Sunday, January 30, 2005

Tough Loss at OU

You're playing tough on the road. There's 4:43 left and we're up by 5 when John Reimold hits a jumper.

We even get a stop, and come down with a chance to go up 7 or 8. Instead, Wright misses a layup, and we start a scoring drought that lasts until there's :11 on the clock. In the meantime, OU had scored nine straight points to take a 70-66 lead. Eyink hit a trey @ :11, but OU canned their FTs and we lost.

This one could have been won. At :58, we had a shot to tie at 68, but couldn't get the shot down, and they came down and scored. That's tough.

I'm not too disappointed. This is a very good team at home, and we battled them tough, so I think the performance was fine. But, pulling out a win would have sent a real message.

As usual, you can track the team by the FG shooting. In the first half, where we had a 12-point lead at one point, we shot 57%. In the second half, we only shot 36%, so that's how we lost again. For the game, we shot 47.2%.

We had 20 fouls, and OU had 13 fouls. We outrebounded them by 3 (29-26). We only had 11 turnovers, which is excellent, especially considering that OU plays pressure defense.

A couple comments. First, Fitch only played about three minutes, and is looking bad for the short-term. Its a real shame. We missed him.

John Floyd was 3-10 shooting, and Steven Wright was 2-10. Wright is in a terrible shooting slump, and that's hurting us.

We made 10-11 FTs, hopefully showing that we will re-emerge as the FT shooting team we were last year. (OU shot 24 Fts).

Perrick continues to get minutes, and I continue to think he is going to turn into a good player. Having said that, we run a look with both Robinson and Floyd on the floor at the same time, and I don't like that look for us very much. There's not much to generate. Unfortunately, when Wright is in foul trouble, we aren't deep at guard.

Akron on Thursday. They're a solid, surprising team with a new coach and always talented, but at home, we should win that one.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Hasselbeck vs. Harrington

The main drawback for the Dump Joey Nation is that there is no one who is clearly better available. No one thinks Drew Brees is leaving SD, and the only other name QB is Matt Hasselbeck...unless you want to start over with a rookie. By the by, don't expect Ben-like success on this team...the pieces aren't quite as put together.

Here are Hasselbeck's numbers for the last three seasons for QB rating.


Here are this TD/INT numbers.


He's 30 years old. What I see here is someone who you can put it, and you know what you will get. The leaque average QB rating is 84.8, so he's just a little above average. He doesn't have a great cast in Seattle, but he does have Shaun Alexander and some decent receivers. You certainly wouldn't expect him to come to Detroit and do BETTER than this, and his career may be on a downswing based on 2004 numbers.

Now let's look at Joey.


Here are this TD/INT numbers.


Joey is 27. Now, I'm not saying Joey is going to be a franchise QB. What I am saying is that he's on an upward vector. If his numbers go up what they did last time, his totals will equal Hasselbeck's best year. With Harrington going up, and Hasselbeck slightly headed down, there is no move to be made here.

What about Jeff Garcia? That's the kind of thing we might do, but it would be typical of the idiotic management of this team.

Here's what I think will happen:

1) We keep Joey, he starts.
2) We sign a veteran backup, and cut McMahon
3) We draft a low-round project QB to be the next generation.

What you're looking for is the next Tom Brady, right? One thing is Brady is built like a big-time QB @ 6-4, 225. With that, you are probably looking realistically at the guys in bold below. (This is a ranking).

8 Stefan LeFors + Senior Louisville 6'0 201
9 David Greene + Senior Georgia 6'3 230
10 Ryan Fitzpatrick + Senior Harvard 6'2 221
11 Derek Anderson + Senior Oregon State 6'6 240
12 Gino Guidugli + Senior Cincinnati 6'3 225
13 Jason White + Senior Oklahoma 6'2 225
14 Stan Hill + Senior Marshall 6'3 215
15 Brock Berlin + Senior Miami 6'1 211
16 Jon Beutjer + Senior Illinois 6'5 225
17 Matt Jones + Senior Arkansas 6'6 237
18 Timmy Chang + Senior Hawaii 6'2 200
19 Walter Washington Junior Temple 6'2 240
20 Danny Wimprine + Senior Memphis 6'1 216
21 Bryan Randall + Senior Virginia Tech 6'0 213

I have seen Hill and Washington myself, and don't like their chances. I also don't think Jason White is the guy at all, same with Brock Berlin. Sometimes the guys at the big schools don't fill the bill as sleepers, because they have played better competition and have a better defined upside. Then again...Tom Brady. also lists this intriguing guy....

North Dakota's John Bouwenkamp is a good athlete with good size (6'5, 226) and a solid arm. Questions about his level of competition will hurt him but he could be a good developmental prospect.

Tough, tough test at OU

The Bobcats are 8-0 at home. Other than Kent, I'm not sure that's the toughest home slate anyone ever played, but 8-0 is 8-0. We're #86 on the Sagarain, and they are #122, so that has got to be a positive, in a minor one. I'll be pleasantly surprised if we win this one.

Mon, Nov 29 San Francisco W 81-66
Thu, Dec 2 Butler W 64-58
Sat, Dec 4 Navy W 90-55
Dec 18 Duquesne W 73-60
Dec 27 Binghamton W 67-63
Sun, Jan 9 Marshall W 77-68
Jan 15 Kent St. W 80-54
Wed, Jan 26 Toledo W 76-68

Thursday, January 27, 2005

New O-Coordinator in Detroit

The rumors were true. On comes Ted Tollner, who is known as an offensive visionary. He has worked with Don Coryell, LaVell Edwards, and John Robinson. He also was a head coach at San Diego State and USC.

Like All Things Lion, time will tell. I like it, and I think its what he needs. I don't think Mooch handles the offense well, and Tollner will be able to get our talented players to perform. We have the building blocks, we just have to be less conservative and put Joey in the position to succeed. As seen in our season analysis, a little bit with the ball would go a long way to putting this team in the playoffs.

We've certainly struggled with 49er guys (Marty Morningwood and Mooch (?)), and this guy might be the same thing. But we need innovation, and we need excitement and we need imagination, and that's what this guy does.

Both our coordinators are rock solid now.

Update: Many observers feel this was an ego-protection choice by Mooch. Its somebody who won't challenge him. Who knows. The guy can prove himself. The LLA (Lions Law of Averages) would suggest he will be an utter failure, but let's see. The offense can't get worse.

Falcons Card Road Win, Enter first place tie

But it was a struggle. Coach said after the game that we aren't going to get any easy road wins, and this one wasn't easy. CMU led until mid-way through the second half, at one point in the first half had a double digit lead, and simply didn't roll over. Everytime we would claw back and tie it up, they would nail some shots and go back up by a couple of points. Coming right down the stretch it was tight, but we made the shots and they didn't.

In many ways, it was like the Toledo game. We played and shot horribly in the first half (31.6%) and 25 points, but were only down 5--CMU is a poor team that has problems scoring. Then, in the second half, we shot 59.3% for the game, and 4-5 from beyond the arc, and we pulled the win out.

With the WMU spanking in Oxford, we're back in a tie for first in the West.

Some notes:

Moon only played 5 minutes, but he made a huge steal and stop. We're seeing Coach Dakich platoon him down the stretch with Floyd playing the offensive half.

John Reimold had 19 points and 8 boards, Josh had 16, Wright with 15 and Floyd with 12. Big second half for John. Mawel Soler started, grabbed six boards and three pancake blocks.

We committed only 16 fouls, perhaps a season low. CMU, who foul a lot, made 24. We also brought TOs down to 16. And we shot 32 Fts (making 27) while they shot 15 (and made 11). That's a 16 point difference right there.

We shot 47.8% for the game, and won. CMU, however, is a poor defensive club, and we could have expected to shoot better. But a road win is a road win.

By the way, that's a 52 point second half, as opposed to 53 vs. Toledo. Early in the season we started fast and held on, now we're starting slow and roaring back. Maybe we can put the whole thing together.

Germain Fitch didn't play due to injury during the fracas following the Rocket win. People expect him to play on Saturday in Athens.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Road game at Central tonight

Tough place to win, and an improving team. This is a good one to win, because the OU game Saturday will be worse. A strong effort built on momentum from Saturday is key, and hopefully not a let down.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Reds Sign Aurilia

Hopefully, this will not cut into Lopez' chance to prove he is a major league SS, but is considered a stopgap to the injury and visa plagued Anderson Machado. Aurilia, as noted in the wire copy below, has done nothing in three seasons, and was a reserve for some average teams.

Not a bad guy for off the bench. If you see him start regularly, we're in trouble.

PS--He can play around the IF.

In 2001, Aurilia received a Silver Slugger Award as the best offensive shortstop in the National League after setting career-highs with a .324 average, 37 home runs and 97 RBI with the San Francisco Giants. He also led the NL with 206 hits that year and finished 12th in the league's Most Valuable Player voting.

In three seasons since then, however, Aurilia has managed to hit just .260 with 34 homers and 163 RBI. He split last season between the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres, batting .246 with six homers and 44 RBI.

Quick Hits on BG

Apparently, Falcon fans storming the floor Saturday injured Germaine Fitch, who will not play at CMU, according to people who heard the coach's radio show last night....or might not play according to The Blade.

Secondly, the system is blinking red on the Mitch Crossley leaving school rumor...some say he has filed for NFL draft, but he is not on any official list published on the web. He may have simply left school and signed with an agent. This puts a severe crimp in next year's defense.

Finally, here's a tenative list of BG football recruits, as culled by I think it is safe to say there is much less information out there than before. Not a bad thing per se, but a worrisome one. Let's hope we get some talent in. This is what wins championships.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

What a night at Anderson

Full House, big win. It was a great night to be a Falcon fan at Anderson Arena tonight.

It didn't start out that way. The first half was an absolute travesty--one of the worst halves of basketball we have played recently. We shot 30% from the field, 28.6% from 3, and 38% from the line. God knows how many TOs we had. For a few minutes, UT got so many layups it looked like pre-game warm up drills. It was 34-17 at the half...we were getting doubled up on our floor.

The second half was a different story--in fact, it was a mirror image of our football game, so turnabout is fair play. In 1:14, we had cut the lead from 17-10. With 13:33 left in the game, we finally had the lead, on the backside of a 21-3 run. Six minutes and three points for the Rockets. There was 11:33 left before UT got its fifth point of the half.

We led by 8 with 4:26 left, and it really should be over at that point. But, they scored the next 8, and tied it at 65-65.

That kicked in one amazing 1:24 of basketball. Check this action...with no timeouts...just up one side of the floor and down the other.

1:24 Floyd FT gives BG 1 point lead.
1:10 Triplett nails jumper, UT up 1.
:52 Almanson nails jumper, BG up 1
:37 Triplett answers, UT up 1
:27 Fitch LU from Floyd, BG leads by 1.

All that in one minute, real time. No timeouts, just back and forth up the floor. Just a fantastic run of hoops. UT finally calls a timeout, and holds for the last clock. Triplett gets the ball, guarded by Reimold. Tries everything, can't get open, eventually double teamed with about 2 seconds left. Kicks it to Ingram in the corner, and he gets a decent look (but not uncontested), and the shot hits back iron and doesn't go down, and its pandemonium in the Arena.

A classic.

Check these 2nd Half stats out.

BG FG% 76%
BG 3FG 75%
BG FT 69%
BG scoring 53 points. That's how we scored against IPFW.

We had some poor stats. 19 fouls for UT, 25 for BG. 12 TOs for UT, 24 for BG. UT with 13 steals, and 5 for BG. The best thing for us was to get on the odd point, because if we play OT, we're in trouble. Soler fouled out. Fitch, Almanson, Wright and Floyd all had 4 at the end. It would have been tough.

Reimold finished with 17, after shooting 1-11 in the first half. Shooters keep shooting, and he finished 6-19. Floyd had 13, including a key 5 point run in the second half. Fitch had 12 and Almanson 10. Both Fitch and Almanson had 8 boards. Triplett is a punk--lost his cool on a blocking call where the call was the same one the refs had made all night, and he had trouble keeping track of how many fouls he had. Still, he drained those two jumpers in the last minute, and we were all over him. He finished with 26.

A big win, and one we needed badly. Our next two games are on the road, and we couldn't head off with a three-game losing streak. We're 11-4 and 5-2. Better than anyone would have expected, but its a day to day thing. We can win at CMU Wednesday, but it will be tough.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Academic Problems on the football field

Mitch Crossley and Deaudre Perry both reported in Sentinel as having academic issues. Raishaun Stover is a "casualty." Doesn't bode well for next year's D...we're light at both places.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

OHHHHHH! It was a report, not a letter

Apparently, this has formed the basis for the Lions violent retort to the Killer's report about Sherm Lewis's view on Joey when he left. It wasn't a letter, it was a report (confirmed on ESPN). So, let's keep this in mind...the outgoing OC thought Joey couldn't lead and can't play. Nice. Apparently, Chow is out, according to mlive, and the Killer seems to imply its someone in the playoffs.

OHHHHHH! It was a report, not a letter

Apparently, this has formed the basis for the Lions violent retort to the Killer's report about Sherm Lewis's view on Joey when he left. It wasn't a letter, it was a report (confirmed on ESPN). So, let's keep this in mind...the outgoing OC thought Joey couldn't lead and can't play. Nice. Apparently, Chow is out, according to mlive, and the Killer seems to imply its someone in the playoffs.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Tonight's game referred to the Hague as War Crime

Ball State destroyed us by 22. Let us say no more about it. Back to winning Saturday. We shot 41% (to lose for sure), and committed thirty fouls. We had five guys with four or five fouls, and one of them only played seven minutes. Held BSU to 43% shooting, so the D wasn't bad, on the other hand, we apparently committed a few fouls here and there ourselves to keep them from shooting.

Big game on Saturday. Gotta win at home and beat the Rockets. You're still 11-5. Just gotta be hot in March, not January.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Lions Year in Review

Well, here it is. The team was 6-10. If you want an executive summary, this team could make the playoffs with a better offense. Defense wasn't too bad. Let's watch.


The fact base:

Exhibit 1: Observe, if you will, the Lion's rankings in the following categories.

Plays (28th)
Yards Per game (24th)
Scoring (24th)
Yards per play (24th)
First Downs (29th) (Are you noticing a trend, here?)
3rd Downs (29th)
Penalties (27th)
TOP (30th)
Fumbles lost (T-2nd)
Rushes per game (19th)
Average Rush (9th) (file this)
Rushes over 20 yards (5th)
Pass % 26th
Pass Yards per game (22nd)
Pass Tds (23rd)
Interceptions (9th)
Sacks (T-11)
Yards/Catch (24th)
Turnover Differential +4 (16th)
Giveaways (4th)
Play Mix (45% run, as opposed to 47% in NFL)
Points per red zone trip (25th, 4.4 vs. 4.7 in NFL).

Exhibit 2: The Quarterback

Much malinged Joey. Here are some stat trends for him...

QB Rating (2002-59.9, 2003-63.9, 2004-77.5) A gradual upward trend.

Passing %: (2002-50.1, 2003-55.8, 2004-56) A flattening

Interceptions, down to 12 from 22 the year before.

Completions over 20 yards, up to 43 from 24 a year ago---can you say Roy?

However, Joey's major failing...third down passing. Here are his QB ratings on specific downs.

1st 78.9
2nd 87
3rd 68.3

And in the second half, he rated 68.6.


The offense was atrocious. Absolutely pitiful, near the bottom in every key category. The only reason the scoring stats weren't as bad as the rest is at least the team held its turnovers down.

The Lions simply have to get more plays, and there's a key way to do that. They have to improve on 3rd down, first and foremost. It'll help the D, as you will see, and it will help gain yards and in the redzone.

But how, you might ask, do we need more plays when we were so low in all the categories? Isn't that like losing money on every transaction and making it up on volume?

Well, here's the other thing we need. We have to run the ball more. We were ninth in yards per carry, and the one legitimate force we uncovered is Kevin Jones. We have to at least mix run and pass evenly, and maybe tilt to running 52% or so. That will help to move the chains and control the ball.

Then, combine a steadily improving Harrington with CRog back in the fold supported by a big running game, and the offense has the potential to be a middle of the pack attack, which could be good enough. We need to restructure Harrington and Hakim, and find a Guard to replace David Loverne, who lost his starting job late in the season.


The Facts

NFL Rankings

Yards/Game (22nd)
Yards/Play (11th) (file this anamoly for a minute(
Scoring (19th)
Third Downs (27th)
TOP (30th)
Fumbles recover (11th)
Passing Yards/game (20th)
INT (23rd)
Sacks (15th)
Rushing per play (9th)
Rushing per game (15th)
First Downs (11th)
Yards/Carry (9th)
Scoring (19th)
Red Zone (Tied 9th)
Turnovers caused (22nd)


I think anyone will have to concede that these numbers are better than people might have suspected. The defense, on a play for play basis, was pretty good. Why weren't they better...because the other team ran so many plays. Why? Partly because the offense couldn't stay on the field. No doubt, these numbers can go up, against the pass, and especially on 3rd down, but this is the building block of a winning team.

You add Boss Bailey back, get a safety (or Holt, please, what is the problem?), and you got a pretty strong and pretty deep defensive corps.

Then, add in the offense running the ball more, and showing some improvement, and keeping the ball longer and running more plays on their own, and more talent on our part, and I think this D is good enough to get you to the playoffs.

The defense also needs to create more turnovers, but essentially, Dick Jauron did a good job with this unit, and the can take us to the playoffs if they stay healthy.


The facts:

Punting Gross: 24th
Punting Net: 27th
Punt Returns: 6th
KO returns: 5th
FG Accuracy: T6th
KO Returns against: 4th
Punt Returns Against: 24th


Really, save a snap against the Vikings, these were pretty good. Drummond is a pro bowler and a difference maker who is dangerous in every game, and back healthy he is a weapon. And Jason Hansen is a good kicker and very effective. And, I guess we were happy with our punt game--we re-signed Nick Harris, the punter. Special teams were solid and not keeping this team from winning...mixed with the other stuff, it helps us compete.


IF this team follows these directions, I think they can make the playoffs next season. They could be a 9-7 team, assuming they stay healthy. Once you are in the playoffs, who knows? The building blocks are there...

On the other hand, stay tuned for my next story coming soon---Can Mooch coach?

First MAC Loss, WMU a good team

Certainly it was a disappointing result to lose to WMU today. But they are a very, very good team. As I was waiting for the game to start, I was surprised at the blow out wins they have had in the conference. This is a very good team, and far and away the likely team to repeat as MAC Champs.

We shot poorly, only 41% This team cannot win without really good shooting--50% or better.

WMU is a good team. Every time we made a big play and got the crowd cranking, they came right down in the teeth of it and drained a shot. They've won 3 big games on the road, and they are players. Rost is a very good player and strong as an ox, and so is Reed. The FR Reitz also had a big game--killed us on the inside.

They play tough, tough D. They big guys are quick enough they cover our PGs. Reimold only got 3 treys OFF, and only made 1, and that one was under serious duress.

Fitch played a good game. Good D, a couple decent hoops, and a spectacular block. They aren't covering him when we have the ball, though, and he didn't really hurt them. (It was only cramps when he went down at the end, according to DD).

Floyd was uneven, but Robinson played his best game. Lots of energy and very solid. He is going to be a good player. Both our points have a habit of driving into trouble without really creating any space for anyone else, but I expect them to get better. For now, they are not hurting the team, but are not major assets. We only had 8 to's.

Almanson was uneven with 18 (and some BIG shots) but only 3 boards.

We got killed on the boards (40-30)
We shot half as many FTs (24-12)
We committed almost twice as many fouls (23-14)

The officiating was poor, not because we lost or because of the fouls, because the better team won. Put the officials lost control of the game--badly. There was a melee leaving at the end of the first half. There was a hilarious replay watching on a 35-second shot deal that everyone saw, including the ref who called it, but NOT including the guy who kept showing off. There were several other incidents. Its a highly charged environment, and they have to do better than that.

Game flow was something like this. WMU bolted up 17-8 (15:37), but we went on a 9-3 run to get it to 19-20 with 9:42 left. WMU then went 11-5 tgo got up 31-24 with 5:48 left and led at the half with a 4 point lead.

In the second half, we actually led at 40-39 (15:36), but the Broncos took the next two minutes to go back up 7 @ 42-49 with 13:14 left. We battled back and tied the game at 51 with JR's only 3 of the day (10:16). From there, it was over. We only had two times where it was one possession from there on in. At 5:02, Robinsson made a TO when we were down 3. Then, with 1:11 to go, we were down 3, and in position where a stop and we can tie. John Floyd apprently (according to DD) thought that it was a 4 point deficent, and fouled, and from there on in it was all over.

Tough day, nice crowd, disappointing loss. Tough assignment on the road at Ball State Tuesday, but we need it.

More on the Joey Saga

The Lions are issuing some tepid responses, as cataloged here on Mlive for anyone who wants an autopsy, per se.

Len Paquarelli on ESPN seems to have it nailed pretty well. You have to search down, but he says that the sources are probably there, but they are wrong. And, the Lions aren't keeping Joey because they love him, they are keeping him because they don't have other viable options and could win with Joey.

I think this is the answer. I don't see anything better. We should have gotten a better player with the #3 pick, but we didn't. But after all this tortuous, slow progress, do we want to go back and rebuild a young QB? We just can't do it. We're on the ship in the middle of the ocean, and its too far to go back to shore.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Gosh, who do you believe

Think three inside sources made up the story about releasing Joey? That specific. I don't think so. They could still cut him. The organization is clearly divided over the Joey issue, and its causing big problems. Will he ever bring them around? My ambivalence can be found throughout these posts. But I don't think there's someone better out there, and we can't start over again.

Killer Stands by His Sources

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Falcons with Big Win at EMU

Yes, the EMUs leading scorer and best player, John Bowler, was out with a disk injury. But it was still on the road, against a team with plenty of other talented players, and we beat them at their place. They were 9-4 coming in, and we're 10-2 coming out.

Before we look at the game, let's think about this...two MAC undefeated teams coming at our place Saturday. The place should be absolutely jumping. Its defiance time. No one takes a game like this on our floor. No one. I absolutely, absolutely, cannot wait.

Today, the game was never really close. It was tied about four minutes in, but then we lit into a run where we outscored them 27-9 to take an 18 point lead in the first half. The game was never closer than 11 again, and we led by as much as 23. A dominating road performance for our team. They have to brimming with confidence.

The key element again was shooting...we shot 53% for the game. With our D, when we shoot 50% we're very tough to beat. EMU shot 33.3% in the first half, when the game was blown open. We shot 39% from the arc, and EMU only shot 25%. Finally, EMU had a huge FT edge, shooting 24 to our 7. Sadly for the Eagles, they hit only 14, essentially throwing away that advantage.

We out rebounded them 36-31, and has only 13 TOs to the 19.

Some individual performances that made the difference.

Reimold. MAC player of the year? 24 points, 5-9 from past the arc and 9-16 from the field as a whole. Add 5 rebounds. He's on fire.

Josh Almanson. 15 points, and another consistent performance.

Mawel Soler--what an addition that guy has been. Career high 12 points and 7 boards. A great sixth man.

John Floyd. 12 assists on the road! 5 points and four boards. A key player when we win Saturday.

Steven Wright, 13 points, some from the acrobat school. He will benefit as teams cover Reimold.

The only players who didn't contribute were Fitch, who was in foul trouble all night, and Eyink, who was 1-8 from the field (1-6 on 3s).

Again, a big win for BG on the road. Big game Saturday. Let's rock the house.

Killer says Lions May Release Joey, Lions Deny

What a mess we have in Detroit. Its worse than it appears to be, if this story is to believed. There are camps, pro-Joey and anti-Joey. Lewis forced out, and states in writing Joey won't ever be a winner. Its not clear what the Plan B would be without Joey. Check these quotes out....

"According to sources close to the situation, the Detroit Lions are considering releasing Harringtonin late February, prior to paying him a scheduled $3 million roster bonus.

Lewis, who officially "retired" following the season, said Harrington didn't have the intangibles to be a winning quarterback in the NFL. Lewis' letter did not come as a surprise to anyone in the organization because he was never in Harrington's corner. Still, it shows the level of disagreement between the different factions.

Backup quarterback Mike McMahon, who had the support of both Mariucci and Lewis, doesn't appear to be a candidate for the 2005 season.

According to sources, Millen believes Harrington's growth was stunted by the cons ervative offense of head coach Steve Mariucci. Meanwhile, Mariucci believes his West Coast system was crippled by Harrington's lack of accuracy and leadership.

Atthe urging of Millen, Mariucci surrendered his play-calling duties in the final three games and, with quarterback coach Greg Olson taking over, Harrington became more aggressive. Still, the Lions lost both games in which Harrington threw for more than 300 yards.

The Lions are searching for a new offensivecoordinator and received permission from the San Francisco 49ers to talk to their offensive coordinator, Ted Tollner. Other candidates are believed to still be coaching in the playoffs and the Lions can't approach them until their teams are knocked out of the Super Bowl chase."

The Full Killer Story on Joey

Joey on Mitch Refutes Story... He isn't one of the five people you meet in Heaven!

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Reimold #7 in Division I 3FG%

Reimold, who is shooting 51.6% beyond the arc, is #7 in the nation in shooting beyond the arc. That's large. Most players don't shoot 50% INCLUDING their layups.

Tough one tomorrow against Eastern Michigan. A win sends a real message. A well-played defeat would provide some comfort.

In his presser this week, Coach Dakich said that he was expecting things to chill out for our club in the next couple weeks. My guess is, he's sending them a little challenge. We'll see how they respond.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Falcons 3-0 in MAC, Beat NIU

Its fun at Anderson Arena again this season. The team had a somewhat rough, uneven performance, but a win nonetheless over an NIU team ranked close to them in the Sagarin ratings.

Coach Dakich said on his post-game show that he looks at this team as a 14-17 team trying to get back to playing winning basketball. That's the same way I feel...each win gives me a little more confidence, but we still have to show we're not going to slide back again.

No one scored today for the first three minutes or so, but then we had a 9-4 lead which we stretched to 20-9 by 11:29 left in the first. The lead got as high as 30-16 (6:18) before NIU started a little run. With :19 left in the first, James Hughes scored on their fourth attempt at the hoop for that trip to cut it to 6. That could have been a big momentum shift on the other end, but Josh Almanson drained a jumper at the buzzer, and we went in up 8.

In the second half, we bolted to a 15 point lead in the first 5 minutes, and it got to 18 with 10:00 left. Obviously, things were well in hand. There was one more key play. NIU had hacked back to 8 down with 2:05 left, and the shot clock was running down on our end of the floor. Josh Almanson took the ball and lofted a jumper over a defender from about ten feet out, and the ball went in the hoop as the buzzer sounded. He misses, and NIU can hit a 3 and be down 5, but instead they're down 10 and its all over.

We continued to shoot well, at 50.9%. We hit all 15 Ft's, and had a season-low 12 turnovers. NIU shot better than we would hope (49.1%), but shot only 9 FT's.

Reimold and Almanson each had 21 points. John was 5-7 from three range--I can't wait to check the national stats. He has to be in the top five in the country in three point shooting. Almanson was 9 of 16 from the field as well. He also grabbed 7 boards. Mawel Soler contributed 23 very solid minutes (10p/7r) when we needed it, including a trey! Mawel is a great addition to this club, and has helped round the team out a great deal. We basically ran a seven man rotation, with Cory Eyink getting 12 minutes.

Big week coming up. We're at Eastern on Wednesday, and then have WMU at Anderson on Saturday. Let's hope for a big crowd and a big win. This is another opportunity to prove we're not just a 14-17 team.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Falcon Year In Review

Here it is, the long-awaited (snicker) Falcon Year in Review. I waited until the MAC stats were final, and then until I got around to it! A note when comparing stats between years. In 2002 and 2004 we played 12 games, and in 2003 we played 14 games. So we have to use averages.


On the most important item, this was the most prolific scoring team in MAC history, and that obviously includes the last two seasons. We scored 44.3 points per game, up 11 from last year and 4 from the last UM season.

What happened can be tracked to the two things I pointed out from last year's team as area's of improvement: improving the turnover ratio and red zone efficiency.

In both cases, those were accomplished, and the scoring followed, as you would expect.

In 2002 we were +9 in turnovers. Last season, we were -6. Well, we swung back with a vengence this year, with a +15 rating. That's a 21 turnover swing, or darn near two per game. That's going to help the team score.

Most of the difference came from the offense, actually. Our turnovers went from 28 to 10--fewer fumbles, and only 4 interceptions as opposed to 13 the year before. Defensive turnovers stayed pretty consistent.

The other area of concern was in the red zone. I don't like to use red zone percentage, because it counts FG's and TD's the same. Good teams get in the end zone in the red zone. UM's 2002 team had an absolutely sick 5.38 points per red zone trip (out of six, I don't count the XP). As an aside, I saw on the Fiesta Bowl that his Utah team has a similiar record this year as well.

Last year, we fell a little. Our overall percentage was only 73.4% and we averged 3.86 points per trip. That bounced back in 2004, to 83.3% and 4.58 points per red zone trip, which is best in our conference and certainly improved. Also, red zone trips went from 49 to 72, so combined with the greater efficiency, there's your point increase right there.

This was the least running team we have had recently. We ran the ball about 47.8% of the time, which is below 50% for the first time in the Meyer/Brandon era. Our rushing yardage was done 38 yards a game, and attempts were down 5.6 per game.

The reason for this is simple and easy to see. We lost Josh Harris, who was a running threat, and put in Omar Jacobs, who is less of a running threat. Harris carried 15 times per game in 2003, while Omar carried 8 times per game. Add those carries back, and we're the same running team. The average per rush (4.7) was identical to the year before.

Total offense was up, on average, about ten yards per game. Our per play average was up from 6.3 to 6.7 yards per play. Our average on a pass catch is 13 yards a play, and everytime we drop back to pass, we average almost 9 yards.

Third down conversions continued to be a strength. We moved up from 50% last season to 51.9% this year. That's strong. We were 9 of 11 on fourth down.

We protected Omar well....he was sacked only 13 times, as opposed to 21 for Josh the year before.

If you are interested in MAC Comparisons, here they are:

Scoring offense (1st)
Yards Per Game Passing (1st)
Turnover Margin (1st) (Next highest was +8)
Yards Per game running (3rd)
Total offense (1st)
Pass Efficiency (1st)
First Downs (1st)
4th Down conversions (1st)
Red Zone % (3rd)
3rd Down conversions (1st)
Sacks against (1st)
Time of possession (8th)

What can we do more to score next year? Its hard to tell. This was a pretty well performing team. Keeping a +15 TO ratio will be hard, but taking care of the ball. Will Omar get better? If he!


The defense was much maligned this year. Let's see what kind of truth there is to that. We talk about bend but don't break...not allowing points is the key for our team. Since we score so much, that makes sense, I guess. But it failed us in two games, when we bent, broke and snapped.

The magic word for our defense is consistency. Our numbers are simply very consistent over the course of the season, based on the last three years. Our defense gives us what we expect. Some numbers were stronger than last season, but we were in the middle of the pack in most MAC categories. (MAC Defense seemed a little stronger this season, or offense was weaker, you get the idea). We did appear to lose a little ground compared to the teams we compete with.

Our points per game is consistent. We allowed 25.3 in 2002, 21.7 last season, and 23.5 this year.

On a play-for-play basis, the team improved over last year.

We gave up 30 yards per game more than last year, but teams ran nine more plays per game, so the per play average actually fell from 5.4 to 5.2.

Rush defense? Rushing yards were down about 21 yards per game, and from 4.2 yards per carry to 3.6 per carry. Clearly, some of these rushing statistics are impacted by the fact that we often had huge leads on teams, but my conclusion is this. Fundamentally, we can defend the run. We failed to bring it in big games on the road, and that cost us a MAC Championship we clearly had the ability to win.

Passing defense remained consistent, and given that we graduated three guys from last year's secondary, I don't think that's a disaster. INT's were up to 14 from 11 (but that was 14 in 12 games and 11 in 14 games), and passing percentage was 55.5% (54.7% in 2003), yards per game up 52 yards and yards per catch and per pass almost identical to the year before. Teams attempted eight more passes a game than they did the year before due to being behind, which accounts for the per game difference. The internal numbers here show a consistent performance by the defense on a season-long average. In the MAC, total yards are poor, but the interceptions and lacks of TDS make us tops in pass efficiency against.

We didn't get off the field as well as last year. Last season, our opponents only had a 33.2% 3rd down conversion rate. This year, it was 40.2%, which was like it was in 2002.

Sacks? Sacks were down .5 per game. This is not a strength for the team, but I suppose dropping guys into coverage and not blitzing too much is bend/break philosophy. We may not be able to leave our corners too stranded.

In the red zone, we actually led the conference in points per trip. The defense allowed 71.4% scoring and 3.64 points per trip. This, of course, vindicates the bend but don't break philosophy.

How did we far in the MAC?

Scoring Defense (3rd)
Pass Yards Per Game (9th)
Rushing Defense (5th)
Total Yards Per Game (6th)
Pass Efficiency Against (1st)
Opponent First Downs (12th)
Red Zone Efficiency Against (1st)
Third Down Against (6th)

Bottom line. The defense only needs to be good enough to keep the other team below the offense. Having said that, scoring defense is strong, but with the other stats below what other teams in the conference have, you wonder if the dam is close to breaking. Our defense was consistent and a little better this year, and if they are this good again next season, we could easily win the MAC.

Special Teams

Special teams at BG are OK. They are fine, they aren't hurting us, and they aren't propelling us. They aren't the equalizer (ie, blocked kicks) that they are on an UM coached team, but we did OK.

Our Kick returns with down from the year before, but we have averaged between 18.2 and 20.3 for three years, and face it, we're not a ball control team. Two yards is nothing. Just don't fumble. (8th in MAC)

Punt returns were up five yards. Sharon did a great job. (5th in MAC).

Punting has been consistent. Nate is OK, getting the job done. Once again, we're not living or dying on five yards on the punts. Don't shank one, don't get blocked. (11th in the MAC).

Field goals and extra points. Shaun had a better season, though a late season cold streak brought his numbers back to normal. He hit 71.4% for the season, which is up from 66.7% last year. One was a monster at Ohio U (52 yards, very cool). He didn't miss an extra point. (FGs were 7th in the MAC).

Our kick return average (19.3) is about what is was the year before (18.9) but above the final UM season (15.9). (8th in MAC).

Punts, on the other hand, were 8.2 this year, down from 9.4 last year and 15.7 the year before.

Our field goal defense sucked. Teams were 11 of 12 against us.

How about blocked kicks? We blocked three kicks last season. We blocked 8 in UM's last season. They blocked 7 in Utah this year. Its just a segment of the game we don't seem to be getting or emphasizing.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Seniors, Seniors, Seniors

Sometimes, it is what sets mid-majors apart. Tonight, it set the Falcons apart. Almanson, 17 points, Reimold, 22 points, Eyink 14 points. That's 53 of our 69 points, and a key road win at Marshall, 69-64.

Marshall's not a very good team. But there are no bad road wins in the MAC. They are all tough. This one wasn't back and forth, like the Buffalo game, but rather Marshall led for a while, we led for a while, they led for a while, and then we won.

With 1:52 left, the game was tied. That's where you lose on the road, but tonight, it was different. Fitch scored off a Reimold offensive board, Reimold grabbed a board on the other end, and then two fouls later John Floyd sunk two free throws, and we were up by four with :29 left. From there it was free throws through to the end.

Big baskets along the way?

Try these.

1 9:17 Reimold layup ties game at 21 after Marshall had led 21-13.
2 17:02 Reimold trey gives BG lead.
2 10:30 Reimold trey ties game again.
2 7:49 Reimold hits layup to give BG lead...Marshall never led again.

See, big baskets by our senior.

It was also nice to win a game where we didn't shoot that well (46.2%). We held Marshall to 41% shooting, and outrebounded them 33-30. We shot 50% from beyond the arc, which was actually higher than our overall shooting...something doesn't make sense there.

Josh and Reimold also had 7 boards apiece.

Germaine Fitch keeps making a nice contribution. He started, played 23 minutes, 2 clutch points and 5 boards. Probably got his finger on ten passes during the game.

We are 8-2, and 2-0 in the MAC. That's a great start. If you check my other posts during the Lewis debacle, I feared we wouldn't win 8 games all season. The team has really come together.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Recap on Lions Predictions

If you recall, back in September, we attempted to pick the games the Lions would win this year. Frankly, it went pretty well.

Monday, September 06, 2004
Here they are, Lions 04 Game by game picks

Sun. Sept. 12 at Chicago Bears W (The Streak ends!!)--W CORRECT
Oct. 10 at Atlanta Falcons L W--INCORRECT
Oct. 24 at New York Giants W W--CORRECT
Sun. Oct. 31 at Dallas Cowboys L L--CORRECT
Sun. Nov. 14 at Jacksonville Jaguars W L--INCORRECT
Sun. Nov. 21 at Minnesota Vikings L L--CORRECT
Sun. Dec. 12 at Green Bay Packers L L--CORRECT
Sun. Jan. 2 at Tennessee Titans L L--CORRECT

That's 13-3. Not too bad. We outperformed ourselves in Atlanta, but lost against the Jags and the Vikings when I thought we would win. If you recall, it was a 7-9 finish as I saw it, and we finished 6-10.

By the way, not that anyone is counting, but we lost our last 5 roads against after beating Atlanta. Its a new streak

Monday, January 03, 2005

Sherm Lewis Retires

One year as Lions O-Coordinator is a lousy way to end your career, but is there really any reason to go on. Look here in the next few days for the dark secret of the Lions.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Great Day At Anderson Arena

It was a great day to be at Anderson Arena. I keep hearing it was hot, but I wasn't hot. It felt good. The crowd was small, but the place was rocking, and we beat the team picked to win the East in a very entertaining, fast-paced and fun game to watch.

It was a real battle. Buffalo is fast, and they run constantly. MAC basketball has changed so much in the past few years. This team is playing ball we never would have imagined in our league a few years ago.

Buffalo jumped out to a 6-0 lead, but BG had it tied at 8 and 11. After that, the game was tied seven more times by halftime (9 total.). Buffalo stretched it to 7 at 31-24, and led by six with 5:45 left, but we closed on a 16-9 run to take the lead into the locker room. It would have been more, but Jason Bird nailed a 3 under pressure with 1 tick left.

In the second half, we led for a while (as much as 6), and they led for awhile (as much as 5). Very close, nip and tuck game. We took the lead for good with 5:42 on an Almanson layup, and then Cory buried a key three to give us a 4 point, two possession lead. We were clutch with free throws down the stretch, and won the game 95-88.

Some key points:

John Floyd is the key to the team. He runs the offense very effectively, hustles and works hard, and nails some clutch shots. He gives us another scoring threat on the floor. He had a career high 19, along with 6 assists.

Josh had another very nice game, with 26 points.

Reimold added 15 (including 3-5 from treyland), and Wright a career high 20 (6 of 9 on FG's, and some when we had to have a bucket).

Great minutes off the bench from Eyink, Fitch (technically a starter), and Soler.

We are capable of lighting up the place with our shooting. We shot 69% from the field in the first half, 61% in the second half, and 65.4% for the game, plus 45% from 3-land, which is better than many teams do for their entire shooting effort. With that kind of shooting, we're going to be tough to beat. You worry if that's sustainable, but we do tend to get good looks, and we are moving the ball around like crazy.

Buffalo had two big guys (6'10), one from Morocco. Surprisingly, we didnt' play Vandermeer and Lefeld against them, preferring to guard them with out smaller but quicker players. This result in us getting killed on the board (37-24).

Buffalo made 20 turnovers, which I guess isn't too surprising, based on how they race up the court. They have some very good players. I liked Battle, and Cage and Middleton a great deal. They got 52% for the game (normally pretty good), but we held then to 45.7% in the second half, and that was probably the difference.

Coach was really happy on the post-game interview. Its a big conference win, coming off the debacle in Oakland. Now, we need to go to Marshall (who lost at home to Central today) and get a road win.

MAC basketball is great. So competitive, and winner take all, and today was a great college basketball game.

Lions Lose Again

No story here. We'll talk later to recap, and look to the draft and next year.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Big Baby=Rich Baby

$46 million locks up Rogers

Happy New Year

My wishes for 2005.

1. The Falcons in the Big Dance
2. The Reds in the playoffs
3. The Reds finish .500
4. The Falcons win the MAC football Championship
5. The Lions make the playoffs on the way to the '06 Super Bowl (that's in next year's wishes).
6. Peace, harmony, and happiness in all the world.

Not necessarily in that order.