QB Dan LeFevour
9-5-09 at Arizona
9-12-09 at Michigan State
9-26-09 AKRON
10-3-09 at Buffalo
10-17-09 at Western Michigan
10-24-09 at Bowling Green
10-31-09 at Boston College
11-11-09 TOLEDO (Wed.)
11-18-09 at Ball State (Wed.)
Coach: Butch Jones
16-11, 2 years

2008 Statistics

2008 RESULTS: 8-5
at Georgia LOST 17-56
at Ohio WON 31-28
at Purdue LOST 25-32
at Toledo WON 24-23
at Indiana WON 37-34
at Northern Illinois WON 33-30 (OT)
at Eastern Michigan LOST 52-56
Florida Atlantic LOST 21-24

2008 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR


2009 Outlook

The Chippewas are on the move under third year head coach Butch Jones. First off, fans are excited - CMU led the MAC in home attendance for the second time in three seasons. This has led to the athletic department forging an exclusive apparel and footwear partnership with Adidas, and the program’s recent surge in popularity has translated into the No.1 recruiting class in the MAC according to recruiting website Scout.com.

But that is more off the field. The pieces coach Jones has to work with heading into the upcoming season will likely mean Central Michigan is the No. 1 preseason MAC team. For the past three campaigns, it has meant playing in the post-season (2-0 in MAC title games, but 1-2 in Motor City Bowls).

What makes this year's team look special on paper is the offensive firepower of senior QB Dan LeFevour and receiving stars Antonio Brown and Bryan Anderson. When discussing a pass-and-catch threat, these three have another grand opportunity to light up scoreboards and pile up huge statistics. This will be LeFevour's fourth year as the starting signal caller. He is the team's leading rusher over this span (led team in rushing twice) and his senior season is set to make him the MAC's all-time leader in total offense. Brown is probably the conference best at both catching passes and special team returns. The offense definitely needs more from the running backs in this ground attack. What leaves serious concern is the depth of the offensive line. There are no legit OL back ups at this point, so the starting five staying healthy will be big in determining whether this offense can continue its success.

Comparing Central Michigan with the better BCS-aligned teams does not bring much optimism, and that’s simply because, like we see with too many high-powered offenses at the mid-major level, the Chippy defense has huge problems keeping opponents out of the end zone. 2009 in Mount Pleasant looks to hold similar fortune. Granted there are All-Conference players such as linebacker Nick Bellore and DT Frank Zombo, but the injury-riddled secondary still has huge question marks. Despite the fact that this secondary has upwards of 12 different players from which to choose, the nation's former118th-ranked pass defense does not fair well when matching up with the likes of slated non-conference heavies Arizona, Michigan State and Boston College. All three of these games are on the road, and the first two are the ‘09 openers.

CMU seems to always be in a similar position: they lose early to the big schools, which in turn makes the challenge of finally getting that top 25 recognition that coach Butch Jones so desperately seeks unattainable. Beating just one of the aforementioned ’09 foes would go a long way toward cementing CMU as a legit mid-major; otherwise, it's back to merely being a front runner for the Mid-American Conference bowl tie-ins (GMAC, Motor City or International Bowl)…which is still a great accomplishment, but far removed from the elusive dream of getting into BCS discussions/comparisons.

Central Michigan will not be this season's undefeated regular season version of a Ball State simply due to three factors: a very respectable strength of schedule, lack of depth along the offensive line of scrimmage, and iffy pass coverage. No matter how true all of this is, the Chippewas are still the likely favorites to win the MAC West Division. The whole key is based on the health of the roster…a sore, lingering situation. The fans attending games at Kelly-Shorts Stadium, however, take solace in the fact this is still a young football team. The current roster lists just 13 players who will have senior eligibility; the team is mostly freshmen and sophomores.

Regardless, with leadership via LeFevour behind center and stars like Antonio Brown, the very realistic goal of winning another MAC Championship, while making a fourth straight bowl appearance, seems highly probable.

Projected 2009 record: 8-4
LB Nick Bellore
2008 Statistical Rankings
Total Off:
Sacks Allow:
Total Def:

Passing: Dan LeFevour, 251-376-6, 2784 yds., 21 TD

Rushing: Dan LeFevour, 188 att., 592 yds., 6 TD

Receiving: Antonio Brown, 93 rec., 998 yds., 7 TD

Scoring: Andrew Aguila, 16-21 FG, 44-46 PAT, 92 pts.

Punting: Brett Hartmann, 51 punts, 40.0 avg.

Kicking: Andrew Aguila, 16-21 FG, 44-46 PAT, 92 pts.

Tackles: Nick Bellore, 148 tot., 73 solo

Sacks: Frank Zombo, 9 sacks

Interceptions: Eric Fraser, 2 for 35 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Antonio Brown, 38 ret., 20.8 avg., 0 TD

Punt Returns: Antonio Brown, 20 ret., 20.5 avg., 1 TD


WR Jahleel Addae – The redshirt frosh and brother of former WVU star Jahmile was one of the best players on the field this spring whether lining up in the slot or taking handoffs.
OL Jeff Fantuzzi – CMU needs critical aid with depth on the OL being non-existent. He enrolled early this January out of high school after being named one of the Top 20 in-state senior prep players.
CB D.J. Scott – Enrolled early out of Thomas Johnson HS in Frederick, MD where he was a two-time all-state selection. He made quite an impression this spring in a secondary that is sure to need his services.
2009 College Football Preview
OFFENSE: Brian Brunner-QB, Ontario Sneed-RB, Justin Hoskins-RB, Joe Bockheim-WR, Andrew Hartline-OT, Kyle Curtis-OG, Greg Wojt-OT, Joe McMahon-C
DEFENSE: Casey Droscha-NG


Dan LeFevour enters his senior season with 11,702 yards of total offense, 14th-most in NCAA FBS (formerly Div. I-A) history. He will likely surpass Marshall QB Byron Leftwich for the MAC career record. His total yards are currently the highest of any active FBS player. After three solid years as the starter, LeFevour has to be considered one of the best dual-threat senior signal callers at any college level. He continues to be the team's leading rusher and is just as dangerous when it comes to locating and hitting receivers. While the numbers and performances were still noteworthy in 2008, his career averages took a dip after LeFevour dealt with injuries to both ankles at the midway point. He just lost that comfort zone in the pocket, and then his mobility was cut short. Coaches kept his reps this spring to a minimum; the more important job of locating a back up to replace the departed Brian Brunner was top priority. Ryan Radcliff appears to have a leg up on his competitor Derek Rifenbury at this preseason juncture. The two-time All-Ohio First Teamer (prep) has demonstrated better throwing command. If LeFevour is required to sit a few games as he did last fall, coaches should have enough confidence in Radcliff possessing the passing tools needed to operate this scheme. He is just short on experience and does not “remotely” offer the same running dimension as when LeFevour takes the snaps. But hey, not many do.


The Chippewa rushing attack needs better production from the running backs to save their signal caller from taking excessive limps. Regardless, QB Dan LeFevour has been the team's leading rusher in two of the previous three seasons. Last spring coach Jones felt he had all the firepower needed. That was before injuries took their toll. The departed Ontario Sneed and Justin Hoskins had their moments, but never found any form of consistency. Through all of the injuries, several young backs were game tested to now provide quality youth in the line up. Sophomores Paris Cotton and Bryan Shroeder lead the way after seeing most of the carries this spring. Each brings something different: Bryan is the power back while Paris is the smaller "shake and bake" scat type. A Miami prepster, true soph Shroeder in the flat will also help to open the field up. The speed of Cotton caught the eye of coaches during his limited '08 opportunities. The wild card of the group appears to be redshirt freshman Jahleel Addae, the highlight of the 2007 recruiting class out of Tampa Bay area’s East Bay-Riverview HS. As proven this spring, the younger brother of former WVU star running back Jahmile is going to be a big time contributor either in the backfield or at receiver (slot). Where he lines up is anyone’s guess. Carl Volny is another option that has seen time in this backfield, while incoming recruit Malek Redd (River Hill HS, Columbia, MD) runs a sonic 4.38 40-yard dash. He is the second new recruit out of the Crab State to bring his skills to Mount Pleasant (CB DJ Scott is the other). Plenty of ground options are certainly available, but CMU needs someone they can count on to take the running game to another level. This will likely continue to be done in “committee” fashion.


The two favorite targets for LeFevour are still Antonio Brown and Bryan Anderson. Brown is racking up an ungodly amount of awards with each successive season. He is one of just two players in NCAA history to earn all-conference first team honors at three different positions in the same season (WR/KR/PR). Moreover, he’s accounted for touchdowns receiving, rushing, passing and on both a punt return and kick return during his career. Not only is he the 2008 MAC Special Teams Player of the Year...he is just plain special. He is a leading candidate for the NationalChamps.net Underdog Award, which is presented to the nation's best mid-major player. He is not the only impact player at wide out. Bryan Anderson is a two-time All-MAC First Team receiver and currently has gone 40 consecutive games with a reception, the longest active streak in the country. As mentioned, rising star Jahleel Addae was seen in the slot this spring, which means sending him in motion will often mess up any defensive assignments. Canadian Kito Poblah is a former basketball MVP that has started for two solid years in this highflying attack. Jean Pitts has also seen plenty of starts; Pitts started each of the ’08 season’s first five games before suffering an injury. There is concern Pitts may not be available this fall. But a ton of freshmen and sophomores are fighting to find a place on the Chippie’s receiver chart, which only tells how loaded this unit is for the upcoming season. All combined, this is the best set of pass catchers LeFevour has had to work with in his four years. It is only a matter of coaches finding a way to get the ball into these speedster’s hands, albeit reverses or the short passing game. Either way, this unit highlights the 2009 effort. Last year's tight end Rocky Weaver has been bumped to tackle, leaving David Blackburn to replace him. Blackburn is not likely going to be considered an integral part of this passing scheme as this offense is not set up for the TE to fit that mold. When he is in the game, expect to see a hand-off to one of the backs.


On a positive note, the first team personnel on this front have the potential to be more than average blockers. On a negative note, there is no depth whatsoever outside of unproven freshmen, and injuries have already limited the available bodies this spring. Veterans Andrew Hartline and Greg Wojt anchored the ever-so-important tackle spots that protected LeFevour; both have moved on. Former TE Rocky Weaver has moved over to right tackle. Eight catches last fall have quickly segued into Weaver putting on some off-season pounds in anticipation of taking over for Wojt. Redshirt freshman newcomer Jake Olson takes over on the blind side. Size certainly comes into question since both linger around the 260-pound range, a lighter weight not just in the MAC but by any FBS standard. The biggest concern is that after these two, a ton of young players with no college experience provide the depth. In fact, trying to dig up info from coaches regarding the backups at tackle has been impossible. No one quite knows who/what that reality could be. Unfortunately, the same can be said for every position on this front wall. It did not help matters that full-timer Joe McMahon, a starting guard last season who could also play center, dropped out of school. Jeff Maddux and Allen Ollenburger take over at guard with 27 starts between them, making the gut of this unit its most experienced. Colin Miller returns to center after making brief starts at left guard in 2008. Coaches have kept a positive attitude concerning this offensive line, but truth be told, the back ups at every single position are, well, question marks, at best. Further bouts with the injury bug would cost this team dearly.


WR/KR/PR Antonio Brown


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Dan LeFevour-Sr (6-3, 223) Ryan Radcliff-RFr (6-3, 211)
Derek Rifenbury-So (6-3, 206)
RB Bryan Schroeder-So (5-9, 211) Paris Cotton-So (5-8, 180)
Carl Volny-Jr (5-10, 201)
WR Bryan Anderson-Sr (6-5, 201) Jeremy Wilson-So (6-3, 213)
Jerry Harris-So (6-1, 181)
WR Antonio Brown-Jr (5-10, 180) Sean Skergan-Jr (6-1, 206)
WR Kito Poblah-Jr (6-2, 203) Cedric Fraser-So (6-2, 194)
WR Jahleel Addae-RFr (5-10, 188) Jean Pitts-Sr (5-10, 170)
Cornelius Gallon-So (5-10, 189)
TE David Blackburn-So (6-3, 232) Tyler Reed-Jr (5-11, 212) (FB)
OT Jake Olson-RFr (6-8, 268) ..
OG Jeff Maddux-Jr (6-5, 314) Jeff Fantuzzi-Fr (6-4, 279)
C Colin Miller-Jr (6-3, 291) Darren Keyton-RFr (6-3, 294)
OG Allen Ollenburger-Sr (6-4, 274) Matt Kanitz-So (6-6, 288)
OT Rocky Weaver-So (6-6, 251) ..
K Andrew Aguila-Sr (5-11, 183) ..




The Chippewas of 2008 were tops in the conference at both stuffing the run and the quarterback (14th nationally in sack totals). Much of that had to do with the fact two of the MAC's better pass rushers, Sam Williams and Frank Zombo, combined for 15.5 sacks and helped make the entire defense better with their playmaking skills. Another positive contribution on the outside comes from Larry Knight. He has a knack for getting after quarterbacks after recording four sacks a year ago. One of the biggest position switches this off-season is the move of All-MAC First Team honoree Frank Zombo to defensive tackle. His weight is now pushing 280 pounds which makes the move seem logical considering both Williams and Knight appear to have secured his former position. The only loss up front is nose guard Casey Droscha, which makes the Zombo move almost seem inevitable. Zombo led the conference in tackles for loss, a fact that can only help the much-needed inside push. Additionally, the elevated play of Kashawn Fraser has earned the praise of coaches and fans this spring. Sean Murnane returns inside after finishing fourth on the team in tackles, a great achievement for a man at this mauling position. Murnane has the potential to be a monstrous player on this unit. However, much like their front line counterparts, depth is a big problem on the inside, which again substantiates the move of Zombo.


All three starters on this unit return from a year ago. The leader of this defense both emotionally and by production is co-captain Nick Bellore. Through two seasons of play, Bellore has piled up over 100 tackles on both occasions and has started all 27 games since his freshman debut. He ranks fourth nationally in career tackles per game (11.2) and still has plenty of room to grow. He moved from the middle to the outside during spring ball, and if anyone is capable of playing anywhere in addition to the secondary, Bellore would be that person. With the move, Matt Berning will likely slide into the middle after starting nine games last season on the weakside. The native German (played prep ball in Missouri as a 2003 foreign exchange student) is among the hardest workers on the squad. The corps’ lone senior, Tim Brazzel, has been a major contributor for three straight seasons. As with many positions, experienced depth is thin; four different freshmen/sophomores are trying to fill any gaps. The entire front seven helped CMU finish first in the MAC for rushing defense, but it would be better now if these LBs focus on helping the shaky secondary overcome their troubles.


OK, so how bad was this secondary in ‘08? The Chippewas pass defense ranked 118th out of 120 FBS teams. Defensive coordinator Tim Banks, a 1995 alum, enters his third season as the secondary coach, too. He has to get drastic improvement from his backfield before this team can truly compete with the non-conference big boys on the schedule. Many injuries have obviously equaled the many problems. The only good news is that the spring showcased a good many position battles. Upward of six different players are vying for time at cornerback. Josh Gordy leads the race after battling through injuries last year. Former receiver Taylor Bradley has only been playing corner for one season but looks likely to cement the other side. He is still rough around the edges after having to learn the position through trial-and-error methods a year ago. Early enrollee D.J. Scott had an excellent spring and could see plenty of time playing the nickel spot. LaVarus Williams started to show some signs of breaking through last fall before injury cut short his ascension. Two of the better DBs on this unit that could change the fortunes of production are at safety. Eric Fraser returns after missing the final four games of 2008 because of an ankle injury. SS Chaz West missed the entire year with a foot injury after starting 13 games at CB the previous year. He was back to participating at full tilt in spring practice. This summer will be crucial for his further rehab and development, and therefore the group’s cohesion. No wonder this pass defense struggled so badly – injuries of some sort get loosely tossed around with the mention of every position. Too many DBs saw time on the field in '08. Names like Tommy Mama, Vince Agnew and Bobby Seay all earned at least three starts. Depth is not the problem right now; talent and every down personnel are the bigger issues. Coaches have said this backfield likely will not get sorted out until the first game. That's a kind estimate, but stranger things than a rag-tag bunch of hungry DBs quickly gelling have occurred.


DL Frank Zombo


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Sam Williams-Sr (6-3, 238) Kashawn Fraser-So (6-2, 222)
DT Frank Zombo-Sr (6-4, 269) John Williams-So (5-10, 275)
DT Sean Murnane-Jr (6-1, 266) Josh Allison-Jr (6-0, 246)
DE Larry Knight-Sr (6-4, 248) Darryll Stinson-RFr (6-4, 256)
LB Tim Brazzel-Sr (6-0, 191) Mike Petrucci-So (6-2, 230)
LB Matt Berning-Jr (6-0, 238) Jake Bentley-RFr (6-2, 216)
LB Nick Bellore-Jr (6-1, 245) Armond Staten-So (6-1, 214)
CB Josh Gordy-Sr (5-11, 192) Tommy Mama-Sr (5-10, 189)
D.J. Scott-Fr (5-9, 167)
CB Taylor Bradley-Jr (6-0, 187) Kirkston Edwards-Sr (6-1, 190)
LaVarus Williams-So (5-11, 205)
SS Chaz West-Jr (5-10, 178) Vince Agnew-Jr (5-10, 193)
FS Eric Fraser-Sr (6-1, 215) Bobby Seay-Jr (5-11, 186)
P Brett Hartmann-Jr (6-3, 229) ..



Two-time All-MAC senior Andrew Aguila returns to handle the kicking duties. He connected on at least one field goal in all 13 regular season games last fall, which included a 40-yard overtime winner against Northern Illinois. He can be counted on with confidence when times are tight this season. Another veteran is back to handle the punting chores. Brett Hartman had two punts downed inside the opponents' 20-yard line in five different games last season. Nice with his touch, he needs more work on distance (40-yard average). He obviously has the leg for more after handling kickoffs as a frosh. Miami native Antonio Brown puts the “special” in the Chippie’s Special Teams. The 2008 MAC Special Teams Player of the Year led the country with an astounding 20.5-yard per return average. NationalChamps.net’s 2009 Preseason All-American at returning punts, Brown is quite remarkable at everything he attempts. He is also well qualified at returning kickoffs (conference First Team honors at both). Brown is primed to be the nation's premier all-purpose performer.