College Football Preview: The 2014 Cincinnati Bearcats
Cincinnati has the talent to rule the roost in the AAC.
2014 College Football Preview
The Cincinnati Bearcats look for a strong season in Tommy Tuberville's second year at the helm.
Overview: Expectations are high for Cincinnati with plenty of talent to go around but they need a steady signal caller which they might have. If the Bearcats come to play every Saturday the AAC championship is right there for the taking.
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Offense: Things became a big concern in 2013 when starting QB Munchie Legaux was hurt in the second game against Illinois and finished for the year. Senior Brendon Kay stepped in and was magnificent with almost 3,300 passing yards. Fast forward to 2014 and Legaux is in the mix if 100% healthy but former five star recruit and Notre Dame transfer Gunner Kiel might be the man IF he is close to being as good as it says on paper because he has yet to play a down in a real game. Cincy loses 900+ receiver Anthony McClung but Shaq Washington (77-791) and Chris Moore (45-645) can carry the load with ample talent behind them. The rushing attack will be a three man combo of RD Abernathy IV, Hosey Williams and Tion Green who combined for nearly 1,600 yards and will run behind a line that gets three starters back including All AAC LT Eric Lefeld.
Defense: The defensive line needs tackles with the top four gone and that will ultimately decide how strong this group is in stopping the run. The three top defensive ends return including Silverberry Mouhon and Brad Harrah who combined for 22.5 TFL and 13.5 sacks. Four of the top five linebackers return with Nick Temple leading the way with 13.5 TFL and 5.5 sacks. The secondary gets back five of the top seven that played in all 13 games so experience wise the defense has plenty back mut did lose a few major contributors.
Special Teams: Punter John Lloyd averaged just under 43 yards per boot while Tony Miliano was a disappointing 8-23 on FG. Abernathy IV and Rod Moore will share kick return duties with Washington averaging over eight yards on ten punt returns. Coverage teams were absolutely awful (see belk Bowl performance).
Outlook: If Gunner Kiel is the real deal the Cincinnati offense will be just fine. The defense is missing some production which is always a concern but if this team plays to their potential I believe they win the AAC.