Finally, after months of waiting FOOTBALL IS BACK!!! Well not quite but this week Ball State will open preseason practices. After last season’s 6-6 finish expectations are sky high for Pete Lembo and the Cardinals. Here are just a few things we’re looking at when camp opens on Aug. 1
Progression of Kieth Wenning: One of the biggest reasons for such a big turnaround last season was the progression of Soph. Quarterback Kieth Wenning. If Wenning makes the same kind of jump this season…well we could be looking at one of the most dangerous QB’s in the Mid-American conference. When you look at the whole picture, who’s to say Wenning won’t make an even bigger jump? A veteran very experienced O-Line, a staple of Running Backs to take the pressure off of the passing game, and the 2nd year in a system that seems taylor-made to Wenning’s skill set. All these point to a big year for the Junior QB.
Transfers: To those who watched the spring game one thing became very apparent. Transfers Toney Williams and Jonathan Newsome were far too fast for the MAC. Both Williams and Newsome will be fighting for starting spots as preseason practices open. Add in Brandon Newman (Notre Dame), Jarrett Swaby (Central Florida) and this year’s transfers could be a major factor on this team. Look for Newman, Newsome, and Swaby all to really push for the starting position. Williams should be either No. 1 or 2 back, alternating with Jahwaun Edwards when the season starts.
Impact Freshman: Last year it was guys like Willie Snead, and Jahwaun Edwards. Who will be the next impact freshman of the 2012 class? Too early to tell at this point.
Safety Battle: For the first time since 2008 there will be no Sean “Soul Eater” Baker in the defensive backfield of Ball State. Baker took his talents to Tampa for a shot at the NFL with the Bucaneers, and leaves a huge hole to fill at the safety spot. Also leaving last season were Josh Howard and Kyle Hoke meaning Ball State’s top three safeties last season are gone. Some early favorites to replace Baker, Howard and Hoke have been, Soph.’s Brian Jones and Chris Calloway as well as true freshman Chris Paulding. Between those three I also expect one of the veteran safeties (Brandon Kish, Joseph Fazio) to make some noise at the position and fight for the 4th spot on the depth chart. One wild card in this position battle is Jarrett Swaby the transfer safety from Central Florida. If he can pick up the system quickly look for him to really push for a starting spot.