Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Brandon Presser

So, coming off the big win over OU last weekend, and heading into BG's first game against a #1 DIV I-A team, Coach Brandon had a slightly easier day at the Tuesday presser. As usual, Coach Brandon's comments are in black, my wise ass remarks are in orange.

(On the BGSU offense over the past several seasons)
"Well, when we came here a few years ago that was something that we wanted to do; put in an offense that would attract really good skill players, which it did, and also be exciting for our fans. I think we have been able to generate a lot of interest in the program with what we do offensively. Not only that, it's fun and it's fun to coach. It gives us a chance to move the football."

This is, of course, true. The runspread as we run it today is not as exciting as the runspread Josh Harris ran or the throwspread that Omar ran. Obviously, today we are more in the Josh Harris range, but, we rarely throw the ball, and we don't play with the pace we did then. If AT improves to where we can throw upfield a little more (even 20 yards), we will be very tough to defend.

(Is it a high-risk offense?
"I think if that's how you approach it, if that's your mentality. The mentality of the coaches and how we teach it, we don't necessarily evaluate it as risky. You can put your QB in tough spots whether you are in a two back I offense or when you are in no backs by your play calling. I think that's all a mindset that you have to establish with your team and your program. I think you need to keep people off balance and break some tendencies, and I don't want people to be able to lock in on us. I want be able to keep the defense off balance and stay a step ahead and I think we do things that give us that opportunity."

I'm not sure where the hell that question came from. We have historically taken very good care of the ball with this offense. The passes are very high percentage. Yes, I know, we turned it over six times against Buffalo. That wasn't a high risk offense it was high risk execution. As for locking in, that is clearly what can happen with AT out, but with him in, teams at least have to keep a few guys in coverage.

Will Anthony Turner shoulder more of the load this weekend?)
"He is a tough kid. He fought through some things on Saturday (at Ohio). We told him to not take a whack; you know, if they were starting in on him, just go down and take care of yourself and the football, and you could see that Saturday. He gets better day by day. His strength is improving and as I said he is a tough kid. For us to have a chance to win this game he has to play quarterback and play it well."

This says something, in that we didn't really get to use the QB run portion of our attack due to AT being protected. Clearly, Sheahan and Barnes were not options we looked forward to going to. The offense did not excel on Saturday, but they were good enough.

Was AT prepared to start when Omar Jacobs left?

"A lot of us weren't ready. You can't prepare for that; it's one of those things you just have to deal with. It doesn't happen at Bowling Green a whole lot; it's not like at a school like Ohio State, where you have guys leaving (for the NFL) all the time. It doesn't happen that much especially at the quarterback position. But Anthony is a talented kid; he just needs more game experience, and that's how it is with this whole football team. I mean, we have played 15 true freshmen. Not too many people around the country have done that."

A lot of us weren't ready? This raises a point that defined last season and maybe this season, too. It was clear when Omar got hurt that we did not have a viable plan B. Our entire game plan was plays that we didn't trust AT to run. I understand there is a dilemma there, but it seems as if we were preparing as if there was no chance of Omar getting injured (and that really is an issue of chance) and no chance he would leave early (which I think everyone realized was a possibility).

I don't mean to be critical. I have no idea what it would take to have both plans ready in a game situation.. How much do you sacrifice your basic game prep to get your backup plan ready? I only mean to say this: it points up how much can be tied up in one player. Essentially, last season went down when Omar went down, and major adjustments were required when Omar announced he wasn't coming back.

(Do you still consider Freddie Barnes a quarterback?)
"He is still in there and still the backup kid to play (QB), but we are trying to get Freddie in more as a receiver or tailback. The things he did Saturday for us are how I envisioned us with Freddie Barnes. We still put him in and direct-snapped it to him and let him run the ball. We still have that package and we are going to keep that available. I mean if you are going along with the course of a game and all of a sudden (it's the) second, third, fourth quarter and Freddie runs in as quarterback and you direct-snap it to him and he runs a play; I think you can keep people off balance doing that. And, Tyler Sheehan is a kid that we are preparing as a backup quarterback as well."

Freddie is still the topic of conversation, isn't he? He is a fascinating and charismatic player. He changes pace, is deadly in the red zone, and apparently can catch passes. I hope we keep using him just as we did at OU.

(Freddie Barnes seems to me like a kid who could have played at a Big Ten or so-called BCS school. How did he end up at Bowling Green?)
"Well, Freddie was a high-school quarterback and when we recruited him, we told him that he would have an opportunity to play quarterback. I think a lot of people who were recruiting him told him he would be a defensive back or a receiver. And, I think Freddie was a really good high-school basketball player and I think he had some notions that he was going to play Division 1 basketball. Some of the bigger schools kind of backed off because he didn't come out and say 'hey, I want to play football.' Sometimes you have a tendency to move on in the recruiting process when that occurs, but we hung on, and he has turned out to be a really great player for us. He is very shifty and has great feet. He is a pretty instinctive player and has good vision. Those are things you can't coach."

Big 10? BCS? Who was asking these questions? And, can Freddie play point guard?

(More on Barnes)
"He is a sharp kid with good football savvy. He can do a lot of things with the ball in his hands and without it as well. He can create problems for people if you line him up one time at quarterback, next time in the slot, and next time as running back. You have to know where he is on defense."

OK. We got the idea.

(Diyral Briggs seems to have recovered from his broken foot, based upon his play on Saturday at OU)
"The thing is he is trying to do is get back in playing shape. He had a good afternoon, good pressure on the quarterback, as did all our front guys. They did a nice job with four sacks, nine tackles for loss. When you are getting that kind of pressure it makes life a lot easier."

Briggs, MAC East POW, was an outstanding presence at OU. If he stays health, he is going to be a All-MAC performer. He is a beast on the edge, and just ate a block up on the reverse he blew up.

(What are our thoughts about Saturday's game at Ohio State?)
"It won't be easy; that's for sure."

A talent for understatement reveals itself.

(From watching OSU on film, are they one of the most explosive offenses you've ever seen?)
"I think about some great offenses through the years. USC a few years ago. When I was at Northwestern (as an assistant coach), the year Penn State won the league, when they had Karry Collins and Ki-Jana Carter, that's as good as offense as I have ever seen. These guys (Ohio State) are ranked right up there with them. They've got a very physical, athletic offensive line, great size, and they've got great skill at every position. You can't take a guy away because another guy is going to get you. You have to try and be sound, keep the ball in front of you and tackle well. It's not going to be easy."

Yeah, they are real good.

(How about their defense? Even though they lost nine starters, it doesn't seem like there has been a dropoff at all.)
"No, they just put some different uniform numbers on those jerseys. Obviously, they are a real good defensive team. Their D-line is the best I have seen so far. I mean they pushed Texas around. They pushed Iowa around. They pushed Penn State around. They are fast and physical and they are all great players."

Ok. Still good. Got it.

(On the return of BGSU's Antonio Smith to the lineup)
"It was really encouraging to see Antonio back in there; that helps. Now we are only starting two true freshmen back there (laughs)."

It was, except for the cheap shot he threw on Everson. He was penalized, but it was an ugly hit. We do need him back there. I think he's a playmaker and a future All-MAC player as well.

(Your young defensive backs have shown ability to cause turnovers.)
"I think a lot of that is created by the front guys. If you watch Saturday's game closely, that kid (Ohio QB Austin Everson) was scrambling for his life, and he threw the ball to us on occasion. They dropped some of his balls too, and there were some deflections. Probably the one Jahmal Brown got should have been caught by the tight end, but it bounced off his hands and Jahmal was right there. The other one was the one I think (Loren) Hargrove got. You know he threw it all the way back across the field. But you know that was late in the game and the kid was trying to make a play. Those young kids are getting better every week, and it's fun to watch them grow."

If this young backfield stays together and improves consistently, when they are Seniors and Juniors we are going to be very hard to throw on. Even if they are only average players, when they are experienced and used to each other, they will be formidable.

(Were you impressed with attitude of your team going into the Ohio game?)"All we talked about all week was character and pride. That's all we talked about. We didn't care if it was Ohio or Ohio State. We are Bowling Green. We really stunk it up here at home (against Kent State),and we were embarrassed and we needed to respond, and that's what we did. I talked to the veterans and the captains and I said, 'hey, where do you want this season to go? Do you want to get back in this hunt?' If we had lost that game it would have been really tough. Not impossible, but tough. But we won that game, so we are back in the hunt to win the MAC. Kent State has to stumble, of course, but who knows? And, with a possible four bowl games, if we can stay alive and just play week to week and get a 'W,' keep guys healthy and keep the younger guys focused, and stay positive, who knows?"

Who knows. Again, exactly right. Even if we run our MAC games with only one more loss (unlikely), Kent would have to lose three (very unlikely), but what has gone according to form in the MAC this year? I could care less about Saturday--and then, we need to beat EMU and CMU, and try to come into November with some momentum. But, it is a one game at a time kind of thing. And he's right, get to seven wins and who knows?

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