HEAD COACH: Joe Paterno
Kareem McKenzie-OT, Imani Bell-OT, Josh Mitchell-OG, Tony Stewart-TE, Rashard Casey-QB, Mike Cerimele-FB, Kenny Watson-WR, Ryan Primanti-K
DEFENSIVE KEY LOSSES: Justin Kurpeikis-DE, Brandon Steele-ILB, Eric Sturdifen-OLB, Aaron Gatten-OLB, James Boyd-FS, Titcus Pettigrew-SS, Bhawoh Jue-CB

Logically, a team that went 5-7 last year and returns only nine starters surely can't be given Top 50 consideration. Some Beaver fans still claim this team deserves even better. There is no reason it can't happen. If there is to be a Happy Valley turnaround, it must start with Matt Seneca at QB as Rashard Casey has departed. Seneca is inexperienced to say the least as Casey took most all of the snaps in 2000. Coaches seem confident in putting Seneca at the helm, but it's obvious he won't be able to do it alone. Joining him is running back Eric McCoo, who has a chance to lead State in rushing for the fourth year in a row. There is a ton of running backs to choose from, some say maybe even too many. There's a great deal of experience at receiver, but they need to produce. Senior Eddie Drummond is the real #1 threat. He missed too much time this spring due to academic problems and Johnson emerged as a potential star. Part of the problem last season was the bruised and battered offensive line which suffered through a variety of injuries. Now they must deal with the loss of their top two players in Kareem McKenzie and Imani Bell. The Lions are not as bad off as they were last fall when they had to replace the whole D. They lose DE Justin Kurpeikis, but everyone else comes back up front. The star is junior DT Jimmy Kennedy who is a 330-pound stuffing machine. In line to join the famous list of linebackers out of Penn State will be Shamar Finney, who was a big time recruit for Jopa a few years back. Last season was one big roller coaster ride. At times PSU looked absolutely horrible, but yet in some games, managed to turn it on and beat the likes of Rose Bowl bound Purdue. Coach Paterno will break Bear Bryant's all time win record this year, and at the same time, the Lions could be in danger of suffering back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since 1931-32. Who knows? If anyone asks...Penn State can beat anyone, and anyone can beat Penn State.

Returning Starters in Bold
QB Matt Seneca-Jr Zack Mills-Fr
FB R.J. Luke-Jr Paul Jefferson-So
RB Eric McCoo-Sr Larry Johnson-Jr
WR Eddie Drummond-Sr Tony Johnson-So
WR Bryant Johnson-Jr Matt Kranchick-So
TE John Gilmore-Sr Sean McHugh-So
OT Gus Felder-Sr Chris McKelvy-So
OG Greg Ransom-Sr Tyler Lenda-Jr
C Joe Iorio-Jr Eric Rickenbach-Jr
OG Joe Hartings-Sr Scott Davis-Fr
OT Matt Schmitt-Jr Nick Marmo-Fr
K David Kimball-So ..
DE Bob Jones-Sr Jeremiah Davis-Fr
DT Anthony Adams-Jr Tim Falls-Jr
DT Jimmy Kennedy-Jr Tyler Valoczki-Jr
DE Michael Haynes-Jr John Bronson-Fr
LB Gino Capone-So T.C. Cosby-Fr
LB Shamar Finney-Sr Tim Johnson-Fr
LB Derek Wake-So Sam Ruhe-So
CB Bryan Scott-Jr Scott Sanden-Jr
CB Bruce Branch-Sr Tom Humphrey-Sr
SS Horace Dodd-So Sam Crenshaw-Sr
FS Yaacov Yisrael-So Jimi Mitchell-Fr
P David Royer-Jr ..
  HEAD COACH: Tommy Tuberville
: Ronney Daniels-WR, Reggie Worthy-WR, Colin Sears-OT, Ben Leard-QB, Rudi Johnson-TB, Heath Evans-FB
DEFENSIVE KEY LOSSES: Roderick Chambers-DT, Alex Lincoln-MLB, Rob Pate-WLB, Larry Casher-CB, Rodney Crayton-CB

The one aspect that really stands out when looking at the 2001 Auburn Tigers is the loss of all the offensive skill positions. When we say all, we mean all. All five returning offensive starters are linemen. The NFL took early the likes of Rudi Johnson at tailback, Heath Evans at fullback, and Ronney Daniels at receiver. The quarterback position is going to be interesting in finding out who can replace Ben Leard, as there are four scholarship players fighting for that starting spot, and none of them seemed to overwhelm in the spring. The same question might be asked concerning the running backs. Auburn's returning leading rusher from last season is a wide receiver. As previously mentioned, there is extreme strength to build the program around on the offensive line. Kendall Simmons is one of the best tackles around. The Tigers look to be very quick up front on the defensive side. Leading tackler Alex Lincoln will be the most missed from his linebacker spot, but Demarco McNeil is one of the best SEC run stoppers and should help fill the void. The key to team success has got to come from the Tigers strength, which is on the offensive and defensive lines. Enough so that there is time for the new incumbents at the skill positions to gain some confidence and experience. But that better come quickly. What a seesaw preseason outlook Tommy Tuberville presents. The young talent is good enough to make an outside run at the SEC West conference crown, on the other side, it is quite possible the Tigers could be looking at the conference cellar. Only time will tell, and anyone that claims to know the answer to what 2001 brings, is only speculating at best.

Returning Staters in Bold
QB Daniel Cobb-Sr Jason Campbell-Fr
FB Brandon Johnson-So Michael Owens-Jr
TB Ronnie Brown-Fr Casinious Moore-So
WR Marcel Willis-Jr Allen Tillman-So
WR Tim Carter-Sr Deandre Green-So
TE Lorenzo Diamond-Jr Robert Johnson-So
OT Kendall Simmons-Sr Ryan Broome-Fr
OG Hart McGarry-Sr Nate French-Fr
C Ben Nowland-Jr Danny Lindsey-Fr
OG Mike Pucillo-Sr Monreko Crittenden-So
OT Mark Pera-So Rick Trucks-Fr
K Damon Duval-Jr Philip Yost-Fr
DE Javor Mills-Sr Alton Moore-Sr
DT Demarco McNeil-So Dexter Murphy-So
DT Spencer Johnson-So Marcus White-So
DE James Callier-Sr Reggie Torbor-So
JLB Dontarrious Thomas-So Mayo Sowell-Fr
MLB Mark Brown-Jr Tavarreus Pounds-Sr
WLB Roshard Gilyard-So Karlos Dansby-So
CB Roderick Hood-Jr Junior Rosegreen-Fr
CB Travaris Robinson-Jr Lamel Ages-Fr
ROV Rashaud Walker-So Ronaldo Attimy-Jr
FS Stanford Simmons-So Donnay Young-Fr
P Damon Duval-Jr Taylor Mosley-Jr
  HEAD COACH: Pat Hill
Kevin Jordan-OT, James Tillman-RB, Ahmad Bhatti-OG
DEFENSIVE KEY LOSSES: Thabiti Lockhart-NT, Orlando Huff-OLB, Tim Skipper-MLB, Giachino Chiaramonte-OLB, Dante Marsh-CB

The pride of the Valley (Fresno State) is going to be your leading candidate for WAC Honors in 2001. A big key to that reasoning starts with a senior at the helm, as David Carr returns to assume the QB position once again. A returning captain with a very strong arm and NFL draftability, Carr will be a preseason favorite for WAC Player Of The Year. He will have some of the deepest and speediest receivers at his flanks, as there are three players who have earned either first or second-team All-WAC honors during their careers while catching passes. All eight of Fresno State's top receivers, who accounted for a combined 24 touchdowns and nearly 2,800 receiving yards last season, return for the 2001 season. The running back situation still has to be of some concern. Even though there seems to be talent, the most yards rushing last season by any back was only 425 yards. Defensively the big question mark will be who spells linebacker as all three spots need filled. But All-American Candidate Alan Harper at tackle should provide FSU with a major threat up front. At defensive back, seniors Vernon Fox and Anthony Limbrick are first-team All-WAC selections. This Bulldog team has enough talent to make some serious noise. Oregon State makes a visit to the valley as its opener. A Beaver word to the wise, don't mess around with this team or they will beat you. The same will apply to anyone on the Bulldog schedule.

Returning Starters in Bold
QB David Carr-Sr Jeff Grady-Jr
FB Alec Greco-So Stephen Spach-Fr
RB Josh Levi-Jr Paris Gains-Sr
WR Charles Smith-Jr David Shabaglian-Jr
WR Bernard Berrian-Jr Rodney Wright-Sr
TE Jeremy Johnson-So Duncan Reid-Fr
OT Fitu Tu'ua-So Patrick Fanene-Jr
OG Russell Harding-Sr Patrick Fanene-Jr
C Keith McKnight-Jr DeJon Kelly-Jr
OG Rodney Michael-Jr Antonio Sanchez-So
OT Joe Schey-Jr Antonio Sanchez-So
K Asen Asparuhov-Jr ..
DE Jake Probst-Sr Clarence Denning-So
DT Alan Harper-Sr Justin Woltz-So
NT Jason Stewart-Jr Grant Harrington-Sr
DE Nick Burley-Jr Brian Morris-So
OLB Maurice Rodriguez-Sr Sam Williams-Jr
MLB Marc Dailey-So Terrance Hampton-Sr
OLB Justin Johnson-Sr Jermaine McDermott-So
CB Devon Banks-Sr Juan Bautista-So
CB Tierre Sams-Sr Dee Meza-So
SS Vernon Fox-Sr Anthony Limbrick-Sr
FS Bryce McGill-So Anthony Limbrick-Sr
P Jason Simpson-Jr ..
  HEAD COACH: Tom Amstutz
: Lyle Green-RB, Jim Harding-OT, Mel Long-WR, Michael Schaefer-OG
DEFENSIVE KEY LOSSES: DeJuan Goulde-DE, Kevin Rollins-ILB, Ira Singleton-ROV

The Rockets went 10-1 last season and didn't receive a bowl bid. Most every one of their victories was by a comfortable margin, even the Penn State game in Happy Valley. In steps a new coach for Gary Pinkel. Replacing him will be a Toledo graduate Tom Amstutz, who has promised to make things explosive offensively by going to a spread set. Can the Rockets adjust to the new scheme? For this thing to work, many of the talented receivers will have to increase their production over last year. In charge of learning the new scheme will be signal caller Tavares Bolden at QB, who had modest passing numbers last year, but only gave up a four interceptions. Bolden has the luxury of having what a few experts feel is a legit second tier Heisman contender in Chester Taylor lining up behind him, who gained nearly 1,500 yards rushing in 2000. Eight of UT's top 10 offensive linemen are back which bodes well. The same system will remain in place on the defensive side where eight starters and plenty of reserves are back. Three First Team All-Mac players need replaced, but there is a deep pool of players on the DL and the defensive backfield will claim bragging rights as the best of the MAC. There is a grand chance Toledo could see a duplication of last year's record or even better. The MAC champion is headed to Mobile for the GMAC Bowl in 2001 and Toledo is the favorite to claim that spot with so many people back from a 10-1 campaign. The key has to be how well the offense adapts to the new spread formation. The Rockets get tested right off the bat against Minnesota and a promising Temple squad.

Returning Starters in Bold
QB Tavares Bolden-Sr Keon Frazier-So
RB Chester Taylor-Sr Antwon McCray-Sr
WR Carl Ford-Jr Corterris Reese-Fr
WR Donta Greene-Jr Jason Freeman-So
WR Manny Johnson-Jr Terrance Hudson-Fr
TE Andrew Clarke-Fr Greg Grothous-Jr
OT Archie Godfrey-Jr Darric Randolph-So
OG Matt Comer-Sr Wael Jarbou-Fr
C Chris Tuminello-Jr Nick Otterbacher-Sr
OG Noah Swartz-Jr David Odenthal-So
OT Tim Dirksen-So Erik Faasen-So
K Todd France-Sr ..
DE Leo Frierson-Sr Frank Ofili-So
DT Jake McLean-Sr Chaz Williams-So
DT Phil Gibson-Sr Sameer Hamood-Sr
DE David Bockmore-Sr Didier Ormejuste-So
WHIP Corey Morris-Sr Sid Daniels-Sr
ILB Tom Ward-Jr Anthony Abron-So
ILB David Gardner-Jr Jason Manson-Sr
ROV Paul Dye-So Dorian Goulde-So
CB Jehu Anderson-Jr Tony Miller-Jr
CB Brandon Hefflin-So James Stanley-Jr
FS Andy Boyd-Sr Demetris Simms-Jr
P Brandon Hannum-So ..
  HEAD COACH: John Bunting
: Louis Marchetti-OT, Cam Holland-OG, James Wagstaff-OT, Alge Crumpler-TE, Anthon Saunders-FB
DEFENSIVE KEY LOSSES: Ross McAllister-DE, Sedrick Hodge-LB, Brandon Spoon-LB, David Bomar-DB, Anthony Perkins-DT (injured)

Torbush is out and John Bunting is in as the coach of the Tar Heels. Most important will be the return of senior QB Ronald Curry. What is the deal with this kid? Maybe one of the hottest recruits ever out of high school, this two-sport star has finally reached his final season and has yet to live up to the hype. This just may be his year as UNC fans can only hope. What a set of starting receivers to throw to in Bosley Allen and Kory Bailey. There may not be a better starting set anywhere. The team's leading rusher from last season, Brandon Russell, sat the spring to play baseball. His biggest concern has to be who is blocking for him next fall as the Tar Heels must replace some heavy lumber up front, but good reports have come out of the spring on this unit. The defense starts with yet another two-sport star and probably is the most decorated player on the team as young Julius Peppers declined the NFL to play defensive end once again for UNC. Julius is a unanimous First Team All-American on almost every list. The linebackers also lost some studs, but there is a talent remaining. Look for coach's favorite, Quincy Monk, to take over as one of the leaders of the team. The defensive backs return all but one starter. This season is going to be interesting. A new coach, some two-sport stars...there definitely is some talent on the field. UNC opens with the defending national champs in Norman. Don't be surprised to see the Tar Heels make a game of this one. But over the long run, some big questions need answered before the Heels can make some conference noise. Ronald Curry will play more of a role in that determination than ever before. His time is now or never.

Returning Starters in Bold
QB Ronald Curry-Sr Luke Huard-Jr
FB James Faison-So Madison Hedgecock-Fr
TB Brandon Russell-So Willie Parker-So
WR Bosley Allen-Jr Sam Aiken-Jr
WR Kory Bailey-Sr ..
TE Doug Brown-Sr Zach Hilton-Jr
OT Greg Woofter-So Willie McNeil-Fr
OG Jupiter Wilson-So Riko Feemster-So
C Adam Metts-Sr Isaac Morford-Jr
OG David Stevenson-So Marcus Wilson-So
OT Jeb Terry-So Skip Seagraves-Fr
K Jeff Reed-Sr ..
DE Julius Peppers-Jr Isaac Mooring-So
DT Ryan Sims-Sr Jonas Seawright-Fr
DT Will Chapman-Jr Eric Davis-Jr
DE Joey Evans-Sr Jermicus Banks-Fr
SLB David Thornton-Sr Merceda Perry-Sr
MLB Robert Harris-Jr Sean Williams-Sr
WLB Quincy Monk-Sr Clarence Gaddy-Fr
CB Michael Waddell-Jr Kevin Knight-Jr
CB Errol Hood-Sr Derrick Johnson-So
SS Billy-Dee Greenwood-Sr ..
FS Dexter Reid-So DeFonter Coleman-Jr
P Blake Ferguson-So John Lafferty-Jr
1-5, 6-10, 11-15, 16-20, 21-25,
26-30, 31-35, 36-40, 41-45, 46-50