College Football Preview: The 2015 Central Michigan Chippewas
Central Michigan Chippewas Preview
2014 Record: 7-6
The Central Michigan Chippewas head in to 2015 with a new head coach and high expectations for another Bowl appearance.
Overview: The Central Michigan Chippewas saw head coach Dan Enos leave to become the offensive coordinator of Arkansas. Long time NFL special teams coordinator John Bonamego was immediately brought in and was with the team in 1987. Bonamego inherits a team that lost some pieces but did have a solid recruiting class so we shall see if that translates to immediate success or not.
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Offense: Cooper Rush showed tremendous ability under center not only for what he did do but what he didn’t. Rush threw for 3,157 yards and 27 scores but cut back on mistakes with 13 interceptions and many of the negative plays we saw in his first year. The Chippewas lose top receiver Titus Davis so Jesse Kroll takes over as the top option and will need to improve upon his 36 catches. Anthony Rice and TE Ben McCord are going to see more balls with the hope that a few players step up to provide some much needed depth. Thomas Rawls took over 1,100 yards to graduation but Devon Spalding Saylor Lavallii and Maurice Shoemaker-Gilmore should provide plenty of explosiveness. The line does get three starters back including ALL-MAC center Nick Beamish but lose ALL-MAC LG Andy Phillips.
Defense: The Chips were solid against the run a season ago and with eight of their top nine lineman returning the run defense should once again be a strength. Defensive ends Joe Ostman and Blake Serpa combined over 80 tackles, 22 TFL and seven sacks with Ostman recovering three fumbles. The defense did take a hit at linebacker where Tim Hamilton is the only experienced player as CMU did not go deep on the bench at this position. As strong as the run ‘D’ was the pass defense at the opposite end of the spectrum. Three of the top four in the secondary return with safety Tony Annese recording 61.5 T with three picks and ten passes broken up but this unit was generally thrown on and a lack of pressure from the guys up front didn’t help.
Special Teams: Ron Coluzzi averaged 37.6 yards on 52 punts and Brian Eavey was 8-9 on field goals but this a small sample size with no other team attempting fewer. Amari Coleman averaged 22 yards on kick returns and less then two yards bringing back punts so these are both areas that need improving.
Outlook: The Chippewas lost production from last season but the reserves produced when called on so there shouldn’t be a huge drop off but Bonamego has no head coaching experience and we’ll soon see if he has it in him or he doesn’t. For now I’ll say Central Michigan is in the middle of the pack.