Team preview: Toledo

Editor's Note: ESPN Insider has teamed with Blue Ribbon College Football Yearbook to provide a comprehensive look at the Division I-A teams. To order the complete 2008 edition of Blue Ribbon College Football Yearbook, visit www.blueribbonyearbook.com or call 1-866-805-BALL (2255).

(All information as of June 20, 2008)


The leaders of the MAC West for much of the last decade have seen how the rest of the conference lives the last two seasons, and they don't really like it. Consecutive five-win seasons have left no one happy in Toledo -- especially the man running the program that goes by the name of "Toledo Tom" Amstutz.

"That's how football is -- it goes in cycles," Amstutz said.

Key injuries played a part in the Rockets' downward cycle. But there's another reason, too. The rest of the conference has finally caught up to them. Because of the injuries, the Rockets ended up
playing 43 underclassmen, including 11 freshmen.

The injury problem was especially troublesome on defense, with three veteran starters going down that forced the Rockets to thrust some untested youth into the lineup.

The result was Toledo finished 12th in the MAC in total defense and missed out on the postseason for the second straight season.

However, the forced youth movement might turn out to be a good thing in the long run. The injured veterans are back and the youngsters are now battled tested, so Amstutz has a seasoned defense with eight starters returning plus two more from the 2006 squad.

Toledo also has a proven quarterback in junior Aaron Opelt and a high-powered offense that continues to make waves in the conference.