2008 Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders Football Preview
MTSU Blue Raiders - Sun Belt
MTSU 2007 Record: (5-7, 4-3)
2007 Bowl: none
MTSU Head Coach: Rick Stockstill (12-13 at Middle Tennessee State, 12-13 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: G.A. Mangus
Defensive Coordinator: Manny Diaz
Returning Leaders for Middle Tennessee State:
Other Key Returnees: LB Danny Carmichael, DE Wes Hofacker, WR Patrick Honeycutt, DT Trevor Jenkins, G Jamal Lewis, OT Mark Thompson
Key Losses: TE Clinton Corder, OT Franklin Dunbar, WR Taron Henry, DE Tavares Jones, RB DeMarco McNair, S Damon Nickson, C Brandon Nix, CB Roy Polite, CB Bradley Robinson, LB Derek Shropshire, DE Erik Walden
Nobody was more unlucky than Middle Tennessee State last season. Injuries struck early and often and a total of 26 players missed at least one game due to injury. And the 2008 offseason did not go much better. Offensive tackle Mark Fisher is out for the year following a shoulder injury and a few potential impact receivers are gone after either transferring or being kicked off the team.
Middle Tennessee State's 2008 Strengths:
Quarterback Dwight Dasher will have to battle it out with Joe Craddock once again, but Dasher is the more dynamic quarterback who has the most potential. As a freshman, Dasher threw for 1,148 yards and rushed for 530 more. The best part was that he only threw three interceptions. With most of the offensive line being replaced, his ability to use his feet will be very important. With Desmond Gee, who split time between running back and wide receiver as a sophomore, by Dasher’s side, the Blue Raiders have a couple dynamic playmakers on offense. As long as they can develop some more consistency, which should come with experience, Coach Rick Stockstill’s team will put up a decent amount of points.
Middle Tennessee State's 2008 Weaknesses:
The defense flourished by getting into the opponents backfield. But now ends Tavares Jones and Erik Walden are gone and MTSU will need to find a new way to cause pressure. With three new starters in the secondary, if the front four struggle in the sack department, it might be pretty easy to throw against the Blue Raiders. Wes Hofacker is moving from tackle to one end and junior Chris McCoy has some experience, but it will not be like it was last year with Jones and Walden. All that pressure led to plenty of turnovers and that number will likely decrease if the front four falters.
The Bottom Line for the 2008 Blue Raiders of MTSU:
It was those turnovers that made up for what was an inconsistent offense. Despite ranking seventh in the conference in total offense, Middle Tennessee State ranked third in scoring. The defense often set up the offense in great field position. Without that luxury, the offense needs to grow up fast and do some work on their own if the Blue Raiders want to separate themselves from the middle of the Sun Belt pack.
2007 Team Stats for Middle Tennessee State:
Rushing Offense: 134.75 (81st in nation, 5th in conference)
Passing Offense: 202.08 (82, 5)
Total Offense: 336.83 (96, 7)
Scoring Offense: 25.67 (73, 3)
Rushing Defense: 199.83 (102, 5)
Pass Defense: 215.33 (40, 3)
Total Defense: 415.17 (80, 4)
Scoring Defense: 28.25 (65, 4)
Turnover Margin: .92 (12, 2)
Sacks: 2.42 (36, 1)Sacks Allowed: 2.08 (62, 5)
By Joel Welser
Check out all of the 2008 NCAA football previews online through College Sports Fans.
Copyright 2005-2009, CollegeSports-fans.com and the Dash Fans Network of Independent College Sports Fan Sites.