Monday, October 31, 2005

On further, further, review...

if this is the prevalent attitude, it is over

From based on an appearence on the Ticket:

Now he's spouting off some garbage about how we're a bad team because the last 3-5 recruiting classes have been hurt by coaching changes. Bulls**t. This team was very good last year and held back mostly by coaching. We had some key losses in the secondary and on offense but talent-wise, this team could have been even better than last year's.

I am so damn tired of hearing Brandon whine about extenuating circumstances as opposed to glancing inwards or actually holding players accountable instead of coddling them every step of the way. Every word out of his mouth is either an excuse, or reeks of complacency.

Perhaps the worst thing I heard was this. Brandon actually said that the problems we've had the past 2 weeks can "only be solved by recruiting". He's given up on this year, and the players will follow his example.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Upon Further Review

The Falcons season isn't really over. If we don't get some things fixed it is, and the probability of running the table is long, but all four of the teams with two losses will probably lose at least three and maybe four. The East is totally up for grabs, and a team has to only win three to wrap it up (and, in our case, get a little help).

So, no, the season isn't over. But the boat is sinking, we're in the lifeboats, and the monsoon is heading our way.

Lions lose

Candidly, I didn't watch this one too closely. I'm burned out on crappy football right now, and the Lions always provide a snootful. Healthy we're a poor team, and injured we're a bad team. We make Kyle Orton look like Johnny Unitas, and even with all that we should have won the game.

Garcia was horrid today, including losing the game (the one thing he supposed to not do), and he tried to throw it away on the ridiculous heave that just happened to go forward. Scottie Vines outplayed Mike Williams (how do we draft three malcontents in the first round), and we can't seem to get Marcus Pollard into the action. I thought Jones ran hard, as he usually does.

Our defense is banged up--our two best players are out, and we don't have the depth to cover it, and on offense, we don't have the WRs to move the ball. I think our line play is uneven--sometimes OK, sometimes a sieve.

Mooch certainly had a good day arguing with the refs. We were robbed on that fumble, no question, but we took more food out of our own mouth.

Like I said, I'm burned out on lousy football. Time to look for a new hobby.

Roy Williams Out today

Way to take one for the team.

Update: Troy Edwards is also inactive, so that was a nice pickup. Rick DeMulling has been demoted, and Kyle Kosier has scooted over to play LG from LT.

Stay healthy, Mr. Backus.

From futility to futility

Killer had this interesting tidbit from Lions practice this week....

Meanwhile, backup quarterback Joey Harrington has raised some eyebrows with his play in practice during the last two weeks. Harrington has looked exceptionally sharp throwing the ball and is playing with a more relaxed attitude.

"The players have been talking about it. He looks good," Backus said.

While Harrington, who started 37 consecutive games before being replaced by Jeff Garcia last Sunday, isn't likely to beat out Garcia now, the Lions know they might need Harrington at some point down the road.

"He's really throwing the ball well. Sometimes when you're demoted, you learn things about yourself," cornerback Andre Goodman said.

Said Backus: "The pressure's gone and he doesn't have to worry about anybody booing him the first time he does something wrong. I hope he keeps it up."

After completing several downfield passes for the scout team (against Detroit's No. 1 defense), Harrington said, "I'm having fun out there."

Remember when

Gregg Brandon was considered an offensive mastermind?

Saturday, October 29, 2005

BG Loses Again, Season more or less finished

Things change fast. Think of September, as we change ends of the field at the end of the first quarter at Camp Randall Stadium, its 13-0. Our vaunted, senior-dominated team is doing exactly what we up and down the field against at Big 10 team. It was just an extension of the Meyer/Brandon era starting a fifth season, among the most successful seasons in the school's history.

Tonight, we lost to Akron in front of 9,600 fans, and it felt like Gary Blackney coached here again.

Cue the Dead...what a long strange trip its been.

In this post-game show, Coach Brandon said that we were "not a very good team." Later, he said "we are not fundamentally a very good football team." And that falls onto the shoulders of coaches....coaches who are failing the program right now.

Omar didn't play or dress tonight, but that wasn't why we lost. We lost because we aren't a very good team right now, and because I don't think we had a game plan to win (more later). Tackling was poor, special teams were poor, and offensive execution was bad. We could have lost both last week and this week even with Omar in the game, just as we were near to losing in the weeks before that.

We are 4-4, and the most likely scenario is a 4-7 season. A losing season is a virtual certainty, since we would have to win either at Miami or against a superior Toledo team (or both if we lose to Kent), to reach 6-5. And that's not much to brag about.


On offense, we tried to employ the Josh Harris playbook for a while, and it was working. Turner had 60 yards rushing, Lane had 70 yards (on 10 carries) and Pope, running well for the first time all year, had 63 yards.

The problem was, we clearly showed we didn't have confidence in Turner throwing the ball downfield, and once they realized they were only going to see a diet of runs into the line and bubble screens, they put guys near the line, and nothng worked after that.

Turner's numbers were OK. He was 22-30, but only for 173 yards. At times, he needed to scramble more, but he did not have a bad game on paper. In the first quarter, as we were driving for a score, he was under pressure and chucked it directly to Reggie Corner (a former Falcon), and that did set the team back.

Our longest completion of the day was 20 yards. We did not air it out even once. Despite saying all week that the playbook was going to stay the same, Coach admitted that we skinnied it for Anthony this week. With it, we took out the chances for Charles Sharon and Steve Sanders to carry this team to the win. We played it very close to the vest--as Coach said post-game, to try and give us a chance to win at the end. Unfortunately, when the end came, the only weapon we used was not effective (Coach said if we had gotten some better field position we would have let it air out a little...not sure what he was waiting for, since it was 2nd and 20 at one point.)

We had another redzone disaster when Pope ran one of those direct snaps behind all our big guys. He fumbled and Akron recovered, verified by replay. He was trying to stretch the ball over the line. Give us those scores back, and we're right in the game. Problem is, our team executed in the redzone in the past. We were deadly. Now we're deadly only to ourselves.

We were 2-11 on third down. Tough to win games like that.

Finally, a tip of the hand to the fourth quarter playcalling, perhaps the worst this team has put together. First, on the series leading to the Pope fumble, we tried just straight power runs into the line, no finesse, no bootlegs, no play action.

But when we got the ball on our 12, we still had time to at least tie the game. We proceeded to run more passes behind the line of scrimmage than anything I have ever seen. No attempt was made to get downfield, everything was dink and run for it. If at times Turner played like he didn't have confidence in himself, maybe that's because that was the message he got from the coaching staff in their play selection. Seriously, Coach Stud's offensive game plan was one-dimensional. Once we established the run, we had nothing else to go to, and in the final quarter, it was an embarassment.


I mentioned here this week that Akron is a lousy running team. Against us, Brett Biggs looked like a Heisman Trophy candidate. He ran for 159 yards, 4.2 yards per carry. Coach says "we knew he was a tough little runner." How did you know that--from his under 100 yard/game average?

Actually, I think the defense played well enough to win. Take away the last TD, which came from a really short field, and they held Akron t0 17 points. Admittedly, that's 17 more than Army held them to, but we should be able to win like that. I thought they played hard and with energy in the first half. In fact, Akron had five punts in their first six possessions. But, eventually, they wore down, and Akron got 3 TDs in 5 drives in the second half.

Akron was 7 of 16 on third down...we do not do a good job of getting off the field.

We didn't tackle well, especially late, but the failure in this game is on the shoulders of the offense.


Special teams were less offensive than normal. The Punting game was better at times, with no protection problems. Nate shanked one when we had a chance to stick them deep and get some field position advantage, but there were no blocks, etc.

The kickoffs were dismal. The worst of all was one coming off our score to make it 17-14. At this point, you gotta feel we're getting some momentum, and we can pull it off. According to coach, Timchenko was supposed to sky kick outside the hash mark, and instead he kicked it right down the middle, and they returned it to the 45. That was a big play because it essentially set the field position for the entire quarter, and left us working out of our own end for the rest of the game.

We also had a kickoff out of bounds, and at least one penalty on a return. The special teams did nothing to contribute to the cause tonight, though, as I said, they contributed less to the defeat than they have in the past.


It has a grim look to it. Obviously, we now need help to win the East. (An aside: apparently, Coach Brandon has gotten so fond of saying we control our own destiny that he actually said it in the post-game interview tonight, even though it is no longer true.)

Its not impossible, but its highly, highly improbable. It starts with us winning all of our games--Coach candidly said that we'll be lucky to win one more, not three more. But, say Omar comes back, we beat Kent, and then we go to Miami and win our first MAC road game against a team with a winning record, and then riding a home field advantage beat a superior Toledo team right before Thanksgiving. (Or, in the alternative, Turner plays against Kent and the coaches actually give him a chance, since they have nothing to lose now).

Even if that happens, Akron has to lose again. That could happen--probably will. They have to go to Ball State (who upset NIU today on the road), play a decent OU team (in Akron) and beat Kent State on Thanskgiving morning (10 bad is that?)

My guess is, Akron doesn't run the table. But my guess REALLY is that we don't either. An poster has said that you can't fix what's wrong with this team this year. It has to be rebuilt over the summer.

Lurking behind it all is that spectre of Gary Blackney. Is this team on a slide toward mediocrity that only will be stemmed when a new coach reinvigorates the program? Does Gregg Brandon have the toughness to turn this season around, or stop this program from its slide? Have we been recruiting well, or are the post-Meyer classes not ready for MAC competition?

Today, the answers are not encouraging. But in football, as in every endeavor in life, every day is new chance to prove yourself.

Hi, my name is Jerry Flowers. I'm the leading rusher for the Kent State Golden Flashes. I'm only averaging about 40 yards a game, but I'm looking forward to playing Bowling Green next week, because I expect to look like a Heisman Trophy candidate, just like they made that guy from Akron look tonight.

Reds decline options on Ortiz and Aurilia

Marc Lancaster of the Post has the news that the Reds have declined options on Ortiz and Aurilia. Ortiz is a no-brainer, and I don't think anyone expected to see him back next year in our uniform, although he will find Major League work. Aurilia might be back at a lower figure.

You know, lots of energy was spent bashing Aurilia, but as a utility IF, there's a role for a guy like him on a big league club. If he's your starter 120 times, you have problems, but you can do worse. And, I don't think he will get a starting job, like he hopes.

Update: Marc Lancaster ran Aurilia down when he was done carving pumpkins with his kids. He's happy with the situation...he can stay in Cincy if it works out, and if he gets a better deal, he can go, too. Marc thinks he will not end up back in Cincy.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Interesting Game with Zips

I might have said earlier that tomorrow's game with the Zips is one I expect to be interesting. On paper, we should be much better than their team, but we're hurt and playing very badly. On the other hand, so is Akron, who have been outscored 41-0 over their last five quarters.

I spent some time looking over the Zips this week. It would appear, in general, that we match up well with the Zips. My worst nightmare at this juncture would be to be facing a TB-pitch sweep team like NIU, but that's not Akron. In fact, they are second to last in the MAC in rushing, and are averaging less than 100 yards per game (88.1). Now, that doesn't mean that we can't give up 150 rushing yards to this team, because we can. But they're more in the throwing mode. They have 207 rushing plays and have tried 307 passes, so they are more in our mold.

Their fans (based on their message board) are down on their QB. His numbers are not spectacular--50.8% completions, 12 TDs and 9 INTS, and a QB rating of 108.75. They must go down field pretty consistently. Domenik Hixon is their top receiver.

They are hardly an offensive juggernaut. They are 8th in scoring in the MAC. They were shutout by Army--at the Rubber Bowl. They are third in pass offense, and last in turnover margin, at -8 for the season (BG is +3).

On defense, they rank near us in many different categories. They have allowed 29.6 points/game, while we have allowed 29.7. They are third in the MAC in sacks, fourth in rush defense and seventh in pass defense.

Long story short, if our game plan is right, we should be able to move the ball on them, and they are not the kind of team that should roll right over us. We should win, but its not going to be 56-0 or anything like that.

We need everyone to play a strong game. The next three are big ones.

Nick at Vandelay says Akron is in a tailspin. They have lost three of four since beating NIU, and their win over Buffalo was 13-7.

Reds Looking to Trade

DOB was at the winter meetings looking to trade an OF and a C for pitching. As it should be, and as it must be. JD at Red Reporter agrees. So does Tom at Redlegnation.

LaRue (32 YO) would seem to be an especially sweet bargain.

No Surprise Here

Falcons picked for last in the MAC East.

Its just something to build on. Logically, you have to figure because we are so young that we are going to have problems winning games. Young teams can excel in hoops, but we're probably a year away. Best case is a big rally at the end of the year and a tournament run, and then having no one transfer next summer and start to really rebuild the program.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I've neglected to mention

The much maligned (by me) Shaun Suisham will kick for the Cowboys this week. So, maybe he wasn't as bad as I thought....and my prediction that he would never kick a down in the NFL was, apparently, wrong. I am here to confess. My bad.

Various Lions Updates

Dre Bly had surgery today, and he will miss 3-4 weeks, but will have to play with a cast when he returns, limiting his effectiveness in the INT department. The defense will be sorely tested this week.

The Lions put Kevin Johnson on IR, and signed NE cast-off Troy Edwards to provide some WR depth.

They also axed their long snapper (Joe Maese) and signed Jody Littleton, who was long snapper last year. Its like we're fine tuning a smoooooth running engine.

The injury report is grim:

Backus, Bell, Drummon, Muhlbach, R. Williams and and Rogers are all questionable, with Wilkinson probable.

Even with all this, we should beat the Bears.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Brandon Presser

Blah, blah, blah, blah.

Platitudes. No news. People have to step up. Sense of urgency. Seniors taking leadership.

Proof is in the pudding.

Don't look at the scoreboard

On coming back to after my self-imposed leave of absence, things are as the usually are on sports boards. Fans are critical of a poor performance, they are in turn accused of not being real fans. I don't really want to step between those schools of thought, because its just two different ways of expressing the same thing.

I did want to comment on one other way of looking at things, though, and that's the (prior to the WMU game) lines that say:

  • We're 4-2. We should be happy.
  • We're in first place.
  • A win is a win.

That's what I want to comment on.

John Wooden is as good at motivation and winning as anyone has ever been. And John Wooden had a saying that you shouldn't look at the scoreboard. Of course, it starts with the idea that in competition, your objective is to maximize your own performance. And you can't tell that on the scoreboard.

The example he gives is this: if all you cared about was winning, you'd just watch the scoreboard. Don't look at the field, just stare at the scoreboard. It would tell you what you needed to know.

But you watch the game to see if you are performing at your best. And if you look away from the scoreboard, you could see the WMU game coming. Ball State, OU, Buffalo, all games where we showed the same problems we showed against Western, but were able to pull out wins, for whatever reason. You could see the defensive lapses coming. You could see the special teams failure. You could see the lack of leadership in adversity. They were masked by winning.

Failure is the accumulation of lots of little things into a big thing, and the WMU game was just that--enough of the bad things from the other games came together at once with a new one (Omar) and the whole structure collapsed. But, in retrospect, it can't be that surprising.

If you look at our season, the only game in which we performed as we think we should is against Temple. Our other games have ranged from near disaster (OU-BSU-Buffalo) to disaster (Boise-WMU).

That's why people are so pessimistic about the rest of the season. We didn't have one bad game. We've had almost all bad games, but never had to pay the full bill.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Garcia Rides to Rescue, Saves Day

It was no thing of beauty, but it was a win, and an important one, and a costly one as well.

First, there is no way we win that game with Harrington in the game. I must repent. I defended Joey for a long time. When we signed him, I criticized the move. But we don't win today without him. The pocket mobility, the improvisation, the pitches to receivers, the running for a TD--all the hallmarks of an experienced QB who undersands this offense and wanted to win badly today.

His numbers were very solid...22 of 34, no INTs, and 210 yards. QB rating of 81.7. And he did that with limited healthy WRs--something which would have sent us into a spasm of excuse making for Joey in the past.

The running game was OK, although, in a worrying trend, weaker in the second half. Jones had 74 yards on 21 carries, and the team averaged about 3.2 yards per carry.

In fact, the offensive numbers of this team (19 first downs, 37:17 TOP, 329 net yards, would all speak to a higher scoring offensive output than we actually got. Still, it was enough to win. Fine job by Jeff. Joey will soon play elsewhere.

The defense had a good game as well, though, admittedly, these weren't the Colts we were playing. Browns fans are already demanding that Dilfer be yanked, and he may NOW be the new worst veteran QB in the NFL. His QB rating (22) for the game, is a joke. They threw 19 passes and only got 73 yards. Ouch.

They did run fairly well, with Droughns getting an even 100 against his former team, but 31 was on one carry, so for the rest it was 18 for 67, and that's not dominationg by any stretch of the imagination. The defense did their job--the only TD was MAC product Joshua Cribbs, in fact, on a kick return. Cleveland did not covert a third down even once.

So, looking ahead, we're 3-3, and tied for the North lead, with the Bears coming to our place on Sunday. On the surface, things are looking good for us. We have three straight games against teams with losing records, so let's say we get through that at 5-4. We're clearly in playoff running at that point.

And, if Garcia did what he did with Mike Williams and Scottie Vines, imagine what we can do when Roy and CRog are back soon. Even one of the two opens options up a lot. I think you gotta see us moving the ball more.

Which is good, because we continue to rack up costly injuries. Kevin Johnson, our most grown up receiver, is out for the season. And on defense, Dre Bly, perhaps our best defensive player, broke his wrist and his season is in jeopardy. That means both our starting CBs are now down--sound familiar. Somewhere, Rod Babers' phone is ringing.

Also, Big Daddy went down, and his status will be determined tomorrow. We need him, too, though Cody has been a great find from USC. He's all over the place.

So, its a day to feel good about the team, and a day to think there might be a future after all. Its going to be a struggle....every step of the way, but the Lions will never do it any other way. If the D begins to suffer, let's hope the O can bail them out this time.

Falcon Notes

As I've sort of recovered from yesterday's game, I'm finding an unusual idea about Saturday's Akron might be


Yes, that's what I said...interesting. I don't know when we had an interesting game on the schedule going back to maybe UM I or UM II. Last year, as noted here, was not interesting until the end. You knew we were going to race through the MAC schedule unimpeded after NIU. Anyway, I've done some looking at the Zips--its a HUGE game for them, too. More later in the week...they don't have a great running game.

I'm still on my now mandatory self-imposed 48-hour cooling off period, which ends tomorrow night around 8 or so. Its helped to keep me from wallowing in the result. Food tastes better...the idea it is "only a game" stays closer in my mind.

The Hunter became the Hunted

It remains to be seen if the disasterous loss against WMU signals the day the team jumped the shark and began to trend into a downward cycle, but its clear that our season is in trouble. And, before it goes any farther--we didn't lose only because Omar was injured. (The injury is reported to be a not serious shoulder injury, though his status is unknown for next week).

Let's start with that. The fumble on the play Omar was injured on let the Broncos take the lead, and we never led again. Anthony Turner played acceptably. He is a freshmen, so we have to temper expectations. Also, he needs HIS game plan. Anthony is a Josh Harris type QB--with him in the game, we open up all those option runs you saw us run in the Harris era--especially while UM coached. (It also looks familiar to those watching Utah and Florida in the past three years). Anthony can't succeed in the Omar snap and fire offense--and Coach Brandon acknowledged this in his post-game comments.

When someone is injured, the rest of the team is supposed to step up and make a play. Instead, our guys fell apart in embarassing fashion. A team we beat 52-0 last year (and that was a charity score), beat us by 31 on our field. (WMU's new Coach--Bill Cubit--said it could have been "100-0" in his post-game press conference.)

(Where's Coach's talk about how hard it is to win on the road now).

Anthony had to deal with four bad drops, and poor protection. If we get the drops back, and he gets some time to think though how to avoid sacks and takes care of the ball, we can score enough points to win. But people gotta raise up their game.

Here's what Coach said:

Anthony is more in the Josh Harris mode, so that is probably, down the road, what we will be doing with him. We need to get him some throws that he can complete...and we will."

Anthony is a competitor and we have to put him in situations where he can use his abilities, which we will. And if Anthony starts next week you will see a guy that is ready to go, no question."

Let's not forget that coach has talked about Anthony being as good as Omar last Fall during practice. There is no reason for us not to move the ball. We may not lead the league in scoring, but we should be able to score enough to win.

The things that brought us down last night have been brewing for weeks. First, let's start with the run defense. While we have allowed only 1 TD in the last three games, teams have continued to effectively run against us, as Western did last night. The Bronocs has 4.4 yards/carry, and rushed for 213 yards against us. As Mfulton noted in the Blade, we let them do their best imitation of a runaway freight train against us.

This team, by the way, has a freshmen QB and scored 16 against TEMPLE.

Here's what Coach said:

We have struggled defensively all year stopping the run. That is our Achilles Heal right now. We can't get off the field and that is really disappointing...We need to assess that, whether it is a scheme problem, which I don't think it is, if it's that we don't have the right guys in there...I have some experienced players on that side of the ball and we have struggled to stop the run at key times this year."

No kidding. And, just to replay some past comments, this wasn't Wisconsin and Boise State, on the road. This was WMU, on our field.

The pass defense was barely better. The big play to Jennings was a killer just when we thought we might be getting back into the game. But it was the run defense that killed us.

On getting off the field--they were 6 of 13 on third down.

The other thing that has been brewing for a few weeks is the special teams. Well, not exactly, brewing, but actually boiling. It was another horrible night. We had an XP block, and then, for reasons which pass for understanding, we went for a FG in the second quarter. As nearly everyone in the stands shouted NO! (even though it was 4th and 10), Fry lined up and it was blocked and returned to decent field position which WMU scored off. We had at least one lousy, lousy punt. Our best special teams play continues to be Fry getting roughed--and that was a horrible call.

The special teams on our team are the worst in I-A football, and its a coaching failure. When a player makes a mistake once in a while, its the player's fault. When mistakes happen week and week, that's the coach's fault. (Notice how well the WMU special teams played. It can be done).

Amazingly enough, we still completely control our destiny. If we win out, we still win the East. Its still possible even to clinch prior to the Toledo game, if we can win at Miami.

But given last night's performance, its hard to imagine all that happening. This team could easily finish with a losing record. It could easily finish 6-5.

This is a test. Can our Coach's turn this around, or is the sight of Gregg Brandon on the sideline, with his hands crossed behind his back a metaphor for our program.

Akron, who was shut out by Army, is a team that could still beat us in the East. Saturday's game is a must--and still should--win game, and it doesn't matter if Omar plays or not, in my view. We should win that game.

One more thing:

In all fairness, we haven't had any bad losses, really, in the Meyer/Brandon era. We've lost to some teams we should have beaten, but no embarassing or upset losses, especially at home. All the above remains true.

Garcia to Start Today

It may be useless and futile. And yet, it had to be done. You just couldn't throw another game away. Roy Williams and Drummond will also not play.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

I'd really like to see us put it all together today

A convincing butt-kicking would really be a good sign we might finally be hitting our stride. I know in the past we might have peaked a little early in the year, and we're certainly not doing that this year. Let's hope we're getting going now.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Could Falcons clinch on November 5

I've done a little research on the standings. I'm nervous--really nervous--about us dropping the last two games to Miami and Toledo, and ending up losing the East. So, I wanted to check and see if there was anyway for us to clinch the division at Kent on November 5.

The answer is, there is, but it isn't likely. But we could have it clinched before we play Toledo.

The East Standings today are:

BG (3-0)
Akron (2-2)
Miami (2-2)
Ohio (1-2)
Kent (0-3)
Buffalo (0-3)

OK, play this out. We beat Western, Akron and Kent. We are 6-0, with a worst possible record fo 6-2. Akron would have three losses, so they don't catch up. OU could end up with two losses, but we beat them, so we get the tiebreaker. And that leaves Miami. They have two games left before our 11/15 clash in Oxford. The toughest is coming right up, when they play at Eastern this Saturday. They host Buffalo on 11/5, which should be a win.

But Eastern, on the road--that's not a pushover. Should Miami win? Yes. But, EMU has played Cincinnati tough, beaten a surprising Central team, and not done badly against NIU on the road. And this isn't the best Miami team.

So, if Eastern can beat Miami, and we win our next three games, then we would have the East clinched on 11/5.

Now, let's say the worst happens. Miami wins its next two games and beats us. Then, we have one loss, and they have two losses--and they own the tiebreaker. We play UT on 11/22 at the Doyt--but they play their rival, OU, in Athens, the night before. If they were to lose to OU in the game (also a distinct possiblility) than we would be playing UT with the title already in hand.

Of course, at this point, we win our next four games (including Miami), and its over, no matter who beats who. But with our record in big road games, I'll take whatever help I can get. My goal for our team is a MAC championship. To do that, we have to win the East. However we have to.

Killer Makes Case for Orlovsky

Why, not?

Blade on our Goofy Punt Formation

Says problems are surfacing.

I'm no coach, but I don't get the trade off. There's only 11 guys on the field. The decision appears to be that you send them down to cover the return guy, or you leave them in to block for the punter. You can't do both. I'm thrilled our punt returns allowed are down ten yards per carry, but given the lousy punts under pressure, and the punts blocked and one scored on, I don'tget the appeal. I'd give up 10 yards on every punt to get the TD back.

Shoot, Buffalo even had a novel approach for us:

Buffalo used a scheme the Falcons had not previously seen, placing six men in between BGSU's guards and flooding the shield. Although the Bulls' strategy ultimately favored BGSU because Buffalo was penalized twice for roughing the kicker, Brandon said it was the reason Fry was off on two of his punts, when he sent the ball out of bounds.

"We've got to do a better job protecting. He can't get hit like that," Brandon said.

And that's what coach says....its a good plan, we just execute it badly.

"There's nothing wrong with the scheme as it's set. It's very effective, and sound," Brandon said. "The problems we've had haven't been created by the opposition, they've been created by us not paying attention to detail."

So, its a fine idea, but we can't get the players to execute it? Either way, a good team should be able to get a punt off and not get it blocked, in whatever scheme it opts to use. Anything else is not good special teams coaching.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Brandon Presser

Not too much new this week from the presser. WMU has a true FR. QB, Tim Hiller. According to Brandon, we recruited him out of HS. He's mobile and has a good arm, and a great receiver in Greg Jennings. The theme of the day was not to look past Western--look at the potential you see on tape, not the record.

I have no doubt that this Falcon team cannot look past anyone. We could lose to any team in this conference. At the same time, on our field, this should be a win. I have no doubt we won't rout WMU like we did last year. (Coach says the game was over at halftime, but in reality, it was over after five minutes).

Coach says we will have to play better than we did at Buffalo to win...I can believe that, too.

Western plays a ton of young guys--they're not trying to be kind of bad this year and kind of bad next year, but rather REALLY bad this year and good next year.

Q: What are the biggest differences you can see from last year to this year with Western?
GB: Well, they're committed to rebuilding. You can see that on defense; they're playing eight (redshirt) freshmen and true freshman. They're running around and they're competing. Last year when we played them, the game was over for all practical purposes at halftime. I'm not anticipating that this week. I'm anticipating them to come in and give us a battle. We have to play better than we did against Buffalo.

Finally, its worth noting, that the defensive backfield, much maligned, has been a force in our conference so far this season.

Q: It seems like the defensive backfield as a whole, they have been great ball-hawks and created a lot of turnovers.
GB: Yeah, something like 13 of the (opposition's) 15 turnovers are from the secondary. Those kids are playing well. The thing that they're doing well is communicating and playing together, and that's so important in that back end. It's so important in football, especially in team defense -- everybody needs to understand where they fit in the scheme, and when you have an opportunity to make a play, make a play within the system. That's how you keep people out of the end zone. You may give up some yards, but you keep people out of the end zone by playing great team defense, and that's what our secondary's doing right now.

No decision on PJ's availability.

Could this be a thing of the past? Killer Kowalski says that Mooch is mulling a final decision on QB, but if Garcia's healthy, he might play. Things are so bad, in fact, that he hasn't rule Orlovsky out, either.

Clearly, something has to be done. Its not all Joey's fault, but this is a change that has to be made. We had the #3 pick in the draft...chance for a franchise player. And this is what we got.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Lions Offense loses game

In the post-game interview, Damien Woody kept saying it was disgraceful. And it was. You get two defensive touchdowns, and you lose the game. This team has no attack....we can't run and we can't pass. If anything is a surprise, its that we've put together as good a defense as we have. At the end of last season, when I wrote in my season ending review, that our defense had improved and was nearly playoff quality, I was roundly mocked on some sites. But I stand by the assertion.

It may simply be that Matt Millen is better at building defense than offense. And it maybe that Mooch can't coach offense.

There are two moments when this game looks very tragic. First, inside 10 minutes left, you're on your own 5, up 3 points. Defense is playing well and coming off a huge goal line stop, so any scoring should put the game to rest. Joey hits Pollard for 86 yards, and we're inside the Panthers 10. Score a TD, turn out the lights, its over. We run straight into the freaking line for nothing, than lose five yards on a swing pass. And kick a FG, keeping Carolina alive.

Then, you're down 1. You get an absolute gift with a kick return to the 50. All you need is one or two completed passes and Hansen wins the game. How often have you seen that happen?

If you do, suddenly you're 3-2 heading into a game with the Browns. Suddenly, as bizarre as it seems, things will not have looked better since a Bear QB was lying on his back on Christmas Eve and Gary Moeller was on the sideline.

Four incomplete passes, generally not close. And that's the game.

After Backus went out, they were rushing Joey at will off the left side--Kosier couldn't handle it at all. And he's short receivers. The team is yelling at Joey--open revolt.

Killer Kowalski says the line is feeling misused, and hasn't bought into the schemes.

Sources close to the team say that the offensive linemen have not bought into the blocking schemes and believe the coaching staff is misusing them. Instead of playing to their strengths, the players believe the coaches are having them do too many things they can't execute. Instead of changing the style of attack, the players believe the coaches are continuing to try to hammer a square peg through a round hole.

When asked if Mooch is at risk of losing his job, Killer writes:

Without question. Mariucci needed to get off to a hot start and he couldn't pull it off. There's no secret that Mariucci was never a big fan of Harrington and believes the quarterback can't execute the offense. But that excuse isn't going to fly in the face of the team's recent performances. There are just too many other issues.

Make it stop, please.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

No, we didn't stick the landing

We didn't land on our ass, either, but it was closer than it should have been. We nearly provided the Bulls with their first win of the season.

It is not as I had hoped this morning. This team is not out of the woods. They will struggle with everyone they play this year, particularly on the road. And yes, everyone in the East has two losses now, and we have the opportunity to give Akron, Kent and Miami their third losses. Yes, I know we could win the East without beating Miami. I am less than confident, today, that we can win the East losing to Miami and Toledo, though, and I am less than confident we can win those games.

This is just not last year's team.

Yes, I know the defense is improved. I suppose. Its hard to tell against who we are playing. In the pre-game show, Coach Brandon was hoping to see the defense continue its momentum against a struggling Bull attack. Even though we held them to 7 points, the Bulls had over 300 yards in offense, ran for 198 net yards on 4.2/yards per carry. We completely shut down their freshmen led passing attack, which also gave us two interceptions, and had a nice goal line stand to hold off another score. The defense kept us in the game, so that's fine, but they weren't exactly "lights out."

The offense, on the other hand, is clunking and clanking along. Omar had his worst MAC game ever, and if it wasn't for Buffalo's inability to stop the run, and their extending two drives by roughing Nate Fry, we could have lost this game. Omar was 18 of 34, with 1 TD and 2 INT--his first 2 INT game. He simply is not having the year he had last year.

Last year, our team was downright hard to impossible to stop. This year, Boise has done it, and OU and Buffalo have done it for long periods of time before being worn down in the end. we were 4 of 15 on third down--unheard of last season--and only barely won the TOP battle.

BJ Lane had a great day, with 141 yards on 5.6 yards/carry, and he is pretty much responsible for the team winning today. He scored three times, twice on long runs. Cudos to the offensive staff in seeing what we had working, and getting enough of it to win.

I don't know why, but we seem to run increasing numbers of plays under center. I don't know why, but they seem to smell run when we do it, and it doesn't go anywhere. Also, I am becoming increasingly convinced that this offense will not work with a strictly drop-back QB, which Omar is. You have to be able to add the threat of running to keep the coverage loose, and no one fears Omar running the ball.

Obviously, I didn't see today's game, but I followed it on the radio and have the stats here.

Special teams have been a problem, and were less disasterous than normal, with a missed XP, and two kickoffs out of bounds. Fry was nearly blocked twice, but those turned into penalties, which saved our butt.

Its amazing. Flash back to the end of the first quarter on a sunny day in Madison. We're in the lead, our offense is the world class group we had expected, and everything looks great. Look at us now. I know, we're 4-2 and 3-0, and that's nothing to complain about. But this team will still have a hard time beating a good time on the road, and I really worry we could head to a bowl game 7-5.

Things could change. Maybe the defense really is better. They seem to be, but the competition is tough to judge. Maybe the offense will get it put together, but it increasingly appears to be systemic and not an anomaly.

Either way, this wasn't the year we expected when we started.

Stick the Landing, BG

We're still not sure where this team is yet, but the trend appears to be pointing up. To put a fine point on it, we need to close the door on this issue and really thump Buffalo today. Beyond the normal pre-game BS, we need to win a convincing game...especially on the road. If Buffalo hangs with us, I will continue to worry.

Falcons fill hole in hoops schedule

We're playing NOTRE DAME!!!...

ah, of Ohio.

Which I had never heard of until yesterday.

12/29 at 7:00. At home (I would hope so).

No, they're not the Fighting Irish. They're the Falcons....

They were 14-15 last year. At least they're D-III right.


FYI, they are in Cleveland.

Prediction. In the post-game press conference, Coach Dakich will say if they had more talent they would have beaten us.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Tough Times for Falcons Continue

First, Mawel Soler is off the team, although he may be able to earn his way back. Here's what DD said in tonight's Sentinel.

"My senior is working his way back to be on the team," Dakich said. "I learned two years ago that I have to trust the senior. [Netter]. If the senior doesn't trust me, I don't care, but I've got to trust them.

"At this point right now he won't start practicing with us. I give him credit. He's working hard to regain that trust."

When asked about Soler's problems, Dakich said "while the team's agenda is to practice, his agenda is being somewhere else doing something else."

Also, Brian Moten, our big G recruit who was enrolled at Virginia, is not eligible until the end of the first semester, like Keith McLeod was.

With Wright's broken foot, Lefeld, Floyd and Moon Robinson are the only players in practice who have on the team before.

Its looking like a long year...but then again, I thought that last year.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Hal has an Rx for the Reds

Interesting read from the venerable Hal McCoy. He has some interesting ideas, and maybe shows himself to be a little more of a SABRmetrics like modern guy than we thought.

Chris at RedLeg Nation chimes in with his own ideas, but generally is in agreement with Hal.

My own ideas are very similar. I like the idea of trading Pena and Kearns for pitching. If this team could add two decent starting pitchers to Claussen and Harang, and get consistent, second-half of the season pitching out of the bullpen, while scoring runs at a slightly less prolific pace, this team could be in contention for a wild card spot.

PJ Pope not playing this weekend

I think this is a good move. We need to get him healthy. With this kind of injury, I worry that his only healthy bowl game might be a bowl game after a month's rest. He was starting to show something agaisnt OU. If he can bounce back, get his legs back, he's still a great weapon against Miami and Toledo.

Killer Kowalski on Joey completely losing this team

Killer has never seen a lockerroom more open about their disdain for the quarterback. Back when Scott Mitchell was here there was some semblance for team unity, "there just doesn't seem to be any of that here." Roy Williams has said this repeatedly -- like he told Stoney and Wojo that when Jeff Garcia gets back he can push Harrington. "If that's not an indictment of your starting quarterback I don't know what is."
He also notes Joey's rating is barely better than Kyle Orton's and his decision-making has regressed.

When the time comes, Garcia is in. Even those of us who defended Joey for years have to now admit that the time has come.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Great Article...

Blogger spent the day with Coach Dakich. Very interesting. Say what you like, DD is a down to earth man.

Brandon Presser for Buffalo

Gregg Brandon presser covering....

  • Special teams.... (he knows they were bad)
  • run defense (they were embarassed at Boise)
  • Buffalo (they are good on defense)
  • A substitution at center (OU was getting blitzes going)
  • Devon Parks--an undersized star
  • PJ Pope--getting down because he can't get healthy his senior year.

Killer Kowalski on the Fall of Joey

From his appearence on WDFN, show notes on mlive. com.

  • Stoney asks -- are they biding time until Jeff Garcia gets back? "Gee what would make you think that, Stoney?" Even Roy Williams' quote last week "When Jeff gets back maybe he can push him." Killer says that's the most loaded quote he's heard. They do want to push Harrington, but he's trying to do the best he can -- he just doesn't have what it takes.
  • What makes that worse is that Harrington's teammates are now constantly chirping at him on the sideline saying they're open. His decision-making seems to have gone south, now. He used to make the right decision, just not be able to get it there. Now he can do neither. He's regressing, and it's not a good sign.
  • Caller asks what Bly said on the field to Harrington? Killer says Bly was upset because Harrington missed a guy who Bly thought was wide open (Roy Williams?), and Harrington didn't even look his way. "It is not good when you've got players calling you out on the sideline, openly showing disdain for what is going on. That is the worst sign of anything that I've seen on the sideline concerning Harrington."
On his chat, Killer indicated that Roy Williams is probably out next week, and reiterates that the GM and Coach don't see eye-to-eye on the offense.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

What a Clusterf*ck that was

Wow. I mean everything from a "fumble" that KJ picks up and runs to the 1 when 21 other guys quit playing, to ejections, to 21 freaking penalties against a Ravens team that was probably about 50% getting hosed and 50% being jerks.

The only thing that made it weird was the role reversal...normally our Lions are the victims of that kind of debacle.

It was bad enough. I would recommend to Lions fans that they avoid guzzling too much Kool Aid over this game...within every positive I have seen cited, there is an inherent reason why its overstated.

For example, the Lions website boasted 169 rushing yards on 37 carries for a 4.6 average. All very respectable. Except, Shawn Bryson ripped off 77 on his only carry of the game. Without that we were 36 carries for 92 yards for 2.56 yards....not unexpected against the Ravens D, but nothing to be proud of, either.

Or, that "18-play" drive in the 3rd quarter that help us put the game away. Well, let's look a little more closely at that...6 of the plays (1/3 of the drive) were run from the Raven's 1-yard line. The Ravens chipped in with three penalties. One of the great drives in football history it wasn't.

I will give Jones credit. It isn't reflected in the numbers, but he gave a gutsy and solid performance out there. He was taking some monster hits, and he just kept cranking along. It was amazing, and it did keep the ship together long enough for us to win the game. During the era we spent on the 1-yard line, I think we kept him in too long after he didn't have any leg drive left. Pinner came in and scored right away.

Joey was abysmal, I mean abysmal. Of course, if you want to make excuses for him, you can dig out the "no supporting cast" file. Charles Rogers is in the penalty box, and Roy Williams got injured, leaving us with Mike Williams (inconsistent), and our best receiver, Kevin Johnson to carry the load. Even Scottie Vines got a catch. But, Joey's rating was 34.1. Its an embarrassment. I figure Garcia starts the rest of this year and next, and then Orlovsky is the starter.

I defended Joey a long time, but I have now concluded that he is just never going to have it.

The defense was pretty good. They got some turnovers off Anthony Wright, and Lewis only got 96 yards on this.

I'm a big believer in good teams winning on third down--we were 8 of 14 on 3rd, while the Ravens were 3 of 11. That's a credit to both of our units. On the other hand, we got 8 first downs from penalties.

Bottom line: between turnovers and penalties, it would have been hard for any time--even the Lions--to lose this game on their home field.

But let's not go overboard. We have two wins, and in both cases, the opposition was tragically bad. I should be happy for the win and I am--since 6-10 may get into the playoffs from the NFC North--but this team is not a good team, yet, and I am afraid to say I don't see it.

Junior is Comeback Player of the Year

Congratulations. Well earned.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Victory over OU, Falcons Control Destiny

The Falcons cruised to a 38-14 victory tonight at the Doyt, in a game that was close for a lot of it. OU played with a lot of heart, and (see below), our special teams did everything they could to try and give the game away. (It was 21-14 BG with about 5:00 left in the third). But, in the end we won comfortably, and will win the East if we win out.

Attendance was 14,177, which was a little disappointing. It is Fall Break, but I don't think the shortage was in the student section. It was a brisk, but entirely comfortable night, if you dressed warm.


Yes, defense. Coach was a little snarky in his post-game presser about how good Wisconsin and Boise are on the ground, but he can't deny that we played far worse than we should have in those games.

Today, the defense really rose to the occasion, and bailed the team out, especially when the offense was stalled and the special teams were throwing things away. How many times have we thought about the D bailing the O out?

OU had 10 first downs. As a team, they didn't get 100 yards rushing, and they are committed to running the football and controlling clock. They averaged only 4 yards per play. Most importantly, we got off the damn field. OU was 2 of 13 on third down. We were tough in the red zone. I thought we tackled well (for a change). We did give up some big plays, but the defense largely dominated this game.

I don't think OU is a high octane offense, but we did bring some D to the party--for the first time in many weeks. Let's hope we can keep it up. It was a positive.

Charles Sharon is simply fabulous. 10-185 and a TD, several huge catches just when we needed it, and he's very tough to bring down in the open field. If he's not All-MAC this year, there shouldn't be any more ALL-MAC teams.

Omar was fine, he certainly put the numbers up. His accuracy still isn't right on--he was 24 of 41. He set the school TD record after a season and a half--a record set by Brian McClure in four seasons of non-stop starting. Omar is not as dominant to date as he was last season. I don't know why. That's a high standard, no doubt. They did get a little pressure, but it wasn't real strong. He just seems to miss some open guys, where last year he never, ever did.

BJ Lane delivered for 93 yards and 2 TDs, right when we needed it. In the post-game quotes, Solich said they couldn't let us establish the run, and yet we ran for 192 yards, and 4.3/carry. The only big downside was that PJ, who seemed like his old self, appeared to hurt his ankle again. I hope he doesn't make the trip to Buffalo.

  • There were some critical moments. When OU was close in the final seconds of the first half with a chance to tie the game, and Everson scrambled to the left. He proceeded to telegraph his pass like no pass has ever been telegraped. Jelani stepped up, made the INT. If OU scores, its 14-14, with them getting two TDs in the final :46 of the half, and they go into the locker room with a huge momentum edge. That INT was a huge play.
  • The goal line stand and missed FG off the first drive really set the tone for our defense. I think it gave us some confidence and got the crowd fired up.
  • Its 28-14 with 11:59 left in the game, and we're deep in our own territory and not moving the ball real well. Its 3rd and 17 on our own 13. If we have to get another crappy punt that deep (or they block it), they could stick it right down our throat and make it a game again. Instead, Omar finds Sharon for 47 yards on a third and very long, and we end up with a FG that largely ices the game. It was a big pass.

Omar is no runner. That becomes clearer and clearer. He had a nice scramble for a 20-yard first down, but on scripted runs, he looks awful.

OK, on to Buffalo. A good win. Everyone else in the East has a loss. This team has to continue to get better. Let me leave with these thoughts.

  • More than anything, if the defense really, really has turned the corner, its the best news we could have gotten.
  • If the special teams don't improve, we won't beat any good teams.

Worst Special Teams In College Football

When Urban was here, he used to say that we weren't going to have the best offense in the country, and we weren't going to have the best defense in the country, but nothing was stopping us from having the best special teams in the country. And they were good. Blocked kicks galore, we were dominant. I remember that magical UT game his first season, when they got a big run back (UT did ), and the next time we kicked off, Meyer was in their huddle, face red, screaming. And we clocked the dude inside the 20.

Well, things aren't like that now. Our special teams are an embarassment, and kept an OU team in the game after we were completing dominating them while they had the ball. Add them up:

  • Fumbled reverse on opening KO return.
  • Two Blocked punts, one for TD.
  • Missed FG
  • Brain fart where no one touches a pooched kick, and they recover.
  • At least two kickoff returns out near mid-field.

There's no way around it. The special teams tried to give the game away. The defense bailed them out on the first drive when the goal line stand held, and when OU got the pooch kick near the end of the first half, they were about to score and make it 14-14 (and a huge momentum boost) when Jelani got the INT on the goal line.

Something has to be done. We can beat OU like this, but we aren't going to beat UT, Miami, or win a bowl game. Kicking off, returning a kickoff, or punting simply cannot be this big an adventure.

I don't understand the rationale behind our punt formation. We're using the three-man wall in front of Nate, which is supposed to afford better protection...yet, he's been blocked a few times this year. I want to see us get back to the regular formation. We never had this many problems before.

One of two things is culprit here. Either, we are not devoting enough practice time to the special teams, or lousy coaching by John Bowers.

Either way, ultimately, well-coached football teams are good on special teams. Enough said.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Did Falcon defense adjust from Boise?

"-The Temple-BG game film has some value for Frank's staff because BG ran a different defensive alignment than what they did in the first 3 games, so Frank is preparing for 2 different schemes out of BG."

From bobcatattack.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Brandon Presser

Here's the report. Not much to say, today. Here are some highlights.

Well, we have faced two pretty strong running teams in Wisconsin and Boise. But, against weaker running teams, we're still giving up too many yards. I think Temple had a buck-sixty on us, and many of them were in the one drive right before the half, when they got their touchdown. We just need to keep working on that area of our defense. It's no secret. We're well aware of the problems and issues, and we're going to keep working on that, and try to shore that up.

Q: We talked about Ohio's having success rushing in one game to date. What do they bring, offensively?
GB: They have a system, they have a scheme. Coach (Frank) Solich has installed that Nebraska-style offense. There are going to be I-backs, they will run high option, the basic I plays -- the power, the toss, the zone -- those plays. And, they're spreading it out a little bit. There is a little bit of three-receiver set, and they are in the shotgun some. So, it's not always just line up and pound you. But, if you watch the Kent game, I think that's what they want to do. They run a lot of two-tight; I think we charted them in about 32 two-tight end formations, 28 of them were in the Kent game. I think that's who they want to be.
Q: You're one of the few coaches in the league that has coached against Solich, when you were at Colorado and he was at Nebraska, in some close games. Did you learn anything from back then?
GB: Nebraska's a heck of a place to play, that's about all I remember. No, that was a long time ago. Another life, a different world.

Q: Defensively, they got some turnovers against Kent, and their Pittsburgh game was obviously decided on turnovers. Are they an aggressive defense, then?
GB: Yeah, they're creating some things. The one corner, #15 (Dion Byrum), is a very aggressive player, he makes things happen. They're not a very big defense, but they are very quick and active. They created some problems for us last year. They got some pressure on us, hit Omar (Jacobs) a few times. Now, schematically, they are not the same (this year). But, they still are very active. The one linebacker, #50 (Matt Muncy), is a very good player. The other corner, #3 (T.J. Wright), I think is up among the league leaders in pass breakups. They've got a couple of down guys that present some problems. Their inside guy, #55 (Landon Cohen), is a very quick player who will be hard to block. They've got one end, #95 (Seth Ream), that is big and rangy -- I mean, they've got some guys that you've got to be aware of.

Just some comments. They're not the big, strong, run over you team that usually man-handles us. I am primarily worried that they will run all over us. Coach says they are aware of the problems and are working on it...this is a good test. When we have the ball, you can bet one thing:


We'd better have adjusted to that approach, have some audibles, be less ready to be confused. Because they're quick and active, like Boise, and will come with everything they have...well coached and hungry.

Redleg Nation Early Reds Wrap-up

Brian at Redlegnation has his usual smart and analytical take on the 2005 season. In a capsule, he says this:

The pitching was roadkill, the hitting kobe beef.

All numbers since 1900

820 Runs 5th most in team history

335 Doubles - Most in team history

222 Home Runs - Most in team history

572 EBH - Most in team history 6th most in NL and 23rd in MLB history

100 scored runs above league average - 5th most in team history

Plus the 100 runs above average place them in a select group of great teams that had achieved the monumental feat of scoring 100 Runs above the league.

But alas they are only the 4th losing team to make the list.

Only one of four losing teams with that kind of offense. An absolute tragedy, our pitching is.

In another post, Brian notes that we finished last in the NL in ERA--for the first time in nearly 40 years.
As he says, when your ERA is behind the Rockies, than you know you have problems. To be honest, I hadn't thought it was THAT bad, but it was. Best offense...worst pitching.

To this I say, "Right On!"

3 years of plus 5 ERA is pitiful. It’s the domain of loser teams like the freaking Phillies/Browns/A’s from the depression era, it should be a paradigm moment for anyone out there who actually thought the pitching was fixed.

It’s the poor pitching legacy of the Bowden regime, plus the cowering in the corner, business as usual approach from the current front office that enabled this to snowball and run out of control.

It’s a nightmare to watch a world class offense be backed up (mostly) by a legendary staff of have- nots and never will be’s

The problem is, how do you fix it. It isn't even close to being workable now. As Brian says:

One pitcher cannot fix this mess, nor can two, nor 3… I’m thinkng burn it down and salt the ground at this point.
You have to grow your pitchers at home today, unless you are willing to pay top $. The off-season will break down into nothing more complicated than how does this team shave a run off its ERA or so. As I have said many times, even bad [itching might have been enough to be .500. Look for a major offensive talent to be traded for young pitching this winter--seems like we have a surplus of that to deal, and maybe it can put us into contention. We aren't as far as it might seem, but maybe not as close as I once thought.

How would we know

Charles Rogers will be suspended four games for substance abuse. My guess is, had they not announced it, no one would have noticed.

Prep stand-out inks at BG

Ryan Sims of Fort Wayne has signed at BG.

Here's an excerpt:

“They had a coach at just about every game he played this summer. They followed him around the country,” Ray Sims said. “Dan Dakich made a home visit a couple of weeks ago. He was very to the point. He let Ryan know right away what to expect. He did not pull any punches. My wife fell in love with him right away. Matter of fact, my wife prepared a meal that day and I knew something was up because I was able to get a home-cooked meal that day.”
Here's what said about Sims a little while ago:

Wed September 14, 2005 Ryan Sims Update -- Ft Wayne guard Ryan Sims has a chance to be a very, very good D-1 player. Potential on this kid is unlimited given his freakish athleticism. Several schools backed off of Sims because he didn't play as hard as they would've liked during the recruiting period in July -- but like I said, he has skills. on Larson on BG recruit Marc Larsen.

BG got a good player in Marc Larsen, 6-8 Big out of Mattawan, Michigan. I’m very interested to watch him this season as a high school senior. I heard one expert opine that there’s 30 other Larsens in the MAC right now. I don’t know about that. I’ve seen this legit 6-8 make post-moves with either hand out to 6-7 feet. That right there puts him on a level higher than most MAC bigs were a year before coming in to the league. With Dan Dakich coaching him and, God forgive me, his “length”… the kid has a chance – a chance – to be an all-conference type by his sophomore/junior year.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Well, its over

The Reds season ended today, at 73-89. A fifth straight losing season, and three games worse than last year, while putting 820 runs on the board. I will do some more analysis on this in the coming weeks, but for now, suffice it to say that this boat was sunk on pitching. We finished 27 games behind St. Louis--can we really expect to compete next year?

I had some hope when the season started, but it was over quickly. On Redszone, I predicted a 78 win season, so I was just slightly over-optimistic. Danny Graves alone cost us that many games.

Well, warm up the hot stove. We'll do some analysis on what I still contend was, in many ways, a tragic waste of talent.

Lions lose again

Remember the team with the great offense, that was going to light the board up? Welcome to the defensive oriented Detroit Lions.

And did the final minutes provide a glimmer of what could be--a passing offense picking its way down the field with multiple weapons and a competent, if not spectacular QB? Or was it a team moving the ball on a defense playing for time?

The Lions defense was outstanding today, forcing turnovers, but most importantly, shutting down the run. Cory Redding was an absolute beast, and Kalimba, Holt, Bailey and others made plays. The defense kept the team in the game--all the Lions points came off turnovers.

If anyone has to see themselves as causing the problem, it has to be the offense. Charles Rogers continues to be a non-factor. Kevin Jones is a major disappointment in his sophomore season, and is considerably less effective than Artose Pinner is. The O-Line is poor--no running room, and four man rushes crowding in on Joey.

The offense was horrid on 3rd down, and their redzone failure which ended in their final points cost them the game. On the final drive, Pollard may have been in or out, but the offense was living off the defense. The offense could neither run nor pass--Joey's numbers through three quarters were abysmal. Finally, Eddie Drummond is largely a non-factor this season, too.

Its just so close. If the defense can continue to perform, and the offense can do just a little--A LITTLE--this team is close to competing. Alas, I fear that is not to be.

Falcons Destroy Temple 70-7

I suppose it was one of those things that felt good, but wasn't actually as good as it felt. It was a stunning day with a great crowd at the Doyt, and we had a vastly superior team and we destroyed them. Not only is Temple bad, but they had the misfortune the last two seasons of playing us after losses.

Anyway, they are hopeless, so its hard to draw much out of it. I thought we were intense, and more disciplined than in other games, so maybe those things have been corrected. Omar seemed sharp, but then again, his receivers were generally wide open. A few thoughts:

  • Temple still had a rusher get 100 yards on us.
  • We worked hard to get Steve Sanders back into the flow, with passes, a reverse (TD), and even a pass (sack).
  • Corey Partridge was a factor again, apparently being healthy for the first time in a while. He is a third WR threat we really need. He had a 79 punt return for a TD, too (per The Blade, we had 10 men on the field when it happened.)
  • Antonio Smith had his second TD on an INT return this year.
  • PJ Pope isn't healthy. He ran poorly, although he did score twice. In big games, his lack of productivity could be a serious problem. Let's hope he can get healthy, although I am starting to sense that this injury will not get better until after the season.
  • Omar was 26 out of 30--his updated season stats are above. He seemed to have his game back, but as mentioned above, there wasn't much on the other side.
  • Temple is a dirty team. I hope no one was hurt on our side--it seemed OK.
  • The Falcons played with no names on the jersies as a motivational technique after the Boise game. Coach says the seniors will decide whether they go back next week--my bet is no.
  • The Blade this AM says that an excessive celebration penalty was due to "saluting" after a TD. They even have a picture. (Yeah, we gotta put a stop to that.)

So, on we go. It was fun--almost a guilty pleasure. The next game is huge. Akron, Miami and Buffalo already have one loss in the MAC East, and Miami has to play at NIU Wednesday. OU and BG are the only teams with no losses--the winner controls their own destiny. On the other hand, if we lose, we will have to hope for OU to lose twice coming home. While that's possible, it is also possible that our entire season could end on Saturday. Let's hope for a big, rocking crowd, and let's hope we bring our A game. We'll look at OU more in depth later in the week, but I think they are a work in progress and we can take them. Their win over Pitt--while laudable--was probably more than it seemed, as Pitt has continued to be awful all year.

One Game Left....

Reds have 815 runs scored.