Cincinnati Football: Bearcats Look to Improve on Turnover Margin in 2011

Alex CallosCorrespondent ISeptember 2, 2011

CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 04:  Zach Collaros #12 of the Cincinnati Bearcats reaches for a fumble during the Big East Conference game against the Pittsburgh Panthers at Nippert Stadium on December 4, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Pittsburgh won 28-10.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Cincinnati offense had no trouble moving the ball in 2011. The only problem was, they turned it over 29 times, including 14 Zach Collaros interceptions.

That was more than any other team in the Big East, and to make matters worse, Cincinnati also averaged 63.4 penalty yards a game which was next to last in the conference.

Collaros has worked hard on improving that turnover ratio and not always forcing the issue on third down.

Controlling those turnovers all starts with the opener tomorrow night against Austin Peay.

A more balanced rushing attack may help alleviate some of those problems. The first step toward a well-balanced rushing attack is a healthy Isaiah Pead. Pead was banged up for the first three weeks last season and is at 100 percent as the season begins tomorrow. 

The arrival of freshman running back Jameel Poteat will also help balance the offense. Poteat was the highest-rated recruit in the 2011 class and has the ability to contribute immediately for Cincinnati.

The Bearcats thrived on turnovers in 2008 and 2009 when they went to back-to-back BCS bowl games, and improving on the turnover margin not only involves the offense but the defense also.

On defense, Cincinnati will need to get more pressure on the quarterback to force the issue.

Moving Walter Stewart to defensive end from linebacker is certain to have a positive impact. Stewart is the most talented player on the defensive side of the ball for Cincinnati and will certainly put pressure on the quarterback.

If the Bearcats can improve on their turnover margin in 2011, the 4-8 record from last year will be a distant thing of the past.

It all starts tomorrow night against Austin Peay.