2014 CINCINNATI BEARCATS FOOTBALL PREVIEW
June 20, 2014INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
Cincinnati Bearcats football preview
COACH: Tommy Tuberville (9-4 @ UC, 139-81 overall)
Offense of coordinator: Eddie Gran
Defensive coordinator: Hank Hughes, Robert Prunty
Last league title: 2009
Returning starters: 16, seven offense, seven defense, kicker and punter
Players to Watch: Gunner Kiel, Hosey Williams, Ralph David Abernathy, Chris Moore, Shaq Washington, Eric Lefeld, Nick Temple, Silverberry Mouhon and Jeff Luc
Points per game: 32.1
Total offense: 472.1
Defensive points per game: 21.0
Total defense: 472.1
The Bearcats are looking forward to what could be a special season if their quarterback situation pans out and their defense will be more consistent with a new coordinator. Cincinnati went 9-4 last season and finished third in the AAC. Quarterback Gunner Kiel is expected to be the starter after spending a year on the scout team. Kiel was a five-star quarterback coming out of Columbus East high school in Indiana. He originally committed to Indiana then transferred to Notre Dame before settling at Cincinnati. Kiel has three years of eligibility remaining. He has a big arm, is very accurate, can throw a nice deep ball and has good mobility. The one area he must improve on is throwing the football on the run. The one challenger he will have this fall is from junior college transfer Jarred Evans. Former starter Munchie Legaux will return for his fifth year after suffering a severe knee injury last September. Whoever the quarterback will be Cincinnati will return its top three rushers including Hosey Williams, Ralph David Abernathy and Tion Green. The wide receiver position is in good shape with Senior Shaq Washington and Chris Moore. Washington is an excellent possession receiver who had 78 catches last year. The offensive line returns three starters including tackle Eric Lefeld (6-6 309).
Cincinnati’s defense ranked ninth in the country in total defense and yet still fired their defensive coordinator Art Kaufman. Coach Tuberville hired Hank Hughes to run the defense. Hughes will continue to run the 4-3 defense that was implemented last year. The strength of the defense may be the linebackers with Nick Temple and Jeff Luc returning. Temple had 80 tackles in 2013, Luc finished with 43. The defensive line will feature Silverberry Mouhon who finished with 9 ½ sacks. Safety Zach Edwards ended the season with 73 tackles and cornerback Howard Wilder also finished with 35. Northwestern transfer Eric Wilson will add depth to the linebacker position allowing Luc to go from inside linebacker to middle linebacker.
Cincinnati’s early schedule will feature home games against Toledo and Miami of Ohio before they travel to Ohio State on September 27. The conference schedule will include trips to SMU, Tulane, Connecticut and Temple. Home dates in the conference will include Memphis, South Florida, East Carolina and Houston. If Gunner Kiel plays the way that Cincinnati expects him to the Bearcats will go bowling again in 2014.