Earlier this week we took a look at a few of the more experienced and inexperienced offensive lines for 2011. Now it is time to take a look which offenses are loaded with returning starters and which are not.
Here is a breakdown of the number of offensive returning starters in the FBS. For offensive starters by team, see our 2011 Draft Kit.
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Below are a few notables. Returning starters in parenthesis.
BYU (10) - Last year was a rebuilding year for the Cougars. With ten returning starters and a year under center for quarterback Jake Heaps, we should see marked improvement this season. We started to see signs of growth last fall as the Cougars went 5-1 down the stretch. Of course the schedule was considerably easier at that time and Cougars will open with three straight BCS conference opponents in 2011.
Michigan (9) - Yeah, the offense won't be what it was in 2010 and there will be a learning curve with a new system, but the do have experience on their side. Brady Hoke has done a excellent job tailoring his offense around his quarterback's strengths during his stops at Ball State (Nate Davis) and San Diego State (Ryan Lindley). I'm confident he'll do it again.
Texas A&M (9) - Nearly everyone returns from an offense that scored 31.2 points per game last fall. With Jeff Fuller healthy, the passing game should be much improved. The ground attack will also benefit from the return of Christine Michael, though his return doesn't help fantasy owners.
Toledo (9) - It's easy to overlook the schools from the MAC, but that would not be wise. Western Michigan, Northern Illinois and Toledo were three of the highest scoring teams in the league and each return a bulk of their offense. The Rockets are one of the few teams that return their starting quarterback, running back and top receiver. Running back Adonis Thomas and receiver Eric Page will once again be serious fantasy factors this fall.
Central Michigan (8) - Another team that returns a trio of offensive weapons is Central Michigan. Quarterback Ryan Radcliff, running back Paris Cotton and receiver Cody Wilson all return. Look for the Chippewas to rebound after a rebuilding year.
Wisconsin (4) - The good news is a bulk of the offensive line and running backs James White and Montee Ball return. The passing game, however, may struggle to find the same consistency they enjoyed the past two seasons with Scott Tolzien at the helm. Leading receiver Lance Kendricks also graduates opening the door for sophomore tight end Jacob Pederson carry the fantasy torch.
TCU (4) - A third straight BCS Bowl is going to be a tough task as the Horned Frogs as they must replace four-year starting quarterback Andy Dalton and a significant portion of their offensive line.
Hawaii (3) - Bryant Moniz will only have one familiar face to throw to this fall, Royce Pollard. There will be new names that emerge as fantasy factors from the Big Island this fall and my bet is receiver Darius Bright will be one of them. We just hope Moniz has time to throw to them this fall. The Warriors return just one returning stater on the offensive line, left tackle Austin Hansen. But his status still up in the air after being suspended for the Hawaii Bowl.
UTEP (2) - Gone are all the familiar faces, including four-year starter Trevor Vittatoe, three-year starter Kris Adams and one-year wonder Donald Buckram. Coach Mike Price has his work cut out for him. Best to stay clear of the Miners this fall.