Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Brandon Presser--Two Bad Quarter Edition.....(or is it six good quarters)

"We've only played two bad quarters of football, the first quarter at Pitt and the last quarter of Minnesota. Everything after that, the team's done a great job and I'm proud of them. The next game will be the hardest game yet, no question. It'll be harder than Pitt and harder than Minnesota."

OK, Coach Brandon was back in the saddle with this presser comment. What I have below is based on Ryan's Blade Blog, and the text and audio from BGSUfalcons.com.

I think the quote above is pretty accurate, and refreshingly candid from the coach. What is unsaid is that a team that only plays 3 quarters in each game could easily be worse than 1-1, and we're going to need four quarters through what is looking like a more difficult MAC schedule than we thought. Still, I am not displeased with how we have played. We are a solid B.

He's also right about Boise. These dudes are tough to beat (see tomorrow's post with special Boise content and a cool surprise). They are especially tough to beat on their home field, and they killed us the last time we were there.

Apparently, he came out with a big sign that said 5-0

on it. Of course, the point is that making five turnovers cost us the game, and it did. As I said after the game, we won't beat anyone if we do that, especially a team from the Big Ten. Its the same thing that sunk us in the GMAC Bowl, and it may be the only thing standing between us and a shot at the MAC Title.

Coach elaborated on the turnover issue:

"That was one of our team goals last year. Every game we won, we won the turnover battle. Every game we lost, we lost the turnover battle and it's holding true right now. If we can take care of the football, we've got a great chance to win. If we turn it over, we don't have a great chance to win."

"From a coaching standpoint, you teach aggressive play to get the ball out, which our defense does. It's one of the reasons why we beat Pitt, we got the ball. We stripped the ball, made plays. The reason we lost to Minnesota is because we didn't make plays on both sides in that situation. We practice it daily; we have a five minute turnover/ball security period where we stress getting the ball back on defense and taking care of the ball on offense."

In other news, the special teams got ripped pretty bad. On kick returns, Coach said we didn't block "a soul," (not to get too philosophical, but I'd be happy with blocking the body and letting the soul run down the field unmolested, but that's just me). And kickoffs were poor too, though he blamed the kicking not the coverage.

I think this is something fans don't necessarily appreciate. The directional kickoff is real big right now. It is kind of a risk, because you overload one side of the field and then kick it where you have numbers--I have heard coaches talk about getting the ball inside the numbers.

If the returner can get away from that overloaded area, there are fewer people left on the other side, and you can give up a big return.

Fans are most familiar with that happening when the ball gets inside the numbers. But, if you think about it, a short or low kick that allows the returner more time to cross over is equally damaging, and that's where coach seems to be putting the concern. Ryan mentions you may see Jerry Phillips, the pride of Clyde, doing kickoffs soon.

I think sometimes fans assume that if the kick gets to the goal line it was good. But if its too low, then it might not be. If you're going to kick if low, you gotta kick it to the end line (which we did once, if I recall). Here's some wonky coach-stuff on kickoffs if you are interested.

On the news front, Ryan notes that Roger Williams will miss the Boise game due to breaking his finger when he fumbled.

-Kick returner Roger Williams will not play Saturday at Boise after breaking his right index finger on a botched return attempt against Minnesota. Tyrone Pronty, Chris Wright, Corey Partridge, Antonio Smith, Freddie Barnes and Kenny Lewis will duke it out in practice to see who replaces Williams. This hurts, but Williams could be back for the Wyoming game in two weeks.

Note, too, he has been getting plays in the d-backfield, so it hurts depth there, too.

Also, coach seems pleased with the line play, and I would concur. They are doing well, and if you believe they can only get better, then if we stay healthy, we should be in good shape for the MAC run. Again, from Ryan's Blog.

-Speaking of lines, Brandon said the offensive line is coming together nicely. They combined for 37 knockdowns against Minnesota and 42 against Pitt. Jeff Fink accounted for 12 knockdowns Saturday. Seventy nine combined knockdowns through the first two games … doesn’t that seem really high? Regardless, the unit looks above average at this point.
I have no idea how many knockdowns are high. That's a knockdown every other play.

Other notes from listening to the audio:

  • Someone asked about the snowball effect on our turnovers. I wonder about this too. Maybe its just a perception, but they do seem to come in bunches. Or maybe we forget them when they are isolated.
  • Geter is not benched due to fumbling, and could start.
  • On Tyler's INT, Coach said Chris Wright did slow down, but Tyler never should have thrown the ball. He was trying to make a play, but Kelly was open across the middle for what would have been a nice gain. He has to "manage" (everyone's favorite word now) the offense.
  • The players were disappointed they let the big crowd down.
  • Another Brandonism---if the guys get caught "looking around" at Boise, they are going to get hit in "the jar."
  • Personal note: THANK GOD WE DIDN'T GET ORANGE TURF. Next.
  • The keys to beating Boise and blocking, tackling, taking care of the ball (Coach genius stuff here.). Also, we need to prevent big plays and get our playmakers involved in the offense.
  • Briggs is leading the nation in sacks. Brandon noted that practicing against guys like Mruzcowski, Lichtensteiger, Nystrom, etc, was good prep for him.
  • More on the line. He praised Ben Bojcic, our center, who he says is playing well. Its the most important position in our offense (or so I assume, because we put our best player there).
  • Coach said we can't make "eye violations" on defense. This means you aren't looking where you are supposed to looking, and with Boise that usually means some kind of misdirection will work.
  • (Most men at college football games are committing eye violations of another kind. Anyhow....)
  • Boise has a FR QB--he's young but good. And he is surrounded by players.
  • Finally, someone asked about Boise as a non-BCS model. Coach replied that from a revenue standpoint they are a BCS school, that they generate PAC-10 money.

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