DT Terrill Byrd

2007 Statistics

Coach: Brian Kelly
11-3, 1 year
2007 Record: 10-3
at Miami OH WON 47-10
at San Diego State WON 52-23
at Rutgers WON 28-23
at Pittsburgh LOST 17-24
at South Florida WON 38-33
at Syracuse WON 52-31
Southern Miss WON 31-21


2007 Final Rankings
AP-17, Coaches-20, BCS-22

2008 Outlook

The expectations for Brian Kelly in his initial year here were high, but few expected a school-record 10 wins and for the Bearcats to finish No.17 in the final AP poll for their first year-end ranking ever. Winning follows Kelly - his two Division II national titles and subsequent MAC crown were evidently omens for his highest level of success yet. After going out 6-0 last year against some patsies (save Oregon State, which UC beat 34-3), the two straight losses that followed had many thinking Kelly and his guys had overachieved. But by applying simple math, any grade schooler can add up the losing margins of their three losses to see how only 16 points separated Cincy and an undefeated season in '07.

For an encore, Kelly gets another QB conundrum to solve. Talent oozes from the candidates - Dustin Grutza has the inside track with his experience here (12-12 as a starter), but keeping Demetrius Jones at bay seems impossible since Jones is the highest-rated incoming player in over a decade (or possibly ever) here. Both dual-threat candidates have shown the stuff to make each a decent choice - senior Grutza for his leadership and decision making, and speedy sophomore Jones for his possible potential this year and for the fledging future of the program. Without anyone distancing themselves in the six-QB race, many names will get called under center, especially early on. But don't think Kelly and OC Jeff Quinn won't sort through their findings to land on the guy who fits best...and the quicker the better so the offense can produce the chemistry needed to compliment the QB chosen. The other volatile area looks like the OL. And though it's not a liability, too many injuries up front would eventually lower the bar for the entire offense. Still, Quinn has a history of producing NFL-caliber types along his lines. Not a magician, just an efficient leader, Kelly will get the most out of every snap, once again, and have the O back in the top third of the national stat rankings for most production categories.

Much effort is being put into changing the defensive formations during the play-calling interim. You know, when modern offenses often hustle to the line right after the ball is placed so they can force defenses to show their alignment, and then opposing coaches pick the optimum play with that all-important knowledge. The staff saw this work against them in the losses, ergo the new strategy. The coaches' aim, according to Kelly, is to "build some uncertainty in the looks [we're] giving offenses. That's the thing that drives coaches crazy." This is the first school we've seen talk about how they'll disrupt such a savvy offensive trick, so kudos for what should catch on, if it hasn't already.

The defense has been consistently strong for two years; only a few areas needed focus to keep the momentum going this fall. Only two 2007 foes went over the 30-point mark, and both times the offense outscored them. DC Tresey, also working under Kelly at his second stop like many assistants here (CMU was first), will have a superior DL, big LBs who can move well, and possibly the best trio of corners in the land. Anyone who thinks the new-look DEs (with two defectors from offense who have bolstered the position) won't be great hasn't done their homework (see DL section). It's the safeties who are not so set, but each candidate has shown to fit well into what already is being run. The safeties made sure Tresey's D only allowed 25 offensive scores in '07, so this position is key for continued success on this side of scrimmage.

The changes and strategies get a stern non-conference test right away, facing Oklahoma in Norman. We'll be the first to say, at this juncture, that UC proves much to the national audience in staying with (if not beating) the Sooners in the early-season battle. Even a respectable loss will buoy confidence for this growing program. West Virginia, Louisville and runner-up/already-ranked UConn are all away games and within a 20-day period that will surely define the season and where they finish in the conference race. The guys can't let the season-ender, an extra 13th game in Hawai'i, be their rainbow's gold and keep them from focusing on the Big East gauntlet.

Kelly's all-time 78-18-1 home record during his 18 years of head coaching compliments his 12th-place standing amongst active coaches for winning percentage (.729). The direction of the program and its potential increased many-fold with his arrival, and 2008 will add another year to Kelly's growing legacy.

Projected 2008 record: 8-4
QB - 4 DL - 4
RB - 3 LB - 3.5
WR - 4 DB - 4
OL - 3 ..
2007 Statistical Rankings
Total Off:
Sacks Allow:
Total Def:

Passing: Dustin Grutza, 39-55-0, 432 yds., 4 TD

Rushing: Jacob Ramsey, 96 att., 362 yds., 3 TD

Receiving: Dominick Goodman, 68 rec., 869 yds., 8 TD

Scoring: Marcus Bennett, 14 TD, 84 pts.; Jake Rogers, 11-19 FG, 51-54 PAT, 84 pts.

Punting: Kevin Huber, 57 punts, 46.9 avg.

Kicking: Jake Rogers, 11-19 FG, 51-54 PAT, 84 pts.

Tackles: Corey Smith, 80 tot., 39 solo

Sacks: Terrill Byrd, 8 sacks

Interceptions: DeAngelo Smith, 8 for 82 yds., 1 TD

Kickoff returns: Jacob Ramsey, 16 ret., 21.9 avg., 0 TD

Punt returns: Marshwan Gilyard, 6 ret., 9.5 avg., 0 TD


WR Dominick Goodman
OFFENSE: Ben Mauk-QB, Butler Benton-RB, Greg Moore-RB, Antwuan Giddens-WR, Earnest Jackson-TE, Digger Bujnoch-OT, Ken Rodriguez-OG
DEFENSE: Angelo Craig-DE, Anthony Hoke-DE, Leo Morgan-LB, Jon Carpenter-LB, Anthony Williams-SS, Haruki Nakamura-FS

Given the reins of a budding FBS program, Brian Kelly and right-hand man Jeff Quinn made noticeable progress in maximizing the talent available in their spread looks. Dustin Grutza looked poised to continue his starting status in August of '07, but he was quickly demoted and spent the down time watching Ben Mauk earn the nation's No.11 efficiency rating. Mauk is out for getting the NCAA to grant him a sixth year, so again, we find Grutza precariously perched atop the depth chart. Sure, in his two '07 starts within Kelly's system, quick-study Grutza bore little resemblance to the guy who was a mere 12-12 as a starter before Kelly's arrival. Solid this spring, dual-threat Grutza has a logjam behind him of willing candidates...five of them, and they all got their fair shake to stratify the unit. The guy who likely gets the first shot at insertion is Notre Dame transfer Demetrius Jones. Pulled last year after three pass tries by Charlie Weis, Jones transferred here quickly (by September of '07) and is therefore already ready for action. This is the only four-star prospect on the roster, and Jones showed this spring that, although not as far along in the system as Grutza, why he will possibly displace Grutza in the same style that Mauk did last year. Jones is a step faster as he proved in the Bearcat Bowl II, but he isn't the best arm of the hurlers - Chazz Anderson holds that distinction, but Anderson is at least a year away as most freshman would be entering such a complex offense. Tony Pike has the local crowd behind him, but there are other QBs ahead of him; the junior just seems to be the odd man out, though capable as a drop-back type if given the chance to develop. Brian Kelly has done more with less; "I think it will turn out well. We'll get the right guy under center." Injuries will not be what keep the QB unit from soaring.

The RBs don't run nearly as deep as the QBs. Jacob Ramsey is the bulkiest of the backs, but he also has speed outside the tackles when healthy...he was managing a sore ankle all spring and his numbers suffered, but as the only incumbent, he has the inside track by knowing what to do best. Soph John Goebel has the same modest speed but a slightly slimmer look for longer strides in open space. Scott Johnson jumps over from defense and his 4.4-second speed (in the 40) has him quickly earning reps. Including Mauk at QB, 2007 saw four Bearcats get at least 87 carries, and Quinn is confident in his limited choice to "carry" the load. But there is no margin for injurious times. Isaiah Pead is the exceptional three-star prospect, a RB with speed and cutback moves whom many are looking forward to seeing ASAP in the one-back sets. Something has to give with only one other on the roster, putting the three other backs beside Pead also on the fast track - just in case.

The receivers return many capable, experienced hands, including the top three snarlers from last season. All-Big East ex-high jumper Marcus Barnett (6'5 best), a beanpole deep-threat who catches balls like he has gummed hands, broke out versus West Virginia (10 catches for 210 yards) to secure his Freshman All-American nod. Senior Dominick Goodman has the body for guaranteeing underneath success. Marshwan Gilyard was uncoverable in the Bearcat Bowl, proving why the ex-DB was switched back and why he quickly started soon after that. He shares the third spot with 6'3 ex-sprinter/diver Charley Howard. Adrien Robinson was too much for DBs this spring, proving why the 6'4, 250lb WR is on Kelly's radar even though he doesn't make the two-deep. Will D.J. Woods and his 4.35 speed find his way into the four- and five-receiver sets? End Kazeem Alli is the guy who will open up the deep middle, but Cincy seemed to lack a true blocking "H-Back", the spread's assigned name for a mobile power blocker who's capable of burning defenses when he gets his touches. Enter Marcus Waugh, who can do it all, even play center, DT (his '07 slot), KR and punter.

Chris Jurek inherits the OL's captain slot - Jurek was good enough to start, and though he was demoted in November and suffered food poisoning this winter, he looks good to go. Jason Kelce is worthy at any position on the line, but this ex-walk-on LB has come far enough, quickly enough to earn the RG start. Trevor Canfield isn't happy with earning Second Team All-Big East twice, he wants First Team credentials and the future NFL draft pick will push himself even more to assure inside running success. RT Jeff Linkenbach was worthy of the start at LT for most of '06. Used less in '07, "Link" is an asset for '08. That leaves Khalil El-Amin, the RT last year who seems to be the best choice to land at LT. The backups are all underclassmen, mostly freshmen who have only C.J. Cobb as an experienced example. Injuries would affect the OL, but spring seemed to contradict this idea as both sets of big men (on the two-deep) did adequate jobs when patched together for the final scrimmage.

Kelly is a proven motivator. The offense will be fluid, regardless of the previews that say otherwise, and consistency should bring a balance to the time-of-possession stats.


OG Trevor Canfield


Returning Starters in bold
QB Dustin Grutza-Sr (6-2, 203) Demetrius Jones-So (6-4, 204)
Tony Pike-Jr (6-6, 211)
Chazz Anderson-Fr (6-0, 205)
RB Jacob Ramsey-Jr (5-11, 218) John Goebel-So (6-0, 208)
WR Charley Howard-Jr (6-3, 208) Marshwan Gilyard-Jr (6-1, 180)
WR Dominick Goodman-Sr (6-0, 218) Armon Binns-So (6-3, 201)
WR Marcus Barnett-So (6-2, 164) Jared Martin-Jr (6-0, 195)
TE Kazeem Alli-Jr (6-2, 245) Ben Guidugli-So (6-0, 239)
OT Khalil El-Amin-Sr (6-4, 312) Alex Hoffman-Fr (6-5, 268)
OG Trevor Canfield-Sr (6-5, 295) Blake McCroskey-Fr (6-5, 300)
C Chris Jurek-Jr (6-2, 260) Frank Becker-Fr (6-1, 292)
OG Jason Kelce-So (6-4, 269) C.J. Cobb-So (6-3, 326)
OT Jeff Linkenbach-Jr (6-6, 297) Craig Parmenter-Fr (6-5, 272)
K Jake Rogers-So (6-3, 200) Brandon Yingling-Sr (6-1, 194)



Coordinator Joe Tresey's hand seems to have been dealt from a stacked deck. Nine seniors and two juniors - six of whom are returning starters - will make up one of the nation's most experienced and capable defenses, one that is expected to improve on already strong results.

Only 15 run defenses gave up fewer yards per carry (3.15), and only seven allowed less TDs (10). Factor in the 11-sack game against Syracuse to see how that look is already in their eyes for more carnage. Truly so, since the entire starting DL is comprised of seniors, and the two new hats are already proven athletic commodities. Ex-TE and roundball walk-on Conner Barwin has "just gotten better and better each week", according to Tresey, and the former two-way prep player proves his nose for the game allows him to move anywhere and succeed. He is joined by former Ohio Defensive Player of the Year (Division III) and NHS member Lamonte Nelms, a proven backup who earned two starts and finished third for team TFLs (10) as well as sacks (4.5). Craig Carey is another side-switcher, giving up his sixth-string status at QB so he can play end (also did time at TE, and even had 11 special teams tackles to prove his toughness). Carey tied for the most tackles in the Bearcat Bowl. Terrill Byrd has an amazing burst, so much so that he was named National Prep Defensive Player of the Year (2004 Prep.com) and, more recently at the FBS level, he was good for 17 TFLs to earn an All-American nod from us this preseason. Not quite the stat-line maven of Byrd, Adam Hoppel holds his own nicely, even earning an INT (and 16-yard return) to highlight his quickness in reacting. The only knock is that the starters are a bit small, and Pitt showed last year how solid inside blocking can mean running success for any Bearcat foes. Mathews and Hughes offer some extra size, but no 300+ guys means bigger, top 20 opponents will again be able to push Cincy around in the biggest of games.

The linebackers look formidable, a bunch who will tie the defense together with their hybrid qualities. Start with Corey Smith, a Brig Owens Award winner (as team's best DB) at SAM. "Could he be a strong safety? Maybe," explains Tresey, "He's...able to do a lot of things without us having to switch personnel." That sentiment applies across the entire D, as subbing for the back seven will diminish. Jones will become a nickel when spread looks have three or more guys lining up outside. MLB Ryan Manalac is a step slowed than Smith, but the former walk-on is properly placed to use his size for extremely effective hole plugging. Revels looks like another run stuffer, but to pigeonhole him this way doesn't respect the fact that he finished as the team's fifth-leading tackler serving primarily as a backup. Robby Armstrong came on strong, tying Carey for most tackles in the spring scrimmage to assure coaches use his services come fall. Two seniors and a budding freshman make the LB depth mimic the starters in physical attributes.

The DBs will again be forced into extra action when the airtight line overachieves. The corners are the Big East's best and arguably in the top five for the nation. Mike Mickens is a future Sunday star, but for now he is an All-American for us and possibly the best cover guy on the team. DeAngelo Smith will take issue with that statement, especially since his eight INTs were tied for the most in FBS and were two more than his counterpart (but Smith returned only one of his picks for six points, whereas Mickens scored twice this way). "DeLo" can shift back to play safety, if needed. Two top corners, two All-Big East performers...but the corner spots are anything but sewn up. Huh? The odd man in is Ohio State transfer Brandon Underwood, a senior who spent '07 on the scout team. Underwood's INT (and TD) of Anderson's attempt during the final drive of spring put the exclamation point on his claim for reps. Underwood, also a six-footer, gives Tresey options for putting together different packages when the offenses they face change weekly (Underwood and/or Smith for nickel/dime packages), depending on whether the foes are a large running team and/or a quicker spread type. Simply put, coach Kelly says disrupting the vertical routes will trickle down many of the improvements needed for the entire D. The safeties are new as starters, but the ropes are known to each already. Tolbert as SS will not allow for any drop-off, and Brad Jones is a strong cover guy for bumping up into one-on-one situations. Defensive Newcomer of the Year (2006) Aaron Webster is just awaiting his shot, like he did before he stole one against San Diego State for a 58-yard "Pick Six". Coaches say that Drew Frye is fearless, and the 6'4 backup (redshirted due to shoulder) does so much that "sometimes we have to get him under control" [Tresey]. The safeties will be the key variable for whether the defense can reach the same heights.


CB Mike Mickens


Returning Starters in bold
DE Lamonte Nelms-Sr (6-3, 245) Craig Carey-Jr (6-4, 233)
DT Adam Hoppel-Sr (6-2, 270) Ricardo Mathews-Jr (6-3, 290)
DT Terrill Byrd-Sr (6-0, 271) John Hughes-Fr (6-2, 295)
DE Connor Barwin-Sr (6-4, 240) Rob Trigg-So (6-3, 254)
SLB Corey Smith-Sr (6-1, 213) Torry Cornett-Sr (6-3, 228)
MLB Ryan Manalac-Sr (6-0, 232) Alex Delisi-Fr (6-1, 224)
WLB Andre Revels-Jr (6-0, 226) Delbert Ferguson-Sr (6-1, 235)
CB Mike Mickens-Sr (6-0, 170) Justin Moore-So (5-10, 176)
CB DeAngelo Smith-Sr (6-0, 191) Brandon Underwood-Sr (6-1, 177)
SS Cedric Tolbert-Sr (6-0, 199) Scott Johnson-Fr (5-10, 201)
FS Brad Jones-Jr (6-1, 206) Drew Frey-Fr (6-4, 212)
P Kevin Huber-Sr (6-2, 224) Michael Cooke-Fr (6-1, 214)




Jake Rogers seems to have the biggest leg on UC's roster, despite his 1-for-6 efforts from 40-49 yards and two blocked attempts. Rogers was merely a freshman last year, so his performance this year should reflect more maturity. Kevin Huber picks up where he left off as the nation's top punter, and the net punting will hopefully again follow suit. DeAngelo Smith has captured both return spots, a smart move since the All-American is a DB, too.