Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Special Teams Preview

Last week I previewed the offense and defense, but I never previewed the special teams because it was hard to tell from what I had seen exactly what to expect.  With the release of the 2-deep yesterday, we now have a little more idea on what we might see on special teams.

Michigan transfer Bryan Wright will take the placekicking duties, and he is listed as "OR" punter with Jerry Phillips, meaning that there is a chance Wright will do all the kicking.

Wright has not done a bunch of kicking recently, so there is no way to know what we can expect, other than he beat out a guy who has one some kicking for us, and was on the club at Michigan, so I hope we can expect him to make some key field goals.  If he can make everything inside 40, that will be a solid contribution.

As for punting, we'd be happy with something in the middle of the pack with no blocks.

On kick return, BooBoo Gates and Ty Pronty will bring the ball back.  Pronty has done it before and Gates has game breaking ability, so I think this team has a chance to be pretty good this year and give the team some field position.

As for punt return, Eugene Cooper and Adrian Hodges are set for that duty.  Cooper was all-conference in JUCO as a kick returner.

In general, what do you want from your special teams?

No turnovers
The occasional big play (blocked punt, big return).

I don't see any reason why this year's unit won't be at least as good as last year's, and maybe a slight improvement.  Building off some dreadful Brandon years, even two average seasons in a row would be good, and anything better would be great.

Depth Chart Review

So, the depth chart is out as part of the game notes.  This is the first update of the depth chart that we have seen since the media guide came out, and there are some significant changes.

First, there was a lot of shifting based on the Scott Lewis injury.  Nick Torresso moved to start at RG, which we have already mentioned.  Casey McHugh moved from backup RT to backup RG.  And Kyle Bryant move from backup LT to backup RT.  Darion Delaney (true FR) moved to backup LT, and Dominic Flewellyn moved to back up RG.  And Lucy revealed to Ethel that the whole thing was just a big mix up.

JUCO transfer Eugene Cooper has been moved up to be even with Ray Hutson at one of the WR spots.  He is also returning punts, which he was accomplished at during his junior college career.

Based on the chart, Jordan Hopgood secured the backup TB slot.

Tyler Beck, who was mentioned in the presser as a TE (he is a true frosh) is now #2 at FB, replacing Jack Thompson.

On the defensive side of the ball, Ronnie Goble is now listed as a back up DE, taking Dylan Farrington's spot.

At Rover (a hybrid LB/DB position), BooBoo Gates is now in the mix, replacing Tim Moore.

Aaron Foster is now in the #2 mix at STUD, which is some kind of safety.  Make that SOME KIND of safety.


In total, the depth chart contains a stunning 15 freshmen.  5 of them are true freshmen, 7 are on offense and 8 are on defense.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Clawson Presser--Troy Edition

So, Coach Clawson had the first of his weekly pressers today, and you can view them on bgsufalcons.com. I've taken the liberty of excerpting the interesting parts to get at the luscious minutiae that the truly unbalanced fan craves.

First, as we all know, Matt Schilz is going to start at QB.  In fact, Coach Clawson said that it was not a difficult decision.  The difficult decision is for back up, and at this point we should pause for a moment and think about the health of Mr. Schilz, because Coach says he is not certain that any of them could go the distance.  

Aaron Pankratz is listed as the #2 but that is mostly due to familiarity with the offense.

True FR Trent Hurley distinguished himself as well.

Later, he talked about the fact that Schilz took no scout team reps last year, and got significant reps with #2 and #3.  I have been wondering recently what would have happened if Sheehan had been injured.  Pankratz was listed as #2, but I wonder if Schilz would have had the redshirt pulled off it was early enough in the season.

He says that the key thing for a young team is not to beat yourself, and they keep track of mental errors at practice.  The count has been going steadily down, which is good.

In terms of big improvement, the kicking game has gotten a lot better (special teams preview will be tomorrow), the front 7 on defense is something he seems excited about, and we have the WRs to spread the ball around.

Larry Blakeney, Troy's Coach, is a sick 19-0 in home openers.

Coach also talked about improvement at TE.  Of course, in our previous set, the TE was not a prized commodity, so we only had two last year and Scheidler was injured much of the time.  This year, Nick Rieke (the returner) is much improved, and Alex Bayer is also looked at highly.  He almost was un-redshirted last year.  Finally, True-FR Tyler Beck will play this year.

If you look at the depth chart in the game notes, we have a ridiculous number of freshman in the two deep---18, according to Coach (I haven't counted, but I will post on the depth chart tomorrow).

He does note that the staff did work players who were redshirting into practice reps last year in preparation for this situation.  He mentioned Kamar Jordan and Schilz specifically.  This is interesting foresight because what it means is that important reps were being given to players who were not going to play at all.

So that's the Clawson presser as I saw it.  The rest of it was compliments about Troy, Jernigan, etc.

Blog Swap, Trojan Style, Deux

One of the things we have started doing recently is doing a "blog swap" with the opposing team's bloggers.  It is a really good way to learn about the opposition, and it is fun, too.  Last year, we did a swap with GoTroyTrojans.com, but they don't seem to be blogging this year, so we made contact with Drew Champlin, who covers the Trojans for the Dothan Eagle.  If you want to see what has been going on in camp for the Eagles, check his articles and his blog out.

1. QB...you have blogged that you expect Corey Robinson to be the man, and Blakeney has said that he could even envision using a two-QB system with Robinson and Jamie Hampton. Tell us about each player and his strong points, and what BG can expect to see.

Corey Robinson has been the better passer in the scrimmages, but Jamie Hampton's not too shabby there, either. Hampton is faster than Robinson but hasn't moved the ball as well as Robinson during the scrimmages. Neither one of these guys are as good as Levi Brown, but both could lead the Trojans to a Sun Belt title. I expect that Bowling Green will see Robinson more.

(Note, after we corresponded on Sunday, Drew wrote a column that Troy had decided to keep the identity of their QB a secret to keep BG guessing.  Which is pretty normal.  They also have been entrusted with the secret Tony Packo's sauce recipe, so there are lots of secrets down there).

Ok, the second part I made up.

2. Although he had a sub-par game when we played last year, Jernel Jernigan is clearly a special player with huge expectations. Tell us some more about him. How do you think he will adjust to the new QB?

Jerrel Jernigan is the best player in the Sun Belt, in my opinion. He's had rough first games each of the past two years, as he didn't do much against MTSU in 2008 (a 31-17 Troy win). He's a guy that can take it to the end zone any time he touches the ball, and he'll even take a snap or 2 at quarterback. His stats could go down a little bit because Troy won't throw it as much as they did last year, but he'll get double-digit touches/targets each game. Troy expects more out of him in the return game this year, so he'll catch some kicks and punts.

3. Last year, what concerned me most about your team was the front seven on defense. Of course, Bear Woods was suspended, but even with that, it was a very talented bunch. How is Troy doing on replacing those players heading into this season?

Troy replaces the two NFL defensive ends with Mario Addison (Sr.) and Jonathan Massaquoi (So.). Both can really run, but don't have starting experience. I think they'll both have pretty good years, but it's hard to say how good they'll be this early. The biggest dropoff is at defensive tackle, where there's some guys that can fill the gaps, but none who are as good as Kevin Dixon/Eugene Kinlaw last year. One starting linebacker in Daniel Sheffield returns and another starting linebacker in Donnell Golden has started five games in two years (including last year at your place). Xavier Lamb is the MLB and he's a guy coaches feel good about at this level. Not so much the big playmaker that Boris Lee was, but a guy who can be in the right place. The depth at defensive end is a big worry as well.

4. You have three RBs who are likely to get carries, based on who is hot, from what I read. Are they all similar runners, or do any of them bring special abilities in certain situations?

Shawn Southward (So.) is a better north and south runner. DuJuan Harris (Sr.) is a better blocker and a better receiver out of the backfield, and he ran for 1,000-plus yards as a sophomore. He really struggled last season until the bowl game and should have a good bounce-back year. Chris Anderson (So.) hasn't played yet for Troy but he's a guy who could end up being really good. I think Southward or Harris would play more in this game, though. Anderson's a pretty good north-south runner as well, while Harris struggled last year dancing too much.

5. There's obviously been huge changes in the landscape of college football. Do you think Troy might be interested in a move to the WAC?

Absolutely not, but they'd love to be in Conference USA.

6. I would wager that few Falcon fans have been to Alabama (with the exception of Mobile, where we have played twice.) Tell us what your favorite part of the region is.

If you're a die-hard college football fan and follow the big national programs, it would be good to catch a game in Tuscaloosa or Auburn. Of the bigger cities, I like Mobile for its proximity to the beach and Huntsville because I thought the Space Center was pretty cool as a kid. Birmingham is too congested for me, but the other two cities have enough to do for a traveler or a native.

Thanks to Drew for helping out.  Check his stuff out, he's doing a great job.  I'll do the usual 25 questions about Troy on Tuesday (ish), but in the meantime, let's get game week going.  I'm very excited.

And for the record, I did not ask him about Helen....I did last year, and that might account for them closing their blog down.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Falcons in Camp....Week 3

So, the third round of exhibition games limped by last weekend, and it was not an especially productive set of games for our Falcon alumni.

Freddie Barnes played again without being targeted with a pass or making a special teams tackle.  Similarly, Diryal Briggs had a blank scoresheet.

Kory Lichtensteiger played on the O-line for the Redskins.

Scott Mruczkowski is injured and did not play for the second time in a row.  He apparently had some minor surgery to clean out some stuff from another operation over the winter and is still expected to be ready on opening day.  He started 13 games last year for the Chargers at C.

Pictures of Troy

So, it is now officially game week.  The Falcons will be heading to Troy, Alabama for the game coming up on Saturday.  As part of our warm up, I wanted to give you a chance to take a look around Troy University...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Game by Game

Well, game week is just one week away, and it is time to finish up our-preason work by taking a stab at a game by game prediction for our team.  I have to admit at the beginning that I am pretty divided on what to do.  This team is young, and there are few favors on the schedule.  Let me begin by showing what I think is a worst case, but plausible, scenario.

9/4/2010 at Troy Troy, Al.   L

Troy is a good team on their home field looking for revenge after last year's defeat and BG's youth makes this a tough assignment.  Troy has a new QB but their receiving corps is very strong and I worry they will run wild in our secondary.

9/11/2010 at Tulsa Tulsa, OK  L

Tulsa is a quality program that looks to be much improved.  They have a really good QB, will be hard for us to beat, especially on the road.

9/18/2010 Marshall Bowling Green, Ohio L

Marshall beat us last season, and does have a returning QB.  This won't be a big year for the Herd, but they have enough talent to beat BG, even on the road.

9/25/2010 at Michigan Ann Arbor, MI  L

These are certainly not glory days for the Michigan program.  However, they are getting very fast and will tough for us to beat.  Also, running QBs have traditionally been difficult or impossible for us to handle.  (See:  Julian Edelman).

10/2/2010 * Buffalo Bowling Green, Ohio W

BG gets in the win column against a Bull team that is re-building its program and has QB issues as well. At home, BG wins this game.

10/9/2010 * at Ohio Athens, Ohio L

OU is very strong, especially on the defensive side of the ball, and presents a very difficult matchup for us.

10/16/2010 * at Temple Philadelphia, Penn. L

Temple is the MAC's best team playing this game on their field.  BG has yet to prove it can stop a stud runner like Bernard Pierce.

10/23/2010 * Kent State Bowling Green, Ohio L

Kent is the MAC's surprise team, in my mind.  They also have a stud runner and a very solid defense.  They are, in some ways, Temple Light.  Further, they almost beat us last year.

10/30/2010 * at Central Michigan Mt. Pleasant, MI L

Yes, CMU is rebuilding, but the coaches there were good recruiters and they have a winning tradition.  They should be adapting to their new system better by this point in the season, as BG should be adapting to its new players.  This looks to be me to be an interesting matchup.

11/10/2010 * Miami Bowling Green, Ohio W

Miami is still rebuilding its talent, and BG wins this game.

11/17/2010 * at Toledo Toledo, Ohio L

This hurts, trust me.  The game is at UT, however, and BG has won 3 in a row, and you just figure that an improving Rocket program gets off the schneid.

11/26/2010 * Western Michigan Bowling Green, Ohio L

I think Western is really good, and could easily be playing this game for a title.  Playing the game the day after Thanksgiving virtually ensures that the Doyt will be nearly empty, negating a home field advantage.

So, that's pretty depressing.  It equals a 2-10 season and I think that each result is plausible.  For this to happen, however, everything on BG's side will have to develop poorly, and I do think our coaches have the ability to mold these young but talented players into a formidable unit.  Finally, we have some tough matchups against defenses that will test our QB and Line and some teams who compliment those defenses with stud d-backs.

Now, let's take a look at the other side of the coin.  Let's say our hopes are rewarded, and the team has made more progress.  The offense is effective, and the defense can get off the field enough to keep us in games.  The season could look more like this.

9/4/2010 at Troy Troy, Al.   W

This is actually a winnable game.  Troy had a very strong defensive line and linebackers, and those units are rebuilding.  Their QB options are a highly touted player who has not seen game action in a year and a R-Fr.  These things, combined with the lack of a marquee back make this an upset possibility for the Falcons.

9/11/2010 at Tulsa Tulsa, OK  L

See above.

9/18/2010 Marshall Bowling Green, Ohio W

This is a winnable game for BG.  This is a very down Marshall team.  Their big transfer QB could not beat out last year's guy, who was just average.  The don't have any unit that stands out in strength, and the game will be in BG with what everyone hopes will be a nice crowd.

9/25/2010 at Michigan Ann Arbor, MI  L

See above.

10/2/2010 * Buffalo Bowling Green, Ohio W

See above

10/9/2010 * at Ohio Athens, Ohio L

See above

10/16/2010 * at Temple Philadelphia, Penn. L

See above

10/23/2010 * Kent State Bowling Green, Ohio W

Here, we fall under the theory that "Kent is still Kent."  The Falcons are gelling by this point in the season, and the improved LB and D-Line help contain Jarvis and BG wins a tight one.

10/30/2010 * at Central Michigan Mt. Pleasant, MI L

See above

11/10/2010 * Miami Bowling Green, Ohio W

See above

11/17/2010 * at Toledo Toledo, Ohio W

BG's offense is rolling and exploits a still building UT defense.

11/26/2010 * Western Michigan Bowling Green, Ohio L

See above

That's the road to 6-6.  If you want to figure what it would take to get to 7-5 and (you figure) another bowl game, you would probably need to win @CMU or beat WMU in the finale.

Now, it is time to quit messing around and try to actually pick what I think will happen.  This is as uncertain as I have been on a Falcon team in a long time.  Here is what I think...

9/4/2010 at Troy Troy, Al.   L
9/11/2010 at Tulsa Tulsa, OK  L
9/18/2010 Marshall Bowling Green, Ohio W
9/25/2010 at Michigan Ann Arbor, MI
10/2/2010 * Buffalo Bowling Green, Ohio W
10/9/2010 * at Ohio Athens, Ohio L
10/16/2010 * at Temple Philadelphia, Penn. L 
10/23/2010 * Kent State Bowling Green, Ohio L
10/30/2010 * at Central Michigan Mt. Pleasant, MI L
11/10/2010 * Miami Bowling Green, Ohio W
11/17/2010 * at Toledo Toledo, Ohio W
11/26/2010 * Western Michigan Bowling Green, Ohio L

So, I see 4-8 and 3-5 in the MAC.  I would love to be wrong, but I just think this schedule provides very few breaks for a team in our position.  This would have been tough for last season's team, for that matter.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Interesting Basketball Analysis

Apropos of nothing, I noticed an interesting study on line today. Here's the situation. You are up 3, and the other team has the ball in the closing seconds. Do you foul before they can try a three-pointer? (This happened to BG this season and we did foul. Coach Orr said it was the first time he had ever done that.

According to a study at Harvard, fouling does not help your chances. You have pretty much the same chance of winning either way. (You win the game nine times in ten, give or take).

Anyway, I found it interesting. Take a look.

Pre-season Blog Poll is Out

Well, the Blogpoll is cleaned up and out for the pre-season version.  You saw my ballot earlier..I think after that the only thing I did was pop USC in and Arizona out.  I didn't win any awards this week.  I am swimming against the Crimson Tide (get it! Snort!) a little bit by backing the Scarlet and Grey for #1.  As much as it pains me (and it does), I think Pryor is set for a monster year and Alabama will be hard pressed to go undefeated in the SEC again, especially with their losses on defense.

Anyway, here is what the blog nation sees.  Note that we are now on SB Nation.

SB Nation BlogPoll Top 25 College Football Rankings

Results for Week 1

1Alabama Crimson Tide (87)    24.51.05--
2Ohio St. Buckeyes (19)    23.31.60--
3Boise St. Broncos (3)    21.02.93--
4Florida Gators (1)    20.82.29--
5Texas Longhorns (3)    20.72.88--
6Oklahoma Sooners (3)    18.74.97--
7TCU Horned Frogs    18.14.22--
8Virginia Tech Hokies    18.03.76--
9Iowa Hawkeyes    15.93.43--
10Nebraska Cornhuskers    15.84.22--
11Oregon Ducks    14.74.05--
12Miami Hurricanes    12.84.00--
13Wisconsin Badgers    12.54.63--
14Pittsburgh Panthers    8.85.01--
15Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets    8.15.05--
16Penn St. Nittany Lions    7.94.50--
17North Carolina Tar Heels    7.25.17--
18USC Trojans    7.26.63--
19Arkansas Razorbacks    6.74.22--
20LSU Tigers    5.94.67--
21Georgia Bulldogs    5.74.85--
22Florida St. Seminoles    5.64.49--
23Auburn Tigers    5.24.87--
24Oregon St. Beavers    3.84.24--
25Utah Utes    2.73.67--
       Others Receiving Votes:        West Virginia Mountaineers | Cincinnati Bearcats | Houston Cougars | Stanford Cardinal | Connecticut Huskies | Arizona Wildcats | South Carolina Gamecocks | Notre Dame Fighting Irish | Washington Huskies | BYU Cougars | Clemson Tigers | Missouri Tigers | Texas A&M Aggies | Boston College Eagles | Navy Midshipmen | California Golden Bears | Texas Tech Red Raiders | Michigan St. Spartans | Temple Owls | Oklahoma St. Cowboys | Northwestern Wildcats | South Florida Bulls | Middle Tenn. St. Blue Raiders | Mississippi Rebels | Rutgers Scarlet Knights | SMU Mustangs | Central Michigan Chippewas | Air Force Falcons | Tulsa Golden Hurricane | UAB Blazers | Michigan Wolverines | Dixie State Rebels | Southern Miss. Golden Eagles      
Updated: Aug 26, 2010 10:35 AM EDT
SB Nation BlogPoll College Football Top 25 Rankings »

Falcon Preview---the Defense Department

As I have stated before, the media is focusing on replacing Sheehan and Barnes, but the real challenge the Falcons face is to rebuild their defense.  In a larger context, I contend that we have not had a championship caliber defense in this program since the first year of the Urban Meyer regime.

Coach has been talking about the team being young but having talent.  That's a good thing, because, much like the offense, it would be nice to think that we have guys who are going to be good players...the question being how good they will be this year.

The BG News did a little analysis of the defense, with comments from Coach Clawson.

The D-Line is a good place to start.  The ends are two 5-year seniors, one (Magnone) with significant time and one (Darius Smith) who took a long time to reach starter.  R-JR Kevin Alvarado plays tackle, alongside Chris Jones, who logged snaps as a true freshman.  Jordan Roussos will figure in the rotation (he played as a true freshman), but two of the other backups are R-FR with no playing time.

This makes it the most experienced part of the defense.  In addition, in the article, Coach says that the front 6 (or 7) of our defense made the most progress this Fall.  If these defense is to be competitive, it almost has to start here.  BG has failed to defend the run and control the line over the past few years, and with the running strength of OU, Temple, and Kent (for example), we need strong play from this unit.

LB is an area with new players as well.  The camp scuttlebutt appears to be that this unit will be more physical and more athletic than the players we had last year.  Eugene Fells is playing one of the outside LBs.  He played in all 13 games last season, with big plays against CMU and Toledo.  I think there is some confidence that as a R-Sr, he's ready to come into his own.

In the middle is Dwayne Woods, who also played all 13 games, though less noticeably than Fells.  Woods is the key here.  He is a true Sophomore, and the defense really needs him to come into his own. He was a highly recruited HS player, and he is getting an opportunity to show what he can do early.

At the other linebacker are Calvin Marshall and Tim Moore, each of them converted D-backs.  These guys are light, and it will be very important that the line eats up the blocks to give them the chance to show their athleticism.

That's your front 7.  There is potential there, and we have to hope they are ready to go.  We can't expect to win shoot-outs as we have in the past, and we need to get off the field.

The defensive backfield is especially hit.  The corners are Adrien Spencer and Robert Lorenzi, both players who have time under their belt but uneven production.  At safety, (where Mahone and Brown left), there is Keith Morgan, who played during Mahone's suspension, and Jovon Leacock, a JUCO transfer, where he was all-conference....on offense.

The backups are freshmen and sophomores.  So, I don't mind saying that the defensive backfield appears to me to be the weakest part of the defense.  And I hope I am proven wrong.

So, that's the Falcon defense.  Promise, but hard to tell what we can expect from them this season.  However, for this team to finish over .500, they are going to need this unit to exceed expectations.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

OSU, Colorado, BG...

You may have heard the big news about OSU buying a game....and paying Colorado to come in to the Shoe.  You may not have heard that there was a Bowling Green connection to it....BG was supposed to play at OSU in 2011, but that was cancelled to make room for the Colorado game.

On one hand, I have always felt that if OSU is going to give millions of dollars to a school to play there, it should be a school from Ohio.  On the other hand, OSU has done much better in this regard than they did for decades when they never played an Ohio school ever, and, they are playing Toledo already in 2011, so perhaps they have paid their Ohio tax.  (It is also unusual to buy a game with another BCS school rather than making it a home and home, and will be interesting to see if this

Here is the quote from Tressel...

“The matchup with the Buffaloes gives Buckeye fans just another reason to anticipate the 2011 season,” Ohio State Head Coach Jim Tressel said.

You are free to react to that however you like.

Offense Preview....

So, we begin our football preview by looking at what we might be able to expect from the offense this season.  Let's start by looking back and acknowledging that last year was a pretty special year on the offensive side of the ball.  Freddie Barnes set the NCAA record for catches in a season with 155, which is downright mind boggling, and Tyler Sheehan finished his career as BG's all-time leader in completions, attempts and completion percentage.

That's pretty good.  And you don't just rebuild it again for the next season.

In addition, our #2 rusher (Bullock) and #2 WR (Chris Wright) also graduated, along with TE Jimmy Scheidler.  On the line, Brady Minturn, Scott Albert, and Shane Steffy all graduated.

In all, that's seven starters gone and a huge portion of our offensive production.  We scored 28.5 points a game last season, and the question is, what are the odds we could get to that level again.

The first thing everyone looks at is the QB, and this is for good reason.  It is very difficult to win without a good QB, and QB is a very difficult for a new player to play.  We entered camp with four players competing for the starting position, and at this point, Matt Schilz, a redshirt freshman, appears to have a lock on the job.

I have only seen him play in the spring game, so this will generally fall into the category of uninformed speculation.  He certainly came to BG as a highly decorated QB.  He is from California, and was one of the top players in his conference and region.  He was recruited to Kansas State, and then committed to BG when K-State brought Snyder back.  The common element is Warren Ruggerio, who was the QB coach at K-State and is our OC.

So, Schilz clearly has the credentials to be a very good MAC QB.  The question is, will he be this this year?  He has not taken even one D-1 snap in anger, and it can be a tough adjustment.  Coach says one of the things that sets him apart is that he doesn't make mistakes...he keeps the team in the game.  This is pretty important.  We got used to it, but Sheehan threw only 7 INTs in 575 attempts last year.

So, question #1 is how good Matt Schilz will be this year....

He will not lack for support at the skilled positions.  Willie Geter is back at RB, and I think you can expect him to get the ball a bunch of different ways, either from a hand-off or a number of pass patterns. We will do what we can to get the ball to Willie in space.  BG simply has to run the ball better than it did last year, because we don't have Sheehan and Barnes to carry the team on its shoulders.  We need to be able to run enough to take some pressure off the running game.

So question #2 is whether BG can run the ball well enough to draw men into the box and open up passing lanes.

At back up RB, John Pettigrew--last year's backup--has been passed by Erique Geiger and converted WR Jordan Hopgood, who are battling for the number 2 slot and may get some reps in different situations.  Given Geter's size and injury issues, this is not an unimportant decision.

At WR, BG actually returns pretty good players.  Ty Pronty and Calvin Wiley are back, after missing last season due to injuries.  JUCO transfer Kamar Jordan is also expected to start, while Justus Jones, Ray Hutson and Adrian Hodges will be back ups---each of them has played significantly in past years.  The WRs are deep this year and should be able to hold up their end of the bargain.

At TE, we have 5-SR Nick Rieke, who played last year, and talented R-FR Alex Bayer.  Watch for them both to get action....and for BG to run more 2 TE sets than in the past.

Finally, the O-line.   This, I believe, is the biggest key to our offense.  If we can run block and give Schilz time, things get a lot better.  We return only 41 career starts on this line, and that is 12th in the MAC and one of the lowest in the country.  We were so worried about depth here that Nick Torresso moved from D-line to O-line as a reserve, and then he dropped in as starting guard when Scott Lewis broke his foot.  (Lewis made 3 starts, so the real number is actually 38).

It is not as if the line is without ability.  C Ben Bojicic (r-jr) is a very effective player, RT Tyler Donahue is a 5-SR.  In addition, Chip Robinson, who has been highly touted for a while, is starting at RG.  The LT (blind side dude) is Blaec Walker, who has not started but did see some playing time.

So Question #3 is whether the young offensive line can effectively control the line of scrimmage and give the offense options.  To me, it is the biggest question of the 3.

In the final analysis, it would be a great year if we scored 28 points a game, as we did last year.  In fact, I think 25 points a game would be a nice accomplishment.  Again, I am talking this year.  I believe we have the building blocks (including the Coach) for a juggernaut offense.  But, this year, everything has to be right for it to be as good as it was last season.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

MAC Predictions

As another year of MAC football descends upon us, and players are sweating through 2-a-days, it is time for this blog's picks for the MAC this season.  I actually sent these in to Bull Run a couple weeks ago, but this is my opportunity to expound on what I was thinking.  And, in December, I'll look back and see how stupid this all was.


1.  Temple

I predicted Temple would be a MAC power when they joined the conference, and that is how it has happened.  They might have won the East if Pierce had stayed healthy and the OU game had been in Philly.  Pierce is back behind a very strong line and the defense is very solid.  I don't think Golden is long for the MAC, and a MAC title might be his ticket out.  If you are looking for a weakness, Temple is not strong at QB, which is the wrong place to have a weakness.

2.  Kent

This is the year Kent makes a bowl game.  They have a really strong defense led by Brian Lainhart and Cobriani Mixon and that will be a huge advantage.  Eugene Jarvis is back, and he can control a game, and I think their QB Spencer Keith is a sleeper.  Finally, OU and Temple have to come to Kent.  Overall, I think Kent finally breaks through this year and at least qualifies for a bowl game.

3.  OU

OU could also win the East, though I am picking them third.  They have a strong defense, but lost a lot on the other side of the ball, and I think that will hamper their ability to score enough to beat teams with defenses like Temple and Kent.  They are not strong up-front on offense, and that will make the adjustment of their new QB difficult.

4.  BG

BG will be in a rebuilding mode.  While people are focusing on replacing Sheehan and Barnes, the more significance is replacing most of the defensive starters.  This team is young and I am afraid will give up lots and lots of points and put pressure on the offense and its young QB.  Also, the offensive line is question mark.  Enough of this should come around that I think BG should be able to beat 3 teams in the East.  (Obviously, much more anlaysis of the Falcons is coming).

5.  Buffalo

Buffalo is much like BG.  They might be even worse off at QB, and they have some serious talent to replace at WR, and they are not very strong up front on either side of the ball.  Because of these things, and a new coach and what appear to be some pretty poor special teams, I think Buffalo will finish behind BG, but it would not surprise me to see them get one step up.

6.  Miami

Miami is on the way back, but it is a long way.  There is no indication they will be able to run the ball at all, which puts pressure on the rest of their offensive game and their defense probably still has a long way to go.  The depths that Shane Montgomery took this program are shocking.  I believe that Haywood will bring them around, but it will take a little while longer.

7.  Akron

Akron also had a pretty quick fall.  They have a new coach and new schemes, and I think that's why they are likely to finish here.  They will be easy to pass on, which is pretty deadly in today's college football.  Patrick Nicely will be their starting QB--he was a one-time BG commit.  He is still young, and I expect this team to struggle.  They also have a brutal cross-over schedule with the West.


1.  WMU

I know this is an upset, but I really like WMU.  Yes, they lost Hiller and West, but they have some real talent at other skill positions.  They are a lot like BG in that they win, but don't win the big ones, and this year, I think they have a shot at being good enough to win a slightly down West.

2.  NIU

NIU is really good and could easily win the conference, and I believe will surely make a bowl game.  Kill was a great hire, and he will deliver consistent winners in DeKalb.  They will feature their usual bone-crushing running attack with two quality backs, and will be really tough to beat.  They will need to beat Temple to really compete, and that will be a challenge.

3.  UT

On the offensive side of the ball, I think UT will be much better.  They will gain some experience and stability at QB, and have a very strong line.  They will certainly be able to establish the run and build off it for the pass.  They'd be picked hire except that their defense looks to be pretty putrid, which means they will have to run up some serious points to compete.

4.  CMU

Huge graduation losses and a new coach mean that this is a re-trenching year in Mt. Pleasant.  Still, the winning tradition carries them this far in the West.

5.  Ball State

Lots of guys back from a young and bad team.  I'm not sure that the new guys are better and I am not sure they ended up with the right coach after the Hoke departure.  They are the sexy pick to compete in the West, but I don't see them making that much progress.  They do have MiQuale Lewis, which is a very nice asset but will only be average on the defensive side of the ball.

6.  EMU

What can you say?  I honestly think they will be as bad as they were the year before, and some services have them listed as the worst team in the FBS in the worst gameday environment.  What was English thinking?  I drive by a billboard for season tickets every day that says "Calling all Nacho Lovers."  That says it all.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Falcon DB Jonathan Davis is profiled....

Here's a nice local story about Falcon S Jonathan Davis, from Ravenna.  He played some last year, and is expected to be in the rotation this year.

A couple key quotes....

“I was an offensive player in high school, but when I got to college, I had to just go with it and try to fill a role on the team,” said Davis. “They moved me around a little bit at Bowling Green, but I settled in at defensive back (quickly).”
“Of course you need talent, but character is what coaches really look for,” said Davis. “(Bowling Green head coach Dave) Clawson wants his players to be good representatives for the school and to be active off the field. That’s something that (Ravenna head coach Jim) Lunardi really emphasized to his players when I was there.”

Falcons in Camp

Another round of pre-season games has come and gone.  The five Falcons in training camp had the following results...

First, Diryal Briggs made 3 tackles for the 49ers, but also had a sack and a quarterback hurry, meaning that is the second game where he has made an impact play.

Freddie Barnes played, but was not targeted and made no special teams tackles.  Hopefully, he is making an impression in practice, which is where it really counts.

Kory Lichtensteiger played for the Redskins and Mruzcowski was not active for the Chargers.

Shaun Suisham was cut by the Rams last week.

Final Scrimmage

The Falcons had their final scrimmage this weekend, and Coach Clawson had a little bit to say about it....

First, we learned that if it was up to him, he would listen to Steven Tyrell.

Don't be ashamed if you clicked the link.  I had to look it up myself.

See, when Heavy Metal Lovin Jim Schwartz wants to play music to distract his players, he can use his own ipod.  Not so much for Coach Clawson, who let the players pick the music....

Of course, Schwartz' players come pre-distracted.

Coach did not have anything else too interesting to say.  He toned the scrimmage down to keep guys healthy.  And, veterans like Pronty and Geter got fewer snaps than other younger guys.

One note:  Coach mentioned that Eugene Cooper should figure in the WR rotation.  He is JUCO transfer who is making his Falcon debut, which would make two JUCO WRs (the other being Kamar Jordan) in the rotation.  I believe you will see some guys who got snaps last year have been beaten out by these two guys, but that remains to be seen.

And, Coach says that the battle for back up RB is the best one in camp.  He says it could come down to Geiger and Hopgood getting snaps in different situations.  For example, with his WR background, Hopgood could be good on 3rd downs, or 2nd and long, etc.

He said it was the best defensive scrimmage so far.  Or cleanest.  He said cleanest.

Watch away...note where he almost gets nailed by a punt.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

BGSU-WKU Men's Hoops Rivalry

Just a note on the men's basketball schedule.  We are playing Western Kentucky.  There are people better qualified to discuss this than me (not that I am letting it stop me), but in the Harold Anderson-EA Diddle era, BG and WKU (the two Bowling Greens) had a spirited basketball rivalry.  It would be really interesting and fun to get something like that going again.

SB Nation Blog Poll--pre-season version

The Blogpoll is back again this year.  We've moved from CBS to SB Nation, where we should be more visible.  It is a lot of fun to participate in this, and I look forward to another year.  Here's my pre-season ballot.  Any feedback, let me know today, and I'll have a final ballot tomorrow.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Men's Basketball Schedule Released...Welcome Spartans. What is your profession?

(Note:  thanks to a commenter who caught a couple mistakes in the original post.  Note:  more coffee before blogging).

Earlier in the week, the athletic department built a little anticipation by letting us know that a Final Four team from last year would be on our schedule this year, and appearing in the Stroh Center during its second season of operation.  The answer to that has been revealed....

It is Michigan State (2 for 1)!  I think this is a great get for our program, and full compliments all around.  It will be a great part of the second season at the Stroh.  I also give Tom Izzo credit for taking his team on the road.  He did not have to.  Maybe that's why his team keeps making the Final Four.  Just thinking out loud.

Beyond that, this year's schedule is very interesting.  We play at Michigan and Michigan State, St. Louis Detroit, and Wisconsin Milwaukee, each a solid road test.  We also play at Howard as the season opener, which should be a game we can win.

We also play Albany and Niagara in Detroit as part of the Legends Classic.  Albany was 7-25 last year and lost their best scorer, and Niagara (a good program) was 18-13 and lost its top two scorers.  On a neutral court, you have to believe that those are both winnable games.

Now, the home schedule.

The premier opponent is Western Kentucky, who will be there while classes are still in session.  They are a top-flight mid-major program and we are glad to have them coming in.

Also, Duquesne will play in BG.  They were .500 in a very tough conference last season, and have a very consistent program that plays up-tempo and is a good challenge for our style.

Also, Texas San-Antonio will visit BG.  It may not sound like much, but they were 18-11 last season, and return two of their top three scorers.

Also coming in is Manhattan, which has had a Big Dance run in the recent past, though had a rough season last year.

And, of course, what season would be complete without Isaiah Thomas and his FIU Golden Panthers coming into Anderson Arena.

We have only one non-D1 game, and that's Ohio Dominican.

The conference schedule is what it is.....we are at UT, and at CMU so Trey Zeigler will not play in BG until the Stroh Center opens (barring a MAC tourney game).

And, of course, the last regular season game at Anderson Arena will be either March 4 or 5...against Buffalo.  Apparently, we are awaiting TV confirmation of that.  Mark your calendars now.

Overall, this is a really interesting, quality schedule.  I'm looking forward to seeing the team compete against it, and kudos to our program for putting it together.

Nov. 12 at Howard TBA
Nov. 18 at Michigan (Legends Classic) TBA
Nov. 22 DUQUESNE 7 p.m.
Nov. 26 vs. Niagara (Legends Classic at Detroit) 5 p.m.
Nov. 27 at Detroit (Legends Classic) 7 p.m.
Nov. 28 vs. Albany (Legends Classic at Detroit) 3 p.m.
Dec. 4 at Michigan State TBA
Dec. 18 at Wisconsin-Milwaukee TBA
Dec. 22 MANHATTAN 7 p.m.
Jan. 1 at St. Louis TBA
Jan. 8 at Buffalo* TBA
Jan. 11 at Kent State* TBA
Jan. 19 OHIO* TBA
Jan. 22 at Akron* TBA
Jan. 26 at Toledo* TBA
Feb. 2 at Northern Illinois* TBA
Feb. 12 at Central Michigan* TBA
Feb. 15 AKRON* TBA
Feb. 19 at TBA (ESPN BracketBusters) TBA
Feb. 23 at Ohio* TBA
Feb. 26 at Miami* TBA
March 4/5 BUFFALO* TBA

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hoops Tournaments Stay at the Q

I know this is catch-up, but while I was on vacation I saw that the men's AND women's MAC basketball tourneys had re-upped at the Q through 2017.  

This is a little surprising.  I felt that the best solution would have been to have the tournament in different cities, giving the women a stronger identity and sane gametimes, and allowing all the men's teams to go to the Q and eliminating sparsely-attended opening round home site games.  In addition, I think the Huntington Center would have been a perfect location for the women's tournament.  Finally, I think the coaches in the MAC agree with me.

Apparently that couldn't work out.  Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with the Q and it has been a really nice venue for us, and I am sure it will continue to be in the future.  There would have been nice things about the other arrangement as well.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

BGSU Falcon Athletic Department Blog Drops Tasty Morsel....

This tasty little bit was in the Falcon Athletic Department Blog....you might have seen that many teams are announcing their non-conference hoops schedules, and the BG men have yet to publish theirs....see below.

3 - Speaking of basketball schedules, I've got a men's non-conference schedule sitting in front of me right now. There's still a couple of contracts that have to get the proper signatures before we can release it, but expect that to come out either Friday or next Monday. There's a few new opponents on the slate and, as a teaser, a road game against a Final Four team from a year ago. And that contract is a 2-for-1 meaning that team will come play us in the Stroh Center in 2012. But that's all I can say about that (and maybe more than I should have, but why else would you read all this?)
So, that leaves Butler, MSU, WVU and Duke.

This has prompted a great deal of speculation in the Nation.  From a geographic standpoint, MSU and Butler are most likely.  Butler would seem to me to be the team they are talking about.   MSU (notwithstanding Jud Heathcote's rumpled vow never to play in a MAC arena again following an Anderson Arena beatdown), is also possible, and posters on AZZ.com say that MSU does schedule some road games like this.  I doubt WVU and I really doubt Duke.

As the note says, schedule should be done Friday or Monday so it will be interesting to see.  Either way, I think a great way to get interest back in the basketball program is to bring in name opponents, and hopefully during a time when classes are in.  Not to be picky.

Clawson Comments Following Scrimmage

The team had their second scrimmage of the season today, and it was certainly far from a success.  Coach Clawson made a few interesting points...

First, and most notably, Matt Schilz is almost certain to start at QB against Troy.  Coach said it would take "something drastic" for him not to be the starter.  Further, he is getting most of the reps now as he learns the Tennessee mind-bender offense, and that will just cement it further.  Coach said that he doesn't make mistakes, which is the first step for a young QB--not making it harder to win.  So, the QB competition appears to be largely over.

Second, we did not practice well today.  We have been practicing well, but apparently made a large number of mental errors today.  The offense had to "condition" after practice because they were making mistakes.  These are the dog days of camp, but it is also "when a team decides to be good," in the words of Coach Clawson.

Shaun Joplin made a big play in the scrimmage and continues to tantalize everyone, but Coach says he does not know the offense well enough to start this year.  He may play some special teams, but if everyone is healthy will see few snaps at WR.  However, Coach is pleased with his progress and expects him to be a good player in the future.

The battle for backup RB is between Hopgood and Geiger, both of whom played hurt today.  John Pettigrew, who was a back up much of last season, is now #4.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Day Of Celebration!

Look what was in today's mail!!

Falcons Win Academic Award

According to the BG News Blog, the Falcons have won the MAC's Instituitonal Academic Achievement Award (catchy name) for this year, for having the highest GPA among its student athletes.  BG was first, and Toledo was second, making this yet another thing that the Falcons have beaten the Rockets in.  Our GPA was 3.107.

No.  They didn't say who was last (cough, cough, Akron, cough cough).

I always like to see this.  As I always say, in the MAC there is no reason to choose between winning and academic performance.  You should be able to do both.

Monday, August 16, 2010

BGSU Football Alumni report....

So, the first round of the pre-season games is by, and some Falcons are out in the NFL making their way.  Here's a quick report....

The biggest day came from Diryal Briggs, who played the last four games with the 49ers and is considered a sleeper to make an impact.  Certainly, he is popular on the message boards.  He made 3 tackles and had an interception, which, sadly, he fumbled back on the return.  Still, he had a pretty decent day.

Freddie Barnes played for the Bears, both as a receiver and on special teams, but had no catches or tackles.

Scott Mruzcowski played for the Chargers and Kory Lichtensteiger played for the Redskins.

And Shaun Suisham, who is now a Ram, kicked an extra point.

Finally, it is not NFL news, but Corey Partridge is now back coaching receivers at his old HS.

MAC Blogger Poll

In response to the MAC Media Poll, the Bull Run Blog set up a blogger poll for the MAC.  We had 11 blogs participate, as you can see below.  (The tables I cribbed without permission or remorse from the EMU Eagles blog, which is new on the scene.  Didn't see any reason to type this all in myself).

Blog (Listed alphabetically)Focus
Bull RunBuffalo
Eastern Michigan EaglesEastern Michigan
Falcon BlogBowling Green
Fire Up ChipsCentral Michigan
Hustle BeltMAC
Lets go RocketsToledo
Over The PylonBall State
Rasor on the ZipsAkron
Red and Black AttackNorthern Illinois
Temple Football ForeverTemple
The MAC DailyMAC

You can see the predictions below.  They are predictions.    One thing I will note is that I think the balance of power is shifting more toward divisional parity.  I think that as you move down the rankings, you can see that the teams are pretty even...Kent at 3rd should be pretty similar to CMU at third in the West, and so on.

MAC EastPtsDivConfBowlHighLow
MAC WestPtsDivConfBowlHighLow

The EMU blog correctly identifies, however, that what is really interesting is the difference betweenthe bloggers and the Media.  In fact, they are pretty minimal.  The one thing that leaps out to me is that the MSM has faith that Miami will show improvement this year, while we in the blogging community are less sure.  In fact, Miami and Akron are more or less equal in our eyes.  Also, the bloggers like Toledo better--in fact, two bloggers out of 11 thought they would win the division.

East Blog PollEast Media DayWest Blog PollWest Media Day
1 Temple(10) 971 Temple(17) 1371 NIU (9) 951 NIU (15) 115
2 Ohio(2) 892 Ohio(3) 1162 Toledo (2) 732 CMU(3) 83
3 Kent 643 Kent 943 CMU 623 WMU (2) 77
4 BGSU 554 BGSU 744 WMU (1) 584 Toledo 75
5 Buffalo 445 Miami 535 Ball State 295 Ball State 50
6 Akron 116 Buffalo 486 EMU 26 EMU 20
7 Miami 107 Akron 38

For the record, my picks were as follows (to be expounded on in a future post).


  1. Temple
  2. Kent
  3. OU
  4. BG
  5. Buffalo
  6. Miami
  7. Akron


  1. WMU
  2. NIU
  3. UT
  4. CMU
  5. BSU
  6. EMU

I think Temple will win the MAC...and I picked Temple, Kent, NIU and WMU to make bowls. Yes, Kent in a bowl game.

The apocalypse will be occurring shortly thereafter, so short everything.

Again, I'll explain myself at a later date, but for today, I think it is good to see that the blogs and the MSM don't differ all that much, which means, more than likely, we will all be equally wrong.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Catching up from last week's news from Camp

Not camp, like where I was.  Camp where Falcons train for triumph, sweating through their pre-season routine.

Like that.

(FWIW, the news from our camp was s'mores, campfires, trees, bugs, and good times.)

Based on articles in the Blade, Matt Schilz has the inside track to be the QB.  This is not surprising, given that our OC recruited him to K-State and he was good enough to get an offer to a BCS school (even K-State), and has a year in our system as a redshirt last year.  Obviously, no official starter has been named.

From the same article, Willie Geter sat practice out with a minor injury which Coach said would not have prevented him from playing.  For those who like their minutae deep, here is the competition for the #2 slot...

The competition for the No. 2 running back spot is between Erique Geiger, John Pettigrew and Jordan Hopgood.

FWIW, Hopgood came to BG as a WR, and if he does not make at least one leaping TD pass he is wasting the greatest name in football history.  Ever.

Scott Lewis, a walk-on who had made his way to a starting O-line position has broken his foot and his return this year appears uncertain.  Former D-lineman Nick Torresso will take his spot.  The line is a key question mark for our team, and this will have an impact on depth if nothing else, and all but ensures that a true-FR will get playing time on the O-line this year.

Finally, the good news is that, as expected, we will have good depth at WR.  I really think that if the running game and the pass blocking give our QB time, then the WRs will be able to be productive.

So....what did I miss?

Back from vacation, reading to get moving.  Just a quick note....I did an interview for the BGSU preview for my friends over at the Owls' Nest, a Temple Blog.  If you scroll down, you can see how I answered the various questions put to me....

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Falcon Blog on Vacation....

The Blog is on the vacation this week...we'll be back next week to begin our previews of the coming football season.

Monday, August 09, 2010

New Kicker in Falcon Camp....

Our starting kicker and our starting punter both graduated last year, and there has been a significant amount of concern in the Nation about that part of our team.  Having lived through some years where our kicking game was an absolute horror, no one wants to go back to where we can't kick a FG to take a 10-point lead at the end of a game or where punts are being blocked a lot.  Or FG kickers falling on their butt in the mud.  Like that.

So, today the news is that we have a kicker who was on the Michigan Wolverine roster for the past four years--Bryan Wright.  He didn't get into any games as a placekicker, but he did do some kickoffs.  He has a strong leg.  He graduated from UM and has enrolled at BG in grad school, and can play this year without sitting out a year.

This is a new NCAA rule, used most recently by Greg Paulus.

Anyway, he had some injuries last year, so assuming he is healthy, he enters into the mix to help us kicking or punting, apparently.  He was on scholarship at UM, which means he has to be pretty talented.     Many programs, including the biggest, prefer kickers to walk on.

Here's what RichRod had to say about Wright...

“Bryan Wright really fought through a lot of back pain last year in kicking -- I don’t know if you all were aware of that,” U-M coach Rich Rodriguez said in the spring. “He did a great job of fighting through that. It just got to the point that it was a little bit too much for him.