Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Bennett to Miss Season

So there you have it.  Most of all, this is bad for Jacob, who has been working hard for the Spring and Summer and has to deal with what has to be a huge disappointment.  I wish him the best for a speedy recovery.

He joins Clint Stephens and Matt Domer as players with season-ending injuries since spring.  In Saturday's post we recapped what The Blade had learned about the line re-shuffling that the injury would cause.  BG has depth on the line, but Bennett is an experienced and accomplished player and will be missed.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Football Scrimmage...no Landry and a big hat

So I was down for the season ticket holder event at the Doyt today.  It was great--and I mean great--to be back.  Makes me happy.

From the scrimmage standpoint, there was not a lot to see.  The 1s didn't play and I am not sure how many 2s got in either.  Furthermore, it was a no-tackle scrimmage, something I suspect you are going to see more of as health becomes a bigger concern in football.

Speaking of which, the Jacob Bennett injury continues to be a concern.  The Blade had the details of the line shuffling this morning...Ryan Hunter, who is from Ontario and has 14 starts under his belt, will go to RT and Logan Dietz will move to LT.  The middle of the line will remain the same.

The Blade also mentions that true freshman Lorenzo Taborn is in the mix for playing time.  This is very unusual...the line is rarely a place for true freshman.  Coach Jinks says they "stuck gold" with him...he was the last player BG signed...he's from Sidney, OH.

One thing I did notice at the scrimmage was that there were a couple of nice catches on deep balls by Vanel Dossous.  He's a WR JUCO transfer.  That was significant because of the news you see above...WR Darrion Landry will not play for BG this season.  Landry was projected to be a part of the WR corps after BG suffered massive losses at the position.  His loss makes the job tougher in theory, though we didn't actually get to see him play.

So Dossous could be helpful.

Two last notes.

First, Coach Jinks is standing in the middle here...wearing the biggest hat I have ever seen on a man.  Players could be required to run laps around the hat when they drop a pass.

Second, the starters came into the stands to shake hands and thank season ticket holders....and I mean all of them shook everyone's hand.  It was very impressive and a nice touch by the team...certainly appreciated.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Falcons Forever Video....

A little pump up video from the Falcons, including a message from Coach Jinks and his staff about :13 in.  Not too bad....interesting music choice...a little downbeat for what you usually get.  But the season is on the way...and here are some highlights from recent years.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Three-Star Commit for BG Football...

The hits keep on coming for Team Jinks on the recruiting trail.  Today, it was Cedric Mitchell of Concord HS in Elkhart, IN.  Elkhart is east of South Bend (and the home of the RV industry).

Mitchell is a 3-star recruit on most of the services.  His final three were UT and Temple (and BG) and he had nearly a dozen D1 offers.

Mitchell plays WR and S for Concord, but told his local newspaper that he is generally projected as a safety in college.

The 6-foot-1 ½, 180-pounder posted 613 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns on offense in 2015 to go along with 36 solo tackles, four interceptions, two kickoff return touchdowns.
He was all-conference for his team...the conference champions.  He was also 5A all-state as a DB.  He also plays basketball and runs track.

Welcome to the Falcons, Cedric.

Football Preview: QB...and the offense

So, we are inside of 3 weeks from the opener, and time to start and do some previewing for the upcoming football season.  In this post, I want to look at what I think is the biggest make or break area for the team, and that is offensive production.  A big part of that is at QB.

I don't mean this to be critical of James Knapke.  He took over in a very difficult position in 2014.  The entire team was learning a new offense, and Knapke had never played a signficant down at the college level under any system.  Dieter played only 9 games with 35 catches and was never healthy.  Travis Greene missed 2 games, Coppet missed 1.

So, with all those disclaimers, Knapke just wasn't great.  He was 6th in yards per game, but that's misleading because he had far and away the most attempts.  He completed only 58% of his passes, threw only 15 TDs (essentially one per game) and had 12 picks.  His QB rating, which assembles all that, was 118.4, which would put him well outside the Top 10 in the MAC.

BG finished 5th in scoring offense.  This is also just a deadly offense when you are going 3 and out.  BG punted 82 times, 2nd in the MAC...in 2015 BG punted 54 times.

Again, I don't mean to be critical, just to say that BG's offense struggled in 2014 and Knapke was below the average QB in the MAC, factually speaking.

So here are a couple things.

First, Knapke might have improved since then.  He had a year of practice as Johnson's backup, Babers always said he was doing better, but you can't tell with that guy.  He has also had the Spring and this camp.  He might be better than he was in 2014 and in fact I would expect him to be better.  The question is how much.

Second thing.  It isn't all on him.  BG's WR corps was decimated by graduation and transfers.  Only one has played significant downs at the D1 level.  BG also lost one of the best RBs it has ever had, as well as the #3 man.  Even if Knapke is a lot better than he was in 2014, he has a lot more question marks in his supporting cast than he did in 2014.

The total, however, even with the very strong offensive line, adds up to a lot of doubt about BG's offensive performance.  In addition, BG is putting in another new offense, and even if it is similar it is still new.

I don't think anyone thinks BG will put up the numbers they did last year.  The question is, what will BG do in comparison to the 2014 performance?  On paper, you would expect having the #5 offensive unit to be the high end of the expectations.  It isn't beyond the realm of possibility it could be lower.

What could happen to change that?  We could have a much improved James Knapke.  The WR Corps--including JUCO guys--would have to be improved while they are being coached by people who are literally getting on the job training.  Fred Coppet would have to stay healthy and productive at RB.  And the line has to stay health and be very effective.

What could happen to make it worse?  Knapke isn't better, the WRs are just average, and Coppet isn't healthy or BG can't get a running game going because teams are keying on it.  That could happen, too.

Now, there's one more question that came to mind when I saw today that JD Sprague will not play for OU this year.

That question is this:  could James Knapke be the best QB in the East?

OU has either Greg Windham, who played some last year and was not an effective passer, and Quinton Maxwell, a FR who has not played at all.  (OU's QBs don't operate in the same offense most of the MAC does).

Akron starts Thomas Woodson, a junior whose passer ranking was 123 in 2015 and just a little better than Knapke's was in 2014.

Buffalo has a battle at the QB position between a grad transfer from Iowa State and a very tall rFR, so there situation is uncertain.

Kent has a three way competition at QB.  The returning starter, George Bollas, was must worse in '15 than Knape was in '14.

Miami has Billy Bahl, who struggled a great deal as a FR.  He should improve...but how much?

So, the answer is...yes, he very well could be.  Other than maybe Rohach (the Buffalo transfer) or a markedly improved Bahl, it is hard to see anyone who is going to be much better than he is.

Anyway, QB is a vital position and we saw that with Matt Johnson over his two championship seasons and that's why the focus was chosen for this post.  BG needs help from a lot of guys on offense, but might find the MAC East forgiving enough.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Blade has Darrion Landry News

There have been a lot of questions on the internet about what is up with Darrion Landry.  I had mentioned that I was surprised he wasn't on the 2-deep when it came out for media day and other people had heard he is not in camp.

Which he is not.

Anyway, he was a JUCO WR who has drawn a lot of MAC interest and given the issues for BG at WR appeared to be able to get onto the field.  The Blade says his eligibility has not been determined yet.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

News from Saturday Scrimmage

The Falcons held a scrimmage on Saturday at the Doyt.  It was a non-contact scrimmage in order to keep everyone healthy...something I think is smart.  There's a little news coming out of it.

First, BG's RB Matt Domer was tore his ACL and is out for the season.  All the best wishes to Matt for a full recovery.  Domer transferred from Illinois and had a few carries last year.  He was probably the #3 HB on the depth chart and probably would have gotten more carries this year at a position where teams are increasingly trying to get depth.

Second, Jacob Bennett was injured.  Haven't seen any word on this except a tweet from Thomas of the Sentinel who said that he was out for the "forseeable future."  Bennett is the RT.  BG has depth on the o-line, but if he misses signficant time in the conference season, that's going to make it harder.

In other news, preferred walk-on WR Eric Sherkel has left school to head to a JC in Cali.  He was a athletic QB in Pennsylvania in HS and had kind of had a Ryan Burbrink feel to him, but he's going to play that out elsewhere.

The Blade reported that LB Matt Finkler and WR Odell Spencer have left the program.  This is not unusual.  Sometimes it just isn't right for people.  Finkler was a Buffalo commit who was a co-defensive player in the year in Division VI in Ohio, which is a small-school dvision.  Odell Spencer took a crazy route to end up signing with BG (see here), and the next chapter is to not play football at BG.

The Blade also has info on four additons, two of which you have seen here.  They include DB Montrelle Gregory,  and RB Calen Taylor.

BG also added Peter Norris who played has been on the BG roster before and Davaugn Alexander, who is a FR OL from the Dayton area.

The worst news was the kicking in the scrimmage, which was dreadful.  Coach says they need more reps.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Falcons Get Northwest Ohio O-line Verbal

So BG has its first offensive line recruit for the '17 class.  The Blade has the full story...which you should check out...

His name is Zach Dziengelewski, and luckily he hit a growth streak because he will need a jersey that big for his last name. The University should arrange for him to room with Malik Hluchoweckyj...that would be awesome.

Anyway's, he's an OG currently looking at 6'4" and 270.  Swanton has had a very strong football program over the last few years, so he's coming from a winning tradition.  He was second-team All-District last year as well.

Welcome to the Falcons, Zack.