Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Road Continues to be unfriendly to Falcons

The Falcons lost again on the road today, dropping a game to Duquesne. BG led by 7 at the half (and by ten in the early second), but accomplished little to nothing in the second half and lost easily, 76-65. The Dukes got 50 on us in the second half....we're more comfortable when the opposition gets 60 for the whole game.

Shockingly enough, I don't think I thought we could lose when we shot 50.9%, which we did. The entire game came down to fouls. We committed 18 and they committed 7, and they made 18 free throws and we made 4, and that's more than the margin of victory.

One other bad factor, we were also clobbered on the boards (-10), a pretty unusual occurrence.

Here's a couple of other charts that tell the story.

Unlike Central Arkansas and Savannah State, I think this is a pretty good team, and while a win would have been nice, this was a tough one to win.

If you read my previous post, chalk one up for the road runner.

Duquesne Preview....MEEP MEEP

It will be a very interesting contrast in styles on New Year's Eve in Pittsburgh, when the Falcons play Duquesne. See, the Dukes are all about the fact according to, they play the 16th fastest pace in Division I basketball.

The Falcons, meanwhile, are more likely to play like this cute little fact, we play at the 272nd fastest pace in D1 hoops.

That contrast will likely define the game. Last year, it certainly did, as the Dukes came into AA and hung 95 on the Falcons. Even on a possession basis (tempo-free), the Dukes are pretty effective, scoring 105.7 points per 100 possessions, while BG scores 99.4. The Dukes also give up 102.2 points per 100 possessions, so they can theoretically be scored on.

They are 40th in FG%, and put up a bunch of threes--in fact, they are 48th in threes per game, but not especially good in terms of % (33.8%).

Their season looks pretty good. They are 8-4, but the losses were @Duke, @Pitt, WVU and Old Dominion. Three good losses, and the OD team isn't too bad, but you don't want to lose by 26 at home to a team like that. They don't have any great wins either, but their body of work this year has to be seen as pretty good. They are 6.5 point favorites, whatever that means.

Their top scorers and rebounders are Aaron Jackson (17/6 and 70 assists) and Damian Saunders (15/7). The latter is a very long 6'7" player. Obviously, these are pretty good players.

This is a big test for our team. It is hard to say, but given the state of the MAC this year, it is possible Duquesne would be a pretty good MAC team, and we're playing them on the road. They also probably move and score as well as anyone we will play this year, so it will be a nice test of our defense's ability to close down the opposition when they are committed to running and shooting.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Falcon Football, NCAA Rankings

So, there's lots of review of Falcon football to do. These will kind of leak in as time allows. During the season, I always put first priority on the hoops team, since that is actual live action and I don't view Falcon basketball as second class to football.

Today, I wondered how BG ranked in the NCAA...what were our best and worst categories, etc.

It is clear that our best statistical attribute was pass defense. We were in the top quarter in pass efficiency defense (30th), and pass defense (23th). I would say that this is probably a result of having two quality senior corners and a run defense that was soft for the middle part of the schedule. In fact, rush defense (85th) was our lowest ranked category, followed closely by tackles for loss (78th).

We were also 33rd in pass efficiency, which translates to 5th in the MAC (this is clearly an area where we expected to be better).

Individually, we had only one top 20 player, and that was Diryal Briggs, who was tied for 18th in sacks.

You can look here to see the rest, but they area all pretty much in the middle of the I-A pack...which is pretty much what you would expect from a 6-6 team.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Falcons Win Easily Against Eastern Ilinois

The Falcons did the expected today, as they opened up a big early lead (+10 with less than 8 minutes gone in first half, and then it only fell below ten once more the entire way. At times it was approaching 30 points, and the outcome was never in doubt.

Obviously, as i noted in my preview yesterday, this doesn't appear to be a very good team. On our floor, we should be able to beat a team like this and beat them easily....and we did. So, that's a good thing, not a bad thing.

I also noted that EIU was a pretty good shooting team, but they weren't today. They shot only 36.4% (for 2FG and 3FG), and their leading scorer was 2-12 and had only 5 points. (He was averaging 17). Obviously, it is going to be hard to win games shooting like that, and it was for EIU today.

For Bowling Green, it wasn't a lot better, as the Falcons shot 38%. But, BG did make 8 threes (only 4 for EIU) and made 22 free throws for the remainder of the difference. Yes, you read that right...BG was 22 of 26 from the line. If only that could continue.

It was also a mismatch on the boards, and both teams did a good job on turnovers.

Individually, Chris Knight had a double double off the bench, continuing his re-emergence into the lineup (plenty of rebounds were available), Jakubowski had 13 and Moten 12.

One thing that I think is important to note. Our guys are playing fewer minutes this year as we have more depth. So, you have to take their contribution into account. For example, Erik Marschall had 9 points and seven rebounds, but that came in 17 minutes played. That is a pretty impressive contribution for that amount of time.

Well, one more game left in the calendar year, a road game on New Year's Eve against Dusquene, a team that smoked us on our floor last year. I think we are getting an idea of what we have to work with this year, and I will say this...for the first time in years, I have confidence about what we can do. Not saying that's enough to carry us real far, but I do think we are seeing what the team can do, reliably.

I would be remiss not to comment....

that the players who have de-committed from our football game have each cited a lack of contact from the new coach...who is doing all of this on his own as he assembles a staff.

I'm going to assume there is a plan to all this. It doesn't look good, that's for sure. I don't mean that it looks like the wrong thing to do, necessarily, but that it looks like the wrong way to do it. It makes the program looks disorganized and in disarray, and I worry about what people might be seeing.

I will just say this. The guy I saw at the press conference--this doesn't seem like his style, even if these are guys he didn't want. And it doesn't seem like he really had time to make those calls, unless the current coaches told him that...and they recruited these players.

Something doesn't seem right. Keeping my fingers crossed....

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Eastern Illinois Panthers

So, Eastern Illinois is making its way back to AA tomorrow. This is a team we beat 52-48 last year--it was, in fact, our worst shooting game of the year, and we won, perhaps providing the most extreme example yet of not letting your FG% determine....well, anything.

Here's a review of that game from this really cool site I found. These guys have an awesome collection of stats available for college hoops. What you see below is based on the four key factors (as seen by basketball wonks), and how they game out in this game, last year.

So, last year, both teams rebounded awfully, but we got enough boards and (wow) got to the line more and won the game. Again, check this site out if its the kind of thing that interests you. There's also a BG-specific twitter feed that sends you stuff every day.

So, what about this year?

Eastern is 3-7. (They won 7 last year). They lost by 13 to Ball State, (not the MAC's strongest team) and have beaten Manchester (DIII), Western Illinois and Tenn. State. They have not won on the road. They played a pretty good Evansville team tough on the road, but their wins are nothing special.

This team SHOOTS really well. They are 47% and 39% for the year, and their effective FG% is in the top 25% of the country. So, this does present a challenge for our team, which is making its living on stopping shooting. They also take care of the ball really well, but don't get to the line a whole bunch. They don't shoot a ton of threes, but they are pretty accurate when they do.

Defense....well, that's a different story. They are pretty grim on that end of the court. There are only about 15 less efficient defensive teams in the country so far this season...they don't get turnovers and teams have a really high effective FG% against them. They are average on the defensive boards.

They have one scoring threat, Romain Martin, who averages 17 points and has a variety of lettuce named after him. Their rebounding is pretty well distributed.

So, I guess here's where I see. This is a game we should win at home, but it will be interesting to see how our guys respond to this team, that shoots well. For that reason, it isn't a gimmee.

Tj Fatinunkin, Ricky Steele retract verbals, will attend UT

News here.

(found the Ricky Steele on

Friday, December 26, 2008

Our model--the Miami RedHawks

I have observed before that it seems to me that Coach Orr wants to develop a team that plays like the Miami RedHawks under Charlie Coles.

What does that mean? It means that you play low-tempo basketball where you are very hard to score on, limit possessions, and take run an efficient offense.

And Miami has had lots of success with this formula. It isn't always pretty, but it is something you can win with.

With that in mind, I wanted to demonstrate something that gets forgotten about Miami, with the convention stats we use.

I have been following something called "tempo-free" stats for basketball. The idea is pretty simple. If you are pushing the ball and shooting quickly, you are going to score more. But, you also give your opponents more chances to score. For that reason, points scored per game are not the best way to measure efficiency.

Rather, we are more interested in the points per possession on both sides of the floor. And the theory I wanted to test was that Miami, despite apparently anemic point per game output, is actually a very efficient offensive team, converting possessions into points.

Looking at 2007-8, the RedHawks were 10th in the MAC in points per game and first in scoring defense. But when you go to, and check out their tempo free stats, you find something very interesting.

They were the MAC's third most efficient offense, 1.067 points per possession. They were the MAC's second most efficient defense, at .97 points per possession. This combination is tough to beat.

And the reason I was looking is that, in my opinion, while we are seeing teams struggle to shoot against Bowling Green, we need still to develop a more efficient offense before we are ready to truly take advantage of our strong D.

Here's a profile of how Miami did last year on key measures, and how we have done this year against DI opposition.

Overall Efficiency


Miami 1.067 BG .995


Miami .97 BG .962

Effective FG% (treys count for 1.5).

Miami (51.5) Bowling Green (47)

Turnover percentage (as in number of possessions with a turnover).

Miami 19.7% Bowling Green 20.5%

Offensive rebounding % (percent of rebound battles won on offensive side)

Miami 31.7% Bowling Green (34.7)

FTM/FGA (A measure of how you get to the line).

Miami 21.7% Bowling Green (16.6, one of the worst in the country--331/344)

Point distribution

FT (17.4%)
2FG (55.4%)
3FG (27.2%)

Bowling Green

FT (15%)
2fg (56.4%)
3FG (28.6%)

And one defensive measure (FTA/FGA) to mesure how the teams get to the line against you.

Miami (30.9) Bowling Green (44.1)

What does that all mean. It means that we are really getting there on defense. In fact, if we didn't foul so much, we'd be really tough to score against.

And on offense? We don't shoot as well as Miami, nor take care of the ball well enough to be consistently effective.

I think this gives us an interesting snapshot of where we are. I think the team is making progress, but there are clear areas of improvement still needed.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Wishes.....

To the Falcon Nation:

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

And the wisemen spoke of peace on earth,
Of harmony and struggle
Know you now a cycle's gone and a new one is revealed.
In the weaving of your fingers
In the whisper of a love that's born again
In the weaving of your fingers
In a promise that we made that never ends.

Well now each man is a pilgrim,
Yes, we all must make the journey
And it seems that time is telling us to be all that we can
To help lift up the fallen, we must sow the seeds of goodness
The torch is passed among us now to light the way of man.

For the heart of man's a palace
And his dreams are as the sunlight
They burn away the darkness, as they warm the freezing cold
As an eagle flying higher, as a river through the canyon
The diamond star shines down upon, a pathway to the soul


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Football Recruiting Update...

Just a quick update...we've already posted about Patrick Nicely saying he was opening his college search up again after a verbal to BG. Just to note that the buzz is pretty heavy out there that others are doing the same, though I don't know of any that have outright pulled their commits.

Case in point...TJ Fatinikun of Perrysburg says his options are open in the Sentinel.

Here's the interesting part....

“The coaching change made a big impact in my decision,” he added. “I wasn’t really sure about who was going to come in, and when he (Clawson) did come in I was expecting at least some kind of call, a couple visits as quick as possible, just so I can feel comfortable with the coach."

He's the second guy who has said that he didn't get a call from Coach. The other was Nicely, but he said it after visiting Toledo the day after Clawson was hired, so it was a tad suspect.

Obviously, we don't know what's going on. We do know this.

  • Coach said he would contact the recruits right away.
  • He is a winning coach with a reputation for recruiting....whatever he is doing, we can assume he is doing it on purpose.

Based on that, I'm assuming he is recruiting hard, but just looking at some different guys. Verbal commits are just that....non-binding.

I would always encourage a player to make sure they find the right situation. It doesn't do us any good to get players here who are not 100% committed to the program. If it isn't for you, than so be it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Great Falcon Photos from the catwalk

Hey, Andrew Webber was at the Towson game last night and took some really cool photos of the game up from the catwalk. Click and Enjoy.

"The Little Things are the Big Things and the Big Things are the Little Things"

This little coaching bromide (or, was it a lesson for life) was dropped by Coach Orr in the post-game presser after last night's win over Towson 77-58 at Anderson Arena. What Coach Orr means is things like "hot stopping" (not running over the defenders) and taking care of the ball, etc. He notes that those little things add up, and its a point worth making. Even a basketball game that is decided by 10 points comes down to 3-5 possessions in a 40 minute game that, if reversed, could change the result.

I thought last night's effort was our most complete game this season. Coach said after the game that there should be no doubt that if we defend for 40 minutes, we have a chance to be successful. And that is certainly beginning to emerge as how this team will play. It is not always cinematic basketball, but my favorite style is winning.

Towson is a respectable team. They were certainly capable of coming in and beating us, and the Falcons simply handled them virtually the entire way. Some of the highlights include:

  • Holding Towson to 33.9% from the field. (I would be interested to know how many teams lose when they hold a team to that kind of shooting. If there are any).
  • Shooting 55% ourselves from the field, and 47.1% from the arc. (This accounts for the big margin of victory, but I think we win this game at 45% shooting.)
  • We shot 66% in the second half, though there were a bunch of dunks and layups against the pressing Towson.
  • We held our fouls down (17) and made almost as many free throws (9) as they did (10).
  • We had only eight did they.
  • And we had 25 assists.

I'm not much on assists ordinarily. They are pretty subjective, in my opinion. I did think we had a pretty good effort on passing the ball. Towson plays a 1-3-1 zone, and we had only one day to prepare for it, and it seemed to me that we attacked it with as much confidence as any zone we have faced. We seemed to find the baseline a lot, which, it seems to me, is the soft spot of that defense. But I'm not an x's and o's guy.

  • Individually, Darryl Clements had a monster game, 18p/6r/8a. In the post game, Coach seemed to say that he's looking for more consistency from Clements, as a senior.
  • Chris Knight had his first meaningful game of the season, scoring 13 points in 18 minutes. Coach had some nice things to say about him, though he did mention that he didn't block out on a free throw (this is what started the "big thing little thing" deal.)
  • Otis Polk went 7/7 with 3 assists in 28 minutes. I thought it was his best game as a Falcon, and I was surprised to get home and see he only had seven points. He was a presence in there, and made some nice touch passes to get the ball to the soft part of the 1-3-1.
  • Brian Moten also had 12 points, including some shots in the second half to help ensure we didn't lose this lead.

As I said, it was our most complete performance. There is still room for improvement--we didn't rebound as well as we usually do and we occasionally struggled against traps and pressure, but it was a pretty dominating win that we should be pleased with.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Right Back At it....A Towson preview

So Monday night it all starts right up again, as the Towson Tigers come calling to Anderson Arena.

Towson is 5-5 this season, and plays in the Colonial Athletic Association (with George Mason, VCU, etc). Their wins include Navy (8-3), Hampton (5-4), @Maryland-Baltimore County (5-5), @High Point (4-7) and the New Jersey Institute of Technology (0-10). They have two road wins, which is two better than we have, and the Navy and Hampton wins seems pretty good.

Their losses are to Niagara (8-2), #18 Villanova (10-1), Penn State (9-2), St. Joe's (4-5), and Hofstra (8-2).

And, they've lost two out of their last three and have to be looking to get well.

This team will not be a push-over, and will present nice test for our team. According to this write-up on Yahoo, they seem to watch up well with us in that:

  • They rebound poorly (and we rebound well)
  • They have been shooting free throws poorly, keeping them from maximizing our biggest disadvantage.
Offensively, they are scoring in the high 60's and would appear to be a pretty-high paced team. They are a 3-dominated team, with 40% of the their FGs coming from beyond the arc. (For BG it is 30%). Their 34.5% is almost exactly what BG's is.

At 13 TO's per game, they are about where BG is. They allow 41% against in field goals, which is also pretty solid.

Their coach, Pat Kennedy is a "wily" veteran you may remember from previous stints at Florida State and DePaul.

They have three scorers in double figures. Their leading scorer and rebounder is Junior Hairston (14/5), and freshman Troy Franklin is adding 11 points and 5.5 assists from the point.

Anyway, that's about what we will see tonight. I'm not trying to make these guys out to be North Carolina, but after playing Wayne State and Detroit at home, this is clearly the best challenge we have faced on our floor.

Fun Fact: At 37.8%, our FG defense is 34th in the country, which is about in the Top Ten%.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Central Arkansas Whammy

We gotta quit playing these guys....

The Bears did it to us again last night in a place called Conway, Arkansas. It was another disappointing road loss for our team. Not only were we playing a team we really should be able to beat, but we had another big lead and lost it. In fact, we were up 9 when the 8:00 media time out came. From there on in, we scored only five points, and Central scored on their last six possessions, and then nailed a buzzer beating tip in to win in regulation.

It really isn't very pretty. You can listen to Coach Orr's post-game presser, which I think did a pretty good job at not glossing over our problems.

  • We have to get tougher.
  • "We've lost some leads."
  • He's more concerned at the last six possessions then the fact we didn't score.
  • "Our challenge is to get stops."
  • We needed that last rebound.
  • There are "intangible" things you bring inside you.
  • Too many turnovers, especially on charges.
  • Too many fouls, especially on three point shooters. (fouling a team shooting 27% from outside the arc just doesn't make good sense).
All this is right. We're clearly still a work in progress, and we're clearly have real problems on the road. We have yet to win on the road this season, and while a couple of those losses (Illinois State, Minnesota and Ohio State) were respectable, you'd hope to beat Central Arkansas and Savannah State.

The game was really lost on fouls. We committed 22 fouls. The Bears shot 26 free throws, and did it well, hitting 22 of them. We made 9, so that's a 13 point swing, and explains how we lost a game where we shot 46% and our opponents shot 37%. Central committed only 11 fouls, and 4 turnovers.

We're 0-5 on the road so far this season, and we were 4-10 last season. So, 4-15 in the Orr era. Also, we were 2-8 over our last ten last year, which is 2-13 over the last 15.

Of course saying that winning on the road is what makes a good basketball team is something akin to saying that being a good mountain climber is what gets you up Mt. Everest. Winning on the road is what separates the good teams from the bad teams.

And, right now, we're not quite there.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

EMU Head Coaching Job

Maybe we spoke a little too soon. The word is that Ron English will get the job in Ypsilanti.

A few thoughts..

  • They instantly become a serious MAC program.
  • It represents a clear move by EMU to make football serious.
  • It will make Falcon fans say, "you mean we could have had Ron English?"

Da Bears....

So we're heading back to the hardwood somewhere in Central Arkansas, to play the Bears. This is the school where Scotty Pippen went, and Bowling Green provided them with their first Division I win (on our floor), a proud moment in the Dakich Era.

They are 5-4 on the season, but, uh, there's a little more to that story than you might think. The Bears have taken jekyl and hyde scheduling to a new low...Wins include:

Bacone College
, a NAIA school in OK focused on Christians and American Indians.
William Woods College, also NAIA.
Ecclesia College. (I thought Ecclesia was a venereal disease, but it is apparently a Division I school. Yes, Divsion I. In the National Christian College Athletic Association.)

So, they're really 2-4.

Wins over UNC Greensboro (1-7, lost to Kent this week) and The Citadel (5-6). They have lost to Northwestern, Vanderbilt, South Dakota State and Missouri State.

I don't know. I guess they get some credit for beating The Citadel and losing to South Dakota State on a neutral floor is nothing to be proud of. (In fact, the game was in Mexico, so it was in a neutral country).

Their coach, Rand Chappell has a 69% winning percentage at four year schools.

On paper, they are similar to us. They run a pretty good rotation, they don't shoot well but people don't shoot well against them. They are outrebounding and out-turnovering (?) their opponents, commit a lot of get the idea.

As always, these things are hard to predict and winning on the road is always tough. Let's just say that we've been struggling on the road, and this is a good opportunity to get our confidence back with a road win. Wink wink.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Quiet week in the Nation....

Some MAC Coaching news, as expected, Stan Parrish will coach Ball State next year, and says that EMU is being turned down a lot for its coaching job and is now looking at the head coach at Wayne State. He is 21-29 in five seasons.

I guess I'm surprised how unappealing the EMU job is. Obviously, on paper, its a bad job but so many of these coaches have such belief in themselves that they are ready to take on the biggest challenge because of how good it will make them look.

Just as an example, the Co-Defensive coordinator at LSU just took the head coaching job at Northwestern State. He would have been an excellent hire at LSU.

Quick football note....The Blade is reporting that Doug Phillips and John Hunter are the only assistants who will return under the new regime.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Team awards lost in the shuffle

With all the excitement over the new coach, the news from the Falcon Football banquet was lost in the shuffle. Its a little bit like a pee wee soccer team--everybody gets something--but it is hard to object to that. This was a great group of seniors who deserve recognition.

Team MVP was Diryal Briggs, and that's tough to argue with. John Haneline and Antonio Smith also got some significant awards. Anyway, check them out. Congratulations to the winners.

President's Award - Marques Parks
Captain's Award - Antonio Smith, John Haneline, Jeff Fink, Corey Partridge, Brandon Curtis
Coaches' Award - John Haneline
Carlos Jackson Award - Jeff Fink
Doyt Perry Award - Joe Sharp
Glenn Sharp Award - Vince Palko
Ken Schoeni Award - Nick Davis
Orange Helmet Award - Nate Waldron
Future Award - Adrien Spencer
Top Defensive Lineman - Diyral Briggs
Top Linebacker - John Haneline
Top Defensive Back - Antonio Smith
Top Offensive Lineman - Jeff Fink
Top Receiver - Corey Partridge
Top Offensive Back - Tyler Sheehan
Special Teams - Antonio Smith
MVP - Diyral Briggs
Aaron Richardson - Zach Akenberger
Top Victory Club Performers -
Offense - Jimmy Scheidler
Defense - Jerett Sanderson
Special Teams - Jimmy Scheidler
Special Teams - PJ Mahone
Scout Team Players of the Year - Anthony Stover & Nick Tuminello
Top Student-Athlete - Cody Basler

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Assistant Coach Talk

Here's the scuttlebutt on assistant coaches, from various sources, including and, as well as closely cultivated, anonymous and largely hypothetical personal sources.

Footballscoop is saying that Villanova OC Sam Venuto is being approached for our OC job, and Richmond DC Russ Huesman is being approached for DC. The Spiders are playing for a national championship next week--and Huesman is also reportedly in the running at Chattanooga.

Anyway, rumors also are that Troy Rothenbuhler, Jim Hofher and John Hunter will be back from the current staff. That rumor is based on what people have heard, and the fact that they are the only coaches still listed on the website.

If true, that means is that they the entire defensive staff, including Doug Phillips, the recruiting coordinator, were let go.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hoke/Ball State and MAC Coaches

Just a quick, non-Falcon note, Brady Hoke is leaving Ball State to go to San Diego State. It seems like he was mentioned for Auburn about thirty seconds ago, so this might seem to some people like kind of a lateral move.

It is probably not that lateral though.

  • He probably is making a lot more money.
  • That program is a sleeping giant with huge potential.
  • San Diego might have the best weather in the whole country.
  • If he wants to coach in the BCS, this is the next step.
Here's something to chew on. When was the last time a MAC Coach went directly from our conference to an iconic BCS program like Auburn, Florida, etc.

No, Terry Hoeppner going to Indiana does not count. Don James made that Washington job, not the other way around. Pinkel is close, but Missouri is not a top-tier BCS school, though it certainly is a bigger accomplishment than getting to San Diego State. You get the idea.

Urban Meyer had a stop off in Utah. Really, I can't think of a MAC coach who vaulted directly that high into the college football universe....maybe since Woody Hayes.

Anyhow, a couple notes. If you check the Ball State blog linked on the left, you'll see that reciminations are flying already at the administration in Muncie for losing Hoke, and, they believe, Nate Davis. Also, this blog at the Muncie Star says that an ESPN report that OC Stan Parrish has accepted the Ball State job is erroneous.

That would be the textbook thing to do...promote stability by promoting the top assistant, and hope you can bring Nate Davis back, etc.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Patrick Nicely withraws verbal

Patrick Nicely has withdrawn his verbal to BGSU, stating that the new coach hasn't called him yet. He is a very highly ranked QB, and we were happy to get him. You can check the Falcon Nation's rather unsympathetic comments here.

There will be some turnover. Keep an eye on the big picture.

We hope so too, Brian

Just in case you don't Falcon players are putting their heart and soul into each game, check out how Brian Moten describes his feelings about the Savannah State loss in the Blade this morning....

"I'll probably never be over that," BG's senior guard said. "Hopefully something good happens like I get married and then I'll get over it."

From the Orr Post-game presser

You know, in the post-game presser, Coach Orr was asked what the team could do to shoot better than 40%.

I swear, he was honestly stumped. He ended up with an answer "make more zero footers," and that would certainly help.

But, you know what the real answer is?

I don't think he really cares. I think he views field goal shooting as a flight of fancy, something that comes and goes in the wind. I think he wants to figure out how the team can play well enough to win with 40% FGs every time.

And I'm fine with that. My favorite kind of basketball is winning.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Falcons Win Slugfest at Anderson Arena

Wow. Well, upon returning home, I saw that we had not allowed a team under forty points in 44 years. The last time was on a February date in 1964 to Western Ontario (Oh Canada!) and tonight was the next.

It was a tough night for the Titans. They were having trouble scoring, and then their top scorer didn't play, and that's a rough combination. They stayed with it the whole way, despite absolutely horrific offensive statistics and even got the game down to 10 points before BG put a run on and closed out the 58-38 win.

The tale of woe includes:

  • 10 Field Goals. (This has to be a record).
  • That's 23%, with 17% in the first half, and a relatively scorching 28% in the second.
  • Of their 38 points, 17 game on free throws. (In other words, if we had not committed 21 fouls--not to mention 17 turnovers), they might have scored even less.
  • Guards Donavan Payne and Woody Payne were 4-19 from the field.
  • They actually have a guy who is 7'3". He tripped over the center line.
  • The Titans were also out-rebounded 49-28.

It was far from perfect performance from the Falcons. As mentioned above, we had problems with fouls and turnovers, and and only shot 40% ourselves. Actually, with 16:00 left in the game we were up 25, and then got only 8 points in the next 12 minutes as Detroit pulled within 10. However, the Titans DID NOT SCORE AGAIN after that (no, not even a free throw). It was starting to feel like Savannah State, but this time we turned the ship around before it got close.

We did get 7 threes, and that certainly helped.

Brian Moten had a nice night with 15, with Clements and Jakubowski adding 13 (he also had nine boards and seven assists. He plays such a high energy game, and he does it with lots of minutes.)

Our scoring slump coincided with Detroit moving to a zone. This has been a problem for our program for as long as I can remember, and we are no more effective against a zone now than we were in the DD era. We'll have the figure it out, because I am sure it stands out like a beacon on film.

Well, a win is a win is a win. We needed one, and we got it. I still worry about how this team will perform when we get into MAC play. I worry about our ability to score consistently, and I think everyone was counting on more production from a couple of players who aren't providing it right now.

The good news is, the MAC is down. And if we get it put together, it is even more wide open than we thought at the beginning of the year.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Preview the Titans....

Na na na...ooops, wrong Titans.

Anyway, the Detroit Mercy Titans are coming to town tomorrow, and its exciting just to be playing at home again. A win gets us back to 4-4 again, and is something we really should be able to get.

It might not always be that way. The Titans are coached by Ray McCallum, former highly successful coach (and player) at Ball State, and a refugee from the Sampson regime at Indiana. (Jay Smith is an assistant. No really, I didn't make that up).

But for now, things are a struggle for UDM. (The "M" stands for Mercy). They are 2-5 so far, with one win over St. Louis and Eastern Michigan where the Eagle coach popped a fan. We don't have to worry about that, since the game is in our gym.

Along the way, they've lost to Purdue, WMU, DePaul, and a cheesey two-fer to Wisconsin Green Bay AND Milwaukee.

They have yet to win on the road. They were 1-13 last year, too. They struggle to score...their leading scorer and rebounder is Xavier Keeling at 12 points a game/6 board a game. He's a DII star who started his career as a Hoosier.

They average 57 points a game and shoot only 40%/28% from the field. They are almost -5 turnovers per game, and have commited an absolute shload of fouls. (Warning, tomorrow's game could have the pace of middle school field hockey). Their assist to turnover is approaching 1:2.

But, the schedule has probably been tougher than ours. On our floor, I'd like to say this is one we should win. The Titans were picked to be second to last in the Horizon just have to think this is a winnable one. But, this team isn't to the point where there are any sure wins.

Contract update

Here's the news....Clawson got a six-year deal (WOW!) at BG....salary info is listed.

Clawson has a six-year contract with a base salary of $200,000 per year, Christopher said. With incentives the contract could be worth between $290,000 and $400,000.

Also, some chatter on that QB verbal Patrick Nicely is taking a visit to Toledo. Just a quick note to the Nation--don't lose focus on one guy, even one as promising as Nicely.

Turning our attention to basketball for a minute...

Here's a nice write up on MAC Report Online on MAC basketball to show where the league stands right now. Which is not very good. In the author's opinion, it is a down year for the MAC.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Here's one thing....

Seems like the least he could have done was tell this guy he had tape on his helmet. I'm sure I would have wanted to know.

Clawson Presser--"A Degree and a Championship"

Humor-wise (and content-wise) these opening deals are usually a little bland--usually lots of thank yous and platitudes. With that in mind, we don't delay. Anything I outright make up will be in orange.

The presser began with the cheerleaders leading a cheer to the sounds of "Forward Falcons" which was kind of corny, but cool, too.

The Communications guy said that it was BGSU's first web-streamed athletic event. I watched it, and it worked pretty well.

He asked that no one stand and clap until it was over (winning today's award for presumption).

Greg Christopher talked.

The first reference to "the next level" came at 2:36. PM.

GC actually had some interesting things to say. First, he watched Richmond play App. State in the FCS semi-final "one year and five days ago," and filed away Dave Clawson's name in a "mental file," perhaps beginning a subliminal deatwatch to the Brandon tenure.

He said they met 10 days ago for three hours at the Montgomery Inn. They did not share ribs, as that would have been inappropriate. (no, he said that).

They noted similar philosophies. Then 5 days ago he did a full presentation about the program.

Christopher went on to say that he felt Clawson was committed to running a "total program," fitting his rationale for letting a nominally winning coach go two weeks ago.

He also dropped that Clawson has recruited Ohio.

Next, the new Coach came up.

To answer your main question--baseball cap, not jersey.

He complimented Christopher on being "close to the vest," (which he is), and that he didn't even think he was a serious candidate until 12 hours ago.

But he's ready to get into the "foxhole" with Greg Christopher.

Then, he mentioned his wife, and he actually choked up when he recalled what he had "put her through" over the last 10 months. This is worth thinking about...they pick up from Richmond, go to Knoxville, where the situation goes really bad. He had to have been abused in the media and the fanspace there this year. And then, out of that hell, one year later, you're heading to a new town. Also, it is possible he thought he wouldn't get back to head coaching, or at least so soon.

Said he turned down a BCS coordinator position.

He has recruited Cleveland and Youngstown (at Fordham, playing on the Catholic connection) and had Cincy for Tennessee.

He said BG must win recruiting Ohio. (Is this a reaction to the Brandon/Meyer more national perspective? My guess is that is the direction the school wants to go in).

He is looking for strong staff ties. When he went to Richmond, he knew nothing about Virginia. His first three hires were from Virginia.

He said to recruit Ohio well, we have to give players a great experience, so they go back home at talk BG up as "the best 4-5 years of my life." Here he dropped a great mission statement for our program:

"Each player should go home with a degree and a championship."

In my mind, you can't say it (or do it) any better than that.

Showing some self-deprecation that might seperate him from his predecessor, he said that he went to Fordham where they had 12 losing seasons, and the first year he "made it worse." Anyway, said he learned a lot, and has continued to learn right up until he learned about a big-time program last year at Tennessee.

Here is his to do list.

  1. Take care of business "this weekend" (nice) on recruiting, keeping commits and filling the class. There is one week left in the open recruiting period.
  2. Form a staff. Nothing more important.
  3. Work with the existing players. He notes he is asking for their "blind trust."

His goal for any program is sustained success. No spikes.

He also noted that there is no need to gut the program here.

On offense, he said he is not a "system guy," another clear break from the previous coach. At this level, he said, your system has to flexible enough to make best use of your players. He said the players asked if we would use the spread and he said "if our four best players are wide receivers, then we'll be in a lot of 4 WR sets."

He has coached teams that ran well and teams that passed well.

His offensive goal is to get the ball to "playmakers in space." Another pretty good offensive mission statement.

He said the players, not plays, win games.

Then, he left the podium to the sounds of ay-ziggy-zoomba and more cheerleaders.

I am fired up. I don't know what it is, but I think this guy has it. He seems confident without being arrogant about himself or his "system." He has the right goals, and has already proven he can get there. I can't wait to see how he does.

Uninformed commentary on Dave Clawson

OK, what would the internet be without uninformed and occasionally tasteless commentary?

So, I've posted a couple times on our new football coach, and its time for me to "contribute" my perspective.

Everything feels right about it.

There. Now, it wouldn't be the Internet if I didn't bloviate about it until any (largely theoretical) reader cries for mercy.

I just think this is the right guy.

I like that he is a proven head coach, not a coordinator who might or might not be a head coach.

I like that he has won at places where it is hard to win, because at Bowling Green, it isn't easy. Many or most of the players wish they were elsewhere. We are the little brother to most of the football fans in the area. A guy who won at Fordham, you know, he doesn't expect to have it all handed to him. We weren't born on third base. Our team has to run.

Yes, all that was at I-AA. Two thoughts. I'd like to introduce you to a guy we know as "Jim Tressel." Also, good I-AA teams are probably competitive MAC level teams. With fewer scholarships.

He's young. I like that. You get a seasoned head coach and yet he's young enough to have plenty in front of him. I like that.

I like that he's an offensive coach. That's the kind of football I like to see us play.

I also like the talk at Tennessee about running a multi-set offense. This seems to be the trend in college football. A lot of spread looks but some variety in packages, and I think that promises to bring an easy transition to our team.

Anyway you slice it, he's been a part of some pretty good football players.

No, he doesn't have midwest ties. No one has every factor. If he hires the right assistants, that will take care of itself. And if he builds a kick-ass program, it will also take care of itself.

Finally, I don't care if he does well and moves on. If he does well, I'd love him to retire here.

But, as a rule, there are two ways a coach leaves BG.

  • The way Urban Meyer did.
  • The way Gregg Brandon did.

I hope he leaves by the first route.

Promise is just that. Just like you or I at our jobs, or a player or an athletic director or a guy who opens a bakery, you have to actually do the thing successfully. And that starts today. And I'll be screaming from the 50 next fall.

Presser will be at 2:30. You in theory will be able to watch live through this page.

More gushing on Dave Clawson

  • He's 41.
  • He was a defensive back at Williams College (small prestigious school, people study there). He also played basketball. And he studied political economy.
  • The team's nickname is the Ephs.
  • He was an assistant at Albany, Buffalo, Lehigh, Villanova.
  • He coached for five years at Fordham (29-29) and four years at Richmond (29-20).
  • He was 3-19 his first two years at Fordham, and then 26-10 the next three years, including a trip to the I-AA Quarterfinals.
  • He was twice conference coach of the year with Fordham.
  • Prior to his arrival, Fordham had 12 straight losing seasons.
  • He was twice named I-AA coach of the year, once at each school.
  • After a 3-8 first season, he was 26-12 with the Spiders. He made the I-AA semifinals with Richmond, and made the tournament one other season.
  • His offenses there were huge, and he developed a highly ranked QB (Stacy Tutt, who is now with the Jets).
  • According to the release on, here are some players he has coached...Brian Westbrook (Eagles), receiver Brian Finneran (Falcons), tailbacks Rabih Abdullah (Buccaneers, Bears and Patriots) and Tim Hightower (Cardinals), quarterbacks Stacey Tutt (Jets) and Kevin Eakin (Bills), and defensive lineman Aki Jones (Redskins).

Most of the above information courtesy wikipedia.

Some more stuff. ESPN had this on him when he took the Tennessee job.

"His multiple offensive system using the talents of the players available to their fullest has been impressive," Fulmer said. "He has a great passion for recruiting, which is important for Tennessee, and his experience as a head coach will serve us well."

He had big time offenses at Richmond. Check the numbers out in his bio, here.

The offense has combined for 8,817 yards over the past two seasons, which is the most-ever in back-to-back seasons in Richmond football history.
Here's the Blade article introducing Clawson.

To be fair, you do have to mention that the offense at Tennessee was dreadful this year. (They scored 7 points against Wyoming, a team BG, for example, rolled over). It doesn't sour me on this coach, however, given his track record as a head coach and an offensive coach.

Here's the USA Today article when he went to Tennessee.

Note that he did leave Richmond one week after signing an extension.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Breaking News--reports say new Coach is named

If you check out this link from Tennessee, you will see that the report is that Dave Clawson will be announced as Falcon coach soon.

Judging by the earlier responses on, I think its safe to say the Nation will be, well, orgasmic over this pick. He won the I-AA coach of the year at two different schools, so he is a proven head coach at schools where you have to fight to win. He has big school experience. I think it looks to me like a really good pick.

More coming, as it develops.

Football Game by Game Review

OK, unwisely, I had decided to try and predict each game on the Falcon season, all before the season actually started....UH, I didn't do so hot. Know what I mean?

So with all due humility, here goes....

Date Opponent / Event Location Time/Result
08/30/08 at Pittsburgh TV Pittsburgh, Pa. L (WRONG)
09/06/08 vs. Minnesota TV Bowling Green, Ohio W (WRONG)
09/13/08 at Boise State Boise, Idaho L (RIGHT)
09/27/08 at Wyoming TV Laramie, Wyo. W (RIGHT)
10/04/08 vs. Eastern Michigan Bowling Green, Ohio W (WRONG)
10/11/08 at Akron Akron, Ohio W (RIGHT)
10/18/08 vs. Miami Bowling Green, Ohio W (WRONG)
10/25/08 at Northern Illinois DeKalb, Ill. L (RIGHT)
11/01/08 vs. Kent State Bowling Green, Ohio L (WRONG)
11/08/08 at Ohio Athens, Ohio W (RIGHT)
11/21/08 vs. Buffalo Bowling Green, Ohio W (WRONG)
11/28/08 at Toledo TV Toledo, Ohio W (RIGHT)

As you can see, the final score was 6-6. I don't regret not seeing the Pitt road win coming, and I never thought we'd lose to EMU. Laughingly, I picked Kent to beat us because I figured we would lose once at home, and that was the MOST likely. Sheesh.

Anyway, that's the sad tale of woe.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

MAC Football Predictions

OK, so this Fall, I decided to see who could really see the future in terms of MAC football...who had the ability to prognosticate most effectively. I promised to let the ugly story come out once it was all over, and here it is. (see data here).

I scored the predictions based on number of points from actual finish, once tiebreakers had been employed. So, for example, if you had Ball State third, you lose two points. Similarly, if you had Bowling Green first, you lose one point. You get the idea, I think. Lower is better...

Here are the final standings:

  1. Vandelay (20)
  2. Steele (22)
  3. MAC Report (24)
  4. MAC Media (24)
  5. Ryan of the Blade (26)
  6. Me (26)

So, I finished in a tie for last, heavy emphasis on the word tie. I wasn't the worst, but, you know, it was pretty grim.

Some highlights:

  • Vandelay was the only person to pick Ball State to win the west, and the only person to pick ANY team correctly in the East Division when he picked Temple to be third. He also picked Buffalo to be second, the highest of any of our would-be swamis.
  • Phil Steele was the only one to pick three positions exactly right, which is the final three slots in the West.
  • MAC Report online lost points on Kent (too high) and Temple (too low).
  • Everyone blew chunks on Miami.
  • The Media did not get one position right in either division, and vastly underrated NIU.
  • Me? Well, I was the only one to pick CMU not to win the west, though I had the wrong team taking their place. I had Buffalo fifth because of I didn't think they were good enough to survive their rough schedule.
  • Ryan had Ball State finishing fourth in the West.

So, hey. That was fun. More medicine swallowing to come soon, as I look at other prognostications and we begin to look back on the season in our rear-view mirro.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Okay Falcon Fans...

Quick....was Mike Ward a good DC or not?

I think prior to this past weekend, a lot of fans were not so sure..(or, they WERE sure...)

and then he got hired to coach at (OMG!!) UT!, and, well, suddenly he started to look better.

Yes, and Matt Campbell is not going to go to Wyoming....but he will coach the Rockets too.

A couple things. First, I don't know how good a coach Mike Ward was. The results were mixed to good for the defense under his watch. I'd say that I look forward to facing his prevent defense next year, but that would be catty. Plus, I want us to be ahead.

I will say this. I have heard from several sources that he was a first class person, someone players respected and who recruits were looking to. So, I'm sorry to lose that.

And, this is a really good move by Beckman. He solidifies his staff, gets someone in talking to recruits right now, maybe poaches a couple, and gets a pretty good coach.

Not to panic, Falcon fans. There are lots of good coaches out there, just looking for this opportunity. No one is irreplaceable. We're going to get an infusion of new energy, too. Tim Beckman may be a really good coach at UT. And if we get the right coach, that will just make our team better.

Coaching Rumor

Football says that Dave Clawson, the former OC at Tennessee and head coach at Richmond has spoken to the Falcons.

Its certainly an interesting person. If you check here, he was the I-AA (FBS) coach of the year TWICE while he was at Richmond. I do like the sound of that. He's a proven head coach.

Monday, December 08, 2008

CBS Sports Blogpoll Draft, comments welcome

1 Oklahoma 2
2 Florida 2
3 Texas 1
4 Alabama 3
5 Penn State --
6 Southern Cal --
7 Texas Tech --
8 Utah --
9 Boise State --
10 Ohio State 2
11 TCU 2
12 Cincinnati 4
13 Oklahoma State 3
14 Oregon 4
15 Brigham Young 4
16 Georgia Tech 4
17 Georgia 6
18 Michigan State 5
19 Missouri 5
20 Oregon State 3
21 Mississippi 3
22 Virginia Tech 4
23 Florida State 1
24 Boston College 3
25 Pittsburgh 1

Dropped Out: Ball State (#15), Iowa (#25).

More on shooting percentage

Just for yuks, I went back and looked at last season to test out the theory of whether you have to shoot well to win. Of course, "well" is a relative term, but as it turns out, there is no doubt that when we shot well, we won more.

Here's each game from last season, with wins in orange and losses in black. You can look at the data here.

A few points.

  • When we shot above our season average, we were 10-5.
  • We were 7-1 above 50% (but I suspect most teams would be)
  • We were 3-4 between the average and 50%. (To me, this is the key measure. We win when we shoot well and lose when we shoot lousy. But, how about when we shoot pretty good--above average, but not scorching? And here is your answer).
  • We were 3-12 below our season average.
  • When we shot below 50%, we were 6-16. In other words, we only consistently won with a FG% above 50.
  • In fact, we shot below 40% ten times....I don't care what kind of defense you play, that's tough to work with.
  • It is interesting that we won the two games where we shot the absolute worst on the season. I remember a nice win at AA against OU, and I don't really recall much about the EIU game.

Opponent FG%
Morehead 0.667
Ball 0.561
UT 0.542
Oakland 0.542
Buffalo 0.538
Furman 0.509
Kent 0.508
Belmont 0.5
CMU 0.491
EMU 0.49
Detroit 0.481
Cincy 0.464
Duquesne 0.464
Indiana State 0.463
Miami 0.455
-----------Season Average---------
Kent 0.422
NIU 0.414
Akron 0.412
WMU 0.409
Miami 0.4
N. Colorado 0.396
Illinois State 0.396
Toledo 0.382
Western Carolina 0.375
Temple 0.359
Ohio 0.356
Akron 0.333
Buffalo 0.328
Ohio 0.302
Eastern Illinois 0.291

Sunday, December 07, 2008

"You can't let your FG% determine your winning %"

This Confucian bit of hoops wisdom is at the core of our basketball philosophy. The basic idea is that you can't count on always shooting well, but you can always defend well and rebound well. Its a good philosophy, especially on teams where you don't usually have a deep set of pure shooters.

I doubt, however, that the philosophy extends to last night's game, however. Bowling Green was in a game long shooting funk, shooting 30% in the first half and 38% in the second half for a 34% game average, and that's a loss. From Todd Walker's radio call, it wasn't all Illinois State fact, we apparently missed a ton of shots from right around the basket.

Illinois State is a good team, and we were battling them hard. The game was tied with 5 left in the first half. The tie was at other words, we weren't scoring, but neither were they. The wrong half of that equation changed, as ISU scored 32 points in the next twelve minutes and BG scored 7, and at that point, its blow out city. We didn't quit, and eventually had a shot to get it to single digits, but that's as close as it got as ISU breezed to the win.

When I did my season preview, I said that my biggest concern was who was going to score the ball. And, this game is where we see the problem. Nate Miller had 15, and he is a pretty consistent scorer. Joe Jakubowski had 14, and he can score in little bursts, too. However, Brian Moten (1-11) and Daryl Clements (3-8) did not get production like they have in our stronger games. Not a criticsm, just a look at what happened, and that this team--while deep--sometimes lacks a critical mass of consistent scorers.

And, ISU shot 60% from the field in the second half, so that's not really in the formula, either.

A few other notes:

  • We made only 7 turnovers.
  • We made 69% of our free throws.
  • Otis Polk had eight boards and four blocks in 19 minutes. (As a team we blocked 11 shots, but I'm not convinced how tightly that stat relates to winning).
  • Chris Knight logged 1 minute.
  • Freshmen Scott Thomas is not afraid to shoot, taking seven shots. That bodes well once he gets his legs and starts to hit them.
I know we are in a little bit of a trough here, but I'm not overly concerned. To use an overused phrase, I think we are who we thought we were. We've had some guys where we were on the plus side of those expectations and some on the downside.

We've got a week off for finals, and then a nice little string of four pretty winnable games coming up, and I'll be looking to see us show the lessons learned in this rough patch.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Last Night's Game

Let me just say, that's why I love college football. (I didn't see the game because, hey, RICHROD, I do have a life.)

I'm going to be happy for Buffalo--they have come so far in so little time, and the players there today took a huge leap of faith heading to that program. And I am happy for them...a great upset, but a team that is underrated when you look at their body of work.

I would not have been sorry to see Ball State win. They were an excellent team that won despite losing the second best player. I think they are classy, and they survived a really challenging conference schedule, with all the pressure on them. I'm tempted to say that it would have been good for the MAC for them to go undefeated, but, you know, we're never going to sit at the grown up table no matter what we do.

I'm sublimating thoughts that we were one on-side kick from beating the Buffalo team...and if we had been in Detroit, I think we might have beaten a BSU team turning the ball over that often. Nope. Not gonna think about that.

In case you haven''t seen them yet

The initial concepts for the Stroh Center were released this week by BG, on the same day that the Rockets were opening their retread facility. NICE!

Anyway, here's what they look like. My opinion? They're eye popping. I love the feel you get from the inside--I think it gets at what they promised, which was an Anderson Arena intimacy in a new facility. The outside is also great. The exterior approach creates excitement and sells tickets. The giant Falcon??? Oh so sweet. I'm pumped.

Wait. This is the Internet. I have to bitch about something....let's see. OK! The Arena is located in Lot Six out by the Football Stadium. It was a lot better when the Arena was on the main part of campus and you could walk there if you were a student. What kind of Mickey Mouse operation is this, anyway?

No, really, I'm psyched....for opening day, 2011. (Why so long? That's another thing!)

The first view is from I-75, the second from Wooster, and the third is a game where we are playing (I think, if you look closely) Michigan.


Friday, December 05, 2008

In a moment worthy of Mad Magazine....

The Blade is reporting that Matt Eberflus, former Rocket captain, is being looked at for the Bowling Green job. I mean, they get Beckman, and we take one of their guys.

Illinois State Preview

Well, Saturday our hoopsters will head to the floor and take on Illinois State in what, on the surface, appears to be an exercise in character-building for our guys. To wit:

  • Illinois State was picked to be #3 in the Missouri Valley, a pretty good (note understatement which is used here for both irony and taste) conference.
  • I-State is 7-0 and has won two tournaments so far. (Although they did host one of them, and the schedule hasn't been back-breaking).
  • I-State features Osiris Eldridge, a Jr. G who is the pre-season player of the year in the MVC, and has already been the player of the week.
  • Eldridge is not their leading scorer, however, that honors goes to Champ Iguchi (I couldn't make that up).
  • They are shooting 49% and outscoring their opponents by 17 points per game.
  • Their coach is a Bill Self protege.
  • Their tournament is St. Louis is called Arch Madness. No, it is. No, I don't know who thought of that.
It does look like a tough assignment, but so did playing at OSU and Minnesota and we hung in there on those. An upset win would really add to our team's confidence....

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Come to Dark Side, Tim

The news this morning breaks with the reports that Tim Beckman will be the new head coach at UT. He has, apparently, been seduced into joining the forces of the evil empire, awed by their dark and yet powerful ways. Let the battle begin...

OK, really. Its hard to root against Tim Beckman. He's a high quality person and someone I think a lot of. Like pretty much everyone, he was maligned as DC on the Internet when he was here, but you can see my post below when he got the OSU job.

Note that Jim Tressel and Urban Meyer have hired this guy....there's a good chance he can coach football. We did have some defensive struggles, but we also had some really good defensive teams, particularly in Meyer's first season.

This is his first venture as a head coach, so it will be interesting to see how he does. There's a whole new skill set to being the head guy.

One last thing....note how he was not the subject of any "informed" speculation during the UT job hunt. Just something to keep in mind when we think we know what is going on.

Gosh Tim Beckman. If only he'd gone anywhere but Toledo....

Offensive Efficiency Ratings--Rocket Version

Its been a few weeks since I have summoned up the energy to look at the offensive efficiency rating for one of our games. Rest assured that I have been keeping the database up to date, and, as always, you can view it here absolutely free of charge.

And, if you want to know what it all means, you can click here.

Basically, you get points for each play, based on the situation. On 2-10, a three yard gain is worth no points. On 3-2, a three yard gain is worth a point. Big plays are worth multiple points, and turnovers and lost yard plays are negative points.

For comparison purposes, there were 1,501 plays scored during the season. 48.8% of them are "winning plays" (worth at least one point) and .79 points per play is the standard over those plays.

For BG, it was among the best offensive games of the season. We had three turnovers, which really hurts your total, or else it probably would have been our top game. In general, the numbers are in the vicinity of what we did against Kent.

We had "wins" on 54% of our plays, which means that we were over 50% for the last four games of the season. Our 1.03 points per play is really good, and tied with our season best, which was Kent. Our 1.88 points per winning play (which is a measure of big plays) is the third best for the season.

We had excellent balance. In fact, at 1 point for each running play and 1.03 points per passing play, it was our only game where both running and passing were over one point per play.

Finally, we absolutely killed on second and third down....1.42 points per play on second down and 1.07 points per play on third down. Both pretty tough to defend. (I have a theory that I will test in the off-season that the secret to moving the ball is to have a winning play on first or second down.)

As for the defense, well, this was probably our best game of the year, and without debate ranks with OU and Wyoming as among the top performances.

UT had only 36% winning plays, very similar to the OU and Wyoming scores. Their points per play was .39, which was the season best, and the 1.05 points per winning play was also among the best.

The most stunning stat is the passing stat...UT had negative points (thanks to turnovers and sacks) on passing plays. This is an incredible stat. They did run for .79 points, but there were some garbage yards once the game was over. BG killed them on first down (.28 points per play) and third down (.23 points per play), which plays a pretty critical role in keeping the team afloat.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Football reports

That Falcon OL Coach Matt Campbell is heading to Wyoming to join Dave Christensen's staff.

CBS Blog Poll

The Blog Poll is out for this week, and the voters succumbed to the drumbeat and moved Oklahoma up, with Florida actually jumping both of them. Anyway, I was only the fourth most stubborn voter this week...

All-MAC Teams Light on Falcons--Updated

The All-MAC teams are out for the MAC, and its slim pickings for the orange and brown.

I guess I'm not too surprised, but I do think we had some defensive players, especially in the secondary, who deserved a ranking. Also, Dozier and Haneline? Not even third team? Doesn't seem right...

Anyway, we had no offensive players on any of the three first teams, and that has got to be a first going back through the Brandon/Meyer era. I'm certainly not suggesting that any of our offensive players had a season demanding of recognition. Corey Partridge is certainly a good enough player, but we were protecting him to avoid injury and he didn't get the chances. Barnes was RB had a good enough year. Tyler isn't ahead of Davis, Lefevour or Hillier...anyway, you get the point.

Diryal Briggs was a well-deserving first team All-MAC, and Nick Iovenelli was third team as punter.

UT had four players on the three teams (Church, Williams, Moore and Collins) but you know, I don't think you can argue with the first three anyway.

Nate Davis was offensive player of the year and Hoke coach of the year, both no-brainer picks. Larry English was defensive player of the year for the second straight year.

Update: both Ryan and Maureen at the Blade blog are taking shots at the picks. You can also head over to Bronco blog (linked on the left) and for further dissent.

It just occurred to me....

Firing Coach Brandon deprived me of a season-ending presser.....always a target rich environment!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Whoa! Bad Stuff happens in Georgia

Well, it wasn't a good day to be a Falcon tonight, as the team raced to a 21 point halftime lead against Savannah State and then proceeded to watch the lead melt away until Savannah finally took the lead with less than two minutes left and then held on for the win. BG had a steal and the ball under the basket inside :15 to go, but couldn't get room to operate and lost the ball and then it was over.

It was a shame to lose that one, but there will be others to get it back. One thing is different in basketball...the season is just so much longer and there is so much more opportunity to get back into it. One loss is football is just a lot more serious.

There's not much to dissect. It sounded like we came out in the second half, shot cold, let Savannah get good shots, and turned the ball over a lot. You could kind of sense trouble right away.

Hopefully the team will learn from this and close the next one out.

I lost track of where I saw it...

But it is possible BG will be the only 6 win team not to go to a bowl game.

More Coaching Updates

OK, there is some chatter out there about the coaching situation...let's look.

Perhaps most importantly, Ryan of the Blade tracked down a few Falcon verbal commits, and while they are shocked at the move Christopher made, they are in general going to wait until a hire is made to evaluate their decision. As one of the players points out, not all of them had other offers...anyway, I would expect our remaining staff to be working the phones and at least getting them to wait to talk to the new coach. Also note the ever-present premium on continuity for the staff.

On his blog
, Ryan also noted that this site, which does not appear to be located in troll-land, says BG may be interested in the Purdue DC. Of course, Greg Christopher came from Purdue. However, I will remind readers that everyone said he was going to hire a Purdue guy to coach men's basketball and he didn't, so that's far from a lock. Of course, he might have turned it down, too.

Next, on the "shame on you" front....

Stewart Mandel, a reporter who has a good feel for mid majors had this to say.

In the meantime, it's clear that the pressure to attain one of those coveted bids has trickled down the ranks. On Saturday, Bowling Green fired coach Gregg Brandon. All he's done in six years is go 31-17 in conference play and reach three bowl games. Apparently, that's no longer enough for schools like Bowling Green.
Along the same lines, Dave Hackenberg of The Blade said this....

Gregg Brandon became head football coach at Bowling Green at the start of the 2003 season. The Falcons are 44-30 since, including 31-17 in Mid-American Conference play, and none of the league's other 12 teams has matched or bettered those numbers over that time frame. BG also is the only MAC team since '03 to have a winning record in non-league play.

Those are the little snippets you find in a school's weekly game notes prepared for the media. In fact, it was all right there in the BG notes on Friday, although we've taken the liberty of updating the records in light of the Falcons' subsequent 38-10 romp past archrival Toledo.

Not such a big deal was made of all that yesterday in a midafternoon press release sent by BG officials to announce Brandon had been fired.

Very interesting. V-e-r-y interesting.

You know, you can disagree with the sentiments, but these are actual facts. I just think they don't tell the whole story.

Here's the counterpoint.

  • First, the University deserves this. They published the stats, after all.
  • Second, let me give you an alternate version of those stats....because I think if you want to judge our program, you need to look at the last four seasons, and not the first two, when the program was still riding high from the Urban Meyer system.

For example:

Yes, Brandon was 44-30. (That's a 59% winning rate. Gary Blackney finished at 54%.)

In the four years since the program became his, however:

  • BG is 24-24.
  • We were 9-12 at home, and 8-9 outside the conference.
  • We have the fourth best conference record in the MAC.
  • We have the ninth best home winning % in the MAC.
  • We won no division titles, unlike CMU, Ball State, Buffalo, Miami, Akron, NIU, and OU.

I will say this. I expected Brandon to be back next year, and I would not have complained. Having said that, there's more here than is shown by looking at total numbers.

Savannah State Preview

So, the relatively drama-free hoopsters take the court again on Monday, this time in Georgia against Savannah State. I thought I'd take a quick moment to think about what we might expect from the.....uh, Tigers. I hope our players are bringing their passports, because apparently it is its own country....Tiger Country!

They are a rare duck, in that they are a D1 independent. Not too many of those around. They were 12-18 last year, but 11-3 at home. They lost two starters off last year's team, and only return one guy who scored in double figures.

They are 4-2 last year, including wins over Brewton Parker (?), North Florida, Coastal Carolina and New Orleans, the last of which was followed by a serious shooting on campus. They were clocked at Clemson, but took UM into OT before losing on a last second shot.

Rashad Hassan is leading the team in scoring with 11.7. They shoot about 41% and have 19 turnovers a game.

Their coach, Quentin Broadnax, "revived" the Bethune-Cookman program, then left coaching for three years to practice law, after which he came to Savannah State. He was a member of the great Georgetown teams of the mid 80s.

If it wasn't for the Michigan game, this team wouldn't be as hard to peg. I guess if we can play OSU and be within 3 points with the ball with :30 to play, then we should be able to beat this team, even on the road. But, you know, anything could happen. They are winning somehow.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Blog Poll Draft, comments welcome

1 Alabama --
2 Texas --
3 Oklahoma --
4 Florida --
5 Penn State --
6 Southern Cal --
7 Texas Tech --
8 Utah --
9 Boise State --
10 Ohio State 2
11 TCU 2
12 Cincinnati 4
13 Ball State 2
14 Oklahoma State 4
15 Oregon 3
16 Missouri 2
17 Georgia Tech 3
18 Brigham Young 1
19 Georgia 8
20 Boston College 1
21 Michigan State 2
22 Oregon State 5
23 Mississippi 1
24 Florida State 2
25 Virginia Tech 1

Dropped Out: Iowa (#25).

We've hit a dangerous time in the Blogpoll... actual thought is required. We've been asked to post our rationale behind our decision as to whether Oklahoma or Texas should be ranked higher in the Blogpoll...thereby contributing our opinion to the great national debate on the topic.

I have ranked Texas ahead of Oklahoma, as I did last week.

A few points.

It is incredibly close. I really think you are practically flipping a coin.

Let's summarize the situation:

Both teams beat Baylor, Kansas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and Missouri.
Oklahoma gets a slight edge in schedule, with defeats over TCU, UC, and (lesser) Washington and Chattanooga, as compared to Texas beating Rice, Florida Atlantic, UTEP and Arkansas.

Now we get to the good stuff.

Oklahoma beat Texas Tech (by tons), and Texas didn't beat them at all.

And, on the other side of the argument, of course, Texas beat Oklahoma, neutral field.

Here's my rationale:

  • The charge of the Blog poll is to evaluate the quality of the season.
  • One of the things I hate most about the mainstream poll is their focus on margin of victory and on recent results as opposed to past results.
  • If you're going to rate the quality of the season, and compare two teams who are very, very close, I think you have to give head to head precedence.

Now, I know what comes next.

What about Texas Tech? By that logic, they should be ahead of Texas. I believe Texas is stronger because they have quality wins over OK, OK-State and Missouri, while Tech has only beaten Texas and Oklahoma State. And, as pitiful as Texas's non-conference schedule was, Tech's was even more pitiful.

Its splitting hairs. But, I think Texas has shown itself to be the better team in the only unambiguous format available.