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MWCConnection Roundtable: What is the biggest question for each team entering fall camp in 2023?

The team weighs in

NCAA Football: Mountain West Football Championship-Fresno State at Boise State Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

August means fall camp is upon us. Every team should be practicing as of today. And many have started earlier, as they will be playing games in Week 0 (thanks, Hawaii, for making the football season come a week earlier). With the focus on fall camp, this week we ask: what is the biggest question for each team entering fall camp?

Matt: How does Fresno State replace their lost talent on offense? After losing Jake Haener, Jordan Mims, Jalen Moreno-Cropper, Zane Pope, and Josh Kelly from 2022’s explosive unit, how do players like Mikey Keene and Malik Sherrod reload for another run at the conference title?

Adam: Biggest question facing New Mexico entering camp is, how good will the defense be? There are not many familiar faces returning on that side of the ball. Plus, with Rocky Long moving on, there are many questions to the defense this season. There is a lot of excitement to the offense heading into camp, but as the saying goes: Defense wins championships.

Graham: For Utah State, the biggest question mark is going to come on the offensive line, as the Aggies only return three players that have had starting experience and lose 116 starts this year. The three players that return are led by left guard Wade Meacham and center Falepule Alo. There are questions as to how the offensive line is going to hold up and this might be the biggest question for the team heading into fall camp.

Jeff: Down on the Mesa questions are as abundant as on a Jeopardy game. Who will the defensive line be and how will they integrate with each other? Who will step in as linebacking corps? Which receivers will jockey for top spot? What does the running game look like? Can it perform at typical Aztec standards? Can QB Jalen Mayden continue on his improvement track? So many questions remain to be answeee during camp. I’ll take Aztec football for $200 please.

NittanyFalcon: For the Falcons, the big question is how will the loss of three year starters at QB and fullback change the offense. The incoming replacements have very different skill sets than Haaziq Daniels and Brad Roberts brought to the field. Daniels’ style was marked by elusiveness and evasion, likely starter Jensen Jones is much more direct and poweyprful. Brad Roberts’ style was to hang onto the ball and use subtle movements to stretch out his runs, replacement Emmanuel Michel tends to look for breakaway chances more often. Coach Calhoun has stated that we might see more shotgun sets which he hasn’t employed since Tim Jefferson was quarterback in the early 2010’s as far as I can remember. It all adds up to an interesting year and a challenge for the coaching staff to continue their recent successful run.

Jeremy: There is substantial optimism surrounding the Hawaii defense entering 2023, but the question that might define Hawaii’s entire season is how quickly the offense comes together. Re-adopting the run-and-shoot offense, again, Hawaii is looking to find a much better points per game total than last season. Problem is, the run-and-shoot is a repetition system. Even the famed Colt Brennan teams took time to adjust in 2005. How quickly quarterback Brayden Schager and the wide receivers mesh will likely determine some wins and losses in the first two months of the season.

Jack: For Colorado State, the running back position is the biggest question mark. With Avery Morrow still away from the team, two transfers and a true freshman will share the workload. Kobe Johnson from North Dakota State had 381 career carries before coming to Fort Collins, and has home run ability. He’s the favorite to be the week one starter. KJ Edwards is a JUCO transfer who is the same height as Johnson, but more physical. The wildcard is Damian Henderson II. The 3rd highest ranked commit in school history is a monster, but we’ll have to wait to see how he does in camp. He could end up anywhere from 1st to 3rd on the depth chart.

Mike: Looking at UNLV again, all eyes will be on the hype “Go-Go” Offense. The question I want to know is how are players adjusting to the offense? At the end of spring ball, the coaching staff spoke about needing to think and act quickly to really make the offense effective. Are players able to make immediate decisions or are they still have to slow things down to ensure they are grasping what they are supposed to do? It will be interesting to see.