Sunday, June 5, 2011

Western Michigan 2010 Review

Western Michigan Broncos
2010 Record: 6-6 (5-3)
2010 Bowl Game: None

      Bill Cubit has struggled to get the Broncos to the top of the league, despite having some of the best talent in it. I had him bouncing back and forth between the Dead Pool list and the regular Hot Seat, and he made it to one more season by finishing with 6 wins. The pressure has got to be on him to win in 2011.
     He has an excellent tool at QB, as Alex Carder has established himself as the QB to watch in the MAC after a sophomore season in which he passed for 3334 yards and 30 TDs against 12 picks. Carder can get it done on his feet as well as he rushed for 6 more scores. Carder is one of the more dynamic QBs in the country, and he gives the Broncos a solid building piece for the next two seasons.
     Other than Carder on the ground, WMU is lacking in rushing power. Tevin Drake was the leader in yardage with 405 yards and scored 4 TDs (all on just 40 carries) and Brian Fields rushed for 362 yards and 3 scores. Carder will have to get more from this group, if he hopes to keep his head on his shoulders for an entire season. The good news? Both Drake and Fields were freshmen last fall.
     The Broncos got stellar performances from their top two receivers last season, but both were seniors, and there was little activity behind them in the receiving corps. Jordan White and Juan Nunez gave the Broncos two 1000 yard plus receivers, and gave them two receivers with 90 plus receptions. White was slightly better, as he posted a line of 94-1378-10, while Nunez busted loose for a line of 91-1032-10. There was a massive dropoff from there, as Robert Arnheim posted 23-235-1, while Ansel Ponder posted 28-205-2. They will both be back this season, but who knows what they have to give? No other receivers posted even 10 receptions last season.
      Western was not exactly a stopper on defense, as they allowed 221 yards passing and 166 yards rushing per game. They lose two of their top 3 tacklers after last fall, as DBs Jamail Berry and Mario Armstrong were both seniors. They finished with 94 and 78 tackles respectively, but it was junior LB Mitch Zajac that led the team with 97 tackles on the season. Lewis Toler, who was a freshman, and Doug Wiggins, a junior last fall, both lined up for 50+ tackles and will look to step into the roles vacated by Berry and Armstrong.
     The Broncos got some decent push up front at times, as Dex Jones (12.5) and Paul Hazel (12) both hit double digits in TFLs. Both were sophomores last fall. Berry came close to joining them out of the secondary with 9. Where the Broncos faded was in the pass rush, as only Hazel came even remotely close to double figures in sacks, as he collected 8 on the season.
     Toler was actually a leader in the secondary, and hopes are high for him. He more than led the team with 9 passes defended last fall. Nobody came close to him on this team, and so he is being leaned on to provide sound leadership in the back 4. Toler tied Armstrong with 5 picks each on the season, and Toler took one to the house. Toler will be a solid building block on defense much like Carder is on offense.
     John Potter was solid at the PK spot last fall, as he hit on 10 of 12 FGs last fall. He was as automatic as they come on PATs as well, as he hit all 50 that he tried last fall. He will return for his senior season next fall. The Broncos are set at Punter as well, as Ben Armer was easy to lean on, averaging 41.21 yards per punt last fall.
     Dervon Wallace is exceptional in the return game, as he averaged over 27 yards per kickoff return last fall, and scored once.Brian Fields looks to take over punt return duties next season.
Final Notes
     With some of the talent that Cubit had on hand last season, it's hard to believe the Broncos were not competing for the MAC title. They were expected to, which is why so much pressure has developed. The line for Cubit is "win now". With his top 2 receivers gone, will Carder get brought back a notch, or will he show his mettle by making his new receivers better? Western surely has got to do better. They just have to believe and find a way.

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