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2006 CFN Toledo
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Head coach: Tom Amstutz
8th year: 55-32
Off. 21, Def. 26, ST 3
Lettermen Lost: 13
Best Rocket Players
2. FS Tyrrell Herbert, Sr.
3. QB Aaron Opelt, Jr.
4. WR Stephen Williams, Jr.
5. Rover Lester Richmond, Jr.
6. WR Nick Moore, Sr.
7. OG Jared Dewalt, Jr.
8. RB DaJuane Collins, Jr.
9. PK Alex Steigerwald, Jr.
10. CB Walkter Atkins, Jr.
CFN Prediction: 7-5
Aug. 30 OPEN DATE
Sept. 6 at Arizona
Sept. 13 at Eastern Michigan
Sept. 20 Fresno State
Sept. 27 FIU
Oct. 4 Ball State
Oct. 11 at Michigan
Oct. 18 at Northern Illinois
Oct. 25 Central Michigan
Nov. 1 at Western Michigan
Nov. 8 OPEN DATE
Nov. 11 at Akron
Nov. 20 Miami Univ.
Nov. 28 Bowling Green
CFN Prediction: 7-5
Sept. 1 Purdue L 52-24
Sept. 8 at Central Mich L 52-31
Sept. 15 at Kansas L 45-13
State W 36-35
Nov. 13 at Ball State L 41-20
at B. Green
There are bad
teams that are just plain lousy, there are bad teams that are depressing
in their inadequacies, and then there are fun-bad teams; teams that
might not have been any good, but are guilty pleasures to watch. The
2007 Toledo Rockets were at the top of the fun-bad list.
The Rockets didn’t play a lick of defense, gave up 34 points or more in
10 of their 12 games, and had the MAC’s worst run defense, they also had
a high-octane attack that hung a total of 165 points in a three-game
late season stretch.
Unfortunately, fun-bad became just bad with an inexplicable 37-10
clunker to Bowling Green to finish a losing season, and now the one
mighty MAC program has to prove it can get its groove back.
There are some major talent losses, especially on offense, but the
returning starters are expected to be far more consistent with a far
better passing game. The banged up defense of last year welcomes back
eight starters with a vow that last season was a nightmare that won’t be
Now the Rockets should be able to go from fun-bad to just plain fun. At
least for their fans.
What to watch for on offense:
No, this might not be the explosive attack
that put up points in bunches in a mad attempt to make up for the huge
numbers the defense was giving up, but the running game, even without
Jalen Parmele, should be solid while the passing game should be even
better with a settled quarterback situation thanks to the emergence of
Aaron Opelt. The 1-2 receiving punch of Stephen Williams and Nick Moore
should be deadly.
What to watch for on defense: More plays in the backfield. Yeah
that was said before last year, but this season it's going to happen by
default. The Rockets can't do any worse after tying for dead last in
America with a mere nine sacks and 51 tackles for loss. The coaching
staff is jockeying things around to get more pop from the ends.
The team will be far better if … the defense gets off the
field. It's not a difficult puzzle. The pass rush was non-existent, the
secondary struggled because of it, and opposing offenses were able to
move the ball at will. The D was awful on third downs allowing teams to
convert 44.5% of their chances. The UT offense was able to crank out
long drives of its own with the running game, but there must be more
defensive stops, especially against the pass.
The Schedule: With one of the toughest MAC non-conference schedules (at Arizona,
Fresno State and at Michigan to go along with a layup against FIU), the
Rockets have an uphill battle. And then there's the problem of four road
trips in five games and only one off week the entire year after starting
the season on September 6th instead of August 30th. The MAC road trips
against Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois, Western Michigan and Akron
aren't awful, and getting Bal State, Central Michigan, Miami and Bowling
Green at home is a major plus. Win those four and split the road games
and the West title is possible.
Best Offensive Player:
Junior QB Aaron Opelt. WR Stephen Williams might be close in
this race. Opelt has to stay healthy and he has to be efficient. In a
league full of good quarterbacks, few can get hot like the junior can
when everything is working right. In a perfect world the running game
controls the offense and Opelt simply has to keep the chains moving, but
he'll have his share of 300-yard games, too.
Best Defensive Player:
Barry Church and/or Senior FS Tyrrell Herbert. The two will be playing
on Sundays. Church had to do a little bit of everything by himself at
times last year and will be all over the field again. Herbert is a
strong leader who's back after missing most of last year with a
hamstring problem. These two will crank up the production in the
secondary after the Rockets couldn't slow down anyone's passing game.
Key player to a
successful season: Senior DE Sean Williamson ... or junior DE/LB
Derrick Summers. The Rocket ends have to star hitting quarterbacks to
help the entire defense. Williamson missed last year with a leg problem
and Summers is moving to the line from linebacker. These two need to
start generating pressure early on or else the coaching staff will have
to go to a plan B.
The season will be a
... Toledo wins the MAC title. The schedule is hardly easy, but this is
one of the league's most talented teams from top to bottom. With so many
good returning veterans, and with several key players back after missing
last year, there's no excuse to not be the team to beat in the West.
Anything less than bowl game will be a major disappointment; another
losing season would be an utter disaster.
Oct. 25 vs. Central Michigan. To be the champ you have to beat the
champ. CMU won in a shootout last year, but the Rockets can take control
of the West race with a win in a sandwich battle between road trips to
Northern Illinois and Western Michigan. Lose, and it's all about just
trying to get to a bowl.
2007 Fun Stats:
- Opponent scoring: 1st 105, 2nd 122, 3rd 133, 4th 110
- Penalties: Toledo 86 for 768 yards - Opponents 61 for 537 yards
- Average yards per play: Opponents 6.3 - Toledo 5.9