- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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The MAC has traditionally turned out pretty good quarterbacks, but now there are many new faces set to start at the all-important spot. The two biggest names who are gone: Dan LeFevour of Central Michigan and Tim Hiller of Western Michigan.
Don’t know what to expect from their replacements? Here is a quick primer:
Central Michigan. Ryan Radcliff replaces LeFevour, the MAC’s all-time leader in passing yards (12,905) and TD passes (102). The sophomore has a totally different style from LeFevour, who could run nearly as well as he could pass. Radcliff is more of a classic drop-back passer with a strong arm.
“He’s got good feet, great arm strength, great touch, very smart,” coach Dan Enos said. “I wouldn’t say he’s going to impress anybody running the ball down the field, but he can create with his legs and move the chains if need be.”
On replacing someone as successful as LeFevour, Enos said: “We’ve discussed that with Ryan since we’ve arrived. We said don’t be him, don’t try to be him. [Radcliff’s] a good enough player and has enough skills that we think he can be a very good player here. We’ve tried to explain to him he doesn’t have to win the game on his own.”
Western Michigan. Sophomore Alex Carder takes over for Hiller, who left as the school’s career passing and total offense leader. Carder also is a different quarterback, especially in his demeanor.
“He’s an excitable guy -- he wears it all on his sleeve,” coach Bill Cubit said. “We have to hope he is an even-keel guy.”
On how he is different from Hiller, Cubit said: “Tim is more of a drop-back guy, very cerebral. You never knew if he was upset or thrilled to death. Alex, his emotions are a little bit different. He’s more outgoing in terms of talking on the field. That’s a little bit different for the kids. He’s inexperienced, but at this stage in his career and Tim’s stage, they’re very comparable in terms of production.”
Four other teams have new starters at quarterback, too.
Buffalo. Jerry Davis replaces Zach Maynard in the new spread offense coach Jeff Quinn has installed.
“[Jerry’s] played games, he’s been in the fights and I think it’s really important that we keep that theme that guys that earn the spot should be rewarded for that position,” Quinn said. “He’s really picked up the offense and been able to make the plays in practice.”
Bowling Green. Redshirt freshman Matt Schilz takes over for Tyler Sheehan, a three-year starter. “It’s a little bit easier when guys around you have played,” said coach Dave Clausen, whose running back and receivers are all seniors. “I’m hopeful that transition will help us.”
Toledo. Austin Dantin officially replaces Aaron Opelt, although Dantin played as a true freshman last season when Opelt got hurt. “He’s a leader, done a great job for us and we look forward to seeing what he does with our offense,” coach Tim Beckman says.
Ohio. Boo Jackson has started for the Bobcats, but he goes into the season sharing the job with Phil Bates, a transfer from Iowa State. Coach Frank Solich said: “Phil’s by far the best rusher we’ve got. Boo, when he’s scrambling, has a unique way of finding guys in the open field. They bring something a little different to the table, so it probably makes sense for us not to announce that to allow preparation for a specific type of quarterback.”