#75 Western Michigan Football 2012 Preview

Western Michigan Broncos

2012 Overall Rank: #75
#3 Mid-American Conference
Western Michigan College Football 2012 Team Preview
Western Michigan Team Page


Western Michigan made it to another bowl in 2011, their third since 2006, but once again came out on the losing end. This time it was against Purdue at the Little Caesars Bowl. The Broncos did come close to knocking off their Big Ten foe, but in the end a loss is a loss. Yet, things could be different this time around. The Broncos are eyeing a trip to Detroit for the MAC Championship game, but Toledo and Northern Illinois are standing in their way.

2011 Record: (7-6, 5-3)
2011 Bowl: Little Caesars Bowl vs. Purdue (L 32-37)
Coach: Bill Cubit (47-39 at Western Michigan, 47-39 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Ryan Cubit
Defensive Coordinator: Rich Nagy

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Tevin Drake, RB, 586 yards
Passing: Alex Carder, QB, 3,873 yards
Receiving: Eric Monette, WR, 306 yards
Tackles: Johnnie Simon, LB, 114
Sacks: Freddie Bishop, DE, 5.5
Interceptions: Rontavious Atkins, S, 2; Demetrius Pettway, S, 2; Johnnie Simon, LB, 2

Other Key Returnees: DT Travonte Boles, OT Terry Davisson, RB Brian Fields, C Kevin Galeher, OT Dann O’Neill, CB Lewis Toller

Key Losses: WR Robert Arnheim, DT Drew Nowak, WR Chleb Ravenell, WR Jordan White, S Doug Wiggins, CB Aaron Winchester, LB Mitch Zajac

Not many teams could stop the Broncos air attack in 2011. Quarterback Alex Carder threw for 3,873 yards, 31 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Carder is an experienced 6-2 senior who should put up huge numbers this year. The ground attack was pretty bad, but Tevin Drake and Brian Fields are both capable backs. The threat of a run is more important to this team right now then actually gaining a ton of yards on the ground. However, that could change if a new group of wide receivers are not ready to step up their game. Gone is Jordan White who caught 140 passes for 1,911 yards and 17 touchdowns. Chleb Ravenell and Robert Arnheim had great careers at WMU too and both caught over 60 passes in 2011. In 2012, the torch will be passed to senior Eric Monette, who was fourth on the team with 29 receptions for 306 yards. Watch out for redshirt freshman Kendrick Roberts and junior Josh Schaffer, who had one big game against Toledo. The wide receivers are much, much more inexperienced than the group Carder had to work with last season, but Coach Bill Cubit has some fine receivers coming in and probably a few surprises who have been stuck down the depth chart during the last couple of seasons.

There were a whole slew of MAC teams that had very potent offenses in 2011, but even by MAC standards the Broncos defense was bad. This is a team that scored 63 points against Toledo and still lost. While Western Michigan ranked 12th in the conference in total defense, they were 6th in the conference in scoring defense. They bent, a lot, but did not break. The return of rover Johnnie Simon gives this team some hope for improvement. As a sophomore last season the hybrid safety/linebacker led the Broncos with 114 tackles. Devon Brant will have to carry a larger load as the middle linebacker, but he has plenty of experience and should be up for the job. Corner and former running back Aaron Winchester will be missed, but the secondary does return a couple of talented juniors in cornerback Lewis Toler and strong safety Demetrius Pettway. The defensive line lost Drew Nowak, who was third on the team in tackles with 91 and led the squad with 8.5 sacks. Yet, the rush defense was pretty much non-existent in 2011 and this group is more experienced so it cannot be any worse.

The Bottom Line:
There are certainly questions to be answered at wide receiver and across most of the defense, but Western Michigan can win shootouts. The schedule makers were also very kind to the Broncos. Northern Illinois and Toledo have to come to Waldo Stadium and WMU avoids the top teams in the MAC East, facing Kent State, Buffalo and new FBS member Massachusetts. A trip to Kent State may not be easy, but it could be much, much worse. That schedule should get Western Michigan back to a bowl game, but then the question becomes whether or not this group can pull off a bowl victory.

Projected Bowl: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

2011 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 121.15 (94th in nation, 9th in conference)
Passing Offense: 337.31 (8, 1)
Total Offense: 458.46 (19, 3)
Scoring Offense: 35.31 (18, 3)
Rushing Defense: 219.69 (109, 12)
Pass Defense: 215.00 (47, 8)
Total Defense: 434.69 (99, 12)
Scoring Defense: 28.69 (76, 6)
Turnover Margin: -.23 (80, 8)
Sacks: 2.15 (44, 3)
Sacks Allowed: 1.77 (54, 8)