Monday, June 6, 2011

Central Michigan 2010 Review

Central Michigan Chippewas
2010 Record: 3-9 (1-7), Tied 5th, MAC West
2010 Bowl Game: None

     A year can make a huge difference, especially when you are coming off having lost your best QB ever, and your big game head coach. CMU started a new era last fall, and things were not jumping like they should have been, coming off of an unmatched record of success over a 4 year period that saw nothing but smiles.
     Ryan Radcliff did his best at QB, but it was not enough at the end of the day. Radcliff hucked the ball for 3358 yards on the season, which was very nice, but he only managed 17 TDs against a whopping 17 picks. Add that to his lack of one of Dan LeFevour's talents, which was the ability to get up and run. Radcliff was no good there at all, and so the Chippewas ost an entire dimension of offense.
      Paris Cotton led the team in rushing on the season, but only managed 651 yards and 6 scores. Of course he only handled the ball on running plays for an average of 12 carries per game. CMU needs more from the run game to be able to keep defenses playing up against the run, which would thin out pass coverage for Radcliff. Carl Volny and Zurlon Tipton each rushed for 5 scores.
     Cody Wilson stepped up last fall, as he led the team with a line of 83-1137-5, while Kito Poblah posted 44-558-5. Poblah departed after last season, and will now be trying to crack a spot in the CFL. Jerry Harris (30-332-3), David Blackburn (22-285-3), Cotton (25-245-0), and Volny (26-240-1) all had their moments, and all but Volny return next fall.
     The defense was in full retreat last fall, as they gave up 30 or more points 7 times on the season, and allowed 171.9 yards rushing. CMU loses 3 of their top 6 tacklers from last season, so building will all be relative. LB Matt Berning, a senior last season, led the Chippewas in tackles with 102, and another senior LB, Nick Bellore, was second with 90. Jahleel Addae (80), Armond Staten (78), and Vince Agnew (73) came in next. Agnew was the third senior in the top 5.
     Berning and senior lineman Sean Murnane were the leaders up front when it came to applying pressure on opposing offenses, and their work was mainly wasted against the run. Berning collected 13 TFLs, the only Chippewa to hit double figures, while Murnane just missed by collecting 9. Berning's 4 sacks led the team, and CMU was exceptionally weak in the pass rush.
     There was not much to get excited about in the secondary last fall either. Agnew broke up 6 passes last season and was the leader, but nobody else produced more than 4 passes defended (Addae). No player in the secondary produced more than 1 pick, and the defense only produced 4 on the entire season, while coughing up 18.
     Three different freshmen attempted FGs last season, and the group only hit 10 of 20 combined.David Harman was the best of the lot, as he hit on 9 of 12 attempts. He did miss 3 PATs last fall, having made 23 of 26. Brett Hartmann averaged 40.55 yards per punt, and he has to be replaced, which is bad news. The return game was absolutely below average.
Final Notes
     It was just sad to see how far CMU fell and how fast it happened last season. Year two of the new era could be telling if they can get it all back. Radcliff has the ability to be a great QB, but he needs more tools around him, with an enhanced running game. The defense needs a ton of work in the secondary, and the front 7 has to provide more pressure. The Chippewas finished by losing 8 of their final 9 games last season, so it looks as if these guys need to be taught how to win, which is so much more difficult than learning how to lose.

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