the case and it made it much more difficult on the passing game which still managed to put up a lot of yards on quality opponents. They'll still remain pass oriented primarily due to the skills, strong arm and decision making Nate displays so that will be their orientation first.

Talk around Indiana is this is the best offensive team Ball State has ever had, but I guess only time will tell. They have size, speed, skill and experience and a schedule that is very favorable. The senior leadership on this team has experienced some of the best competition major college football has to offer and have played against the likes of Iowa, Auburn, Boston College, Purdue, Indiana, Michigan, Navy, Nebraska, Illinois and Rutgers. If the defense is as improved as many believe it will be it could be a terrific year for Ball State football fans. Anything short of a win over rival Indiana University, a conference championship and bowl victory will be a disappointment so expectations are as high as I can ever remember and I have been following this program since 1967.

Is there going to be more scoring from the Miami offense?

From Alex Dombroff, RedHawkInsider.com

With the exception of the oft-injured Brandon Murphy, Miami lost no offensive threats of consequence to graduation. Thus, based on the experience coming back, Miami should be expected to have a much better scoring statistics next season. They return a group of dynamic receivers in Chris Givens, Eugene Harris, Armond Robinson, and Jamal Rogers, as well as their most impressive tailback down the stretch, Thomas Merriweather. Of those five, four will be sophomores; Robinson will be a junior. The biggest wildcard looking towards next season is weather or not redshirt freshman Clay Belton will be able to displace Daniel Raudabaugh as starting quarterback. Raudabaugh did well in leading Miami to the MAC Championship game after starter Mike Kokal got injured, but Shane Montgomery probably can't afford to sit on Belton, who comes in with tremendous hype. That said, Montgomery has shown unflappable loyalty to players in the past, Kokal being a prime example, so expect the position to be wide open well past spring practice.

Can the line finally start producing after two lousy years?

The RedHawk O-Line showed immeasurable improvement last season after giving up the most sacks in the country in the season prior. Like the skill positions, the offensive line has a lot of youth, and should continue to get better with experience and continuity.
 
Where will the team find its leadership?

The linebacking corps will have the tough task of anchoring the defense on the field, and providing leadership off it. Rising senior Clayton Mullins anchors that group as the returning MAC Defensive Player of the Year, but he might face competition for that title from close by on the field. Joey Hudson, also a senior-to-be, was the darling of the RedHawk defense coming into last season, but battled injury all year. He still managed 99 tackles, and was tied for second on the team with 2 interceptions. Finally, Caleb Bostic, who will will be a junior, was just as important a cog in the linebacker machine as Mullins and Hudson last season, amassing 103 tackles, second on the team behind Mullins. The talent of those three on the field must translate into solid leadership off the field, or else the RedHawks might lack focus with all the young talent on the other side of the ball.