Monday, June 6, 2011

Ball State 2010 Review

Ball State Cardinals
2010 Record: 4-8 (3-5), 4th MAC West
2010 Bowl Game: None

     The Cardinals finally had seen enough of retread Stan Parrish, a coach who has been average at best at every stop. The Cardinals won 6 games in two seasons, and it was time to move on, as Parrish had been a panic hire when they lost Brady Hoke to San Diego State. The Cardinals made a strong move this time, and went to the FCS level to grab Pete Lembo out of Elon. In 5 seasons between Elon and Lehigh, Lembo posted a mark of 79-36.
     Keith Wenning started at QB last fall as a freshman and played in all 12 games. He passed for 1373 yards and 14 TDs, but also tossed 14 picks. His average of 114 yards passing per game makes you just want to give up. He also only averaged 19.6 attempts per game, so maybe Lembo needs to unleash him a bit, much like he did with Scott Riddle at Elon last fall.
     The Cardinals were never able to develop a front line game changing back last fall. Eric Williams rushed for 613 yards on the season, and scored 5 times. He shared carries with MiQuale Lewis, but with Lewis gone, Williams should be able to concentrate a bit more on being the man. David Brown (62-348-1) and Cory Sykes (46-260-2) both return, but it's up to Williams to make sure that they remain in a support role.
     Nobody busted the 30 reception mark last fall, and that is a huge reason as to why Ball State failed to win. Jack Tomlinson was the leader by default as a freshman, as he posted 29-484-6. Briggs Orsbon was the only other player that had more than 20 grabs last season, as he posted 28-295-1. What the Cardinals now need is to find depth behind these two receivers, and get these two receivers more chances to make plays.
      The defense was just a complete mess last fall. The Cardinals gave up 220 yards through the air, while also allowing 178 yards on the ground. They also gave up 44 TDs on the season while only managing to score 29.
     The Cardinals lost 3 of their top 7 tacklers from last fall. The Cardinals had some very good numbers on the tackles side, but most of it was chasing people around, and was not necessarily from making real plays. Travis Freeman led the team with 109 tackles last fall as a sophomore LB. DB Sean Baker collected 88 on the season, while Tony Martin picked up 76. The three seniors, Davyd Jones, Charlie Todd, and Robert Eddins all finished in the 60s, with 66, 63, and 63. Jason Pinkston joined that group with 61.
     Eddins was the lone pressure producer on any regular level last seaosn, as he collected 13 TFLs in 12 games. Baker and Freeman combined for 13, and it will be up to them to take over with Eddins moving on. The Cardinals were horrid at producing pressure on the QB, as other than Eddins with 6 sacks, nobody else had more than 1.
     Pinkston was the leader in the secondary as he knocked away 7 passes last season, and Charlie Todd, a senior, was the only other Cardinal DB with 5. Baker led the team with 6 picks on the season, while Pinkston collected 4. They both return to anchor the secondary, which if they receive more presuure up front, could be the strength of the unit next season.
     Ian McGarvey gave it all he had at PK last fall, and he hit 14 of 17 FGs. McGarvey has to be replaced now, which could be problematic for Lembo. Scott Kovanda showed promise as a sophomore at punter, as he averaged 40.87 yards per punt last season. Eric Williams provides solid punch as a kick return man, having gained 740 yards, averaging 25.52 yards per return with a score. Jamill Smith was solid returning punts as a freshman, averaging 8.59 yards per return.
Final Notes
     The Cardinals fell apart immediately after the departure of Hoke, and they have yet to recover. They were better in overall wins last season, but they were not performing like an improving team, having lost to Liberty last season. The change was very well thought out, and in getting Lembo, the Cardinals made a nice move. The talent is still lacking, but Lembo will recruit like a mad man.

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