Thursday, September 29, 2005

Narron re-signed

The Reds re-signed Jerry Narron for 2006, with a mutual option for 2007. Like JD @ Red Reporter, I'm largely ambivalent.

I was hapy with the team in the second half, and I thought they played well and improved, but I don't know anyone did that with managing. They were healthy, and the pitching came around a little. Having said that, I like that the contract is short-term, and I'm not sure anyone better was hanging around. Mostly, I think its good it got done before the ownership issues were resolved.

Falcons ink hoops commit

Via the Kalamazoo Gazette:

Marc Larson, Mattawan High School's 6-foot-9 frontliner, won't have to deal with all the distractions he was expected to face his senior year of basketball.

Larson, who will be in his fourth year as a starter this season, averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds his junior year, helping Mattawan to a 17-5 record and first place in the Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference's Central Division.

We need a big man, and he appears to be big, and somebody who scores and rebound. Prediction: the naysayers will want to know why we took him when Western obviously didn't want him!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Killer with former Rocket Butt-Buddy Sean Baligian on WDFN

Some edited highlights from the Killer appearence....boldface is my emphasis

  • Killer says if Garcia was healthy, you probably would've seen him against the Bears. It might not have taken through the bye. These games are huge for Joey Harrington -- he has to prove he can run the offense and make plays. Killer says "he's just not accurate." Points out how Kyle Orton can hit Muhsin Muhammed on the post, but Harrington throws it just behind Roy Williams.
  • One of the biggest things to come out of the Bears game is the complete meltdown of the defensive coaching staff. They totally out-thought himself. Dick Jauron was disingenous (???) when he said you always get criticism when you lose, and praise when you win. All you need is one of the corners or safeties at 100 mph a couple of times. If they can get a rookie to start wondering if he's about to get ear-holed then you've gained an edge.
  • Sean says no more talk about the "weapons" this offense has. Killer concurs, saying Kevin Johnson leads the team in receptions. "That's a farce."
  • Charles Rogers is still moping, and his head isn't in the game. Killer says he's just going through the motions.
  • Why hasn't Jones played better? Killer says you can't pinpoint it on one thing. The offensive line is better at pass protection than blowing guys off the ball. They need to be creative with that line, like spreading out the WRs. The 2-back set isn't working out. They should go to 1-back. Pollard on the outside could also be effective. "It's not going to happen."

Lions lose starting CB for year

Fernando Bryant will miss the season. We added another WR to fill the roster slot. We did keep a number of DBs, and it may be the last chance for Goodman to thrive. On that subject, Killer Kowalski had this great article on a persistent Goodman.

Brian At Red Leg Nation Writes on Reds Historic Offensive Season

On pace to score 800 runs...even bad pitching would have gotten us a .500 season. But atrocious pitching...well, there you go. Its an utter tragedy.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Brandon Presser

Typical, really strong Brandon presser today. Here's the link, and here are some snippets, with my own peanut gallery commentary.


Erique Dozier is a kid who we are going to move to linebacker. He will play at the Sam position. Terrel White is playing at the Will position, and Teddy (Piepkow) and Jamien (Johnson) are splitting time. Neither of them have been 100 percent healthy, so we have been reluctant to have a starter, per se, at that (middle linebacker) position.

This is another shot, probably relatively desperate, to help out at that LB position. We already tried two safeties there, and it obviously didn't work. With Piepkow and Johnson healthy, that should help, but LB remains a weakness.


It was a game where we just got out-hit, in all phases. So, we got after it pretty aggressively on the weekend. Saturday, we did a three-on-three `hamburger' drill where we just blocked and tackled; basically pounded on each other for an hour, to send a message that `hey, that's not Bowling Green football.' When we go into any place, especially on national TV, we need to be the hitters, not the hittees. That was the thing that really showed up, I thought, after watching the Boise film a couple times. We are not anticipating defensively. We're catching too many guys, and not striking. Offensively, we were not sharp, for whatever reason. I mean, we can analyze it until we're blue in the face, but Omar Jacobs has had 14 or 15 starts here, and he's had one bad game. If I can get 14 or 15 more, with one bad start, I'll take it. He'll be the first to tell you that it was by far his worst game. You're dealing with 18- to 22-year-old kids, and they're going to have a bad day. It's hard to win every game in college football; you only see a handful of teams run the table. Where we are right now is about where we were last year. You look at the stats; we went into Oklahoma (last year) and gave up 500 yards and 40 points, and we went to Wisconsin and gave up 56 (points) and 500 yards. We went to Northern (Illinois in 2004), and Garrett Wolfe rushed all over the field against us. We went to Boise, and couldn't stop the run. The one huge difference is that we are 1-0 in the MAC East.

This says a lot. Not much to add, I guess. Problems need to be addressed--its a test to our program.


Q: Have the injuries to P.J. Pope and B.J. Lane been a big part of the problems with establishing the running game?

GB: Absolutely. That's where we're struggling right now; we're missing the one-two punch together. P.J. has not been himself, and we are struggling to run the football. Bobby Thomas has given us a boost, but he's a young guy. But, he is going to be a great player for us before he is through.

Amen. We have to run the ball in our offense...yet, Coach feels good about our line play.


They are doing a nice job. Jon Culp is really playing well at center. He's a fifth-year kid, who has never really had an opportunity to start, and he is stepping up and doing a good job. (Derrick) Markray is a beast in there at right guard. He's doing a heck of a job, and Drew (Nystrom) keeps getting better and better. We're protecting Omar, the problem is not protection.

I'm not sure this isn't a little optimistic, but I could be wrong.


I think Omar is overanalyzing a little bit, instead of taking what they are giving us. I told him after the (Boise State) game that it was the first game where he didn't manage our offense. That's the number-one thing we talk about with our quarterbacks, manage the offense. Omar has put a lot of pressure on himself, and that's natural. He has gotten a lot of pub and a lot of hype, and he's got to deal with the good and the bad. Right now, he's dealing with the bad.

Omar will rally. I don't really doubt that. I don't think, today, that he has the supporting cast he had last year, anywhere--RB, line, or WR.


We wanted to be able to keep the ball like they did, to keep their offense off the field like they did to us. So, we wanted to run the clock a little bit. I think that was mistake number one, because, when we have been successful over the past couple years, we're moving at a fast tempo. That's a double-edged sword, because if you are moving at a fast tempo and you are not having success, your defense is back out on the field. So, my whole thing was, `let's use the clock; let's settle in there.' Everybody that we talked to said that, when you go to Boise, you have got to survive the first quarter. If you can survive the first quarter, you'll be all right. Well, we did survive the first quarter, but we didn't survive the rest of the game. We used that information, and it backfired, and it was my mistake. We should have gone in there and used what we call `fastball,' our up-tempo offense, and tried to tire them out. They did get tired when we went to some fastball later in the game, to try to get back in it. But, none of that matters if we aren't sharp. We were dropping passes, we weren't throwing to the right guy, and we were struggling to run the football when we lost P.J.

This is a very interesting quote. So, our strategy was to cling on in the first and control the ball, and then win from there. Our normal strategy, as he mentioned, is to just run right over them. He's right--we didn't execute. Having said that, we need to stick with what works, which he admits, to his credit. I'm not sure we haven't sold ourselves short in other big road games, too.

Here's too unleashing fastball with fury Saturday. Oh, there was lots in the presser about how Temple doesn't suck as bad as everyone says they do. Which they may not. BG needs a solid win to wash away some doubts and fears about 1995, and give us some confidence with OU coming to town.

CBS Sportsline Story on players who have led trying lives BEFORE they start playing college ball as Freshmen

#7 is Dusan Radivojevic, our Serbian recruit.

Here's what it said:

After averaging 35 ppg last year as a high school senior in Cacak, Serbia & Montenegro, the 6-5 Radivojevic wanted to play college basketball this season. An overseas talent scout sent an email detailing Radivojevic's qualifications to scores of colleges, and Bowling Green's Dan Dakich bit. He requested video of Radivojevic, and after checking with his contacts -- Dakich's grandfather was born in Serbia -- he offered Radivojevic a scholarship. Dakich says Radivojevic amazes teammates with stories from Serbia, like the time a bomb dropped about 500 meters from a gym where he was playing.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Great AZZ.Com post on the Falcons by Schadenfreude. Captures the whole thing


I remember 1995. I was so excited about that year I bought season tickets for the first time. Even drove out to Missouri to watch what was, at the time, a huge win for upset-starved Falcon fans.

I have my season tickets again, and I'm going to use them, no matter what happens. I was in State College in 1998, I was in Buffalo in 2000, and I'll be at the Doyt five times this eason.

But I have reached the conclusion that this team just isn't very good.

I don't know all the issues, and I'm not a football expert or anything. Some discussion questions, though:

1. Is Jon Lovitz* a hammer-weilding fella who sees every problem as a nail? Word is he's simplified our defense on the theory that our players need to do less thinking and more attacking. Maybe that works at Clemson or Auburn when you've got the horses (and judging from his resume, it didn't work so well, or he'd still be at Clemson or Auburn).

We don't have the horses. And if we don't have the horses, shouldn't we at least *try* to outthink the opposition?

2. Gregg Brandon. No idea. I didn't see as much of the game as I wanted -- some work stuff kept me away in the first half. Overall, I see no smoking guns, and I see some things I like. Just little things -- like the way he ran the clock down during the first half and went for it on fourth down at the Boise State 43. Conventional wisdom says you don't do it, but we were already in a hole and it was a calcluated risk worth taking.

On the other hand, I am also intrigued by the slow erosion theory posited by Hammb. That is, that Brandon isn't such a bad coach that the team fell apart immediately -- but that we are seeing the wheels slowly come off.

It is indisputable that the previous coach instilled a new culture here. Roughly half the team never met the previous coach. Could it be that the culture is slowly changing?

I see one of two scenarios playing out:

1. Bowling Green recovers, goes on a winning streak -- only to rip our hearts out on national television in Oxford and in the season-ender against Toledo.

I never seriously contemplated the idea that Toledo could beat us at the Doyt this season before this morning. But I am now. Toledo appears to have a good team. We don't have a good team.

2. Bowling Green stumbles against Ohio on Oct. 8, and the real suspense in this season revolves around whether or not the Falcons will stay above .500.

In other words, I don't see a MAC championship in our future. I hope Gregg Brandon can prove me wrong. But I don't see it. This is not a very good football team.

This was a significant, significant loss, and it rips my heart out.

Part of the reason: I'm not sure what we have to look forward to next year. We lose some very good players on offense this year -- Sharon, Sanders, Warren, Pope. We have a couple of studs on defense -- Antonio Smith is breathtaking -- but I don't see anything resembling the fab five class of Lictensteiger we brought in a couple of years ago.

This really was supposed to be The Year. And I'm not sure I see it anymore.

The Boise State game is even killing my buzz about next year.

After the Wisconsin game, I was able to invite Badgers fans to come out to Cleveland next year with an aura of confidence. My friends and I were already throwing around tailgate ideas. The table was really set for that game, wasn't it? A chance to beat Wisconsin on "our" field on what, presumably, would have been a national television game with a MAC-record home crowd watching?

I'm not sure I feel the buzz any more.

And, more immediately, this really will hurt attendance this year. If the team had won -- or at least shown up -- I think we would have sold out homecoming. The marketing department, alumni association, etc. were really going all out marketing homecoming. I really felt, before last night, that the Temple game woudl sell out.

And that would have been a Big Deal, because it would have helped drive advance ticket sales for the rest of the season.

I'm not sure I see a sell out any more. I'll be there. Freak will, natch. How many other people will be?


The only thing I can say for sure is that this team requires a bit more attention from Paul Krebs. We are at risk of backsliding and losing all the things that have been painstakingly put together over the past four years.

Football is important. If Krebs does nothing else, he must ensure we put a football team on the field people want to watch.

And the Falcons were painful to watch last night.



My addition. I think this is a strong post. For those who might not understand the reference, our Falcons ended 1994 with a heartbreaking loss at the Doyt to a CMU team that won by virtue of an 80 yard long fake punt (the famous fat punter play). It was a heartbreaker. Not to worry, of course, because everyone, including our All-MAC QB, was back for the next season. Things started out bad (we lost at home to La Tech), and fell apart from there. We proceeded to have six or seven straight losing seasons.

It does feel a little like that. We DID end last season on an up note, but we don't seem to have the same energy this year. I hate to even think it, but I have to admit, it had occurred to me before today. I have written here already that I am worried about our talent level for next year.

One other similarity is that Blackney could have left for Louisville, but didn't get the job at the last minute. He would never, ever, be considered for a head coaching job again. Much as Coach Brandon could have gone to UNLV, but didn't. Let's hope it doesn't end up being his last chance.

Some posters on are saying that Brandon was a good enough coach to not let things to to hell right away when UM left, but has not been good enough to keep it from happening gradually. That's probably a little harsh for right now. But he has to keep proving himself just like everybody else. And it could still be true.

This team needs some work. If he's not the coach they say, he'll bring this team around and have them cranking by the time we walk into Oxford, and the team will continue to produce starting next year. We're on dimensional on offense, and undimensional on defense.

If he is, we could lose 5 games. Don't expect him to turn down any job offers this winter.

I'm sticking with my prediction. We leave October 6-3, with one loss in the MAC, probably to OU, maybe to Akron.

Is Marty Getting Tiresome?

I grew up listening to Marty Brennaman, and he helped build a love of baseball in me. I've changed or he's changed, but things aren't the same. To me, he's turned into a TOF--A TIRED OLD F**K.

Case in point.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

The MAC worries me

As we have noted here, the MAC is starting to even out. Things appear much more competitive this year than last.

For example, EMU won at CMU--the same team that beat Miami. Then, Akron shocked NIU in OT, and Eastern pushed OU hard.

Other than Buffalo, I don't believe even one of our MAC games is a gimmee, as we saw last year.

I am really worried about OU, which has two weeks to prepare for us. That's right, Frank Solich has two weeks to watch Boise tapes and get ready to defend us.

The Akron game will be tough. And the game at Kent could be a real snake pit.

A prediction. Come the end of October, we will have one MAC loss.

Reds Assure .500 Second Half

The Reds won tonight, assuring the club of at least a .500 second half. As I have written here, that is an accomplishment given where we were at the time, which was checking the record against the worst teams in Reds history. Last night's loss was the 82nd, guaranteeing a fifth straight losing season. I do think we an compete next year, if the right things happen.

Eric Milton was better tonight, as the Reds played spoiler. It can't feel good to a team in the race to lose a game when Eric was on the hill.

Adam went deep again, his 38th, and David Weathers rebounded to hold onto the save.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Another day, more reflection

OK, so maybe I am obsessing on this. But, I still am AZZ-free (Master of my domain) since before the game Wednesday, rapidly approaching 48 hours.

This morning, I was thinking through what we saw. The team said they showed up different looks, and we had trouble adjusting. Also, they were dropping 7-9 in coverage, and we were having trouble getting guys open. I think this is especially effective since we are not quite as deep at WR as we used to be. Derrick Lett and Corey Partridge are not Cole Magner and Corn McGrady.

Today, in the Blade, something else was revealed...that Boise State picked that technique up watching film of the Ball State game. I remember Coach Brandon saying they threw us off when they dropped so many in Muncie, and that we would have to start having Omar run to counteract it. What worries me is this: even though we won against Ball, it was clear something was wrong. Our guys should have recognized it and had an adjusment ready. I know PJ is hurt and not running well, so that hurts our natural response to a three-man in the box lineup. BJ Lane doesn't seem as strong as before, and we're trying to redshirt Dan Macon.

But there were several times Omar had lots of open field ahead of him, and even though he isn't a natural runner, he should have been able to take off and grab 20 yards. That forces them to cover the whole field again--which is the concept of our offense.

Here's the other thing. Players make the game, not systems. They are people, not chess pieces. Not every team is going to be able to adapt the Boise approach and execute it as well. But we should be sure of this. We will have to beat that defense for the next eight games, and we won't beat good teams without figuring out how. We should get going.

One other thing I noted was that Boise seemed to be moving around while Omar was looking t the sideline for his "audible." I've wondered for a long time why people don't do this more often--it seems obvious to me. We're obviously going to have to give Omar more read/audible responsibility at the line, and change the pace up a little bit.

Ultimately, we can look at it this way. We have had our weaknesses laid bare by Boise. We can fix them (if possible), or we can continue to repeat them. If we repeat them, there will be no championship or bowl game this year.

I hope we win the championship this year, because I doubt that we can keep this going for another season...even if Omar is back.

Its not a good week to root for my teams

Obviously, a complete embarassment today. I'm staying away from AZZ until at least Saturday just to fight off my tendency to wallow in the Jonestown that it will, no doubt, be. Today was another road failure, and by far the worst loss in the Meyer/Brandon era. I put this on the coaches. We were completely and totally out prepared for this game. Boise had a game plan for us...we had no game plan for them.

Special teams play for us was atrocious. We didn't adjust on offense. The defense is putrid--a complete embarassment for the third week in the row. In fact, this score could have been a lot worse if Boise doesn't stall out on the first two drives.

The plus side is that UT rallied from a similar debacle to win the MAC last year, so we can still do it. But much work remains to be done. At this point, we are absolute upset fodder in MAC play. Every game is a challenge, and I don't see how we beat the better teams in our conference right now. The offense has to get more consistent, and the defense just has to get better. We don't tackle at all.

There's still 5:00 left as I write this. I'll post the Coach's quotes as soon as they are up. Nothing to be said except this--it was a complete humiliation.

Update II:

Some more reflections after some sleep.

Maureen Fulton has her story in The Blade.

Here are some Brandon quotes from the article; The Sentinel has some additions to the quotes.

"We were completely dominated. We were completely out-coached in every phae of the game, offense, defense, kicking...It's embarrasing. Out coaches had no answers and our players had no answers."

"This is the first time since I've been here we didn't have any answers," BGSU coach Gregg Brandon said.

"If we can't stop the run we're going to struggle the rest of the way," Brandon said.

"You can't put a good football team like Boise out there over and over and over," Brandon said.

"We couldn't find a single coverage guy, and when we did he couldn't get open."

"Its disappointing on special teams we continue to give up the big play."

"They were doing lot of things to confuse us and this is the first time since I've been here that we didn't have any answers. We've got to check that real close."

Other personal observations:

The KO return was a killer. That should never happen, but coming off a score where we tie the game after being man-handled and thinking we're back in it, it was just a killer. But, there's little doubt we would have been completely dominated.

Not only did we not stop the run, but we didn't run, either. we had 84 net running yards, but 40 of those came from Anthony Turner and Bobby Thomas in freak circumstances. Pope, Lane and Omar were 15 for 44.

If teams are going to drop into coverage, Omar is going to have to run more to loosen it up. It was there several times.

Corey Partridge seemed to struggle. It was almost like he was stopping every time the ball got close.

Boise averaged 5.3 yards per rush. I just think everyone over-estimated how good our defense would be this year, because right now they are woeful, and I don't believe they have the talent to be much better.

On other update:

Sentinel says PJ was injured again in the game. I am worried he may suffer from these ankle sprains the entire season.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Lions Fans Continue to Vent

Killer Tom Kowalski had his chat today on Mlive.


  • Don't take the Shaun King rumors seriously.
  • He places a great deal of blame on Rick DeMulling, on whom he heaps scorn. He also says Kelly Butler has yet to pick a blitz up.
  • Also, strong words for Charles Rogers, who is being a "brat."
  • Criticism for Joey, but notes he isn't the only problem.
  • Bryant may be out for two weeks--maybe the season.
  • Also down on Boss Bailey and Dirty Davis (my note: weren't our LBs supposed to be good).
  • Senses tension between Mooch and Millen.
  • On the Williams/Harrington play, people were mad, apparently, that Williams didn't go back and fight for the ball
It was an absolute disaster, and just when progress was being started. On the plus side, our division is so weak that we might be able to leak into the playoffs even being awful. With Joey stinking, the entire premise of our rebuilding (the attack) is going down the tubes. We simply cannot reboot this system again.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Nothing left to say.

In November of last year, I said this after the Dallas loss:

Every player involved on the Lions side--with the exception of Eddie Drummond--should be driven off a cliff like they used to do to buffalo.

Today, I'm ready for the same RX--except we can include Eddie. He ran timidly today.

There's nothing to say. This club has made no progress. And Joey is clearly not the answer. I'm going onto the message boards to distribute kool aid.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Reds Update

We blew a save last night, in a game we probably should have won. We're stretching our legs a little bit, and spreading the action around. Of course, it was a doubleheader, too.

What milestones are left--well, we could finish third, but its unlikely. Depends partly on how badly the Cards want to play in our six remaining games.

We're 34-26 after the break. with 15 games left in the season, we're only four wins from achieving, at worst, 38-37 record. As Marty said last night, given where we started, that is an accomplishment.

After the break, we are in 5th place.

We need to go 8-7 to best last year's record (I have stupidly been posting on the idea we won 74 last year, when it was 76). Our last winning season was in 2000.

Chad at Redleg Nation says this, and we agree:

This team isn’t far from competing. This offseason might be the most important offseason in the last couple of decades. The first decision will be about Narron, but the decisions after that will be what determines where we are next year at this time.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Reds News

A couple of quick hits from the blogosphere on the Reds.

John Fay is worried about uncertainty around the club. He writes:

But there is a tremendous amount of uncertainty surrounding the club:

Three limited partners, who own 51.5 percent of the club, have put up their shares for sale. There's the possibility that chief executive officer Carl Lindner will sell his shares and/or give up control of the club to one of the groups bidding on the 51.5 percent.

If there's a change at the CEO level, chief operating officer John Allen, who runs the day-to-day operations, could be replaced.

O'Brien is in the last year of a three-year contract.

He notes that this is effecting the status of Jerry Narron, who probably should be brought back as manager. However, the Commissioner's office is putting the kaibosh on moves during the post-season, so if you want to do it, you should do it in the next couple weeks. Yet, the management seems to be thinking later October.

I guess I' m ok with Narron coming back. If the sale of the team is gumming up the whole works, than so be it. The new owner might want to be a little more dynamic.

Meanwhile, at the Redlegnation, someone has noticed how well Todd Coffey has been pitching lately.

This should be vindication for JD at Red Reporter, who picked Coffey out of the chorus line this Spring.

Finally, Marc Lancaster has the Instructional League roster for the Reds. Ryan Wagner is on the list...

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Killer Tom Kowalski has his usual strong insights on the Lions

I think Killer's comments are a little more in line with what I said following the game. That "victory" was not something to hang your hat on...this team as a long way to go to beat better teams.

Can be found on Mlive.

  • Win over Packers raises more questions than it answers.
  • This Green Bay team is in huge demise.
  • Credit the defense, especially when top receivers combine for four catches you can't expect to win against top defensive teams like the Bears, Panthers, and Ravens.
  • Mariucci was asked about the conservative play-calling, but Killer says Mooch is tired of talking about it. He began to bristle at the suggestion yesterday.
  • The Lions practiced horrible this past week, but the intensity was up dramatically. Harrington played pretty well despite the awful week of practice. He did enough to win.
  • Says Damien Woody felt the Packers were waiting for the Lions to finish them off, but they just couldn't do it. Harrington screwed up three drives after missing throws that would've extended the drive, and possibly put the team away earlier. He will be exposed against better teams if he doesn't improve.
  • They got everything they could out of Kevin Jones, but they've got to get more from the receivers. "He's a workhorse."
  • Kowalski says it's time to move Mike Williams to No. 3. The fact that he's stuck at No. 4 proves how they're too conservative and not aggressive enough.
  • Mike Williams came in out of shape, not fat but winded early. Coaches got down on him early. It happens. It happened to Kevin Jones last year after not being able to pick up the blitz. He split time early, but it turned out to be an idiotic decision. Same with Williams, he's too good to keep off the field.
  • The reason you don't see more downfield passing is because this is the West Coast offense -- Mariucci's West Coast offense. Very conservative. This never was going to be the "Greatest Show on Turf."
  • Harrington won the game, but still hasn't won the trust of Mariucci. He made a very interesting, snide comment during the press conference talking about the pass to Rogers, he said "Yeah, it might've been a touchdown too." Meaning if he threw it just a little bit better it could've gone for more. It's obvious Harrington hasn't won over Mariucci yet.
  • Killer says the postgame boastfulness was positivity after a relief than a celebration, and he has no problem with them talking about the division. It's better than saying "we suck, we've always sucked, and we probably will suck again."
  • Besides, winning the division over the Packers, Vikings, and Bears isn't that difficult. It's not like they're predicting Super Bowl victories.
  • Killer says host Drew continues to "crap all over this victory" (Killer's words). Killer says they were all playing up the "It's just one game" aspect. Plus, it was a great defensive effort holding them to five straight 3-and-outs.
  • Killer says the TD to Mike Williams was huge because of the uneasy alliance between offensive and defensive units. One play could have tied it up, adding stress to the defense. They hate that, but finally Harrington got it together -- after numerous misfired drives.
  • Killer wasn't surprised the Packers didn't challenge the Favre fumble. TV replays were very clear, there was no chance of it being reversed.
  • They bring up the Fox 2 Detroit pregame TV show outside the stadium in the hot sun where an obviously warm Tom Kowalski was seen "sweating like a steer." (Again, Killer's words.) He blames his wife for picking the light colored shirt, and says he took Dan Miller's golf towel and stuffed it under his shirt to sweat on that.
Jason Hanson may not play Sunday, breaking a long injury-free streak. They may bring a kicker in Thursday if they need one. (I hope he can learn the plays.)

Reds News

The Reds always get a little tougher to track once we're following football, but I'm still watching. It looks like we won't get fourth, or a .500 record, but a .500 second-half season is still within reach, and they should be better than they were last year. Given where we were at the break, that's not a bad accomplishment.

Mentally, we all try to do the math on who will be in the rotation next year. I think we had all hoped to see Luke Hudson earn a spot, but that is not going to happen. Its too bad, because he had plenty of chances. I was in favor of giving him time to work it out, but it was apparent it wasn't going to happen. JD at RedReporter thinks a bullpen stint for the hard thrower might be a good idea.

Unlike JD, I'm OK with giving him 16 starts under these circumstances.

Ben Weber was DFA by the Reds. Another experiment failed.

Brian, our favorite poster at Redleg Nation, has a great post (part I) that asks the question: "Have the Reds Ever Had Pitching."

Clay Davenport at Baseball Prospectus has a cool simulation. He uses a Monte Carlo simulation to "play" the rest of the season 1,000,000 times, developing probabilities for what is likely to happen. The Reds have a .00011 chance of making the wild card, and their average wins in the Monte Carlo is 75.2. I think we'll do a little better, but who am I to argue with a computer?

Good game tonight. Cubs win at home, but it was a well-played game. Eric Milton pitched well, and the bullpen was strong, too. Just needed some key hits to win the game.

Brandon Presser

A few points:

True freshman Calvin Wiley has moved on to the depth chart at SS. Coach says he's been playing well, but our need for help in the secondary is apparent. (He's taking John Nicholson's spot).

He notes that Antonio Smith got burned twice for TDs at Ball State, but also took the INT that decided the game and returned it for a TD.

Q: Talking about Antonio Smith, you have said that cornerback is one of the more difficult positions to recruit. What was the process involved in getting him?
GB: I think getting him was a steal. Zach Azzanni did a great job recruiting that kid. He is from a great program, Miami Central, down in Dade County. He played against guys that are (now) lining up at Florida, Florida State, Miami, so he knows what fast guys look like. He has great instincts, ball skills - you can tell he has been well coached - and he's just a good young player.

Q: You mentioned a couple plays in the Ball State game where he might have gotten down, but he obviously responded well.
GB: Yeah, it was nice to see him come back after those two touchdowns that he gave up, by getting a pick and running it back. I mean, I was anticipating having to make a move back there if he wasn't able to hold up, but he responded and did a nice job. That's the way you have to learn on the edge out there. You've got to have a short memory.

Jelani Jordan has been much maligned by Falcon fans, and I believed always underrated. I think the fan's perception goes back to the MAC Championship where Big Ben lit our whole defense up, but it looked like it was all him.

Q: Jelani (Jordan) played a lot as a freshman, too.
GB: Jelani has been through the school of hard knocks, too. You know, that's what happens. You're going to get beat, and if you continue to let it get to you, you'll get beat again and again. You just need to learn from it, forget about it and move on.

Q: What have you seen from Jelani?
GB: Jelani was our player of the game against Ball State. He had five or six really nice, open-field tackles, where the guy could have gone for a lot of yards if Jelani didn't get him down. He did a nice job, didn't give up any plays in the passing game. He's a veteran kid who just quietly does his job back there. On the trick play, he got the guy out on the five-yard line and they didn't score. They got a field goal out of that, and that was huge.

Coach also noted that although Boise State is 0-2, they lost to good teams. They are banged up, but the Falcons expect them to be absolutely raw meat (my phrase) hungry on their own field. They will not want to go 0-3, and will be loaded for bear. They are a little dinged out, as you would expect. To wit:

Senior nose guard Mike Thaler On Boise's three-game losing streak
"It's like a caged animal, you need to fight to the death. They've been up against quality opponents and they can't be taken lightly."

I hope PJ Pope is back...that's a guy we are going to need.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Let's not go overboard

The Lions had a nice win yesterday. I've briefly surveyed the MSM this morning, and people seem to be taking it in stride, although they are a little farther on the excited mode than I would recommend.

Every win is good. Especially when you are the Lions.

But the Packers played awful--many penalties and turnovers. Everyone is excited about how the defense played, but I have yet to be convinced it was any more than the annual Brett-Favre-Opening-Game-Ford-Field vaporlock. We did get decent pressure, but I just think the Packers were self-destructing.

Whatever the reason, the Packers had seven straight drives where they didn't get a first down.

Even more importantly, the club's vaunted offense didn't show up. We only had 18 first downs, and six of them were on penalties. The big three receivers caught only four passes. And while Pollard played well (we knew Joey and Mooch would like him), I am worried we are going to lock onto him a little bit.

Jones was OK, not great. He seemed to be less effective as time went on. We're still not good in short yardage, and we still throw short of the sticks a lot on third down.

So, we won. I'm glad for that. But don't start making your Super Bowl bus reservations yet.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Falcons survive in Muncie

We were in the house Saturday, and I began to think we had travelled all that way just to watch us lose. When BSU went up 31-28, the place was rocking, they had all the momentum, and I just thought we were cooked. But, winning teams count on winning, and we are a winning team. Omar threw two incompletions, and the place was howling for blood on third down and 10 from the 20. Omar stepped into the pocket, and hit Sharon for 55 yards to the BSU 25, and I really feel like the air went out of their sails right then.

Two plays later, Sanders had a TD pass, and we had the lead for good. BSU came onto the field, and we took them three and out, then we were three and out, and with about 6:30 on the clock, true freshmen Antonio Smith made an interception and ran it in for a TD, and that was all she wrote.

Someone on said that no one ever went broke taking profits, which means, winning is winning. Certainly, we did not play well. It was on the road, and BSU was gunning for us. We made mistakes, but survived them on a night that Miami was beaten. It could have been better--it could have been much worse.

We might have gotten a little cocky over the past couple years--just expecting to hang 70 points up, even on the road. There might be some missed expectations. And this team might be a little more of a work in progress than we suspected at the start of the year. I hope we're in fine form to win the MAC Championship, and for our bowl game--those are the real goals.

Here are some semi-random thoughts.

  • Our biggest problem was turnovers. We turned the ball over four times--three fumbles and one interception. Three of them were in BSU territory, and two were in definite scoring position. This is unlike our club. We don't turn it over very much, and it really hurt us.
  • The special teams are grim right now. Timichenko, recruited to punt, is just awful. We won't even try a FG, and he missed two extra points (three total on the year) last night. That can really hurt you--not to mention what we do it we need a huge FG someday late in a game. I think we have a couple walk-ons on the club, so maybe that's what we need to look at. But Timchenko is awful--he even makes me wish we has Shaun Suisham back. (Memo to our "Kicker, we don't need no stinkin' kicker" macho men coaches. Recruit a kicker, for crying out loud. Make it a priority.
  • We were also badly hurt by a crappy punt by Nate Fry. We're doing that rugby thing, where we get into some touch football formation, and then Nate runs a few steps and boots it, on the run, to the sideline. It does seem to get a forward roll. I don't understand what was so bad about the old way of punting. I can only assume this makes it easier to cover. But I think its dopey and they look like they are close to being blocked, and we should just punt normal.
  • Teams are tough to beat on their home field. Welcome to college football.
  • Omar completed about 63% of this passess, which is below his normal average. He missed some open receivers, and was visibly frustrated from time to time. He's only failing by his standards from last year, but we know he is capable of better.
  • Teams are getting pressure on Omar, and it is having an effect. I don't know if our line is not performing, or if teams are selling out the blitz (ala Memphis State), but Omar was under more pressure than normal. This is one part of his game which is not as good as the other parts of his game. He will get lots of chances to fix it, because I believe that teams who have seem our game film will continue to rush him hard. If you give him time, he will pick you apart.
  • The much-maligned defense certainly showed some weak spots, but in their defense, let me say a couple things. They had a really strong second quarter--in fact, BSU had only four first downs in the first half. If we hang onto the ball, we're way ahead. We were good on third down (BSU 4 of 16), and we held them under 10 yards on 9 of their 17 possessions. Because of that contribution, BSU had to spend all their momentum just getting a small lead, and that put the pieces in motion for our fourth quarter comeback. The defense clearly has a long way to go, but their extended shutdown of BSU played a big role in our surivival.
  • Peter Winovich, who Brandon said struggled at MLB in Madison, made only one tackle. Jon Jakubowski, Rossford LB, made five tackles and may be picking up some of that playing time.
  • Jelani Jordan had some great open field sticks.
  • When BSU ran their reverse and their QB throw back, there was nobody home at all. Nobody. That has got to be fixed.
  • We finally got our TEs involved in the attack.
  • That was our seventh 4th Quarter comeback in the Meyer/Brandon era
People in Muncie were super nice to us. It was a nice trip. On to Idaho.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Lions Game By Game

WK 1 Green Bay W
WK 2 at Chicago W
WK 4 at Tampa Bay W
WK 5 Baltimore L
WK 6 Carolina L
WK 7 at Cleveland W
WK 8 Chicago W
WK 9 at Minnesota L
WK 10 Arizona L
WK 11 at Dallas L
WK 12 Atlanta L
WK 13 Minnesota W
WK 14 at Green Bay L
WK 15 Cincy W
WK 16 at New Orleans W
WK 17 at Pittsburgh L

I'm going 8-8. I'd like to do more, but I'd have to talk to my manager. This is a pretty tough schedule. I think you start out assuming you continue to struggle on the road, which makes tough road games at Minnesota, Dallas, Green Bay (in the cold) and Pittsburgh as losses right off the top of the deck. That's four games. Now, you have to win 8 out of 12 to be .500. I think we can win at Chicago, Tampa Bay and Cleveland and New Orleans. So, that's 4-4 on the road.

At home, I think we can beat Green Bay (we usually do), Cincy, Chicago and Minnesota, but I'm by no means sure of that. I think we lose at home to Atlanta, Baltimore, Carolina, and Arizona. I think we might be able to beat Arizona on our field, but people are talking about them making a big jump next season.

If we're going to win 10, the Arizona and Atlanta games at home are key, as is the opener against the Packers. Ten wins is an absolute ceiling, and this team could win as few as 6 again. But there you go--on the record. A .500 season for our Lions.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Milton Lit up

But that's not a newsflash to you, is it? Its happened plenty this year. I was under the impression things had been getting better for Milton, so I did a little work with the numbers today to get the story.

His second half has been a little better (note all stats below do not include yesterday's "performance". His ERA for the season is 6.42. For the first half, it was 6.92, and for the second half was 5.46. Obviously, 5.46 is still pretty poor. But there's a little more to the story than that.

In July his ERA was 4.63...the NL average in 2005 is 4.23, so that's at least moving in the right direction. Than, in August, he was 4.40, even closer to the mean.

His HR numbers have really improved from brutal to poor. He allowed 29 in the first half of the year, in 106 innings, or a staggering 2.46/9. In the second half, its only 8 in 56 innings, or 1.29/9, or twice as good as before....or half as bad. Take your pick. (League average is 1.02/9).

His 37 HR's allowed lead the NL by a far sight. Jon Lieber has allowed 31, for second place.

Eric has only average K's--just over 6 in a league that has a 6.53/9 average rate. His big problem is that in addition to homers, he gives up hits by the bushel basket--11.68/9. League average is 9.11. Batters have a .350 OBP, well above the league average of .326, while his SLG is .560, shockingly above the .413 league average.

We're stuck with him, so we might as well get used to it. On the other hand, it someone in a pitcher's park wants him, we should trade him. In the meantime, maybe he generally positive second half means we might someday get something around his career mean from him...someday.

Falcon Update

Quoting the Sentinel...

Piepkow has a sore hammy. (We're not deep at LB--IMO, not from the Sentinel).

Winovich played MLB in Madison, and even Coach Brandon says he "struggled." Chris Haneline also has an ongoing problem with a stinger.

If Piepkow doesn't go in Muncie, its Jamien Johnson in the middle and Terrell White on the weak side, with Arnold and Waldron strong side. Even Johnson has a sore knee, and I think Arnold and Waldron were DBs until recently.

Again, IMO, LB remains a serious weakness on the defense.

Pope is questionable.

Garcia to miss only 5-6 games, Lions not signing QB

With Kevin Johnson inserted as the emergency QB, the Lions have decided given the good news on the Garcia that they do not need a third QB. Which is good, since it didn't appear any were available anyway....Killer noted that the team hasn't actually used its 3QB in a long time. That's the same logic people use on flood insurance, but, hey, they're the pros.

Also, Killer Tom Kowalski has his final prediction at 9-7. He says they showed focus after the MNF debacle.

Here are some other show notes from his Stoney and Wojo appearence:

  • The Lions have not used a No. 3 QB in years, so they are not going after just anyone to fill that role. There's no point in cutting a guy you like just to bring in someone who will never play.
  • With that said, they will

    likely sign someone to the practice squad eventually. It likely won't be Timmy Chang, it'll probably be Todd Mortensen.
  • What kind of team is Green Bay? "Who knows." They're heavy on skill positions, but Killer doesn't think they've even named their starting guards or in the secondary yet. They've got linebacker injury issues. He still won't say the Lions will beat them -- because of Favre at QB.
  • The Packers defensive coordinator isn't known as a blitzer, so don't expect them to open up blitzing like crazy just because the Lions looked susceptible. Just like Dick Jauron wouldn't make that change.
  • If Favre has time he will pick apart the Lions, but the Lions may try to exploit the interior of the Packers' offensive line. That will keep Favre at bay.
  • Ahmad Carrol won't even start. That's how bad it is in Green Bay. With Ted Tollner calling the plays, don't be surprised if they stretch the field. Not necessarily vertical. If they don't try to put pressure on Green Bay then there will be a lot of calls on Monday. Same with Harrington. He has to pull the trigger.
  • Caller question -- Doesn't Orlovsky look very confident, like he really knows what he's doing? Killer says he's further along that Mike McMahon, and possibly even Joey Harrington, was at the same time. He's got a long way to go, but this is very encouraging.
  • Caller question -- How will Pollard be used, more than the preseason shows? Yes, he'll be used a lot more than they showed. He is a big upgrade over Stephen Alexander, and Harrington has a connection with Pollard. Plus, he can still stretch the field.
  • Mike Williams has progressed, and you will see more of him on the field than you have seen. Killer says the Lions must try and spread it out to maintain an edge, but he doesn't know if they'll do it.
  • Caller question -- How did Kenoy Kennedy and Terrence Holt look in the preseason? Holt looked up-and-down. Killer says players are getting into his head, and it has been addressed by coaches. Kennedy is nursing a hamstring, and he could be a gametime decision. Killer says he hasn't shown up yet like he expected.
  • Caller question -- Can Garcia really be back in eight weeks? Killer says they haven't offered him the X-rays yet, but this is what a specialist says.
  • Garcia will be fine, regardless of how he looked in the preseason.
  • Caller question -- What can they do to get a better pass rush? Have Dan Wilkinson and Shaun Rogers in there at the same time. Plus, Dick Jauron says he'll blitz more than he has in the past, but Killer says he's got to see it to believe it.
  • The Saints playing on the road at the Giants for their first home game is messing with the competitive balance of the NFL.
  • The Vikings signing Koren Robinson is a big shocker, especially with the problems the players they've had.
  • What he liked about the MNF loss is that it was a gut-check. The practices have been much more focused, but Killer still sees they'll have certain issues with some teams because of the mental issues. His final prediction is 9-7.

  • Tuesday, September 06, 2005

    Reds Win, Rubber Game Upcoming with Brewers

    Reds win in 10. Aaron Harang has a 3.60 ERA for the season. Those are stud numbers. And Javier Valentin has produced more than you would expect at C.

    Brandon Presser #1

    Coach Brandon gives good media conference. He's outgoing, informative, and quotable. Today, he said the following. (emphasis added)

    "We were overpowered, which was my biggest fear. Any time you go into a venue like that, against people like that, you worry about being able to hold up -- getting your defense off the field, which we weren't able to do enough to win the game. It's unfortunate, but that's the way it goes."

    Q: How has the team responded from the Wisconsin game?
    GB: "I think they responded well. We were very disappointed and frustrated after the game, that we didn't get it done. That's a double-edged sword. I said before the game that we'd be fortunate to beat those people. Our players expected to win that game. I mean, there are no medals for trying, no moral victories. That's the way we've taught and coached in this program, and we'll continue to do that. But, I'm not going to get all caught up in Wisconsin, because that game had nothing to do with where we need to be in December. This game, right now -- we've got to be ready for Ball State, and this is going to be a challenge for us."

    Q: Are you counting P.J. Pope out for this game?
    GB: "No. We'll see -- it's too early in the week."

    Q: Can you talk about the play of Deaudre Perry on Saturday?
    GB: "Well, he was the only defensive player who made our Victory Club. Perry's done a nice job -- he's emerging as a leader back there at safety. We need to continue to utilze Deaudre. He's a talented player. And, (Terrill) Mayberry ... it wasn't really a Terrill Mayberry-type game, because he's undersized to play that position. But, I thought he held up. He had an interception, he had a number of tackles, and he'll continue to get better. Antonio Smith was outstanding. He did give up a touchdown, but he had a great hit. He will continue to get better. Jamien Johnson played 70 snaps in a big-time environment. Terrel White got a lot of reps and did a nice job, too."

    Magner signed to Ravens Practice Squad

    Cole landed on his feet, at least temporarily, with a practice squad assignment with the Ravens. This is causing severe dissonance for the Ravens hating Browns fans, but its good for Cole to hang on. Maybe he can get an NFL Europe assignment and really start to show his stuff. The key is to stay around until you get your shot.

    Monday, September 05, 2005

    On Second Thought

    Watched the tape this afternoon. It wasn't nearly as frustrating watching UW run all over us, mostly because I already knew it was going to happen. I'm no guru, but Coach Brandon said in the post-game that we tackled really poorly. Amen to that. We have never tackled well, and we didn't last night. And if we don't learn, we won't win the MAC this season either.

    Some other observations.

    The special teams play (except the fake punt and the Sharon punt return, which he shouldn't have even fielded LOL) was much worse than I thought. UW had long kick returns, we missed an XP, we nearly had a punt blocked, and had a coverage penalty--and I know Jelani was pushed, and I think he took the opportunity to take a free shot. He wasn't pushed that hard. This has to be improved.

    I commented below that Sanders didn't get the ball as much as I hoped. He was interfered with a couple of times, so it wasn't that bad. We still seemed to stay away from him in the second half.

    Where is the vaunted TE part of our attack?

    Finally, the team did show poise, keep fighting and keep working. We just absolutely had no answer for the Badgers when they had the ball.

    OK, its over. Next is Ball State. Let's hope its the Temple of 05. And, the UW doesn't count a bit toward winning the MAC. Those are the vital games.

    Falcons Lose at Wisconsin

    I haven't written up my thoughts about the Wisconsin game yet, mostly because I only saw the game starting in the late third quarter. I have the tape, but I have not have a chance to look at it yet. But, based on what I saw, here are my thoughts.

    For most of our history, that game would have been an assumed loss. More than that, we would have expected to get absolutely spanked, and we did many times. This is one of the first times we went into a game like that thinking we should win. There's nothing wrong with that.

    My biggest fear is that we are becoming the Indianapolis Colts--great offense, no defense. I have never wanted us to be one-dimensional, yet I fear that is the direction we are going. Good teams increasingly hang big numbers on us--such as the Toledo game last year. And that is not a formula for a championship team.

    I think I wrote here that I was worried they would just bowl us over with their big line and strong RBs, and that was exactly what happened. I'm afraid I drank the kool-aid a little in terms of what we were capable of in Madison, but I really wanted to see us win. Our defense simply isn't good enough for us to win big games on the road, yet. Coach said after the game that it looked to him like we just didn't tackle very well, which has been an ongoing problem.

    On the other hand, we were within inches of winning the game, really. We should have scored off that cluster-f*ck at the end (what a disaster that was), and Charles Sharon dropped a sure TD pass in the fourth quarter, along with several others. We could easily have scored 56 points. We just shouldn't have had to.

    Corey Partridge is going to be a stud. Let's not doubt that. I did think in the part of the game I did see that we were going to Sharon on almost every play. Now, I know the offense is based on reads, so I wonder if its a case of Omar locking onto Sharon, or a case of Wisconsin deciding that's what they were going to give us. Sanders only had four catches in the game, and with Sharon having the dropsies, we needed someone else.

    I do worry about the depth at WR. I think this much is clear. Its not the 5-deep we had last year.

    Omar was very good. Add those drops in, and he has his normal numbers. Yes, the offense hit the doldrums in the third quarter, but we shouldn't have to score on every possession to win.

    BJ Lane played well...he is a quality players. He's not as good as PJ, but any team should be able to win with him in the lineup. I am a little worried about Pope, because I read he sprained both his ankles on the play. Without him, we have questionable depth at RB. He should definitely be rested in Muncie. Our two biggest games are the last two of the season, so we need him healthy and rolling then.

    We didn't run the ball very well. Lane had 3.9 yards/carry, and Pope had 3.0 while he was in there. Of course, for some of the time we were way down, but I think sometimes in big games (note UT last season) we forget to run the ball in big games. We have a good running game.

    Winning on the road in front of a huge crowd was never going to be easy. We also didn't have any additional advantage we had in Purdue, in that this was the first game for both teams.

    We continue to struggle against good teams on the road. Assuming Wisconsin ends the season with a winning record, we are now 1-10 against winning teams ont the road in the Meyer/Brandon era. The win was Purdue 03. Losses were Marshall 01, NIU 02, S. Florida 02, Toledo 02, OSU 03, Miami 03, NIU 04, Oklahoma 04, Toledo 04 and Wisconsin 05.

    Finally, let's keep this in mind. Last year, the Rockets got absolutely savaged in their out of conference games. They were humiliated at Minnesota. And they still won the MAC Championship, which is our only goal for this year. So, while the loss hurts, (and I think Boise will be tough, notwithstanding their whupping at Georgia) it doesn't count. We have until the Miami game to get our stuff together and be ready to win on the road against a good team. Let's root for our players and coaches to figure it out.

    I know we're not likely to run into a line that big or a RB that good again this year. Still, every decent RB in the MAC gets 100 yards against us, so its not like this is new. Coach always cites scoring defense as what really matters, which I understand. But if it does, we have some work to do.

    Sunday, September 04, 2005

    Finally, a Reds victory on the Road

    Catchers carry the weight, Reds win. LaRue goes grand slam in the 12th, and then takes home a sno-cone in the bottom of the inning.

    Only sad moment was seeing Junior limp off the field again. It appears not to be serious, but still. He's having a great season--in fact, he has the highest VORP (if you care) of any CF in the National League. It would tragic for him not to finish it off.

    We're 136 games into the season, at 63-73, 3.5 games out of 3rd, although we have a 3-game series coming with the Brewers. With 26 games left, we'd have to go 18-8 to finish .500, which looks increasingly unlikely. I'd love to see us catch the Brewers and Cubs, though.

    On the other hand, at 12-14, we'd be better than last year, and in the dark days of June, that certainly looked unlikely.

    We were 35-53 at the break, so we are 28-20 after the break. With 26 games left, we only need to win 10 of our final six games to be .500 after the all-star break, which also seemed highly unlikely when the break came.

    As for the best record in the second-half, we've had some back sliding on that. We're now somewhere in the vicinity of fifth-sixth on that one.

    I do think we're getting some things to build on. Our ERA in the second half of 4.40 is in a winnable range for our club, if we can stay healthy, and keep hitting.

    Finally, Reds Nation seems to be working itself up into a lather about what should happen with Jerry Narron. My advice is to let it go. He's going to get the job permanently. Can there be any doubt?

    Magner, Patton, Harris cut

    Only Scott M. continues to be on an NFL roster from the latest crop of players. Let's hope for some practice squad assignments. I'm really disappointed by Cole. You could see Josh coming.

    5 players on Lions practice squad announced

    Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Age Birthdate Exp. College Hometown
    Hamilton, Paris WR 6-1 195 24 7/26/81


    Minnesota Katy, Texas
    Martinez, Glenn WR 6-1 183 23 11/30/81 1 Saginaw Valley State Tampa, Fla.
    Matthews, Will FB 6-3 250 24 4/30/81 R Texas Austin, Texas
    Proctor, Cory G 6-4 312 22 10/18/82 R Montana Missoula, Mont.
    Randall, Jason TE 6-5 275 22 12/26/82 R Michigan State Muskegon Hts., Mich

    I'm glad we hung onto Matthews and Randall--my two failed picks to make the club. Note no QB.

    Garcia breaks leg, Lions in quandry

    Jeff Garcia broke his leg and sprained his ankle Friday night, and at this point, looks to be out at least six weeks, maybe twelve. It puts the Lions in a bit of a quandry. Their only backup QB at this time is Dan Orlovsky, a rookie from UConn, who was a fifth round draft pick. While the Lions say the like how he has looked, are you ready to throw your entire team over to him in what could be (but probably won't be) a season where you could make the playoffs.

    On the other hand, if you IR Garcia, then you won't have him as a back up for any kind of a stretch run come December, should such a thing happen. Your only other option is to go get a veteran who can be backup or #3--but Mooch has said that it has to be someone who knows West Coast, and it isn't clear who is out there who does.

    A quick review of yesterday's cuts reveals no one with NFL experience that I could see, even in WCO.

    This is a tough, tough call. Joey is already not entirely healthy. Until there's something better out there, I think you go with 2 QB's and hope for the best.

    Lots of updates...starting with the Lions

    The final Lions roster is out. Let's take a look at how we did.

    I was wrong on four picks, otherwise correct. And, each of those situations was a bubble situation.

    I had the following players making the team who didn't:


    I had the following players being cut who weren't

    Paul Smith
    Casey FitzSimmons
    Bracy Walker
    Jon McGraw.

    Bascially, the team has clearly made a choice to go for depth on defense and not offense. We carried only 23 guys on offense, and 27 on the defensive side of the ball. That's further aggrevated by the fact that Corey Schlessinger will not play early, either. A few comments:

    I knew the Randall thing was a flyer. I think there are going to be some third and short situations where we wish we had a TE who believed in blocking, but that's their call.

    I liked Matthews over Paul Smith, who clearly has dirty pictures of Mooch with a farm animal.

    Mostly, we decided we didn't need line depth, and did need defensive backfield depth. As bad as our line often was, I worry about that decision. Maybe Rogers wasn't depth, but I kind of thought he was. We have a backup T, and backup G, and a backup C, and no one else. Instead, we kept two safeties---one who is a ?, and the other who was dealt away from the Jets. Anyway, you might have gone one each, but I'm worried that a lack of Oline strength will break the weak link in the chain that limits the upside of our vaunted attack.

    One week until we find out.

    Saturday, September 03, 2005

    Subject: Score Update from CollegeSports.

    Thursday, September 01, 2005

    A Measuring Stick

    We said the trip to Houston would be a measuring stick for our club, and I guess it was. A team fighting for the playoffs totally dominated us on their field. We were badly outpitched...we hit next to nothing, and they lit us up pretty good. That's a good Houston team, I like them, and they are changing my view of Garner as a manager.

    On to Atlanta. We still have a ways to go. The 40-man callups are coming. I'm excited about seeing these guys play, especially to see if Josh Hancock can bring anything. Its pretty clear we don't have any use for Ramon Ortiz in the rotation next season, so we need another starter from somewhere. It would be great to find out if it was a young guy in our own system.

    Falcon Football Game By Game

    OK, its time (before the season starts, to register the picks for the 2005 season, game by game. Let's see how we do this year. (Frankly, its not too hard. There's only a couple of games that are probably in doubt.)

    @Wisconsin W
    @Ball State W
    @Boise State L
    Temple W
    OU W
    @Buffalo W
    WMU W
    Akron W
    @Kent W
    @Miami W
    Toledo W
    MAC Championship (NIU) W

    So, an 11-1 season. Only a loss at Boise keeps us from a BCS berth. We win the MAC Championship, beat the Rockets, and qualify for our third straight bowl game. And we start off with an "upset" over Wisconsin. If all this happen, and we win our bowl game, we finish the season ranked in the top 15.

    Let's watch. Its going to be fun...starting with a big W over the Big 10 in two days.

    Falcons Hoops Schedule Comes Out

    Like: Neutral court games against good teams in exempt events to help team mature.
    Dislike: Home non-conference schedule blows, hurts building interest in young team.

    2005-06 Men's Basketball Schedule
    Nov. 10-13 at NABC Classic-Blacksburg, Virginia
    10 vs. Western Carolina, 9 p.m.
    12 at Virginia Tech, 1 p.m.
    13 vs. Radford, 1 p.m.
    19 URBANA, 2 P.M.
    26 at Bradley, 8:05 p.m.
    30 OAKLAND, 7 P.M.
    Dec. 3 at IPFW, Noon
    10 at Arkansas-Little Rock, TBA
    17 vs. Florida State (Coors Classic-Mobile, Alabama), TBA
    19 at Troy State, 8 p.m.
    Jan. 4 CENTRAL MICHIGAN*, 7 p.m.
    7 at Western Michigan*, TBA
    11 NORTHERN ILLINOIS*, 7 p.m.
    15 TOLEDO*, TBA
    18 at Eastern Michigan*, TBA
    21 at Ball State*, TBA
    24 BUFFALO*, 7 P.M.
    26 at Kent State*, TBA
    29 AKRON*, TBA
    Feb. 1 at Miami*, TBA
    4 OHIO*, 2 p.m.
    7 EASTERN MICHIGAN*, 7 p.m.
    11 at Toledo*, TBA
    15 at Akron*, TBA
    21 KENT STATE*, 7 P.M.
    26 at Buffalo*, TBA
    Mar. 1 MIAMI*, 7 P.M.
    4 at Ohio*, TBA
    6 MAC First Round-(at Campus Sites), (1st Round)
    9-11 MAC Tournament-(Cleveland, Ohio)
    *MAC Games
    Times and Dates are subject to change
    All Times Eastern