Thursday, November 29, 2007

Lichtensteiger Named Rimington Finalist

Good for Kory. Only non-BCS player on the list.

I would love to see him be named the offensive MVP and the Team MVP. I think he's deserving.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Meet one of the most honored players in our program's history....

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.

Second team:

Senior Tackle Drew Nystrom
Soph Safety P.J. Mahone.

Third Team:

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 Update from The Blade

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.

"It makes things a lot easier the earlier you get them," Modarelli said. "I wish they would have made a decision [Monday] but they didn't."

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.....

Blog Poll Unofficial

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.

  1. West Virginia
  2. Missouri
  3. Ohio State
  4. Kansas
  5. LSU
  6. USC
  7. Georgia
  8. Oklahoma
  9. Boston College
  10. Virginia Tech
  11. Arizona State
  12. Florida
  13. Oregon
  14. Illinois
  15. Clemson
  16. Tennessee
  17. Wisconsin
  18. Hawaii
  19. Texas
  20. Cincinnati
  21. Virginia
  22. Arkansas
  23. Auburn
  24. Texas Tech
  25. Brigham Young
Out: Boise, Kentucky

Falcons Beat Furman

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.
Coach Orr talks about how we have to win even when we don't shoot well. I'd have to check, but I don't think we've been able to pull that off yet. Still, Furman shot 32% for the game and 4-18 from the 3. It is hard to lose when you can do that. We were able to use a man defense to go and cover the 3s.

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.

Busy days in the FalconBlog

Dang, it just keeps coming, All-MAC football teams, and the hoops team picks up a road win at Furman last night. More later.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Bowl Game Speculation------Updated.....

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

Brandon to Colorado State?

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.

In case you missed it, Erik Marschall Update....

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....

Coach Brandon....and a note

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.
Just as blame goes to the coach when the team loses, here we have to give credit. Not only is Coach Brandon now winning with his own players, but he did so while replacing six of his coaches last season, and introducing two new coordinators. This is no small feat. And he went 8-4 while playing 7 road games---I'd wager no other eight win team had seven road games this year.

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

In which I see the hoops team for the first time

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

Rocket Recap

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 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.

Roll along.....

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving to the Falcon Nation....

On this day, we engage in the sacred act of giving thanks. We know that to be able to spend our passion on college sports is a privilege, and we give thanks for that, too.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Beat the Rocket Presser

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."

This quote drives critics of Coach Brandon to absolute distraction. They excuse making about the schedule and the freshmen is simply maddening. But, to be fair, he did say we would turn it around this year, and we have.

Next year's team should win the MAC. No excuses.

This season has turned out to be a pretty good one after being 4-4 at one point. Would a win over Toledo take it up another level?
"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."

Does everyone on the team understand the importance of the Toledo game?

"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


1 LSU --
2 West Virginia 2
3 Kansas 2
4 Missouri 2
5 Ohio State 2
6 Southern Cal 2
7 Oregon 4
8 Georgia 2
9 Oklahoma 7
10 Texas 1
11 Arizona State 1
12 Boston College 5
13 Virginia Tech 1
14 Florida 1
15 Illinois 3
16 Clemson 5
17 Tennessee 1
18 Wisconsin 3
19 Boise State 3
20 Virginia 3
21 Cincinnati 1
22 Kentucky 7
23 Auburn 1
24 Texas Tech 2
25 Hawaii --

Dropped Out: Michigan (#19).

Fire up Falcons!!! Get those goosebumps going!!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Hoopsters Go 3-1

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.
Temple is next, on Saturday. I hope the locals will at least help us get a decent crowd out there.

Falcons Win #7, Beat Buffalo on Road

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.
All in all, an accomplished performance by a team that is really playing well. Now, we need to beat the Rockets, and head to a bowl game. (All the talk seems to be that we are probably in a bowl game now, but the program needs to head there with a win over the Rockets on our field).

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.

Roll along....

Saturday, November 17, 2007

That's what I'm talking about...

On the road....
Against a good MAC team.....
A team with the ability to exploit our weak points....

We get

A comfortable win....
An emphatic win....
A winning season...
Probable/possible post-season play.

A good day to be a Falcon fan. More later.

Orr Inks 3 in early signing period

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:

Dee Brown:

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.

Austin Calhoun:

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.

Scott Thomas

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.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Buffalo Bulls Preview

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

MAC East Race Over for BG

It will either be Buffalo or Miami to win the East, but BG has now been eliminated. Playing now for a bowl bid.

And to finish on a winning streak, and play for a MAC Championship next year.

Some Wednesday Notes

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

Brandon Presser--Buffalo edition

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."

We are young on defense. But, it is not an excuse (as Coach says), since we were told last year that they were playing a lot, and gaining experience. We still tackle lousy---and have for years, and we're being blown off the line and can't defend the zone play.

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."

Both Brandon and Chris Wright are great examples of what we want to see in Falcon athletics.

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."

Interesting. Once we believe he is 100% healthy I wonder if we will retreat to throwing the ball more to close out with two more wins.

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.

OK, he hasn't said salty in a few weeks, so I'm going to restrain myself. Still cracks me up. They are also scrappy. This is not the old Buffalo, who we actually struggled to beat the last two seasons. If we are "back" when need to grind a win out.

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."

All true. I would love us to win out, finish on a four game winning streak, go to a bowl game and then bring everyone back (pretty much) next season.

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."

End of transmission.

Monday, November 12, 2007

MAC Honors

Chris Knight is the MAC East Basketball Player of the week.

Glen Stanley, with 18 tackles, is MAC East Defensive Player of the week.

Roll Along!!!

Blog Poll Draft

Feels oh, so good not to have to put the Bucks in the top slot.

1 LSU 1
2 Oklahoma 1
3 Oregon 1
4 West Virginia 1
5 Kansas 2
6 Missouri --
7 Ohio State 6
8 Southern Cal --
9 Texas --
10 Georgia 4
11 Clemson 1
12 Arizona State 2
13 Florida 2
14 Virginia Tech 3
15 Kentucky 3
16 Tennessee 4
17 Boston College 6
18 Illinois 8
19 Michigan 3
20 Cincinnati 6
21 Wisconsin 5
22 Boise State --
23 Virginia 3
24 Auburn 11
25 Hawaii --

Dropped Out: Alabama (#19), Connecticut (#21), California (#23), Arkansas (#24).

Falcons Off to Fast Start

The Falcons picked up another nice win last night, on the road, against a Cincinnati team that has seen better days, but remains in the Big East and a legit opponent on their home court.

We led much of the way in this one, yet UC had tied it up with 2:09 left. But, unlike previous years, we actually pressed the gas pedal down the stretch, as Hamblet nailed a trey along with four clutch free throws, and we got a couple stops and won the game by 2, and that includes a hail mary for UC that made it look closer.

The real story was Chris Knight, who was the MVP of the "tourney." Against UC, he had 24 points and 8 boards, brings athletic leaping to the program, and can manufacture points. He is looking like a sure-fire MAC freshmen of the year, at least this early. He shot 10-16 against UC, a team that was surely trying to stop him.

We continue to shoot well, (46.4%), and continue to have our opponents not shoot well (36.5%), as we play what sounds like a Syracuse 2-3 zone.

Obviously, we have some things to do better. But, in the meantime, we are 2-1, with a road win and a win over an NCAA team from last year. We are taking care of the ball (only 6 turnovers against UC), and fouls are down in the low 20's, which is an improvement (Otis had 5 in 18 minutes).

All in all, a nice start for the orange and brown. We have Morehead State, a team we beat last year, for heaven's sake. One game at a a time.

Eagles, final observations.....

Some final stray observations on our win @ EMU...

We caught break when the EMU player was doing pushups after they stopped us and got a taunting penalty. What a joke.

EMU exhibited a comedy of errors as it related to the simple extra point. First, they missed one. Then, they went for two to tie and missed. This was way too soon to go for 2 in a game with that much scoring. We followed with a FG to lead by 5 and they got a TD. Now they had to go for 2, and missed again, leading by 1. Had they kicked both xps, they would have led by 3.

EMU--awful game environment. The reported attendance was 4,000-something. I think they counted chromosones, not fans. It is a nice facility, but sadly empty and lonely for a D-I school. I have been to high school games with far more people.

Many people question EMU's commitment to D1 football. I don't know about that. Genyk is a good coach, I think, but they have been bad for a long time. I mean they have their 1987 CAL Bowl banner up in the end zone. Anyway, I believe it is going to be hard to recruit to that school, especially if you bring the recruits to a game.

EMU does have a very strong athletic program, just not in men's hoops and football. Third in Reese (Men's--BG was last) and 7th in women's.

Finally, Tyler Sheehan made a couple of big plays with his feet. If he can scramble--even a little--he becomes a much more dangerous weapon.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Falcons Beat UC!!

The Falcons have beaten UC on their home floor. And even though I know they may not be very good this year, it is a Big East win on the road, and a good day for our program.

More later, but Coach Dakich said one thing right on his way out of town......Chris Knight is going to be an absolute stud.

1 Down, 366 to Go

Coach Orr won his first game as Falcon coach last night against Belmont, a pretty good team that made the Big Dance last year and beat UC the night before. A nice win for our team, and just what they needed as they get going. UC is tonight. A win will start to get some attention for our program.

Belmont is a three team and they shot real well against UC, but not against us. They shot 33% for the game and 26% from 3. Coach says our game plan was to focus on the three, and he says we defended it well.

Other notes:

  • Rotation: Same as before (Clements, Hamblet, Larson, Knight, Polk, Moten, Miller with Sims and Jakubowski getting <10>
  • We were in control of this game the whole way. We were up 10 five minutes into the game, led by as much as 19, and the lead dipped inside 10 only once.
  • Four players were in double figures...Knight (20), Larson (14), (Hamblet 12), and Moten (10).
  • 21 fouls (still needs work) and 13 Turnovers (pretty good). Larson fouled out for the second time this season.
  • Note: Eric Marschall is said to be injured and has yet to play.
  • We shot 50% from the field, in part thanks to our inside game. Only 2-11 from 3, but we don't have any Samarco-like shooters.
  • We were outrebounded 40-36, but that's better than the first game. Gave up 18 offensive boards again.
  • Much of this has been done with Nate Miller being absolutely stone cold from the field. We know he can score, and he'll be another weapon when his game comes around.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Falcons Beat Eagles, Get 6th Win

Well, it was a crazy night at Rynearson, where about 4,000 people enjoyed entertaining college football on a cool and comfortable late fall night in SE Michigan. We won our ninth straight game over the Eagles, but it wasn't easy and wasn't pretty. But it was a win.

And it was our sixth win, ensuring at least a .500 season. So, it was important. I'm going to start out my analysis by looking at some uncommonly revealing and frank comments from the coach in the post game, and then add what I need when its done. My comments below are in orange.

"I just want to say some things about this team that I think need to be said. We got bowl eligible tonight, which is huge for this football program right now. Considering less than 12 months ago we were struggling. For us to come back and get bowl eligible and win six football games right now from where we were less than a year ago is a huge credit to the kids in this program. We had to hire six new coaches in the off season. It's a huge credit to those guys to come in and rally these kids and put us in the position to get to a bowl game. The six wins make us bowl eligible but it would be nice to win seven games and to win eight. There are only two teams in the conference that are bowl eligible, and there are only three or four more who have a chance to get that way. We are already there, but we need to take care of business the next couple of weeks and just see what happens. I think it's a great tribute to these kids to win six games, and Frank Solich told me going off the field after the Ohio game that `Coach you have a heck of a team. Just trying to have a winning season is huge in the MAC', and Frank is right it is huge. We have a winning season and I can't say enough about the kids in this program. They did a great job and tonight we really showed, that after making sloppy mistakes we were able to make the plays in the end....

Wow, is that a mouthful. I'm very surprised he came in with what seems like such a defensive statement. I mean, I know we're doing better. But, I don't think I would have spiked the ball just yet. I mean, if we lose to Buffalo and Toledo (again) and finish 6-6, I don't think its going to look quite so good and I doubt we're going to a bowl game. Its better, but its not exactly an absolute success.

No doubt, winning is hard. And, no doubt, this year's team is better than last year's, who absolutely, positively would not have won this game last season. But, I just think I might have banked one more win (for a real winning season) before I said things like this.

I thought it was interesting he mentioned the new coaches. This is an excellent point, and it is a credit to him as a head coach, to be able to bring in the right people and also make sure they gel, etc.

Obviously, he is still smarting from the criticism from last year, which is a good thing. Personal pride is a good quality, if it makes you more effective, and I think the team is clearly better. And, nearly everyone is back, so next year should be good, too.

"...It's great that Sean O'Drobinak, a fifth-year senior, who played tight end his whole career until we moved him to defense, even though he was apprehensive about it. He did a great job jumping up and batting it down on fourth down. That's this football team right now, guys like that making plays. That was huge."

Well, he did make a big play. Suffice it to say, we hadn't made too many stops over the course of the day, and we really needed one there. They ran pretty crazy on us. It was fourth down, and he got in the right place and knocked it down. For those of us who witnessed his (deserved) profanity-laden tirade at his linemates earlier in the game, it was nice to see him make the play.

Last year those plays down the stretch didn't seem to happen as often for you, what's different about this year?
"We have short term memory. This program is back, and we're going to continue to win. We have great kids and great coaches in this program. Our facilities are second to none now, so the sky is the limit for Bowling Green right now."

Well, the opening statement doesn't sound like it came from someone with a short term memory...just saying.

OK, I don't think we're ready to say we're back. But, everything else I agree with. The sky should be the limit, and we want to see this coach take our team to the sky. Or a MAC Championship.

And last year we would have lost this game. Never would have made that final drive.

What do you think about your troubles against their running game?

"I think their offensive line was very physical. They did a nice job knocking us off the ball. We have to do a better job with that, there is no question. You can't give up 260 yards rushing and expect to win. We have been winning games giving up those rushing yards and it's tough with teams holding on to the ball that long. You think it's going to catch up with us, but it hasn't yet, so hopefully we can keep working on it and fix that, and do better against stopping the run."

This is 100% right, except for part of it.....OK, seriously. Their line might have been physical, but by that standard, so is every line we have come across for weeks, because everyone runs on us. Yes, I guess Pierre Walker is a decent little back, but he averages about 50/game and he got a CAREER HIGH against us.

But he's right about one thing. You can't keep winning like that. We have gotten it done, but you can't count on it. The Rockets, for one, will run on us all day. We simply gotta get it fixed. I don't think its going to be fast....we fundamentally don't tackle well and the line rarely gets nearly anyone until they are past the line and the zone play appears to eat us alive. And, just to make a point, until we get it figured out, we can't really be back and ready to run the table.

Comment on Chris Bullock's big gains near the end...
"We made an adjustment and went to a trap play that we hadn't run all game. We've run that play for years and we didn't run it tonight because they were running inside twists where the nose guard and tackle were twisting. Sometimes you can trap that and pop it and it be good, and sometimes you can't. We felt like we could pop it. Three of those big runs by Bullock were the quick trap and Chris did a good job in there."

This was fascinating. This is exactly the kind of thing we simply never seemed to do last year. Seemed like if the QB draw was in the game plan, we kept running it. This ability to make an adjustment probably won us the game. I couldn't believe I was seeing Chris Bullock in there. But, it was exactly what we needed, and showed a resourcefulness for us to run something that wasn't even in the game plan. Nice job, Coach McCall. We had to have that drive, and we delivered it.

Some other points---all me below.

Quick, name our punter! That's what I thought. Over the last two games, our offense has been positively unstoppable....and the only thing that has allowed our run defense to not sink us. Not counting running out the clock, we have 19 drives over the last two games. In that we have:

10 TDs
4 FGs (14/19 would be a good redzone %, much less for all drives).
1 missed FG
2 Turnovers
1 TO on downs
1 punt.

Yeah, 1 punt. And that was in the Akron game when the outcome was decided. We are moving the ball.

We blew 2 opportunities in red zone. Winovich fumbled once inside the 5 and we had a dropped TD pass in the end zone at the end of the second quarter. Of course, we also recovered our own fumble in the end zone for a lucky break. Point is, we scored 39, and it could have been much worse.

And speaking of going for it at the end of the second, my inclination is to go for the field goal. But, you have to say, the receiver was there and we just didn't execute. Hard to blame the coach for that.

I'm out of gas. More tomorrow.....

Hoopsters drop close one to WCU

The debut of the Orr era didn't quite work out like everyone hoped, but I think we have to accept that this season--especially early--is likely to be rough. I didn't even hear the game, but followed the scores as we got ready for the football game. Still, here are some observations purely from the stats sheet.

  • We only shot 30% in the first half and 37.5% for the game.
  • Chris Knight is going to be a good player. He lead the team in points (16) and rebounds (10).
  • We had chances in the end. With :53 left we got back to down 2 on a fastbreak layup by Knight. Then, Ryan Sims got a steal and Knight was fouled. He hit 1 of 2, and we were down 1. We fouled and they hit both FTs with :19 left. Both Sims and Hamblet had three attempts down the stretch to tie, but couldn't hit.
  • Miller had 13 points and Hamblet 11, as well.
  • Looking at some old trouble points:
  • We had 20 fouls. An improvement.
  • We had 16 turnovers. An improvement.
  • We were out-rebounded 45-32. WCU had 18 offensive boards.
  • We were 2-16 from three-point range.
  • We primarily rotated 7 guys--Miller, Knight, Larson, Clements, Hamblet, Jakubowski and Polk. Moten and Sims both played under 10 minutes.

Belmont beat UC on the road last night, and that's who we play tonight. They were a darn good team last year--made the tourney. We'll be watching.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Falcons win one and lose one....

Just got home from the Falcons winning a very entertaining game over EMU, 39-32 to ensure at least a six win season. Nice job, guys.

The hoopsters dropped the first game of the Orr era, by 3. Chris Knight had a double double.

We'll enjoy the football win tonight, write more on both games tomorrow.

The Orr Era Begins--Update, and the Dusan era ends, with updated recruiting scorecard

When the referee tosses the ball in between a player from Bowling Green and a player from Western Carolina at 5 PM today in Cincinnati, OH, the Louis Orr era will begin.

Let's hope it does not end until we have appeared in the Big Dance.


BGSU has announced that Dusan Radivojevic has left the Falcon program by "mutual agreement" with Coach Orr.

At the same time, Matt Karaffa, a guard from West Chester, OH, has joined the roster as a walk-on, is in Cincinnati with the team and is expected to play.

This says more about the Orr era than you might think. Dusan was recruited by Coach Dakich and was supposed to be a shooter type that seem to emerge from those European countries. Suffice to say, he never transition to division I hoops. Sometimes, he seemed to be a reliable passer/cog in the motion offense, but he never shot well and wasn't athletic enough to defend.

He continued to get minutes last year, but, reading between the lines, Coach Orr didn't think he could contribute, even a little, even on a very shallow team.

Obviously, you wish Dusan well. It would be great to see him finish his degree, if he can swing it financially.

Just for the sake of the record, below is more on the utter wasteland of our hoops recruiting.

Falcon Hoops Recruiting Scorecard, Updated November, 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.
Reggie Harwell--Nada.
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, came on strong, looking to be scorer next 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)
Chris Knight
Joe Jakubowski
Cameron Madlock

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Permutate, Cogitate, II

Updated with OU-Akron game on November 7.

1. Can BG win the East outright.

Answer. Yes.

Miami would have to lose to Akron and @OU
Buffalo would have to lose to BG and Kent
BG would have to beat Buffalo
OU would have to beat Miami.

Under that scenario, we are only two loss team.

2. Can we win any other way?

Yes, in fact. Like this....

Miami would have to lose to Akron and @OU
Buffalo would have to lose to BG and beat Kent.
BG would have to beat Buffalo
OU would have to beat Miami.
Only BG and Buffalo are left with two losses
BG beats Buffalo due to tiebreaker.

Otherwise, I don't see it.

We have a shot if we end up in a three way tie with OU and Buffalo, but it gets really complicated. We'd all be 1-1 among the teams in the tie. Now it depends on who is fourth. If its Miami, then OU would win, since they would be the only team with a win over Miami. If Akron ends up fourth, it would probably be BG, since under this scenario Akron would have to have beaten OU and that would leave BG and Buffalo, and we would have to have beaten Buffalo.

If we end up in a 3-way tie with Miami and Buffalo, Miami has beaten both teams in the tie and would win the tie-breaker.

If we end up in a three way tie with Miami and Ohio (assuming an Ohio win over Miami), OU would win having beat us and Miami.

Miami and Akron play next Wednesday, November 14. If Miami wins, we're out. On the plus side, Akron looked good last night--better than they did against us.

Finally, you might wonder if 3 losses could get you in. Answer is no: Either BG (by beating Buffalo) or Buffalo (by beating BG and at worst losing to Kent) will end up with two losses in the East.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Eagle Preview

I don't really know how good EMU is--you generally don't go wrong by saying they aren't very good. They just usually aren't. The only argument is over degree--how not very good are they? The answer appears to be...kind of not very good, but not really not very good. Let's look at the season.

9/1/2007 Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, Pa. L 3-27

9/8/2007 * Ball State Rynearson Stadium L 16-38

9/15/2007 * Northern Illinois DeKalb, Ill. W 21-19

9/22/2007 Howard Rynearson Stadium W 38-15

9/29/2007 Vanderbilt Nashville, Tenn. L 7-30

10/6/2007 Michigan Ann Arbor, Mich. L 22-33

10/13/2007 * Ohio Athens, Ohio L 42-48

10/19/2007 Northwestern Ford Field - Detroit L 14-26

10/27/2007 * Western Michigan Rynearson Stadium W 19-2

11/3/2007 * Toledo Toledo, Ohio L 28-52

You've got a road loss to a BCS team--Pitt--but the Panthers are terrible this year, so a good MAC team might have been able to compete with them. Then, they lose to a decent Ball State team. They then beat an awful NIU team and I-AA Howard. So far, no real evidence, but at least they are capable of winning a game.

Next, they head on the road and lose to an OK Vanderbilt team and put a scare into UM at the Big House. They lost a shootout to OU on the road, and then lost to Northwestern on a neutral field. In their biggest win of the season, they look out a disappointing WMU team in Ypsi. Finally, they lost big to UT.

What does this tell us? This team was good enough to win two conference games, which is not normal, and actually has no bad losses on its track record. They are pretty much won what you might expect and lost what you might expect. But, as I think about it, any wins at all might be more than you expect.

Let's head deeper into the numbers.

QB Situation--EMU has two QBs, R-so Andy Schmitt and t-Fr Kyle McMahon. McMahon actually got the start against UT, but Schmitt finished the game. By all account, Schmitt appears to be the better QB--and a pretty good one. McMahon may be the better runner, and if so, I would expect him to get snaps Friday.

EMU has an average TB, Pierre Walker, who is in that Ontario Sneed-Garrett Wolfe-Eugene Jarvis little squirt running all over on us mode. He had a big game against UT and will probably get his yards against us, but he's only averaging 3.5 yards per carry. He's not a terror. We have to tackle average players.

I looked at how the Eagles stack up in the MAC stats.

  • They are 2nd to last in pass offense. Given their poor TB play, this team has trouble scoring, except against UT. They are 11th in total offense.
  • A +5 TO ratio has helped them to the success they have had.
  • They are 7th in total defense
  • They are 3-6 on onside kicks!!! WTF. Who's tried 6 onside kicks so far.
  • Their net punting game is #2 in the country.
  • They have the worst 3rd down defense in the MAC
  • Their kicker is pretty good and his hit from 50 yards.

Mostly, in the middle of the pack in almost all MAC stats--somewhere in the 5-8 range. They are, therefore, an average MAC team that is partly riding a good turnover wave to some decent records. This is on the road, and you never look past anyone, but we should win this game.

Another note--this game doesn't actually count except for being bowl eligible.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Weekly Brandon presser

Here comes the presser!! Here come the wise ass remarks, in orange!!

HEAD COACH Gregg Brandon
What can you learn from watching what Toledo did to Eastern Michigan?
"Toledo has been real good the last couple of games. As far as looking at Eastern [Michigan], their defensive line is real good. We are going to have to block them. (Excellent strategy, I agree 100%). That might be one of the best defensive lines that we have faced (hmmm). Their inside guys are hard to block. It will be a great challenge for our offensive line."

Can you talk about the depth that your team showed last Friday?
"All the kids have been practicing hard all season. They have just been waiting for their opportunity. Injuries do occur and those backup kids have to come in and do the job. Without Partridge and Geter in the game that is a huge impact offensively. We were still able to crank out 500 yards of offense. The backup kids were able to step in and do a nice job.

Oh yeah, this was huge. AT, Chris Wright, Glen Stanley (see below), we have showed some depth I don't think we had. And don't forget PJ Mahone, who was MAC East Defensive Player of the Week and wasn't even starting with Jarrett Sanderson went down.

"Defensively, it is the same situation. Glen Stanley has been a backup all season. We have been bringing him along and he has been getting reps and now it is his time. You just hope when those kids get in and get their opportunities they perform."

What have you seen about Stanley to say this true freshman can play?
"He is a very explosive and an instinctive player and instincts are important. To have those instincts along with his speed and quickness makes him that much better. Glen just needs to get in and see more live reps. He will get better and better."

This was a great player for us to get. To date, our two best freshmen are both Floridians. But, hey, people still think we should recruit Ohio harder.

How much were you expecting Anthony Turner to play at the beginning of the year compared to now?
"There was a lot of discussion to if he was not our starting quarterback, was he the backup quarterback, which would limit what we could do with him. The development of Anthony Glaud allowed us to move Turner around and give him the ball, which you saw last Friday night. He is a guy we can hand the ball to, a guy we can snap the ball to and run and he is a guy that can catch passes."

Yeah, he does all those things. Call him Slash...though I don't know if Slash ever played RB. AT is a quality player and much more valuable to the team doing what he is doing rather than being the backup QB.

Was the move of Freddie Barnes to wide receiver and how well he has done there a factor in the Turner decision?
"No, not really. It was just his pure athletic ability. He is just to good of a football player to be standing next to me. We just had to find ways to work him in. With Willie [Geter] and [Corey] Partridge going down we had to get him involved. He is such a good athlete and you saw that on Friday night."

Same thing.

Does this show a player's character when he changes positions like that?
"He is a kid that has accepted his role. It was hard on him being the starter last year and not being the guy this year. We talked over the summer about that and all through camp and said that you have to be a team guy and appreciate your role and help the team win. I am really proud of him for that."

Me too. And I'm proud of our coaching staff having enough imagination to get him involved, rather than leaving him pigeon-holed.

Can you talk about the extended role of Chris Wright?
"He keeps getting better and better. He just had to learn the position. Some people learn and adjust faster than others. As coaches we have no patience. In Chris' case we wish he would have matured quicker, but hey, better late than never. He has three games left this year and two more years at wide receiver. He is going to be a good player for us."

And Jermiah Kelley?
"He is a tough kid. He will get out there and block. He can catch the ball and is a physical guy. He is a player that did not have spring football. He comes in and has to learn the system in camp. It takes a while for those guys to learn to play at this level. It was good to see him emerge."

Can you talk about preparing for Eastern not knowing who their QB will be?
"Friday night surprised me. I did not know until after the game that he was suspended. Eastern started a true freshman last week -- he is a good player. I have watched him on film and he is a talented player. They moved the ball on Toledo. The other quarterback we have seen before as he played against us last year."

I heard this on the post-game and it surprises me. You'd think that you would want to know that. I mean, wouldn't that change your game plan to know they couldn't take the other guy out and bring the regular starter in. And if the media in the press box knew, then why didn't our coach. If EMU has a mobile QB, I'm going to assume they are going to use him, because we have shown that we have trouble with a player with those skills.

Do you have any thoughts on the EMU and Toledo games only counting in the MAC standings as a tie-breaker?
"To win the East you have to beat the teams in the East. To have a shot at that we are going to need some help. It is still out there. One thing I noticed is that there are only two teams in the league that can win eight games and only four teams that can win seven and we are one of those two (with a chance to win eight). If we can get that done we will have something to say. We are still fighting to win the East and still fighting to get a bowl game. Our program goals are still out there and going into November with three weeks left, that is nice to be able to say that right now."

I preferred where all the MAC games counted, but this is fairer. Each team in the division is being evaluated on the same schedule, as opposed to having a year when you had, say, NIU and UT on your crossover games. It is just dumb to have two games in November that don't count. Having said that, if this team can win 2/3 coming home and finish 7-5, that's a good step for our team, even if no bowl game is the result.

What does EMU do well offensively?
"Offensively they are very similar to us in style of offense. They use the shotgun run game. (I thought we spent most of the early part of the year saying that we were a shotgun PASS team, and that was BG football). They have been explosive at times. They have searched for answers with different players and you can see that with the quarterback situation. They have speed and quickness and anytime you play a team like that you have to have your defenders in position. We have to be sound in our assignments defensively."

Yes we do. We'll look at EMU later in the week, but this is still a game we should win, even though they seem to be getting better.

Injury Update

From the Sentinel....

Safety Jerett Sanderson (quadriceps pull)); defensive ends Joe Schaefer (foot) and Jacob Hardwick (ankle); and running back Willie Geter (ankle) could be ready for this Friday’s game at Eastern Michigan.

Haneline could be back this season, foot is not broken.

Meanwhile, getting these guys back would be huge.

Monday, November 05, 2007

This week's Blog Poll

1 Ohio State --
2 LSU 2
3 Oklahoma --
4 Oregon 1
5 West Virginia 1
6 Missouri 2
7 Kansas 2
8 Southern Cal 2
9 Texas 2
10 Arizona State 3
11 Boston College 9
12 Clemson 1
13 Auburn 1
14 Georgia 2
15 Florida --
16 Michigan 3
17 Virginia Tech --
18 Kentucky 2
19 Alabama 1
20 Tennessee 1
21 Connecticut 1
22 Boise State 2
23 California 3
24 Arkansas 2
25 Hawaii --

Dropped Out: South Carolina (#20), Wake Forest (#23).