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2008 Central Michigan Preview - Offense
Central Michigan WR Bryan Anderson
Central Michigan WR Bryan Anderson
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Apr 21, 2008


CollegeFootballNews.com 2008 Preview - Central Michigan Chippewa Offense

Central Michigan Chippewas

Preview 2008 - Offense

- 2008 CFN Central Michigan Preview | 2008 CMU Offense 
- 2008 CMU Defense | 2008 CMU Depth Chart 
- 2007 CFN Central Michigan Preview | 2006 CFN Central Michigan Preview 

What you need to know: The Chippewa offense led the MAC in scoring and was second in total offense, and now it should be even better with all the key parts returning. The only significant loss is at right guard with Eric Tunney gone, but Iowa State transfer Joe McMahon could turn out to be even better. Dan LeFevour is the best all-around quarterback in college football not named Tim Tebow, the 1-2 receiving punch of Bryan Anderson and Antonio Brown combined for 192 catches last year and should hover around the 200-grab mark again, and the backfield is deep and talented with Carl Volny stepping up this off-season to combine with Ontario Sneed and Justin Hoskins to form a potentially devastating rotation. The line gets four starters back and should be among the MAC's best, but there's no developed depth.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Dan LeFevour
355-543, 3,652 yds, 27 TD, 13 INT
Rushing: Dan LeFevour
188 carries, 1,122 yds, 19 TD
Receiving: Antonio Brown
102 catches, 1,003 yds, 6 TD

Star of the offense: Junior QB Dan LeFevour
Player who has to step up and become a star: Junior OG Joe McMahon
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore RB Carl Volny
Best pro prospect: Senior OT Andrew Hartline
Top three all-star candidates: 1) LeFevour, 2) WR Bryan Anderson, 3) WR Antonio Brown
Strength of the offense: Experience, Dan LeFevour, the receivers
Weakness of the offense:
Offensive line depth

Quarterbacks

Projected Starter: If Florida's Tim Tebow is considered the best all-around college quarterback, the junior Dan LeFevour has to be a close second, at least stats-wise. All LeFevour did was lead CMU in rushing with 1,122 yards and 19 touchdowns while completing 65% of his passes for 3,652 yards and 27 scores with 13 interceptions. He had two games (wins over Ball State and Akron) when he accounted for more than 500 yards of total offense, and he went for more than 400 in two other games. Even more than the numbers, he is a proven winner as the unquestioned leader and star of the two-time defending MAC champions. While he'll throw a pick a game and tends to shoulder too much of the offensive responsibility himself, especially when things get tight, he's a gunslinger who isn't afraid to take chances and is tough as nails when it comes to taking a big shot. At 6-3 and 226 pounds, he's big enough to handle a regular pounding and he's growing into a better decision-maker for the passing game.

Projected Top Reserves: Considering the way Dan LeFevour runs, and how he's been knock-on-wood lucky so far when it comes to injuries, senior Brian Brunner has to be at the ready. The starter going into 2006, he suffered a concussion right off the bat against Boston College, LeFevour took over, and the rest is history. A good all-around quarterback with 6-3, 241-pound size, good mobility, and a nice arm, he's more than just a capable backup; he could step in and lead the team to wins if he had to. He saw a little bit of work over the last two seasons, completing just five of 12 passes with an interception in mop-up duty last year.

Sophomore Steve Beltkowski is a 6-6, 236-pound walk-on who has decent athleticism and a good arm. While he'll have to battle with redshirt freshman Derek Rifenbury, he'll be the No. 3 man going into the season and will spend this year trying to position himself to be next year's backup.

Watch Out For ... LeFevour to not have to do everything again this year. Oh sure, he's a threat to join Tim Tebow in the 20-20 club for rushing and passing touchdowns in a season, and he's not going to stop running any time soon, but he doesn't have to carry the whole offense. There are weapons around him to work with.
Strength
:
Keeping things moving. LeFevour is one of the best high-octane offense quarterbacks around, able to keep up in any shootout, while Brunner is a solid backup who can step in and win.
Weakness
:
Consistent interceptions. It's nitpicking, but LeFevour was good for around a pick a game last season. He had to do a little too much with the defense giving up points in bunches, and he had to force too many throws, but he still needs to cut down on his picks.
Outlook: LeFevour is one of the nation's elite all-around quarterbacks and has the size, mobility, and skill level to start generating more attention from the NFL types. Brunner is an excellent backup who'd start for several other MAC teams. This is a great situation, and as long as LeFevour stays healthy, the Chippewas have a puncher's chance against anyone.
Rating: 8.5


Running Backs

Projected Starter: While Carl Volny was the No. 1 back coming out of spring ball, that'll change once senior Ontario Sneed is 100% healthy recovering from a broken arm. When he's right, he's one of the MAC's most productive all-around backs with 2,315 career rushing yards and 18 touchdowns and 125 career catches for 1,060 yards and ten scores, but he can't stay on the field. When everything's working, like it was early last year when he ran for 168 yards and three touchdowns, and caught three passes for 44 yards, in the win over Toledo, he's unstoppable.

When the Chippewas use a fullback it'll be up to 5-11, 220-pound sophomore Tyler Reed to handle the work. A decent athlete with good power, he'll be more of a big runner than a true blocking, blasting fullback. The more he can be a receiving threat out of the backfield, the more he'll be used.

Projected Top Reserves: Sophomore Carl Volny took advantage of his opportunity this spring and now appears to be the team's newest offensive star after running for 100 yards and catching six passes for 43 yards and a touchdown as a reserve. The 5-11, 189-pound sophomore was a nice recruit out of Florida with excellent speed and good potential. If nothing else, he'll be a terrific backup option once everyone is healthy, and he should end up carrying the ground game at least a few times this season. If he can grow as a receiver, he'll be special.

Former Notre Dame transfer Justin Hoskins lived up to his billing finishing second on the team in rushing, and first among the backs, with 664 yards and ten touchdowns averaging 5.8 yards per carry. He also caught 22 passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns. Even though he missed spring ball with an ankle injury, he'll be back and ready to be in the starting mix right away. If everyone's healthy, he's probably the third man in the mix, but he'll get plenty of work.

5-11, 193-pound junior Marcel Archer ran for 114 yards in a mop-up role and will now be used as a part-time fullback. He won't block anyone, but he's a veteran slasher who can be used in a variety or roles. He has a history of producing, running for three scores against Western Michigan two years ago, and he can carry the workload for a small stretch.

Watch Out For ... Volny. He was good enough in spring ball to show that he could be the main back for the next three years. Sneed will be the main man when he's healthy, but how long will that last? Volny will have some monster games.
Strength
:
Options. With the emergence of Volny, CMU is loaded with quick, versatile runners. There are five backs who can step in and start and be used in a variety of different formations.
Weakness
:
Power. There really isn't any. The backs aren't small, and none of them are afraid to go between the tackles, but there isn't a hammer who can pound out two years when they're absolutely needed.
Outlook: With so many backs and so much talent and experience to work with, there's no reason whatsoever for LeFevour to run the ball 188 times again. Healthy will always be a concern for Sneed, and now Hoskins, but there are enough good players to form an excellent rotation.
Rating: 7

Receivers

Projected Starters: A major find as a redshirt freshman, Bryan Anderson proved his first season wasn't a fluke with a 90-catch, 1,132-yard, ten touchdown seasons with three ten-catch performances. A dangerous deep threat with 4.5 speed, he can also make the tough grab. At 6-5 and 205 pounds, he's able to use his big body to beat up smaller defensive backs and can go across the middle. He became a more consistent scorer and ended the year on a high note with three touchdowns in the Motor City Bowl against Purdue. He'll be one of the most productive receivers in America once he returns healthy from a shoulder injury.

While Anderson is the star of the receiving corps, sophomore Antonio Brown is the leading returning receiver making 102 catches for 1,003 yards and six touchdowns and set the D-I record for all-purpose yards by a freshman with 2,267. A phenomenal kickoff returner averaging 26.2 yards per try, he wasn't as much of a home run hitting receiver, but he could be. Insanely fast, he was an all-state Florida high school sprinter, and he proved he's more than just a speedster with a consistent first year highlighted by a 15-catch, 174-yard day against Akron.

Senior Joe Bockheim was supposed to come up with a big season after a big 2007 spring, but he only caught seven passes for 82 yards and a score. At 6-2 and 197 pounds, he has decent size and has the speed to be a decent deep threat if used more.

Redshirt freshman Rocky Weaver will take over the tight end role, when CMU uses one, and can be a big target. At 6-6 and 220 pounds, he's a tall receiver who can be used on short to midrange throws. He's not a blocker, he's a receiver who'll line up in the tight end slot.

Projected Top Reserves: Sophomore Kito Poblah was originally supposed to be a factor on the inside, but he wasn't much of one early on. And then the 6-2, 196-pounder became a major factor late in the year catching nine of his 14 passes in the final four games with a touchdown in each lf the last three regular season games. He has the potential to be a big-play target, but he didn't do much outside of the red zone. First he has to get over an off-season knee injury that kept him out of spring ball.

Sophomore Taylor Bradley will start in four-wide sets after making ten catches for 112 yards and a touchdown in six games before getting knocked out for the year. At 6-1 and 189 pounds, he's a tall, talented home run hitter who could be a major force with all the attention paid to the rest of the corps.

5-10, 170-pound junior Jean Pitts is versatile enough to play in any of the four receiver spots. Moving around all spring ball filling in where needed, he has the trust of the coaching staff and will see more work after catching ten passes for 75 yards as a reserve.

Redshirt freshman Brandin Friske is a speedy option at tight end, but he's not going to be much of a blocker. At 6-3 and 207 pounds, he's a big receiver who can step into the rotation at any of the inside receiver spots, but will start out behind Weaver.

Watch Out For ... Bradley. While he didn't exactly blow up before getting hurt last year, he showed great promise. He'll draw the most mediocre defensive backs and he should blow up with more playing time.
Strength
:
Anderson and Brown. The most productive receiving tandem in school history should be even better after combining for 192 catches for 2,135 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Weakness
:
Blocking tight ends. The tight ends aren't enough a part of the offense, and while redshirt freshmen Rocky Weaver and  Friske will try to block, they aren't going to hit anyone with size.
Outlook: The passing game will be tremendous as long as Anderson and Brown do what they did last season. The tandem doesn't need much help but the more LeFevour can spread it around to players like Bradley and Bockheim, the better. There will be plenty of catches and lots of production, and now it's time to get Brown deep on a more regular basis.
Rating: 7.5

Offensive Linemen

Projected Starters: Four starters return to one of the MAC's best lines led by 6-5, 297-pound senior Andrew Hartline. He had the unenviable task of filling in for Joe Staley last year at left tackle, and he came through with his second straight All-MAC season. A starter in the last 39 games, the four-year starters is durable and tough. While he could use a bit more bulk to become a better pro prospect, he's a good enough athlete and a top pass blocker with the skills to eventually make a lot of money.

Returning at left guard will be 6-4, 318-pound sophomore Jeff Maddux after splitting starting duties throughout last year. While not an elite athlete, he's an excellent run blocker who became steadier as the season went on. He's a mauler who'll open some huge holes along with Hartline on the left side.

Sophomore Colin Miller grew into the starting center job becoming a steady performer in place of Drew Mormino. While he'll never be huge, Miller was able to bulk up to 280 pounds on his 6-3 frame and be just good enough of a pass blocker to get by. Extremely strong, he's great for the running game.

6-4, 285-pound senior Greg Wojt was a mainstay at right tackle starting every game and turning into a nice pass blocker. While he's nowhere near the talent that Hartline is on the other side, he's a good enough all-around player to work behind for the running game. He's physical and good at getting on the move.

The one big opening is at right guard where all-star Eric Tunney needs to be replaced. There will be a steady rotation with 6-2, 285-pound junior Joe McMahon almost certain to grab the job by the horns early on. The Iowa State transfer dominated on the scout team last season and should quickly fill in and be a dominator for the running game. 

Projected Top Reserves: 6-4, 245-pound junior Allen Ollenburger will see time at right guard along with Joe McMahon, but he's not big enough to be a regular on the inside. Tremendously athletic, he's good on the move and is extremely physical. The former tight end could fill in at tackle behind Greg Wojt from time to time.

6-3, 284-pound Adam Antonides is a big option at enter behind Colin Miller. Back in the mix a bit last year after missing all of 2006 hurt, he's a tremendously strong blocker who's smart enough to make all the line calls and a talented enough player to potentially see time at guard. He just needs the playing time.

Watch Out For ... McMahon. The one open starting spot in the front five could turn out to be the strength. The former Iowa State Cyclone is a big, tough blocker who could turn out to be an upgrade from All-MAC performer Eric Tunney.
Strength
: Experience. With four returning starters and McMahon ready to take over, the line is as rock-solid as any in the MAC. This group can do everything well.
Weakness
:
Depth. When the top backup, Ollenburger, is 245 pounds, there's a problem. It's not like there aren't bigger options to work with, but after four players started in every game last year, there wasn't a lot of developing going on.
Outlook: After a slightly disappointing 2006, the line was tremendous last year doing a great job in all phases. Now it should be even better as long as everyone stays healthy. The left side should be tremendous with Hartline and Maddux each likely to be on the All-MAC team, while the other three starting spots should be excellent. The key will be to get more playing time for the backups; it's asking a lot to get the kind of durability that last year's line had.
Rating: 6