Saturday, August 21, 2010
MAC 2010-Ball State Cardinals
2009 Record: 2-10 (2-6)
Head Coach: Stan Parrish (2nd season, 2-11...59-52-3 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Eddie Faulkner (2nd season)
Defensive Coordinator: Jay Hood (1st season)
2009 Bowl Game: None...it was a long way to fall
Offense: The Cardinals managed to rank 114th in the nation in total offense in 2009. Long gone are the high octane offenses that were in place under Brady Hoke, when Nathan Davis was gunning it at QB and WR Dante Love was the recipient of, well, much love. To quote Obi-Wan Kenobi, that was "before the dark times". MiQuayle LEwis will try to put the bulk of the task of repairing the broken offense on his shoulders. Lewis was granted an extra season by the NCAA and scored 22 TDs while rushing for 1736 yards two seasons ago. He still managed 871 yards last season while being injured. He even busted loose for 301 yards against Eastern Michigan last season. Kelly Page is being pushed at QB by Aaron Mershman, but Page looks to return to his starting spot after he was limited by a broken thumb in 2009. Briggs Orsbon will be the primary reciever, but Daniel Ifft also returns. Torieal Gibson will be the lone new starter on offense at WR. Every member of the line has starting experience.
Defense: NT Rene Perry and DE Robert Eddins will return on the line, but the other two spots are open. There is depth at LB with Davyd Jones and Travis Freeman returning. Tony Martin is expected to take the open LB spot. Freeman was a machine with 93 tackles in 2009. CB Charlie Todd and S Sean Baker return in the secondary, but new starters must be found at the other CB and S spot.
Special Teams: Ian McGarvey returns at PK after hitting 18 of 21 FGs last season. That's encouraging. Scott Kovanda returns as the punter, and averaged 40 yards per punt on the nose.
Wins: 9/2 Southeast Missouri State, 9/11 Liberty, 10/16 Eastern Michigan, 11/6 Akron
Toss Up Games: 10/9 Western Michigan, 10/23 @ Toledo, 10/30 @ Kent State, 11/12 @ Buffalo
Losses: 9/18 @ Purdue, 9/25 @ Iowa, 10/2 @ Central Michigan, 11/20 Northern Illinois
2 wins are guaranteed against 1-AA SE Missouri and Liberty. That won't help bowl qualifying, but it's not like I expected the Cardinals to be in that class anyway. Look for The Cardinals to improve over last season's 2-10 disaster, but by how much is hard to see. There are some winnable games on the slate.
Outlook: There is depth and maturity at every position on the offense, but QB is a real concern. Parrish has to identify a signal caller that can take pressure off of MiQuale Lewis, or the Cardinals will be hard pressed to move the football. If Ball State can solve their key issues, a return to respectability would not be far off. BSU still would not return to the top of the heap, but they would definately move closer.