Ball State Cardinals Ball State Cardinals Team Preview Coming into the season, the Ball State Cardinals are picked to finish 4th in a weak MAC conference. While the Central Michigan Broncos seem to poised to win the conference, there is no clear-cut runner-up after them. This leaves a lot of hope for the Cardinals as they push for respectability in the role as one of the underdogs. Not much can be said about the team as they remain shallow on both offense and defense. If winning starts becoming a tradition for Ball State, it will most likely be attributed to their hard work. Offense Back to lead the team under center is senior quarterback Andre Smith. Smith had a tremendous game to close out the season last year and he hopes to build on that success. Smith is always a threat on the feet and has a strong arm to boot, but his vision and decision-making needs to improve. At halfback, sophomore Phil Dudley has beat out junior David Brown for the spot due to his speed. Dudley is raw and his blocking is suspect, but provides fresh talent to an offense in need of a boost. Junior wide receivers Jelani Alford and Otis Brown come into the season as the starters, but freshman Rodney Leslie is threatening to snatch one of their spots. Leslie, a redshirt freshman, is faster and has better awareness of the football. Defense Senior middle linebacker Travis Freeman is back for his final season and plans to go out with a bang. Freeman is one of the most agile linebackers in the conference and he is a capable leader for the defense. The Cardinals are short on talent in their secondary, leading them to gamble on freshmans at both safeties position. Ball State head coach ken10 seems to prefer young, speedy playmakers over gritty veterans. Whether this will pan out sucessfully for the Cardinals remains to be seen.