College Football Preview: The 2015 Western Michigan Broncos
Western Michigan Broncos Preview
2014 Record: 8-5
The Western Michigan Broncos look to continue the momentum of last season’s surprising success.
Overview: Head coach PJ Fleck enjoyed a monster 2014 season at the helm of Western Michigan as he went from 1-11 to 8-5 and challenged for the MAC West title. The offense and defense complimented each other well although WMU was and will be led by one of the top offenses in the conference/nation.
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Offense: The Broncos were as balanced as any team and were productive at whatever they chose to do. QB Zach Terrell threw for over 3,400 yards with 26 scores and ten picks while completing nearly 68% of his throws. Things shouldn’t change with the top seven targets coming back with Corey Davis totaling 1,408 yards on 78 catches with Daniel Braverman snagging 86 balls for nearly 1,000 yards. When the Broncos wanted to run the ball was usually in the hands of Jarvion Franklin logging 1,551 yards on 307 touches with 24 touchdowns while Terrell picked his spots with nearly 400 yards and a seven yard average on 56 carries. The O-Line returns three starters including All MAC LT Willie Beavers.
Defense: The defensive line has loads of experience with eight players starting in at least eleven games. The bad news is the Broncos are hurting in the size and strength departments with most teams sporting linebackers that are MUCH bigger. DE Jarrell McKinney led the line with 7.5 TFL including 3.5 sacks despite weighing in at less then 220 pounds. The linebacking crew is also experienced with seven of the top eight back but size again is an issue with an average of less then 225 pounds with Grant DePalma led the team with 80 stops with eight TFL. The secondary loses three of the top six with corner Ronald Zamort breaking up 17 passes while SS Rontavious Atkins broke up nine throws and are the foundations to build around.
Special Teams: J Schroeder averaged 42.8 yards on 58 punts while Andrew Haldeman went 14-17 on field goals and 51-56 on PAT’s. Darius Phillips averaged over 26 yards on 30 kick returns with a touchdown while Braverman handled 14 punts for a 1.5 yard average which has to improve.
Outlook: The Broncos have most of their team back and logic dictates that another positive step is in the works for 2015. If so Western Michigan has the ability to capture a conference crown or compete for it at the very least if the defense holds up.