College Football Preview: The 2015 Toledo Rockets
Toledo Rockets Preview
2014 Record: 9-4
The Toledo Rockets look to unseat Northern Illinois and capture the MAC West crown in 2015.
Overview: The Toledo Rockets have been one of the more impressive MAC programs for years but have struggled to win the West Division and have been an afterthought when all is said and done. The Rockets are loaded except for an offensive line lost virtually everyone so can this team finally win the division with the questions up front?
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Offense: The Rockets have two viable options under center but both are recovering from injuries. Phillip Ely threw for 541 yards before a knee injury paved the way for Logan Woodside to take over and completed 62.5% of his throws for 2,263 yards but both are not available for spring workouts. Sophomore Michael Julian could be the man if neither is ready for the start of the season. Whoever is under center will be throwing to Corey Jones or Alonzo Russell who combined for 120 receptions for over 1,600 yards. When Toledo went with the run Kareem Hunt was the main option with over 1,600 yards on 205 totes for an eight yard average and 16TD’s. Terry Swanson and Damion Jones-Moore combined for nearly 1,200 yards so the backfield is loaded. The O-Line lost all five starters including three All MAC performers so this unit will be under the microscope with all the talent around them.
Defense: The defensive line is almost laughably deep with all eleven players that saw action a season ago coming back. Trent Voss, Treyvon Hester and Orion Jones combined 34.5 TFL and 12.5 sacks but nine players saw action in at least ten games so the run defense should be on par with 2014 with a rotation that is deep enough to keep fresh legs on the field at all times. The linebacking unit lost Junior Sylvestre and Ray Bush who were solid run and pass defenders but the Rockets have six players back that saw action in at least ten games for valuable experience. Virtually the entire secondary returns but this unit was much stronger against the run then pass so the thought is experience will bring improvement. Corner Chris Dukes and S DeJuan Rogers recorded over 100 tackles between them to lead this group.
Special Teams: This unit lost dependable PK Jeremiah Detmer so that is the obvious need while P Nick Ellis averaged 36.6 yards on 52 punts. Jon’Vea Johnson and Corey Jones will handle kick returns with Jones doubling as the punt returner after averaging 6.4 yards on 24 returns.
Outlook: The Rockets are simply loaded everywhere except along the offensive line so does that translate in to less running room and less dependable pass protection? It’s inconceivable that the Rockets offense will not take some kind of hit but an adequate performance form this unit could have the team in the West Division hunt and beyond.