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2008 Toledo Preview
Toledo WR Nick Moore
Toledo WR Nick Moore
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted May 20, 2008


CollegeFootballNews.com 2008 Preview - Toledo Rockets

Toledo Rockets

Preview 2008

By Pete Fiutak

- 2008 CFN Toledo Preview | 2008 Toledo Offense
- 2008 Toledo Defense | 2008 Toledo Depth Chart
- 2007 Toledo Preview | 2006 CFN Toledo Preview 

Interested in blogging about MAC football?  Let us know

Preview Toledo's opening day opponent
 
2008 CFN Arizona Preview

Head coach: Tom Amstutz
8th year: 55-32
Returning Lettermen
Off. 21, Def. 26, ST 3
Lettermen Lost: 13
Ten Best Rocket Players
1.
SS Barry Church, Jr.
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 Walter Atkins, Jr.

2008 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
7-5
2008 Record: 0-0

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

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
7-5
2007 Results:
5-7

Sept. 1 Purdue L 52-24
Sept. 8 at Central Mich L 52-31
Sept. 15 at Kansas L 45-13
Sept. 22
Iowa State W 36-35
Sept. 29 Western Mich L 42-28
Oct. 6 Liberty W 35-34
Oct. 13 at Buffalo L 43-33
Oct. 20 Ohio W 43-40
Oct. 27 No Illinois W 70-21
Nov. 3 Eastern Mich W 52-28
Nov. 13 at Ball State L 41-20
Nov. 23
at B. Green L 37-10

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 relived.

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: Sophomore S 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 success if ... 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.

Key game: 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