Monday, July 18, 2011
MIAA 2011 Preview
Central Missouri Mules
2010 Record: 11-3
Eric Czerniewski won the Harlen Hill Trophy last fall after passing for 5207 yards and 46 TDs. That being said, he has now moved on, and now the Mules have to find a replacement. Lucky for them, head coach Jim Svoboda is an offensive guru, and he can certainly develop a QB. The Mules also lose leading rusher Anthony Stewart, who rushed for 1084 yards and 15 TDs. The Mules also lose their top 4 receivers from last fall. It's going to be interesting to find out how they plan to recover from so much loss. Defense was not a strong suit last fall, and they lose their top tackler in Deonte Bell Deonte McDonald returns up front to apply pressure to the opposition, as he collected 11.5 TFLs. Marlon Douglas defended 11 passes last fall, and he will be the leader in the secondary, and he picked off 4 passes.
Season Opener: 9/1 Missouri Southern
Emporia State Hornets
2010 Record: 5-6
The Hornets fell apart down the stretch last fall, as they lost their final 4 games to fall under .500 at season's end. Tyler Eckenrode returns to run the offense, but he was not a big time passer, and that cost the Hornets when they got behind in games. He tossed 12 TDs, but also tossed 8 picks. Not a great ratio. Someone needs to step up at RB if this offense is going to work. Shjaun Richardson returns as the top WR from last fall after posting 28-558-5, and can become a big time vertical threat if the QBs can get the ball to him. LB Michael Luthi is the leading returning tackler, but is only a sophomore. Time to grow up quick for the youngster, because he is now the lynch pin of this defense. With the loss of the one man force in Daniel Webb, the Hornets need to find someone to step up on the front line and get themselves into the backfield. Derek Lohman defended 7 passes last fall, and now is the man leading the action in the back 4.
Season Opener: 9/1 @ Fort Hayes State
Fort Hayes State Tigers
2010 Record: 3-8
The Tigers started out 3-0 last fall before everything came apart and they burned out, losing their final 8 games. The Tigers have bad news, as Mike Garrison and his 25 TD passes is now gone. James Walker and his 9 rushing TDs...gone, and Garrison was the second leading rusher. OJ Murdock and his 60-1290-12 line at WR? Gone again. Cordoral Scales moves up to the top spot there, but the Tigers lost their third best receiver as well, so he is on an island. Alex Whitehill returns at LB, and that is huge, as he ranked 10th nationally with 10.73 tackles per game. Nick Dreitz returns to support him after rolling up 63 tackles last fall, but he will need to step it up a bit. Jacob Crossman's 19 TFLs last fall? Gone. Passing against this team was like shooting fish in a barrel last fall, and it may not be any better. This could get bad.
Season Opener: Emporia State
Lincoln (MO) Blue Tigers
2010 Record: 2-9
The Tigers barely belong i this conference, and gave up 58 or more points 4 times, including 81 in a loss to Missouri Western. It's just not a good fit, and they are outclassed across the board. If you expect anymore than their 2 wins from last fall, than I must say that you may be delusional.
Season Opener: 9/3 Avila
Missouri Southern State Lions
2010 Record: 4-7
Collin Howard returns at QB, but he struggled badly last fall as he tossed 14 picks to just 11 TDs. The pressure is on RB Cornell Gedward, who rushed for 849 yards and 3 scores last fall as a sophomore. If he succeeds, it takes pressure off of the passing game. Ne'Ronte Threat and Landon Zerkel both return at the top of the receiving corps, and that's great news. They combined for 111 receptions last fall. There was very little productivity on defense last fall, as nobody ranked in the top 30 in tackles. Brandon Williams was solid up front, as he collected 9 sacks on the season amongst his 17 TFLs. That is a huge bonus getting him back into the fold. Maurlon Bembry takes over the leadership role in the secondary after defending 7 passes as a junior last fall.
Season Opener: 9/1 @ Central Missouri
Missouri Western State Griffons
2010 Record: 8-4
The Griffons snuck into the playoffs last fall, but fell to conference rival Northwest Missouri 28-24 in the first round. It was a gallant effort, considering that the Griffons had lost to the Bearkats 42-0 during the regular season. Drew Newhart and his 25 TD passes have moved on, so it's starting over time. Michael Hill rushed for 704 yards and now must be a bigger piece in the offense to help break in a new QB. Terrell Downing moves to the top receiver spot, and TJ Fannin should join him in the starting lineup. DB Jake Long led the team with 75 tackles last fall, but was not much helpo in pass coverage. David Bass led the team with 7 sacks, and he returns to run the front seven. He collected 10.5 TFLs for the season last fall.
Season Opener: 9/1 Pittsburg State
Northwest Missouri State Bearcats
2010 Record: 12-2
The Cats made a major run in the final season for legendary head coach Mel Tjeerdsma. Tjeerdsma retired after the season ended, and Scott Bostwick was promoted to replace him as the 18th coach in school history. Tragedy struck as Bostwick died suddenly of a heart attack last spring before ever coaching in his first collegiate game. Adam Dorrel was promoted from offensive coordinator to replace Bostwick, and now the Cats are trying to move forward from the sadness that has rocked this campus. The incredible Blake Bolles has moved on at QB, and it looks like sophomore Trevor Adams has the leading shot at taking over. Jordan Simmons returns at RB after rushing for 739 yards last fall. Jake Soy will prove to be an incredible target at WR after posting 83-1311-12 last fall. Tyler Shaw lines up opposite. B Chad Kilgore returns after collecting 120 tackles last fall. Josh Lorensen will provide pressure up front, as he collected 10.5 TFLs last fall, but Ryan Jones will be missed in the secondary.
Season Opener: 9/1 @ Truman State
Pittsburg State Gorillas
2010 Record: 6-6
It was a down year for the Gorillas, who have been known to torment this conference in the past. Zac Dickey returns to run the ground based offense. His passing skills are a bit suspect. He did rush for 901 yards last fall, and will be the returning leading rusher. Briceton Wilson steps into the starting RB job after the departure of Terrance Isaac, who rushed for 1008 yards and 11 scores last fall. Nate Dreiling was a huge surprise last fall, as he led the conference with 160 tackles as a freshman, which was good enough for 1st in the nation. Dreiling finished 11th nationally with 20.5 TFLs as well, and will be a candidate for defensive player of the year for a second season. Paul Robinson will lead the secondary after defending 7 passes last fall.
Season Opener: 9/1 @ Missouri Western State
Truman State Bulldogs
2010 Record: 4-7
The Bulldogs fell in their final 3 games last fall, including a 62-61 shootout against Nebraska-Omaha, in what proved to be the final game for the Mavericks, ever. The Bulldogs must start over at QB after losing Phillip Davis. Davis was also the leading rusher with 831 yards last fall, so it's twice as devastating a loss. Dallas Grier had some solid moments as a freshman WR last fall, and he is the leader on offense now. Michael Elliot racked up 91 tackles last fall, and will run the defense from the secondary. Adam Reynolds collected 9.5 TFLs last fall from his LB spot, but he'll need more help up front. Terrence Byrd deflected 9 passes last season and picked off 4 passes while he was at it.
Season Opener: 9/1 Northwest Missouri State
2010 Record: 8-4
The Ichabods had a solid run last fall, and still managed to fall short of a playoff bid. They played a postseason game against Midwestern State, and did manage to win their "bowl game" 45-14. Dane Simoneau will return at QB, and is a player to watch after passing for 3459 yards and 33 TDs. Vershon Moore will also be highly entertaining, as he led the league with 100.7 yards rushing per game last fall. he also scored 11 TDs while averaging over 5.5 yards per carry. DaJuan Beard comes back as a sophomore to lead the receivers, but he is a far cry from the departed Joe Hastings (87-1546-15). LB Jahmil Taylor recorded 91 tackles last fall and returns to run the show in the front seven. Taylor also defended 8 passes last fall. The season opener is dangerous.
Season Opener: @ Sioux Falls