Here is another Q&A I did, this time it is with SB Nation's MAC-centric site Hustle Belt about Toledo and tonight's Military Bowl. So make sure to go check out their site before the game this afternoon.
Make sure to go check out the Q&A I did with them as well.
1. With Tim Beckman leaving Toledo for the Illinois job do you think there will be a drop off in production, particularly with the offense?
I really don't think so, offensively. Beckman was a defensive coordinator before taking over the Rockets, and we see how well that worked out. Meanwhile, Offensive Coordinator Matt Campbell was one of the names Beckman specifically mentioned in his first press conference at Illinois as one of the assistants he wanted to bring over. Instead, Campbell took the coaching job at Toledo. All signs point to Campbell being the brains behind the offense. Add to that the players simply love the guy, and I think they'll be playing with something to prove.
2. The run option offense that Air Force runs is unique, does Toledo have the front seven to contain this offense.
If they were at full strength, yes. TJ Fatinikun won't be playing, however, and that could be where a weakness develops. That being said, the Rockets have been pretty solid against the run anyways, allowing only 123 ypg on the ground, highlighted by keeping Temple's Bernard Pearce under 100 yards and out of the endzone. It's the passing D that's the problem, and from what I understand, Tim Jefferson Jr. is a legit threat.
3. Who are key players on offense and defense that Air Force needs to pay attention to?
It goes without saying that Eric Page is the lynchpin of both the offense and special teams. 112 catches for 1,123 yards and 10 TDs? Even when he's not catching the ball, he's opening up the field for everybody else. Adonis Thomas is one of those bowling ball type running backs that just drags defenders along with him, and he can catch the ball, too. On D, watch out for Desmond Marrow, a 6 year senior DB who led the team in tackles with 47 tackles and 31 assists.
4. Toledo's defense gives up a lot of points and yards per game, but they are +16 in the turnover margin. However, in the MAC offenses light up the scoreboard making defenses look bad, so basically how efficient is the Toledo defense.
I mentioned the passing defense before, and that's clearly the weakness. Over 400 yards against Boise, just under 400 yards against Miami, and 500 yards against Western Michigan. But it's high-risk, high-reward, because they had 13 picks on the year, which looks really spiffy with 15 fumble recoveries. When it's clicking, it's clicking.
5. Who wins and why?
Tough one to call. If Toledo can bottle up the triple-option, it could be a quick game. If they let the Falcons run roughshot, it could get ugly. I'm gonna run with Vegas and say Toledo by 3.