Saturday, August 29, 2015

Blade Reports Falcons Have Transfer LB

The Blade reported this afternoon that BG has a transfer LB.  He is Dorian Hendrix from Huber Heights, was the #26 LB in the US according to Rivals.  He went to Kentucky as an early enrollee and then redshirted and now is coming to BG.  He is in school now and will be eligible in 2016 as a sophomore.

Heading out of HS he had offers from Indiana, Illinois, BG, UT, and OU.  There was some initial news from KY that he was making the adjustment to college football well.  Here's the story from a few days ago when the world learned that he would be leaving Lexington. 

Welcome to Bowling Green, Dorian.

One last note on expectations.  Give the young man a chance to show what he can do.  These guys have often gone a long time between playing competitive football and there can be an adjustment period.  I think we saw it with Dieter, for example.  Anyway, give them a chance to come around.

Falcon Football 2015: Preview the Offense

First in a series.

Always wanted to say that.

We are, today, one week from the opening of the 2015 football season. I'm going to preview the season over the next few days, covering each element of the team, starting with the offense.

Previews are previews.  You are projecting, usually based on the past and not the future.  Having said that, the most likely scenario is that BG is going to struggle to get consistent stops.  Under that scenario, if the Falcons are going to win the East and have any shot at winning the MAC, they are going to have to score points by the bushel.

This is obviously what we are set up to do.  The pressure on points is even stronger because the offense isn't geared to running out an 8 minute TD drive to kill a game.  If we score, the defense is going right back onto the field.

This team probably will need points to win, and a lot.

Just to put the challenge in perspective, for all of BG's #Falconfast hype, the Falcons did not have a good offensive output last year.  BG finished 8th in the MAC in scoring offense (conference games only).  BG was 4th in total offense, 4th in rushing offense and 5th in passing offense.  That last stat is largely based on playcalling.  The team was 11th in pass efficiency, largely due to completing only 54.8% of its passes.

Look.  There's every reason to think BG will score a ton of points this year.  All I'm saying is that this isn't what happened last year.  BG was an average to slightly above average offensive team last year.  (BG was also +8 in turnovers.  It is very unusual for a team to have a disappointing season while they are +8.  Usually, those team exceed expectations).

Anyway, the biggest difference is obvious, and it is at QB.  Matt Johnson was injured late in the first game of the season last year, and things were never the same.  (Things weren't good when he was forced out, but that's another matter).

James Knapke stepped in and gave it at all, had a couple of very good games and had some struggles.  He was also playing in a system that no one really knew and he was making his first starts.  He got a rough ride from fans---and was replaced in-game at least a couple times by Cody Callaway--but it wasn't the best of circumstances, either.

Having said that, and nothing against Knapke, but the biggest immediate upgrade for this offense is getting Matt Johnson back.  When we last saw him, he was one of the MAC's best QBs, and assuming he is healthy (which he seems to be) he is incredibly well suited to this kind of offense.  He can make all the throws, can take off into an open field, and is a very cool customer.  Having him back just makes a huge difference.

Depth at QB appears to be Knapke and Nolan Dieter.  It appears that the plan is to redshirt Morgan, and Callaway and Clayton Nicholsan are no longer on the roster.  Knapke could continue to get better, but you'd expect a big change if Johnson got injured again.

Johnson has incredible tools to work with.  BG should be able to run and pass in any situation and generate big plays with the defense spread out and on its heels.  In addition, the Falcons have an experienced line that is leaner and readier for the pace we are going to play.

Starting at RB, BG has a lot of depth.  There's Travis Greene and Fred Coppet, both of whom are high quality backs.  They have both struggled with health, which is where the depth helps.  BG also has Ga Tech transfer Donovan Wilson to add depth.  RBs can get huge numbers in this offense, and there's every reason to think that can happen this year.

WRs are similarly stacked.  BG returns Ronnie Moore, Gehrig Dieter (who appears to have his sea legs back), Ryan Burbrink and all-MAC Roger Lewis.  Behind them are guys like Chris Gallon, Jermal Hosley, Tao Redding, Herve Coby and Scott Miller, who made some nice plays in the scrimmage.  All that goes without mentioning Robbie Rhodes, the Baylor transfer who has struggled with injuries since he arrived here but if healthy would have huge upside. Point is, even without him there's a ton of talent at WR.

At TE, BG has JUCO transfer Derek Lee, who made some plays in the scrimmage and he does look like he can help to provide another option.

On the line, BG is also very solid.  Anchored by Alex Huettel at RG, the Falcons have experienced Jacob Bennett and Logan Dietz at T, Ryan Hunter at the other G and Tim McAuliffe at C.  BG is second in the NCAA in career o-line starts and Phil Steele ranks BG as having the best OL in the MAC.  (Even better, only one is a senior).

So, down the line, stem to stern, this offense is set up to succeed.  Risks would include an injury at QB or some kind of ongoing chemistry issue with the offense.  Final thought.  It likely won't be good enough for the offense to be good or even great.  They have to play at a high level the whole way in any game BG is hoping to win.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Falcons in NFL Camps--Corrected for Lynch Re-signing

It is August, so the NFL must be working its way through training camps.  Here's a brief report on how the former Falcons are faring.

  • Shaun Suisham of Pittsburgh is injured and out for the season.
  • Korey Lichtensteiger is in his 7th NFL season with 67 career starts, now playing C for Washington where he played at BG.  The former UDFA had started all the games for the last three seasons and both pre-season games for the Redskins.
  • Gabe Martin made 2 tackles and forced a fumble for the Cardinals in their first pre-season game and did not register any stats in the 2nd game.
  • Kendall Montgomery is with Miami, has no stats showing to date.
  • Jude Adjei-Barimah has made two tackles for Tampa Bay.  I saw him in the game against the Bengals on Monday and he was in the game early in the 3rd quarter.

D. J. Lynch was released by the Patriots.  (UPDATE: And then re-signed on Monday.  Good news!)

Best of luck to all of them!  You are Falcons forever.

NOTE:  Thanks to commenter JimBG24 who reminded me that I forgot Super Bowl Champion Chris Jones, who is still with the Patriots.  He has been on the PUP for the entire camp.  I'm an idiot.

Monday, August 24, 2015

One last scrimmage note: Tennessee

Coach was asked Saturday about Tennessee.  He said that in terms of formations, the Volunteers run a lot of the same formations BG does which is a break for BG's defense as it gets ready to put a lot of new guys into action for the first time and on an NFL field.  He said he doesn't expect the tempo to be what BG does, but thinks the formations are very similar.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Scrimmage Report

I attended the scrimmage for season ticket holders Saturday, and just a few thoughts and observations.  Note that I could not stay for the remarks so I have no idea what anyone might have said.

Usual caveat.  Scrimmages are hard to judge.  As Coach said afterward, you want to have plays made on both sides of the ball and that did happen.  Coach also says that you should be able to close your eyes and tell by the popping pads that a good football team is out there.  That was certainly true.  The scrimmage was on the practice field and with the fans standing right on the sideline you can really feel the impact much more than you can in the stands.

The day's biggest hit was on a pass down the sideline, about 15 feet in front of me.  Knapke had led Dieter, who was open, but freshman safety Jamari Bozeman was on the read and he timed in perfect and just clobbered Dieter.  It was a clean and very good football hit.  No one was injured.  (In fact, I didn't see any injuries in the scrimmage).

The offense scored a bunch.  Johnson and Greene did not play much, so most of the day was Knapke and James Morgan at QB.  It was also a day for Fred Coppet to show what he could do.  He told Coach that he couldn't sleep the night before the scrimmage (note this if you think these guys don't care...this was A SCRIMMAGE)  and he got the ball a lot and he was very, very effective.  He said afterwards he wants to prove himself because of some high profile additions to BG's running back corps, and I would say he does that.

He also made the point that people think the Baylor offense is all about passing, which is not accurate.  EIU put up some huge running numbers when Babers was there.  When you have everyone all spread out, there are gaps for running as well as passing.  BG also looks to have a very strong o-line.  Greene and Coppet both should have ample opportunity to make big plays.

Beyond them, depth is still going to be important, though, because both of them have had a tendency to get injured and neither is the biggest RB.

The defense seemed to really compete.  They felt they were embarrassed the week before and while I didn't see that scrimmage I did think that the defense played hard and competed and made some plays.  They played with pride, celebrated when they got a deflection or a turnover.

James Morgan got some snaps at QB.  He's a freshman literally in his first days at this level.  He made some good throws and some not so good throws and at one point Babers was chewing him out.

Very nice turnout of season ticket holders and BG says the attendance was up significantly over last year.  It certainly got the blood flowing for me.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Awesome BG Video #falconsflyforever

#FalconsFlyForever from Bowling Green State University on Vimeo.

Another great video from Bowling Green!  Welcome to campus, new Falcons, you are in this thing for life, so enjoy the ride.  This is really well done.  Also, it is the first rap song ever to use the phrase "everything in moderation," so we have that going for us.  Anyway, makes me proud and a little nostalgic.  Have a great year everyone.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Football roster updates....

Hat tip to BGSU33 over at, who went through the roster from the Spring game and compared it to the roster that was recently updated.  (This isn't the full list, I took out the guys who were already gone by the spring game).  The following is from his post.  The first 6 were not really news and have been mentioned at some point or another.

Others were more news.  The biggest is Cody Callaway, who was set to be a two-star player, with baseball and football.  He was drafted in baseball and he played as a true FR last year in both sports. I don't believe there has been anything official on this, so it would all be speculation, but it would not be a terrible surprise if he decided to focus on baseball.

Zack Sharp is not a surprise.  Our initial post on his commit said he was expected to grey-shirt and enroll in January.

Dingle and Beery were both recruited guys who played on defense.  As mentioned, Dingle was on the spring depth chart and Beery played 2 games last year.  As far as I can tell, the other guys were walk-ons.

DE Bryan Thomas - Suspended and I assume dismissed
CB Nick Johnson - Suspended and dismissed
CB Will Watson - Suspended and I assume dismissed since he was still on the last roster before update
DL Jhalil-Nashid Croley - Dismissed
QB Clayton Nicholas - Transferred
RB Andre Givens - Decided not to return
QB Cody Callaway - If he's gone that leaves us with just 3 QB's with Nicholas transferring
CB Travahn Beery - Article said he is transferring to D-II Malone.
OT Corey Matlock - Was the #2 RT on spring depth chart
LB Jalen Dingle - Was the #2 MLB on spring depth chart
DB Marcus Boomer - Depth at DB
TE/DL Jake Nachtrab - Moved between DL & TE
OL Zack Sharp - Incoming frosh
WR Ryon Lucas - Heard he was a preferred walk-on
DL Shemar Moss - Heard he was a preferred walk-on

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

New Football Verbal: Rashaun O'Neal

BG has a new football verbal, Rashaun O'Neal of Cincinnati Withrow HS. (Note, he is the clubhouse leader among our verbals for having the most spellings of his name on the Internet, so hang with me. Also, unrelated, when I googled Mr. O'Neal I found out that Shaquille O'Neal's full name is Shaquille Rashaun O'Neal.)

This Rashaun O'Neal is a WR, 5'11 and 170. He talked to Hustle Belt, and it would seem that speed is his big thing.  Just guessing, but I'd say he projects to a slot receiver.  Scout gives him 2-stars and he appears to be unrated elsewhere.  He is reported to have offers from Kent and Indiana State.

In football, he was second-team all-conference.  He was the 3rd leader receiver on their team and had 32 receptions for 8.9 yards per and he scored twice.  He also ran the ball 20 times for an 8.7 yard average and scored once.  He also returned kickoffs (22 yard average) and punts (8.3 average).  Remember, those were all as a junior.

Rashaun is a big track star and won the long jump at his district competition and he was part of three district champion relay teams and their 4x200 team eventually won the region as well.

Welcome to the Falcons, Rashaun.