Monday, February 28, 2011

Alabama State Hornets 2010 Review


2010 Record: 7-5 (6-3), Tied 1st SWAC East
2010 Post Season: None
2010 Schedule/Results
Mississppi Valley State, W 34-6
Arkansas-Pine Bluff, W 38-31
@ Prairie View, W 18-15
@ Alcorn State, L 41-21
Texas Southern, L 21-7
@ Grambling, L 22-7
Savannah State, W 24-0
@ Alabama A&M, W 31-10
Jackson State, W 32-30
@ Southern, W 21-19
Tuskegee, L 17-10
@ Texas Southern, L 11-6 (SWAC Championship Game)

OFFENSE
266.7 yards per game

The Hornets were not exactly lighting the world on fire with the potency of their (lack of) offense. ASU barely scraped 100 yards per game rushing, and the passnig attack did not make up the bulk, with only just over 166 yards per game. The Hornets failed to score more than 24 points 8 times in 12 contests in 2010, making it a miracle that they won the SWAC East at all by nature of having defeated Jackson State.
Devin Dominguez started all 12 games as a junior in 2010, and although he passed for 19 TDs, he also tossed 15 picks, making him an unreliable bet in the offensive scheme. He was not chucking the ball an enormous amount, as he only managed to pass for 1536 yards on the season. Demetric Price may have pushed him, but his 1 TD to 4 pick ratio did not enliven the coaching staff, so therefore Dominguez went uncontested through a season of mediocrity at best.
One would hope that with a poor passing attack, that the rushing game would pick up the slack, but that wasn't the case in 2010. Only Andrew Pitts carried the ball 100 times or more (115), but he topped out at 535 yards for the season, only an average of 44.6 yard per game. He only managed to rush for 4 TDs on the season as well, so this is an area of concern for ASU. Quendarius McKibbons carried the ball 78 times in 2010, but only averaged 2.5 yards per carry on the season, and only scored once.
Only Nick Andrews and TC McWilliams caught 40 or more passes on the season. Andrews led the team with 48, and McWilliams had 40. They combined for 1206 yards on their 84 grabs with Andrews hauling in 7 TDs, while McWilliams grabbed 8 TDs. That leaves very little productivity for anyone else, and such was the case, as Tim Clark was 3rd on the team with just 18 catches on the season.

DEFENSE
317.4 yards per game allowed

The Hornets had some success on this side of the football, and this is why they were able to win the SWAC East. While ASU had some measure of trouble defending the rush (allowed 151.8 yards per game), they certainly had some real success in defending the pass. ASU only allowed 165.8 yards per game through the air, which is very respectable. The Hornets also only allowed
The star of the defense was arguably Jimmy Daniels, who led the SWAC in TFLs with 19, averaging 1.8 per game. Daniels was by far the most aggressive defender in the front seven. With all of the TFLs, only 5 of those went for sacks. Kynjee Cotton actually had a total of 6 on the year, with 4 solo jobs and 2 assists.
The secondary boasted the team leader in tackles in Brandon Roberts with 74. Dononvan Masline and Jacques Rickerson both tied for 4th in the SWAC with 11 passes defende, while Kejuan Riley was 2nd in the SWAC with 7 picks. When you see that kind of production, you start to understand why the pass defense was the heart of this football team. Rickerson is the only member of the secondary to be leaving, so the unit is pretty much intact for 2011.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Andrew Lions was absolutely putrid as the ASU kicker in 2010. He only connected on 8 of his 15 FG attempts. Luckily, his leg was not the reason for any of the losses, but when you cannot depend on your PK, it changes the way you play the game and it changes a strategy wildly. Someone must push Lions in the spring.
Anthony Speight was not amazing at all either. He managed just over 39 yards per punt on the season, which would not make me jump up and down. Luckily, the defense was good enough not to let this hamper them all too much, but it is painful when your kicking game can't get it done on any level.
One shining mark on the special teams was the return work of McKibbon on kickoffs, as he led the SWAC with over 27 yards per return.

FINAL NOTES

I am amazed that the Hornets hung in as well as they did with all of their issues in 2010. ASU was wildly inconsistent all season long, and went on losing streaks of 3 games in the middle of the season, and then lost two to close it out, including a painful loss to D2 Tuskegee in the final regular season game heading into the SWAC title game. If the Hornets can improve just a couple of these areas, they could very well repeat in the East, but that's a lot to ask right now. The pieces are there, so it's just a matter of who does what in the spring.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Prairie View Panthers 2010 Review

2010 Record: 7-4 (6-3), 3rd SWAC West
2010 Post Season: None
2010 Schedule/Results
Texas Southern, W 16-14
@ Southern Mississippi, L 34-7
Alabama State, L 18-15
Grambling, L 34-17
@ Mississippi Valley State, W 34-13
@ Arkansas-Pine Bluff, W 21-6
Lincoln (MO), W 45-12
Southern, W 30-16
@ Jackson State, L 30-13
Alcorn State, W 35-27
@ Alabama A&M, W 35-14

OFFENSE
317 yards per game

KJ Black wound up being the leader at QB, but only played in 9 games as a senior this season, and he did a credible job, passing for 2154 yards and 13 TDs in those 9 games. 6 different Panthers attempted a pass in 2010, and as of right now Jonathon Troast would have to have the early lead to replace Black next season.
Shaun Stephens managed his way through the QB changes to be the favorite target of the QB staff, having caught 63 passes for 859 yards for 9 scores. Stephens is moving on now, as will Michael Bell and Brandon Benson, eliminating the top 3 receivers from the arsenal for the new QB in 2011.
Making matters equally bad, is that 2010 leading rusher Donald Babers takes his 10 rushing TDs to graduation as well. Nobody else on the roster had more than 41 carries in 2010, so that is highly problematic and ensures that the Panthers will have new starters at every skill spot in the lineup next season. Ouch!!!

DEFENSE
322.2 yards per game allowed

The defense was not Texas Southern good, but they were damned good in their own right. Where the Panthers faltered on occasion was against the rush, where they gave up 158 yards per game, but passing against Prairie View was tough going, as teams only managed a meager 164.2 yards per game, not dominant, but very difficult.
Quinton Spears led all SWAC D linemen in tackles with 70, but again, as the theme becomes more common, he is gone. Chris Adingupu ranked 5th in the conference in tackles, but, you guessed it, he is leaving as well. The Panthers were not a very aggressive lot up front, as Adrian Hamilton led the team with only 5 sacks. Here's a shock...he's back in 2011.
Moses Ellis was the only Panther to hit double digits with 14 defended passes,  but as is so often the case with the Panthers, he was just another senior that heads on now. Ellis led the SWAC with 8 picks on the season.

SPECIAL TEAMS
The kicking game was nothing short of a mess in 2010, which creates just one more problem against many coming into the spring of 2011. The Panthers have got to shore up both the PK and punter job, as nobody in these spots from last season should be safe.
The return game was absolutely forgettable as well. There is a ton of work to do here, but everything should be up for grabs.

FINAL NOTES

What could have been a special season for the Panthers was derailed by a terrible start, as Prairie View lost 3 of their first 4 games on the year. The Pnathers finished by winning 6 of their last 7, but only one of those wins came against a winning team, and one win was against Lincoln, a D2 school. Next season has all of the makings of a train wreck, with a boatload of experienced seniors moving on. The offense will basically be starting from scratch.
That being said, this is not your father's Panther football team. What used to be one of the worst programs in all of college sports has grown and has found pride and a winning tone. Next season won't likely be a winner, but things have come a long way in 20 years here, and it's all for the good.

Jackson State Tigers 2010 Review

2010 Record: 8-3 (6-3), 2nd SWAC East
2010 Post Season: None
2010 Schedule/Results
Delta State, W 32-17
@ Tennessee State, W 33-26
@ Grambling, L 28-21
Mississippi Valley State, W 43-7
Alabama A&M, W 30-14
Southern, W 49-45
@ Texas Southern, L 21-18
Prairie View, W 30-13
@ Alabama State, L 32-30
@ Arkansas-Pine Bluff, W 52-30
@ Alcorn State, W 27-14

OFFENSE
412.6 yards per game

The Tigers had the best QB by far in the SWAC in Casey Therriault, who passed for 3436 yards and 31 TDs on the year. Therriault averaged 312.4 yards per game on the season, which accounted for 75% of the offense per game. The good news is that Therriault will return for another run next season, making JSU my early favorite to win the SWAC in 2011.
If JSU can get just a little bit more from BJ Lee, who as a sophomore ran for a mediocre 400 yards and 2 scores, the Tigers could be even more explosive on offense.
6 players had 23 or more catches in 2010, and the good news will be that 5 of them return for more in 2011. The only player leaving will be a hard one to replace in Anthony Mayes, who caught 42 passes for 727 yards and 6 TDs. Marcellos Wilder may be the beneficiary of this loss, as he caught 57 passes for 726 yards and 8 scores on the season. Therriault will have plenty of options to get the ball downfield next season.

DEFENSE
355.2 yards allowed per game

The defense did a credible job for most of the season in not allowing more than 200 yards passing or rushing on the season, and they held 5 teams to 14 points or less on the year. Kerry Hoskins, Milton Patterson, Tim Dandridge and Ryan Rich all finished in the SWAC top 20 in tackles, but they were all lumped together, without any one shining more than another. Patterons was very active in the backfield on the season with 17 TFLs, but not nearly as productive as Donovan Robinson, who was making plays in the backfield at a rate of 1.68 per game (20 overall). Jonathon Billups and Sam Washington both ended up in double digits in TFLs as well on the season. The Tigers will lose Neal Pogue and Washington up front, but there is experience coming up behind them to give JSU a solid core up front coming into 2011. Robinson finished tied for 3rd in the SWAC with 8 sacks.
The Tigers will have some issues in the secondary in 2011, as two of their biggest producers will now be gone. Jalil Johnson led the SWAC with 14 passes defended on the season, and he has moved on, as has Kerry Hoskins who had 10. Hoskins and Dandridge each finished with 3 picks on the year.

SPECIAL TEAMS

David Gallagher only hit 5 of 9 FGs on the season, so the PK spot is nothing to get excited about. Gallagher was a junior, so any kind of promise for a bigger season in 2011 may be a reach.
Even worse news is that Gallagher also handled the punting duties, and he was nothing short of horrible there as well, averaging a shade over 35 yards per punt. Maybe it's time to find a replacement to push Gallagher at one or both spots next season.
The return game barely registered on the grid, and nobody averaged more than 17 yards per return on kickoffs. Special teams should be an area of concern next season.

FINAL NOTES

You have to be rather excited about JSU next seaosn with the return of Therriault at QB. There are many weapons returning on offense, but there were major special teams concerns, which all need to be shored up for next season. Replacements have to be found for lost bodies in the secondary, and two spots on the line need to be filled. There is talent coming back next season, but will it be enough to pass up the powers that be?

Grambling Tigers 2010 Review

2010 Record: 9-2 (8-1), Tied 1st SWAC West
2010 Post-Season: None
2010 Schedule/Results
Louisiana Tech, L 20-6
Jackson State, W 28-21
@ Prairie View, W 34-17
@ Alabama A&M, W 25-22
Alabama State, W 22-7
Alcorn State, W 38-28
@ Mississippi Valley State, W 35-14
@ Arkansas-Pine Bluff, W 35-25
Concordia, W 35-0
@ Texas Southern, L 41-34
@ Southern, W 38-17

OFFENSE
375.3 yards per game

The Tigers had one of their best seasons in recent memory, but it was not because of the passing game. Anthony Carruthers started as a freshman for Grambling, and he made the most of it, I guess. He only passed for 1443 yards in 10 games, and only tossed 7 TDs to 8 picks. Rough go for the youngster, so luckily, the rushing game took everything on the back of Frank Warren. Warren was a beast, and had one of the biggest years of any back in the FCS. Warren rushed for 1478 yards with 18 TDs on the season. If it was going to get done, Warren was going to do it. Warren rushed for 134.4 yards per game, and averaged 6.4 yards per carry. He led the SWAC in rushing. Here's the rub...He's gone now. Someone needs to step up and work it out the way Warren did, and who that is will be anyone's guess. Cornelius Walker, the 2nd leading rusher on the team with 421 yards, is also a senior. There is virtually zero experience on the depth chart behind them. With Carruthers not having a huge season, you would not expect any receivers to have had a big season, but even with limited receptions (34), Kiare Thompson rolled up 761 yards, averaging 22.4 yards per catch. He only scored 3 TDs, however. He too is moving on, so again, who is stepping up in 2011?

DEFENSE
344.2 yards allowed per game

The defense only gave up 28 or more points twice. 28 in a win over Alcorn State, and 41 in an unfortunate shootout with Texas Southern that cost Grambling the outright SWAC West title. The Tigers even held Louisiana Tech to just 20 points, but the offense failed to hold up their end in that game, which was Grambling's only other loss.
LB Cliff Exama finished 2nd in the SWAC with 10.6 tackles per game as a junior, while Antonio Leonard finished with 13 TFLs on the season from the line, but nobody else got close to averaging 1 per game on the season. The Tigers can certainly afford to be more aggressive up front, as in the end, Texas Southern had used their dominating defense to take the league.
Desmond Lenard had 9 passes defended in 2011, but nobody was close to his production in the secondary, and he too now is gone. When all was said and done, the best pass defender for the Tigers was Exama, a LB, who led Grambling with 3 picks.

SPECIALTEAMS

Zoltan Riazzo had a solid season, as he connected on 11 of his 15 FG attempts on the season to finish 2nd in the SWAC. Riazzo will return as a senior in 2011, and will have to be even better, as his leg will be an important cog in the offense with young and inexperienced players in major skill positions. One major issue, is that no punter on this team ranked in the top 9 in punting in the league, which is something that obviously must be rectified in 2011, again due to youth and inepexperience on offense. A good punter may very well save this defense in 2011.

FINAL NOTES

Grambling had a very nice season despite some very obvious shortcomings in 2010. Rod Broadway did a masterful job of holding this team together and working around the strengths and avoiding the pitfalls that were the landmines created by having a young QB. Broadway left on the first train out of town after the season, however, and left for the vacant North Carolina A&T job, definately not an upgrade at this point. Doug Williams will return to his alma mater to coach the Tigers for the second time in 2011, but he will find it tough going after so many key pieces have moved on. UNfortunately, the loss to Texas Southern ruined what was a very nice season.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Texas Southern Tigers 2010 Review


2010 Record: 9-3 (8-1), Tied 1st SWAC West
2010 Post-Season: None
2010 Schedule/Results
@ Prairie View, L 16-14
@ UConn, L 62-3
Alabama A&M, W 32-9
@ Tuskegee, L 21-14
@ Alabama State, W 21-7
@ Alcorn State, W 30-20
Jackson State, W 21-18
Mississippi Valley State, 38-7
@ Southern, W 54-7
Grambling, W 41-34
Arkansas-Pine Bluff, W 20-13
Alabama State, W 11-6

OFFENSE
383.7 yards per game

It's really difficult to win when your QB tosses 15 picks to just 9 TD passes like Arvell Nelson did, but the Tigers made it work for them. TSU focused more on the run, and they averaged 217 yards on the game during the season. That was a wise decision as Marcus Wright broke loose with 1200 yards and 8 scores on the season, good for second in the SWAC. Nelson also rushed for 529 yards and 8 scores on the season. Nelson will be moving on, but Wright will be back to give the Tigers a star back. Joe Anderson was also a huge playmaker for TSU, having picked up 831 yards receiving, but he'll hopefulyy have a chance to improve on his paltry 2 TDs. Another stud receiver also has to step up to stretch the field with a new QB coming into place next season.

DEFENSE
204.9 yards allowed per game

You did not have a chance against this monster D in 2010. TSU held their opponents to only 81 yards rushing per game on the season, and QBs did not fare much better, only passing for 123 yards per game. Dejuan Fulghum was 3rd in the SWAC with 100 tackles on the season at LB. Fulghum picked up 23 TFLs on the season, while Jonathon Hollins picked up 18. Here is the bad news...TSU loses both to graduation now. Shomari Clemons joined the fun, as he and Fulghum were 1/2 in sacks in the league as well. Clemons will be back in 2011. Zack Gallow and Jermaine Thomas both had 10 passes defended in 2010, and both will return next season, as Thomas was just a freshman. Gallow picked off 5 passes, good for 3rd in the SWAC, and Curtis Thomas added 4 more. This was absolutely one of the best defenses in TSU history.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Robert Hirsh was a dark spot on the season, as he only connected on 11 of his 16 FG attempts to finish under 70% on the season. Hirsh is expected back in 2011, but improvement must come, as the opportunities will likely be there with a new QB being broken in.
The punting game needs major overhaul as well, as Francois Ejiofer had a miserable freshman season, averaging right around 37 yards per punt. He must be pushed in the spring.
William Osborne averaged just under 10 yards per punt in 2010, but must be replaced as he is moving on.

FINAL NOTES

It's a shame that Texas Southern was not considered for FCS playoffs, as they would have been fun to watch with that defense of theirs. The offense had their moments on the ground, but the passing game must develop better in 2011 if the defense hopes not to get overwhelmed, and also to keep defenses from stacking the box to stop Wright. It was a terrific season for TSU, and hopefully enough of the pieces will remain for another strong SWAC run in 2011.

San Jose State Spartans 2010 Review

2010 Record: 1-12 (0-8), 9th WAC
2010 Bowl Game: None
2010 Schedule/Results
@ Alabama, L 48-3
@ Wisconsin, L 27-14
Southern Utah, W 16-11
@ Utah, L 56-3
UC-Davis, L 14-13
@ Nevada, L 35-13
Boise State, L 48-0
Fresno State, L 33-18
@ New Mexico State, L 29-27
Utah State, L 38-34
@ Hawaii, L 41-7
Louisiana Tech, L 45-38
@ Idaho, L 26-23

OFFENSE
315.1 yards per game

One bright spot for the Spartans was Jordan LaSecla, who had to try and put the entire loa of the team on his shoulders alone. He passed for 2860 yards on the season with 16 TDs, but due to having him throw the ball as much as possible, he still got picked 16 times. Here's the bad news. He's gone now. Start over and hit the reset.
There was virtually no run game to speak of, as Brandon Rutley only averaged 38.42 yards per game. How the hell are you supposed to win that way? Obviously, the Spartans don't seem to know either. They simply have to develop a run game of any kind to be succesful, and they are not even close to working that out.
Jalal Beauchman and Noel Grigsby had a solid season at WR, but Beauchman and his 50 catches for 835 yards are gone now. Grigsby, who had 822 yards in 2010, was just a freshman, and has to be the leader now. There are some bright spots on offense, but until the run game is fixed, it won't matter.

DEFENSE
463.7 yards allowed per game

Giving this unit some slack, the Spartans schedule was a meat grinder the first two weeks against Alabama and Wsiconsin. What wasn't shot to hell soon fell apart desptite the best of efforts.
Freshman LB Keith Smith was the attack master, with 14 TFLs on the season. Nobody, however, came close to his prodcution on defense, and it was basically move the ball at will for the opposition. Teams put up 30 or more points 8 times in 12 games on the season, which is completely unacceptable. and the Spartans gave up more than 200 yards passing and rushing in every game of the season. Most of the defense returns intact in 2011, so hopefully another season of experience (in getting their asses kicked) will lead to vast improvement.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Harrison Wald was less than special as a freshman PK in 2010, making only 14 of his 22 FG attempts on the season. He has to get better, or get pushed out in spring ball.
Where Wald did excel was at punter, which is where he should focus in 2011. Wald nailed his punts for an average of 43.82 yards per punt on the season.
The return game is a black hole of nothingness. A playmaker has to be found here to give the Spartans any remote hope of improving field position for both offense and defense.

FINAL NOTES

This program is in real danger. If the Spartans cannot find improvement in a hurry, this team could very well fold up and die in the coming years. The Spartans desperately need an invite to the Mountain West, or they risk oblivion in a hurry, and I believe that they will not get said invite. With the WAC becoming a third tier conference in 2012, San Jose State will be badly damaged, and will be forced to play games against top tier talent, only to get destroyed, just to collect a check to keep the lights on. Dark days looming.

2011 NON-CONFERENCE OPPONENTS
9/3 @ Stanford, 9/10 @ UCLA, 10/1 @ Colorado State, 10/8 @ BYU, 11/19 Navy

New Mexico State Aggies 2010 Review

2010 Record: 2-10 (1-7), 8th WAC
2010 Bowl game: None
2010 Schedule/Results
San Diego State, L 41-21
@ UTEP, L 42-10
@ Kansas, L 42-16
Boise State, L 59-0
New Mexico, W 16-14
@ Fresno State, L 33-10
@ Idaho, L 37-14
San Jose State, W 29-27
@ Utah State, L 27-22
Louisiana Tech, L 41-20
@ Nevada, L 52-6
Hawaii, L 59-24

OFFENSE
296.5 yards per game

Ever want to see what a disaster looks like? Watch the Aggies attempt to play offense, and you have your master vision. In defense of the Aggie offense, QB Matt Christian got hurt, and that killed the unit, but nobody else even bothered to step up, and it's not like Christian was surrounded by talent or even by a half decent playbook. Christian was held to 171 yards per game passing with only 8 TDs. He only tossed 2 picks, but only played in 8 games due to injury. More will be expected from him in 2011, but does it matter?
The run game was practically devoid of all talent, as Kenny Turner was held to just 46 yards per game and 2 TDs. That was the best the Aggies could get out of their stable. Horrific.
Marcus Allen and Kyle NElson were the best two receivers on the team, and that was not saying a ton. Nelson was a decent option at TE, but the rest of the receivers were in the tank. Kenny Turner was the 3rd best receiver on the team, and he's a RB.
There is way too much work to be done to expect radical improvement next season.

DEFENSE
453.3 yards allowed per game

Let's just be safe and acknowledge that NMSU did not play much defense in 2010, and that was due mostly to an inept offense leaving the D out on the field for huge minutes in 2010, and there was very little in the way of depth to sustain that fact.
The fact is that you would expect more from a DeWayne Walker coached defense than this. The Defensive Line is missing any playmakers, as TFLs and Sacks are a rarity in Las Crucas. The LBs don't make a tackle without the world helping out on them, and the secondary is a rotating door of TDs allowed. Again, the holes are cavernous when it comes to the lack of actual talent at NMSU, a team that has seen the postseason once since 1960.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Tyler Stampler may be the only shining star on the team. The sophomore PK hit 16 of his 19 FGs, often being the only thing that Aggie fans (are there any?) had to cheer about. Stampler will be a junior in 2011, giving the faithful at least one thing to care about.
The punting was a train wreck, which also killed the defense, as two punters tried the job, with neither getting close to a 40 yard average.
Taveon Rogers is a very talented return man, and due to the horrible defense, he was able to rack up over 1400 yards in returns. Todd Lee is a decent return man on punts, but being that the Aggies rarely hold anyone to a punt, he had very few opportunities to shine.

FINAL NOTES

2 wins came against two horrid programs in New Mexico and San Jose State. The Aggies have one of the 5 worst programs in college football, and DeWayne Walker was a fool to ever take on this debacle of a team. NMSU is a coaching graveyard, and would be one of my worst jobs in coaching in any sport. There is no light at the end of the tunnel.

2011 NON-CONFERENCE OPPONENTS
9/3 Ohio, 9/10 @ Minnesota, 9/17 UTEP, 10/1 @ New Mexico, 11/5 @ Georgia, 11/19 @ BYU

Utah State Aggies 2010 Review

2010 Record: 4-8 (2-6), 7th WAC
2010 Bowl Game: None
2010 Schedule/Results
@ Oklahoma, L 31-24
Idaho State, W 38-17
Fresno State, L 41-24
@ San Diego State, L 41-7
BYU, W 31-16
@ Louisiana Tech, L 24-6
Hawaii, L 45-7
@ Nevada, L 56-42
New Mexico State, W 27-22
@ San Jose State, W 38-34
Idaho, L 28-6
@ Boise State, L 50-14

OFFENSE
347.3 yards per game

Nobody can say the offense was not balanced. The Aggies passed for 178.7 yards per game and rushed for 168.7 yards per game. While the rushing total wasn't bad, the passing total left something to be desired, which is really a shame when you consider how much talent QB Diondre Borel had coming into his senior season. For whatever reason, the whole package just never came together for Borel, who clunked through a season that saw him tos only 8 TD passes compared to 13 picks. He did manage to rush for another 7 TDs, but on the whole, he was not the right fit for the Aggies at QB. With Borel moving on, Jeremy Higgins looks to be the only player on the roster with any experience, and it wasn't much.
Derrvin Speight and Kerwynn Williams shared most of the load during the season, with Speight being more of the feature back, but Speight still only rushed for just under 65 yards per game, hardly a factor that would spread the field to open up the pass for Borel. With Speight moving on, Williams will try to pick up on his 5.57 yard per carry average as the feature back in 2011.
The good news is that the top 6 receivers from 2010 all will return, but that being said, someone is going to have to pick up the pace to become a star, as Dontel Watkins only had 42 grabs for 492 yards and 4 TDs. The second best receiver on the team was Eric Moats, who only had 20 catches on the season. Not going to get it done that way.
The entire left side of the line must be replaced in 2011, but the center and right side will return intact. Oscar Molina-Sanchez will get first shot at LT, while Eric Schultz will get first crack at LG. Depth will be available and plentiful here.

DEFENSE
428.8 yards allowed per game

When you give away more yards than you gain, you lose. That seems so painfully obvious, but not at USU. The D line is just not getting it done for the Aggies, in that their sack and TFL numbers are dreadful over a 4 game season. Levi Koskan is the only Aggie that seemed to kind of have a clue as to getting into the backfiels, but he only had 8.5 TFLs on the season, a number that's hardly impressive, and his 4.5 sacks were way ahead of the pace set by his brethren up front. Abysmal. What's worse is that 2 starters will have to be replaced next season.
Bobby Wagner was one of the hardest working LBs in the nation in 2010, but mainly because he had nobody working in front of him. When the season was said and done, Wagner had collected 133 tackles on the year. He should be back to provide more stats and leadership as a senior in 2011. Kyle Gallagher was busy as well, posting 91 tackles on the season. The Aggies would love to get more aggressive with these guys, but if they don't stay home in the scheme, there is little to stop offenses from breaking a big play due to lack of support.
The secondary lacks playmakers as well, as Rajric Coleman and Quinton Byrd tied for the team lead in picks with 3 each, and nobody was running those picks back. Curtis Marsh ended up defending 13 passes, but was picked on heavily at times, while Chris Randle batted away 8 passes. It would be nice to pick some of those every now and then.

SPECIAL TEAMS

The PK game was crap in 2010, with Aggie kickers only connecting on 11 of 17 FG attempts. Braeden Loveless will get the first crack atthe job in spring ball, but he had better show a flash of something, or else the Aggies will be even more screwed. Peter Caldwell, who only hit on 10 of 15 FGs, but also managed to hit an average of 41.72 yards per punt, which was not horrible. Loveless took a crack at punting as well, and was nothing short of awful.
Kerwynn Williams has some talent in the return game, and busted a kick return for a TD. Expect bigger things for Williams in 2011, as he will be expected to be a huge playmaker in several areas.

FINAL NOTES

One thing the Aggies can say is that they took out BYU for the first time in 17 years. Whenever that happens, people in Logan smile. However, USU's other three wins were a sham, as they came against Idaho State, San Jose State, ans New Mexico State, 3 of college football's worst programs. Gary Anderson has got to start finding a way to change the culture in Logan, as all these kids no how to do is lose. Learning to win is tough. Learning to lose is easy.

2011 NON-CONFERENCE OPPONENTS
9/3 @ Auburn, 9/10 Weber State, 9/24 Colorado State, 9/30 @ BYU, 10/8 Wyoming

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Idaho Vandals 2010 Review

2010 Record: 6-7 (3-5), 6th WAC
2010 Bowl Game: None
2010 Schedule/Results
North Dakota, W 45-0
@ Nebraska, L 38-17
UNLV, W 30-7
@ Colorado State, L 36-34
@ Western Michigan, W 33-13
@ Louisiana Tech, L 48-35
New Mexico State, W 37-14
@ Hawaii, L 45-10
Nevada, L 63-17
Boise State, L 52-14
@ Utah State, W 28-6
@ Fresno State, L 23-20
San Jose State, W 26-23

OFFENSE
386.8 yards per game

The Vandals got exactly what they expected out of senior QB Nathan Enderle in 2010, which was 253 yards per game and 22 TDs, but a lack of a backing rushing game relegated him to making too many throws, which forced him to toss 16 picks. Now one of the most decorated Vandal QBs of all time is on his way to the next chapter of his life after grduating, and Idaho starts from scatch in 2011. Brian Reader is the front runner, but will only be available for onemore season, forcing the Vandals into a quandry of wondering where long term development will come from.
The rushing game was a complete debacle in 2010, as nobody even averaged 40 yards rushing per game. That will have to change if the Vandals ever hope to sustain drives and keep their defense off of the field for any length of time.
Eric Greenwood led the team with 46 catches for 741 yards, and Justin eltung led the team with 8 TD catches, but Greenwood will be gone, and including him, 3 of their top 4 receivers moved on after the season. Not only will there be a new QB in 2011, but most everyone around him will be a new starter as well.

DEFENSE
420.3 yards allowed per game

The Vandals did little to defend in 2010, but Aaron Lavarias was one of the rare linemen who had an effect on anything in 2010. Lavarias was ferocious on his own, having ramped up 16.5 TFLs on the season, 12 more than any other lineman. Here's the news that sucks. He is gone. Nobody got close added up collectively to match his output on the line in 2010, so 2011 will bring lots of questions up front.
Here is some rare good news for Idaho fans. Both Robert Siavii and Tre'Shawn Robinson should return from solid 2010 campaigns at LB, where Siavii collected 14 TFLs and Robinson picked up 10.5 more. They also led the team at 1 and 2 in tackles with a combined 171 tackles, including a combined 92 solo jobs. That's a hell of a lot of production from two guys, and Homer Mauga, who had 74 tackles, joins them for one more run in 2011.
There was not a ton of solid production in a secondary that gave up 231 yards per game through the air, but the good news is that Gary Walker, Aaron Grymes, and Matt Harvey all return. Walker and Grymes were just sophs, so a pickup in production should be evident next fall. Depth will be the main issue, as there really is not much to speak of.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Tray Farquhar was all over the map as a sophomore, hitting on 18 of his 25 FG attempts. 72% won't cut it long term, but he got a ton of work in last fall, which should lead to learning from expeience as a junior. Expect more from him.
Bobby Cowan had a cannon for a leg, averaging 45.49 yards per punt in 2010, one of the best numbers in the country. Cowan was also just a sophomore, but he is already well developed, and would be a fine choice for pre-season punter of the year in the WAC. He will be a very important player next fall for the Vandals.
Justin Veltung will not only be the only experienced receiver returning, but will be handling kickoff returns as well, were he returned one for a score last fall.
The punt return job should be open, after the fall produced heinous numbers there.

FINAL NOTES

It would seem that the 2009 trip to the Humanitarian Bowl was a blip on the radar. Idaho fell back into old bad habits in 2010, and so was wildly inconsistent and fell short of repeating a bowl journey. With all of the major talent gone and a complete lack of faith in the defense, it would seem that the slide will worsen in 2011 unless miracle players step out of the shadows to lead a renovation that will not be expected.

2011 NON-CONFERENCE OPPONENTS
9/3 Bowling Green, 9/10 North Dakota, 9/17 @ Texas A&M, 10/1 @ Virginia, 11/12 @ BYU

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ask the Professors #3

My apologies to our readers and contributors for being so tardy with the release of this post. We have all had a very busy last couple of weeks, and my Wife and I have just completed a move to a new home. We are back on track, and in the coming days will be coming up with a new set of questions. We did have a question in regards to Rick Neuheisel and his lack of a DC hire, so I will warn you that this had not happened when the questions were issued, but the guys worked hard at the answers, so I will leave them intact.
Our contributors this week were as follows: Kody Bannon of kodyssportscorner.com, Cory Hedin of @Ute_Red_Zone, Matt Chandik of the Delaware County Times, and Me. I hope you enjoy this delayed piece, and I hope that you will enjoy the future of this promising series.

Former Texas Tech Red Raiders Head Coach Mike Leach was a candidate for the Miami Hurricanes, Maryland Terrapins, and Minnesota Golden Gophers coaching vacancies following the end of the 2010 college football season. He was passed over for all three openings. Has his suing Texas Tech University resulting in Leach being blacklisted from coaching in the FBS?

Cory Hedin: Short answer, YES. Although I believe it has more to do with influence from boosters than an unwillingness by Athletic Directors to hire him. Imagine how the boosters of Texas Tech all feel right now. They generously opened up their walets and made financial contributions to Tech's athletic department, and then a part of that money, instead of being toward the betterment of Tech athletics, was used to help defend Tech against Leach's lawsuit. Probably not exactly what most boosters had in mind when they wrote the check. However, I believe that Leach will eventually coach division I football again. It may take a couple more years and an underachieving team hoping to make some noise. The thing about college football is, if a coach can help a team win, everything else eventually gets swept under a rug.

Kody Brannon: I think it is a combination of his lawsuit against Texas Tech and ESPN have resulted in him being deemed a hiring risk by other major universities. Eventually when all his litigation is over, some school will probably risk it and hire him. But in the mean time, he needs to either try to find a coordinator job or look at a lower level school for coaching jobs.

Matt Chandik: I doubt it. Leach is too good of a coach to not find work eventually. Once his legal situation is settled one way or another, it's hard to envision a school not picking him up.


Scott Bilo: Leach invented the term "baggage" when it comes to hiring a coach. When he was still actively employed at Tech, it always seemed like his eye was on another prize, which is what made it so easy for Gerald Myers to drop the hammer on him, and it's no secret that the two of them weren't singing eachother's praises in public. Leach was connected to open jobs at BYU and UCLA amongst others, and he was verified as having interviewed for both of those jobs. Leach is an acquired taste. He is quirky, and sometimes downright obnoxious, in other words, a tough sell to the folks writing the checks, as they cannot control him. If New Mexico could have afforded to buy out Mike Locksley, Leach would already be coaching the Lobos right now, and that may still wind up being the case, as most higher profile jobs seem unlikely landing spots for the Pirate.

CBS Sports NFL Football Broadcast Game Commentator and former New York Giants QB Phil Simms tried to physically attack 1991 Heisman Trophy winner and current ESPN college football studio analyst Desmond Howard over Howard's criticism of Phil's son and University of Tennessee QB Matt Simms during Super Bowl Week in Dallas. Since both Simms and Howard make their living sometimes criticizing players, is Simms out of line?

Cory Hedin: Well of course he was out of line. In this day and age when we have so many legal ways of beating a person to a pulp (boxing, ultimate fighter, MMA, ect), Simms went about this all wrong. If he really wanted a piece of Howard, he should have simply challenged him to step into the cage for a charity fight. Even if Howard refused to fight, Simms looks cool in the public eye. If Howard were to agree to fight, there are plenty of current and former professional athletes with ties to New York that Simms could call to get some "magic vitamin" shots (aka steroids). Either way, as long as the fight was for charity, Simms comes out on top. Silly Phil, whatever were you thinking?



Kody Brannon: Simms was very much out of line, while I understand him wanting to defend his sons honor, Simms criticizes players every week and gives his opinions about them at every interview and broadcast. While most people would do what he did, if given the chance, nobody ever attacks him and he needs to realize that there was no personal malice in Desmond’s comments. It was just him doing his job.
 
Matt Chandik: Simms was absolutely out of line. The fact is that his son is not an SEC-caliber QB. He just isn't good enough and of the SEC quarterbacks that started more than a game or two last season, Simms was one of the worst. Don't like it, Papa Simms? Tell your kid to suck less.


Scott Bilo: Easy answer: Hell yes he was out of line. He came off as a total hypocrite given his line of work where he gets payed to crtitcize and analyze. Desmond Howard gets paid to do the same thing, What makes it even worse is that Howard was right about Matt Simms. He is garbage in comparison to the other QBs in the SEC, and that's saying something as the SEC really is not a great QB conference. 60% of SEC QBs are not very good, so he is actually in solid company. Simms needs to get a thicker skin, and maybe spend more time as a former NFL QB helping his son to play better football. Moron.

The UCLA Bruins have not hired a Defensive Coordinator since they fired Chuck Bullough shortly after the end of the 2010 season. With spring practice less than two months away, would the Bruins be better off promoting a current defensive position coach who the players are familiar with and can run the same 4-3 defense as they did last season?

Cory Hedin: To be honest, slick Rick knows that unless he gets a "homerun" hire here, he is gone an hour after the last game of 2011. Even then, Rick is on thin ice. I would imagine that Rick will keep trying to lure a big name in for as long as he can to try to show his AD and boosters that he is doing everything he can to be successful. The promotion of a current defensive coach to the position of DC to me would be a sign that no big name defensive coach is willing to work for a coach that is very likely to not be around after next season. If that were to happen, while the Rick Neuheisel era would not officially be over, it would be as if a very large woman were standing at the 50 yard line warming up her voice to start singing.

Kody Brannon: If they can’t find a solid big name replacement in the next month or so, then the best move would be to hire from within. Just because by that point you would be able to excite the kids with a coach they know and trust.

Matt Chandik: Absolutely. Most of the prime defensive coordinators are off the market with the exception of Randy Shannon, so in this case, give a position coach a shot and see what the guy can do.


Scott Bilo: Those who know me well know my feelings on this. Nobody wants the job, and Rick has scapegoated all of his best assistants over what are essentially his failings as a coach. Nobody wants the job, because it is a one year assignment working for a guy who spends all of his time covering his own sorry ass. The candidates also don't want to coach there because the kids also all know that the end is near for Neuheisel, and nobody wants to commit to what is a lame duck staff. He can hir whomever he chooses, as it's just a wasted exercise at the end of the day unti a new coach is named after the 2011 season ends and NEuheisel's career comes to a resounding end. There's always the lawyer biz Ricky.

With Boise State, Fresno State, Hawaii and Nevada leaving for the Mountain West Conference, can the Western Athletic Conference survive without it's four best football teams?









































Cory Hedin: The WAC, which was already one of the weaker of the conferences in Division I football. The loss of its four best teams will be extremely hard to overcome. Karl Benson has his work cut out for him as he ponders how to save his conference from dissolving into obscurity. In my opinion, the only way the WAC survives is to try to find some FCS team that is ready to make the transition to the FBS level.


Kody Brannon: I think it can and will survive, but it will not be a well known conference anymore. The best it can do to compete is along the lines of the sun belt. Until one of those teams can start making a name for itself, it will just be a weak conference.

Matt Chandik: Sure. It may take some time, but a non-AQ conference tends to be more cyclical than BCS conferences.

Scott Bilo: Not a chance. We are seeing the dying days of a once proud conference, and truth be known, the signs of decay have been long evident. Going back to the late 90's when the WAC was a super conference that then degenerated when the original WAC members formed the Mountain West the writing was on the wall. If the answer to losing Boise State, Fresno State, Nevada, and Hawaii is the additions of Texas State and Texas-San Antonio, then the end is most definately near. There is not one single power broker left in this conference, and it will be the re-creation of the old Big West Conference. That league too twisted in several directions before finally obliterating itself, and several members of the WAC were members of that league as well. Most of the remaining members of the league will have much hard thinking to do, and will pray very hard for further Mountain West expansion, because there simply is no other spot for them. And remember, this is a league that Montana has turned down, if that tells you anything.






Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 2010 Review

2010 Record: 5-7 (4-4), 5th WAC
2010 Bowl Game: None
2010 Schedule/Results
@ Grambling, W 20-7
@ Texas A&M, L 48-16
Navy, L 27-23
Southern Mississippi, L 13-12
@ Hawaii, L 41-21
Utah State, W 24-6
Idaho, W 48-35
@ Boise State, L 49-20
Fresno State, L 40-34
@ New Mexico State, W 41-20
@ San Jose State, W 45-38
Nevada, L 35-17

OFFENSE
389.8 yards per game

The offense had its moments in 2010, but some of those moments were not so good. Sonny Dykes has spent a majority of the off-season working on some fundamental flaws, and finally feels that he has some solid pieces to work with, specifically at QB, where Ross Jenkins has moved on after posting 1762 yards and 12 TD passes against 6 picks in 2010. Those numbers were not nearly enough to excite Dykes, who believes in a more pass happy offense. Colby Cameron and Tarik Hakmi both return after seeing time in a prolonged QB battle in 2010 that went well into the system, but it could be niether of themwho gets the nod in 2011 after Dykes recruited JC transfer Zach Griffith and incoming freshman Nick Isham, both having come from Air-Raid styled offenses.
Whoever starts at QB will have the benfit in the return of solid RB Lennon Creer, who rushed for 1181 yards and 10 TDs in 2010. Creer's return will ensure that whoever the QB is will have someone to keep defenses honest lining up behind or beside him in the backfield. Finding a complimentary back to Creer will be fundamental in ensuring long term success, and nobody had fulfilled that spot as of yet.
The top 7 receivers will return in 2011, including leading receiver Taulib Ikharo, who had 50 catches for 530 yards on the season. Richie Kasey had 42 receptions on the season, and he too will return for action. Both receivers have to be looking forward to a more open attack in 2011.
Expect a rebuilt offensive line in 2011, as Dykes attacked this position with a fire in his gut. Several JC additions will be available in the fall, most of which have a shot to be named starters in a completely refurbished unit.

DEFENSE
462.1 yards allowed per game

The right thing to say would be that there was no such part of the game being played in 2010 at Tech even resembling a defense. Teams passed against the Bulldogs at a clip of 290 yards per game, and they rushed against Tech at a clip of 171 yards per game. Yeah, you could say that the defense was a train wreck of a unit. The issues always start up front, which is another area that Dykes recruited feriously for 2011, landing many strong candidates from the JC ranks that should start or see heavy time in a rotation.
The good news is that Matt Broha will return after registering 14 TFLs on the season up front. The building should start around him, as Broha will be a senior in 2011. Matt Hitt was close in production, but will not return in 2011. Broha had 9 sacks on the season.
Jay Dudley and Adrian Cole were very busy at LB last season, collecting a total of 174 tackles on the season, and both will be back to continue with the transition, whic us great news. Solomon Randle will join them as the starting trio at LB returns intact. They need to be a more attacking and versatile unit if they have a prayer of helping stem the bleeding that went out of control in 2010.
Chad Boyd, Ryan Williams, and Javontay Crowe are the leading candidates to start in the secondary, with the 4th spot up for grabs in 2011. All three will be juniors, but they were massacred as sophomores. Hopefully another year should show some serious growth and development, or else it looks to be more of the same from this group.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Matt Nelson hit on 14 of his 18 FG attempts in 2010, which is all you could have asked of him. He returns as a junior in 2011, which is solid news for the Bulldogs.
Ryan Allen was also a young sophomore in 2010, but did manage to eek out an average of just over 40 yards. Again, off-season development is key in regards to Allen, as he can only get better.
Phillip Livas averaged over 15 yards per return on punts last seaosn, and had busted one loose for a score. There are two problems with that. First, Livas has now graduated, and second, he rarely got a chance to return punts, as the defense never could stop a soul. Livas also returned kicks, and busted out a score there too.

FINAL NOTES

Tech was very lucky to win 5 games in 2010. They were a mess on defense, and Dykes never got to fully implement his wide open passing attack, as the personnel was not suited for it. The rebuilding is under way, but it may take awhile. Dykes is having delusions of grandeur if he believes that he can sneak in and take the WAC title in 2011, even if Boise State is out of the league effective now. The main issues to worry about is whehter or not the WAC will be a viable league for Tech starting in 2012, and there don't seem to be any interested parties in taking in the Bulldogs should the WAC fall apart completely after all of the defections.

2011 NON-CONFERENCE SCHEDULE
9/3 @ Southern Mississippi, 9/10 Central Arkansas, 9/17 Houston, 9/24 @ Mississippi State, 11/12 @ Ole Miss

Fresno State Bulldogs 2010 Review

2010 Record: 8-5 (5-3), 4th WAC
2010 Bowl Game: Humanitarian Bowl, Lost to Northern Illinois 40-17
2010 Schedule/Results
Cincinnati, W 28-14
@ Utah State, W 41-24
@ Ole Miss, L 55-38
Cal Poly, W 38-17
Hawaii, L 49-27
New Mexico State, W 33-10
@ San Jose State, W 33-18
@ Louisiana Tech, W 40-34
Nevada, L 35-34
@ Boise State, L 51-0
Idaho, W 23-20
Illinois, W 25-23
Northern Illinois, L 40-17

OFFENSE
371.3 yards per game

The Bulldogs were much better offensively than was expected in 2010. Ryan Colburn helped open up the passing game, as he needed a bigger role due to the loss of Ryan Matthews to the NFL. Colburn responded by passing for 216 yards per game with a not horrible 23/9 TD to pick ratio. Colburn was backed up by a strong run game despite the loss of Matthews. Robbie Rouse started as a sophomore and showed flashes of what's to come as the primary back. Rouse rushed for 1129 yards and 8 TDs, a very nice number for a first year starter. Where Rouse needs improvement is in the passing game as a receiver. He finished with only 15 receptions on the year, as you would like to see that total doubled. Improvement and development is sure to come in 2011. Colburn will be moving on to graduation, however the new QB in 2011 will have the entirety of the receving corps back to pass to. That's great news when breaking in a new QB. Jamel Hamler led the team with 54 grabs for 812 yards and 6 scores. Jalen Saunders was a frshman in 2010, and was in for 30 catches for 462 yards. He'll try to up those totals dramatically, as Pat Hill will try to open up the offense next season. Rashad Evans and AJ Johnson were both young players in the system as well, and another year will bring more productivity with the right QB at the helm. The loss of BEar Pascoe at TE will be a tough break, but worse will be the task of replaceing 4 starting linemen. LT Bryce Harris will be the lone returnee as a senior in 2011. All 5 backups from 2010 do return however, so there is hope.

DEFENSE
355.9 yards per game

The combo of Chris Carter and Logan Harrell put together an effort of 30 TFLs in 2010, making them one of the best line combos in college football. What will be difficult is the replacing of Carter, who was the leader with 16. Donavaughn Pritchett and Chase McEntee need to upgrade their game intensely in 2011 to help the Bulldog D do their part in preventing 5 losses in 2011.
The Linebackers were not their usual fierce self as well. While Ben Jacobs led the team with 87 total tackles, only one player made 40 solo tackles or more on the season, and it was not a LB. Jacobs moved on after the season, leaving Travis Brown and Kyle Knox as the leading returning tacklers at LB, but they must get more productive. Neither had a bad season in 2010, but neither were great. Shawn Plummer seems to make the most sense to take over for the departure of Jacobs, as he is the only returning LB with real numbers to back the candidacy.
With there being very little up front help in 2010, the secondary suffered at times. Sophomore Phillip Thomas was the only real playmaker, and even then he had only 3 picks on the season. Thomas had 9 passes defended, while fellow DB Isaiah Green had 8. Desia Dunn was the only other member of the secondary to have 5, and he is gone now. Work has to be done to shore up a secondary that gave up over 200 yards passing per game.

SPECIAL TEAMS
FG: Kevin Goessling 21/26
Punting: Andrew Shapiro, 37.42 average
Punt Returns: Rashad Evans, 8.61 average
Kick Returns: Jalen Sanders, 23.06 average; Isaiah Burse, 26.27 average

Goessling was solid in his junior season, and would be a pre-season award candidate in my book in 2011, when he returns as a senior. Goessling was relied on heavily, and was a major contributor, and I would expect him to be so even more next season with yet another new starter at QB.
Shapiro was not so special at Punter. His average fell way below average, and he should be pushed for his job in the spring. He really has to show that he wants it, and his numbers show him to be leaning towards trying to lose the job.
The Bulldogs are in fine shape in the return game as all 3 major kick return me will be back for more duty in 2011. The only question is if one of them could actually break one for a score, which all failed to do in 2010.

FINAL NOTES

There has been some muttering of late that Pat Hill is losing his grip on this program. I find that to be absolute crazy talk, but it has been interesting to see the Bulldogs falling behind Boise State by what would seem to be miles. They have also slipped behind Nevada, and now Hawaii threatens them as well. Everything seems to be cyclical, so I would expect more success from Hill and FSU, but work must be done to keep the gap from widening with a move to the Mountain West coming up in 2012. The defense must return to form, and the rest should follow.

2011 NON-CONFERENCE OPPONENTS
9/3 California @ San Francisco, 9/10 @ Nebraska; 9/17 North Dakota; 10/1 Ole Miss; 10/8 Boise State; 12/3 @ San Diego State

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hawaii Rainbow Warriors Review 2010

2010 Record: 10-4 (7-1), Tied 1st WAC
2010 Bowl Game: Hawaii Bowl, Lost to Tulsa 62-35
2010 Schedule/Results
USC, L 49-36
@ Army, W 31-28
@ Colorado, L 31-13
Charleston Southern, W 66-7
Louisiana Tech, W 41-21
@ Fresno State, W 49-27
Nevada, W 27-21
@ Utah State, W 45-7
Idaho, W 45-10
@ Boise State, L 42-7
San Jose State, W 41-7
@ New Mexico State, W 59-24
UNLV, W 59-21
Tulsa, L 62-35

OFFENSE
496.8 yards per game
Leading Passer: Bryant Moniz, 5040 yards, 39 TDs, 15 INTs
Leading Rusher: Alex Green, 1199 yards, 18 TDs
Leading Receivers: Greg Salas, 119-1889-14; Kealoha Pilares, 88-1306-15; Royce Pollard, 64-901-7 TDs

The Warriors played offense worthy of video game stats in 2010. Moniz was better than anyone thought possible, and in breaking the 5000 yard mark, he becomes one in just a handful in the history of the game to pull it off. He had stellar targets in the combo of Pilares and Salas, both seniors who will be missed in 2011. Their numbers were eye popping on their own, but together they were a force unseen in recent times. If you never got a chance to watch this offense in 2010, then you missed a show and a half. The two combined for over 3000 yards receiving and 29 TDs. Royce Pollard, the 3rd receiver, would have led the conference in receiving in many other leagues. He will return in 2011 as Moniz's top target, and seems to be more than up for the challenge.
Lost in the shuffle of the amazing passing game was the quiet production of Alex Green, who busted the 1000 yard mark in the midst of the circus aerial act. He used the pass happy offense to his advantage, as teams dropped into covereag, and he was unstoppable heading into the endzone, something that he did an astonishing 18 times in 2010. The Warriors will have to replace the right side of the line in 2011, as Guard Adrian Thomas and Tackle Laupepa Letuli both move on, and they will also have to replace the top 4 backups. Depth was not an issue in 2010, as there was plenty of senior leadership, but the depth will be negligible in 2011.

DEFENSE
Tackles Leader: Corey Parades, 151
TFL Leader: Kamalu Umu, 15.5
Sacks Leader: Paipai Falemalu and Aaron Brown, 5
INT Leader: Mana Silva, 8
Passes Defended Leader: Jeremy Bryant, 8

The Warriors held teams to 21 points or under 7 times in 2010, which is quite good. However the Warriors also 212 points in a total of 5 games where the defense virtually disappeared. That was why Hawaii could not hold up to Boise State, and as far as records were concerned, Nevada. This is not to say that Hawaii lacked playmakers, because they had plenty on the field, and there were very few players in the country that were more active than LB Corey Parades. Parades was amongst the national elite with 151 tackles on the season, and nobody approached his productivity in the WAC.
Kamalu Umu was a beast in the backfield, as he found himself behind the line often. The line at large played well in 2010, but there is senior leadership amongst the best that will be missed. That also goes for Mana Silva, one of the national leaders in picks with 8. Silva is also a senior, and will leave a large void, as will Jeremy Boyd. At least Parades should be back for more in 2011.

SPECIAL TEAMS
FG: Scott Enos, 17/21
Punting: Alex Dunnachie, 42.96
Punt Returns: Ryan Henry, 5.33 per return
Kick Returns: Dustin Blount, 24.68 per return

The kicking game was in strong hands with Enos and Dunnachie, but Enos will not return in 2011. A new leg will need to be sorted out in spring to see who can match Enos and who can keep Hawaii ticking in close games.
Dunnachie had a huge season as a sophomore. He will be back in 2011 to try to improve on his already very nice average.
Henry was nothing special returning punts, and will have to be replaced anyway, as he was a senior in 2010.
Blount was solid in the return game, and as a WR, may be asked to handle more double duty next season. Don't be surprised if he is also asked to be the primary punt return man, but Greg McMackin is not one to wear out his athletes.

FINAL NOTES

Nobody knew what to expect from the Rainbows in 2010. Therefore, the season was a huge success in the eyes of many. UH was able to pull a major win against Nevada, and that propelled the Warriors to a tie for the WAC title. Hawaii will be leaving the WAC in 2012 to join the Mountain West, but looking a what they have to replace, asking for a WAC title heading out the door may be a tall order. That being said, don't count out Hawaii, as you never know what you are going to get.

2011 NON-CONFERENCE OPPONENTS
9/3 Colorado, 9/10 @ Washington, 9/17 @ UNLV, 9/24 UC-Davis, 11/26 Tulane,  12/3 BYU

Boise State Broncos 2010 Review

2010 Record: 12-1 (7-1), Tied 1st WAC
2010 Bowl Game: Maaco Las Vegas Bowl, Defeated Utah 26-3
2010 Schedule/Results
@ Virginia Tech, W 33-30
@ Wyoming, W 51-6
Oregon State, W 37-24
@ New Mexico State, W 59-0
Toledo, W 57-14
@ San Jose State, W 48-0
Louisiana Tech, W 49-20
Hawaii, W 42-7
@ Idaho, W 52-14
Fresno State, W 51-0
@ Nevada, L 34-31
Utah State, W 50-14

OFFENSE
519.5 yrads per game
Passing Leader: Kellen Moore, 3845 yards, 35 TDs, 6 INTs
Rushing Leader: Doug Martin, 1260 yards, 12 TDs
Receiving Leaders: Titus Young, 71-1215-9; Austin Pettis, 71-951-10; Tyler Shoemaker, 32-582-5

If you wanted to watch a college football offense that operated with ferocity of an NFL unit, then look no further than the Broncos of 2010. The Broncos simply had their way with people on offense, and if you question the strength of schedule, then I counter your argument with this statement. When you play a weak team, you should dominate them on every play. Boise State's offense did just that. Kellen Moore was our QB of the Year for the FBS, and while some argued that it should have been Andrew Luck, it was hard to argue with our selction of Moore. Moore, like Luck, is a quintessential QB. He does everything right, has a great arm, and plays smart. His numbers were incredible, and we'll get one more year of him.
Doug Martin had a huge season, which allowed Moore to be even better. Marting was a game changing back and his long TD run in the Vegas Bowl changed the tempo of the game for Boise State. Jeremy avery was huge for the Broncos as well, as he rushed for 11 TDs on the season to go with Martin's 12.
There has rarely been as dominant a receiver tandum as was the case with Young and Pettis. It's almost a crime to break them up heading into 2011, as theyboth graduate to play on Sundays. How do you simply replace 142 catches for 2166 yards and 19 TDs? You don't. Not with just two players. Shoemaker will have a chance to up his game heading into the spring, as he will be expected to be the top target for Moore.
The line is incredible, but not stocked with massive linemen. Boise goes the way of the old Broncos, with smaller, more athletic blockers, with only one starter over 300 lbs. Tackle Matt Slater and Guard Will Lawrence are both on their way to the next level, but every reserve on the two deep returns for more action next season.

DEFENSE
259.3 yards allowed per game
Tackles Leader: Jeron Johnson, 82
TFL Leader: Tyrone Crawford, 13.5
Sacks Leader: Shea McLellan, 8.5
INT Leader: Brandyn Thompson, 3
Passes Defended Leader: Brandyn Thompson, 7

The defense never stayed on the field for very long, as they came up with big plays and forced a ton of 3 and outs. Therefore, Jeron Johnson, a Safety, led the Broncos in tackles with 82. The real play came up front, as the line was a force in the backfield. Tyrone Crawford, Shea McLellan, and Billy Winn all were linemen who had double digit TFLs in 2010. Very few lines in the country had that much production in making plays behind the line. CB Winston Venable was just 0.5 away from joining them. This team was a pressing, aggressive unit that never let anyone off of the line without getting popped before they got started. The unit allowed opposing teams 14 points or less 8 times on the season, an amazing stat in a league that was known for having strong offense. Boise State, again, had the look and feel of an NFL defense.

SPECIAL TEAMS
FG: Kyle Brotzman, 16/23
Punting: Kyle Brotzman, 44.06; Trevor Harman, 44.7
Punt Returns: Chris Potter, 13.32 per return, 1 TD
Kick Returns: Titus Young, 23.5 per return

Brotzman, in some camps, will be forever villified for missing the easy kicks that led to an upset loss at Nevada, keeping the Broncos from being undefeated and attaining a date in the BCS. The fact was that, while Brotzman did botch the game, Nevada was also just that good. True, with all of the expectations heaped on Botzman, he did not live up to his billing as a senior. His punting leg was solid, but his PK leg was feeling the strain a bit, and Harman got more opportunites to punt, having a bit more success than Brotzman did.
Young was one of the most versatile players in the country. His play at both receiver and at kick returner basically have him valued as an all-pupose athlete in most NFL circles. He is dynamic and solid, and has had one hell of a career for the Broncos. He'll be forever remembered in Boise as one of the central players in giving rise to the modern dominant era of BSU football.

FINAL NOTES

A team so talented is rare, considering that Boise is hardly a hotbed for recruiting today's star athlete. Boise doesn't have a long standing history of being a dominant program, but that's all changing. Chris Peterson keeps on warding off bigger suitors with bigger checkbooks to stay in Boise, and he is just the latest keeper of the gate to know success. The difference with Peterson is that he believes in the big picture and the long term. As long as he is in Boise, great times will keep on rolling. This team is one of the nation's best, despite conference affiliation, which will be in the Mountain West in 2011.

2011 NON-CONFERENCE OPPONENTS
9/3 Georgia, 9/17 @ Toledo, 9/24 Tulsa, 10/1 Nevada, 10/8 @ Fresno State

Nevada Wolfpack 2010 Review

2010 Record: 13-1 (7-1), 1st WAC
2010 Bowl Game: Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, Defeated Boston College 20-13
2010 Schedule/Results
Eastern Washington, W 49-24
Colorado State, W 51-6
California, W 52-31
@ BYU, W 27-13
@ UNLV, W 44-26
San Jose State, W 35-13
@ Hawaii, L 27-21
Utah State, W 56-42
@ Idaho, W 63-17
@ Fresno State, W 35-34
New Mexico State, W 52-6
Boise State, W 34-31
@ Louisiana Tech, W 35-17

OFFENSE
535.5 yards per game
Passing Leader: Colin Kaepernick, 3022 yards, 21 TDs, 8 INTs
Rushing Leader: Vai Taua, 1610 yards, 10 TDs
Receiving Leaders: Rishard Matthews, 55-873-5; Virgil Green 35-515-5; Brandon Wimberly, 41-482-0

The Pistol, as ran by the Wolfpack in 2010, was one of the most prolific offenses in recent memory. The only thing that was missing was a third 1000 yards rusher that the team had in 2009, but they did manage to get two with Taua and the amazing Colin Kaepernick, who added to his 3022 yards passing by also rushing for an additional 1203 yards and 20 TDs. The combo of Taua and Kaepernick has been one for the ages, but as is always the case, all good things must end, and end it will for both players in Reno. Chris Ault will be pulling his hair out trying to find players that even come close to matching the productivity that these two guys have had. Rishard Matthews was the unheralded player at receiver, as he was the primary target for Kaepernick's aerial show every Saturday, and of course you have one of the better TEs in college football in Virgil Green.
The Wolfpack will return 19 offensive linemen from their 2010 roster next season, so whoever wins the battle to be the new RB and QB, they will at least have a deep line blocking the way.

DEFENSE
377.3 yards allowed per game
Tackles Leader: James-Michael Johnson, 88
TFL Leader: Dontay Moch, 22
Sacks Leader: Dontay Moch, 8.5
INT Leader: 5 tied at 2
Passes Defended Leader: Isaiah Frey, 12

The Wolfpack defense could be criticized for it's inability to keep yardage to a minimum, and at times, they allowed far to many points, but when you look at the lightning effect as to how fast the offense could score at times, these guys had to be tired. Despite giving up almost 253 yards passing per game, the Pack had some serious playmakers on D. None filled that bill any better than DE Dontay Moch, who was a regular guest in opposing backfields. Moch was our FBS DE of the Year, and seriously deserved that title. James-Michael Johnson was there to make all of the plays that got by Moch, or when teams went away from Moch on purpose, which was often. When passing, the best bet was always to go away from Isaiah Frey, as even though he lacked big pick numbers, he was a hawk at knocking passes away. Moch had a buddy up front when it came to stopping plays early in Brett Roy, and Roy will have to take up all of the slack in 2011, as Moch will be moving on to the NFL without a doubt. Johnson and Frey both return as well to give the Pack a solid corps of playmakers for next fall on defense.

SPECIAL TEAMS
FG: Anthony Martinez, 11/15
Punting: Brad Langley, 43.39
Punt Returns: Rishard Matthews, 9.76 yrads per return, 1 TD
Kick Returns: Mike Ball, 24.5 yards per return

The only area of concern on special teams was Martinez, but he was just a freshman. You can expect improvement as he gains experience, but it hardly mattered on the year, as Nevada had their best season ever without worrying about his accuracy all that much. Matthews and Ball were both solid in the return game, and the Pack gets both of them back. Replacing Langley's leg will be a huge issue, as he was one of the best Punters in the country.

FINAL NOTES

As I have referenced, this was by far one of the best seasons, if not the best season, in Wolfpack history. Nevada knocked Boise to their knees on one fantastic night, and was a meltdown in Honolulu away from busting the big bad BCS. The issue for next fall will be the lost production and talent, as players like Kaepernick, Taua, and Moch all make their way to the next level, leaving massive voids in their wake. You don't find chemistry and talent like that growing on trees, and it's rare to find them all in a place like Reno. That could change as Chris Ault has finally managed to take Nevada to another level on the landscape. A move to the MWC in 2012 will only up the ante.

2011 NON-CONFERENCE OPPONENTS
9/3 New Mexico, 9/10 @ Oregon, 9/24 @ Texas Tech, 10/1 @ Boise State, 10/8 UNLV

Idaho State Bengals 2010 Review

2010 Record: 1-10 (0-8), 9th Big Sky
2010 Playoffs: None
2010 Schedue/Record
Montana-Western, W 32-3
@ Utah State, L 38-17
@ Northern Colorado, L 35-21
Northern Arizona, L 32-7
@ Portland State, L 38-3
@ Montana, L 47-28
Weber State, L 16-13
Montana State, L 23-20
@ Georgia, L 55-7
Sacramento State, L 45-17
@ Eastern Washington, L 34-7

OFFENSE
225.7 yards per game
Passing Leader: Russell Hill, 1194 yards, 8 TDs, 8 INTs
Rushing Leader: Corey White, 274 yards, 2 TDs; Tavoy Moore, 252 yards, 0 TDs
Receiving Leaders: Rodrick Rumble, 32-464-2; Tavoy Moore, 34-421-3; Josh Hill, 17-165-3

The correct category for this unit should be titled "what offense?". ISU only managed to rush for 56.2 yards per game on the season, one of the worst in the country. The passing game was hardly paassable at 169.5 yards per game under Hill, who couldn't get this team up any hill in 2010. There was nothing passable about this offense, and everyone failed miserably. The Bungles only scored more than 21 points twice all season.

DEFENSE
417.8 yards per game allowed
Tackle Leader:AJ Storms, 13.27 per game
TFL Leader: Basim Hudeem, 8
Sack Leader: Sean Rutten, 5
INT Leader: Dustin Tew, 3 (1 TD)
Passes Defended Leader: Basim Hudeen, 5

This unit was barely better than the offense was in 2010, but they did boast LB of the Year in Storms. Storms was an animal all season, and seems to be the guy holding all of the heart on this football team. He may have shared some with Hudeen, but that is about it. ISU is by far the worst program in the Big Sky, and improvement is going to be hard to come by until someone invests heavily into the future of the program.

SPECIAL TEAMS
FG: Brendan Garcia, 8/14
Punting: David Harrington, 44.35
Punt Returns: Tavoy Moore, 18.33 per return
Kick Returns: Tavoy Moore, 24.13 per return (2 TDs)

Moore didn't show much as a RB on the season, but he sure did rip it a new one on returns. He totalled up over 1000 yards in returns on the season, the only player other than Hill at QB to even sniff that nimber in any category, so that should be applauded.
Harrington has a major leg at Punter, and was named Punter of the Year. Garcia is the weak link in this group. When your offense cannot score, at least be able to kick a field goal, and ISU cannot depend on that to happen with hits guy.

FINAL NOTES

Another terrible season, and another coaching casualty. The ISU administration had seen enough, and they sent John Zamberlain packing. So now they start over with former Montana State castoff Mike Kramer. Kramer is not the best fit for the job, but he was the best that they could get. I will cover what I have dug up on Kramer at a later date, so stay tuned, because you'll be a little shocked. This program is miserably horrible, and the corner to turn is nowhere in sight. It's going to be a bumpy ride.

Portland State Vikings 2010 Review

2010 Record: 2-9 (1-7), 8th Big Sky
2010 Playoffs: None
2010 Schedule/Results
@ Arizona State, L 54-9
@ UC-Davis, W 41-33
@ Oregon, L 69-0
Idaho State, W 38-3
@ Montana State, L 44-31
Montana, L 23-21
@ Weber State, L 44-41
Eastern Washington, L 50-17
Sacramento State, L 28-15
Northern Colorado, L 35-30
@ Northern Arizona, L 62-14

OFFENSE
396.5 yards per game
Passing Leader: Tygue Howland, 1017 yards, 3 TDs, 7 INTs
Rushing Leader: Cory McCaffrey, 1287 yards, 10 TDs
Receiving Leaders: Nick Hutter, 38-521-3; Julius Thomas, 29-453-2; Justin Monahan, 30-369-2

There wasn't much that went right for the PSU offense in 2010 other than the rushing contributions of McCaffery. Even with his success, one would have to belive that had he had a passing attack to take the pressure off of his own shoulders, he would have been even better. Howland was just terrible all season, and when your QB is awful, you really don't have much to rely on. Train wreck.

DEFENSE
Tackle Leader: Ryan Rau, 7.55 per game
TFL Leader: Carl Sommer, 11
Sack Leader: Carl Sommer, 4
INT Leader: Manoa Latu, 3 (1 TD)
Passes Defended: Deshawn Shead, 7

The Vikings could not stop anyone on the ground or in the air in 2010. It doesn't help that they scheduled two dates against FBS teams in Arizona State, and eventual national runner-up Oregon. Oregon shredded the Vikings to pieces in their matchup. Nigel Burton has a huge task in rebuilding this unit just to get it to respectable. What a mess here as well.

SPECIAL TEAMS
FG: Zach Brown, 18/26
Punting: Thomas Duyndam, 42.57
Punt Returns: AJ Powell, 4.75 per return
Kick Returns: AJ Powell, 17.82

While Brown and Duyndam gave the Vikings reasons to be happy (most of the time in the case of Brown, who still missed 8 kicks), The return game is a mess. Powell needs to improve or be pushed out. He'll be a junior next season, so we'll see if Burton was able to get a young recruit to give him a shove.

FINAL NOTES

NIgel Burton needs a little bit more time, but this team is one of the worst in the Big Sky, and it's not looking good for 2011 at this point. Burton worked at Nevada, which is no stranger to program building, so he has the blueprint. It's just a matter if he can sell the plan to the high school kids and get commitment and skill into Portland. If he can, then this is salvagable, but the clock is ticking.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Northern Colorado Bears 2010 Review

2010 Record: 3-8 (2-6), 7th Big Sky
2010 Playoffs: None
2010 Schedule/Results
Adams State, W 54-0
@ Weber State, L 50-47
Idaho State, W 35-21
@ Michigan State, L 45-7
Montana, L 30-7
@ Sacramento State, L 42-7
Eastern Washington, L 35-28
@ Montana State, L 37-35
@ South Dakota, L 34-6
Northern Arizona, L 21-14
@ Portland State, W 35-30

OFFENSE
357.8 yards per game
Passing Leader: Dylan Orms, 2055 yards, 15 TDs, 9 INTs
Rushing Leader: Andre Harris, 690 yards, 10 TDs
Receiving Leaders: Jace Davis, 53-992-7; Patrick Walker, 37-570-6; Doug Steele, 12-265-3

The Bears were a tale of two offenses in 2010. Were they the offense that was held to 7 points in 3 straight games, and 14 or less 5 times, or were they the unit that went over 28 points in every other game? Dylan Orms did his best, but it has to be better in 2011, and only time will tell with a new coaching staff coming into place in Greeley. The rushing game also has to improve in total yards gained, but Harris' 10 TDs were impressive. The receiving corps was solid, and the good news is that the top three all return in 2011 for new HC Earnest Collins. Consistency, once again, is the word here. There was a lack of it, and that mid-season slump was brutal.

DEFENSE
398.5 yards per game allowed
Top Tackler: John Eddy, 100
Top TFL: Nick Hernon, 12
TOP Sacks: John Eddy, 4
Top INTs: Korey Askew, 3 (1 TD)
Top Passes Defended: Brandon Owens, 6

The Bears had the same issue on defense as they did on offense, but it was worse on this side of the ball. The Bears played a few games like they were on the brink of becoming a monster on D, but in 8 games, they completely imploded. In those 8 games, the Bears gave up 30 points or more in all of them. John Eddy was all over the field, but he had to be, as there were few others making plays other than he and Nick Hernon up front. The secondary got victimized at times, and the Bears fell apart more often than not.

SPECIAL TEAMS
FG: Mason Puckett, 4/8 FGs
Punting: Cameron Kaman, 40.41
Punt Returns: Dominic Gunn, 11.81 per return
Kick Returns: Dominic Gunn, 23.36 per return

There was little special about the PK game in 2010, as Mason Puckett was off the mark, and Dave Eden was even worse. This is an area that will need to be addressed big time in the spring.
Cameron Kaman was solid in the punting game, and his leg was one of the most effective weapons that the Bears had, sadly enough.
Gunn is a danger whenever touching the ball, and he will need tp push it to the next level in 2011, and actually start taking some returns to the house, as he is capable of doing so. If he manages that, then he will be amongst the elite return men in the country.

FINAL NOTES
The wheels came off of the wagon more times than not, and in the end it cost Scott Dowling his job. Earnest Collins was brought in from Alcorn State, but this is a hire that is hardly enough to inspire the faithful in Greeley, as his Alcorn State teams recently were nothing to write home about. Better candidates wanted the job, so there will be high scrutiny placed on Collons by whatever remains of the fan base.

Northern Arizona Lumberjacks 2010 Review

2010 Record: 6-5 (4-4), 6th Big Sky
2010 Playoffs: None
2010 Schedule/Results
Western New Mexico, W 48-0
@ Arizona State, L 41-20
@ Idaho State, W 32-7
@ Southern Utah, W 26-23
@ Eastern Washington, L 21-14
Montana State, W 34-7
@ Montana, L 24-21
Sacramento State, L 40-10
@ Northern Colorado, W 21-14
Weber State, L 27-26
Portland State, W 62-14

OFFENSE
370.2 yards per game
Leading Passer: Michael Herrick, 2061 yards, 15 TDs, 9 INTs
Leading Rusher: Zach Bauman, 1059 yards, 14 TDs
Leading Receivers: Davieun Curry-Chapman, 69-738-6; Austin Shanks, 65-613-3; Mike Czyz, 26-331-2

There was plenty of production from the top tier talent, but depth was not evident. The offense totalled 21 points or less 5 times during the season, but the rest of the year could look as if they were about to set the world ablaze. Herrick was not always at his best, and it took it's toll on the win/loss column at times. Bauman was on mark all season long, and cannot be balemd for anything that went wrong. Czyz and Shanks will have to carry the load in 2011 at the receiver spots, not bad options, as Curry-Chapman moves on after his senior season.

DEFENSE
306.5 yards per game
Leading Tackler: Reid Worthington, 6.09 per game
Leading TFL: Scott McKeever, 11
Leading Sacks: Scott McKeever, 6
Leading INTs: Brian Hunter, 3 (1 TD)
Leading Passes Defended: Taelor Worrell, 11

One thing that you did not do against the Lumberjacks in 2010 was run effectively. NAU only allowed 93.5 yards rushing per game, one of the toughest run defenses in the nation. The problem was finding players to make the important tackles, or players who tackled with any regularity at all. Worthington's number was not near enough to put him in the top 20 tacklers in the league. McKeever was a force up front, and it was hard to avoid seeing him getting through the line to make plays behind the line. The defense basically had two bad games in 2010, one against Sacramento State, and the other against FBS Arizona State.

SPECIAL TEAMS
FG's: Matt Myers, 14/18
Punting: Drew Zamora, 42.19
Punt Return: Matt Estrada, 9.89 per return
Kick Return: Daniel Adler, 19.21 per return

Myers was as solid as it gets on the season. You cannot ask any more of your kicker than what he gave NAU in 2010, Zamora had one of the better punting legs in the league, but it could get better due to the altitude of kicking in Flagstaff.
The return game was decent on punts with Estrada, but not nearly good enough with Adler on kick returns. More production is needed in the return game.

FINAL NOTES
The Lumberjacks still strike fear into opposing teams coming into Flagstaff. Their problems are dealing with consistency issues. NAU will be one more team dealing with replaceing a QB in 2011, and there could be growing pains next season. Don't expect too much. Teams may stack up to stop Bauman with a new QB breaking in. Expect next season to be one of slight rebuilding.