2008 Western Michigan Broncos Football Preview
Western Michigan (WMU) Broncos - Mid-American Conference (West)
WMU 2007 Record: (5-7, 3-4)
2007 Bowl: none
WMU Head Coach: Bill Cubit (20-16 at Western Michigan, 20-16 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Bill Cubit
Defensive Coordinator: Steve Morrison
Returning Leaders for Western Michigan:
Other Key Returnees: DT Cody Cielenski, LB Dustin Duclo, WR Schneider Julien, TE Branden Ledbetter, G Phillip Swanson, RB Glenis Thompson, DT Nick Varcadipane, C Paul Wasikowski
Key Losses: OT James Blair, RB Mark Bonds, S Anthony Gebhart, K Mike Jones, C Robbie Krutila, P Jim Laney, WR Herb Martin, LB Cornelius Robinson, G Schyler Truesdell
The Broncos of Western Michigan finished the season on a high note, winning at Iowa and knocking off a resurgent Temple squad. The rest of the season was a little disappointing, but with a majority of their starters returning on both sides of the ball, Coach Bill Cubit and the Bronco faithful have high hopes for the 2008 campaign.
WMU's 2008 Strengths:
Two years ago the defense was dominating and aggressive. Last year they were good, but lacked some punch. New defensive coordinator Steve Morrison will change that. And he certainly has the weapons to turn this into the most fearsome defense in the Mid-American Conference. The unit is extremely, almost ridiculously, senior heavy. That is good news for now. Ends Greg Marshall and Zach Davidson will cause a panic in the opposing backfield and linebacker Boston McCornell will provide leadership on the field and tally a whole lot of tackles while he is at it. However, it is the secondary that has the most talent. Corner Londen Fryar, the son of former NFL great Irving, will be playing on Sundays and safety Louis Delmas will be clamoring for all-conference honors.
WMU's 2008 Weaknesses:
Even if the defense gets more aggressive, the offense has some questions to answer. Tim Hiller is a decent quarterback who threw for over 3,000 yards as a sophomore in the Broncos pass happy offense. The only problem was the 15 interceptions, many of them at the worst possible times. Hiller is not mobile and having to replace three starters on the offensive line might give Hiller less time and that could lead to him making worse decisions. Yet, there are some part-time starters who should be ready to step into full-time duties on the offensive line. The ground game ranked ninth in the conference and might struggle while the new line adjusts. Brandon West and Glenis Thompson are both solid backs and West tallied 848 yards and four touchdowns last season. Thompson has potential after spending most of his career down the depth chart.
The Bottom Line for the Broncos:
What the Bronco offense does have is one of the best receivers in the conference. Jamarko Simmons caught 84 passes for 980 yards last season and has high expectations for his senior campaign. With fellow receivers Schneider Julien and Jordan White ready to step into bigger roles, the passing game will be extremely effective once again. Add tight end Branden Ledbetter into the mix and Hiller has his big red zone target.
2007 Team Stats for WMU:
Rushing Offense: 130.42 (86th in nation, 9th in conference)
Passing Offense: 267.58 (31, 3)
Total Offense: 398.00 (57, 5)
Scoring Offense: 26.92 (65, 6)
Rushing Defense: 179.08 (83, 6)
Pass Defense: 220.17 (46, 4)
Total Defense: 399.25 (68, 4)
Scoring Defense: 28.92 (73, 5)
Turnover Margin: -.42 (88, 11)
Sacks: 2.33 (38, 2)Sacks Allowed: 2.33 (79, 10)
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