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2010 WAC Preview - Team By Team Looks
Boise State QB Kellen Moore
Boise State QB Kellen Moore
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 12, 2010


Preview 2010 - CFN WAC Team By Team Quick Looks and Predicted Finish


Preview 2010

WAC Team By Team


- Boise State Preview | Fresno St PreviewHawaii Preview
- Idaho Preview | Louisiana Tech Preview | Nevada Preview
- NMSU Preview | San Jose St Preview | Utah State Preview

- 2010 WAC Preview | 2010 WAC Unit Rankings | 2010 WAC Schedules & Picks
- 2010 CFN All-WAC Team & Top 30 Players | Get WAC Tickets
- 2010 WAC Team By Team Looks & Predicted Finish

Predicted Champion: Boise State

WAC Predicted Finish

1. Boise State
Predicted Overall Record: 11-1
Predicted Conference Record: 8-0

Offense: The offense will be ultra-efficient with ten starters returning and all the stars back at the skill positions after leading the nation in scoring averaging 42.21 points per game. The line spent last year shuffling around filling in for injuries and with some new players stepping in, but it still led the nation in sacks allowed and was a rock for the ground game. It’s not a huge line and there aren’t many stars, but it’ll be very deep and very good once the starting five is found. Skill-wise, the Broncos are silly-good with the receiving duo of Titus Young and Austin Pettis leading a deep corps of playmakers who’ll average close to 13 yards per catch, while the running back trio of Jeremy Avery, Doug Martin, and D.J. Harper should combine for 2,000 yards and over 20 scores. And then there’s Kellen Moore, the tremendously productive junior quarterback who’ll be deep in the Heisman hunt if he can start out strong.
Defense: In his first year at the helm, defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatowski has inherited a heater. Ten starters return from a defense that finished 14th in the nation in both yards and points allowed, and it should be even better with excellent depth to go along with all the starting talent. To nitpick, the pass rush from everyone other than star end Ryan Winterswyk and tackle Billy Winn was non-existent, and the corner situation is a wee bit shaky with Kyle Wilson on the New York Jets. Whatever. The front seven will be a brick wall against the run, the safeties, helped by the use of a nickel (Winston Venable) will be phenomenal, and it’ll be a shock if anyone on the schedule has any consistent success.

2. Nevada
Predicted Overall Record: 9-4
Predicted Conference Record: 6-2

Offense: Head coach Chris Ault and offensive coordinator Cameron Norcross have created a monster. The Pistol offense not only led the nation in rushing, but it did it by more than 50 yards per game over the pure rushing attacks of Georgia Tech, Air Force and Navy. So potent, the attack set a record with three runners going over the 1,000-yard mark as the ground game ripped off 4,484 yards, 48 touchdowns, and averaged a ridiculous 7.4 yards per carry. There are a few key losses with two all-stars gone off the line (Alonzo Durham and Kenneth Ackerman) and with Luke Lippincott gone from the backfield, but QB Colin Kaepernick will once again be one of the nation’s top dual-threat playmakers, all three starting receivers back, including all-star tight end Virgil Green, and a strong line in place to keep it all moving. Now the offense needs to produce against the better teams and not just against the dregs of the WAC.
Defense: Nevada has been trying, really trying, to improve the defense over the last few seasons, but there hasn’t been much success. The run defense has been fine, and WAC Defensive Player of the Year Dontay Moch is back on one end, and the front seven should be decent, but the Pack has had a great pass rush in the past and has been strong up front with nothing to show for it. The pass defense has been among the worst in America over the last few years, and new defensive coordinator Andy Buh has been brought in to change that. The secondary has to find one thing it can do well, and that’s likely to be preventing the deep ball … at least that’s the hope.

3. Fresno State
Predicted Overall Record: 8-5
Predicted Conference Record: 5-3

Offense: The offense that was so focused around the talents of Ryan Mathews and the running game will balance out a bit. There’s still speed and talent in the backfield, led by Robbie Rouse, and while the ground game won’t crank out close to 3,000 yards like last year, it should be effective working behind a great offensive front with five starters returning. The receiving corps loses some key targets, but there’s more than enough returning speed and deep ability to hit plenty of home runs with improving senior QB Ryan Colburn bombing away.
Defense: A total disaster, defensive coordinator Randy Stewart’s defense has to be far better and has to be far more disruptive after yet another disappointing season. The Bulldogs finished 111th in the nation against the run, second-to-last in sacks, and 98th in total D. The big key will be to force more turnovers after coming up with 15 takeaways and not doing nearly enough to hit the quarterback, and the potential is there to do far more with Chris Carter leading a veteran line full of good athletes. Ben Jacobs is one of the nation’s better linebackers, and he’ll be a strong leader for an improved group. The secondary has speed to burn, but it has to come up with more stops after getting ripped apart by everyone who could throw a forward pass.

T3. Hawaii
Predicted Overall Record: 6-7
Predicted Conference Record: 5-3

Offense: Former star quarterback Nick Rolovich and legendary assistant Mouse Davis, the architect of the modern run ‘n’ shoot attack, will try to keep the production going for the nation’s third best passing game and an offense that finished 14th in the nation. Greg Salas leads a tremendous receiving corps that should put up huge numbers once again, while QB Bryan Moniz should be better now that he has a year of experience under his belt. The problem is the line that loses four starters and should be a disaster in pass protection. There’s no proven line depth and there should be some juggling of the lineup early on, so Moniz might be running for his life way too often. But in the end, it’s Hawaii. The passing yards will come in chunks, the attack will still be exciting, and there will be moments when the explosion will be breathtaking. The consistency, though, won’t be there.
Defense: Defensive coordinator Dave Arana has some interesting pieces to play around with to try to improve a defense that was a disaster for most of last year. The Warriors might have finished third in the WAC in total defense, but the were 93rd in the nation giving up 405 yards per game while doing nothing to get into the backfield or come up with a clutch play. The secondary is the strength by far with five players with good starting experience and, potentially, the WAC’s best safety tandem in Mana Silva and Spencer Smith. The linebacking corps loses all the starters, but it could be even better with great young athletes to get excited about led by Paipai Falemalu. The defensive front could be an issue, even with two returning starters, and a pass rusher has to emerge immediately.

T3. Louisiana Tech
Predicted Overall Record: 7-5
Predicted Conference Record: 5-3

Offense: Louisiana Tech finished 91st in the nation in passing averaging 188 yards per game last year. If all goes according to plan, the Bulldog air attack will occasionally get 188 yards in a quarter. Sonny Dykes and offensive coordinator Tony Franklin are going to bring the Air Raid attack to Ruston with the idea to crank up the passing game into a Texas Tech-like frenzy. But are the pieces in place to do it? The line will be strong in time, even though it’s been built to beat people up, and the unproven receivers have a world of athleticism and quickness, but the quarterback situation is a different story. Ross Jenkins is a solid veteran, but he’s a game manager while Steven Ensminger, the better fit of the two top options, doesn’t have any experience. The offense will be clunky at times and inconsistent throughout the year, but it’s going to be a fun ride.
Defense: New defensive coordinator Tommy Spangler isn’t going to change things up too much. The defense will still be aggressive and it should still keep on improving after a few disastrous seasons. The line isn’t going to be anything special and could end up being the team’s weak link if the tackles can’t stay healthy and if there isn’t more of a push from the ends, but the terrific linebacking corps should be able to clean up plenty of messes. An emerging group of defensive backs will be strong throughout the year, but they’ll get lit up by the better passing games. Overall, this isn’t going to be a brick wall of a defense, but it’s good enough to be in the middle of the WAC pack. That might be good enough if the Air Raid offense starts to explode.

6. Utah State
Predicted Overall Record: 4-8
Predicted Conference Record: 3-5

Offense: The offense exploded in the first year under offensive coordinator Dave Baldwin with speed at receiver and an tremendous ground game that finished 20th in the nation. The receivers are small, but they can all fly giving QB Diondre Borel several weapons to work with, while the running game should be great no matter who has the ball. All-WAC star Robert Turbin suffered a torn ACL this offseason and is iffy, meaning lightning-quick Michael Smith and veteran Derrvin Speight will get more work. The line is fine for the ground game and is getting lighter and quicker, but the pass protection needs to be better. The numbers will be there after finishing 12th in the country in yards, but it all depends on Borel staying healthy.
Defense: Defensive coordinator Bill Busch had a rough go of it in his first year as the front seven failed to hit the quarterback on a regular basis and the secondary struggled way too much to make big plays. The Aggies finished last in the WAC in total defense (which is really, really hard to do) allowing 455 yards per game, but there’s hope for the press-man coverage scheme to work. This is a tough, quick group that should fly to the ball on a regular basis, but it’s not going to work unless the defensive front is far better. There will be a regular rotation in the front four keeping everyone fresh, while the linebacking corps has two studs in Bobby Wagner and Kyle Gallagher to count on. The secondary has speed and experience, and now it has to stop someone from throwing effectively.

7. Idaho
Predicted Overall Record: 3-10
Predicted Conference Record: 2-6

Offense: After being a mega-disappointment two years ago, the offense found its groove last year with a shockingly efficient passing game, plenty of home runs, and excellent play from the key parts. The goal this year will be to get steady play from a line that loses Mike Iupati and three other starters, but will be very, very, very big and should push some people around. QB Nathan Enderle is starting to get a long look from the NFL types, and he should be deadly if he gets time with a dangerous receiving corps full of speed and size. The No. 1 receiver (Max Komar) and No. 1 running back (DeMaundray Woolridge) are gone, but there are more than enough veterans to pick up the slack. This might not be the ninth best offense in the nation again, but it’ll blow up from time to time and it won’t be out of any game with the ability to bomb its way back.
Defense: Idaho’s defense is plucky and it tries really, really hard, but it hasn’t stopped anyone in years and now has to hope that the same players who stunk last year will suddenly be better. Ten players with significant starting experience return, led by safety Shiloh Keo, who’d get All-America recognition and more of a spotlight if he played for Boise State. The key will be the line that needs to generate more of a pass rush. The Vandals finished 114th in the nation in sacks and 115th in tackles for loss, and the inability to get to the quarterback has been a killer for the try-hard corners over the last several seasons. The linebacking corps is athletic with several good veterans to do more against the run, but they could use stronger play from the line, too.

T8. New Mexico State
Predicted Overall Record: 1-11
Predicted Conference Record: 1-7

Offense: After scoring just 53 points in the final seven games, and failing to get more than 20 points against any FBS team, offensive coordinator Timm Rosenbach was canned and in steps veteran Mike Dunbar to try to generate some semblance of production. The line wasn’t awful and Seth Smith was a 1,000-yard back, but the passing game was next-level bad finishing last in the nation in passing efficiency. Most of the key parts are back with nine returning starters, but the quarterback situation has to be settled with three decent options in veteran Jeff Fleming, promising redshirt freshman Tanner Rust, and JUCO transfer Matt Christian. The starting receivers have to be experienced, but they have to be a whole bunch better. Basically, the team has to find ways to score.
Defense: Head coach DeWayne Walker made his reputation as a defensive coach, and he is known as one of the best in the business. So it shows just how low the talent level was when he took over (and also served as the defensive coordinator) that his Aggies finished 103rd in the nation in total defense, 114th against the run, and 112th in tackles for loss. However, there’s plenty of athleticism returning and a few playmakers who’ll be all-stars. The star of the show will be corner Davon House, who has grown into the type of defensive back who can take away half the field. There might not have been any semblance of a pass rush as a team, but ends Pierre Fils and Donte Savage did their part and should form one of the top sacking duos in the WAC. The problem is linebacker where there’s no real experience and little proven talent. The line has to be better, but three starters return, and the secondary could be the team’s best unit.

T8. San Jose State
Predicted Overall Record: 4-9
Predicted Conference Record: 1-7

Offense: The new coaching staff will change things up for an offense that finished 115th in the nation and was painfully inept throughout the year. Nine starters are back from an attack that will go from the spread to a conventional style with more of an emphasis on the running game and with more use of the tight ends. That should mean a big year for Ryan Otten, a talented sophomore who should become a go-to target, and it should also mean more production from a big, veteran offensive front that should be far better for the ground game if all the key parts can stay healthy. The receiving corps could be the best in the WAC if Marquis Avery, Josh Harrison, and Jalal Beauchman can play up to their athleticism, and the backfield tandem of Lamon Muldrow and Brandon Rutley can fly. The big question mark is at quarterback where it’s a three-way race that is likely to go on throughout the year.
Defense: Head coach Mike MacIntyre has a defensive background, and his coordinator, Kent Baer, knows the players. Now there has to be some more production and it has to start with a front seven that got steamrolled over by everyone’s running game. There’s enough size up front and a third linebacker added (after working in a 4-2-5 alignment a times last year) to try to do more against the ground attacks that averaged 259 yards per game last year against the Spartan D. Getting a healthy year from end Mohamed Marah is a must, and getting good production from some key JUCO transfers, like Ahkeem McKinney and JaRodd Watson, will help. The secondary should be one of the team’s biggest strengths with all four starters returning, good depth, and a ton of athleticism. Safety Duke Ihenacho should be in the hunt for WAC Defensive Player of the Year.

- Boise State Preview | Fresno St PreviewHawaii Preview
- Idaho Preview | Louisiana Tech Preview | Nevada Preview
- NMSU Preview | San Jose St Preview | Utah State Preview

- 2010 WAC Preview | 2010 WAC Unit Rankings | 2010 WAC Schedules & Picks
- 2010 CFN All-WAC Team & Top 30 Players | Get WAC Tickets
- 2010 WAC Team By Team Looks & Predicted Finish