Tuesday, September 16, 2014

ICSTR Report: The Streak Ends

So, the results are in and BG had its first negative special teams game since the Buffalo game in Columbus.  That was 17 straight positive games, starting with the Military Bowl, all 14 last year and then the first 2 this year.

It wasn't awful....just a -2, but it is what it is.  And yes, I know Tyler Tate made 4 FGs, but we only give points for FGs over 40.  In the MAC, a FG under 40 is made 80% of the time, so it is an expected play and therefore a 0.

Anyway, BG still had 2 FGs, one good kick coverage, one good kick return and 2 touchbacks on KOs.  That was six positive plays.  On the negative, BG lost an onside kick, missed 2 XPs, had two poor KO returns, allowed one good return for IU and had an OB kickoff.  That's +6 and -8.

IU ended up +1.  They got the onside kick, stuffed two BG KO returns, stopped 2 BG Xps, had a KO TB and a return to the 39.  On the negative side, there were 3 crappy punts, an OB kickoff, a penalty on a punt return and on a KO return and a missed 39 yd FG.

BG Positive (+6)
IU KO ret to 16 before penalty (+1)
BG Ko Ret to 41 (+1)
BG 45 yd FG (+1)
BG 47 yd FG (+1)
BG KO TB (+1)
BG KO TB (+1)

BG Negative (-8)
BG KO OB (-1)
BG loses onside kick (-2)
BG KO RET to 9 (-1)
BG 2XP Fails (-1)
IU KO Ret to 39 (-1)
BG KO RET to 12 (-1)
BG XP blocked (-1)

IU Positive (+8)
IU recovers onside kick (+2)
BG KO RET to 9 (+1)
BG 2X Fails (+1)
IU KO Ret to 39 (+1)
IU KO TB (+1)
BG KO RET to 12 (+1)
BG XP blocked (+1)

IU Negative (-7)
IU 23 yard net punt (-1)
IU KO OB (-1)
IU Penalty on PR creates 47 net (-1)
IU KO RET to 2 with penalty (-1)
IU 24 yard net punt (-1)
IU 10 yard punt (-1)
IU missed 39 yrd FG (-1)

Benchmark Report---Upset Edition

Here are the benchmark statistics for the IU game.

A few notes.

First IU won the statistical battle in most areas.  BG had a bunch of yards, but when you average it out over 113 plays, you see that BG had below average success on a play-play basis.  

Not to say no success.  BG had a first down on 35% of its plays.  That's amazing.  Indiana actually had a first down on 38% of their plays.

The difference in a very close game was that BG was better on third-fourth down, and IU had a red zone whiff on the missed FG. 

BG had the ball about half the game and ran 113 plays...which means the Falcons ran one play every 16 seconds.  That's right up on twice as fast as last year's team and faster than earlier this year, even.

Knapke had a good percentage and the numbers would show that he had a high percentage play mix.  Coach said that was what Indiana was giving us, and that was a lot of short passes.  Obviously, big gains in our attack are supposed to come after the catch.  Knapke did make some long throws--he has a solid arm and seems to be accurate.  But, yardage wise, BG'd expect to have even more yards with that many plays.

One thing that helped was the BG did a good job of avoiding negative passing plays.

Oh, and BG had only 8.8 yards per point.  That is ridiculously efficient.

On, and for the second week in a row our opponent netted out at <20 yards net per punt.

Monday, September 15, 2014

BG Defense "MASH" Unit...

Some more news leaking out of the MAC Teleconference today.  BG has another defensive player out for the game Saturday.  You can see the speculation above.  Coach is pretty careful about injury reports, but any of those guys is a problem.  If you are wondering about next man up, if it is Ward I'd say Dernard Turner and if it is Hunter or Adjei-Barimah it would be Nick Johnson and Clint Stephens.  D-line is getting tough, with Colvin also apparently out and Mike Minns not seeing time.

Two Falcons Land MAC East Player of the Week...

Congrats to two Falcons for earning MAC East Player of the Week honors...

Tyler Tate won Special Teams Honors.  This is second time to win that award, and the second Falcon to win special teams honors this season.  He made 4 FGs, a career high, fourth most in program history and the most ever in the Doyt.

Tate has absolutely solidified what was a trouble point for the team, and as Coach Babers said today on the MAC teleconference, those FGs kept us in the game.  One miss and things are different in the second half.  Also, two of the FGs were over 40.

The offensive player went to James Knapke--obviously his first.  He set school records with 46 completions and 73 arm-numbing attempts in his second start ever.  James is well deserving...I thought Roger Lewis had a shot, he also had a huge game.  Having two guys who could win the award is a good problem to have.

Congrats to James and Tyler.

Past and Future Opponent Land

Western Kentucky (1-2) lost in 3 OT at Middle Tennessee
VMI (1-2)  Beat Davidson 52-24
Wisconsin (1-1) Bye week.  What is it about Big Ten teams and bye weeks before playing us.
UMass (0-3) Lost 34-31 to Vanderbilt.  Possibly lower degree of ineptitude out there.
Buffalo (1-2) Lost to Baylor
Ohio (1-2) Lost big @ Marshall
WMU (1-1) Beat Idaho 45-33
Akron (1-1) Idle
Kent (0-3) Lost 66-0 @ OSU
Toledo (1-2) Lost at UC
Ball State (1-2) Lost at home to Indiana State

MAC vs. Power 5: 3-14
MAC vs. non-MAC FBS: 2-9
MAC vs. FCS: 8-2
East vs. West: NA

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sweet Victory #2: The performances


So, BG had some big performances.  Some truly outstanding days on a team effort that led to a big victory.

We have already talked about James Knapke, who attempted 73 passes.  Completed 46, two school records.  That's 63% completions.  He had 3 TDs and 1 INT and 1 sack.  For that number of attempts, the yardage isn't spectacular (395 yards).  He was increasingly effective in the 2nd half as he gained confidence.  He also ran 7 times for 41 yards, including 1 key 3rd down rush.

We've talked about Roger Lewis...16 for 149 and the winning score and being the only player that IU had no answer for at the end.

We have not talked about Travis Greene.  He had 24 carries for 123 and a score.  That's 5.1 per attempt and a number of key second half runs.  He is incredibly elusive in tight space, and made several IU defenders look bad.

Ryan Burbrink was 6 for 80 with a TD and a circus reception that kept the game winning drive alive.

Tyler Tate...4-4 on FGs and a key tackle on the blocked XP.  He had a 45 yarder and a 47 yarder.  He has solidified BG's kicking game.

How about Guy Schwieterman?  Walk on, most fans never heard of him, he was in on 8 tackles and one for a loss.  All over the field Saturday.

Brian Sutton?  In on 10 tackles.  Gabe Martin...in on 8.

Paul Senn was in for Lynch.  He had 6 tackles, .5 TFL and a broken up pass.

Sweet Victory #2: The reaction from Indiana. Pain.

After pulling a big Power-5/BCS shocker, the most satisfying thing of all is reading the way it gets covered back in Power-5 land.  Very satisfying.

This week, I did a podcast with Crimson Cast.  They are nice guys, I talked to them last year, too.  He asked me what I thought would happen, and I said what I thought, which was that it would be a shoot-out with Indiana being on top by 1 score, 42-35.

The host said, under his breath, "I think a lot of people here will be disappointed if that happens."

Understand, they would be disappointed to only beat us by 1 TD.

Not, the morning after the game, Crimson Cast has not been updated.  What sits on their page right now (9:45 AM), are the following predictions.  (To be fair, Galen, who I spoke with, had IU winning by 3.)
Galen’s video pick gets historical to caution you about an Indiana team going on the road, before calling a 34-31 shootout victory for your Hoosiers.

Scott calls a 35-17 Indiana win in Bowling Green.

Mike Petry’s prediction? “Pain. And a 42-14 IU victory.”

Michael Rayome’s pick – I’m calling a 38-13 Indiana victory. Indiana will score a couple of touchdowns early via a renewed passing attack. Tevin Coleman and the running back crew will dominate the second half, prompting the exits to clear in the early fourth quarter.

There were no cleared exists.  There was pain, but not the kind Mike Petry thought.

But hey, that was before the game.  Here is after....

Here is the Indianapolis Star:

This was as bad as it gets in the Kevin Wilson era at Indiana University.

This was Bowling Green, which lost by 32 to Indiana last year and by 28 to Western Kentucky — Western Kentucky! — in a season opener.

Indiana featured collective collapse: offense, defense, special teams, coaching.

Don't be deceived by Indiana's new 3-4 defense, either. The Falcons weren't. They ran 113 plays, for crying out loud — two off the Football Bowl Subdivision record.

"You let them run 113 snaps," Wilson said, "and you're not going to win a game."

Today, there were a couple of times where me being a better teammate could have made a difference.

It remains difficult to find five more wins that would put the Hoosiers in their first bowl game since 2007.

So, BG ruined their season .  I like it.

Sweet Victory #2: G-O...G-O

And that is what it feels like.  You head out to the stadium, week after week, year after year, there are good times, there are bad times.  You're disappointed, you're thrilled.

And then yesterday happens.  That is what it feels like.  And remember, this program has now provided us two moments like that since last December...pretty fantastic stuff.  Honestly, the feeling leaving the stadium yesterday was about as good as I can feel.

So, thanks to the people--players, coaches, support staff--who put in the hard work to give me the chance to be that proud and excited.

Things had clearly not gotten off to a great start this year, but to think you could lose by 28 at WKU, lose your All-MAC QB and then end up with your first Big 10 win in your stadium only 15 days later...that's a hell of a moment for this program.

Coach Babers was fantastic in his press conference, and I recommend you pop over and listen to it.  A lot of stuff...bandwagon jumpers, (train's closed, now, BTW), telling stories to your grandkids, James Knapke and a chip on his shoulder, not letting other people define you, guys playing with broken fingers, Tyler Tate (!!) wrestling down the Indiana guy on the blocked punt...family, community.  It's all in there.

At one point, he says that he asked the players Friday night if they wanted to play to win or save stuff for the MAC season.  They wanted to go and Babers said...

"You know what that means to me, right?  G-O...G-O."

When asked what the thinking was behind the onside kick, Coach Babers said...

"The thinking was we wanted to get the ball back so we could score again."


And go they did.  BG ran 113 plays in the game.  When I looked at that a couple hours after the game, my eyes nearly fell out of my head.  BG threw 73 passes and completed 46--both school records, and the 113 plays is only 2 plays off the FBS record.


Coach compared the game in his presser to a 15-round prize fight, and that's a pretty good analogy.  There were an incredible number of reversals and changes of fortune.  The second half alone had 9 lead changes and was about as entertaining as a football game can get.

On a normal game, I like to go through the flow of the game from the beginning.  That's going to be tough here.  There's one spot in the 4th Quarter where the game really focused in...

Before that, the first half was relatively unexpected.  BG was getting stops--Indiana scored on only 2 of 7 possessions and BG's offense was driving into the scoring area but not getting TDs.  Tyler Tate kicked 4 FGs and the game was 14-12 at halftime.

From the presser, there was a lot of high-level motivating going on in the BG locker room, talking about what happened to Ball State and Iowa and god knows what else.

Anyway, nobody is having trouble scoring in the second half...it is (to follow the analogy) haymaker after haymaker. There were four TDs in the 3rd Q and Indiana let 28-26 entering the 4th.

As the 4th Quarter started, BG was on the Hoosier 9.  They got to the 1 and it was 4th down.  G-O...G-O.  BG goes for it and Fred Coppet scores and BG had a 32-28 lead.

Four plays after that, Indiana was back in the end zone and back in the lead, 35-32.

BG got the ball back and drove it down to the Hoosier 37 and had 4th and 4.  BG went for it (BG punted once all day) and did not convert.

Obviously, this is danger time.  If you are trading scores, falling down two scores means you are going to need a stop at some point.

Indiana completed a 30 yard pass on the first play after the 4th down and converted a 3rd down to get to the BG 22.  Their outstanding TB Tevin Coleman was eating BG up at that point and broke into the clear.  Just at that moment, I think IU could see them closing the door.  Instead, BG gang-tackled Coleman and stripped the ball.  Fumble forced by Walker, fumble recovered by Ward.

That was the game's biggest play.  BG took over on its own 12.  The Falcon offense was humming by now, Knapke firing Hoosier-revenge bullets all over the field.  On the next drive, he went 6-6 and had two rushes for 12 yards--one to convert a crucial 3rd and 5.  He capped the drive with a 31 yard toss to Ryan Burbrink for a TD.

Less than 4 minutes after the strip, BG had the lead again 39-35.  G-O...G-O.

Indiana then embarked on a 9-play drive down the field, 67 yards.  It was high drama.  There was a scrum in the corner that resulted in a 2nd and goal from the 1.  (And, classless Indiana fans booing an injured Falcon on a play when the referee was signaling for the trainer from the end of the play.  Hope it was a nice ride home for you folks).

Anyway, they ran a sneak on 3rd and 1 and BG stood them up.  Frankly, the best thing for BG was for them to just score, but on 4th down and inches you're buckled up for the stop.  Sudfeld stuck the ball over the pile for a clear score and Indiana led 42-39 with 2:04 left.  BG had 1 time out.


Coach said after the game that he wanted IU to FEEL us in the 4th Quarter.  He wanted them to get that tightness, because he knew we would relax and execute.  He wanted them to FEEL us.

I think they were feeling us.  We will cover the Hoosier reaction a little bit later, but they needed this win to try and be bowl eligible.  And, this had been marked as a win the entire time.

The thing about running the Falcon offense is that BG essentially runs a two-minute drill for the whole game.  So the Falcons were ready.

Here's the other thing that I haven't mentioned.  Roger Lewis is a beast and he was a beast all freaking day Saturday.  He finished with 16 catches, but it was more than that.  Indiana had no answer for him.  Remember, Lewis was at one point headed to the Big 10 and he is clearly a Big 10 talent.  The Hoosiers are not a good defensive team and Lewis was just abusing them.

The drive didn't start great.  Ronnie Moore mishandled the kickoff and BG started on the 12 with just under 2 minutes left.  Knapke threw an INC, and then hit Lewis twice for 18 yards.  BG on the 30.

BG ran for 2 yards before Knapke-Lewis netted 12 more yards on 3rd and 1.  BG on the 44 with :56 left as the Falcons burned their last time out.

Next, Knapke hit Ryan Burbrink for a 17 yard gain where Burbrink reached way behind him to make a spectacular catch...maybe the game's most forgotten play.

A couple plays later it was 4th and 2 from the Indiana 37 and about :20 left.  Too long for a game-tying FG.


BG lined Lewis up 1-1 on the edge and sent him down the field.  He torched the D-back and the only answer was to interfere him baldly in the open field.

Now BG is on the 16.  They go to the Lewis again, and this time the IU CB just wrapped him up and didn't attempt a defense.  How many times do you get two PI calls in key time like that...that's how obvious it was.  Anyway, that one was in the end zone, so BG was on the 2.

They ran a slant to Lewis, broken up.  And the, Knapke ran a fade to Lewis, 1-1 in the corner and Lewis made a huge play to win the ball and put the Falcons ahead with :09 left.

Great feeling in the stands...hugging, high-fiving.


It was not over.  The extra point was blocked and IU was heading the other way with the ball.  That's 2 points and they still get the ball.  And then, Tyler Tate--yes, Tyler Tate--wrapped the dude up and clung on for dear life until the rest of the team showed up.

It ended with a hail mary and a huge celebration, as well it should have.

BG had never beaten a Big 10 team at home and might never again.  BG had beaten a Power 5 team since Pitt in the Brandon era.  Clawson had 0 Power 5 wins...now Babers has 1.

It was a great day to be a Falcon.  Huge amount of pride in our effort and for the team for turning it around after the WKU debacle.


Friday, September 12, 2014

MAC Blogger Roundtable, Compiled...

It is MAC Blogger Roundtable time this week.  I'm jumping in to guest host this week.  I posed 3 questions to the collected wisdom of the MAC bloggers...below are answers from Let's Go Rockets, Hustle Belt, Bull Run and Eagle Totem.

1. So the MAC picked up two wins over the Big Ten but lost an FCS game, as well as a game to South Alabama and Army. On balance, good week or bad week for the MAC?

Let's Go Rockets:

It’s difficult to use the Big Ten as a barometer for MAC success anymore because they are not as good as they have been in years past — seeing the top teams in their conference lose last week (one loss to an unranked ACC opponent). It’s always positive for the MAC to play well against OOC opponents especially when they are in a top tier conference, but defeating the Purdues of the world isn’t as glamorous or infrequent as it used to be for MAC teams. It doesn’t appear that Northwestern is going to do much this season either so we put less emphasis on that win than we would have in years past. We feel that the past week was basically a wash for the MAC with a couple good wins and a couple tough loses that shouldn’t have happened.

Hustle Belt:

I'd have to go with bad. Ball State holding their own in Iowa was a pleasant surprise. NIU and CMU's wins were more expected than anything, leaving us with a Miami loss to Eastern Kentucky, Toledo getting blown apart, and Bowling Green losing Matt Johnson for the year. Add in the Kent State and Buffalo losses, and you have a rather down week. The truth hurts.

Bull Run:

On balance a decent week but the last minute loss by Ball State and the flat performance by Buffalo kind of keep it from being "an awesome" week.

People, and I'm taking clueless people, will look at this week and say "Wow The MAC beat two Big10 teams". As someone who started following the MAC in 2006 or so even I can look at the week and say "meh".

The MAC has done it before and we will do it again. Now once in awhile we will have Ohio down Penn State or Toledo beat Michigan. When we see a week where all the "good" MAC teams win and one or two of the cellar dwellers pull off a nice upset we can uncork the campaign.

Eagle Totem:

Any week the MAC wins two against the Big Ten is a good week. The positive publicity gained far outweighs the negative of a bad loss or two. Northern Illinois continues their superior play, and the Huskies knocking off a Big Ten team is old news by now. Central Michigan made a statement, albeit against a woeful Purdue team, that the Chips will be a tough out this year within the conference.

2. Once again, it seems like the West is much stronger than the East. If this continues, do you think the MAC should re-align the divisions to even things out?

Let's Go Rockets:

We don’t see any need to realign the divisions because the West is stronger than the East. If you take a look around the country, you’ll see many conferences where there is disparity between the divisions but there are no plans to change the alignments — in the SEC, for example, the West is much stronger than the East but there are no plans to realign.

Hustle Belt:

No. I like the geographical alignment. Also, keeping rivalries would be tough. The three directionals have to stay together, and you'd like NIU to keep their rivalries with Toledo and Ball State. Toledo would want to keep a rivalry with Bowling Green, so then you'd have 4 power schools right now all together, and then you'd fill it with what? UMass and Miami?

Hell, even if you broke Toledo away from NIU, then you start to get long travel times to divisional teams. Propose you keep CMU, WMU, EMU, Toledo, and BG together because, hey, they pretty much form a pennant flag on the highways. Who is your 6th team? Do you pluck Buffalo for the Ontario Sandwich? You can't separate Miami and Ohio or Akron and Kent State, so those 4 are together. Then you have to put Ball State and NIU with those 6 and Buffalo is left over (forget UMass, because they're gone anyways).

So this new proposal would be:

Great Lakes: Bowling Green, Buffalo, CMU, EMU, Toledo, WMU
Trivals (TRY-vals, like tri-rivals), or Corn Belt: Akron, Ball State, Kent State, Miami, NIU, Ohio

Actually, this isn't bad. Screw it, MAKE IT HAP'N CAP'N!

Bull Run:

As "bad" as the disparity is in football is not nearly as bad as it has been in Basketball. Hell in hoopsland the MAC has looked like Al Frankin taking Candy from a baby for nearly a decade.

We did not realign for hoops over the MAC West 7 year drought of futility why football?

The MAC East has quite a few football championships over the past ten years. Miami, Akron, Buffalo, and Bowling Green all have a trophy where as in the West the only trophies go to NIU and CMU.

Don't get me wrong I would like to see a MAC North and South where UB is paired with the Michigan Schools, NIU, Bowling Green, and Toledo but I don't see a huge benefit to outside of scratching a "realignment itch".

Eagle Totem:

tend to think that realignment is an overreaction, the solution is for the programs in the East to get better. I do dislike the fact the Bowling Green and Toledo are in different divisions, I’m not sure what the best solution is to get them together, but if realignment were to take place then at least that problem can be fixed.

Current trends in conference alignment and set up completely disregard geography, so maybe you could shift Toledo to the East and have Buffalo join the West. Then EMU and Buffalo could have a yearly battle for the Ontario Sandwich. (Editor's Note: Should totally be the poutine bowl).

3. Brady Hoke, Tim Beckman and Darrel Hazell are all former MAC coaches who are struggling in the Big 10. What are the odds all 3 are gone by the end of the year and do you think any of them will coach in the MAC again?

Let's Go Rockets:

These three coaches are in three distinct situations:

  • Brady Hoke’s Michigan team was shut out for the first time since the 1980’s. Losing the last scheduled rivalry game with Notre Dame and having to play Ohio State and Michigan State on the road, is all pointing to the departure of Hoke after this season.
  • Tim Beckman just hasn’t been able to recruit at Illinois like the program has needed to in order to be competitive. We suspect he will be gone after this season.
  • Darrel Hazell will get some breathing room at Purdue before he sees his tenure come to an end… but how much time is not clear. Winning or, at least, being competitive in all their games will buy Hazell some time to recruit.

Hustle Belt

Hoke? Still depends on the season, but anything less than 9 wins and his job is likely open. Beckman is gone. I'm surprised he's still at Illinois after where he's taken that team. Hazell will get another year, but his seat is getting really toasty quick. If Purdue isn't at .500 next season, he's gone as well.

As far as coming back? I think Beckman and Hazell might get jobs as a coordinator and head coach respectively. Hoke will never come back, probably because his ego thinks he's too high for it now. But who knows, if Terry Bowden and Frank Solich can come to the MAC, anything's possible. (Editor's Note: If Bowden and Solich can coach in the MAC...so can either of those 3 guys).

Bull Run

I'd say Hoke is the only one in serious trouble. I think after three seasons where Michigan has struggled despite some talent he is in trouble. Then add getting set upon by the and he may already be a dead man walking. He needs to make some serious noise in the B10.

Look at the bright side, I suspect that Pete Lembo will be hired away from Ball state after the season and that creates a very nice fall back job for Hoke in Muncie. He can go after that MAC championship he never won.

Hazell and Beckman have more time. Neither Illinois nor Purdue has a recent culture of winning and those two coaches have had just one and two seasons respectively to turn those programs around.

Eagle Totem

Right now it looks like a 100% chance that all three will be gone, but if I had to pick one who could possibly survive it would be Beckman. Hoke has lost the fan base, and unless Michigan combines an eight or nine win season with an upset of either MSU or Ohio State he is finished. I don’t see that happening. Hazell took on a tough job, but that program is going nowhere. Hazell did a fine job at Kent State, but appears to be in over his head at Purdue.

As for whether they will coach in the MAC again, I doubt it, unless Hazell were to return to Kent State. Once MAC coaches “move up” to a bigger program, they rarely come back if the attempt fails. Once you get the stank of losing on you, ADs prefer to stay away, and go with the hot coordinator or loyal assistant.

25 Questions With Striped pants

 What is their body of work?

This was one thing...
Indiana has not had a ton of success on the football field.  Their last winning season was 2007.  They were also winless on the road last year.  Having said all that, they were good enough to beat BG 42-10 last year.  Their only win this season was over Indiana State, 28-10, a team they put 73 on last year.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

26, which is a typical number.

Who are their returning statistical leaders?

CB Tim Bennett led the nation in passes defended last year.
WR Shane Wynn was #19 in the country in receiving TDs.

What was their turnover ratio?

They were -3 last year.


 How is their QB play expected to be?

Last year, they were experimenting with two QBs when BG came to town.  Nate Sudfeld has clearly established himself as the starter now....he threw all the passes against the Sycamores.  IU ran the ball a lot in that game--Sudfeld threw only 18 passes for 111 yards.  He was 3rd in the Big 10 in passing efficiency last year and threw for 335 against BG.

What was their scoring and yards per play?

They were high powered last year.  They put up 38 points per game with was #16 in the nation.   They run a lot of plays, so their 6.5 yards per play is good if not great. While they only scored 28 against ISU, they did get 566 yards of total offense, also 6.5 yards per play.

Can they run the ball?

Yes.  The answer is yes.  Tevin Coleman, their TB, is a high quality back.  He averaged 7.3 yards per carry last year and over 10 in the opener and went for 129 against BG.  His backup, D'Angelo Roberts, also had 100+ in the opener.
This is another.....

Did they pass the ball?

Well, as noted above, Sudfeld was very effective last season.  He completed 60% of his passes at over 13 per catch, which is very effective, and had 21 TD over 9 INT.  His top 2 WRs did graduate, so there are a couple unknowns there.  Also, as noted, they only threw 18 passes against ISU.

How was their run/pass balance?

Well, in the opener they ran 68 times and passed 18 but last year split it 50/50, pretty much.  Remember, Wilson comes out of the Oklahoma tradition, so running can be expected.

Did they convert on 3rd Down?

They were very, very good last year, with 47%.  That was 23rd in the nation.  They were 8 of 13 against BG.

Did they score in the red zone?

They had 5.2 points per trip last year, which is good.

Did they protect the quarterback?

They were very good.  They gave up only 18 sacks on 488 attempts, which is 3.7%.


Defense.  Well, that's where things are different for IU.  They struggled on defense last season, and have a new DC this year after the previous one--Doug Mallory--was fired.  Brian Knoor is new to IU but not to BG, as he was head coach at OU for 3 seasons.  He has implemented a 3-4, which, it seems to me, might be the new defense to take advantage of the spread offenses teams are using.  Note:  their new D-line coach is Larry McDaniel, who held the same position at BG.
Not this sport....

Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

They were 114th out of 120 on defense last year.  They also gave up 6.7 yards per play.  Still on the topline, Phil Steele ranked them #12 in the Big 10 for each of their defensive units.

Did they defend the run effectively?

They allowed 5.4 yards per rush last season and on a per-game basis they were among the 10 worst rush defenses in the nation.

Could they be passed on?

They were 103rd last year in pass efficiency defense.  They allowed over 13 yards per reception and 61% completions against.

Did they get off the field on 3rd down?

They allowed 47% last year, which is not good...113th in the nation.

Did they defend in the red zone?

No, 5.3 points per trip.

Did they pressure the QB?

20 sacks for the year on 435 passing attempts, 4.5%, which is below average.

Special Teams:


They were 11th in the Big 10 in net punting.  They were blocked twice and gave up on return TD.

Punt Return?

Shane Wynn is back, and averaged over 14 yards per return--even though there were only 7 attempts.  He scored once.


Their PK is new.  He has only tried one FG, and it was a 26 yard miss.


Perfect record...5 KOs, 5 TBs.

Kickoff Return?

Wynne did the work here, too and was decent.  They started on their 26, which is not great.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

So, what do we have here?  First, should be a big Falcon crowd on Saturday and our guys have a history of rallying for a game on the big stage.  Let's hope the crowd gets our guys going, but we can't expect Indiana to be intimidated.

Indiana had a bye week and has only played once, so in some sense we don't know what we are looking for.

Obviously, if the Indiana defense remains weak, BG has a question mark in terms of exploiting it with the injury to Johnson.

Indiana did lose two straight years to Ball State.

Also, with both teams playing fast...well, hard to know what that means.

Early in the year, I had BG winning this one, but with Johnson down and our defensive struggles, I now fear that IU will win.  Let's hope the home crowd rallies and the defense remembers how to play in space, because what you saw from WKU will be nothing compared to this.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Babers Presser: Psyche Edition

Coach Babers did his presser today...some insights...

First, on the news front, DJ Lynch won't play this week.  Coach says there are "a bunch" of other people who they are waiting for information on and so their status is unknown.  We are banged up.

He's not allowed to talk about Zach Colvin.

The injuries are a big issue because BG has a big challenge Saturday.

Coach talked about Indiana.

First, he noted they hung 600+ on LAST YEAR's defense...a sobering thought for this year's team.

Someone said that BG had shown a good run defense, and he said in a kind of philosophical way, "When you go against an NFL tailback you will find out how good your defense is."  (FYI, the TB's name is Tevin Coleman.  He went 129 on 14 last year against us).

He said the philosophy is to "pick something.  Take something away."

It will take "a village" of Falcons to stop the Hoosiers.

Finally, he asked if he was worried about the psyche of the defense if Indiana puts a couple quick scores up (after snowballing effects last year against IU and this year against WKU).  He said: "their psyche?  What about my psyche?"

And that's a key point.  Babers operates with the Joe Cool demeanor, but we shouldn't think that he isn't passionate on the inside.  He's living and dying like any coach.

Men's Basketball Verbal #2

Chris Jans has his second '15 verbal for men's basketball.  He continues a couple trends in his recruiting, one being JUCO and one being players from the Western part of the country.

His name is Jamir Andrews.  He has played one season at Sheridan College of Wyoming, which is a JUCO.

He is a 6'2" shooting guard who was pretty successful as a high school and JUCO player.  He is originally from Dublin, CA.  Dublin is in the East part of the Bay Area.  In HS, his team was 27-7 and he scored 19 PPG, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals.  He had a number of honors, including All-State as a senior.

You may have already seen the big news...he could be something that BG has not had in a while, which is a true scoring 2G.

Here is how the coach at Sheridan described him when he signed:

“Jamir has a special ability to score the ball in several different ways, and is extremely hard to guard because of his versatility, strength and his ability to both shoot and get to the rim.”
Like the sound of that?

At Sheridan the team was 27-6 and averaged like 87 PPG.  They played a bunch of guys, so even though Jamir was a starter, he averaged only 22 minutes and 12 PPG.  That would average out to over 16 PPG if he had played 30.  He is a 40% 3FG and 82% FT shooter.  He was over 20 points six times during the season.

It will be interesting to see how his second year at Sheridan goes.  For now, welcome to the Falcons, Jamir.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Check it out: I was the guest on Crimson Cast, an IU podcast

Had a good time talking with the folks at Crimson Cast...talking a little Falcon football.  Check it out..

ICSTR VMI Style...Big Scoring

The next week's results are in for special teams analysis.  It was a big game for the Falcons...their biggest since the Tulsa game to kick off last season.  BG was +12, tied for fourth best since the system was implemented in 2009.  The monks celebrate with a little too much mead.

BG Positive Plays (+16)
Burbrink PR TD (+6)
BG KO TB (+1)
BG punt to VMI 10 (+1)
BG Blocked punt, TD (+6)
BG punt to VMI 4 (+2)

BG Negative Plays (-4)
BG Penalty on KO causes start on 12 (-1)
BG PAT attempt fails  (-1)
BG FG Blocked (-2)

VMI Positive Plays (+4)
VMI punt inside 20 (+1)
VMI 45 yd net punt before penalty (+1)
VMI Blocked FG (+2)

VMI Negative Plays (-15)
VMI net 24 punt (-1)
BG PR TD (-6)
VMI missed 23 yd FG (-1)
VMI penalty leads to +45 net (-1)
VMI blocked punt, TD (-6)