WR Steve Odom

2005 Statistics

Coach: Tom Amstutz
45-18, 5 years
2005 Record: 9-3
at Temple WON 42-17
at Fresno State LOST 14-44
at Ball State WON 34-14
at Cent. Michigan LOST 17-21
at Ohio WON 30-21
at Bowling Green WON 44-41 (2OT)
vs. UTEP WON 45-13

2005 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2006 Outlook

We entered last season expecting Toledo's questionable defense to be a stumbling block to a memorable year. As it turned out, new coordinator Tim Rose turned the unit into one of the top 25 in the nation, a cornerstone for a quietly successful 9-3 finish. Appropriately, that campaign ended with one of the MAC's biggest wins of 2005, a 45-13 rout of UTEP at the GMAC Bowl. With the school’s top all-time QB gone, the defense will have to prove that last year's surprising showing was no fluke. That challenge will be exacerbated by the loss of both inside backers, but just about everyone else on last year's defensive two-deep is back, including some game-changing playmakers in Tyrrell Herbert and Mike Alston. As long as the offense can sustain some drives so that the defense inherits decent field position, there's no reason why Rose's bunch shouldn't remain the best in the MAC.

That brings us back to the offense, particularly the passing game, which becomes the chief area of concern with the graduation of Bruce Gradkowski. New starter Clint Cochran has the opportunity to shine with a solid line to keep him upright, plenty of reliable targets and an explosive running game to balance the offense. How quickly he matures into the role and builds cohesion with his receivers is the key to their entire season. The punting game, which allowed three TDs on blocked punts, also needs to be strengthened. As the cliché goes, defense wins championships, so the Rockets are at least off to a good start that way.

All will be tested right off the bat with three tough foes in his first five games, including the Aug. 31 opener at Iowa State. Toledo hosts improving Kansas (and their tough D) in Week 3, and then goes for another upset at Pitt in Week 5. This mid-major program is a notorious giant killer, and a win at Ames against a defense with a rebuilt line and secondary isn't outside the realm of possibility. It would be a perfect momentum booster as they enter their MAC slate, which gets more challenging each year as the conference improves.

As good as this team looks on paper, don't expect a Utah-like (2004) unbeaten season and surprise run at a BCS bid. A conference title, along with another minor bowl win and a top-25 ranking, are more achievable goals. None of those will come easy, though, Bowling Green and Akron come to the Glass Bowl. The key is Cochran. With any luck, in three years we'll be talking about how hard he'll be to replace.

Projected 2006 record: 9-3
TE Chris Hopkins
QB - 3 DL - 3.5
RB - 3.5 LB - 3
WR - 4 DB - 3
OL - 3.5 ..

Passing: Clint Cochran, 43-32-1, 262 yds., 1 TD

Rushing: Jalen Parmele, 64 att., 294 yds., 3 TD

Receiving: Steve Odom, 55 rec., 690 yds., 6 TD

Scoring: Steve Odom, 6 TD, 36 pts.

Punting: Brett Kern, 33 punts, 39.5 avg.

Kicking: none

Tackles: Tyrrell Herbert, 94 tot., 45 solo

Sacks: Mike Alston, 9.5 sacks

Interceptions: Bo Martin, 2 for 38 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Richard Davis, 17 ret., 22.8 avg., 1 TD

Punt Returns: Steve Odom, 20 ret., 6.3 avg., 0 TD


OFFENSE: Bruce Gradkowski-QB, Trinity Dawson-RB, Quinton Broussard-RB, Chris Wakeman-OG, Jason Robbins-K
DEFENSE: Anthony Jordan-ILB, David Thomas-ILB, Jason Flowers-CB, Antonio Malone-CB, Keon Jackson-SS

Conference MVP and three-year starter Bruce Gradkowski's departure represents the biggest hole to fill for the head coach Tom Amstutz, who opened up a three-way battle for the job this spring. The likely heir apparent is redshirt soph Clint Cochran, last year's No. 2. With a strong arm and decent wheels, Cochran is a mid-sized drop-back passer in the Gradkowski mold. He's also the lone candidate with real-time experience, having completed 75 percent of his throws in a start against Fresno State last fall. Don't expect much drop-off from an offense that returns plenty of talent at the other skill positions. The other two candidates are a little less multi-faceted. Redshirt frosh Brandon Summers, who originally committed to Indiana, is a mid-sized running-QB with questionable accuracy (49.7 completion rate as a prep junior). John Goolsby, a redshirt soph, is a smart 6-5 drop back passer who didn't reach the varsity until his senior year of high school. Cochran is the best fit for the offense, but a strong supporting cast could make Summers or Goolsby look good if either is thrust into action.

Running Back
Last year's top two backs are gone, but there's plenty of talent to plug in here. Scooter McDougle, who missed all of '05 with a knee injury, is the likely go-to guy, but don't be surprised if OC John Shannon goes with a tailback-by-committee approach. McDougle, the team's top back in '04, is a speed-power combo and an excellent receiver out of the backfield. The top returning rusher from last year, Jalen Parmele is a big, quick back who was hampered by nagging injuries, though he isn't much of a receiving threat. Redshirt soph Richard Davis is a small speedster who averaged 7.1 yards per carry and has decent hands. The X-factor here is Raymond Williams, Mr. Ohio Football for ‘03, who is a walk-on after losing his scholarship at West Virginia (legal issues). Williams, who hasn't played in two years, ran for more than 6,000 yards during his last two seasons at St. Benedictine (Cleveland). This well-rounded group can make up for whatever variable(s) the ground game loses without a dual-threat QB.

Cochran inherits an offense that returns one of the MAC's best receiving corps. The reliable Steve Odom is back as the No. 1 target. Odom is small and quick over the middle, and has caught a pass in a nation-leading 37 straight games, but isn't a true deep threat when the braintrust employs a dink-and-dunk passing scheme. He doesn't have to be. David Hawkins, a 5-8 junior who averaged 14.0 yards, is an explosive yards-after-the-catch type, while soph Andre Redd became a starter late in the season, and both have plenty of vertical potential. Lanky targets Nick Moore and David Washington should also help stretch the field. There's plenty of potential in these guys to keep the focus off Odom. Even with an experienced passer in Gradkowski, this group (rebuilt in 2005) could have been more productive. Now the skill and experience here – via tough lessons learned - will aid the transition at QB, while maintaining enough balance to open up the run.

Tight End
Second-team All-MAC pick Chris Hopkins, a senior, leads a three-deep group that combined for 67 catches and 11 TDs. Hopkins, a high school DE out of Chicago, is a proven commodity as a blocker and surprised many with his soft mitts in finishing second in receptions (back-peddling catch beat Bowling Green in double-OT). Josh Powell, a 6-5 senior backup, is more of a threat as a blocker, though he occasionally breaks free for a big grab. The future is soph John Allen, a receiver playing TE who had five TDs as a freshman. Each of these three will be vital in the Rockets' short, possession-style passing game, though Hopkins and Allen can occasionally break one deep against overmatched LBs.

Offensive Line
The quality protection provided by this group will be key for a QB in Cochran who is not a slug, but lacks his predecessor's elusiveness (13 sacks allowed in 2005 led the MAC while they finished 13th in the nation in rushing). RG (Wakeman) is the only loss from a cohesive line that made it through an entire season with no (re)shuffling. All-MAC LT John Greco, who gave up just one sack on the blind-side last year, is the leader up front, along with C Hassan Adebesin, who makes all the (right) calls. RT Jerry Aguwa, the most physically gifted of these guys, will have to adjust to a new guard on his side. That'll likely be senior Jesse Anderson, a career backup who knows the blocking schemes well by now. This line, coupled with that talented RB unit and a solid air attack to open things up, should lead to one of the MAC's/nation’s most frightening rushing attacks.

With the offense loaded in every other area, all eyes are on the QB. Cochran, presumably, will be that guy. He has most of the needed aerial tools, but he'll need to mature into a cool-under-fire leader. The running game will be a two-, three-, or even four-headed monster that will blow most opponents away behind a rock solid (already gelled) offensive front. The passing game has the potential to be equally as efficient, both in the short possession-style typically employed at UT, and in the vertical game of which we need to see more. The deep group of receivers is more mature, while reliable TE and RB targets will give opposing defenses fits underneath. This offense can possibly exceed last year's 35.8 points per game (10th in the nation), depending on how quickly Cochran matures into the lead role.


OT John Greco


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Clint Cochran-So (6-3, 205) Brandon Summers-Fr (6-0, 187)
John Goolsby-So (6-5, 215)
RB Jalen Parmele-Jr (6-0, 222) Richard Davis-So (6-0, 200)
Scooter McDougle-Jr (6-0, 245)
WR Andrew Hawkins-Jr (5-8, 163) David Washington-Jr (6-5, 219)
WR Steve Odom-Sr (5-10, 170) Andre Redd-So (5-11, 196)
WR Nick Moore-So (6-4, 192) Trumaine Smith-So (6-4, 211)
TE John Allen-So (6-5, 215)
Chris Hopkins-Sr (6-5, 255)
Josh Powell-Sr (6-5, 263)
OT John Greco-Jr (6-5, 318) Sean Zabinski-So (6-6, 302)
OG David Perkins-Jr (6-2, 308) Chad Diggs-Sr (6-4, 313)
C Hassan Adebesin-Sr (6-0, 300) Patrick Dawson-So (6-3, 280)
OG Jesse Anderson-Sr (6-4, 300) Tyree Pollard-Jr (6-3, 312)
OT Jerry Aguwa-Sr (6-4, 295) Greg Luna-Sr (6-8, 330)
K Mike Krispinsky-Jr (5-10, 185) Drew Oehler-Fr (5-11, 170)



Defensive Line
The spearhead of DC Tim Rose's 3-4 look is a quick and experienced group of D-linemen. Last year's entire two-deep returns, giving Rose another solid rotation that knows what to do. Inside, Patrick Clark ties up a blocker or two to free up the inside backers, while occasionally making a stop. Starting DEs Sean Williamson and J.P. Bekasiak keep solid containment on the outside while providing some pressure (5.5 sacks, 10.5 TFLs combined). Undersized backup DEs Seth Thitoff and Nick Lawrence (nine TFLs, three sacks combined) bring LB speed and athleticism into the backup roles. These guys aren't the most menacing pass rushers in the MAC, but their efficient containment should key another strong run defense and could easily improve on their 27th national rank from last fall.

Besides QB, the biggest area of concern is replacing two monster inside backers. Then again, one of the strengths of this defense is senior outside backers Mike Alston and Mike Chamberlain. Rose believes Alston is his fastest player on defense. The All-MAC pick, who had three sacks in the GMAC Bowl, is an impact player who opposing OCs have to game-plan around. Chamberlain, a former Juco safety, makes up for his lack of size with excellent (sideline-to-sideline) speed. The speedy OLBs are then obviously a force in pass coverage, too. But the key is inside, especially in a 3-4 scheme. The leading candidates are Steven Morrison (Alston's backup last year) and Keith Forestal. A true soph with 4.6 speed, Forestal drew praise from Amstutz this spring, while Morrison reportedly made a smooth transition to the inside. If this corps can remain solid in the middle, this defense should match or improve on last year's No. 21 national ranking in total defense.

Defensive Back
Last year's leader is gone, but this group should remain tough to beat. Junior free safety Tyrrell Herbert, the top playmaker back here, fills the leadership gap. The team's top returning tackler, Herbert is a solid run-stopper who finished tied for seventh in the nation in forced fumbles (five), while also proving his worth in pass coverage. A third-year starter, undersized (but tough) junior Nigel Morris continues to blossom as a top cover corner. His counterpart, senior Bo Martin, is an experienced backup who uses his size to create turnovers. With the help of a quick quartet of LBs, this talented, deep group should excel as it did last season, when only Bowling Green's prolific Omar Jacobs was able to pick it apart.

Rose inherited a defense full of question marks last fall and turned it into the best in the MAC. With all but four players back from the two-deep, this year's group looks to be even better. It dominated the offense (typical in most spring games) in the April 15 final spring scrimmage, intercepting a pair of passes and putting plenty of pressure on the QBs. The key is that questionable middle, which Amstutz said he felt much better about by the end of the spring. If the secondary gets caught having to help out against the run, offenses will surely find their openings deep. Overall, this defense is a bit undersized, even by MAC standards, but these guys are efficient at keeping things in front of them with their speed and smart play. At the same time, UT tied for 32nd nationally in turnovers gained, led the MAC in sacks and scored five defensive TDs. Those ideal trends should continue behind playmakers such as Alston and Herbert. It call comes down to the middle. Expect to see Morrison and Forestal tested early with plenty of between-the-tackles carries. The Rocket’s stoppers need to deliver better on third-downs (allowed foes to convert 39% of them) to take the next step into the “domination” department.


LB Mike Alston


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Sean Williamson-Jr (6-2, 265) Seth Thitoff-Sr (6-2, 220)
DT J.P. Bekasiak-Sr (6-6, 296) Aaron Albritton-Sr (6-2, 261)
DE Patrick Clark-Jr (6-4, 266) Bernard Faithful-Jr (6-3, 240)
OLB Mike Alston-Sr (6-2, 212) Shaun Fitzgibbons-Jr (6-1, 224)
ILB Keith Forestal-So (6-3, 215) Marques McFarlin-Sr (6-2, 232)
ILB Steven Morrison-Jr (6-2, 220) Eric Heller-Fr (6-0, 219)
OLB Mike Chamberlain-Sr (6-2, 208) Greg Hay-Jr (6-2, 200)
CB Nigel Morris-Jr (6-0, 181) Bo Martin-Sr (6-2, 198)
CB Keiron Brown-So (5-11, 176) Walter Atkins-Fr (6-1, 182)
SS Lester Richmond-Fr (6-1, 184) Chris Faison-Fr (6-1, 169)
FS Tyrrell Herbert-Jr (6-2, 190) Jeff Green-So (6-2, 185)
P Brett Kern-Jr (6-3, 195) ..




Junior Mike Krispinsky is the favorite to take over for MAC special teams player of the year Jason Robbins after two seasons of sharing kickoff duties. Krispinsky, who has yet to attempt a collegiate field goal or PAT, got his average kick only to the 15 and had no touchbacks, making his leg strength suspect. Don't be surprised to see the job go to incoming freshman Alex Steigerwald, who was also recruited by West Virginia and Wisconsin. He made 19-of-21 FG attempts during his last two years of prep and was second-team all-state as a punter (42.9 yards per kick). Coverage, fourth in the conference with a solid 17.6 yards per try, should remain such with all the speed in its defensive depth.

It's a good sign when punting is one of your biggest worries. Junior Brett Kern is back for his third season, but no one on the Maumee River is dancing in joy. Kern took a step back last fall, averaging 39.5 yards per kick with four blocked (three of those resulted in TDs). Otherwise, net coverage is fine after ranking 28th nationally (allowed a meager 6.87 yards per).

Return Game
The speedsters Odom and Richard Davis will remain the primary return men. Punts must improve. Behind Odom, UT averaged was ninth in the conference at 7.5 yards per PR attempt. Maybe Davis, who was fifth in the MAC on kicks (22.8 yards, one TD) should be switched to punts as well.