Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Will WMU's Stock go up After the NFL Draft?

There are several recent Bronco's that will be watching the draft on Saturday with more than just a mild interest. Louis Delmas, E.J Biggers, Londen Fryar and Jamarko Simmons are among last year's players that could be selected this weekend. Some as early as Saturday's first round. Delmas has been tagged as a strong investment for team in need of adding to their secondary. His stock shot up after the WMU pro day and individual workouts with a few teams. This accompanied with the fact that he signed with none other than Drew Rosenhaus, for representation is ensuring he receives serious consideration. According to the Wikipedia-

"Rosenhaus represents over 100 NFL players, many of them NFL superstars, including the late Sean Taylor, Tommie Harris, Plaxico Burress, Chad Johnson, Willis McGahee, Santana Moss, Terrell Owens, Kellen Winslow Jr, Jeremy Shockey, Zach Thomas, Frank Gore, Lance Briggs and others."

Now, I am not saying his list of clients are all leaders on the role model circuit, but they do get paid!

The point of all this is simply the question of whether or not this will help Western Michigan University football in the future. The Broncos have had some recent players become successful in "The League". Greg Jennings at Green Bay is a multi year starter and has had multiple playoff appearances, Jason Babain was a first round draft pick, and Tony Scheffler is working out nicely with the other Broncos, in Denver. Have these players brought notoriety to WMU? True Western fans know these players because we have been following some of these players since we shared a campus with them. However, does this translate nationally, and more importantly to recruits?

Head Coach Bill Cubit has a nice pipeline coming out of a section of Florida that has recently brought in some very good, even if they are lower rated, recruits. Will the fact that the Broncos could have 3 to 4 players drafted as early as the 1st 5 rounds mean that kids in Texas, California, Arizona and more of Florida will be giving the Brown and Gold a second look (or perhaps a first)?

My true feeling...it can't hurt but it won't have a huge impact. Western Michigan will definitely be helped if these players become extremely high profile players, which is less likely as most are defenders who will not become a name as well known as future TD makers. But, even with big name offensive players smaller schools still aren't in the bidding war with the major recruits. Case in point; L.T and TCU. The Horned Frogs are known for Tomlinson, but I have never read anything on rivals.com quoting a big time recruit as having TCU in their top 5 along with the likes of USC, Texas, Florida and so on.

I am not attempting to take anything away from the program that Bill Cubit has built. I think he still deserves more credit than he has received for the consistency he has brought to the program and the players he has churned out in his short tenure. My angst comes more from the tiers that exist due to the marketing and funding the big time BCS teams have. I think that this will always overshadow the mid -majors and their successes. Nonetheless, I am looking forward to a interesting draft weekend, especially to the end of the drama that is the #1 overall pick.

Best of luck to all the Broncos that have entered the draft.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Spring Games Give Us a Peek

Over the past weekend both Western and the Wolverines held their annual inter-squad spring games. Both teams were able to refrain from any major injury and showed the fans a great time and gave some hope to their loyal supporters.

I did not attend these games however I have watched some of the available footage on the internet. My first thought is that the September 5th match up is not going to be as close as some may have thought when the game was announced last December. The footage on Michigan shows a team that is much faster than what was on the field at Waldo Stadium that same afternoon. Of course the footage made available is limited for both teams and they are called highlights for a reason. However, Western is coming back this season without 25 of last years players that left due to graduation. The current roster is loaded with players fighting for there chance at a starting role which has been declared evident through out spring practices. The scrimmage showed a defense that didn’t quit and an offense that was able to hold off a late game surge to preserve the win. The scoring system used is slightly misleading due to it being based on points awarded for on field accomplishments and it favored the offense. Also, keep in mind WMU's offense was missing a key component in last year’s success, in Tim Hiller, who is sidelined with an ACL.

The University of Michigan, on the other hand, had a very successful day especially for the promotions department. The reported attendance was 50,000 and the locker room tours and luxury suite tours were attended by capacity crowds. The game day atmosphere was present. The offense appears to be gaining its tempo and thanks to early enrollment and a pair of contact lenses the true freshman QB Tate Forcier and WR Roy Roundtree were able to have an impressive showing.
Overall, I can’t put too much on these games. The teams are playing against themselves so any success on one side of the ball is the direct effect of a failure on the other. That being said, the Broncos will need to focus on clogging up the fast past offense that RichRod has been oiling up. Michigan has everything to lose in September. The fan base has rallied, the hope has returned and if they suffer a third season opener loss, the tone for the season could be completely changed. WMU will have a chance to be a highlight for the evening Sports Center, which is great for the program and recruiting, but a victory in Ann Arbor on the first Saturday of season has certainly lost its luster…in fact it is becoming the norm