Friday, September 30, 2011

BG In the National Rankings...

Look at the NCAA rankings....

Brian Schmeidebusch is still leading (#1) in net punting.
Matt Schilz is 14th in pass efficiency.
BG is 11th in pass efficiency defense.

BG is only outside the top 100 in one category--kickoff returns.  BG is 51st in rushing offense, a huge improvement over last year's 120th.

25 Questions that Barely Keep a Family Fed

We are here to bust stereotypes.
Note that his drink does not have XXX on it.
What is their body of work?

They are 3-1.  They beat Marshall easily, than did the same to FCS Norfolk State.  They beat Maryland by 6 (the same team Temple beat by 31) and then lost to LSU, the number #1 team in the nation on my blogpoll ballot.  (I have WVU #19, though perhaps that should be lower now that we see what Maryland has).  This team had its share of back-stabbing off-season turmoil, as Coach Stewart leaked information about the HCIW Dana, Holgerson is Coach and Stewart is, well, not.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

30, which is a lot.

WVU President arrives at Stadium. No really, you
know, I made fun of Clawson's John Denver
reference but look on the front windshield.  It says
"Almost Heaven."  See what they did there?
Who are their statistical leaders returning?

Geno Smith is 4th in the nation in total offense.  Tavon Austin 10th in receptions, 4th in punt returns and 2nd in all-purpose yards.

What is their turnover ratio?

They are -4....which is pretty surprising.  They have lost 4 fumbles.


How is their QB Play?

Good.  Very good.  Geno Smith is completing 65% of his passes, has 9 TDs over 3 INTs and 12 yards per reception.  Any team that completes over 60% at 12 yards per reception has a very solid passing attack.  He does not take off and run often.

What is their scoring and yards per play?

They are scoring 36.8 points per game, and getting 6.1 yards per play and scored 21 against that LSU defense.  All these=good.

Can they run the ball?

They have not been very successful running the ball.  Adjusted for sacks, they are average about 3.1 yards per carry.  That's not all LSU either.  They did not run the ball well against Marshall or Maryland, and Temple showed you can run on Maryland.  Their long run on the year is 17 yards.

In a study of conservation of momentum, a physics
major applies the Navier-Stokes equation.
Do they pass the ball?

This is certainly the more effective part of their game.  See Geno Smith above.  They are only 30th in the nation in passing efficiency and I am not exactly sure why that is.

How is their run/pass balance?

They are pass heavy, having run the ball only 108 times against 193 passes.  That means the run the ball only 35% of the time, which is very low.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

They are converting 44% which is pretty good 55th in FBS.  (I'd have honestly thought it would be higher than that).

Do they score in the red zone?

They are earning 5.3 red zone trips per game, which is really good.  They are also effective, with 5.2 points per trip.

Do they protect the quarterback?

Their set up is really good for avoiding sacks and they have only been sack four times in all those attempts, for 2.1%.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

They have given up 26 points a game and 5.0 yards per play, both of which are OK numbers.  The scoring is probably below average, but the yards per play is pretty good.  Remember the turnover differential as it relates to this.  They did shut Marshall and Norfolk State down...while Maryland and LSU scored on them.

Today, they live in a 2-bedroom ranch
in the suburbs.  He now has a hunting license.
Do they defend the run effectively?

They are allowing 4.2 yards per rush which is pretty good.  In a little message board research earlier, I saw that the consensus of the fan base is that they can't stop the run at all.  Both Maryland and LSU ran a lot on them.

Could they be passed on?

They are giving up 62% completions but holding teams to 9.4 yards per reception.  They are 40th in pass efficiency defense in the country.  So, they have a pretty good pass defense.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

They are in the top third of the country here, allowing 34%.

Do they defend in the red zone?

They are allowing 3.5 sacks per game and allowing 4.9 points per trip.  Like most of their numbers, there are good but not incredible.

Do they pressure the QB?

Hardly at all.  1 sack in 113 attempts, which is less than 1%.

Special Teams:


This is not good.  WVU is DEAD LAST in net punting.  They have given up a return TD.  In fact, it would appear to me that it is punt coverage and not the actual punt that is killing this team, unless the punter's kicks are long but low.

Punt Return?

They are pretty good.  They have about 2 per game and Tavon Austin is averaging 22 yards.  Look for some rolling rugby punts from the Falcons.  Austin is a very good player.  They have no TDs.

WVU's Coach looks like
A Formula One driver


Their kicker is pretty good.  He's 7 of 8 with a long of 43.


They are OK here, with a 40 yard net.  They have allowed a TD on a return this season.

Kickoff Return?

They average starting at the 31, which is good but not great.  Austin also returns kickoffs and has a TD.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

West Virginia is a 20 point favorite, and this is not a terrible surprise.  This team is good and they have a wild home field environment which will be new to our very young team.  I don't think even playing in the Big House can be compared to the WVU crowd.  Having said that, this WVU team has shown itself to be flawed and has not beaten anyone this year.  They are one-dimensional on offense and their defense is good but not great.  They're coming off a very tough game against LSU, and you never know how a team will react to that.  You always wonder if there is a shot at an upset if BG plays a really good game, and I suppose there is.  At the same time, our team is very young and then is a pretty big test.  It will be interesting to see.

MAC Blogger Round Up

Eagle Totem has compiled the thoughts of the MAC blogosphere for this week....

Thursday, September 29, 2011

MAC Blogger Roundtable

We are back for our weekly mind-bending exercise this week, as the collective wisdom of the MAC Blogger roundtable answers queries brought forth this week by Carter Adler of Eagle Totem.

1. What team and what player has been the biggest upside (better than expected) surprise so far? What team and what player has been the biggest disappointment so far?

In terms of the positive side, I would say that Bowling Green and Ball State have been the most pleasant surprises among teams, and among players, I propose Matt Schilz and Eugene Cooper just to lend a Falcon perspective and then add Tyler Tettleton from OU.

On the downside, I would say Kent is the biggest disappointment.  They weren't terrible last year and I really thought Hazell would get immediate results.  Which he has.  They are a lot worse.  Also, it is a surprise to me that CMU is not getting any better.  Perhaps Fire up Chips was right about Enos last year.    I hate to label players as disappointments.  I guess I thought Ryan Radcliffe would be doing more by now.

2. Evaluate your team's performance, relative to your pre-season expectations?

I am pleasantly surprised at the Falcons performance so far.  This team was very young and picked to finish near the bottom of the East, but has already beaten the team the media picked to win the East.  While BG is very young, they are playing well and I have high optimism for 2012 and beyond.

3. What is one key thing you'll be watching for over the next four games?

A BG win.  This is by far the toughest part of our schedule.  One win in the four games would be nice, two would be huge.  In the broader MAC, the Temple-UT game should be a donnybrook.

4. Although the PAC-12 seems to have put the breaks to the whole affair for now, how do you see conference realignment affecting the MAC?

I don't see much impact.  If the teams get to 4 superconferences, then I believe they will institute a playoff and cut the other schools out of the competition and the revenue stream.  Unlike some previous realignments, this one is all about consolidation and not about anyone getting called up from the chorus line into the show.  I suppose a MAC school could end up in Conference USA if they wanted.

5. If you could pick two (at least somewhat realistic) teams to join the MAC for football as a result of conference realignment or advancement from a lower division, what teams would you pick?

The most logical one would be Western Kentucky but as I recall, they already turned the MAC down once.  With no idea about I-AA teams that want to move up, let's figure Austin Peay and Dayton.  If you want to add a new media market, how about Fordham, Duquesne, Towson, or Richmond.

6. Rank 'em.

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

Clawson Presser--John Denver Edition

Coach Clawson held his weekly presser this week. I listened. You don't have to. Here are the high points. Everything is NORMAL as we prepare for WVU. OK?  Same schedule, same game plan, same everything.  You have to win individual matchups, and that's what we are preparing to do.

WVU is a very good team.

Coach was asked how we were going to prepare for the big Morgantown crowd.  He said, "we're going to play a lot of John Denver music."  He also said that the children of the 70s are all "closet John Denver fans."  (A closet to stay out of, if you ask me).

The Miami win was nice to get on the road.  Coach enjoyed it until he got home and watched WVU-LSU on TV.

WVU is hard to prepare for on both sides of the ball.  They play a 3-3 stack (as Akron used to) that is tough to prepare for in one week.

As far as injuries, he hopes Samuel, Truss and Robinson will be able to go.  They will all travel and should be game time decisions.

His philosophy is that if they can go and not risk future injury, they are going to go.  He won't sit someone just because it is WVU and a non-conference game.

I didn't realize this, but you can only travel 66 to conference road games but it is unlimited to non-conference road games.

Jack Carle asked about Darrell Hunter.   Coach said he played very well considering he is a true freshman.  He didn't have the "deer in a headlights look."  He didn't play perfectly, but he played well.  He made a key tackle in space on a 4th quarter swing pass, wrapping up and finished the play.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Benchmark Report, Miami, 2011

So, here's the benchmark report for this week's game.  I explained what all this means, but a couple of points.

First, one reason I like this analysis is that it can be revealing.  For example, Miami had 2 INTs and six sacks and BG had 1 INT and 4 sacks, but Miami threw the ball twice as much as BG did.  For the 28 passes BG attempted (sack adjusted), 1 and 4 are too high, and are almost exactly the same as Miami's numbers on a proportion basis.

Second, this shows that even more than I thought on Sunday, BG's offense was opportunistic and made some key plays.  Our 3rd down conversion was at league average and BG was very good in the red zone, but in the yard/play measurements BG was below the MAC average, and that includes a 96 yard run on one play.  Clearly, BG has room to grow offensively.

Third, the Miami rush and adjustments by the BG defense are reflecting in only getting 8 yards a reception, which is well below what you might expect.  The Falcons were clearly going to high percentage short passes to keep the rush off Schilz.

On defense, BG had just as good a game and maybe better than I thought.  The yards per play was very low and BG was very strong on third down.  On a per play basis, BG's defense held Miami behind BG in every category.


In the end, the special teams story for BG was a mixed bag out there Saturday.  Special teams certainly made on the of the plays of the game with the blocked punt but also gave up the big return and missed and extra point.

In the end, BG ended up +2 while Miami was +2 as well.

BG's positive plays were a punt downed inside the 10 (+2), a kickoff return to the 38, a punt downed on the 18, a blocked punt (+3) for +7.

Negative plays included a missed XP, a kickoff returned into BG territory (-2), a kickoff returned to the Miami 37, a kickoff where BG started on its own 3 for -5 and a net of +2.

The Redhawks had a pooch punt inside the 20, a 45 yd FG, a kickoff return to BG territory (+2), a kickoff return to their own 37, Cooper's fumble a 46 yard net punt inside the 20 for +7.

Their negative plays were BG's KO return to the 38, a blocked punt (-3), a missed XP for -5 and a net of -2.

Here's the report from the history of the ICSTR.

BG has been positive in two games this year--both FBS wins, in fact.  It is an OK special teams game, but it certainly can be better.  It is the 3rd game in 4 this year that our opponents have been in positive territory.  We are down 11-4 so far this year (that 2 is wrong....a monk has been sent to his cell).

Anyway, it is not good, but not as bad as the horror weeks in the middle of last year and the horror days of the Brandon era, before the ICSTR existed.

The Week 5 Blogpoll is on the Air

College Football Rankings 2011

Results for Week 5

# School Points/blog SD Delta
1 LSU Tigers (71) 24.73 0.55 Arrow_up 1
2 Alabama Crimson Tide (12) 23.72 0.74 Arrow_up 1
3 Oklahoma Sooners (9) 23.33 1.03 Arrow_down -2
4 Boise St. Broncos 20.41 2.55 --
5 Oklahoma St. Cowboys 20.23 1.85 Arrow_up 2
6 Wisconsin Badgers 19.25 3.07 Arrow_down -1
7 Stanford Cardinal 19.25 2.37 Arrow_down -1
8 Nebraska Cornhuskers 16.89 2.92 Arrow_up 1
9 South Carolina Gamecocks 15.12 3.05 Arrow_up 1
10 Florida Gators 14.76 2.42 Arrow_up 5
11 Oregon Ducks 14.52 4.34 --
12 Virginia Tech Hokies 14.16 3.21 Arrow_up 1
13 Clemson Tigers 13.61 3.86 Arrow_up 6
14 Baylor Bears 10.51 3.36 Arrow_up 4
15 South Florida Bulls 10.36 3.81 Arrow_up 2
16 Texas A&M Aggies 10.03 4.47 Arrow_down -8
17 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 7.65 4.50 Arrow_up 6
18 Michigan Wolverines 7.43 4.26 Arrow_up 3
19 Texas Longhorns 7.15 3.65 Arrow_up 1
20 Arkansas Razorbacks 6.49 4.19 Arrow_down -6
21 Illinois Fighting Illini 4.85 4.22 Arrow_up 3
22 West Virginia Mountaineers 4.22 3.16 Arrow_down -6
23 TCU Horned Frogs 3.62 3.36 Arrow_up 2
24 Arizona St. Sun Devils 3.00 2.89 Arrow_up 13
25 Florida St. Seminoles 2.84 3.28 Arrow_down -13
Others Receiving Votes: Houston Cougars | Iowa St. Cyclones | Michigan St. Spartans | Kansas St. Wildcats | Penn St. Nittany Lions | Texas Tech Red Raiders | USC Trojans | Utah Utes | Ohio St. Buckeyes | Auburn Tigers | North Carolina Tar Heels | Georgia Bulldogs | Washington Huskies | Missouri Tigers | Temple Owls | Vanderbilt Commodores | Notre Dame Fighting Irish | Fla. International Golden Panthers | Tennessee Volunteers | Louisiana Ragin Cajuns | Mississippi St. Bulldogs | Cincinnati Bearcats
Updated: Sep 27, 2011 9:01 AM EDT
SB Nation BlogPoll College Football Rankings 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

Depth Chart, MAC Teleconference

The MAC hasn't posted the audio from the teleconference yet, but we have John Wagner's Blade Falcon Fodder report, so let's check in on it.

BG had 3 injuries in the Miami game.  First, Cam Truss did not play at Miami, (leaving Hunter and McCoy as freshman CBs, which puts the game Saturday in some perspective).  Chip Robinson did not play either.  Both are listed on the depth chart as "OR" players.

The in-game injury was Anthon Samuel, who was injured late in the game.  It looked serious, but he is on the depth chart and Wagner says that he is "available" at this time.  I personally wouldn't rush him back for the WVU game.  We need him for WMU-UT-Temple.

Scott Lewis and Adrien Spencer are back on the depth chart.

Stephen Stein has the kicking job after his run of made kicks Saturday.  Wagner notes that both BG's kickers have their own holders....Stein is left footed, so I can see why you would want a separate guy who was used to pointing the other way.

Coach Clawson talked about something that came up in our comments this week, saying that the TE's were critical to BG being able to run the ball and when he got here, we didn't really have any.  So, it has been a focus in recruiting and the Falcons actually appear to have some good young players there.  Also, he noted Saturday that they had helped "harden the edge" on pass blocking as well.

Falcon Football Verbal #10

Picked up the scent for this one on from a post which referenced a recruiting site by Bill Kurelic.  And I found this, eventually, on, that says that Jhalil Croley has committed to BG.  He was highly sought after by other MAC schools, according to his coach.  He's a 6'3", 245 lb LB and plays for someone with his last name and could be his Father his cousin .  Other info has been hard to come by, but he was higly pursued.

Welcome to the Falcons, Jhalil.

Hutson MAC East Special Team POTW

Ray Hutson was honored today as the special teams player of the week for the MAC East.  He had a blocked punt and recovered a crucial BG fumble of a kickoff very deep in his own territory.

Good job, Ray!

Game Day Oxford....A President and a PA announcer

Just a couple of notes from the game in Oxford Saturday.

First, a woman came up to introduce herself to me. It was Mary Ellen Mazey, the new President of the University. She was introducing herself to people throughout the Falcon section. She sat right in front of us and high-fived everyone whenever we scored.

It has been a long time since BG had a President....

a) Who sat in seats as lousy as mine
b) introduced herself to everyday people
c) High-fived me.

 So good on her. It was nice to meet her. She seems like good people.

We've had some pretty weak PA announcers at BG. One guy kept mispronouncing OUR players...obscure guys like Cole Magner.

But, we never experienced a reign of error like the train wreck who was doing announcing for Miami Saturday. It was borderline offensive to the visiting team. He failed to recognize that we had switched kickers, and frequently mis-identified players. The worse was that he thought that when Anthon Samuel carried the ball, it was DJ Lynch. Once I could see--I do think it is bizarre we have two #6s who both play--but every time, it was getting ridiculous. Wasn't there someone who could run up and say, yeah, dude, you are calling the wrong guy?

I would have loved to be in the booth when Lynch got a late sack and he realized he had been calling the wrong name all day.

 We had a really good time. People were nice, it was a great day, and a very entertaining football game. 

They talked about a sell out crowd, and they had a really good crowd, but it didn't look like a sell out to me. And, I don't think the crowd ever got into the game at all. They weren't even chanting "First down!" until the end. If keeping the crowd out of the game was something BG did, then it helped. And, I really like to see this....which was the scene at the start of the 4th Quarter.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Week 4 Blogpoll

So here's the draft blgpoll for this week. You can comment later if you like. The whole thing goes live in the morning. I understand the mainstream polls have moved LSU into the top....we already had them there. Alabama's win over Arkansas moves them into #2. Clemson and OK State made big jumps. Finally, the last 4 teams in are really hard to place. A lot of flawed efforts out there.