NCF Nation: Non-AQ spring team wraps 2011

Boise State spring wrap

May, 10, 2011
5/10/11
12:00
PM ET
2010 overall record: 12-1

2010 conference record: 7-1 WAC (co-champs)

Returning starters

Offense: 7, defense 7 , punter/kicker 0

Top returners

QB Kellen Moore, RB Doug Martin, OT Nate Potter, S George Iloka

Key losses

WR Austin Pettis, WR Titus Young, S Winston Venable, S Jeron Johnson

2010 statistical leaders (* denotes returners)

Rushing: Martin* (1,260 yards, 12 TDs)

Passing: Moore* (273-of-383 for 3,845 yards, 35 TDs, 6 INTs)

Receiving: Young (1,215 yards, 9 TDs)

Tackles: Johnson (82)

Sacks: Shea McClellin* (9.5)

Interceptions: Brandyn Thompson (3)

Spring Answers

1. Geraldo Hiwat emerges. The biggest question going into the spring was who would fill the big gap created with the departure of Austin Pettis and Titus Young. After the spring, the name on everyone’s mind is Hiwat, who turned heads. He needs to continue to develop and has the potential to follow in line.

2. Tyrone Crawford is a handful. Crawford played well behind Ryan Winterswyk last season, recording seven sacks. Now he takes over at defensive end full time, and he had a great spring, leading coaches to believe that position is in good hands.

3. Smooth transition to Pease. When offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin went to Texas, Boise State went and hired back receivers coach Brent Pease, who had left for a coordinator job at Indiana. Because Pease is so familiar with the Boise State offense, the transition in coordinators was smooth during camp. There will be a few new wrinkles, but nothing overly dramatic.

Fall Questions

1. Receivers. Hiwat may have stepped up this spring, but playing in games as a featured receiver is another matter entirely. Tyler Shoemaker, Kirby Moore and Hiwat do have experience, but what is it going to be like when they are going to be relied upon full time?

2. Safeties. Boise State loses so much without Johnson and Winston Venable, and coach Chris Petersen knows it. The starters here are not solidified yet, partly because of injuries during the spring that took out some top competitors. Hunter White and Dextrell Simmons are the top competitors for Venable’s spot while Jeremy Ioane, Cedric Febis and Travis Stanaway are competing for Johnson’s spot.

3. Mountain West. How will the Broncos fare in their first season in the Mountain West? Many are picking them to win the league, but remember Boise State is going to be facing a slew of teams it has never seen before. That unfamiliarity could be a problem in some of the tougher matchups against Air Force and San Diego State.

BYU spring wrap

May, 10, 2011
5/10/11
11:30
AM ET
2010 overall record: 7-6

2010 conference record: 5-3 MWC

Returning starters

Offense: 10, defense 8, punter/kicker 1

Top returners

QB Jake Heaps, WR Cody Hoffman, OT Matt Reynolds, LB Brandon Ogletree

Key losses

S Andrew Rich, LB Shane Hunter, LB Jadon Wagner, K Mitch Payne

2010 statistical leaders (* denotes returners)

Rushing: JJ DiLuigi* (917 yards, 8 TDs)

Passing: Heaps* (219-of-383 for 2,316 yards, 15 TDs, 9 INTs)

Receiving: Hoffman* (527 yards, 7 TDs)

Tackles: Rich (110)

Sacks: Vic So’oto* (five)

Interceptions: Rich (five)

Spring Answers

1. Heaps the man. There was no question or hesitation this spring. Even with a healthy Riley Nelson back, Heaps is the unquestioned starter at quarterback. That helped immensely not only with his development, but with his ability to lead the team.

2. Daniel Sorensen emerges. The big question on defense is who would step up to replace Andrew Rich, the team’s leading tackler, leader in interceptions and emotional leader as well. Sorensen returned from his mission and had a great spring, leaving coaches confident he has what it takes to step right in at safety.

3. Camaraderie. The Cougars struggled at the beginning of last season, but ended the year with wins in five of their final six games. Coach Bronco Mendenhall said his team picked up where it left last season off, and had a camaraderie, spirit and energy that led to the best spring in his tenure.

Fall Questions

1. Starter at right guard. That is the only position that isn’t solidified on offense going into fall camp. Among the contenders: Walter Kahaialii, Houston Reynolds and Marco Thorson. Offensive coordinator Brandon Doman didn’t rule out the possibility of playing true freshman Ryker Mathews at the position.

2. Independence. How is BYU going to do in its first season as an independent? The Cougars only have one championship to play for -- a national championship. Even then, they would have to go undefeated and hope for some help to get into that. With a tough schedule, how will the team stay motivated throughout the season for a berth into the Armed Forces Bowl?

3. High-flying offense? Everything is in place for the Cougars to return to their productive ways on offense. Doman says BYU may resemble the days of the 1980s and 1990s. Heaps has another year of experience, depth at receiver and running back and a solid offensive line. But will it all come together?

Hawaii spring wrap

May, 10, 2011
5/10/11
11:00
AM ET
2010 overall record: 10-4

2010 conference record: 7-1 WAC (co-champs)

Returning starters

Offense 3, defense 6, punter/kicker 1

Top returners

QB Bryant Moniz, LB Corey Paredes, WR Royce Pollard

Key losses

WR Greg Salas, WR Kealoha Pilares, FS Mana Silva, RB Alex Green

2010 statistical leaders (* denotes returners)

Rushing: Green (1,199 yards, 18 TDs)

Passing: Moniz* (361-of-555 for 5,040 yards, 39 TDs, 15 INTs)

Receiving: Salas (1,889 yards, 14 TDs)

Tackles: Paredes* (151)

Sacks: Aaron Brown*, Paipai Falemalu* (five each)

Interceptions: Silva (eight)

Spring Answers

1. Talent at receiver. There are plenty of candidates to help fill the big shoes of Pilares and Salas. Jeremiah Ostrowski and Billy Ray Stutzmann appear to be the front-runners to replace them with Corey Paclebar, Justin Clapp and Donnie King Jr. in the mix as well. Allen Sampson could be a playmaker at wideout, too.

2. Hadden at kicker. Redshirt freshman Tyler Hadden emerged as the front-runner to replace Scott Enos at kicker. He is going to have to step up immediately -- Enos set the single-season school record for points by a kicker with 122 and made all 105 of his extra-point attempts.

3. New hybrid end/linebacker. Many teams have gone with this hybrid position. Hawaii is calling it “elephant” and has someone in mind to play it on specific downs. Linebacker Art Laurel had a great spring, and appears to be the perfect fit at the hybrid spot. He had three sacks in the spring game.

Fall Questions

1. Revamped offensive line. The Warriors lost four starters on the offensive line, including three who started every game last season and one who had 21 career starts. It’s going to be important for that line to come together quickly to give Moniz time to throw.

2. Another 1,000 yard rusher? Hawaii is known for its passing offense, but Green surpassed 1,000 yards rushing in 2011 and notched the highest total in school history. Redshirt freshmen Joey Iosefa and John Lister are the only returning running backs on scholarship, so this could be an area where a true freshman could contribute.

3. Another 5,000-yard season for Moniz? Hawaii has some talented receivers who can step up for Pilares and Salas, but will that translate into another 5,000-yard season for Moniz? Fans have to hope the Moniz of the regular season, and not the one in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, is who they get for 2011.

Navy spring wrap

May, 10, 2011
5/10/11
10:30
AM ET
2010 overall record: 9-4

Returning starters

Offense: 8, defense 3, punter/kicker 0

Top returners

FB Alexander Teich, DE Jabaree Tuani, SB Gee Gee Greene

Key losses

QB Ricky Dobbs, S Wyatt Middleton, CB Kevin Edwards

2010 statistical leaders (* denotes returners)

Rushing: Dobbs (967 yards, 14 TDs)

Passing: Dobbs (82-of-150 for 1,527, 13 TDs, 6 INT)

Receiving: Greg Jones (662 yards, 5 TDs)

Tackles: Tyler Simmons (131)

Sacks: Billy Yarborough (6)

Interceptions: Simmons, Max Blue*, Kevin Edwards, De’Von Richardson, Kwesi Mitchell*, Tra’ves Bush*, Emmett Merchant (one each)

Spring Answers

1. Kriss Proctor at quarterback. There was never any doubt that Proctor would succeed Dobbs, but nonetheless coach Ken Niumatalolo wanted to see a good spring out of him and he most certainly got one. Proctor no doubt already has the respect of his teammates, and that is important going into fall practice.

2. Depth in the backfield. Navy is deeper than it has ever been in the offensive backfield under Niumatalolo. Eight deep in fact. Greene and Teich return, along with Aaron Santiago, Bo Snelson and John Howell, giving the Midshipmen plenty of options.

3. Bush steps up. No question Bush has some big shoes to fill in replacing Middleton, the best player on the defense and a team leader. Middleton started all four seasons so Navy loses all his experience. But Bush had a good spring and is penciled in to start.

Fall Questions

1. Linebacker. Navy is going to have new starters on the outside after the graduation of Jerry Hauburger and the abrupt departure of Aaron McCauley. Jarred Shannon and Mason Graham top the depth chart, but there will be more competition in the fall when Brye French (lacrosse) and Craig Veech (baseball) return to football.

2. Youth in the secondary. Cornerback Kwesi Mitchell is the only returning starter in the secondary. Navy took a big hit in leadership and experience after losing Middleton and Edwards. Jordan Fraser is tops on the depth chart at the other safety spot, while David Sperry and Jonathan Wev are competing for the cornerback job opposite Mitchell.

3. Leadership. The departed senior class won 35 games, tied for the second most in school history. Players like Dobbs, Middleton, Edwards and Jeff Battipaglia started many games in their Navy careers. Niumatalolo said this spring was spent emphasizing the Navy culture to the young players whose job it will be to step up and lead.

Nevada spring wrap

May, 10, 2011
5/10/11
10:00
AM ET
2010 overall record: 13-1

2010 conference record: 7-1 WAC (co-champs)

Returning starters

Offense 6, defense 7, punter/kicker 1

Top returners

WR Rishard Matthews, LB James-Michael Johnson, LB Brandon Marshall, S Duke Williams

Key losses

QB Colin Kaepernick, RB Vai Taua, DE Dontay Moch, TE Virgil Green

2010 statistical leaders (* denotes returners)

Rushing: Taua (1,610 yards, 19 TDs)

Passing: Kaepernick (233-of-359 for 3,022 yards, 21 TDs, 8 INT)

Receiving: Matthews* (875 yards, 5 TDs)

Tackles: Johnson* (88)

Sacks: Moch (8.5)

Interceptions: Williams*, Marshall*, Marlon Johnson*, Doyle Miller, Khalid Wooten* (two each)

Spring Answers

1. Lantrip at quarterback. Though coach Chris Ault didn’t anoint Tyler Lantrip the starting quarterback, he said the senior was the player to beat going into fall practice. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering he has spent his entire career backing up Kaepernick.

2. Starting defense is strong. Ault brought Andy Buh in last season to revamp his defense. Now that unit appears to be the strength of the team going into the fall with seven returning starters, including leading tackler Johnson, Williams and Marshall. Let’s not forget tackle Brett Roy, who had eight sacks last season.

3. Matthews looks good. Matthews had a breakout 2010 and, after what he did in the spring, he should be even better in 2011. He provides the perfect go-to player for Lantrip, who is a better passer than he is a runner. Much will be expected of Matthews this season.

Fall Questions

1. Running back rotation. Not much was decided this spring on who would step in for Taua, but there are plenty of candidates: Stefphon Jefferson, Mike Ball, Nike Hale and Lampford Mark (who was out for the spring while recovering from a torn ACL).

2. Defensive end. The Wolf Pack lost two of their best players on the defense in Moch and Ryan Coulson and have not settled on new starters. They took a big hit when Kaelin Burnett broke his pelvis in the spring and was lost for 2011. He was Moch's heir.

3. Leadership. One of the big reasons why Nevada had the best season in school history is because of the leadership from Kaepernick, Taua, Moch, John Bender and the rest of the senior class. The Wolf Pack are going to need players to step up and be leaders in the same way as the guys who just left.
2010 overall record: 11-3

2010 conference record: 8-0 (West champs, lost in MAC title game)

Returning starters

Offense: 9, defense: 4, punter/kicker: 1

Top returners

QB Chandler Harnish, DE Sean Progar, DB Tommy Davis

Key losses

RB Chad Spann, DE Jake Coffman, LB Alex Kube

2010 statistical leaders (* denotes returners)

Rushing: Spann (1,388 yards, 22 TDs)

Passing: Harnish*(189-of-292 for 2,530 yards, 21 TDs, 5 INT)

Receiving: Willie Clark* (602 yards, 7 TDs)

Tackles: Kube (81)

Sacks: Coffman (9.5)

Interceptions: T. Clark* (four)

Spring Answers

1. Depth at receiver: Four of the team’s five leading receivers return, giving Harnish plenty of options. Perez Ashford had a nice spring, catching six passes for 70 yards in the spring game. Martel Moore caught the long pass of the game, a 57-yarder from Harnish. Da'Ron Brown and even converted quarterback DeMarcus Grady add plenty more.

2. Jasmin Hopkins atop the running back depth chart: The Huskies have some big shoes to fill with the departure of Spann, the MAC player of the year. There are plenty of candidates between Hopkins, Jamal Womble, Akeem Daniels and Leighton Settle, but Hopkins was the most consistent in the spring.

3. Harnish looks good: The Huskies didn’t implement their entire offense in the spring, but Huskies fans shouldn’t worry even if there is more of a no-huddle look under new coach Dave Doeren. Harnish picked up where he left off last season and had the spring everyone expected. He goes into the fall as the top choice for preseason offensive player of the year.

Fall Questions

1. Doeren adjusts: No matter how much talent returns to the team, how it will play under a new coach and coaching staff will be a question mark until the season begins. Doeren has never been a head coach before, so there could be some bumps along the way.

2. Running back rotation: The Huskies have always been a team that relied on their running game. There is plenty of depth without Spann, but there are still questions about how Doeren is going to balance that depth. Will there be one player consistent enough to take the majority of the carries or will the Huskies be employing a running back by committee?

3. Defensive line, middle linebacker still undecided: With Devon Butler sidelined for the season, expect tough competition for the starting job between Mike Hellams, Cameron Stingley and Victor Jacques. The Huskies also have to replace their sack leader and emotional leader in Jake Coffman. Joe Windsor, Alan Baxter and Stephen O'Neal are in the mix.

TCU spring wrap

May, 10, 2011
5/10/11
9:00
AM ET
2010 overall record: 13-0

2010 conference record: 8-0, champions

Returning starters

Offense: 5, defense 6, punter/kicker 2

Top returners

LB Tank Carder, WR Josh Boyce, RB Ed Wesley, LB Tanner Brock

Key losses

QB Andy Dalton, WR/PR Jeremy Kerley, S Tejay Johnson, DE Wayne Daniels

2010 statistical leaders (* denotes returners)

Rushing: Wesley* (1,078 yards, 11 TDs)

Passing: Dalton (209-of-316 for 2,857, 27 TDs, 6 INTs)

Receiving: Kerley (575 yards, 10 TDs)

Tackles: Brock* (106)

Sacks: Daniels (6.5)

Interceptions: Johnson (three)

Spring Answers

1. The defensive line looks strong. But then again, when does it not look strong? Coach Gary Patterson always does a tremendous job with his defense and 2011 is shaping up to be no exception. Patterson said coming out of spring that this unit has a chance to be even better than last season, despite losing Daniels. Braylon Broughton had a great spring, and so did Stansly Maponga.

2. Safeties looking good. TCU loses three of its five starters in the secondary, including safety Tejay Johnson. But Patterson was encouraged this spring by Johnny Fobbs and Sam Carter, who both had excellent springs. Fobbs, a senior who has waited for his opportunity, is penciled in at Johnson’s spot. Carter is a converted quarterback who made plays throughout practice and is listed as the backup behind Trenton Thomas.

3. Casey Pachall the man. Pachall and Matt Brown split the reps during the spring, and as expected, Pachall is the man to start at quarterback for TCU going forward. He simply has more experience than Brown, a redshirt freshman, and more knowledge of the offense.

Fall Questions

1. How many freshmen will contribute at receiver? This is the one area that TCU will rely on newcomers or help. Brandon Carter and LaDarius Brown are the two players who are mentioned the most, but there will also be opportunities for David Bush, David Porter and Cameron White.

2. Leadership. This is one area that Patterson wants to see develop in the offseason. The Horned Frogs lost 26 seniors and team leaders Andy Dalton and Johnson. It is imperative for players to step up and fill that void they have left. Tank Carder is an obvious choice to do just that.

3. Can Pachall step up right away? Pachall has been through three spring practices already and gotten some valuable playing time behind Dalton. But there is no way of knowing whether he has what it takes to be a winning starting quarterback until the season begins and he gets thrown into the fire.

Troy spring wrap

May, 10, 2011
5/10/11
8:30
AM ET
2010 overall record: 8-5

2010 conference record: 6-2, co-champs

Returning starters

Offense: 4, defense 8, punter/kicker 2

Top returners

QB Corey Robinson, DE Jonathan Massaquoi, LB Xavier Lamb, S LaDarrius Madden

Key losses

WR Jerrel Jernigan, WR TeBiarus Gill, RB DuJuan Harris, DE Mario Addison

2010 statistical leaders (* denotes returners)

Rushing: Shawn Southward (643 yards, 7 TDs)

Passing: Robinson * (321-of-505 for 3,726 yards, 28 TDs, 15 INT)

Receiving: Jernigan (822 yards, 6 TDs)

Tackles: Lamb* (91)

Sacks: Massaquoi* (13.5)

Interceptions: Jimmie Anderson*, Madden* (three each)

Spring Answers

1. Corey Johnson did well. The junior college transfer appears to be the heir apparent to Jernigan, one of the best players in school history. Coach Larry Blakeney said of Johnson, “It looks like he could give us a burst down the middle.”

2. Depth in the defensive backfield. Blakeney says he is deeper at safety and cornerback than he has ever been, and really was impressed with the springs Brynden Trawick and Angelo Hadley, two junior college transfers who could have an immediate impact. That should help the Trojans improve their pass defense, which ranked No. 100 nationally.

3. More running. Even though Harris is gone, Blakeney is hopeful about his running back situation with the return of Southward and Chris Anderson. He praised D.J. Taylor as well, a former walk-on now on scholarship. He also mentioned that Gavin Ellis and Jim Teknipp give Troy options at tight end, because both can help with the power running game and can also get down field.

Fall Questions

1. Offensive production. Troy lost its top three receivers in Jernigan, Gill and Jason Bruce. They accounted for over half of the team’s receiving yards. Seeing Johnson step up was a positive. Jamel Johnson had a good spring, and Chip Reeves is going to be counted on as well. No question Troy needs new faces to step up to fill the big void.

2. Replacing Addison. It appears John Robles is in the lead to replace Addison, who started opposite Massaquoi. R.J. Roberts also competed with Robles in the spring, and both will have a lot of work to do to make up for the 10.5 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss that Addison had last season.

3. Better defense. Troy has plenty of returning starters and players returning. Is that a good sign because they have experience, or a bad sign because this is a unit that ranked No. 89 in the nation last season? Blakeney has stressed playing better defense this year. With depth at linebacker and in the secondary, that is possible.

Tulsa spring wrap

May, 10, 2011
5/10/11
8:00
AM ET
2010 overall record: 10-3

2010 conference record: 6-2, second in West

Returning starters

Offense: 10, defense 8, punter/kicker 1

Top returners

QB G.J. Kinne, AP Damaris Johnson, LB Curnelius Arnick, CB Marco Nelson

Key losses

FB Charles Clay, WR Trae Johnson, LB Tanner Antle

2010 statistical leaders (* denotes returners)

Rushing: Kinne* (158 carries for 561 yards, 7 TDs)

Passing: Kinne* (275-of-460 for 3,650 yards, 31 TDs, 10 INTs)

Receiving: D. Johnson* (57 catches, 872 yards, 4 TDs)

Tackles: Arnick* (115)

Sacks: Shawn Jackson* (8.5)

Interceptions: Nelson*, Dexter McCoil* (six each)

Spring nswers

1. Trey Watts could be a go-to running back. The Golden Hurricane have had a hard time getting their running backs going, but Watts showed flashes this spring. Perhaps a running back will end up leading the team in rushing this season.

2. Jordan James emerged. After finishing last season with just one catch in limited action, James caught the eye of new coach Bill Blankenship this spring. James had 65 yards and a touchdown in the spring game and could be a playmaker this season, especially after Jameel Owens left the team.

3. Lowell Rose impressed. The transfer cornerback out of UCLA had a good spring and is near the top of the depth chart to start in place of the departed Charles Davis.

Fall Questions

1. How does the coaching change impact the team? Kinne will be playing for his third offensive coordinator at Tulsa, making you wonder just how many plays he has had to memorize over his career. He had a breakout year in 2010, but with somebody else in charge once again, will he be able to keep up the pace?

2. How will the defense do in the new 4-3? New defensive coordinator Brent Guy switched the defense up this spring and now the Golden Hurricane will feature four starting down linemen. Blankenship thought his front seven dominated the spring scrimmage, so that is a good sign.

3. Can Tulsa survive a tough nonconference schedule? Many believe Tulsa could be poised for a breakout year (myself included), but the nonconference schedule is highly challenging with games against Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Boise State.

UCF spring wrap

May, 10, 2011
5/10/11
7:30
AM ET
2010 overall record: 11-3

2010 conference record: 7-1, conference champs

Returning starters

Offense: 7, defense 4, punter/kicker 2

Top returners

QB Jeff Godfrey, CB Kemal Ishmael, RB Ronnie Weaver

Key losses

DE Bruce Miller, LB Derrick Hallman, OL Jah Reid

2010 statistical leaders (* denotes returners)

Rushing: Weaver (186 carries, 890 yards, 11 TDs)*

Passing: Godfrey (159-of-238 for 2,159 yards, 13 TDs, 8 INTs)*

Receiving: Watters (47 catches, 651 yards, 2 TDs)

Tackles: Ishmael* (93)

Sacks: Miller, Darius Nall (8.5 each)

Interceptions: Reggie Weams (five)

Spring Answers

1. Brynn Harvey is back. Harvey looked like his old self in the spring, returning after a knee injury cost him all of 2010. His addition gives UCF a loaded backfield with Weaver and Latavius Murray also returning, giving the Knights plenty of options.

2. Troy Davis is a player. Davis was impressive in the spring, with five sacks in the spring game, and should help fill the big shoes of the departed Bruce Miller, who left as the school-record holder in sacks. Davis, a rising junior, had 5.5 sacks last season and a big one at the end of the Georgia game, so he has experience. He showed he is more than capable of starting.

3. Godfrey showed improvement. After an outstanding freshman season, Godfrey showed again in the spring why he is the future of the program. He looked poised, and more polished in leading the offense and will only get better as time goes on.

Fall Questions

1. Who will emerge as a playmaker at receiver? O’Leary has often said he wants Quincy McDuffie to take it to the next level so the Knights can utilize his vaunted speed. Well now is his chance with Brian Watters, Kamar Aiken and Jamar Newsome gone. Aside from McDuffie, A.J. Guyton will also be counted on as a key contributor.

2. Which linebacker will step up? Three starters are gone, making this a position that could feature a true freshman in Leilon Willingham making some plays. Two players who did well in the spring were not even at their positions at this time last year. Jonathan Davis is a converted running back and Ray Shipman played basketball at Florida before deciding to give football a try.

3. Leadership. UCF lost a great deal of senior leadership with the graduation of players like Miller, Hallman and Reid, who helped lay the foundation for a Top-25 season and first-ever bowl win. Which players will step up and take on that role in 2011?

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