Thursday, December 14, 2017

Davidson Makes Second-Team All-American

So big news for the Falcon football program, as Joe Davidson was named second-team Academic All-American.  It is the third time he has been an Academic All-American.

He is the 7th Falcon to win the award three times.

He was a terrific Falcon, on and off the field.  He finished fourth in NCAA history in punting average among those with at least 250 career punts.  He made our program proud.

In fact, 10 Falcons made All-MAC Academic, including Davidson.

Caleb Bright, Bowling Green, R-Freshman, 3.555 GPA, Criminal Justice (Urbandale, Iowa)

+Clark Clancy, Bowling Green, Senior, 4.00 GPA, Master's in Business Administration (Troy, Mich.)

+^#Joseph Davidson, Bowling Green, Senior, 3.957 GPA, Finance/Mathematics (Findlay, Ohio)

+^#Ryan Hunter, Bowling Green, Senior, 3.831, Criminal Justice (North Bay, Ontario)

Cam Jefferies, Bowling Green, Sophomore, 3.380 GPA, Supply Chain Management (Painesville, Ohio)

+^#Nate Locke, Bowling Green, Senior, 4.000 GPA, Psychology (Canton, Ohio)

Grant Loy, Bowling Green, R-Freshman, 3.303 GPA, Pre-Construction Management (New Washington, Ohio)

+James Morgan, Bowling Green, Sophomore, 3.871 GPA, Individualized Planned Program (Green Bay, Wisc.)

+^Trevor Roop, Bowling Green, Senior, 3.838 GPA, Public Health (Convoy, Ohio)

Gabe Skrobot, Bowling Green, R-Freshman, 4.00 GPA, Biology (Zanesville, Ohio)

+ 2016 Academic All-MAC Selection
^ 2015 Academic All-MAC Selection
#2014 Academic All-MAC Selection
* 2013 Academic All-MAC Selection

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Falcons have WR Commit

So, BG has a new commit, a WR from Houston, TX named Noah Massey.  A few things.  First, he's listed on 24/7 as a 3-star composite recruit, which is good.  Recruiting is the thing going well, and it is good to see Coach continuing to recruit high-quality players despite the evident lack of results on the field to date.

The thing you notice first is his size.  He is 6'3" and 215, which is a good size for a WR.  Apparently, on the tape he has online, he plays on the line like a TE, as well as on the slot and outside.  That's pretty interesting.  Obviously, a guy of that size who can run routes presents matchup issues for defenses, and you'd have to think the slot and red zone would be good examples of where you could put that to work.

24/7 only reports him as having two offers:  North Texas and Texas Southern.  Sometimes those aren't complete or accurate.  As a JR, he caught 27 passes but had 617 yards on those catches, that's 22.8 per catch, and 6 TDs.

This was a good HS team.  They were undefeated and lost in the state playoffs on 12/2.

Welcome to the Falcons, Noah

Monarchs Put Falcons in Pit of Misery

Ouch.  There's not much of a way to make that any better.  ODU, a high-quality veteran team took a very young Falcon team to school last night in Norfolk.

The final score, 88-46, was exactly indicative of the game that occurred.

It was BG's worst defeat since 2008 (the first Orr year), when they lost to a Buffalo team that ended up with only 3 MAC wins on the year.  Their .65 points per possession is the worst since that 45-36 game against NIU in 2014.

It was 29-21 with 4 minutes left in the first half.  In 24 minutes, they outscored BG 59-25.

The stats are what you would expect in a game with this kind of margin.

Justin Turner had 17 points on 7 of 13 shooting, but beyond that everyone pretty much struggled equally.

A couple notes.  Derek Koch did not play due to injury.  If there has been anything on his prognosis, I have not seen or heard it.

BG now has a long break for finals, which are next week.  BG's next game is December 21 at Green Bay.  I'm sure they'd rather jump back onto the horse.  Anyway, not much more to say about this one.

Friday, December 08, 2017

Monarchial Preview

So, BG heads back to Norfolk for what, on paper, is their toughest assignment of the year.  The Old Dominion Monarchs are #75 in the country and the highest ranked team on BG's schedule.  They play in C-USA, where they were third last year and picked 4th this year. 

They were 19-12 last year, and have 3 starters back from that team.

They are 6-3 to start the year.

Wins over Towson (105), Dayton (109), Indiana State (178), Richmond (213), @James Madison (260),  and Maryland Eastern-Shore (343).

Losses to Temple (42), @William & Mary (186), @VCU (86).

This is going to be a very tough assignment, beyond more than their ability.  We saw what happened when BG played Evansville, and they are very similar to the Purple Aces in style plus they are better plus the game is on their home floor.

They are the #87 offensive team in the nation and the #53 defensive team.  As you can see here, their offense is as good as the BG's defense has been bad, but they are very, effective on defense, where BG has excelled.

So what do they do well on offense?  They are just a touch above average on shooting but they take excellent care of the ball and are a good rebounding team.  They are not great on FTs....they don't get to the line that much and are below average at making FTs.

As for their shot profile, much like Evansville, they are 308th in 3FG attempts and #215 in making them.  If you see them starting to drill them like crazy, you know the same game is at it again.  The other battle point will be on the boards.  They are very physical and if BG can complete stops with the defensive rebounds, they can try to influence the tempo.

On defense, they are on the plus side of everything.  They are #78 on defending the shot, #101 in forcing turnovers, #94 on their own defensive boards and #39 in keeping teams off the free throw line.  They allow only 41% on 2FGs, which is the 9th best in the country.

Their leading scorer is 6'5" R-Jr BJ Stith.  He is a transfer from Virginia who is scoring 14.2 PPG on 47% shooting overall but 48% from 3FG.  He also averages 5.9 RPG.

Next they have Ahmad Caver, who is scoring 12.3 PPG.  He's not an efficient scorer, shooting 40% overall and a very poor 28% from 3FG.  He's the PG, getting 6.2 APG.  He is a 6'2" JR who was third-team All-CUSA last year.

Their third leading scorer is 6'10" R-Jr Trey Porter, who transferred from George Mason.  He's scoring 11.7 PPG on 63% shooting, 4.7 RPG and 20 blocked shots in 9 games, averaging only about 21 minutes.

Randy Haynes is also scoring in double figures at 11.7 PPG, pretty inefficiently at 42% and 32%.  He is a 6'4" JR G who played JUCO ball.

Brandon Stith is their leading rebounder at 6.3 RPG.  He's a 6'7" R-SR who transferred from East Carolina and is the brother of the previously mentioned BJ Stith.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Purple Aces do "Whatever they want"

Last night was shaping up to be an excellent look at where we truly are, as BG faced off against one of their better non-conference opponents, a team that barely beat us last year.  That's a team without their leading scorer, that came in struggling to score points...but also a team that is well coached and knows exactly what they want to do, which is employ old-school Indiana motion offense and man to man defense and just shred Bowling Green, especially on defense.

The final was 91-76.  Yes, the Purple Aces benefitted from incredibly hot shooting, but to focus on that would minimize the number of times they had wide open layups and 3FG shots.  They would get into that rhythm with the motion offense and just keep working in and then sooner or later someone would miss an assignment and then the motion would kick in and they move the ball really well and it would find someone who was wide open.

It was BG's worst defensive game of the season, and exceeded last year only by UC and the football player OU game.  Even after that, you could see this trend coming.  BG allowed 1.3 points per possession in this game, but Abilene Christian got 1.25 and Lake Erie 1.21.  San Jose State turned into an offensive juggernaut for part of the game, as did Norfolk State.

As Justin Turner told The Blade after the game, "we've got a lot of cleaning up to do on the back end."

Now that this is on film, it is going to be exploited, especially in conference play.  It is a good time to remember how young this team is and that while we can see promise they are still young.  How young?  Based on kenpom, we are the 8th youngest team in D1.

The Evansville shooting was absolutely incredible.  They shot 80% from 3--12 of 15--and 61% overall.  That's an EFG of 71.4%, exceeded last year only by the football OU game and then before that in 2012 by Morehead State.

That's how well they shot.  Here's another thing...they did turn the ball over too much and they didn't get to the line a lot and they were nothing special on the offensive boards, but none of that could counteract their shooting.

BG's offense was pretty good.  BG had 1.08 ppp, a good total though their lowest since the FGCU game.  BG's field goal shooting was 47% and 32%, which are not awful numbers.  They took excellent care of the ball and got to the line a ton (I swear Evansville fouled every time we got downcourt), but that couldn't make up for it.  For one thing, BG only got a few offensive rebounds and made only 67% of their free throws as opposed to 85% for Evansville.

If we don't see Dru Smith anytime soon, that's OK with me.  Guy had 25 on 11 of 13 shooting, 8-8 from 2FG, 5 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 steals.

For BG, Justin Turner scored again, getting 21 points on 7 of 12 shooting, including 5 of 6 from 3FG.  Frye had 14 on 5 of 10 shooting, but was 1 of 5 from 3.  Dude slips down the baseline like a piece of paper slipping under a door.  He also had 4 rebounds and 4 assists.

Cummings had 13 off the bench on 4 of 9 shooting and Koch had 11 on 4 of 6 shooting.  Wiggins had 11 of BG's 22 total rebounds...of course, you don't get many defensive rebounds when the other team doesn't provide any missed shots.

One thing I heard from Coach Huger and online was that the 2-day turnaround is tough for a young team to prepare for a team like Evansville.  I suppose that was a factor, but I do think that they seized on something that has been emerging as an issue.  I know this is a focus for Coach, so you'd like to see that improve over the course of the year.  Conference foes will relentlessly go at a weakness like this.

BG does not play at home again until December 28.  In the meantime, they continue their commute to Norfolk with their second straight weekend trip there, this time to play Old Dominion, the top-ranked team on the schedule (and hopefully on a home-home for next year).  There's a trip to Green Bay to play a down team and that's it between now and Christmas.  Hopefully, with some practice time freed up, Coach can address some of the defensive issues.

Monday, December 04, 2017

Purple Ace Preview

So, next up are the Evansville Purple Aces.  This is a very interesting matchup and I'm looking forward to it.  First of all, this is an iconic mid-major program from the heart of basketball-land.  Two years ago they had back to back 25+ win seasons, they won the CIT in 2015.  Plus they used to wear t-shirts as their uniform.

What will be truly interesting today is that they are going to present a stylistic challenge to the Falcons.  More on that in a second.

They were 8th in the MVC last year, lost 3 starters from that team and were picked to be 8th again.

BG played them last year in Evansville.  It was a very tough game with the score tied with 2:32 left but then the Aces pulled away to win by 3, with BG rimming out a three at the buzzer that would have sent the game to OT.

They are 6-2 this year with a Kenpom of 151.  They have five relatively non-descript wins, over Arkansas State, North Carolina Central, SMO, Binghampton and Oakland City, all at home.  They played in Cancun and really represented, beating a really good Fresno State team and losing in a close game to a very good Louisiana Tech team.  They also lost @New Mexico by 19.

That last one is significant because it is the first game they played without their leading scorer Ryan Taylor, who is out six weeks with an injury.

Here's why I think the styles will be interesting.  BG has played an uptempo game this year.  They are #38 in the nation in possessions per game.  Conversely, there are not enough Ooooooo's in sloooooooooww to describe how Evansville plays.  They are 330 out of 351 in possessions per game.  They are tied with Wisconsin....that's how slow we are talking.  So that's one.

The other is that BG has been successful by scoring points and making baskets.  BG scores 1.1 points per possession, which is #69 in the country.  Evansville allows .93, which is #38 in the country.  On the other side, they are also a below average offensive team whereas BG is below average defensively.

Evansville--even with Taylor for 6 games this year--is not a great offensive team.  They are 200th in EFG, #288 in turnovers and #215 in offensive rebounding.

They don't take a lot of 3s (#318) but they are #8 at making them when they do.  After our experience with San Jose State (and their similar approach), this should make us nervous.  Beyond that, the Aces do get to the line and make an excellent 77% when they are there.

As identified, here is the key place for the game.  BG's offense meets the Purple Ace defense.  As you can see, while Evansville is pretty good guarding the shot, they really excel at forcing turnovers and not sending teams to the line, which is an unusual combination.  They are #32 in forcing turnovers and #20 in keeping opponents off the line.  Those happen to have been two things BG has been really good at.  BG is #32 at not turning the ball over and #92 at getting to the line.  Again, this has the potential to be a pretty interesting matchup.

The Ryan Taylor thing is nothing to sneeze at.  He's averaging 21 a game and will be out.  They have only two other double-figure scorers.  One is Blake Simmons, who is scoring 10 PPG, including 49% 3FG shooting.  The other is Dru Smith, who is scoring 10 PPG on 61% shooting.  Since Taylor's injury, KJ Reilly has picked up some of the slack.  Danius Charkevicius is a 6'9" Lithuanian who leads the team in rebounds.

So, this will be a good match up.  Looking forward to seeing it unfold.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

MAC Bowl Lineup

Dollar General (Mobile):  UT vs. App. State (8-4, Sun Belt Champ)
Bahamas Bowl:  Ohio U vs. UAB  (8-4 in C-USA after resurrecting program)
Potato Bowl:  CMU vs. Wyoming (7-5 in MWC)
Boca Raton:  Akron vs. FAU (10-3, C-USA Champ)
Quick Lane:  NIU vs. Duke (6-6 in ACC)

So, there's the lineup.  This was a year with a surplus of bowl-eligible teams---there were three extras, and the teams not to advance were Buffalo, WMU and UTSA, which is heavy on the MAC.

The biggest thing I am seeing is that fans are not understanding why the MAC didn't fill the Camellia Bowl with one of those two teams, given that Camellia is a bowl tie-in.  Jordan Strack commented on twitter that the MAC might have traded the Boca Raton bowl for the Camellia bowl, which is fine though I don't know what makes one better than the other.

Maybe more will come out on that.  Of course, the Boca Raton bowl is now a Florida Atlantic matchup that will feature Kiffin vs. Bowden, which I suspect is something that they think might attract some kind of audience.

There is just one P5 hookup, and that's in Detroit at the Quick Lane Bowl, with NIU playing Duke.  This is what you get...a good G5 team or a mediocre P5 team.  This is winnable.

The UT-App State game promises to be a good one.  They played a highly competitive and entertaining 2016 Camellia Bowl.

I'm a little nervous about the FAU-Akron game.  Might be a good story, but I fear an Owl rout in that one.

UAB is an interesting story in that their program was shut down only a couple of years ago, and yet the program has eight wins and is back in a bowl game, which is impressive.

Wyoming is interesting in that they are coached by Craig Bohl, who won 3 straight NCAA titles at North Dakota State.  They were 2-10 a couple years ago but won 8 games last year and 7 this year.

So, that's the lineup.  Actually, in the sense that there is only 1 Sun Belt game I think it marks an upgrade in bowl opponents.

Falcons Nab JUCO LB

So, with the early signing period, we are starting to see some activity, not unlike the last couple of weeks before the February signing date.  BG has its second JUCO commit of the day.

This young man is Brandon Perce of Rochester Community and Technical College, which is in Rochester MN.  He's a MLB who lists himself as 5'11 and 220 pounds.

He's a highly productive player.  In his sophomore year, (this year), he averaged over 14 tackles per game with 4.5 sacks and 3 Fumbles forced.  His FR year he had 90 tackles, 3 sacks and 2 INT.  Those numbers were racked up in 9 game seasons.

His twitter profile says he was a 2x NJCAA All-American LB.  In 2016 he was honorable mention All-American for NJCAA.  The 2017 is from "Gridiron RR" which named him 2nd team All-American.  The NJCAA list does not appear to be out, so he might make that team, too.

According to this, he is the #11 MLB in JUCO ball, and had offers from BG, Marshall, Prairie View and Alabama A&M.

He is a December graduate, so will be in BG for Spring Practice.  Obviously, with Nate Locke's graduation, BG is in need of a MLB.  It will be interesting to see if he steps in right away.

Welcome to the Falcons, Brandon.

Falcon FB JUCO Verbal

BG has a JUCO Commit announced above a little while ago.  Luke Sowa is a TE who is 6'3" and 245.  According to his profile on Twitter, he went to UConn as a preferred walk on, earned a scholarship which he then lost during a Coaching change.  His bio at UConn indicates he was a LB there.  He went to Butler Community College, which is in Kansas and played one year.  He played in 7 games and caught 3 passes.  It could very well be that he is slated to be the Skattebo/Folkerstma TE/H-back type guy.

By the way, his last HS in NJ was The Gunnery, which sounds totally bad ass but is actually just founded by a dude named Gunn in 1850.  (Alumni include Edsel Ford II and recently-in-the-news NBC Chief Andrew Lack).

Based on the timing, I'm expecting him to be in for January and spring ball.

Welcome to the Falcons, Luke.

BG Parts Ways from Eliano--UPDATE on Assistants

The news that was expected here, at least, has been officially announced by BGSU.  Defensive coordinator and associate head coach Perry Eliano will not return to BG next year.  I support the move...BG did need to move in another direction.  I'm not going to go through the whole argument again, just to say that even recognizing that the talent was not the best on defense, they should have been better and should have improved over time, which they did not.  Here's hoping that Coach Jinks finds someone with a proven track record as a college DC.

Wish Eliano the best.  It didn't work out.  Has happened to us all.

No idea what the next steps are for the staff....if the rest are all staying or if there's an opportunity for a new DC to shape the defense in his image or what.

Update from Jordan Strack:

MBB Wins #7

On this blog, I have made a lot of BG's lack of success since the ill-fated WVU days with Coach Dakich.  Not that there's a cause and effect, just that things have gone very poorly since then, with something like 3 winning seasons in that time.

So, when BG goes 7-2 for only the third time in the last 16 years, you pay attention.

Now, I do recommend some caution.  BG has not played the world's most demanding non-conference schedule, ranked #305 to date by kenpom.  (Note:  6 MAC teams have played worse schedules).

Anyway, we will take it.  BG beat Norfolk State 92-77.

BG started the game with incredible shooting, making everything in sight and leading 23-3 6 minutes into the game.  The lead got as close as 15 but with 3:30 left in the first half, BG had extended the lead to 23 points.

Then, something familiar happened.  BG's opponent proceeded to score at will.  For the remainder of the half and the first 5 minutes of the second half, the Spartans, they went on a 29-7 run to convert the blowout into a one-point game, something Coach talked about as recently as the win over San jose State.

The good news here is that it was close for a couple minutes, but BG had it up to 7 with 12:30 left and 9 with 11 minutes left and then pushed the lead into double digits with 7 minutes left and the game was never closer than 10 again.  Except for that 8 minutes period, BG dominated the game as they frankly should have.

The stats reflect the same thing.  BG had 1.22 points per possession, their best against a D1 opponent this year.  BG had a great shooting game.   In fact, the only game in the last two years where they have shot better was the UT win at the Stroh last year.  BG made 14 3FGs, their most in a D1 game since the Morehead State game in 2012.

BG has been excellent at taking care of the ball so far this year, and they fell off the wagon a little in that respect, but they had a big day on the offensive boards and getting to the line and making them.  BG was 18 of 21 at the line, as they continue to show improved FT shooting.

Defensively, there are minor concerns.  Yes, Norfolk State was held to 1.02 points per possession, which is below the national average, but they came in at .86, meaning that even they were able to get healthy on offense against our defense.  It was their best offensive game of the season.

That will be exploited in MAC play.  The Spartans had a good shooting night and were average taking care of the ball.  BG was effective on the defensive glass and NSU only got to the line 12 times, making 9, leaving BG +9 in that area.

Dylan Frye had a career high 28 points on 9 of 13 and 5 of 7 shooting, along with making all five of his FTs.  He also had 5 rebounds.

Wiggins also had a good night with 18 points on 8 of 10 shooting to go with 7 rebounds.  He did have 5 turnovers.

Matt Fox also had a career high 18 points on 5 of 7 and 4 of 6 shooting.  Turner had 16 on 4 of 11 and 4 of 7 shooting.  Rod Caldwell struggled with his shot but had 7 assists over 3 turnovers.

So BG goes to 7-2.  They have Evansville on Tuesday--an excellent test--before heading back to the same town they just left to play Old Dominion, an even tougher test.  Loving this team and watching them develop.

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Interesting email from BGSU

Got an interesting email from BGSU yesterday.  They were seeking season ticket holder input on an idea that they are considering, which is to move the band and the students to the east side of the stadium, along with the team.  The idea is that when the game is on TV, this would put more people in the stands facing the cameras and create a better image on television.  They say no season ticket holder would have to move their seats, but don't specify where on the East side all this might happen.

First, I want to say that it is great to see some creative thinking.  The game day experience has gotten a lot better over the years and I am glad to see them keep trying to move it forward.  I am also glad to see them asking for input.  In past years, something like this might have just been announced.  For example, they might have surveyed season ticket holders before announcing they were moving a home game to Columbus.

That sounds like I'm going to say I don't like the idea, but I do.

I'm a west side guy.  It is better for the sun and the wind and we know all the people in our section.  We like watching what's going on with our bench, but that's not a huge thing.  I think we'd enjoy the game just as much, possibly more, who knows.

You might disagree.  If you got the survey, make sure you send it back.  It is important we stay involved.