Western Michigan has a winner in its derby to find a starting quarterback for the 2010 season.
Third-year sophomore Alex Carder comes out of spring practice No. 1 on the Broncos' depth chart.
Considering nothing is ever etched in stone, the situation could change in the next few months before the season-opener. But Carder did enough in spring practice to get the nod.
"Right now, if we had to play a game today, it would be Alex," Broncos coach Bill Cubit told the Kalamazoo (Mich.) Gazette. "I'm happy with him. I think he's really doing a lot of good things as long as he doesn't blow up on a play and it hurts you.
"Right now, I'm really happy with him."
Carder understands the situation could change if he doesn't have a good summer of preparation and then follow with a strong fall camp.
"August is huge for us," he said. "Spring's definitely a big stepping stone for us ... but August is when we really mesh everything together. That's when I'd really feel the comfort to play a game."
Drew Burdi, a fifth-year senior, is No. 2 on the depth chart after spring practice, and freshman Tyler VanTubbergen is No. 3.
Carder put the finishing touches on spring practice by completing 14 of 18 passes for 147 yards and a touchdown in the spring game. He was 8-for-8 in the second half.
"You could see in the second half how he can control a game," Cubit said. "He can do some things moving his feet around.
"We had a good run with the quarterbacks we've had here, and now we've got the next guy."NOTES, QUOTES
--The Broncos needed help in the interior of their defensive line so they turned to John Rice, a nephew of NFL receiving legend Jerry Rice. John Rice, a junior-college transfer, and freshman Travonte Boles are expected to provide great help on the D-line.
--Jordan White and Chleb Ravenell are considered Western Michigan's top receivers. They were held out of the spring game and junior Dervon Wallace took advantage. Wallace was the top pass-catcher in the game with six receptions for 89 yards and a 28-yard touchdown.
RB Aaron Winchester -- He showed during the spring that he's ready to take over as the main back in Western Michigan's offense. Winchester showed flashes of being really good the past two seasons while playing behind Brandon West.
RT Dann O'Neill -- The University of Michigan transfer could become the starter this season if he continues to progress. O'Neill has the size and footwork that could carry him to an NFL opportunity.
DE Paul Hazel -- He's 6-5 and only 200 pounds, but he showed more physical play this spring than his weight would suggest. He's tough and likes to hit.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think we're making strides, but we can't be consistent seven out of 10 plays. We need to be consistent nine or 10 out of 10 plays. When that happens, I think we'll be closer to being a good defense than we are now." -- New defensive coordinator Dave Cohen on his unit's progress during the spring.STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
2010 OUTLOOK: Western Michigan took a serious look at its defense after last season, trying to find ways to improve. This year's recruiting efforts focused on defensive linemen and defensive backs. Coach Bill Cubit also shook up his defensive coaching staff, letting go defensive coordinator Steve Morrison and bringing in former Hofstra head coach Dave Cohen to lead the defense next season. Cohen was available after Hofstra dropped its football program.
SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: Alex Carder will be the new starting QB for the Broncos, succeeding Tim Hiller, who graduated. As a first-time starter, Carder will need a dependable running game to rely on, and the Broncos should be good in that area. Aaron Winchester assumes the No. 1 tailback job, and backups Antoin Scriven and Brian Fields will bid for time. Fields led the backs in the spring game with 96 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.
SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: The revamped defense under new coordinator Dave Cohen is seeking to become more aggressive this season. The Broncos want to fly to the ball in numbers and make offenses respect their ability to hit.
SCOUTING THE SPECIAL TEAMS: The biggest goal for the Broncos' kickers this spring was to find more consistency, and that's been a process. Junior PK John Potter made only 67 percent of his field goals last year, and P Ben Armer averaged 39.0 yards per kick with too many clunkers in the mix. Jordan White should be among the MAC's top punt returners, and a new kick returner must emerge to replace NCAA all-time leader Brandon White.
--The Broncos are excited about the trio of tailbacks they have this year. Aaron Winchester is the starter, and Antoin Scriven and Brian Fields showed promise this spring.
--The DL performed as a patchwork unit throughout the spring. Drew Nowak, Weston Pfeiffer and Freddie Bishop missed time this spring, and that hurt the line's development.
--WR Jordan White missed the final five games in 2009 with a broken leg. He was the team's leading receiver at the time of his injury. White is back and will be counted on to lead a talented receiver group next season.
Previous Report: 04/28/2010