I brought you the first part of the spring football previews two days ago (go to THIS link for part one). We essentially were able to view (with a few exceptions) how the bad teams of the conference are trying to get better. And now as we journey to the back of the alphabet, we are able to show you the real stallions of the Mid-American Conference...if you give me a minute.
Kent State 2011: 5-7 (4-4 MAC) Head Coach: Darrel Hazell Latest Spring Football Link: Quarterback practice (Video) Spring Game Date: April 21
In his second year as head coach of the Golden Flashes, Darrell Hazell quietly has his program to the point where it will be realistically competing for its best season in program history. Kent State has not had a .500 season in years, and Hazell missed it by just several points in his first season. The link that is posted is about quarterbacks, but there is without doubt (at least to me) that Spencer Keith is the man for the job. Hazell will just continue to do his thing this off season, and will likely to see continued success because of it.
UMASS 2011: 5-6 (in FCS) Head Coach: Charlie Molnar Latest Spring Football Link: Their Splash page is pretty cool Spring Game Date: April 28
A new coach, a new conference and a opportunity for the University of Massachusetts has fans and alums excited for the future of Minutemen football. Head coach Charlie Molnar comes from the Mid-American Conference (Central Michigan) and knows what the conference is about. UMASS will likely not be a Mid-American (or any) force for sometime, but don't tell them that. They have UConn, Michigan and Indiana scheduled for next year.
Miami 2011: 4-8 (3-5 MAC) Head Coach: Don Treadwell Latest Spring Football Link: The Countdown Begins Spring Game Date: April 28
I actually got a chance to speak with Coach Treadwell (come to think about it I spoke with Coach Hazell of Kent also) last year during their stretch of 'winlessness' towards the middle of their season. I asked him about it, and he told me that if the Miami football program continued to do the right things that everything else will fall into place. He wan't lying. Miami finished the season strongly and sets up well for Treadwell's second year. An earlier start next year would be huge for the program. This spring Treadwell will be preaching the same thing--do things right and good things will happen.
Northern Illinois 2011: 11-3 (7-1 MAC Champions) Head Coach: Dave Doeren Latest Spring Football Link: Interview with Doeren Spring Game Date: April 21
The defending champions are back at it now, and are gearing up for their spring game that will take place on April 21st. Head coach Dave Doeren is so far 1-for-1 in his career at NIU, as he won the MAC Championship in comeback, incredible fashion. Now however, they will have to regroup. as the article says (it's a great piece) NIU will return many starters on defense, but not so much on offense. And remember, NIU and Toledo scored a million points last year. It will be interesting to see how Doeren handles his situation and how the Huskies respond.
OHIO 2011: 10-4 (6-2 MAC East Champs) Head Coach: Frank Solich Latest Spring Football Link: Spring practice 2 (Video) Spring Game Date: April 21
Come to think about it, I spoke with Frank Solich also...anyway, Solich has a good squad returning for another run at the MAC Championship game. Quarterback Tyler Tettleton returns for his second year, and will need to be a leader. In the video, Offensive Coordinator Tim Albin has already said that he feels that he has a 'talented' group ready for the season. He also mentioned that players have had a great off season. Hopefully, OHIO will do their 'hard knocks' series again this year too.
After head coach Tim Beckman realized that he would never win a MAC championship, he decided to scurry away to Illinois. Left for Toledo however is a pretty good football team headed by Matt Campbell. Campbell was apart of the Toledo staff last year, and will seek to figure out a way to get Toledo that championship that has been eluding them for some time. This spring Campbell has elected to start sooner rather than later, and will hold the spring game earlier than any other team in the Mid-American Conference.
Western Michigan 2011: 7-6 (5-3 MAC) Head Coach: Bill Cubit Latest Spring Football Link: Western Michigan First Scrimmage Spring Game Date: April 14
Western Michigan seemingly always has a good football team. And this year should be no different as Cubit will enter is seventh year as head coach of the Broncos. Cubit will try to do the 'same-ol-same-ol' as he attempts to continue to push his team to compete for a MAC Title. There is a nice photo gallery that is wroth checking out if you have the time in the posted link.
Don't forget, that the Mid-American Conference is coming off one of its best seasons. Good spring practices are essential for a program to continue its growth. Though you can not put all of your attention to them, it is important to pay attention. Also note, there is not one coach who is upset at where they are at in late March/ early April. Everyone is a winner today!
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