Friday, June 05, 2020

News from Football

So last night BG held a virtual forum with Scott Loeffler (and special guests, or how do they do that at concerts, ASG?), more on that in a minute.

First, kudos to the athletic department for being innovative and creating this event.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I'm glad I got my renewal taken care of in time to participate.  There are going to be more of these and I'd encourage any other season ticket holders to get their renewals in and participate.

Some small news bits.

He said that one thing that was apparent in the 3 days of practice was that "we have a quarterback" and it makes a night and day difference.

He noted that BG took five OL last year and will take 5 again this year and that is unheard of in any program he has ever heard about.  Similarly, we took 5 defensive lineman last year and 4 this year.

I agree with this.  Teams have won the MAC with different styles of play, but no one has won the MAC who wasn't able to control the line of scrimmage.  And I suspect never will...because the winds of November come blowin'.

He was careful to manage expectations for this year, which is appropriate.  We will be very young on the offensive line and the d-line remains an issue.  One of the problems with rebuilding the front is it just takes longer.  Also, the defensive backfield will be very young.

The best part was his description of how they are installing offensive and defensive concepts without being in person.  I can't do it justice, but it was innovative and creative and I give them 100% credit for refusing to sit idly by during this crisis.  Coach said "control the controllables."

Or, as John Wooden said, "Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”

Also, he said that this could be a model for off-season workouts that could reduce the number of contact drills in the spring, which would reduce injuries.  Again--innovative, resourceful thinking.

He said "elite" once.  This should be like a swear jar.

He talked quite a bit about our tight end oriented offense.  Says defensive coordinators hated it...12, 13 or 22 personnel.  And in 11 personnel, which most teams play, can give you 12 different formations, while 12 can give you hundreds.  You can be in a spread or you can be compressed.  But you need TEs who can block and run routes.

So, beyond that, we had visits from 3 NFL Falcons.  

First, together, were Korey Lichtensteiger and Scott Mruczkowski, who both had extensive NFL careers and were the best offensive lineman of their era in Bowling Green football.  Lichtensteiger was the team MVP.  They shared some memories of BG and then talked about the importance of the offensive line.

Mruczkowski remembered the GameDay game most of all.  It was powerful...he said he was getting chills down his spine thinking about it.  As I think we all do.

Key line:

"We put a licking on those boys."

Yes sir.  You did.

Oh man.

So, then the highlight of the show came along.  Phil Villiapiano.  So, you can watch Scot Loeffler and see that he's a little unglued.  It's OK...normal people watch football they don't coach it.  He's intense.  The words are racing to get out of his mouth.  His motor is RUNNING.

Phil Villiapiano comes on...he's an order of magnitude further down the tracks than Loeffler is. This dude is a wild man.

Key line:

"What I love about football is you can hurt somebody."

Second line, when describing football.

"I want to kill you."

Honestly, he had me laughing the entire time.

He started by saying that he liked hearing Coach talk about football, but "I wasn't liking coach too much last year.  How can you give up 60 points in one game?  There aren't enough plays."

At another point, he said, "I don't think we made any tackles last year."

No filter.  

He wasn't giving us any "expectation managing" for next year.  Zero.  None.  He started talking about Jerry Glanville and who knows what else.

He did confirm that he hated facing two tight end formations.

How did he end up at BG?  This is a great story.  His dad was a basketball coach and they went to the NIT at Madison Square Garden.  BG was playing (Nate Thurmond era) and a huge number of fans had traveled to NY from BG.  They impressed Villiapiano.  The next year, his dad asked him where he wanted to go to college and Phil said, "how about Bowling Green."  And they came and visited and the rest is history.

The guy's a warrior.  He's the only BG alum to get a sideline penalty in a bowl game.  Love him.  And he loves BG.  He was at the UT game this year.

"Go up and beat their ass," he said last night.

Here's a little bonus Phil for you....(sorry, you have to click through to YouTube.  It's worth it.)

That was a different era.

Again, thanks for BG doing this.  It was a welcome escape from what is a pretty challenging world we are facing.  It is a privilege to have things that make you happy, and I thank the athletic department for doing that.  It's a respite, and then we can go back to work.

Thursday, June 04, 2020

Welcome Home, Steven Wright

Former BG PG Steven Wright has returned home as an assistant coach at BG, replacing Kevin Summey who moved on to NC State.

Wright played for Coach Dakich at BG from 2002-2006.  He made 64 starts. Wright, who led BGSU in assists in 2003-04, averaged 9.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.5 steals as a Falcon. He led the Falcons in steals during the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons.

He left the program in February of 2006 and finished at Northern Kentucky as a DII All-American.  I do remember some tumult around one point I think he was suspended and then came back.  I can't find anything about it.

But, we were all young once.  I've seen him interact positively with Coach Dakich on Twitter, so there can't be too many bad feelings.  He certainly has paid his dues.  Here is how it looks between now and BG, his first D1 assistant coaching job.  (He was video coordinator at Cleveland State).

2007-08: Professional Athlete | Basketball Lowen Braunschweig | German Bundesliga
2008-09: Professional Athlete | Uni Baskets Paderborn | German Bundesliga
2009-10: Professional Athlete | Tigers Tubingen | German Bundesliga
2010-11: Professional Athlete | Giants Dusseldorf | German Bundesliga
2011-12: Professional Athlete | Lahti Basketball | Finnish Korisliiga
2012-13: Assistant Coach | University of the Cumberlands | NAIA Division I
2013-16: Assistant Coach | Columbus State Community College | NJCAA Division II
2014-16: Head Coach 17U | King James AAU | Columbus, Ohio
2017-19: Assistant Director & Head Coach 16U | Under Armour's C2K AAU | Columbus, Ohio
2017-19: Head Coach | Princeton High School | Cincinnati, Ohio
2019-20: Video Coordinator | Cleveland State University | NCAA Division I

His two seasons at Princeton were successful  He was 39-13 was named the Greater Miami Coach of the Year, while also taking home District 16 Coach of the Year honors.  He did have Darius Bazley on the team.  Darius is currently a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Welcome home, Steven.

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Moosbrugger Presser--Updated with Coaching News

Just listened to the AD's press conference today...very interesting.  I think the media left some things on the table, but let's look at what was talked about.  (It is on youtube for anyone who wants to see the whole thing for themselves).

Per my post yesterday, my biggest question had to do with why a fundraising effort wasn't undertaken prior to the decision to cut the program.  Only one reporter got in that range, but added the hockey program into the question, allowing Moos the opportunity to riff on how hockey was never cut, etc. (all true) and dodge the real question, which was why the fundraising wasn't undertaken before the announcement to cut it, especially given that people were willing fund it.

What he said was that they had been seeking support and having conversations with baseball alumni that there were financial struggles at the University and in the athletic department and that could force some difficult decisions.  He gave roughly the same description of his conversations with Schmitz.  He did not reach out and tell baseball alumni that the program was on the chopping block because he didn't want to "threaten" them.

And yet, one of the alumni told him "I didn't know it was that bad."

My question would be, "do you think you could have prevented this by being transparent with alumni and coaches that their program was going to be cut if support was not generated."

Because he said more than once that "we had to make a difficult decision" and he didn't.

He did talk about one thing I wondered about, which is what would happen to the other non-revenue sports and should their alumni be expected to fund their sports, too.  His answer was telling, which was that they hope to use this as a model for the other non-revenue sports and, in fact, across the entire university.  In other words, given the reduction in state funds to BG, alumni are going to be asked to replace that funding across the school, including in the academic areas.

It took Dave Briggs at the very end to ask who would be making decisions about the baseball program.  There was talk about an LLC early on.  Moos said that only the athletic department could make the decisions but that he was sure there would be a lot of conversations, which I suspect there will be.  At least.  How are you going to, say, fire a coach and lose your donor base?

Competitiveness was a big point of discussion.  And it should be.  To introduce an unpleasant fact, BG is 44-82 over the past five years in MAC play, with four straight losing seasons.  They get a set amount of money for scholarships and how many players they get out of it depends on how many of them are out of state.  The NCAA allows 11.7 scholarships spread over 27 players.  BG had 10.4...again, due to out of state students.

But that's not our lot in life.  Moos said, and he is right, that all of our programs are underfunded.  To win at BG, you have to do more with less.  Every program does.

The question is whether this funding level--at which the program has been unsuccessful of late--is built for competitiveness or mere existence.  And, frankly, whether we have a "more with less" coaching staff.

Moos said that he has that concern and that it is still in the early days and he hopes to build on the momentum to create additional involvement and support that will help the program be more successful.  

Everyone wants that and you can't move ahead without a path to being consistently competitive.

There are no decisions on coaching. Other programs have taken cuts and it seemed like the structure of the coaching staff is a concern.  Moos also felt his relationship with Coach Schmitz would be fine.

One last question would be this:  "What is your understanding with the alumni?  If they fall short on their portion, would you cut the sport again?"

It will be interesting to see what happens.  Hoping for the best...and in some cases better.

UPDATE:  Danny Schmitz, who took over in 1991, will no longer coach Falcon baseball.  The announcement came out this afternoon.  Schmitz said that he left on his own terms and that it was time for a new beginning for the program.  He is the longest-serving coach in the BG Athletic Department history.  

A three-time MAC Coach of the Year, Schmitz delivered seven conference championships (regular season or tournament) and was the Mid-American Conference's active leader in all-time wins. His teams qualified for the NCAA Tournament three times – in 1998, 1999 and 2013. The Falcons won four MAC regular season titles and seven division championships in his tenure.

He finishes his career at 723-791.

The interim coach is Andy Hallock, a current assistant.

Schmitz will remain an advisor to the program, which I think is important for connections to the people who are funding the program.

Football Verbal: Matt Kordas

BG has its newest football verbal...Matt Kordas of Lincoln-Way East in Frankfort, IL.  Frankfort is in NE IL and is south of the lake.  He's 6'0" and 180 pounds and is a Safety.  247 gives him 2-stars, and he has FBS offers from Army, EMU, BG and Kent, and then 12 FCS offers, including perennial power North Dakota State.

He's done a lot of research for me...see above...his team won a state title in the largest division in Illinois and he's a clearly productive player who is recognized in his area. (He was first-team all-area and all-conference).

You gotta like 6 picks...that seems like a lot in a HS season.

His father Greg played at Arizona State and his uncle played at Notre Dame.    Also, this story details that he was making big plays throughout their playoff run, including in the title game, which was a shutout.

Last note:  BG was the first to offer and that made an impression.

Welcome to the Falcons, Matt.

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Baseball is Back

And that's a wow.  

I'm happy for the alumni and the players and their families who made this happen and I'm happy for the university to have a baseball team again.

There's one thing you can't avoid:  this makes the athletic department look ridiculous.  Not since Chris Kingston gloated about hiring Mike Jinks has it looked this dumb, and that took years to be exposed.

When I posted on this originally, I thought there had to be something more than $500,000 at stake.  Something having to do with support staff or maybe a desire to have the program fully endowed before bringing it back.  Or the need to show some pain in athletics, because it just didn't seem to make sense that the whole thing came down to $500,000.

Turned out it did.

So the cut is announced, everyone's crying, there's so much sadness and then...

...a bunch of non-professional fundraisers raised the money in 18 days.

If that is the case, and it is, it seems like the athletic department (and its fundraising AD) might have undertaken that first and saved us all the drama and the embarrassment. Instead of a super-secret operation, maybe some phone calls are made and we don't look dopes.  In fact, why wasn't that going on before the need for cuts?   Isn't there a staff of people whose job it is to raise money for athletics?

In fact, to be fair they should make all the other non-revenue sports do the same thing.  Sink or swim.  (no offense to the swimming team).

And how hard did we try to raise money for the other people in the department who lost their jobs?

I just can't see how you announce that and have to take it back in 18 days because someone did your job for you.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Decommit: Chris Phillips

BG has its first de-commit, this one being Chris Phillips, a RB from Florida.  Here's what we had on him when he committed. You never know, these things have a way of sometimes coming around again.

Best of luck to Chris, whatever he chooses.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020


So, money has been on everyone's mind recently.  I thought I would poke around and see what might be available to help us see what's going on.

Obviously, we all know that baseball has been dropped.  There has been the expected backlash and the group claimed last night on social media to have $1.3M in pledges over 5-years.  I would guess the strategy is to offer to privately fund baseball through the crisis and then determine if it can fit back into the overall athletic funding model in better times.

Note that, to my knowledge, the university hasn't said they would restore baseball with a certain level of funding.  If a fundraising campaign solves the problem, then you have to wonder why they didn't do that in the first place.  Moosbrugger talked about support staff issues and needing to reduce the overall number of student-athletes.  But, its just one team...

If the university is not going to restore baseball, I think they should just say so and let these guys go on with their lives.  Perhaps that was already done privately and the group is trying to put pressure on the athletic department.  (Good luck.  Save BG Track was meeting for years).  Conversely, if there's donor support and it does solve the problem, why wasn't that tried in the first place?

There is an advocacy group out there saying dropping sports isn't the way to which they mean that you should reduce football spending. And football is indeed the elephant in the room.  Why did a men's sport have to be cut?  Because of the 85 male-athlete football scholarships.  Why does a non-revenue sport have to be cut?  Because the athletic department is built around football.  It's crazy, but that's what it has become. 

So crazy yet true that BG almost used the same reasoning to cut its hockey program.

I heard a story once that BG got a big check for winning the NCAA Hockey Championship.  And the Coach went to the AD to talk about how to spend the money and the AD had already decided to use the money to help the football team.  Maybe it's not true.

In a way, you know it's bad for you but you can't stop.

So, the issue of going FCS has been around for a long time.  I can remember back in the 1970s that BG was forced to go I-AA for a short period of time.  I'm talking weeks.  Anyway, the idea of de-emphasizing football goes way back.  Long-term debate...which has clearly gained new currency since the middle of March.

Historically, the pressure to go down a level in football has come from both directions.  Yes, there are people who think college football has taken over universities (and they aren't wrong...note that a leading pressure for students to be on campus this Fall is so football can be played) and that it should be de-emphasized.  Also, though, the larger schools have been trying to jettison the G5 schools for four decades.  Many people think they will split off and leave the NCAA. 

That's not what we are talking about here.  We are talking about voluntarily dropping a level.  Note, also, that you can't go to DII without taking your entire athletic department to that level.  Used to be you could...Georgetown had DIII football, but they had to move to FCS and sponsor a non-scholarship football team in FCS. I believe Butler does, too.

David Briggs wrote an excellent column about this.  Essentially, it is a non-starter.  He directly quotes Mike O'Brien on this and indicates that he has heard that BG feels the same way. 

Here's the thing.  Below is the Knight Commission data on BG's athletic revenue sources from the most recent available year.  Yes, BG gets 57% of its revenue from student fees and institutional support and that would continue either way.

But look at the other wedges.  Ticket sales, conference distributions competition guarantees, donor contributions, and corporate sponsorship would all be impacted by dropping down a level.  Yes, some expenses would also be reduced, but revenue would be reduced more.  Briggs compares UT to North Dakota, the premier FCS program...the revenue hit would be significant.  And, FCS schools are under the same financial pressures as FBS schools or worse.

I think there have been a half-dozen new FBS schools in recent years...and only one left FBS.  It is crazy logic.  Football loses money and yet de-emphasizing it is worse.  Remedying the problem would mean dropping it, not de-emphasizing it, and that's clearly not likely to happen.

It's like the mafia...once you're in, it is apparently very difficult to get out.

Last thing on this part of the topic.  Briggs raises a valid point, which is that even if we accept all this, there are still ways to shave the budget.  The recent announcement that the football team would no longer stay in a hotel on the night before home games is a good example.  Yes, that can be shaved.  But I doubt we're talking even 1% of the total.  Could other things be shaved?  Probably, but again, you're just dancing around the edges. 

The problem is that three of those slices are dependent on having a good, donor contributions, and corporate sponsorship.  If you aren't winning, those things are going to be reduced.  Similarly, you might be able to generate support for a good FCS program but if you cut and aren't competitive you're really going to struggle for support at a shitty FCS program.

Could shaving funds have been enough to save the baseball team?  I don't know that.  But, I do think it's clear that we're not voluntarily going FCS.  It might happen anyway, but we're going to fight it all the way.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

New Football Verbal: Nick Mosley

The football program continues to get verbal commits for the class of  21.  It is our 9th verbal.  Last year, I counted five about this time but we got four on the same day on May 30.

His name is Nick Mosley from Pickerington Central HS.  His school won the 2019 D1 state championship and have won twice in three years.  He's a RB, 6'1" and 195 pounds, with offers from Akron, Ball State and WMU, according to 247.  This local news story said he had 7 MAC offers.

He has a 3-star ranking from 247.  At one point, he was a top 40 prospect in Ohio.  

After five games as a junior, he had 631 yards, with a 6.4-yards-per-carry average, and scored 10 touchdowns on a team that apparently likes to distribute touches among several players.  Going into the title game he had 1,394 yards and 22 touchdowns.  He also scored in the state championship game.

He's had some tragedy in his life.  His older brother died of brain cancer at the age of 13.  Here's a quote from his Mom, if you're wondering about the person Nick is:
“The boys had a few private conversations when Branden was still able to speak and I never asked what was said, but I can only assume Branden was telling Nick what he expected from him,” said their mother, Angela Mosley. “When Branden died, Nick stepped right into all those roles seamlessly. Nick practically became Branden. They’re so much alike, it’s almost ridiculous. But that’s not a bad thing at all. I’ve been blessed to have three great kids.”

Welcome to the Falcons, Nick.