As we get closer to the season, we will begin to take a more indepth look
First up for
Also gone is Doug Free, who was a two-time All-MAC tackle the last two years in addition to being a four-year starter. He was drafted in the fourth round by the Dallas Cowboys.
NIU was 107th in the nation against the pass last year, but were decent against the rush. Jake Christensen got the start against the Huskies and was 19-30 for 256 yards.
They return 6 starters on offense and just four on defense. They have just 12 seniors among their 44 players on their post-spring two deep roster, and they will be without the services of their leading rusher from last year (hip injury, and 4.6 yards per carry).
QB Perry Patterson is gone, and this will be the first year in nearly two
Andrew Robinson will be the QB, and he is the kind of player that Coach
Greg Robinson prefers. He might
need to run for his life, as
As I looked at the Big 12's preseason voting from 24 of their media members, I was surprised to see that Iowa State had just one player on the All Big 12 first team; LB Alvin Bowen.
Bowen was a tackling machine last year, so it's a worthy nod. But missing were 2006 preseason first teamers Bret Meyer and Todd Blythe.
Meyer went from being the preseason 1st team
quarterback last year to not even getting a nod on one of Phil Steele's first
four teams in his magazine! I
know that Bret had a rough year last year, as did most of his Cyclone teammates,
but that is a precipitous drop.
Colt McCoy is back at
Todd Blythe didn't make Phil Steele's Top Eight receivers in the league. Meyer didn't find Blythe enough last year, a point of contention amongst Cyclone Nation. Blythe didn't do himself any favors, either. He has all the ability in the world, but he might have needed an attitude adjustment. The double heaping of humble pie he has had to eat this offseason might be the trick.
For whatever reason, ISU went away from their first half spread attack
If their offensive line is decent by the time
Even though they return a bunch of starters, the losses of QB Ryan Cubit, guard Dominic Mora, LB Ameer Ismail and kicker Nate Meyer are huge losses, according to those that follow WMU football.
At QB, 2005 MAC Rookie of the Year Tim Hiller will be in the mix, as he missed last season due to injury.
They were 6th in the nation against the run last year (76.08 yards allowed per game) and they were first in total defense in the conference, and 11th in the nation in that category.
When you put Northern Illinois,
When I tell you that this is one of the four or five strongest out of conference schedules being played by any Big Ten team, it tells you the league is loading up on the cupcakes this year.