Saturday, June 30, 2012

Falcons Have First Men's Basketball Verbal for 13-14

A report in Falcon Fodder tells us the Falcons have their first men's basketball verbal for the next season (13-14)--Zach Denny.

He is a 6'2" G from Germantown which is down by Dayton.  He's an offensive dynamo, scoring 28 points as a junior.  That's a DII school, which isn't too small.  According to the Blade article, he was a slasher in HS but on his AAU team he is an outside shooter and he's been doing well at that too.  His HS coach calls him a scorer, "first and foremost."

ESPN ranks him as a 1-star recruit.  He had 5 other D1 offers.

Certainly, to the extent that he's a pure scorer, he represents something we don't get much of in our program.   We've had a couple other guys with gaudy scoring stats in HS who haven't translated, but they were bigger players with a distinct size advantage, which I assume is not the case here.

It will be interesting to watch him during his senior year...

Welcome to the Falcons, Zach.

Falcon Football Verball #5

The Falcons have landed their 5th announced verbal commitment for football.  His name is Logan Larson, and he goes 6'4" 250, which is a pretty good sized fella.  He plays (according to ESPN) TE-Y, which, as far as I can tell, means he is a traditional TE who plays for running plays and catches passes across the middle and not the kind of hybrid TE that also spreads out and can be a slot WR type guy.

He's from Pleasant Plains, IL, which is apparently a smaller school.  He also plays DE and kicks, and had a 46 yard FG last year.  Some poking around shows that he did get some Big 10 visits but it appears that BG was his first offer.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Yards Per Point

One of the Phil Steele measures is yards per point, which is a measure of offensive (and conversely defensive) efficiency.  To give an example Falcon fans are familiar with, if you go on an 70 yard drive, get into the redzone and then don't score, than you have 70 yards and no points....whereas if you are the kind of team that converts on the end of long drive, then you are going to have a lower yards per point an be a more efficient team.

First, the MAC average is 14.1 (conference games only), which means a team scored a point for every 14 yards they gained.  A few thoughts.  First, by any measure, there were three elite offensive teams...UT, WMU and NIU.  The 4th best team, OU, actually could have even better better, as they were 10th in efficiency.  Similarly, CMU seems to have underachieved.  On the over achiever side, EMU was actually 10th in scoring and were highly efficient at that.  (I think EMU's year last year was badly overrated).  Similar, Bowling Green and Kent were actually very efficient but poor scorers.

On the defensive side

Same average, obviously.  The goal here is to make your opponents offense inefficient.  Western did well here, as did Ball State.  The Falcons were 7th in both.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Phil Steele Part II

So, a little more from Phil Steele, mostly on the numerous metrics he uses to determine who is going up and who is going down.

First, on the experience front.  I do this first, because I do think is a cautionary note for Falcon fans.  BG is 31st in the country in experience this year (Steele uses a complicated formula which you can check out in the magazine if you want the particulars).  However, I think it is important for the Falcon Nation to remember that this is still not a very experienced team.  We went from very inexperienced to just inexperienced.  And, that really matters because the MAC is a conference with a lot of experienced teams this year....5 of the top 11 FBS teams in terms of experience are MAC teams.  Of course, that is all about the fact that players rarely leave early to go pro in the MAC...but it just means that there are more senior-dominated teams this year than BG.

Phil Steele (and the Wall Street Journal) have made a big deal about offensive line starts.  In other words, you might have seniors on your o-line, but have they been starting?  BG is also 8th in the MAC in this stat with 78...and if I recall correctly, someone has identified 75 as the magic number.  Anyway, as much as it is better, it is still not all the way there.

One of the Steele theories is that teams with bad turnover margin tend to do better the next season.  In fact, teams with a double-digit negative turnover margin have a better record the next year 80% of the time.  This is because while there is or can be an element in turnovers that is luck....the tipped pass, the  helmet causing a fumble, a ball bouncing a certain way, etc.   So if you lose a lot of turnovers, that will have a disproportionate effect on your ability to win, and is partly luck based.  (This is similar to the BABIP stat in baseball, for anyone who follows that).  BG falls in that category at -13.

BG has the 109th toughest schedule in FBS, and that includes games at Florida and Va Tech. Which gives you an idea where the MAC is...

Which, in fact, is projected to be the #10 conference out of 12.  In the past, the MAC was 11th (ahead of only the Sun Belt, but the WAC has now regressed below both and is the worst conference in the FBS.

Another leading indicator is close games.  BG had one win in a close game last year and four losses.  Teams with a net 3 close losses had a better record 80% of the time next year.

Finally, BG is #6 in the power rankings in the MAC that Steele uses.

Ultimately, all this explains why the Falcons are picked to be the 4th most improved team in the country.  Close losses with lots of turnovers and a favorable schedule all point to a more productive year at the Doyt for the Falcons this year.  We all look forward to seeing it happen.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Phil Steele says BG #51

So, it is always a happy time of year when Phil Steele's football guide comes out. It might or might not be the book the experts cannot do without but I know it is the book I don't do without.

I have the sung praises before, so I will keep it brief.  It is the only preview mag I ever saw that is well prepared and thoughtful even down to the MAC level.   Guy is thorough and knows his stuff and uses interesting analysis.  I like that he takes schedule into account, especially in the conference.  So, I recommend you run out and buy a copy.

Here are the basics as it relates to the Falcons.

He likes us!

  • Overall, he ranks us #51 in the country.
  • In the power rankings, (schedule agnostic) he has us #74.
  • He has us one of three teams to win the East (OU, Miami and BG).
  • He believes we will be the 4th most improved team in the country.
  • He says we have the best o-line, d-line and LBs in the Clawson years
  • BTW, he is VERY high on David Kekuewa, the JUCO C from Hawaii.  He really likes him, and based on that, I'd anticipate that he challenges for playing time

I'll take a look later in the week at some of the metrics he applies to the team, but I do agree with his analysis.  This team has everything in place to be good for at least the next two seasons, and let's hope we can stay healthy and bring some wins back to the Doyt.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

We write Falcon preview on VA Tech blog

So we had a little request to do a preview of the Falcons for some very fine dudes in Virginia, and we let it rip with a preview of the Falcon season.  Check it out and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Verbal #4

So, the verbals are coming in hot and/or heavy right now.  The latest is Massillon LB Nate (Nathaniel) Locke.  There isn't a ton of info on him.  According to Rivals, he had 87 tackles as a sophomore, which I think would be pretty good by any standard.  He is an inside LB.  According to FalconFan1 on (a guy who usually knows about these recruits) he is a very solid inside LB type player, not huge but tough and tough to move and just the kind of guy we might be looking for in run defense.

He did not have big-time offers...reports say that they included Notre Dame College (no, not THAT Notre Dame), Butler and Robert Morris.

It sounds like we might be looking at a player like Mitch Hewitt, or the Haneline brothers.  We like guys from Massillon.  Football is serious over there.

Welcome to the Falcons, Nate.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Football Verbal #3

The Falcons have now snagged their third verbal for the 2013 class and this one is a local.  Austin Valdez, who plays for Sylvania Southview has made a commitment to BG.  He's a pocket QB (apparently the recruiting sites like to break that out now) and if BG follows its practice of signing one QB per class, this is the guy.  It does follow Coach's general (if unstated) preference for pocket passers over run/pass QBs and if you follow along the write here on ESPN, you can see that the offense he runs up there seems to be a similar spread-type deal to the one Clawson likes (in Tennessee known as Clawfense.)

Welcome to the Falcons, Austin

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Big 33 Game Tonight

Tonight is the Big 33 HS all-star game that pits Ohio and Pennsylvania stars against each other.  The game has an excellent track record and a number of alumni are current and former NFL players.  There are a number of MAC players.  The only Falcon is D-linemen Jhalil Croley of Cincinnati Princeton.  He will wear #24 for Ohio.  If you are interested, the game will be on the NFL Network.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Football Verbal #2--updated

The Falcons have their second reported football verbal and this one is pretty good.  His name is Michael Rogers and he's a standout WR from Bishop Luers HS in Fort Wayne.  If that sounds familiar, that's because the QB in this year's class is James Knapke, and he was the QB for Luers last year.  They have been dominant in Indiana, (3 straight state titles, IIRC) so they have a tradition of winning....and, of course, you might expect these two to have some chemistry.

As a junior, Rogers caught 48 passes for 1,030 yards (that's 21 yards per reception) and 19 freaking TDs.  The story linked above says he is a 3-star recruit and one of the top 20 players in Indiana.

Welcome to the Falcons, Michael.

Update:  here is an interesting sidenote from the Hawkeye Report:

It appeared for a while that the Hawkeyes were about to pick up 9th commitment to the Class of 2013 when wide receiver prospect Mike Rogers tweeted that he would make his college choice the following day. Rogers picked Bowling Green. His prep coach said academics need cleaning up this summer.
Three things...first, that tells us something about the guy we are getting, in that there was an expectation that he was going to play in the Big 10.  Second, obviously, is the academics warning flag.  But if that can be cleaned up and BG can hold onto the commitment until February, this is a guy who could be a very productive MAC player.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Falcon Great Charlie Share Passes Away

Falcon great Charlie Share passed away in the St. Louis area.  He was 85 years of age.

Probably the least known of the Falcon greats, Share was the first pick OVERALL in the 1950 NBA draft (Boston), which I doubt you knew.  I didn't.

From the obituary on

He is the sixth all-time leading scorer for the Falcons with 1,730 career points, averaging 14.3 points over his 121-game career. He holds the school record with 711 free-throw attempts during his career and was a third team All-American in 1950.
That's pretty good for a guy who played his last game more than 60 years ago.

He played 9 years in the NBA, and earned "a ring" with the St. Louis Hawks.

Really nice obituary in the St. Louis Post Dispatch, which includes a hilarious elevator anecdote, news on his post-basketball life (successful), and actual quotes from none other than Bob Petitt about Shares teamwork and screen-setting ability.  Keywords "walking love story."

Anyway, a really nice story.  RIP Charlie.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Givens Eligible

Good news for the Falcon football team, highly touted recruit Andre Givens has completed his course work and will be eligible this Fall, according to the Sentinel.  Here is what they had to say:

Andre Givens has successfully completed his course work and will be eligible to play football for the Bowling Green Falcons, BG head coach Dave Clawson confirmed Thursday.

Givens was a highly-touted running back in the 2010 recruiting class after playing at Hubbard High School. He originally signed a national letter of intent with Pittsburgh in 2010. Instead of going to Pitt, Givens enrolled at Milford Academy in New Berlin, N.Y. He then came to Bowling Green for the 2011 fall semester.

In his last two seasons at Hubbard, Givens rushed for 2,358 yards and scored 39 touchdowns.

This addition gives the Falcons depth at RB that they have not had in a long time. You have FOY Anthon Samuel, Givens, and then Jordan Hopgood who has been effective and could be meaningful even if he only ran the wildcat, which he was really good at. Even past them, Jamel Martin and John Pettigrew have shown some promise.

If the line can open some holes, Coach Clawson might finally be to the point of being able to run the ball the way he wants to...and the biggest challenge to that is strength on the line.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Football Game Times Announced (mostly)

Game times for the 2012 schedule are out.  Except for the games @Fla and @VaTech,  and the Crewbacle in November, the rest of them are now known.

A couple notes.

All home games are on ESPN3 which is nice for those members of the Falcon Nation who are displaced from us.

The UT game will be at night, but will not get special coverage.

BG will play only one true night game at home, and that is the open against Idaho.  The other games will start at 3:30 right up until the Kent game in November that will be at noon.  And, I don't know how I missed this, but there will be a Saturday game in November!!

Anyway, here's the full look so you can make sure you don't do something dumb like get married during a game.

Complete 2012 BGSU Football Schedule
Sept. 1 at Florida, TBA
Sept. 8 Idaho, 7:00 p.m.(BCSN/ESPN3)
Sept. 15 at Toledo*, 7:00 p.m. (BCSN/ESPN3)
Sept. 22 at Virginia Tech, TBA
Sept. 29 Rhode Island, 3:30 p.m. (BCSN/ESPN3)
Oct. 6 at Akron*, 2 p.m.
Oct. 13 Miami*, 3:30 p.m. (BCSN/ESPN3)
Oct. 20 at UMass*, Noon
Oct. 27 Eastern Michigan, 3:30 p.m. (BCSN/ESPN3)
Nov. 7 at Ohio, 8:00 p.m.(ESPN2)
Nov. 17 Kent State, Noon (ESPN Plus/ESPN Game Plan/ESPN3)
Nov. 23 Buffalo, at Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio (ESPNU/ESPN3)

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Crawford: A rational consideration

So, there has been a lot of discussion, much of it unfair in my view, about Jordon Crawford.  I wanted to take this post to try and put some facts around the discussion.  To begin with though, let me say is not my practice to single players out.  They are college students who are giving their all and sacrificing a lot to be Falcons.  When I do, it is based on facts.  You won't see the general slander you see on the and so "sucks" or so and so "doesn't deserve a scholarship."  I hope that keeps this blog separate from the beasts.  You can make up your own mind.

My philosophy is that his Mom might read this.

Note:  the stats used here are for MAC games only, last season.

First, Coach Orr mentioned that Crawford was 2nd in the MAC in assists.  This is, in fact, true.

Others will mention that Crawford was 2nd in the MAC in turnovers and the leader among PGs.  This is also, in fact, true.  (Julian Mavunga led the MAC in turnovers.).

The most common thing here is to look at assist/turnover ratio...and as you might have guessed from the above, this is not good for Jordon.  In fact, he is tied for 17th in the MAC in this measure.

Even so, I don't think that tells the whole story.  Let's continue along the lines of a rational exploration.

One thing is that assists per game and turnovers per game are averages based on bulk numbers.  Our friends at have some other metrics which are useful.  For example, assist % takes into account the total number of Field goals made (ie, assist opportunities)  while factoring in minutes played.  Crawford is 9th in the MAC in this measure, for the simple reason that he almost never came off the floor.  In fact, he was fifth in minutes played

In all fairness, this downgrades his assist number a little bit.  In part, he has more assists because he was on the floor more.

However, if you are going to take this into account for assists, you have to also take it into account for turnovers.  You can also make more turnovers because you are almost always on the floor.  In turnover %, Crawford was 10th in the MAC.

So far, what we're getting is more moderate, less extreme view of Crawford.  Given the amount of time he is on the floor and the number of baskets his team makes (and BG is a FG heavy team), he is neither the assist maven nor the turnover machine that some would suggest.

Slow your roll, people.

Now.  There's one flaw in this thinking, and that is, an assist is not equal to a turnover.  An assist, by definition, includes a made basket.  You cannot get an assist on a great pass where the player missed the layup or open shot or even if he his fouled and converts free throws.

Conversely, while a turnover is a lost possession, there is no guarantee that, had the whole thing played out, a basket would have been made.  In fact, the floor percentage (% of possessions ending up in points) in the MAC is just 51%.  Now, that includes turnovers...anyway, we're getting into the weeds a little.

Here are the MAC's top assist guys when you just net out their turnovers from their assists.

Crawford comes out of this ranked 8th.

But, if you only count likely scoring turnovers (in other words, using the 51% floor percentage), you get a different picture.

So, if you were to tell me Crawford was the fourth or fifth best PG in the MAC (Cooper has other skills that could elevate him) I think that might well be a reasonable conversation to have. He's not the 2nd best (as his assists might suggest) but he isn't the worst, as his turnovers would suggest.

He was 10th in steals, too, if you want to get some of those possessions back.

You might disagree, but that's my view, with facts.

Frankly, if you want something to worry about, I'd point you to the fact that he might have had a better sophomore season.  His minutes went from 27 to 34, but assists only went from 5 to 5.2 and turnovers went from 2.3 to 3.8.  Assist% fell from 36 to 30 and turnover % went from 24 to 28.  But, all the notwithstanding, I believe he is a good if not great MAC player who is (and we forget this) our best PG since Brandon Pardon.  While that is not necessarily the world's highest bar, this program has been starved at the point for a long time, and Crawford is a very solid player.

I've already established I think last year's team should have been better.  You might be able to lay some of that at his feet, but not all, or, I would argue, even most of it.