Monday, August 06, 2012

Camp has started....

So, camp has started down at the Doyt on a season that has the most promise of any season in the Clawson era and possibly stretching back a little bit back beyond that.  After two years of poor seasons with a Coach with a reputation as a program-builder, things look like they are rounding into shape.

At a minimum, you have to feel like BG has a shot at a bowl game, and if we can pick up an upset in Athens on a Wednesday night in November, then Ford Field is not outside the realm of possibility.  Even more encouraging, this team will still be a veteran team next year.  By all observations, things are moving in the right direction, though, as we always say, the results will speak for themselves and it isn't done until it is done.

Looking ahead, I would propose the following five questions that will need to be answered this year.

Will we have effective WRs?

Our biggest experience deficit is at WR.   Can our current crop of WRs get open for Schilz, can they do it with space, and can they make big plays happen.  I ask this question first, because I am most confident in the answer to this question.  With Shaun Joplin and Je'Ron Stokes we have two players with at least some track record and then others like Herve Coby with promise--I believe we will be OK at WR, though it remains to be seen.

Will our offensive line become a good line?

Our O-line is getting more experienced.  And it was improved last year.  However, it wasn't an top flight MAC line, and even average players become juniors and seniors.  Just ask EMU.  The question here is whether the players have developed to the point where they are able to allow BG to develop a consistent running game, convert short yardage plays, and protect the QB.   To me, this is the most important question facing our offense.

Can our QB lead us to a championship?

This is a related question.  It has been very hard to determine what we have in our current QB.  I don't like singling players out, but he is the QB and it can't be avoided.  With the lack of a running game and then poor protection, it has been difficult to to see how good Schilz really is.  As the running game and the line improves, and as he matures, it is reasonable to think we will see a big jump in performance and maybe a very big one, if everything comes together.  Fans will be closely watching this, in particular.

Can we stop the run?

Switching to the defense, it will be hard for BG to be a winning program unless we can stop the run.  An inability to stop the run--and an inability to get off the field--mean that you can only win by outscoring the opposition in a shoot out, and that is a difficult thing to replicate week after week.  Coach send at the end of last year that the defense needed to get stronger, and we will find out this year how much that was achieved.  We have rotational depth on the d-line, decent line backers--and if the defense can get off the field, things get a whole lot better.

Can we make a field goal?

OU marched down the field on us to kick the game winning FG, partly in the confidence that they had a top flight FG kicker.  They didn't need to get into the end zone.  We would have been unable to do something similar for several years.  BG has at least three kickers available, and if the team doesn't end up with at least one of them who can go 40+ when a FG is really needed, it could cost a game somewhere along the line.

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