Thursday, September 30, 2010

Clawson Presser--Half Dead Edition

Coach Clawson did his weekly presser yesterday...

First, Matt Schilz practiced some on Tuesday.  At that point, he was looking like a game day decision.  He felt better the next day, which, Coach feels, make it less likely there will be a relapse.  Ben Bojicic also practiced and appears to ready to go.

Buffalo's defense is much different, according to Coach Clawson.  They used to be a four-down front, but now they are a "30" (ie, a 3-4), with more zone coverage than they did last year.

There was a lot of talk about Davonte Shannon, their S who might well be the best player in the MAC you never heard of.  He's been All-MAC three times, and Coach says they are moving him around to make him hard to account for and even put him up with the LBs on some run plays.  He is their "free hitter" and they like to "spill" plays to him.  Coach said our guys have to account for him, which means the WRs, TEs and lead backs need to look for him to block.

Coach thinks last year and this year are ALMOST EXACTLY the same in this respect.  Both years we were 1-2 and went into a game with a big-time opponent (Boise and Michigan) and got smoked both times.  Surprisingly, he says that this year's team was about as good as September as last year's team, but that last year we took a big jump in October.  This year's story is yet to be told.

If you want to ask if this is a "must win" game, Coach wants to know what you mean.  Because if you mean that half the team is going to die, he doesn't agree.  But, it is an important game.  We identified it as our most important game early in the season.

My note.  This is absolutely true.  With our schedule coming home, and with games against OU, Temple, Toledo and CMU on the road, we really do need a win in this game, because it only gets harder.

Buffalo has some outstanding WRs.

He was asked if they were practicing tackling any more this week.  He appeared to find the question a little irritating, which is surprising since he said on Saturday his guys looked like they thought they were tackling JV Players.  In fairness, after reviewing film, the issue sometimes was not wrapping up, but poor body position that superior athletes took advantage of.

Coach has "live tackled" during practice for the first time in his career.  Some of our guys reverted to old habits after a couple of good weeks.

In "large" space, he says the better athlete can win, but in "tight" space when we got a body on them and didn't wrap up, that was frustrating to Coach.

So that's the weekly presser, with the cliches removed....

MAC Blogger Roundtable, BG edition

1) Throughout the summer the MAC has been mostly left out of expansion/raiding conversations EMU athletic director Derrick Gragg seemed to hint that there are serious thoughts about adding more team(s). Dust off you DeLorean and tell us what the MAC looks like in 2014. Who stays, who goes and who's new? What would you're realistically ideal MAC look like.

If you want my honest opinion, I don't think the MAC will add very much over the next few years. If anything, I think the best case scenario is that the MAC stays intact the way it is now.  I think that if C-USA gets raided, they could come in for Toledo, Buffalo, or Akron, each of which is in an urban environment.  Would anyone take Temple as a football-only school?  As for adds, I think if we want to look South, there are a couple Sun Belt teams which would be nice adds (Troy, Middle Tennessee), but I don't know that anyone would benefit from that, really.  Troy would also be a C-USA candidate.

2) Most teams out of conference schedules are now winding down. Who has had the most disappointing and the most surprisingly impressive set of OOC games?

Well, on the positive side, there are pretty slim pickings.  No team in the MAC has two FBS OOC wins.  Temple probably has the best resume, with a win over UConn and a Villanova team that is high quality FCS.  Toledo's win over Purdue is impressive, as is the NIU win over Minnesota.  Speaking of disappointing, however, NIU was within 6 points of Illinois and lost to a bad Iowa State team--they could easily have three BCS wins.

3) Which MAC Coach, new or not, should sit upon the hottest seat in the conference?

I think it is Doug Martin.  Kent has continued to languish and was set up for a decent start.  They are 1-2 and it is hard to see what they have, but I think they need some wins for Martin to keep his job.

4) I am asking out of order for a reason: Rank them first to worst

1. Temple
2. Toledo
3. NIU
4. CMU
5. BG
6. OU
7.  Miami
8. Kent
9. WMU
10. Buffalo
11 Ball State
12. Akron
13. EMU

5) Of the bottom five teams which one(s) do you think have the best chance of making some noise in conference this season? And of the top 4 who is most likely to fall apart?

You know, I feel like I should go to Western Michigan anonymous.  I always think this is their year, and it always isn't.  Thus is it always so.  Is it too needy, too predictable, too enabling for me to say WMU?  They are last in the MAC in turnovers...if they turn that around, it could happen, right?

OK.  WMU.  Buffalo is second.

As for falling apart, I think it has to be Toledo.  Don't get me wrong, I don't think any of them are going to fall apart, but the Rockets showed last year they are susceptible to injuries, and if they don't stay healthy, I could see them struggling.  But, I think that those four teams are very solid for the title run (and the bowl run) in the MAC.

Bull Run Blog Swap

1. You not only have a lot of new skill players, but also a new Coach and a new system. How do you think the team is adjusting to the Quinn offense, how do you think the talent matches up, and is it improving?

I've been amazed at how well the receivers have played this year, Coach Juan Taylor really brought them along during the off season. With Ed Young's breakout game last week, and even an impressive showing by Fred Lee, UB is sporting three real threats and a couple of reliable guys in the rotation.

I had thought we would rely on the running game because UB had three very experienced backs but so far the running game has been awful! Redshirt freshman Brandon Oliver has charmed the coaching staff dunning the off season but has managed nothing on the field. This, and the struggles of Jerry Davis falls mostly on the offensive line.

And that's where the pain has been. Quinn is taking guys recruited trained, and sculpted to run Gills pro set offense and trying to cram them into a pro set, fast paced unit. They have worked their hearts out but it's been a difficult transition.

2. Tell us about your new QB? You had a high-profile off-season defection. How is he adjusting?

I was really high on Davis coming into the year, and he charmed the hell out of me against Rhode Island. But most UB fans woke up the next week with some money on the night stand and a phone number with 5 digits. As I eluded to above, much of his struggle is on the line, and pass protection in general (backs and tight ends) but even when he has time he seems jittery.

Davis throws a very pretty deep ball, inside of ten yards though he is off target.

I'm trying to be honest about whether or not Maynard would be doing any better ( no sour grapes ) and I can honestly say I don't see him doing much better this season. Maybe his mobility would be a bit more of a factor but his decision making is not solid enough for a fast paced offense.

3. BG and Buffalo have played two wild games in a row, in both cases the road team stole the win in the 4th quarter. Is this turning into a rivalry?

I would hope so. You can actually say that three of our last four games have been pretty wild (OT in 2006). UB is dying for a rival in this conference. We have been around long enough to ditch the title FNG but we are still lacking a true rival.

Temple might be close but to be honest their FB only status makes them more of a mild rival than anything else. Everyone else seems pretty paired up, so if Bowling Green is in the market for an arch enemy I'll volunteer UB.

4. BG fans might be curious, in particular, about the pass defense. Buffalo leads the MAC in pass efficiency defense. Is that a quirk, or do you think the Bulls have the best pass defense.

Not the best pass defense but certainly a pretty good one. UB is playing much more aggressive on the corner this season and the result is that its much harder for QB's to chew up our defense than it used to be. We have been pretty vulnerable to the long ball, too vulnerable to be 'the best pass defense in the MAC'.

The defensive line is starting to produce, so perhaps as the season wears on we can stop the long plays before they develop.

Final Blog Poll is Up....

I'm not up for any awards, least this week.

SB Nation BlogPoll Top 25 College Football Rankings

Results for Week 5

1Alabama Crimson Tide (97)    24.90.36--
2Ohio St. Buckeyes (10)    23.41.53--
3Oregon Ducks (2)    21.82.17--
4Boise St. Broncos (1)    21.52.68Arrow_up 1
5TCU Horned Frogs    20.62.19Arrow_down -1
6Nebraska Cornhuskers    18.13.89--
7Florida Gators    17.43.19Arrow_up 2
8Oklahoma Sooners    17.33.50--
9Stanford Cardinal    16.93.48Arrow_up 4
10Auburn Tigers    15.13.76Arrow_up 7
11Arizona Wildcats    14.13.73--
12LSU Tigers    13.64.12Arrow_up 4
13Wisconsin Badgers    13.34.05Arrow_up 2
14Utah Utes    12.63.71--
15Arkansas Razorbacks    10.44.35Arrow_down -5
16Miami Hurricanes    8.74.54Arrow_up 3
17Michigan Wolverines    7.73.75Arrow_up 3
18Iowa Hawkeyes    7.43.90--
19USC Trojans    5.94.86Arrow_up 2
20South Carolina Gamecocks    5.93.75Arrow_down -8
21Nevada Wolf Pack    4.33.95Arrow_up 3
22Michigan St. Spartans    4.23.36Arrow_up 3
23Texas Longhorns    4.24.03Arrow_down -16
24N.C. State Wolfpack    4.14.22Arrow_up 6
25Penn St. Nittany Lions    3.03.52Arrow_down -2
       Others Receiving Votes:        Missouri Tigers | Oklahoma St. Cowboys | Kansas St. Wildcats | Florida St. Seminoles | Clemson Tigers | Air Force Falcons | West Virginia Mountaineers | Northwestern Wildcats | Texas A&M Aggies | Oregon St. Beavers | UCLA Bruins | Virginia Tech Hokies | Houston Cougars | Mississippi St. Bulldogs | North Carolina Tar Heels | Indiana Hoosiers | Toledo Rockets | Temple Owls      
Updated: Sep 29, 2010 10:10 AM EDT
SB Nation BlogPoll College Football Top 25 Rankings »

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Falcons in the National Rankings

Taking a look at the Falcons in the national rankings, we find the following....

Kamar Jorden fell out of the top spot in receptions, and is now #2 in the nation.  He is now 11th in receiving yards.

Ty Pronty, who is emerging as a really important playmaker for us, is #12 in all-purpose yards thanks to big kick returns and some long receptions.

Eugene Cooper is #14 in punt returns.

As a team:

We are #13 in punt returns and we are not in the Top 20 in any more categories.

On the less positive side:

Remember that there are 120 teams in FBS.

Not surprisingly, after the Michigan game, we are #120 in total defense, #117 in rushing defense, and #117 in scoring defense.

We are #115 in rushing offense.

We are also below #100 in sacks and tackles for loss.

International Centre for Special Teams Research

The International Centre has issued its report from the Michigan game...For a review of what all this nonsense means, feel free to click here.

The basic idea is that you score each special teams play based on a formula that scores plays in the normal range a zero and then good plays are positive and bad plays are negative, and then you add them all up and get a net total.

For the Michigan game, BG had a -2 ranking, which was our worst special teams game of the season, and our first negative game spreading back into last season.  The major factor in the negative number was the safety, which is -3.  We had some nice punts, and some minor issues.  Every other play was either a 1 or a -1.

Michigan ended up at an even 0.

Certainly not a disastrous game, and given what we had, the special teams might have been the highlight of the game.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

One More Michigan Observation

The game report shows that Michigan played a ridiculous 75 players in the game Saturday.

Depth Chart Review

Quick review of the depth chart released in the game notes shows only a couple of new things...

With Bojicic back at C, Torresso is now back at LG.  Jordan Roussos is backing him up there, and Dominic Flewellyn is now listed as the backup C.

On the D-line, Ted Ouellett (rFR) is now a backup a D-Tackle in the spot formerly occupied by Roussos.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Good News From the Falcon Nation

Coach Clawson on the weekly MAC teleconference reported today that Ben Bojicic will be back in action for Bowling Green (as reported by The Blade).  Matt Schilz is somewhere between probable and questionable, which is a philosophical conundrum if ever I heard one.

His return is very helpful as BG reaches MAC play.  He is our best lineman and allows Torresso to assist at Guard again.  It returns our best player and helps our depth as well.

Blog Poll Week 5...DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT

 Well, with Alabama's big win over Arkansas I moved them ahead of OSU.  Alabama now has two quality wins (Penn State and Arkansas) as compared to Ohio State's 1 (Miami).  Based on the Blogpoll method (who has had the best season), Alabama is number 1. They will still have a harder road to being undefeated than OSU does.

I moved Nevada in.  NC State was #26, but I liked Nevada by a little bit. Both Nebraska and Oklahoma had underwhelming wins. I like Auburn a lot...anyway, this is just a draft. Hit me on the comments if you have other ideas....

Images of Buffalo....

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Next Week's Opponent...Last Week

So our attention turns (gratefully) to the Buffalo Bulls.  One of our new features is to recap their last game, just as warm up.

Buffalo lost a pretty close game at UCONN on Saturday.  They certainly played the Huskies tough and while UConn isn't ranked, they are a team from a BCS conference, even if it is the Big East.  They had lost by 2 touchdowns to Temple and this was their first FBS win of the year.  (They are currently not in first place in the MAC East0.

Anyhoo, the game was tied at halftime and Buffalo was only down 3 with 7 left in the third, but from there UConn racked up 17 straight points to take the win, including a pick 6 with 4 minutes left.

Buffalo ran a crazy 90 plays, and had 24 3rd down plays.  When I saw that, I actually checked it, because it didn't seem possible.  They were outgained by 31 yards, although UConn ran 60 plays, so on a per play basis it was not as impressive.  Buffalo had 4 turnovers and UConn had 3.

In terms of our past opponents, Marshall beat OU for their first win of the season (by 1--OU scored on the last play of the game and then went for 2 rather than the kick for overtime, and they did not score).  Tulsa improved to 2-2 with a big win over Central Arkansas, and Troy also went to 2-2 with a win over Arkansas State.

Black Humor

The animated drive chart for Saturday's game....


Last Thoughts

OK, a couple last thoughts from the Big House.....non-apocalyptic throughts....

First, I have seen a lot of football in person.  Seen a number of guys who ended up in the NFL....Daunte Culpepper, Chester Taylor, Ben Rothlisberger, Byron Leftwich, Brad Smith, Justin Gage, LeSean McCoy, and even at that I am sure I am forgetting some.  You get the idea.

I have never seen a player with the game changing ability of Denard Robinson.  He is amazing.  He is one blink of an eye from scoring every time he touches the ball.  And, he can throw.  And he's a sophomore.

We had a good time at the Big House, beyond the game.  If anyone is heading up there, I recommend using the AATA shuttle.  We left our car at Weber's, took the bus, were dropped off at the gate, and were driven back to our car.  $6 for two people.

Michigan fans were very nice....nothing was thrown, even an insult.  They are true college football fans.

The Big House has is also the home of Little Video Boards That You Can't Read.

They are also well prepared with concessions, gate and restrooms.  Getting a coke did not require a half hour absence from your seat like other places (ahem, ahem, ours).

It is the largest crowd we ever played in front of.  Obviously.

I know that the noise is supposed to be improved by the new luxury structures, but it is still not that loud, given the number of people that are in there.

Michigan Game Story--A long day

I'm very disappointed that we did not present ourselves better.  I don't think that's a game we should be losing by 44 points.---Dave Clawson.

I think that is the sentiment of most people in the Falcon Nation this morning.  It was a pretty embarrassing way to lose.

On a sidenote, I think it is refreshing to have a coach who talks this way.  Previous coaches (OK, a previous coach) would have whined about the scheduling, not having a bye week, etc.  Every fan knows that this was a tough draw for BG.  It just didn't have to be like that.

The 65 points and 721 yards of total offense are mind-boggling totals.  The media guide doesn't list negative records (or I couldn't find them), but a review of the game by game stuff shows that we haven't allowed 65 in a long long time.  We did allow MSU (then Michigan Normal) to hit 70 in 1920....maybe there was another one in there that I missed.

I have no idea if the 721 yards is the worst in school history, but it has to be up there.  It is the second best (by one yard) in FBS this season, according to The Blade, and I'm guessing that includes games against FCS opponents.

  • Michigan had 11 drives, and scored touchdowns on nine of them.
  • Michigan had 466 rushing yards...averaging over 8 yards a carry.
  • Michigan had only 3 incomplete passes.
  • Michigan never punted.
Anyway, you can truly go on and on.  So, what happened?  Coach was pretty clear in his presser after the game....tackling.  Or lack thereof.  This has been a weakness in this program for a long time, and it certainly reared its ugly head.  Here are some things he said.

Missed tackles.  That's the game. I really believe that if we tackle better maybe it's 14-14 at the half and we start with the ball.

The amount of big plays we gave up because of missed tackles, you can't beat anybody that way.

It's disappointing to me when we make a hit in the backfield or after one or two yards, and they become 12, 15, 30-yard plays. We need to be better than that.

We had guys dropping a shoulder and ducking their heads as if they were tackling JV football players. Certainly Michigan has tremendous skill. But we made them look better. We looked like a very poor fundamental team.

Their way of tackling isn't working. They need to do it our way.

Going in and trying to strip the ball is for the second or third guy in, not the first. The athletes they have make you pay dearly for that.

Of the yards they had rushing, a third of that came after a missed tackle - if not more.

Again, I appreciate the candor of the coach, and his commitment to getting the best out of our guys.  Let's hope we apply the 24-hour rule, and come back new and improved for Buffalo next week...a game we need a lot more than we needed this game.

Coach did seem to be wavering on his famous 24-hour rule, however.

But to say, "Let's move on?" There's some things we did so poorly that, if we do them against anybody in the MAC, we'll be in trouble too.

On offense, Coach noted that this was the wrong week to have to simplify things, but that's exactly what we had to do with Schilz out.  We could not run the ball at all against Michigan, and the passing game was limited to very short stuff.  I don't think Pankratz had a bad game at all, we just were working off a pretty limited set of options.

Ty Pronty did make a big play on his 71 yard touchdown.

In his post-game presser, RichRod said that he was surprised that we didn't screen more, he thought we could hurt them with that.  FWIW.

Anyway, it was a talented Michigan team in a tough environment, but it was a pretty grim performance by our team, even given all that.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

More Later....

Just a quick note...loooong day at the Big House.  Obviously, we had no answer for Michigan's offense.  And they did most of that without Robinson, who was really killing us when he was in there.

Luckily, it doesn't really matter.  I mean, it stings a little.  I have seen us play in a number of big-time environments, and we usually at least make a game of it.  But, our defense was what we feared it would be, and the offense was without the QB.  I'd trade a game like this everyday to play in the MAC Championship.

 We have to start conference play Saturday and need to bounce back.

A Picture Says 1,000 words.....

Ensconced in the big house

Friday, September 24, 2010

MAC Blogger Roundtable is ON THE AIR.....

The MAC Blogger Roundtable is up...and VERY round.  Rounder than ever.

25 Questions for the Big House

What is their body of work?

The Falcons make their second trip to the Big House in what could easily be the most trying time in the program's history.  Two straight losing seasons, two straight seasons without a bowl appearance, an outlaw coach who hasn't won the hearts in Ann Arbor yet, and your chief rival is dominating you....this was an important season in Ann Arbor.

This year, they picked up wins over Connecticut (who eventually lost to Temple) and Notre Dame (who lost again to MSU the next week).  Of course, there is the close loss win to UMASS...I'd say that UM has yet to be really tested this year in a way where people can really see what they have.

What is their best recent result?

Their biggest win in the RichRod era was probably the win over Wisconsin in 2008.  Last year, their only win over a ranked team was over an overrated ND team....this year, I'd say the road win at Notre Dame.

What is their worst recent result?

Well, they can't forget the UT loss in 2008 (UT lost to NIU the next week by several TDS), and losing to Illinois by 25 last season cannot be on a highlight reel.

What is their turnover ratio?

Michigan is -22 over the last two years.  They are +4 this season.


How is their QB Play?

This is always the first question, because it is the key, and the answer is, very, very good.  Denard Robinson leads the nation in rushing.  He doesn't lead Qbs in rushing---he leads everybody in rushing.  He is not one-dimensional, however.  He is 19th in the nation in passing efficiency, which is a ridiculous one-two punch.  He is a unique player and it will be a treat to see him play in person.

What was their scoring and yards per play?

They are on 37th in scoring offense, but their running yards per play (7.0) is really good.  In fact, you'd expect to see more scoring for a team with 7 yards a play, so we'll check out and see if anything points us to why.

Can they run the ball?

They are #6 in the nation in team rushing.  Besides having the nation's top rusher, they also had Michael Shaw get 100 yards against the Minutemen.

Do they pass the ball?

They are 55th in passing yards, but 19th in passing efficiency, which is normally the profile of a team throwing high-percentage passes and not getting picked.

How is their run/pass balance?

They have run 143 times and passed only 77 (sack adjusted).  In the Bo-era, that would have been the a normal ratio (if not a little too pass-oriented), but this is a completely different beast.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

50% on the year, which is a Top 20 ranking.

Do they score in the red zone?

They are deadly in the red zone.  11 trips, 9 TDs and 1 FG.  That will get it done.  If anything, 11 red zone trips is not a lot.

Do they protect the quarterback?

They have been sacked only once this season so far.

This is a very good offensive team, led by one of the best offensive players in the NCAA.  They are capable of scoring big points against almost any FBS team.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

They are in the middle in scoring defense.  They held UConn to 10, ND to 24 and then Umass to 37, which they cannot be happy about.  UMass scored as much as the other teams combined.  They allow 5.9 yards per play, which is pretty high. 

Do they defend the run effectively?

They are giving up 4.6 yards per rush, which is pretty poor.  Fans have focused on their pass defense, but this is not a strong point.

Could they be passed on?

The answer is, yes they can.  They are 102nd (out of 120) in passing yards allowed, but 57th in efficiency, indicating a team that gives up a lot of big plays.

Did they get off the field on 3rd down?

This is a strong point.  They allow only 34% conversions.

Do they defend in the red zone?

They have allowed only 12 red zone trips, but 10 scores, with only 7 being TDs.  This is a pretty strong record.

Do they pressure the QB?

No.  They have only one sack in 3 games.
Special Teams:


Pretty uniformly, they are awful at special teams.  They are 106th in the nation in net punting.

Punt Return?

They are last in the FBS in punt returns, averaging a loss of 5 yards on each return.  (of which there have been 2...OK?


They have only made one FG this season, and that was a 24 yarder.  Students were showing up at practice this week to try out to be a kicker.  This is a real liability for UM.


Kickoffs have been good.  Teams have been starting on their own 29, which is decent. 

Kickoff Return?

They are 69th in this category, making it the high point of their special teams.  Even with that, they start on their own 29.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

I think 4 things could play into the game here.

  • Huge gameday experience for BG.  How do they react?
  • BG is adjusting to a new QB.  How does the offense react, because we will need to score points to win?
  • Was the UMass game a wake-up call for Michigan.  Will they be more focused?
  • How does BG react to a confidence-winning game last week?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

MAC Blogger Roundtable, Week 4

1) What would you say is the biggest story line in the MAC so far this season? Surprises, injuries, etc?

Much as it pains me to say, the biggest storyline in the MAC so far is the resurgent Rocket program. They had an incredibly tough way to start the MAC schedule, but went on the road to beat OU and WMU. They are in the driver's seat at this date for a shot at making Ford Field.

2) Which other team in college football most closely mirrors your respective MAC school (whether it be personnel / talent, coaching, reputation, injuries, etc.) ?

Good question.  For this week, I am going to say (with a hearty sense of irony), the Michigan Wolverines, since we both have strong offenses and very young and inconsistent defenses.

3) If you had to select one player from any other MAC team to add to your roster -- which player would you choose and why ?

I would say that the player we could use most is Brian Lainhart.  He'd shore up our young defensive backfield and is a proven playmaker.  He's not the best player in the MAC, but he'd help BG the most.

4) What have the first three games of this season showed you about your team ?

The first games have shown me that while BG is rebuilding, the program is putting together a championship run in the future.  We are resilient and are executing a strong game plan.  If the team continues to improve through this season, they could be very tough in the home stretch.

5) Rank the MAC Teams: 1 to 13.

1.   Temple
2.   Toledo
3.   CMU
4.   NIU
5.   BG
6.   OU
7.   Kent
8.   WMU
9.   Buffalo
10.  Miami
11  Akron
12.  Ball State
13.  EMU

Clawson, Big House, Surprise Scout Team QB Presser Edition

Coach was back in the box, facing a cross examination from the media elites in Bowling Green on Wednesday.

The biggest news is relatively big indeed.  Earlier in the week, it was Pankratz and Pagel who were supposedly competing for the QB job.  However, little hints were dropped that if Schilz was going to be out longer, Hurley would be in contention for having his redshirt removed and playing.  And, as of now, Pankratz and Hurley are competing for the job.

Schilz' injury is very tough to judge.  This is the injury that Omar Jacobs had, and it was very difficult to tell when it would be good enough for him to play.

Coach said that last year, Schilz was actually the true back up, and if Tyler had gotten injured for a significant period of time, Schilz would have gotten the snaps.  Pankratz was the short-term #2.

This year, no one clearly won the back up job, hence the competition this week.

In some senses, all the QBs are from a similar mold and we already have a skinnier playbook than last year, so the adjustment might be less than feared.  Obviously, Schilz is our best guy, so that's an adjustment.

Coach says that they view the UM game as a special opportunity, and that is how they are trying to get the players to see it.

He talked about Denard Robinson, and inside the obvious superlatives, there was some football stuff.  Having a running QB means you can run a 2-back set with only one running back, leaving you with nine blockers.  (In a normal 2-back set it would be 8).

Coach Clawson he has been playing Robinson on the scout team.

But he was joking.

He says that the UMass game is not a confidence builder for BG.  The Falcons have to bring their motivation from inside themselves and not from other teams.

Finally, he noted that the defense Michigan runs is similar to the defense Tulsa runs.

Blog Swap with Wolverineblog...

So, as we have been doing every chance we get, we have a blog swap with the opponent.  This week, we have Ace from Wolverineblog, who was gracious enough to answer some questions about the Wolverines.  He asked me some, which you can see here.

1. Michigan seems to have a track record of underperfoming against non-BCS and FCS teams. What do you attribute that to?

Outside of the Appalachian State loss, which exposed Michigan's defensive staff at the time as one that had a lot of trouble handling the spread offense, I wouldn't say Michigan underperforms against non-BCS and FCS teams. It's more an issue of the team just not being that good, period, the last few years. Last week's game against UMass was just another example of that -- this defense just isn't very good. If you look at the track record pre-Rodriguez, Michigan always took care of the lesser teams on their schedule. That isn't a knock against Rodriguez, who I think is a very good coach who was put in a very tough situation, just a reflection of the fact that these past few Wolverine squads haven't performed at a high level.

2. In a similar vein, it seems like Michigan rarely has good placekicking. With all that talent Michigan attracts, why do you think that is?

Again, I think this is a bit of a misconception. Michigan had decent walk-ons emerge at placekicker each of the last three seasons (K.C. Lopata in '07 and '08 and Jason Olesnavage in '09), and before that the team had a very solid four-year starter in Garrett Rivas. This year's team clearly has some major issues at kicker, which is surprising since redshirt freshman Brendan Gibbons was pretty highly touted coming out of high school. He hasn't performed, however, and no walk-on has stepped up like in the last three years. I really don't know what to attribute this to other than poor luck -- when you pull in the No. 8 kicker in the country, which is what Gibbons was rated, it's not crazy to expect him to hold down the job and perform well.

3. Denard Robinson is clearly a special player. Do you think that it will help him even more that no team in the Big 10 really runs the style of offense he does? Will it make him harder to prepare for?

It certainly helps Michigan that no other Big Ten squad runs as much of a run-heavy spread as Rich Rodriguez, but the biggest advantage is simply that it's impossible to prepare for a player who can run and throw like Robinson unless you have a comparable dual-threat player. Rodriguez's system isn't exactly difficult to figure out -- he bases everything off the zone read and adds a different wrinkle depending on how the other team decides to defend it. It becomes a game of Pick Your Poison, and Denard takes that to a different level by being a home run threat on every play.

4. Do you think Michigan will be in the top 10 by the end of next season?

I'd love to say yes, but I have too many doubts about the defense to make that kind of prediction. The secondary should improve as the freshmen safeties gain experience and senior corner Troy Woolfolk returns from injury, but Michigan must replace both inside linebackers (one who is decent, the other just not very good, but nobody has emerged behind them, which is disconcerting) and depth is still going to be a big issue. While the offense should be one of the best in the country, I still think U-M is two years away from fielding an all-around good team.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Falcons in the National Rankings

OK, so I wanted to check out where BG ranks in the FBS standings on various categories....

Our best ranking is Kamar Jorden who leads the nation in receptions and is #7 in receiving yards.

Surprisingly, we are #21 in pass efficiency defense, probably based on all the interceptions.

We are #14 in punt returns.  (Individually, Cooper is #16).

We are #29 in passing offense.

Keith Morgan and Dwayne Woods are tied for 12th in interceptions per game.

On the less than positive notes...

We are 112th (out of 120) in sacks allowed and tackles for loss.

We are 111th in rushing offense and total defense (ie, yards allowed).

We are 103rd in pass defense (by yards).

Blog Poll, Week 4....

SB Nation BlogPoll Top 25 College Football Rankings

Results for Week 4

1Alabama Crimson Tide (85)    24.70.80--
2Ohio St. Buckeyes (14)    23.61.76--
3Oregon Ducks (1)    21.03.82--
4TCU Horned Frogs (1)    20.72.67--
5Boise St. Broncos    19.93.93--
6Nebraska Cornhuskers    19.53.17Arrow_up 2
7Texas Longhorns    18.72.74--
8Oklahoma Sooners (2)    18.63.00Arrow_down -2
9Florida Gators    15.53.76Arrow_up 1
10Arkansas Razorbacks    13.93.54Arrow_up 4
11Arizona Wildcats    13.35.04Arrow_up 9
12South Carolina Gamecocks    12.94.08--
13Stanford Cardinal (1)    12.24.34Arrow_up 4
14Utah Utes    11.94.52Arrow_down -1
15Wisconsin Badgers    11.64.38Arrow_down -4
16LSU Tigers    11.04.63Arrow_down -1
17Auburn Tigers    10.44.01Arrow_down -1
18Iowa Hawkeyes    6.53.80Arrow_down -9
19Miami Hurricanes    6.14.49--
20Michigan Wolverines    6.04.02Arrow_down -2
21USC Trojans    4.14.31--
22West Virginia Mountaineers    3.83.39Arrow_up 3
23Penn St. Nittany Lions    3.43.32Arrow_down -1
24Nevada Wolf Pack    2.63.85Arrow_up 18
25Michigan St. Spartans    2.53.07Arrow_up 11
       Others Receiving Votes:        Oklahoma St. Cowboys | Oregon St. Beavers | Missouri Tigers | Air Force Falcons | N.C. State Wolfpack | Fresno St. Bulldogs | Pittsburgh Panthers | Florida St. Seminoles | Clemson Tigers | Kansas St. Wildcats | Texas A&M Aggies | Temple Owls | Northwestern Wildcats | California Golden Bears | Boston College Eagles | Kentucky Wildcats | Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets | Georgia Bulldogs | Rutgers Scarlet Knights | Virginia Tech Hokies | Houston Cougars | BYU Cougars | South Florida Bulls | North Carolina Tar Heels | Arizona St. Sun Devils | Southern Miss. Golden Eagles      
Updated: Sep 22, 2010 10:43 AM EDT
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