Saturday, June 4, 2011

Toledo Rockets 2011 Review

Toledo Rockets
2010 Record: 8-5 (7-1)
2010 Bowl Game: Little Caeser's Bowl Lost to Florida International 34-32

     The Rockets made huge strides last season under Tim Beckman, and they were rewarded with a return to the post season. Toledo is on the way back, and due to injury last season, they found out that they had two capable young QBs. Each of the young QBs had their ups and downs, and each brings something different to the table. Austin Dantin was the starter early on, but was injured late. He passed for 1254 yards, but his TD to pick ratio was inverted as he tossed 7 scores to 8 picks. He did manage to complete 66.1% of his passes, so he has some serious ability to improve.
     Terrence Owens played 9 games, and he passed for a ratio of 13/5, which was much better than Dantin, but he only completed 59.5% of his passes. Neither QB had a serious yards per game average, so there is work to be done here. Dantin had the edge, as he also managed to rush for 8 TDs.
     Adonis Thomas led the team in rushing with 1098 yards with 8 scores on the season. Thomas was a junior last season, but with better QB play, he could be in line for a very nice senior season. The problem with the Rockets, is depth at this spot. Thomas has to be the every down guy, as Morgan Williams only rushed for 287 yards in 2010, and cannot be depended upon to give you solid punch at the position.
     Eric Page is the star on this team. The sophomore receiver blew up on the scene last fall by grabbing 99 receptions on the year for 1105 yards and 8 scores. Page averaged 7.6 receptions per game, and was good for over 11 yards per grab. Thomas was the only other threat on the feld coming out of the backfield. Page added 871 yards and 3 scores on kick returns, but was underwhelming on punt returns. At the end of the day, Page racked up 1976 yards and 11 TDs.
     The Rockets had their ups and downs on defense last fall, and there is still work to be done here as well. They did get some huge production from two players, as Archie Donald piled up 146 tackles, and Dan Molls rolled up 143. Donald moved on after last season, while Molls returns for his junior season as the leader of the defense at LB. A trio of DBs came in next, as Isaiah Bullard picked up 83 tackles, Mark Singer picked up 73, and Desmond Marrow finished with 72. Only Marrow departs, giving the Rockets some solid depth.
     The Rockets were able to apply some solid pressure against the run last fall, as three players finished with double figures in TFLs. TJ Fatinikun led the team as a sophomore lineman, as he piled up 12 on the year. Molls finished with 10.5, while Malcolm Riley, a junior lineman, finished with 10. All 3 return in 2011. The Rockets fell far shorter when it came to pressuring QBs last fall, as nobody finished with more than 5.5.
      Marrow and Ballard were the primary playmakers, but they had decent, not great seasons. Marrow finshed with 6 passes defended, while Ballard ended the year with 5. Marrow, Donald, and Molls all finished with 3 picks each, bit again, there was nothing special going on here.
     The Rockets had very little luck with their kicking game. Bill Claus only hit on 4 of 7 FGs, while Ryan Casano only hit 2 of his 7. They had not much more luck with their punting situation, as John Penza only averaged 39.77 yards per punt, and Claus punted some as well, only averaging 38.73 yards per punt.
Final Notes
     The Rockets made some huge moves last season, but there is still much to do tog et over the top. Toledo is very good, and may be in line to be able to be taken seriously in 2011, but they are not in line to run with the top of the MAC just yet. Tim Beckman, if he can pull some major punches and move this team forward, may be a hot commodity in the coaching market after next fall. The Rockets seaosn was solid, but it would have been a hell of a lot better had they not fallen short in their bowl game shooting war with FIU.


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