Camp Notes - August 16th

Nick Melcher

As fall camp enters its final week before the preparations for Michigan State begins lets take a look at how the Broncos shape up position by position. Some new names are going to have to step up this season for the Broncos and there are many candidates in line.

Quarterback

Coach Darnell has not decided on a starter officially but Chad Munson seems to be in the driver's seat to get the nod over fellow senior Jon Drach. Each have had ample opportunities thus far with the first team and Munson seems to have a slight edge. Munson spent the summer in the weight room and is in the best shape of his life and it shows on the field when the play breaks down and he is forced out of the pocket. Expect him to win the job but Drach is solid and will be ready at a moments notice in case of an injury to Munson or is the team needs a spark.

Running Back

Phil Reed is "the man" at tailback which come as no surprise but Trovon Riley has improved dramatically and should see considerable time this season. Daniel Marks is a solid number three option and has been battling some nagging injuries but he seems fine and will spell Reed and Riley as needed. Riley has been the most impressive in camp as he is running with authority and has a lot of natural ability that is beginning to show now that he has a better understanding of the offense. Expect him to make plays this season.

Tight End

Tony Scheffler is running with the first team right now and his ability to stretch the field is critical for the Broncos. Anthony Kiner will be used a substantial amount during run situations as an H-Back. Erik Oleson has made the transition from linebacker to tight end and has had a solid fall picking up the offense. Scheffler has the most talent at this position and he must step up and produce to help diversify the offense.

Wide Receiver

There is no lack of talent or experience at this position which will easily be among the best units for the Broncos yet again. Brandon Johnson and Antonio Thomas both return as big, physical receivers but the three playmakers will be Kendrick Mosley, Greg Jennings and Chris Chestnut. Western Michigan should have a limitless supply of talent at wide receiver this fall. These guys need to step up and make plays to allow the Bronco running game to open up.

Offensive Line

The offensive line has been under a lot of scrutiny since the start of the 2002 season. Mike Cummings has done a great job getting this group to work together and they are always among the hardest working groups in practice. Expect this unit, barring injuries, to be much improved this season. They still need to develop some depth but right now the starting five have been doing a good job against a stellar Bronco defensive line. Walter Stith has a major responsibility in that he will be protecting the QB's blindside in his first year of starting. We is developing but still needs to improve to ensure the abysmal sack numbers from a year ago are not repeated.

Defensive Line

The loss of Hausia Faleofa will hurt as he was a fabulous penetrator along the defensive line but the Broncos do return three standout defensive ends, including preseason All-Everything Jason Babin. With the question marks at defensive tackle expect Nick Melcher to see considerable time at defensive end opposite "Nasty" Jack Gitler, allowing Babin to lineup in a variety of positions. Jon Jones and Paul Moersch need to step up this fall and help stuff the run as the Broncos have serious concerns at linebacker.

Linebacker

Willie Miller and Paul Tithof are currently first team at linebacker. Miller is still recovering from the knee injury he suffered last September against the Hokies. Anthony Turner has been moved from safety to linebacker and has performed well with second team linebacker and JUCO transfer Dan Steinau. No Bronco linebacker has seen considerable playing time previously so this position will be critical to the Broncos efforts to again have the top defense in the MAC.

Defensive Back

The loss of starting cornerback Tony Carr (academics) will hurt. The Bronco secondary returns a solid core from a year ago, including Team MVP Jason Feldpausch. Sam Reynolds, Eugene Childs and Willie Pope must step up at cornerback and get in a rotation now that Carr seems to be lost for the season. At safety the Broncos lost promising newcomer Shawntey Lopez to a ruptured Achilles. Feldpausch, Kevin Ford and Scott Robinson should prove to be solid at safety.

Special Teams

Adam Anderson is clearly the team's punter and the battle for kicker will continue between Robert Menchinger and Anthony Apa.

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