Some good, some bad, from The Blade.
On the good side, Corey Partridge is going to be back. He can't catch the ball, but we're going to play him in the d-backfield! Nice. He will play safety as we deploy nickel and dime sets to attempt to combat Tulsa's attack. He played the position in high school, and I think will answer the call.
Let me be clear about this: Corey Partridge is a Falcon warrior! An absolute warrior!
Meanwhile, All-MAC D-end Diryal Briggs will not play due to violating team rules. Lineman Shane Steffy broke his leg, he's out, too. A couple of other guys are apparently academically ineligible.
More previews coming.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Some good, some bad, from The Blade.
Might be. Ranks right up there with the LA Lakers. Hurricanes in Tulsa? GET REAL!
Of course, there's a story......I would think in Oklahoma, they should have stuck with the Golden Tornadoes.
It is better than:
(Tulsa was originally Henry Kendall College. And who was Henry Kendall? He was the first general secretary of the Home Missions Board of the Presbyterian Church. You probably already knew that but I had to look it up.)
- Orange and Black
Who are some famous Golden Hurricanes??
- Mary Kay Place...NICE!
- Steve Largent....right wing kook
- Sen Jim Inhofe....right wing kook
- Rue McClanahan....just a kook
- Nancy Lopez (Married Ray Knight, who is a kook)
And, I swear to God, the most famous Golden Hurricane....
Get Real! Go Falcons.
The Falcons hoops teams gutted out a victory yesterday at Anderson Arena, and it was a win the team needed. But it wasn't pretty. We're not picky right now, after four straight losses. We'll take the win.
It was a small crowd of about 1,000, and we were playing one of D1's worst teams---a team with no D1 wins this year (or even NCAA wins), and we held on to win. We shot lousy (29%), we missed a ton of free throws (15), let EIU get it to within one possession.
But, as Coach Orr said in the post game, we contested the three that could have tied it, and gutted out the win. As Coach said, "There's nothing like a win."
Nate had 17 points and 14 boards, and Joe Jakubowski had 10 boards (??). EIU shot 29% too, so there were lots of rebounds available!
Moten got the start in place of Chris Knight, who continues his freshmen blues. Most of the other plays continued to struggle.
Well, Duquesne is next, at AA on Wednesday, and then we start the conference schedule.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Back in the saddle again. Hope everyone had a Falcon great holiday. Hoops today.....we're playing Eastern Illinois, one of the ten worst teams in D1 hoops, according to Sagarin. They have no D1 wins this year. I hope we can pull up a win--the team needs it.
Feeling badly for Central Michigan, as reports are they will lose another football coach as Butch Jones is said to be bolting for WVU. Certainly, you can't blame him for it.....still, it has to be frustrating. The two-time MAC champs certainly have put some talent into the coaching seat.
I thought the Chips did a fine job representing the conference at the Motor City Bowl. Its a shame a couple things didn't bounce differently, but they rallied back into the game.
More bowl preview stuff is on its way for the Falcons.
Posted by Orange at 11:37 AM
Monday, December 24, 2007
Sunday, December 23, 2007
The Falcons journey of renewal and self-discovery went on in Terre Haute yesterday, where we lost to Indiana State 62-57.
The game flow went more of less like this. We played poorly in the first half, making 10 turnovers and trailing by 7 at the break. ISU came out hot in the second half and stretched the lead, and was up 11 with 4:36 left.
The Falcons showed some guts and character and stayed with it. We scored the next eight points, and had it to 3 with 3:04 left. ISU had the ball, we fouled, and they hit a couple free throws and the game was never back within one possession again.
A few points:
- 17 turnovers was too many to win on this day.
- We were 3-9 from the line. Tough to win like that.
- We committed 22 fouls. They committed 14. Tough to win like that.
- We have improved on the boards. We outrebounded them.
- We also held them to 43% shooting, which isn't too bad.
- Coach praised Otis Polk for his energy. He had 7 boards, 2 blocks and 5 points in 25 minutes. He was 1-6 from the line....ugh.
- We featured a balanced attack, with four players in double figures.
- Daryl Clements appears to be coming into his own.
The Falcons hit the holiday break, and it is probably a relief to them. This was always going to be tough, but with Marschall out and Hamblet gone, a team that didn't lose much to graduation now finds itself without three of last year's top four scorers and major minute contributors.
Hang with 'em. Eastern Illinois is in town on the 29th.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Every Falcon fan is aware of the Five Blocks of Granite, who are playing their final game in Mobile. I noted earlier that not only were they great players, but also All-MAC academic. Ryan in the Blade has a story on the next generation of players coming up the pipeline. Very exciting news. Our line has been consistently strong for years, and these guys look to be able to continue the tradition.
Following the bowl game, we will begin to track recruiting with a slightly more obsessive flair. We are looking at a small class, anyway.
Read this....cue double fist pump.
Walker, a massive 6-foot-5, 315-pound left tackle, will be joined at BG by high school teammate Chip Robinson, who is even more massive at 6-7, 340. Walker and Robinson chose BG over Illinois, which is significant because the Illini will represent the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl next month and because Illinois coach Ron Zook is considered one of the nation's top recruiters.
Friday, December 21, 2007
Ryan at The Blade has this disappointing news to report:
Ryan Hamblet is academically ineligible and has been dismissed from the BG men’s basketball team.
His analysis follows, which you can see on the link, including that he was our only senior, one of our better scorers, and we are now down to nine scholarship players. It is indeed looking like a rough year for the hoopsters.
One minor quibble on Ryan's analysis of Hamblet as not a "punk." I don't like to sum people up in one word, but there had been some problems, such as this post I blogged on New Year's Day, 2007, when Coach Dakich suspended Hamblet for throwing a punch against Wisconsin Green Bay, which Dakich saw on film.
Hamblet was a JUCO player, and represented an attempt to get a quick fix into our program to fill in gaps left by highly unproductive recruiting as detailed below. JUCO players are always tough. Other MAC teams have used them effectively, and we did get Martin Samarco through that route, but if they aren't the right guys, they can just be the last gasp of a program that is sucking wind.
Ryan's blog does have some good recruiting news, which we report below:
I spoke today with Gary Teasley, the coach of BG recruit Austin Calhoun. Teasley said Austin is beginning to understand his strengths, while adding that Austin can be “unstoppable” and that “everyone knows BG got a diamond in the rough.” In a recent win over a rival opponent, Austin scored 21 points and grabbed 22 rebounds (perhaps those numbers should be flip-flopped; I can’t recall with certainty). A few weeks ago Calhoun’s team squared off against Country Day, led by future Falcon Dee Brown. Brown hit a game-winning 3-pointer as time expired. Teasley said when Brown brought the ball up the court he just knew Brown wasn’t going to pass the ball. Brown seemed so focused, so determined, according to Teasley.
More for archival purposes, here is the sad tale of the recruiting scoreboard, just to remind us how we got to where we are today.
Falcon Hoops Recruiting Scorecard, Updated December, 2007
Stephen Wright--Productive player, left prior to his senior season.
Ron Lewis--Two productive seasons, no junior year. Prominent Big 10 player.
Raheem Moss--26 games, two starts, 66 career points, left program. Contributing at Cleveland State.
Chris Hobson, 28 games, 51 points, left program.
Austin Montgomery 56 games, 189 points, transfered.
Matt Lefeld--A contributing senior and a true warrior. Academic All-American
Isaac Rosefelt--24 minutes, two points. Left Program for stellar DIII career.
John Floyd--Played 59 games averaging 8.4 ppg. 247 career assists. Left program.
Scott Vandermeer, 60 points and 40 fouls. Transfered.
Moon Robinson, Left program after sophomore season. Transferred.
Mawel Soler, completed eligibility. Effective player, even good in spots.
Jeremy Holland--left program after one practice
Nick Wilson--left program without playing a game.
Lionel Sullivan--Sayonara. 30 minutes, 6 points.
Dusan--Minor contributions. Left program prior to Junior Season.
Erik Marschall--appears to be legit.
Daryl Clements--Inconsistent, but appears ready to be a role player at worst.
Brian Moten--high credentials, came on strong at end of sophomore season.
Martin Samarco--2nd team All-MAC, legit D1 player. Finished career.
Ryne Hamblett--Contributing player, left program during senior year.
Brandon Bland--Left the program.
Marc Larson--Getting some minutes.
Otis Polk--huge man, huge upside.
Ryan Sims--has big potential, is contributing, though he fell off the radar.
Nate Miller--All-MAC honorable mention. Great get for the program.
07-08 (Too soon to tell)
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
A cold winter's day. A brisk, bracing walk from the car.....then you turn the corner. Warmth races from inside the arena, and you catch a quick glimpse onto the floor, and you can see the players warming up and you can feel the claustrophobia and sense the electricity of the crowd. You open the door, and you hear the band, and a wall of noise blasts into you....the place is literally shaking. You feel the adrenaline rise, the intensity, the passion. Your blood begins to race, and you're ready to scream "De-FENSE" when the team needs a stop.
That's how it makes me feel.
(Photo Courtesy of Grant, AZZ Webmaster.)
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
The Falcons held a media day on the GMAC Bowl, and there's a couple of reports.
Jack Carle of the Sentinel has this account. Good stuff on what it means to be in a bowl game and what the practice regimen is like given the late bowl game (second to last on the schedule), which you can see clicking here.
For those interested in the nitty gritty for handicapping the game, here's the injury report:
INJURIES: Brandon said linebacker John Haneline (foot) and safety Jerett Sanderson (deep thigh bruise) would not be available for the game.
Freshman Glen Stanley has played well in Haneline’s spot and P.J. Mahone has made the most of his opportunity to play full-time at safety. Stanley has 44 tackles and Mahone has seven interceptions and 80 tackles.
Wide receiver Corey Partridge (broken thumb) could be ready to play.
The fact that we still moved the ball with Partridge out, and the emergence of Glen Stanley and Mahone give me considerable confidence for us next season.
Meanwhile, Ryan at the Blade blogs the same event in advance of his story that ran today.
The blog provides a lighthearded look at Tyler Sheehan's facial hair, Kory Lichstensteiger's tardiness, the Freddie Barnes outlook on life, and Sean O'Drobinak, class clown.
Here's the actual story. Note that the extension probably won't be done until after the game.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
The hoops team continued to slide, losing to what might be a decent Illinois State team at AA, 69-58. The combined poor record of our team, and the poor weather brought us the lowest attendance I can remember--659. Ouch. On the radio, sounded like a high school game.
We fell 13 points behind at halftime due to shooting 30%, and then couldn't get over the top. We rallied nicely in the second half, tying the game 8 minutes into the half. But, from there ISU slowly pulled away into the double digit victory.
Darryl Clements had a great night with 18 points and Chris Knight had 14. We even won the battle of the boards.
On the other hand, we had 20 fouls and they had 10, we made 16 turnovers and they made 10, we got little production out of Miller and Larson on the inside, and Otis played 22 minutes with 4 points, 2 boards and 3 fouls.
We shot really poorly in the first half (30.8% and 11.1% from 3), and pretty much put ourselves in a hole we couldn't dig out of.
We're 4-5 now, and given that we started out 2-1, we've gone 2-4 since that opening weekend.
I don't think there are any mysteries here. We were a bad team last year, and we have essentially the same talent back this year. We are learning a new system. This wasn't going to get fixed quickly.
Things got a little tougher when our only senior did not play--Ryne Hamblet is suspended indefinitely for violating team rules.
We have troubles scoring, and still commit a lot of fouls on defense. I have confidence Coach Orr is going to turn this around, but we have to be patient. Right now, the results are a repeat of last year. Let's hope there is progress beneath the surface.
Updated: Ryan's blog at The Blade echoes these thoughts. Note his pessimism on the quick return of Hamblet.
It looks like BG will be without Ryne Hamblet for what could be a long time. Orr suspended BG’s only senior for violating a team rule. I hate to speculate, so I won’t. But it doesn’t look good. “It’s something that’s going to take some time to see how things work out,” Orr said. “It’s unfortunate, but we’re trying to lay the foundation and we need everybody on the same page.”
Friday, December 14, 2007
So, you're a Buckeye fan in New Orleans for the BCS Title game. Your choices are to spend some time in the French Quarter drinking copious amounts of alcohol, trading beads for a look at the boobies, and visiting the nation's most legendary strip clubs.
BGSU would like to respectfully submit that you might enjoy a little trip down the road to Mobile, AL on Sunday night, to watch BGSU and Tulsa play.
I mean hey, you're a college football fan, right, or you wouldn't be there. And this is a bowl game, and its right near by....makes perfect sense.
If not for the boobies.
I'm not making this up....BG has formally appealed to Buckeye fans to forego the debauchery of the French Quarter and watch two unranked teams play in Alabama....
It seems Bowling Green is struggling to sell its allotted 7,500 tickets. Three years ago, the school sold only 1,300, meaning it had to pay the GMAC folks nearly $280,000 for unsold tickets ($45 a pop).
This is alarming to me, and demonstrates, again, what a cesspool of cash-infused pay-to-play nastiness the bowl system is. And in case anyone wonders (though it has been said many times), there are benefits to playing in minor bowls, cash ain't one of them.
But the idea of us paying back $280,000K because we could only get 1,300 people to travel to the bottom of the country a few days before Christmas is a joke. But it is what it is.
Don't count on too many of the Scarlet and Grey faithful to make the trip. They are college football snobs of the first order. It pains me we even had to ask.
Update: Just a quick note, some posters have come onto AZZ.com to say they are going to do just this, and to them we say thanks. Pardon my skepticism.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
First, Ryan had a great talk on his blog with John Floyd, who has graduated and is out in the working world. He talks about playing for Coach Dakich, and in what I found to be a realistic way but not a bitter way. He seems to be talking honestly, not settling scores. He talks about the 6AM practices....it had to be a tough way to go.
As far as X’s and O’s I think coach is one of the most intelligent people I’ve been around, but there’s not too many guys who can take his motivational tactics day in and day out.
Today in the newspaper, Ryan has a really nice profile of LaMonta Stone, our assistant coach who stayed over when Coach Dakich left. He was a very successful HS coach in Michigan, and those contacts come in handy. In addition, he appears to be a good teacher, too. Here's a nice profile of a man most Falcon fans were thrilled to see stay with the program.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
As you can see from this blog, fans expect the team to win. What sets us apart, I think, is that we don't want to win at all costs. We expect us to win AND graduate players at an acceptable rate, and to have our athletes perform well in the classroom.
Five years ago, we brought in five freshmen lineman, called the Blocks of Granite. One left due to a health problem, and three of them went on to be starters and anchors of what was an outstanding offensive line. Yesterday, three of them received another honor--Academic All-Conference.
Whatever you want to say about the stereotypes of O-lineman, these guys have done great, and have earned the everlasting admiration of the Falcon Nation. Great players and great students, with great futures ahead of them.
Kevin Huelsman, Kory Lichtensteiger and Drew Nystrom----we salute you.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Papa Cass, a BG Alum who blogs from Cleveland, has a nice post on the end of an era at Anderson Arena. Must read for the Falcon Nation.
Anderson Arena has been Northwest Ohio's answer to Boston Garden, Chicago Stadium and any other old, dark house of the masses that has since been consigned to history in favor of the bigger and, supposedly, the better. It is small, cramped and musty in places. Layers of flaking paint have turned some of the handrails and bleachers into a mosaic of orange, black, and in places, green.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Saturday, December 08, 2007
Friday, December 07, 2007
We went out to Northern Colorado and got the L last night. I was out of town and didn't even hear the game, so I'm just going to link to the Blade story.
We made 24 turnovers. Ouch.
We now have a break for finals before we play Illinois State at home next Sunday.
We had lots of fun when Maureen was Moblogging, and now the Blade's Ryan Autullo is on board with his new blog.
In which he demurs when thinking about rating the food at this establishment, lest he end up in this one.
And, has a nice little piece on the BG-UND women's hoops game.
Posted by Orange at 6:41 PM
Monday, December 03, 2007
At the football banquet, the Falcons gave out their year-end awards. Candidly, I don't know what some of these mean, but I commented on a couple as well.
President's Award - Kevin Huelsman
Captain's Award - Loren Hargrove, Antonio Smith, Kory Lichtensteiger, Corey Partridge, Sean O'Drobinak
Coaches' Award - Pete Winovich
Winovich clearly deserves this award. A highly touted Fr. from PA who was a QB and LB, he came to BG and gave up a year for a few plays on special teams, then bounced around from LB to TE to FB. He contributed to this year's team nearly anonymously, blocking for running plays and protecting the QB, and making a few plays, like the fake FG against UT. He was a selfless player who put team before self.
Carlos Jackson Award - Loren Hargrove
Doyt Perry Award - VAN & TRACY WRIGHT
Glenn Sharp Award - CAL BOWERS
Ken Schoeni Award - Pat Watson
Orange Helmet Award - Sean O'Drobinak
Another player who put team over self, O-Drob switched positions before his senior season from TE to DT, played hurt most of the season, and for it all was promoted to captain during the season. A true Falcon.
Willie Geter is going to be a great player. He is tough, and fast. Garrett Wolfe-like. If he can stay healthy, he will rack on yards on top of yards.Vrvilo stepped in and had one of the best seasons a kicker at BG has ever had.
Top Defensive Lineman - Diyral Briggs
Top Linebacker - Erique Dozier
Top Defensive Back - P. J. MAHONE
Top Offensive Lineman - Drew Nystrom
Top Receiver - Freddie Barnes
Top Offensive Back - Tyler Sheehan
Special Teams - Antonio Smith
Of the players above, only one is a senior. Just sayin'.
MVP - Kory Lichtensteiger
Well-deserved, and glad to see the linemen get the credit for being the best player on our team. A great career, Kory. See you on Sunday.
Aaron Richardson - Garth Hartung
Scout Team Players of the Year
OFFENSE - JASON RICE
DEFENSE - Gary Wright
Top Student-Athlete - Shane Steffy
Damn Bucks climb to the summit, again.....
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Apparently, some Tulsa fans on the Internets view GMAC as a comedown, BG as an inferior opponent, the MAC as beneath them.
You can see for yourself here.
When I stop laughing.
No conference suffers from delusions of granduer more than Conference USA, a collection of half-assed, redneck wannabes talking in single syllables.
Don't get me wrong. I love college football, and I love mid-major college sports. Its about being an athlete and competing, and its as wonderful and sacred in the NAIA, DIII, DII, or the MAC.
Its not right when people from the Big Ten or SEC think their brand of intercollegiate competition is superior.
When C-USA does it, its laughable.
According to this season's Sagarin rankings, they are the 13th ranked conference in college football.
That's behind the Sun Belt.
And the Colonial Conference. That's I-AA, if you're scoring.
We #80. They're #83.
They have a good team, a good quarterback, and they score points by the bushel, even if they think they're something they aren't.
I look forward to the game.
Saturday, December 01, 2007
We traveled up to north Detroit to play Oakland University, where BG Grad Greg Kampe has been at the helm for the past 24 flipping years. And Oakland, always a well coached team with a lot of transfers and quality players, beat us by 10, 90-80.
For the second straight game, after playing an even first half,, a team came out against us and shot 66.7% in the second half, outscored us by 13, and won the game.
We actually did our best to match them most of the way (we shot 60% in the second half ourselves), and with 6:10 left, we had a 65-64 lead. However, from there until 1:31 was left, we had exactly one basket, and Oakland scored 12, and that was all she wrote.
I'm sure Coach Orr continues to worry about a couple things. First, we continue to have spotty defense against the field goal. And second, my observation is that we continue to really struggle against the zone, although frankly, I expected that to show up in the game numbers more than it did. Finally, we were crushed on the boards, 35-24. Ouch.
We had 18 turnovers and 23 fouls (it seemed like we fouled even more than that). Oakland made 28 FTS and we made 11. Our three point shooting finally came around a little as we went 5-13 from 38.5%
Chris Knight was back to his scoring self, with 23 points, although he isn't in double-double territory anymore (3 boards). Nate Miller continues to be our best player (21/5), and Darryl Clements had his best game of the season with 13 points. Hamblet also had 11 points.
We basically rotated six guys--Knight, Miller, Clements and Hamblet, along with Larson and Jakubowski. Otis played eight minutes in which he committed four fouls.
We are now 4-3, with a game against a very poor N. Colorado team next week, though it is on the road. I'm not terribly surprised. Maybe that opening tourney in Cincy raised our hopes a little, but this team really struggled last year to win games, and this year's team is going to have some time like this.
I like some things I am seeing. We do get some transition hoops. Coach says he wants to play inside out, and I just don't get the sense that we have the inside horses to make that work.
Two time MAC Champion. Today, they were simply much better than a Miami team that could not move the ball at all. Congrats to them, its impressive.
It was not a great showcase of MAC football. Pretty poorly played game in a conference that is simply not strong this year. This was not a defensive duel---Miami had many opportunities that were spoiled by badly overthrown footballs.
LeFevour won this game more or less on his own.
Now we can on bowl watch. Miami will be watching the games on television. Expect GMAC bowl invite in the next 24 hours.
The Les Miles saga is a clusterf**k. Check here to keep yourself updated.
I'm watching the C-USA final. Both teams look better than the teams in the MAC Championship.
I'm watching the MAC Championship Game, and its been pretty disappointing. Miami has missed numerous opportunities in the first half, and CMU has failed to put them away. I think if they get that TD late in the 2nd, its off to the races.
Now, according to a post from a Mobile resident on AZZ.com, the Mobile Press-Register has this to say about the GMAC Bowl:
The Press-Register has learned that Bowling Green, 8-4 and winners of four straight, will likely be the representative from the Mid-American Conference in the Jan. 6 game. The Falcons' opponent is expected to be the loser of today's Conference USA championship game between Central Florida and Tulsa.
FWIW, Central Florida is leading Tulsa (10-7) in what is amounting to a home game for UCF.
Also, you can't look anywhere without seeing the news that Les Miles is headed to UM. Just a quick note to remember that our beloved Falcon, Greg Studrawa is the O-line coach down there. It will be interesting to see if he a) comes to Michigan, b) goes to Nebraska with Bo Pellini or c) stays with the new coach at LSU.
The Board of Trustees is meeting this weekend, and they announced that a $150 million capital project list involving the entire campus. To sports fans, the key elements are renovations to the Ice Arena and, perhaps most importantly, a new convocation center that will be home to the Falcon hoops team.
From the University release:
The convocation center, a $36 million project, will serve as a venue for men's and women's basketball, volleyball, commencement ceremonies, student concerts and other student-related events. The center, which will be built on the east side of campus near the athletic complex, will be funded by a combination of private donations and bonded debt. Construction is expected to begin in early 2010.
Renovation of the Ice Arena will begin with infrastructure and exterior building improvements during spring semester 2009. Additional funds provided by private gifts will focus on team and fan amenities.
Note: we not talking tomorrow. We'll be playing in Anderson Arena probably until the end of the 2010-2011 season. If construction starts in early 2010, then the arena could be ready for an opening in November 2011.
I have said this before. I love Anderson Arena. Nothing makes me happier than to be there, and when its rocking, there's no better environment in sports, anywhere.
To me, its like Tiger Stadium. For all its fault, you knew the new place wouldn't be as good as the old place. It would have all the amenities, but it wouldn't be the same. And, in my opinion, that was right. And as much as we talk about how we will try to capture the Anderson ambiance in the new place, it won't be the same.
But I understand. Things have to change. People loved taking the train across country--the symbol of a better age. But, the airplane took over. Change is inevitable, and you might as well not wish for it not to happen, and remember what you had.
It will, by the way, be a long good bye.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
That's Kory Lichtensteiger. Kory was named first-team all MAC this week. That means that for each of his four years at BG, he was either first or second team All-MAC.
No debate about it. That honor alone--which comes from the people who game plan against him--makes him a historic player in our program.
You may not have noticed Kory. That's because his shotgun snaps hit Tyler Sheehan's hands with scary precision. That's because you don't hear his number called for penalties, and because he makes his blocks. He's #3 on Kiper's list of draft centers. He's the best player we have had a in a long time that no one has ever heard of.
So, first, all honors to Kory, the best football player on our team.
We had other players get some honors, too. Now, believe it or not, we had 8 players on the All-MAC teams, and Western Michigan had 10.......big ol' WTF on that one. Anyhow, here's the rest of the honored Falcons:
Senior center Kory Lichtensteiger
Junior defensive end Diyral Briggs.
Senior Tackle Drew Nystrom
Soph Safety P.J. Mahone.
Soph QB Tyler Sheehan
Soph WR Freddie Barnes
Jr. K Sinia Vrvilo
Jr. CB Antonio Smith
Nice job, Guys. A few notes:
- Coach Brandon was third in coach of the year voting. Its hard to argue with Turner Gill making Buffalo into a contender.
- I can only quibble a little with one pick. It seems like Kenny Lewis--who is a big play guy, might have fit in here. But, Antonio Smith is a good cover guy.
- The combined person John Haneline/Glen Stanley should have been All-MAC
- I like the number of sophomores we have getting honors. A lot.
GMAC WILL WAIT: The GMAC Bowl likely will not choose its representatives until after Saturday's MAC championship, according to executive director Frank Modarelli. A 17-member selection committee met Monday night but did not come to a conclusion, much to the disappointment of Modarelli.
If you want my uninformed opinion, at least some people on the committee are holding out hope of getting Miami. No other reason to wait.....
Apparently, the blog poll is having problems with its server. But, I'm going to post my rankings anyway, if for no other reason so I have something to work off next week for the final pre-bowl week.
- West Virginia
- Ohio State
- Boston College
- Virginia Tech
- Arizona State
- Texas Tech
- Brigham Young
The Basketball team continued to pick up wins, beating a winless Furman team in South Carolina yesterday by nine points. Some observations:
This team beat us last year on our floor. With the shape our program is in, we will take wins everywhere we can get them.
- We jumped to an 18 point lead at halftime, primarily because we shot 63% and they shot 20%. Things evened out in the second half and Furman outscored us, but couldn't come back.
- Our 3 point woes continued (3-11)
- 20 fouls, 12 turnovers.
- Hamblet had 13, with Miller and Knight scoring 12 each.
- We won the rebounding battle 37-32, but gave up 11 offensive boards.
- Otis had 9 points, 2 blocks and 6 boards in 15 minutes. I wonder why he doesn't play more.
- In all, we had 10 blocked shots.
- Coach Orr talked about a key sequence in the first half, where we essentially got 12 straight stops. If you can combine that with some shooting, you are hard to beat.
Falcons are 4-2 so far. We have Oakland Saturday, and team that has also beaten us in recent years. One game at a time, as we build up to the MAC, which will be the tougher portion of our schedule.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Quick note for a Tuesday. Presser review is upcoming, but there's not much to talk about, really.
According to media reports, each of the three MAC bowls is in play. Based on speculation and uninformed opinion, here is what I see....
CMU will end up in the Motor City Bowl. Don't see this changing.
The scuttlebutt around the program is that we are headed to the GMAC Bowl. For my own selfish reasons, I hope that is not true, but time will tell.
My hope will be the Miami would beat CMU, be bowl eligible, and head to Mobile with their better traveling team and well heeled alumni. We then go to Toronto.
If CMU beats Miami, then I suspect we go to Mobile and Ball State goes to Toronto.
Of course, we could go to Mobile and Miami to Toronto, too.
Not complaining...a bowl game is huge for our program. At this point, it looks like Mobile. One nice thing about that game is that the game is everything in that town for the days before the game. You don't get that in Toronto or Detroit, where its just another game. You get a real bowl environment in Mobile.
Apparently if we go to Mobile, its Tulsa, which will be a nice match up for us. If we play in Toronto, that would be Rutgers or South Florida--again, a really good challenge for the team. You hate to make the bowl game and have to play the Sun Belt conference.
Time will tell. We are supposed to know this weekend.
Update: The Blade now indicates that the GMAC is the choice.
Monday, November 26, 2007
See coaching article below on contract extensions. This Denver writer thinks CSU should get a new coach, and Brandon is one of the two he mentions.
Per the Sentinel, he is out for the season after knee surgery and upcoming foot surgery.
We could use him inside. Get well soon....
He can redshirt....
First, congrats to PJ Mahone was is the MAC East Defensive Player of the Week for the second time this season. And to think we didn't consider him a starter at the beginning of the year.
Now, onto larger matters. At this time last year, many Falcon fans were wondering about the fate of our football coach. The program seemed to be lapsing into a familiar pattern--the Blackney pattern--as we went from winning early to losing late. Coach's contract runs until the end of next season, and I think it is safe to say that many feared that he would play out the string, much as Coach Dakich did, and then we would rebuild.
A funny thing happened on the way to catastrophe:
- We finished 8-4
- We were young and talented, as opposed to young and bad
- We found a QB
- We innovated to handle injuries
- We played to the end of the season
- We re-established our home field chops (4-1)
- We also won on the road (4-3)
- We (it appears) made a bowl game.
College football is a coach's game, and it looks like we've rebuilt the program and are ready to compete for a MAC title next year.
I think anyone would agree that we can't let the Coach go into next year as a lame duck. I expect him to get at least a one year extension. In fact, he deserves more. At a minimum, he should get a couple years on the end of the deal, with more to come if we can win the MAC next season.
Judging by message board traffic, Coach has not completely banished his critics. And, in his job, much like mine, you are only as good as your last season, or last game. Having said that, I would strongly support two additional years for him. I don't claim to know that he's going to be successful for those three years.
But I do believe that he is a good coach, any replacement could be worse, and that the program appears to be on the right track. Stability at head coach is not only the right thing to do for the coach, but also good for the program.
And, if we win the MAC next year, I think other schools may come calling.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Well, it wasn't all bad. Not much to say. Temple is a good team--much better than us--and we played them tough for a half. But, in the second half, they shot 68% and we shot 32% (and for much of the time, it was a lot worse), and they won the game by 17 points.
No surprise, this is still a team making the transition from a bad team to a good team. Nate Miller kept us in the game (21/7), but Knight, Hamblet and Clements were 4-27 from the field. Larson missed some short shots, too. We had nothing against Temple's zone in the second half, and shot 2-18 from beyond the arc.
This team has three road games coming up, but winnable ones--Furman, N. Colorado and Oakland--and we'd love to be able to get a couple wins. As Coach Stone said on the post-game, teams are targeting Chris Knight, and he has to learn to adjust.
Nice to have a national program like Temple in our gym. Love to get them in on something other than a holiday weekend someday. In the meantime, the project continues.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
As the dust settles, the raspy voice returns to normal, and the euphoria leaves, its time to finally recap the Falcons beat down of the Rockets last night at the Doyt.
Suffice it to say....beating Toledo is always good. Kicking their butt is always good, too. And it was good Friday.
You had the feeling right from the start that we were playing to win the game. I really love it when we bring out this part of our game....it sort of has an Urban Meyer, foot on the gas pedal kind of feel.
So, when we went for it from the UT 1, I felt pretty good. No, we didn't make it, but we had them backed up and Coach had sent a clear message. We were playing to win.
We got a gift safety, and then started from our own 17 after no one caught the free kick. After what amounted to a 3-out, UT made another big mistake, roughing our kicker and giving us a first down. We got to the UT 29, it was 4-3 and even though Vrvilo could kick from there, we went again, and this time, Tyler ran for the first down. (Tyler ran quite a bit in the first quarter and then stopped, but I had the feeling it really opened things up for us).
We got the the 17, and it was 4-3 again. This time we line up for a FG. Coach says UT was in a "certain look" and the holder called fake. Uh, well, coach, the whole stadium (except Amstutz) saw Brighton staring down the sidelines waiting for the OK. Anyhow, the played worked, Brighton hit Winovich, and we moved the chains. On the next play, AT hit Barnes and it was 9-0.
That drive, in my mind, encapsulates what we came out to do. UT ran only five offensive plays in the entire first quarter.
The game's next key moment came early in the second when UT drove down to our 7 for first and goal. Our defense came up big again, as Jalen Parmale carried twice for four yards and then Lenehan threw an incomplete pass on a throw to the corner where the receiver was open for a long time before he threw it.
At that point it was 9-3 and we led 16-3 at halftime. The game's next key point came in the third. UT had taken the open drive, and relief QB Clint Cochran hit Nick Moore for a 37 yard score on a 2-1 play action. It was 16-10. If things went the wrong way, we were suddenly staring down the barrel of a 2003-type smoking.
They didn't go wrong. Less than one minute later, Tyler Sheen threw a lofting pass to Jermiah Kelly that juuussssttt got over the fingertips of the defender. Kelly caught the ball, cut inside UT's porous defensive backs, and finished up a 52 yard score. The lead was back to two scores again, and the rout was on....FOR US, this time.
The final proof that it was our night came on a pass from Tyler Sheehan to Freddie Barnes in the late third. Barnes dove for it in the UT end zone, and it glanced off his fingers....right into the hands of Chris Wright. I didn't see Wright there, and assumed the ball fell incomplete, until I saw sparks flying out of the cannon. That made it 30-10.
From there, it was all mop up duty.
Where to start?
The most important thing in understanding this game is knowing that UT came in leading the MAC in scoring. And they got 10 points. Yes, they were missing Aaron Opelt (stop whining Amstutz), but they still had their top ten national TB, Parmele. And, while he didn't have an awful game (19-82 for 4.3/carry), his long carry was 12 yards and he didn't score. Big kudos to our defense, who tackled the crap out of him, raced to the ball, wrapped up and pulled him backwards.
Cochran did end up with 202 yards passing, but he was unable to make the comeback because of the pressure he was under. He was sacked three times and hurried numerous times, and completed just over 50% of his passes and was picked 3 times. The defensive backfield also played a very strong game.
On the offensive side of the ball, we were simply outstanding. Tyler was 20-34, a little below his normal %. However, he still had 225 yards and two TDs. No sacks, no INT. An efficient, controlled performance that brought us the win.
We also ran the ball well. Anthony Turner had 96 yards on 19 carries, and Tyler ran 10 for 43. Even Willie Geter looked good, with 37 on eight carries. In all, we rushed for 201 yards on 44 carries (4.6/carry). Very nice.
A note: all football starts on the line, and we dominated the line of scrimmage Friday night. We had holes to run through, and Sheehan had all day to throw the ball. Our offensive line is the program's consistent strength over the past few years, and they were great. Equally great was our D-Line, who came out and played very well, are healthy now and really productive the last two weeks.
Oh, did I mention Anthony Turner, our Slash? 96 rushing yards, a TD pass and two receptions for 15 yards. Pretty good weapon.
Overall, a statement game from our program. Not this game, so much, because UT is on a down year. No, I'm more talking about running the table through the last four, including a win at a good Buffalo team and winning our rivalry game, both comfortably.
More in the coming days. Coach Brandon, a review of our seniors, bowl game chances, etc.
Suffice it to say this. First, we're on our way (almost for sure) to a bowl game.
Second, we bring almost everyone back next season.
It is so much nicer to close the regular season feeling like this, and not feeling like we did last year. A great deal of credit should go to our program. They turned it around, and we did it with six new assistants, a new QB, and let's not forget that we essentially did it without Corey Partridge and Eric Ransom, both of whom were expected to be big parts of the attack.
We ended up East co-champions, and can only look at that OU loss with some regret, but hey, what's done is done. Win the bowl game this year, win the MAC next year.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Not much to work with here.....wise ass remarks in orange.
Head Coach Gregg Brandon
What is your feeling on Toledo's quarterback situation
"Well, from what I'm hearing both [Clint] Cochran and their freshman [D.J. Lenehan] will play. But I'm really not concerned with who they are playing, I'm just concerned about my guys. Regardless of who plays at quarterback for UT, I think they have the best talent in the league, year in and year out, and this year is no exception. I think they are one of the top three in the league when it comes to talent and having good players."
I like this attitude. Opelt isn't going to play, but the Rockets will move the ball. Final could be 56-49. We need our defense's best game.
You did a nice job of stopping the run against Buffalo. Now you face another very good back in Toledo's Jalen Parmele.
"Yes, we did a nice job of taking away [Buffalo's] run. I think from a yardage standpoint, it was our best game. And, we kept them out of the end zone, which is what we need to do. They had a big play on us, but we stepped up in the red zone, and we've been doing that all season. Parmele is a big, strong back with better-than-average speed; he runs well, he sets up his blocks, he's a north-south guy and we have to get a lot of hats around him."Parmalee will get his yards. Coach is right, if we can hold them just a couple times, we're in good shape.
On a personal level, how gratifying has this season been for you after coming off the 4-8 season?
"I knew what happened last year was temporary. Everything that had happened last year was a result of things we didn't control. We didn't have control of that brutal schedule, we didn't have control over having to play 27 freshmen and we just need to control the things we can control. That's just coaching our tails off and getting the kids ready to play, and that's what we did every game, and we just weren't good enough to overcome some situations last year. But, I knew this team would mature and the thing that's exciting now is the fact that I don't lose many guys off this team, as many will be coming back next year. So I think the pieces are in place. We still need to go out and get a couple of guys, which we will, and I'm excited about the future of this program."
Next year's team should win the MAC. No excuses.
"Yeah, I think it would bring it close to being a really good season. Obviously, a great season would to win the MAC and accomplish all those sorts of things, but there are still a lot of things out there for this team. I think to ensure a bowl bid, we need to win this game. To be 8-4 and have the best record in the conference is something nobody can top. But we've still got to finish. That's what we talked about at Buffalo in the locker room, 'let's finish,' and this would be a great game to go out there and finish."
Amen, brother. It would.
How did you feel Michael Ream played this past weekend?
"Mike did a nice job for us. He's overcome some adversity in his life, which he's still working on daily, but it was nice to see him step up and do a real nice job for us."
It has to be nice to have a few more healthy bodies on the defensive line, isn't it?
"It's pretty good to have a healthy [Jacob] Hardwick and the depth that [Michael] Ream provides; especially with [Sean] O'Drobinak getting close to healthy again with his elbow. We still miss Nick Davis, though. Nick would have been a veteran guy in there that could've really helped us in that stretch where we were banged up. But, it's good at this time of year to be getting guys off the shelf and back in the fray."
"Well, I think it's something you need to talk about daily. I still have a fairly young football team that hasn't played in a lot of these games and the last time we beat Toledo, these fifth-year seniors were in that locker room right in this stadium, and those guys remember that. But the bulk of this team hasn't beaten Toledo, so we'll need to talk about everyday."
Enough is enough. Beat the Rockets.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Sunday, November 18, 2007
The hoop squad picked up a nice win on Saturday. Only about 1,000 were in attendance, but you can't be too surprised at that..when you schedule a home game on OSU-UM day, that's what you're going to get. It is Coach's first win at AA.
We beat a Morehead State team that we even beat last year. They have some uber-JUCO transfer who scored 35 points, but we had all five of our starters in double figures, shot 66.7% (that is accurate), held Morehead to 39.2%, and took care of the ball (12 turnovers) to get an easy win. We led at one point by 19 points.
A few points:
- Nate Miller had 16 points, breaking out of a shooting slump.
- Joe Jabukowski played 31 minutes, two treys, six assists, no TOs.
- Otis only played 6 minutes (we played really small....Marc Larson only played 28, and the rest were all Forwards and Guards).
- Along those lines, check here for a thread on what is going on with Erik Marschall.
- We had 24 fouls, which is near our season high. Now that we are back home again, whistle-happy MAC officials seems to be back.
The Falcons came out yesterday in Buffalo, against a team playing for a MAC East title, and simply handled that team. It was probably our best performance of the season, and shows us as a team that is playing really well last night.
I'm proud of our team and our program.
As far as game flow, we scored on our first drive, and then they scored 10 points to end the first quarter ahead. We tied it early on with a FG, and then began to dominate. Tyler hit Freddie in the flat, and he went 44 yards down the sideline for a TD. About 4:00 later, Tyler caught their safeties cheating up and went over the top to Chris Wright who was WIIIIIDDDEEE OPPPPPEEEEEN for an 83 yard TD. We're up 24-10 at halftime.
Buffalo gets the ball to start the second half. We get good kickoff coverage and hold them to the 20. After a three and out (including a sack) and a lousy punt, we're in business again. We run the AT-throwback to Tyler play, it works for a 25 yard TD, and its 31-10.
Buffalo fought back, getting their big play guys involved. They scored a TD about two minutes later, and then were at our 6 looking to make it 31-24. Here, BG came up with another goal line stand. They ran Starks twice in a row, and our defense held him to 5 yards. Then, on third down from the 1, the QB tried to run and got tackled on the 3. Buffalo opted to go for it on fourth, and Drew Willy hit Roosevelt, his best receiver on a slant, but Glen Stanley, emerging as a big play force on D, planted the receiver and that was that.
Ballgame. Not just a win, but an emphatic win, and a strong win where we really beat someone.
From nearly every perspective, it was the kind of performance we needed. For example:
- No, the defense wasn't dominating. But, during the first half, we ran a period of 3-4 straight stops, and held Starks to 137 yards, but that included one 63 yard run. On a carry for carry basis, we kept him from dominating the game. And they only scored once after the first quarter....and they only had 17 first downs. The defense did enough for us to win the game.
- How about next year when John Haneline and Glen Stanley will both be at LB for us?
- Tyler was as strong as he usually is. 20-29, 2 TDS, no INT, 248 yards, and 2 sacks. Note that we aren't forcing him to throw 45 times anymore, but he is accurate, moving the ball. He also hit a long ball for the first time this year, that I recall.
- All hail Anthony Turner! Perhaps the best discovery of our three game winning streak, Anthony Turner is becoming a dominant player with the ball in his hands. Yesterday, he ran 22 times for 97 yards (4.4 average), threw a TD pass, caught four passes and laid a killer block (according to the Blade) on Freddie's TD. His ability to run the ball allowed us to cut Tyler's throws back, and to have some diversity in our offense. (Willie is not effective due to injury, Macon didn't get any carries, and Bullock only carried twice). If we didn't have AT, I think it is safe to say we're in deep trouble.
- Freddie caught ten passes for 113 yards and a TD.
- No turnovers.
- 11:33 TOP in the fourth quarter.
A lot of doubts and anxiety have been expressed over this program over the past couple of years. But, for the first time, I am convinced we are on the road back. And, with most of our players back, we should be positioned to win the MAC next year.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
On the road....
Against a good MAC team.....
A team with the ability to exploit our weak points....
A comfortable win....
An emphatic win....
A winning season...
Probable/possible post-season play.
A good day to be a Falcon fan. More later.
Coach Orr announced yesterday that we have three signees in the early signing period. I believe that each of these was announced here and elsewhere as verbals, but they are coming now.
Let's take a look:
Brown, a 6-2 guard, is currently in his senior year at Country Day High School. He is the fourth-ranked senior point-guard in the state of Michigan, according to PrepSpotlight magazine. Brown, who can play both guard positions, helped Country Day win the Class B state title in 2006-07, scoring 22 points in a 66-61 victory over East Grand Rapids in the championship game. He led Country Day in scoring, with nearly 17 points per game, last season."Dee is a versatile combo guard, who will add toughness," said Orr. "He is multi-talented -- he can shoot it, he can pass it -- and is a tough competitor who can make plays from either the one or the two-guard position.
You have to like the looks of this player. Versatile, a PG, plays on a championship team, one of the top players in Michigan. I assume he handles the ball well at the point. To me, this kid screams All-MAC right off the bat.
Calhoun, a 6-7 forward, is currently in his senior year at Southfield High School. He helped his team to a 14-8 overall record and a berth in the district finals a year ago, averaging a double-double."Austin is an athletic young forward," said Orr. "He is very skilled, with a ton of potential, and can shoot the 3.
Obviously, fewer accolades about Calhoun. Still, he's got the right size if he is athletic, then we need players like this. Also, I'm not aware of us missing too often on Detroit players once LaMonta Stone arrived.
Thomas, a 6-6 forward, is a senior at Buckeye Valley High School. He averaged 24 points, nine rebounds and six assists per game en route to third-team All-Ohio honors last year, helping his team to a 17-5 mark. Thomas has surpassed 1,000 career points, 300 rebounds and 200 assists entering his senior season."Scott is a very athletic wing who is in constant motion," said Orr. "He can really run the floor, and is a very good finisher on the break.
Again, read the comments about Coach Orr. You can see what types of player we are after.
I'm encouraged. Of course, all recruits look good on paper. But, I think there is energy and momentum (if only a little) to the program that we haven't seen in a while.
Hoopsters play Morehead State at home today. Wish I could be there. In the meantime, we beat Morehead last year, so I'd like to think we could win Coach Orr's AA opener.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
First of all, you have to say this as it relates to the Buffalo Bulls....
I mean, Buffalo sucking in football is a bedrock principle of this conference. Its right up there with hating Marshall.
But times change. Marshall is gone (and sucks) and Buffalo is now playing well in the MAC.
They play something like the UT offense---heavy running and very high % passes. They don't get a lot of passing yards, but they complete a high %. Before the game, let's review the record. The simple fact is, this team is not an offensive powerhouse. If we make them look like one, let's make sure to call it what it is.
- 7th in MAC in Scoring
- 10th in total offense
- 10th in Yards per play (5.1)
- 9th in Passing Yards (but first in completion %)
- 9th in Rushing Yards (only 3.6 yards/Carry)
- 2nd in pass efficiency--13:6, 68% Completions
- 9th in 3rd down conversion
They also play tough D--third in the conference in scoring defense. But, they are 12th in passing defense, and give up a considerable amount of yards. Their run defense is third in the MAC. We need our offense (having scored on 14 out of the last 19 drives) to keep up that production.
Special teams? 3rd in net punting, pretty reliable place kicker, cover kickoffs well. Appears to not actually lose them games.
Just as importantly, they are playing for their lives. If they lose, Miami clinches the MAC East, and they will be 4-7, with no prospect of a bowl game. They are going to be playing very hard. And they are at home.
This is a nice test for our guys. We've won 2 in a row, and haven't won three in a row since 2005 in the game right before the Omar injury, when the sun shone brightly in the East and our program began to slide.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Root for the Zips tonight. If Miami wins, we're out of the MAC East race. Simple as that.
Here is an excellent article in The Blade about our poor run defense. To the credit of all, no excuses are made. We have to perform as we haven't all year.
Finally, I watched the Ball State/UT game. I like Ball State, they are a decent team. And if they can beat UT (who did not look good) on their field, we should beat them on ours.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
My wise ass remarks are in orange, but I don't think I have much to work with this week.
On the Buffalo running game
"Starks is their back. He is 200-210 lbs. He is one of the better backs in the conference. They are only rushing for about 135 a game and we're rushing for a 120. That's what they do. They are going to run it downhill. We haven't demonstrated any consistency in stopping that throughout the season. We have to step up and stop their running game, which is going to be a tall order for us right now."
He's right. Everyone has run out of us--we are instant Heisman-makers. It is a shock we can win while teams run on us like they do, and as Coach alluded to Friday, sooner or later when won't be able to pull it off. Of course, scoring on 14 of 19 drives helps.
Was that one of your worries coming out of pre-season having a defensive line that is in experienced and young?
"My concern was not only for that group but for the entire defense. We are still young on that side of the ball, only two seniors over there. You get a couple guys nicked up in there and you are playing with young guys and that's what we have been playing with the last couple of weeks. That's not a legit excuse in my opinion. We have to play better. Those young guys have to step up and pick up the riffle so to speak and stop the run. That's what we need to do."
I have no idea what riffle means.
How big has the offensive line been this year?
"Our offensive line is huge. Our offensive line got the team award as the offensive player of the game. It was a really good performance. We rushed the ball for almost 200 yards. Tyler had all day to throw for the most part. We had no sacks, which is huge against that defensive line. We got four hands on Jones most of the night, which was big for us. I talked to Coach Genyk after the game and after he watched the film he said he thought we did a tremendous job taking care of him. Really that wasn't the only thing. We had to block No. 91 who was singled a lot so Shane Steffy and Brandon Curtis did a good job when they were singled on him and kept him off the quarterback and knocked him around in the running game. I think our offensive line really executed the plan well. It was well conceived. Matt Campbell did a good job with that. No sacks is pretty impressive I think."
Great job to our line. It is the single most consistent strength of this team leading back into the beginning of UM I.
Does the experience of the offensive line come out a little bit?
"Yes, I sleep well at night with my offensive line and wake up with some other things. Those kids have done a great job."
On Brandon Curtis...
"Brandon Curtis was a defensive linemen when we recruited him, a defensive tackle nose guard. When we moved him to offensive line he became one of the hogs. You develop your character when you play offensive line. Every week I have a couple kids address the team, usually older guys or guys that have something to say. This week it was Nate Waldron, back up linebacker and special teams player for us. Then Brandon Curtis got up and talked to the team before the game and did a great job. He talked about how he is tired of hearing about No. 83 and No. 91 and wanted to go kick their butts. He has done a nice job for us. It will be nice to have him back as a fifth year senior."
On the emergence of Chris Wright
"That is really a great success story. He was on his way out of here academically. He was struggling. I suspended him for the summer, he had to get eligible and he did. He paid his own way for summer hours got his grades back and then really has continued to emerge and get better as a receiver. When we recruited him we played him on defense and he kind of floundered over there a little bit. Then we moved him to offense and it took him awhile to grasp the system and understand everything we want our receivers to do. Now that he understands it he can play with more confidence and I think that's what you are seeing right now out of the kid."
On Tyler being able to play within himself the last two games compared to others...
"I think he is healthy and that is the big thing. I think that last two games he has thrown the ball with more accuracy. He's throwing it better. We've scaled down. We aren't throwing it 45-50 times we are throwing it 35 times to help keep it that way a little bit. Whether we continue to do that remains to be seen. If he is healthy we can be as effective as we were early in the season throwing the football, there is no question."
Other thoughts on Buffalo besides their running game
"Their defense is pretty salty. You know I have always been impressed with the way they play defense. They run to the ball well, they are scrappy, they will fight you. You can see on film that they are playing hard. We have to challenge our guys that you have to go in and play harder than Buffalo. That's our chance to win the game. They have renewed enthusiasm and spirit there. Their kids are playing hard, flying around and that's what they do defensively. We have just got to play harder than Buffalo to beat Buffalo.
It's nice to be in the situation that you don't control your own destiny. You still have a shot as do only two other teams in the East.
"Obviously we are going to need some help but I think that the goal was to win these last four and we are half way home and if we can win these next two we will be in a bowl game. We will be virtually locked. Lose one of them then I think it is going to be a beauty contest. Lose both and we probably are not going to a bowl. I think everybody in the country is getting bowl eligible. It is nice to be bowl eligible for this team I think at this point it's a huge credit bouncing back from last season. Winning six games right now I think is big for this program."
Not only bouncing back from last season but from a Miami and Ohio loss
"I think it is the consistency thing that we have talked about all season. We have to develop some consistency. Early in the season we won back to back games Temple and Western Kentucky and now we have won back-to-back games. I think that is what is still out there for us. Can we win three in a row, four in a row? Can we get that done? If we can get that done then we will be in a bowl game."
On Stanley being MAC defensive POW
"Glen is instinctive and runs well and that is why he is playing. Glen can play all three of the spots because he runs well enough. I think he can go out in space and defend. He brings a lot of versatility to the table right now."
On the offensive line scoring a touchdown
"The thing about that was so beautiful when you watch it on film. The ball was sitting there and there are four Eastern guys right there and they don't get it. One of our guys, I think Pronty, comes in an wipes two if them out and the ball gets shoved out and Nystrom comes in and plops on the pile. The ball is still around and Steffy does a superman and lands on it. You watch it on film it is hysterical. That was a huge play. We work on turnovers and ball security every day in practice. Coach Campbell throws a ball out and they jump on it. We teach them to get in the fetal position all that. It paid off and to see those kids when we came up with the ball was just great."
Monday, November 12, 2007
Feels oh, so good not to have to put the Bucks in the top slot.