This time of year everyone can make a case for why they think their team is better than other teams. I am of the opinion that Dubuque could have a very good season next year.
But, to paraphrase Jeff Bridges from 'The Big Lebowski' - Yeah, well…that’s just like, my opinion, man.
After 2011 Dubuque lost the all-time NCAA leading receiver Michael Zweifel, the 3rd leading receiver in UD history Demacus Fleming, the all time leading rusher in UD history Justin Spaulding and the right side of their O-line. For 2012 Wyatt Hanus went on to pass for 1/2 a yard less per game than he had the previous year. Kyle Acker rushed for 993 yards. The UD offense went on and prospered without the players they lost to graduation. For 2013 on offense UD loses Hanus at QB, Skaife at C, Hookstead at TE. All 1st team IIAC pics. But, UD went from Jackson to Hansen to Hanus at QB...continuing on to Fry in 2013 at QB will hopefully be just as successful. Hookstead was a great TE, but I like what I see in Lee Jones and Tyler Dobratz at TE. Richard Skaife went down with a season ending knee injury and was replaced with Michael Murphy and UD went on a 3 game winning streak to close out the year. The rest of the offense returns. UD should be fine on offense in 2013.
On defense UD loses 5 starters. 2 on the line, 2 linebackers, 1 safety. Marice Hill was 2nd team IIAC DE, Trevor Runkle was 2nd team IIAC LB, Malcolm Stewart was 1st team IIAC Safety. While those are bigger holes to fill than on offense for UD, knowing what they have in the pipeline, the coaches seem confident for next year on the D side of things.
How UD does in the non-con portion of the schedule could go a long ways towards determining how the Spartans do during the conference portion of the schedule. I am confident, but I should be as a fan.