Monday, August 31, 2009

Western Michigan’s Hiller Has New Receiving Targets

Western Michigan has an outstanding quarterback in senior starter Tim Hiller.
Hiller had a spectacular 2008 season throwing for 3,725 yards and a jaw-dropping 36 touchdowns (approximately 3 per game!). Hiller is also a very accurate thrower. He was on target 65% of the time. Virtually the entire Broncos offense line returns, which will only bolster Hiller’s throwing confidence this fall.

Last year, Hiller really spread the wealth with his 339 completions over 13 games (30 per game). He was blessed with a pretty strong corps of receivers as well, including Jamarko Simmons (1,276 yards, 7 TDs), Schneider Julien (712 yards, 6 TDs), Juan Nunez (701 yards and 7 TDs), TE Brandon Ledbetter (464 yards, 6 TDs) and TB Brandon West (280 yards, 3 TDs).

In 2009, only WR Nunez, TE Ledbetter and TB West return with measurable experience for the Broncos when they head into Michigan Stadium this Saturday to face the Wolverines. Hiller’s new key receiving targets will include:

Junior WR Robert Arnheim, (58 yards, 1 TD)
Freshman WR Ansel Ponder
Junior WR Chleb Ravenell (JC transfer from Georgia Military College, 345 yards, 7 TDs in 2007)
Freshman WR Trey Smith (possible a TE)
Sophomore WR Dervon Wallace (16 yards, 0 TD)

Clearly the experience level and timing for the WMU passing game may not be what it was last year. Having a great QB like Hiller should make up for some of these youth, inexperience and timing deficiencies. It makes sense for head coach Bill Cubit to try and leverage as much as possible Hiller’s more proven, experienced and productive options for the passing offense: wideout Juan Nunez, tailback Brandon West and big tight end Brandon Ledbetter, while easing the freshman and other receiver newbies into the attack plan.

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