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2010 Central Michigan Preview – Offense

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 6, 2010


CollegeFootballNews.com 2010 Preview - Central Michigan Chippewa Offense


Central Michigan Chippewas

Preview 2010 - Offense

- 2010 Central Michigan Preview | 2010 Central Michigan Offense
- 2010 Central Michigan Defense | 2010 Central Michigan Depth Chart
- Central Michigan Previews  2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006

What You Need To Know: There’s going to be a massive step back after finishing 13th in the nation in scoring and 24th in total offense. Gone is an all-timer of a quarterback in Dan LeFevour along with top targets Antonio Brown and Bryan Anderson and top runner Bryan Schroeder. On the plus side, the line gets four starters back and could be the team’s biggest strength, but the receiving corps needs to find more talent to work around WR Kito Poblah and TE David Blackburn and a quarterback has to emerge. Ryan Radcliff is the best option, but he’ll need help around him. It won’t be a full-blown spread attack like it was in past years, and there will be more balance and more of an emphasis on the tight end and the running game. And yes, there will be some snaps taken under center.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Ryan Radcliffe
10-21, 115 yds, 2 INT
Rushing: Carl Volny
82 carries, 390 yds, 3 TD
Receiving: Kito Poblah
53 catches, 681 yds, 4 TD

Star of the offense: Senior WR Kito Poblah
Player who has to step up and be a star: Sophomore QB Ryan Radcliff
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore OG Darren Keyton
Best pro prospect: Sophomore OT Jake Olson
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Poblah, 2) C Colin Miller, 3) TE David Blackburn
Strength of the offense: O Line, Quickness
Weakness of the offense: No. 2 Receiver, Veteran Skill Players

Quarterbacks

Projected Starter: Good luck, Ryan Radcliff. All you have to do is replace a legend in Dan LeFevour. The 6-2, 202-pound sophomore got a little time in blowouts and struggled completing just 48% of his throws for 115 yards with two interceptions, but he ran well for 48 yards and a score. The understudy last year, now he’ll get a chance to be the main man as part of a more balanced offense, and with a live arm he’ll get to push the ball deep. Drafted by the Colorado Rockies, he’s got a great gun, and while he won’t run like LeFevour, he’ll take off from time to time.

Projected Top Reserves: Junior Derek Rifenbury will get every chance to earn the starting job. The 6-3, 208-pounder was in the mix for the backup job last year before getting beaten out by Ryan Radcliff and he didn’t throw any passes last year. Very smart and a decent passing option, he picked up the new attack quickly and should be a solid No. 2 if he doesn’t end up taking over.

6-1, 213-pound redshirt freshman A.J. Westendorp is a good-looking young prospect who led his team to a Michigan state championship in 2008. He’s a dangerous dual-threat passer who also saw time in high school as a linebacker, and he most fits the Dan LeFevour mold, even though he’s nowhere near as big. He’s a great athlete and he’s a baller.

Watch Out For … a little bit of an ongoing battle for the starting job. While Radcliff is the main man, Rifenbury will get every shot to win the gig. Westendorp isn’t necessarily the right fit for this offense, but he’ll get his chances, too.
Strength: Mobility. The past coaching staffs made sure they got dual threat playmakers who can do a little of everything well. Radcliff can throw, but he’ll take off enough to be a threat, while Westendorp will be dangerous if he’s ever in.
Weakness: Dan LeFevour. 12,905 passing yards, 102 touchdowns, 36 interceptions, 2,948 rushing yards, 47 scores, one touchdown catch, 15,853 yards of total offense, three MAC titles. Life has to go on.
Outlook: No one will compare any of the new quarterback prospects to LeFevour, but the standards are set high now. Radcliff won’t have to be legendary, but he has to shine with so many new starters around him. He’ll get time to work behind a veteran offensive line, but he’ll also get a big challenge from Rifenbury.
Unit Rating: 6

Running Backs

Projected Starters: Senior Carl Volny will get the first look to take on a bigger role from the ground game. The 5-10, 198-pounder from Miami finished third on the team with 390 yards and three touchdowns, but he’s the team’s leading returning rusher after running for 101 yards against Alcorn State and 74 against Bowling Green. Very quick and very good in the open field, he handled more and more work as the season went on, and now he’ll be able to show what he can do with an increased workload.

The offense will use more of a true fullback this year, and 5-11, 215-pound senior Tyler Reed has been around long enough to know what he’s doing. While he’s not all that big, he’s a tough, feisty blocker who caught a nine yards pass and got a little bit of running work with 60 carries on 13 carries. He’ll mostly be a key all-around blocker and will be a special teamer.

Projected Top Reserves: Junior Paris Cotton was lost in the shuffle a little bit running for 60 yards and catching eight passes for 77 yards and a score. While the 5-9, 188-pounder from Miami isn’t going to provide any power, he’s extremely quick and will be an all-around playmaker for the offense and used in a variety of ways.

Bringing a bit of thump is 6-1, 210-pound redshirt freshman Zurlon Tipton, a big, talented back who was going to be in the mix last year as a true freshman but got hurt. One of the most productive runners in Michigan high school history with 5,115 yards and 76 touchdowns, he was also a physical defender with 301 career tackles and 16 sacks. He’ll be the X factor in the ground game.

Watch Out For … more from the backs. The quarterbacks will still get to take off and add to the ground game, but instead of a Dan LeFevour leading the way in rushing yards, more of the workload will fall on the backs.
Strength: Quickness. The Miami guys, Volny and Cotton, can cut on a dime and should be able to crank out some big plays behind a good line.
Weakness: Workload. The backs haven’t had to do too much over the last few years and they’ve been complementary players rather than major factors. Can they handle the duties? Cotton and Volny combined for just 610 yards last year.
Outlook: With leading running back Bryan Schroeder done with football (but with the possibility still there for him to return after he led the running backs with 559 yards and five scores), Volny, Cotton, and Tipton should be a three-headed monster who carries the offense early until the new starting quarterback is ready to shine. A running back might actually lead the team in rushing this year.
Unit Rating: 5.5

Receivers

Projected Starters: With Bryan Anderson and Antonio Brown gone, senior Kito Poblah is the only returning starter and he’ll be the No. 1 target right away after finishing third on the team with 53 catches for 681 yards and four touchdowns. While he came up with a big five-catch, 126-yard, one touchdown day against Eastern Michigan, he was mostly used as a steady third target. Able to play inside or out, the 6-2, 203-pounder has good size and nice deep speed to do a little bit of everything.

6-0, 187-pound junior Taylor Bradley started out his career as a receiver getting four starts in 2007, and then he moved to defensive back in 2008 and wasn’t a bad backup. With so many veterans both in the defensive backfield and in the receiving corps, he redshirted last season and now will use his good speed and excellent athleticism to be a deep threat.

Sophomore Cody Wilson was a spot starter getting the call in seven games and playing in all 14 finishing with 25 catches for 226 yards and two touchdowns. While he’s not going to blow past anyone, he’s a steady short to midrange receiver who averaged nine yards per grab. At 5-10 and 182 pounds he’s smallish, but he’s quick and he’ll get open.

Veteran tight end David Blackburn will finally get some passes thrown his way. The 6-3, 233-pound junior caught 12 passes for 113 yards and two touchdowns after working mostly on special teams and seeing time as a blocker, and now he could explode. A great recruit for the program, he got offers from Penn State, Michigan, and Michigan State, and he should be one of the team’s biggest beneficiaries from the coaching change.

Projected Top Reserves: Sophomore Jerry Harris is one of the team’s biggest targets at 6-3 and 184 pounds, and now he’ll be used more in the rotation with Cody Wilson. An ultra-athletic deep threat who needs to show early on that he can be a playmaker, he made just two catches for 13 yards last year. He has the size and he has the tools, but he hasn’t done much yet.

At 6-3 and 197 pounds, junior Cedric Fraser has the size and he has been on the field a little bit, he hasn’t done anything over his first few seasons. He might not be an elite talent and he’s not going to explode, but he has been around long enough to finally be able to show something in a rotation with Kito Poblah.

Watch Out For … Blackburn. He might turn out to be the team’s most talented pass catcher and he’s not going to be ignored by the new coaching staff or the quarterbacks. With so much help needed in the receiving corps, the tight end might be used more like a receiver.
Strength: Poblah. Call him the godsend of the team with so many concerns in the receiving corps. He’s the one big-time target who can carry the passing game from time to time.
Weakness: Depth. There isn’t any. Fraser has yet to do anything and senior Matt Torres is a career bencher. There are concerns among the starters, much less the backups.
Outlook: There are drops, and then there are HUGE drops. With Antonio Brown bolting for the NFL, Bryan Anderson done, and RB Bryan Schroeder quitting, 208 catches, 2,266 yards, and 19 touchdowns are gone. Poblah has to be special, Blackburn has to turn into a major factor, and someone has to come from out of nowhere to produce.
Unit Rating: 5

Offensive Line

Projected Starters: Four starters return up front with the lone loss a big one. Gone is all-star Allen Ollenburger at right guard and in steps Darren Keyton, a 6-3, 298-pound sophomore who spent last year starting three times in the middle of the season at center. A tough, strong, smart blocker, he’s a better fit at guard and should be a staple for the next three years, but he could also move back to the middle if needed.

The star of the veteran front five will be the quarterback in the middle, 6-3, 292-pound senior Colin Miller, a good veteran who earned second-team All-MAC honors last year. He’s big and he’s tough, but he has had injury problems missing several games in 2008 and getting knocked out for three games in the middle of last year. He has bulked up big-time over the last few years and has become one of the team’s top run blockers.

6-8, 282-pound Jake Olson stepped into the starting role last year and was terrific. He missed two games late in the year, but he was a steady all-around blocker who’s still growing into his body. More of a tall drink of water when he started, he’s up 20 pounds from last year and is still extremely athletic. A high school high jumper, he doesn’t have a problem with speed rushers.

Back on the right side is junior Rocky Weaver, a former starting tight end who caught eight passes for 65 yards and a score in 2008 and started every game last year at right tackle. He’s not massive at 272 pounds on a 6-6 frame, and he moves extremely well and is still getting bigger having beefed up over 20 pounds in the last year. He’ll be an all-star within the next two years.

Senior Jeff Maddux saw time starting at both guard spots two years ago, and locked down the left guard job for all 14 games last season. At 6-5 and 315 pounds he’s the team’s biggest blocker and he’s good on the move for a player of his size. He’s the mauler of the group and will be the one the team runs behind for the hard yards.

Projected Top Reserves: Battling for the open right guard job will be Matt Kanitz, a 6-6, 286-pound redshirt freshman with excellent upside and decent athleticism. The former high school hockey player could step in and start if Darren Keyton has to move over to center for a stretch, and he should be fine.

6-7, 271-pound sophomore Eric Fisher stepped in and started at left tackle late last year against Ball State and Northern Illinois, and he’ll once again be a key backup behind Jeff Maddux. A big recruit, he proved he could play as a true freshman and might be too good to keep on the bench. He’ll move around where needed.

Watch Out For … Keyton. He might be the one new starter, but there’s a chance he could be the best of the bunch. He has it all with good size, decent athleticism for a right guard, and the potential to be an all-star.
Strength: Experience. With four returning starters, and with Keyton, who has starting experience, the line should be the best in the MAC. It was fantastic last season and should be one of the team’s biggest strengths.
Weakness: Proven depth. Last year’s line was a rock with only a few little blips in the combination. There are several athletic, relatively light reserves, but they’re hardly going to be considered sure things.
Outlook: The line was terrific last year, but the whole was better than the sum of the parts. This year’s line will have to do more run blocking and will have to be more physical, and it should be able to do it. The key is going to be consistency. In an odd, quirky twist, the Chippewas have gotten great line play in odd years and poor play in even ones. Stinking in 2006, great in 2007, awful in 2008, and tremendous in 2009, this year’s line has to buck the trend.
Unit Rating: 6

- 2010 Central Michigan Preview | 2010 Central Michigan Offense
- 2010 Central Michigan Defense | 2010 Central Michigan Depth Chart
- Central Michigan Previews  2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006