Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The 2009 Football season


The more I think about it, the more I strongly feel that the 2009 CMU football season comes down to really just two players:
Jake Olson and Rocky Weaver.
When you break down the CMU roster, the Chippewas seem pretty solid in almost every category. The quarterback is at the elite level, as are the wide receivers. You have a large group of young running backs, your linebacking core looks to have more depth and youth, the defensive secondary should be greatly improved, and your defensive line is thin, but has some top talent. Really, the big concern is at offensive line, yet the line will be anchored by two 3-year starters. Colin Miller and Jeff Maddux are reliable and senior Allen Ollenburger has playing experience to go on, but the two tackle positions, which are arguably the most important, are dominated with inexperience.
I hate to put the whole season on two young guys, but I really can't see things any other way. If Dan LeFevour has time to make throws, CMU will be just fine. But, in order for that to happen, Olson and Weaver have to play well.
I think early in the season against teams like Arizona and Michigan State, it could look ugly as the two get a feel for starting at tackle in a college football game. Hopefully by the start of the MAC schedule, they will feel better about the position.
CMU has all the talent in the world, but football is a team game and you are only as strong as your weakest link in the chain. Weaver and Olson are clearly coming into the season as the weak link, but can become the strongest link if they catch on to the position quickly. I know Butch Jones is high on Olson, so hopefully he can live up to that billing.
Let me know what you think. What do you think is the key this upcoming season for CMU or is there a particular player that you think will be the difference maker in 2009?

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7 Comments:

Blogger Kyle said...

Drew, you are absolutly right. One or two players gets hurt on our O-Line and it's goodnight chippewas. Matt Kanitz was the X- factor, the walk-on gem who would give us the depth to survive an injury, but he is hurt as well. I have also heard that Jeff Fantuzzi is a year or two away.

May 27, 2009 at 10:28 AM 
Blogger Eric said...

Kanitz was hurt for most of Spring, but he was healthy and practiced near the end and should be ready to go this fall.

I'm still not completely sold on Weaver starting. Granted he was put in the starting group dueing Spring practice, but I really don't think he'll end up winning the starting RT job. Consider that Ollenburger has seen decent time at RT the past 2 years and could easily step into the starting role if there is someone else that steps up at RG. I don't think it will be Fantuzzi, but rather Keyton (who I've heard good things about), Hayes, or even Kanitz. I just don't think that Weaver will be strong enough or big enough (I doubt he'll put on 25 pounds of good weight in 3 months) to be able to earn a starting role. Give him one more year to bulk up and I think he'll be ready to go.

As far as Weaver goes, I think he'll adjust fairly easy to starting at LT. He looked really good in the Spring game and during Spring Practice in general. He's only around 270 at this point, but putting on 10-15 pounds as opposed to 25-30 in 3 months is realistic. I think he'll end up being a very, very good LT for us.

May 27, 2009 at 10:43 AM 
Blogger Drew Ellis said...

One thing to consider with Ollenburger is that many felt he was going to earn the starting guard spot last year and lost it in the fall to McMahon, so putting him at right tackle may not be a safe bet either when you could have Weaver developing at the position. I don't think they wanted Rocky to move from TE to sit out and not play and I think that will be the reason he plays this fall. CMU does have some depth at guard with Keyton, but Fantuzzi is still considered to be too young and small while the other incoming freshmen can't be expected to step in either.

May 27, 2009 at 11:00 AM 
Blogger Bob said...

Drew, thanks for the thoughts. I spent most of the spring game watching Olson and Weaver, and came away with similar thoughts. Olson appears to be well on his way, while Weaver was still pushed around a little. I do think both will end up being very good players for us, but it sure would be nice to have another year under their belts. The loss of McMahon is a difficult one, but I am excited to see what Keyton, Kanitz, and others are able to do when their time comes this year, and it will at some point.

One thing I would disagree on is the notion that they'll play Rocky just to play him. I would be shocked if they put the season and QB in jeopardy just to prove a point.

May 29, 2009 at 5:55 AM 
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June 3, 2009 at 3:15 AM 
Blogger SpartyMSU said...

Hey Drew,
want to get your take, and possibly other Blogs opinions on teh CMU / MSU football game.
Have already posted my opinion, and I ref. your Blog, and your comments.

Let me know.

June 28, 2009 at 9:20 AM 
Blogger SpartyMSU said...

You can read my Posting at http://Blog.SpartyMSU.com

June 28, 2009 at 9:21 AM 

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