It's not easy getting college football coaches to honestly comment on another coach, player or team. Most coaches don't want to give opposing teams bulletin board material, which is why there is a lot of coach speak or overused cliches used during the year.
In order to get an accurate assessment of teams heading into 2019, Athlon asked coaches in the MAC to talk anonymously about their opponents.
Note: These scouting reports come directly from coaching staffs and do not necessarily reflect the views of Athlon's editorial staff.
MAC Coaches Talk Anonymously About Conference Foes for 2019
"I think the difference between them and the other teams that are starting over is that they have some nice pieces already there."
"The quarterback is really, really good and can use his feet really well. It will be interesting to see if (Tom) Arth fits him into his pro scheme or the other way around."
"Defensively they have a lot of team speed; they liked to fly around with the last staff."
"Defensively they do a lot of great stuff with pressures. They can make you uncomfortable in the passing game and get after the quarterback."
"Riley Neal was an awesome quarterback and could probably start for Vanderbilt this year."
"They're been banged up a lot it looks like, so we haven’t really seen them at their best."
"This just wasn’t a disciplined or really effective football team under the last staff."
"The roster is a mess. No one jumps out at you."
"We're not really sure what they’ll look like right out of the gate."
"It's an interesting hire [new head coach Scot Loeffler], let's say, and they were a mess down the stretch so they're going to start over clean."
"They’re in for it this year and need to go recruit."
"This is the team tha's going to out-scheme you. We could see it on film afterwards. This is just a really well-coached team."
"You can really tell a program is in Year 4 going on 5 when you look at their offensive line and see a bunch of size and experience and the amount of stuff they can do schematically on both sides."
"Jim McElwain has a lot of work to do. That roster bottomed out, and it was one of the worst offenses we’ve seen in this conference."
"The first thing they need to solidify a quarterback and build from there."
"What's good about Mac is that he's done offense at pretty much every level, so he'll fit guys in the right way. But they have very limited skill position talent."
"The recruiting has been awful."
"A really tough team to play, really physical and nasty. They're sound defensively. They're not far from being a really good team."
"They're not going to out-scheme you and none of the personnel jumps out at you, but they can get your nose bloody on the run game."
"They need to be more explosive on offense, but they lost a lot of close games."
Related: MAC Football Predictions for 2019
"They're changing how they recruit, and it's really showing. They're bringing in guys at a level they've never really had."
"They're still building but they’ve been in a lot of close games."
"They screen the hell out of you, which sometimes doesn't work for them." They're changing how they recruit and it's really showing."
"The trick right now is not having it fall apart before you get those guys up and ready. You have to win some games at some point."
"That scheme is really good, and they execute it well. But they get really tight in close games, like they're overthinking it.”
"An offense that's really hard to defend. It's a little bit different than what we typically see in the MAC, a lot of the Grand Valley offense that Brian Kelly took to Notre Dame."
"They also have one of the best special teams units we've seen."
"They're always a little bit deeper than most of the teams in this conference, and it shows in their consistency. They are always solid."
"It's crazy they ended up winning the MAC. Rod Carey has a lot of respect but that wasn't one of their more talented teams at all. It really was a lot of circumstances there towards the end."
"Curious what (Thomas) Hammock does, the South Dakota State guy at OC could be interesting."
"This isn't a MAC school you make good, this is one of the few that’s good and you just don't screw it up."
"You better know what you're doing on defense when you play these guys. They will run the ball over and over and over if you let them."
"That's the rep Frank (Solich) has built - really physical and disciplined, they limit your chances on offense and if you get cute they'll kill you."
"You can't shoot it out with them, they're too good in the secondary."
"Absolute contender to win the conference."
Related: MAC Predictions for 2019
"They're going to kill you on explosive plays."
"They can stretch it, and those running backs are really, really solid. Just a really good-looking team."
"That stable of receivers, they're just freak show guys."
"They're probably the best looking teams in the conference and can bring in talent you don't normally see."
"If they can replace the receivers they're as good as a P5 offense."
"They're still really talented. They're still working with the recruiting from P.J. (Fleck), and it shows in the skill positions."
"They could win the conference.”
"Losing their quarterback really hurt them down the stretch, but they could bounce back nicely. They have almost everybody back."
"Watch out for them on offense if they're healthy."