Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Tracking BG's pre-MAC opponents

So, we're in a quiet period...DII Oakland City on Saturday (though they are undefeated at this tonight)...and then MAC play starts next week.

BG is 8-4 right now, though it is an open question how that will translate to MAC play.  BG has an RPI of 254 and has played the 345th ranked schedule, which is out of 351.  BG's average RPI win is 220.

BG's best win:  Cleveland State, followed by Florida Gulf Coast...both road games, which is worth noting.

BG's worst loss:  North Dakota

Let's look at how the teams we have played have fared...

New Orleans...4-7 with 3 non-D1 wins.  Lost @Ball State by 14.  RPI is 271.

Cincinnati...10-4, RPI of 86.  Best team BG has played.  Losses to Butler, Xavier, Iowa State and Temple, beat very good GW.

North Dakota...5-6 with 238 RPI.  Only 2 D1 wins, BG and Bradley.

Youngstown State...5-8 with 249 RPI.  That includes 2 non-D1 wins.  Lost to Kent and Toledo and best win is over #238 North Dakota.

Florida Gulf Coast...6-7 with RPI of 181...includes 2 non-D1 wins.  Beat a pretty good UMass team.


Maryland-Baltimore County...3-9, all D1.  RPI of 318.  Only 3-4 when playing teams with an RPI over 200.

Drake...5-7, l non-D1 win, with an RPI of 289.  Good win over WKU and decent win over Pepperdine.  Being brought down by loss to BG and Tulane.

at Southeast Missouri..2-10, RPI of 291.  Only D1 win was over Missouri State (231).

at Detroit...6-5, with 2 non-d1 wins.  Good win over Northeastern and decent win over UT.  Recently lost @EMU.

at Wright State...RPI 191....6-7 with 2 non-D1 wins.  Nice win over South Dakota and decent win over Murray State, losses to Miami and Cal-State Northridge dragging them down.

Cleveland State...5-8, 2 non-d1 wins, RPI of 163.  BG loss is by far their worst loss of the season.

Not trying to pick on anyone...I think we scheduled smartly given the guys we had back.  I believe the conference season will entail some struggle, though the team has shown it can win on the road--which is pretty important--and I have some optimism we can be competitive and win our share of games.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Looking forward: Football Depth Chart

So, to take a quick look forward at what BG's depth chart looks like at the end of the 2015 it is:

A few notes.

On offense, 5 starters are lost for sure and probably 6.  Now, that's big, because they are three all-time greats and maybe four...Matt Johnson and Travis Greene each had record-setting careers and Roger Lewis was as good a deep threat as we have ever had.  Lewis is an unknown at this time and told The Blade he hadn't made a call yet, but I think it is better than 50% that he goes to the draft.

Furthermore, Alex Huettel was a multiple All-MAC performer, as was Ryan Burbrink.

Having said that, all is not lost.  BG returns 4 of its 5 offensive linemen, two starting WRs, as well as backups like Miller, Redding, Coppet and Folkerstma.  At QB, there is unofficial talk of a guy coming up from Texas Tech, and if not BG would have Knapke, highly touted R-FR James Morgan and highly touted true FR Elijah Cunningham.  If QB is solidified, this team can still score points.

On defense, BG loses 5 starters from a really young defense.  They include both safeties and 3 d-lineman.  These areas are both concerns, but the D-line is the most serious.  BG has been on a non-stop depletion program of recruited D-lineman to various issues, most recently Mike Minns.  If our new coaching staff has any JUCO contacts (or graduate transfer contacts), this is an area where help could be used right away.

As for safety, Jamari Bozeman looks to me to be a player, and Ben Hale did get some playing time.  Also, I think Gourdine or Ballew could be moved back to Safety for depth or assistance.

The good thing is that the linebackers are all back.  This was a question mark this year due to losing Martin and Lynch and I think they really performed and are something to build on for '16.

Also, the corners are back, which is important.  They made some plays and they missed some plays, but with another year's growth they could both be really solid.

On special teams, this biggest loss is Tate.  I know he didn't have a very good year, but for his career he was our best kicker since Shaun Suisham.  He stabilized a position that had been a virtual nightmare for years.  I don't know anything about Nick Fields or any other backups...but it is a nice safety blanket to have a guy who can hit a FG when you really need it.

We also lose Burbrink at PR, and he was excellent for his career at this, but with the speed we have in our receiving corps, I think we will be OK there.  Usually only have a few good return opportunities in a season, anyway.

So, look.  This is a three-time MAC East Champion that won 2 of the last 3 MAC titles.  Given that, this is a pretty good talent base.  I don't think BG will be an overwhelming favorite in the East next year, but they should still contend.  With a QB, there just aren't very many big question marks....mostly on the d-line...and on a new coaching staff adjusting itself to what is a new role for almost everyone.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Goodbye to my game sweatshirt

Santa proved to be a true Falcon this year.

What you see above is my game sweatshirt.  I have been wearing this for a long time, since the year Urban Meyer came to Bowling Green.  We've been through a lot together.  Just off the top of my head, you can include Urban Meyer, Gregg Brandon, Dave Clawson, Dino Babers, Dan Dakich, Louis Orr, Chris Jans, Michael Huger...Josh Harris, Omar Jacobs, Tyler Sheehan, Freddie Barnes, Cole Magner, Matt Johnson, Travis Greene, Chris Jones, Scott Thomas, A'uston Calhoun, Richaun Holmes, John Reimold...Alex Glantzis blocking the FG vs WMU, the big comeback over UT on a snowy night at AA, the last game at Anderson, two MAC football championships, one MAC regular season men's basketball title, the game at Browns Stadium, a cold day in Columbus, OH, a very cold day against WMU in 2010...and on and on.  The fog game, the Big Ben game, the Buffalo collapse...not all good, for sure.  But a lot of incredible memories for my son and I as we share something we love.

Anyway, the game sweatshirt has reached the end of the line.  The circle above is a hole that has appeared.

It was time.

So, Santa hooked me up.  Here is the new game sweatshirt (shot in the same light as the sweatshirt above).  Bright orange and ready to go.

Who knows what we will see with this one on.  Mike Jinks, Michael Huger...maybe both for long and successful careers, or maybe short and successful and more to come.  Who knows?

So, honor the past and create the future.

Go Falcons.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to the Falcon Nation

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to the Falcon Nation. May the day bring you Peace...

The Magi (The Heart of Man is a Palace)

Oh the magi were the prophets
And they wandered through the desert
They saw the star above them
And they knew they'd find their way
Through the valley of the shadow
With the hope of human kindness
They were strengthened by the vision
Of a new and brighter day.

And the wisemen spoke of peace on earth,
Of harmony and struggle
Know you now a cycle's gone and a new one is revealed.
In the weaving of your fingers
In the whisper of a love that's born again
In the weaving of your fingers
In a promise that we made that never ends.

Well now each man is a pilgrim,
Yes, we all must make the journey
And it seems that time is telling us to be all that we can
To help lift up the fallen, we must sow the seeds of goodness
The torch is passed among us now to light the way of man.

For the heart of man's a palace
And his dreams are as the sunlight
They burn away the darkness, as they warm the freezing cold
As an eagle flying higher, as a river through the canyon
The diamond star shines down upon, a pathway to the soul


In a promise that we made that never ends.
In a promise that we made that never ends.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Falcons MBB end '15 with needed win, beat Cleveland State

So, Dan Dakich used to say that you remember three things in your life:  the day you got married, the day your kids were born and roads wins.

The order depends on who you beat.

I suspect that's how the Falcons were feeling last night as they wrapped up the 2015 portion of the schedule with a sometimes ugly road win over the Cleveland State Vikings.  Cleveland State is certainly far from a top flight team, but with the Falcons coming off a couple tough losses, it was a good one to get.  Everyone can enjoy the holiday...enjoy being 8-4...before coming back and getting ready for conferene play.

The first half was prett competitive.  BG led by 6 mid-way through the half, but CSU came back and took the lead and were leading late in the half.  BG scored the last 4 points to go up 27-25 at the half.

BG led most of the second half.  CSU took the lead with about 13 minutes but BG took it right back and led for the remainder of the game.  In fact, the basket that took the lead over was that start of an 8-0 that gave BG a lead of 7 with 11 minutes left.  The game then sunk into the scoring doldrums bigtime, with both teams tallying a basket apiece over four minutes.

Which is fine when you have the lead.

BG was up 9 with 4:47 left and then changed the game dynamics by scoring on consecutive possesions to go up 14 and at that point it was over.  BG led by as much as 18 before winning 62-47.

Looking at the stats, BG had a slightly above average game with 1.03 points per possession.  However, after giving up huge offensive production to Wright State, BG held CSU to a very poor offensive night, as the Vikings scored .78 points per possession, which is not good.

The reason is pretty clear below.  CSU had the worst shooting night I can remember.  They shot 30% from the field and 15% from 3FG.  That's just awful.  BG didn't shoot great, at 44% and 3-7 from beyond the arc...and with that many 2FG attempts, you really should shoot much better.  Anyway, it was certainly good enough and better than BG shot in Dayton.  BG was -2 in turnovers.  Both teams were big on the offensive boards, it was probably BG's best offensive rebounding game of the season.  Finally, BG was excellent from the FT line, shooting 15-18, also probably their best game of the season.

Individually, Spencer Parker had 13 points in 14 minutes, as he battled foul trouble.  He shot 4 of 5 from the field.  Zack Denny had 13 points and 10 rebounds on 5 of 10 shooting.  Finally, FR Damajeo Wiggins had 10 points and 7 rebonds in the best game to date in his young career.  Ish Ali, who is BG's most productive PG right now, had 6 assists.

BG has one more non-conference game left against Oakland City, which I have no idea what that is.  BG is 8-4.  There are positive signs, especially the road wins.  There are reasons to be cautious, too.  This was a very soft schedule--intentionally--and I suspect there will be some growing pains in conference play.

Another nightmare in Mobile

Next time someone wants us to play in Mobile, I think we just let them know that we are busy that night.

For the second straight time, BG was completely destroyed in Ladd-Peebles Stadium, this time 58-27.  Very disappointing, and I am sure our guys are disappointed that they didn't go out on a better note.

The game itself unfolded just the way I feared. Georgia Southern was amped up and ready to play and BG had no answer for the running game for most of the game.  The Eagles scored easily on their first drive and then BG's defense adjusted and played well for the next three drives, forcing three straight punts.  That was the end of the success...the Eagles then scored TDs on their next six drives, one of them a 7:32 drive.  Basically, for that period of the game, BG had no way to get Georgia Southern off the field.

At the same time, BG's offense, which basically needed to score every time it had the ball, went scoreless for an entire half, the only time that happened all season.  Even worse, the offense fumbled twice deep in its own territory giving Georgia Southern short fields and giving up an offensive possession.

The Eagles ran the ball 68 times for 452 yards, a 6.6 yard average, which is even above their D1-leading season average.  They scored 7 rushing TDs.  They were 4-8 passing and 1 TD...82 yards total.

The Eagles possessed the ball for just over 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, BG had only 15 first downs.  The Falcons ran only 63 plays, and while their 5.7 yards per play was pretty good, combined with the turnovers and a couple drops by our star receiver and the die was cast.  BG had to score nearly every time it had the ball to win this game and that wasn't happening.

Much credit to the Eagles.  That's a good, well coached team that knows what it wants to do and can execute it.  They have incedible athletes and they played a great game.

As I noted in the preview, we both have attacks that are tough to prepare for and we both had interim coaches playing for staffs who are on their way out the door.  I was very worried about how BG's defense...which had punched above its weight much of the year but was still vulnerable...would stop the Eagles.  Then, you lose two DTs and it gets tougher and it seemed like once the Falcons lost the thread and started to chase the Eagles, it was all over.

Meanwhile, the offense failed to click after halftime.  There was one deep drive that ended on a 4th and 10 draw play, but the turnovers were deadly.

Let us not lose sight of was a great season.  Just incredible.  While the end was disappointing, these young men are conference champions and they will be forever.  They also knocked off two Big Ten teams on the road and set all kinds of offensive records.  Most of these players, in fact, are two-time champions, something very few Falcons can say over the past 50 years.

Last night was a disspointing way to end it, but let's not lose sight of the fact this was a championship season.  I'd trade that for a bowl win anyday.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

25 Questions that G-O-G-O Daddy

That's 6 FCS Titles.
 What is their body of work?

As I noted yesterday, this is a team with really only one bad loss and no real quality wins.  There was the near-win over Georgia and the win over WMU...for a team in the second year in FBS, they are adjusting very well and while they didn't have a great year, they certainly had a good one.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

33...I don't recall us playing a team with more juniors and seniors on the two-deep.

Who are their statistical leaders?

FBS Ranks

7th - Deshawntee Gallon, Blocked Kicks
2nd - Derek Keaton, combined kick returns
6th - Derek Keaton, punt returns
8th- Antwione Williams, Forced fumbles
6th- Antoine Glover, Interceptions
1st- Matt Breida, rush yards per carry
14th- Matt Breida, rush TDs
10th- Matt Breida, rush yards per game

What is their turnover ratio?

They are +4, which is lower than you might think for a running team.

Offense:  (Stats using all games)

 How is their QB play?

Well, that's an interesting question.  More down below, but I would say their QB play is good for what they want the guy to do.  He averages 6.3 yards per carry.

What is their scoring and yards per play?

They scored 34.7 points per game, which is pretty good and averaged 6.3 yards per play, which is also a lot.

Can they run the ball?

Here is the deal.  Yes.  And it is all they do.  I don't believe we have played a team like this in years.  They lead the nation in rushing yards per game...with 355 per game, which is 34 more than the next team.  Now, sometimes you get a team that gets a lot of yards per game because they run the ball all the time...and these guys do.  But that's not it.  They average 6.5 yards per carry, which is first in the nation by .4 YARDS PER CARRY.  This running game is the real deal.

Do they pass the ball?
Georgia Southern mascots (L-r)  Freedom, GUS
This is the craziest thing I ever saw.  You will remember that they won in The Swamp without completing a pass.  They beat WMU this year completing 1.  They did not complete more than 7 in an FBS game.  They average 61 yards per game passing.  The biggest downside is that in 129 season attempts they threw 10 picks, which is just a ton when it is looked at that way.

How was their run/pass balance?

They run on 84% of their plays.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

They convert 41% which is above average but not great for a running team.

Do they score in the red zone?

They are very, very good, at 5.1 points per trip.

Do they protect the quarterback?

They have allowed 8 sacks, which is a decent number given the low passing attempts.

Eagle Alum Dan Cathy Jr. of Chick-Fil-A

Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

This is the actual untold secret of this team.  They are very good on defense.  They allow 23 points per game, which is very good, and 5.4 yards per play, which is not.  We'll see how those jibe in a second.

Do they defend the run effectively?

Yes, they can.  They allow 3.9 yards per carry.

Can they be passed on?

They can.  They have interesting numbers.  They allow only 56% completions, which is really good, and they have 17 INT, which is among the top 20 in FBS.  When they do give up a catch, though, it is for yards..13.2 per reception.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

They are very successful at 36%.

Do they defend in the red zone?

No.  They give up 5.4 points per trip.

Do they pressure the QB?

They have 21 sacks which is about 6% of the attempts against them.

Special Teams:


They have net punting of 37 yards, which is pretty good.  They have 12 inside the 20 against 2 touchbacks and have not been blocked.  The longest punt return they allowed was 6 yards.

Punt Return?

Derek Keaton is #6 in the country.  Given BG's record on giving up yards to quality returners, this is something to worry about.  Also they blocked 3 punts.
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They have 2.  One is 8-10 on shorter field goals and the other is 7-9 with a long of 48.


They are good.  They have 47 touchbacks and opponents start on the 23.

Kickoff Return?

They start on the 27, which is good.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

So, a few things.

First, this is Georgia Southern's first bowl game, which should have them amped up.

Second, the Eagles play a style that is very difficult to prep for.  That would be difficult under good circumstances and probably made more difficult by the distraction-laden environment BG has had since Babers left.

On the other hand, Georgia Southern has had the same issue and we are hard to prepare for, too.

Because of who GaS plays, they will eat clock up.  BG will need to be very efficient on offense.  It will be a true G-o-G-o situation.  Too many non-scoring drives and BG might not get enough possessions to win.

Finally, this is an audition time for BG's stars, most notably Matt Johnson and Roger Lewis.  It would be nice--and good for the team--if they put on a little show.  With a win, BG gets 11 wins, which is a huge accomplishment.

This is going to be a very good test for us.  

More on co-OC Andy Padron

Interesting article on BG's new Co-OC Andy Padron.  Padron has actually had the job at the college level that he is coming to BG to do, with Texas Lutheran, a ranked DIII team which has had a successful offense in a similar system.  As to how he came to the attention of Coach Jinks...

Padron’s father, Danny, was quarterback coach at Judson in 1988 and 1989 when Jinks played quarterback for the Rockets.

Well, there you go.

Falcons with Afternoon Tilt against Vikings

So, coming up on Wednesday afternoon, BG wraps up play for 2015 with a road set up against Cleveland State.  It is also BG's last non-MAC D1 game of the season.

It is BG's 3rd straight game against a Horizon opponent and BG has lost both of the first two.  The game starts at 1 pm, which is unusual for a weekday, but Falcon fans can follow that one and be done well in advance of the Go Daddy Bowl.

The Falcons and Vikings matched up in '12 and '14, with the Vikes winning in '12 in Cleveland and BG winning last year at the Stroh.

CSU is 4-7 on the year and 3-7 against D1 teams.  They are coming off their biggest win of the year, a 2-point victory at home against an always tough Belmont team. They have lost four times to MAC teams--albeit among the better MAC teams--Kent, Ohio, @Toledo and Akron (n).  Two of those were at home, however.  Besides Belmont, they beat @Loyola, ILL and Rider.

They were picked to finish #7 in the Horizon.

So, in terms of profiles, this team matches relatively closely with Wright State.  The Vikings are a poor offensive team, with .94 points per possession.  After letting the Raiders score at will, BG's defense is at a season-worst .99 points per possession, which is approaching the national average.  Let's hope that after seeing films of the Wright State mess, the defense is ready to hold CSU down around their average.  On the other side, they are also a slightly below average defensive team while BG is about at the national average

As with most teams, there are not a huge number of mysteries as it relates to why they aren't scoring.  They are poor shooting team, hitting 40% of their overall FGs and 32% of their 3FGs, both below average.  They also don't shoot the 3 much...they are 289th in the country in made 3s.  As you can see, they also struggle a little bit with turnovers.  They are very good on the offensive boards--among the better teams BG has played, and this will be a key battle, and they don't get to the line very much...only 312th in the nation.  They are also making only 66%

Flipping things around, they allow 46% FGs, which is worse than average.  They defend the perimeter very well, however, allowing only 29% of made 3FGs.  Still, overall, if you can get the ball inside you can score on these guys, based on their EFG%.  They like to force turnovers and are pretty good at it, if not great, and they are poor on the defensive boards though that is something BG has failed to take advantage of typically.  Finally, much like Wright State, they give up a ton of FTs.  They typically give up about 6 more than they take per game and commit 5 additional fouls per game.

Their leading score is a freshman, Rob Edwards.  He is a 6'3" G who went to Cass Tech and was one of the top 10 recruits in Michigan.  He is scoring 11.7 PPG on 45% shooting.  The second leading scorer is Demonte Flannigan, a 6'7" JR who scores 10.7 PPG on 46% shooting and also leads the team with 5 rebounds per game.  Andre Yates, a JR G, scores 10.4 PPG on 38% shooting.

Their assist leader is Myles Hamilton, with 3 per game.

This is another young team, they have only one senior on the roster.

It will be interesting to see.  This is a tough road game for BG, and based on the previous 2 results, I think they might be challenged.  On the other hand, the game is far from unwinnable and if they can patch the holes that were exposed in Dayton, it could happen.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Learning about Georgia Southern...

First, Georgia Southern has hired a new head coach.  They did not pick their interim coach, going for Colorado State DC Tyson Summers.

Here's how their AD described what they were looking for:

"What we get in Tyson is someone who knows Georgia, someone who was born and raised in Georgia, someone who has recruited Georgia his entire career, and someone who has been a part of a ... school that has played on New Year's Day, which is the level we're aspiring to get to,''

FCS--6 time champion, made finals 8 times.  The most.  Football was suspended in 1941 for the war and Georgia Southern did not have football until 1984.   They won their first national title the next year.

This is their first bowl game, which I think does amp up the enthusiasm on their side.

Here's how their season played out.  As we know, they were 8-4, and one of their losses was in OT @Georgia.  They also lost @WVU and @App State, neither of which is a bad loss.  Probably the loss they are most disappointed in is the big loss at home to Georgia State, which is apparently a rival.

They had a blow out win over WMU, but did not beat another team with a winning record for the year.  Most of these games were not close, to Georgia Southern's credit.  They finished 3rd in the Sun Belt.

09/05/2015 @ West Virginia L 0 - 44
09/12/2015 Western Mich. W 43 - 17
09/19/2015 The Citadel W 48 - 13
09/26/2015 @ Idaho W 44 - 20
10/03/2015 @ La.-Monroe W 51 - 31
10/17/2015 New Mexico St. W 56 - 26
10/22/2015 @ Appalachian St. L 13 - 31
10/29/2015 Texas St. W 37 - 13
11/14/2015 @ Troy W 45 - 10
11/21/2015 @ Georgia L 17 - 23 (1OT)
11/28/2015 South Ala. W 55 - 17
12/05/2015 Georgia St. L 7 - 34

They placed 7 players on the All-Sun Belt post-season team.

First Team All-Sun Belt Conference Offense
Matt Breida (Georgia Southern, Jr., RB, Finance)
Darien Foreman (Georgia Southern, Sr., OL, General Studies)

First Team All-Sun Belt Conference Defense
Antonio Glover (Georgia Southern, Sr., DB, General Studies)

First Team All-Sun Belt Conference Special Teams
Derek Keaton (Georgia Southern, Sr., Return Specialist, Justice Studies)

Second Team All-Sun Belt Conference Offense
Andy Kwon (Georgia Southern, Jr., OL, Sport Management)

Second Team All-Sun Belt Conference Defense
Bernard Dawson (Georgia Southern, Jr., DL, Information Technology)
Jay Ellison (Georgia Southern, Jr., DL, General Studies)

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Wright State Destroys Falcons

There's not much to say about that game today...Wright State just applied an old-fashioned ass kicking onto the Falcons. It was one of those nights...BG gave Wright State tons of open opportunities and they obliged by sinking them with ridiculous frequency. Wright State shot 52% overall and 46% from beyond the arc, and took 28 of their 50 FGAs from beyond the line. Meanwhile, BG shot 28% and 15%. Just to put it in perspective, BG made 14 FGs for the game. That's incredible.

That's .69 points per possession for BG and 1.21 for the Raiders.

And, as you can see, that's the only major difference between the two team found themselves open a lot and made shots, and the other did not. (I did think BG was constantly chasing on defense, did not seem to follow the idea that they had to know where Yoho was at all times, and just played a less than great game. No doubt, WSU was feeling it as well.

Only Ismail Ali ended up in double figures, and he did it on 3-7 shooting (12 points).  Parker (1-6), Worrell (1-4), Joseph (1-3), Alcegaire (2-9), Lillard (1-6), Fox (1-5) all struggled mightily to make baskets.

Spencer Parker had 8 rebounds as well.

So, the only thing to do is get that one behind you.  BG plays @Cleveland State on Wednesday afternoon in the last game before the holiday, and that's going to be a challenge as well.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Football De-Commit

Just a quick news hit here....DE Drew Beesley from Michigan has told Hustle Belt that he has de-committed from BG.

BG Men's Hoops Returns to Action

The men's hoopsters return to action tomorrow after a week-long break for finals.  BG will be coming off a loss at Detroit to a really good team and have a good shot at returning to winning ways against the Wright State Raiders.

Wright State is 4-7 on the year, with 2 of those 4 wins being non-D1.  They wins are over South Dakota on a neutral floor--a quality win--and a 6-point home win over a pretty poor Charleston Southern team.  Their 7 losses include Xavier and Kentucky, two of the best teams in the country, as well as Georgia State in Dayton, also in the top half of the teams in the country.  They have also lost to NIU, Miami, George Mason and Cal-State Northridge, none of which are quality losses at this point.

This is only their third home game (hear that Rob Murphy?), and they are 1-1 at home.

This is the 4th straight year BG has played Wright State.  Each of the previous games was won by the home team.  The last game in Dayton was a 46-43 barnburner that set the cause of college basketball back decades.

Wright State is offensively challenged.  They play at 69 possessions per 40 minutes, which is average, but score in the low 60s.  On a per posession basis, that's .92 points per possession...and that includes 2 non D1 games--which is way below average and represents a number that is very difficult to win with.  Defensively, they are only average at 1 point per possession.  As you can see, BG is scoring better than that and allowing more than the Raiders score as well.

Wright State's biggest issue is that they are a poor shooting team.  That 47% EFG balances out to be pretty average.  Their 3FG% is slightly above the national average--and they get 41% of their points on 3FGs--but their shooting on 2FGs is 38% which is just shockingly bad.  Incredibly bad.  Their turnovers are slightly worse than averge, and they are very poor on on the offensive boards and they don't get to the line very much (one of the 50 worst in the country).

Flipping things around, the most remarkable thing here is fouls.  BG gets to the line a lot, but Wright States gives up a ridiculous amount of free throws.  They are among the 30 worst teams in D1 in fouling and allowing free throws.  That stat below means that Wright State allows free throws at 50% of their total field goal attempts allowed, and you just don't see that very much.  They average 22.5 fouls per game and they give up 10 more FTs attempted per game.  Now, BG has to take advantage of this...the Falcons are a poor FT shooting team.  Beyond that, BG would seem to have an opportunity if it can make some shots.

On an individual basis, Wright State's guys never have big numbers because of the philosophy of virtually non-stop substitutions that the Raiders use.  Honestly, hockey teams make fewer substitutions.  They have 11 players averaging 10 minutes or more a game and a 12th at 9.  Their leading scorer is JT Yoho at 10.8 PPG.  He is shooting 49% on the 3-ball.  Joe Thomasson, also a SR G, is scoring 10.3 PPG on 41% shooting overall and 38% from 3FG is their other double figure scorer, adding 4 assists per game and a team-high 5.2 rebounds per game.  Guards Mark Alstork and Grant Benzinger and both contributing 9 PPG while shooting under 40%.

One note....BG native Parker Erntshausen is playing 12 minutes per game for Wright State.

This is certainly a winnable game for BG.  Wright State has to feel the same way--and they have to be glad to be playing at home.  Given the loss to Miami, you'd have to think the Falcons can get this one as we feel this team out in the pre-conference season to see how good they are.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Kingston Quoted on CBS Sports...

There's an interesting article on related to an issue that has been front and center in Bowling Green, and that's the youth movement in college football.  Chris Kingston is quoted as it relates to how he found Jinks--the only new head coach not to be a coordinator this year.  It covers a lot of the issues...the drive for youth, to win the press conference to settle the boosters and natives on day one...etc.  Also, the involvement of search firms, which is playing a new role.

Kingston delivers his favorite quote...

"No better predictor of future success than past success..."
I find it hard to square that quote with how this staff has been assembled, but I'm done writing about it.  These are our guys and the program is starting off in very good shape and I just have to hope that Kingston knows what he is doing and Jinks knows what he is doing and that these assistants he has brought in are prepared to succeed right away, because we shouldn't have to do on the job training.

Let's go for two in a row....

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Quick Bowl Peek-In

More to come preview-wise for the Go Daddy Bowl coming up next are a couple updates and notes...

First, both teams will have interim coaches.  Willie Fritz, the Georgia Southern coach, and obviously Coach Babers both have left the building.

Southern will be coached by Dell McGee, who (I swear to God) is in his third year coaching college football after being a highly successful HIGH SCHOOL coach for years before that.  (Is there an echo somewhere?)  He is also the RBs coach at Georgia Southern, a job he got after being an "analyst" at Auburn for ONE SEASON.

And they are leading the nation in rushing yards per game.

OK, then.  I get it.

They will have all their coordinators.

He is a candidate to be head coach, along with an assistant at Penn State and the Head Coach at Charleston Southern.

You have probably heard by now that they run a shotgun triple option attack.  These are typically really tough to defense and I suspect that's taking up a lot of time in prep.  Having said that, two things are going to make it even tougher to handle.

First, BG has real issues at d-line, where Minns was suspended and Zach Colvin is injured.  That leaves BG with Izaah Lunsford and Shannon Smith off the depth chart and after that I am not sure.  And you need d-linemen when facing this challenge.

Second, there is just a general issue of focus.  Things are in flux, you have guys back coaching who are literally going to be gone as soon as the game ends and have to have some portion of their mind on Syracuse.  I'm not saying they aren't trying and doing their best, only that they are human beings. BG played poorly in the Pizza Bowl with the Clawson guys doing double duty and that worries me in this case, especially with this offense to face.

Of course, Georgia Southern is facing something similar, though I am not sure how many of their coaches are going to Tulane with Fritz, if any.

More to come....

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Jinks Assembling Coaching Staff

So, you might think that a guy who has very little coaching experience in college ball would try, you know, to balance that out.  Get some guys with experience to fill key slots, build a strong team.  Like Lincoln in Team of Rivals.

Our coach, Mike Jinks, is doing the opposite.  He is doubling down on what apparently is the greatest untapped resource in the history of college athletics, which is people hanging around Texas Tech and other even small college programs in Texas or Alabama.  To date, on paper, BG has never had a less accomplished staff.

At offensive coordinator, BG has apparently gone for co-OCs.

Andy Padron is one part of the partnership.  He coaches for his father at Texas Lutheran, a DIII school.  He is the OC there and they have had a highly-ranked DIII offense.  He also played DIII ball.

Kevin Kilmer will be the other Co-OC.  He is the offensive quality control coach at Texas Tech.  Mike Leach nicknamed him "Moe."  He has never been an actual coach at any level.

The new DL coach and Co-DC is the former DL coach at Faulkner University, an NAIA school in Alabama.  His name is Marcus White. He met Jinks at Texas Tech, where White had an "off-field" role, presumably with the football program.  He was a quality control coach at Houston and a line coach at Tarleton.  He played at Auburn and Murray State, as well as in the NFL.

Stephen Hamby will be BG's OL Coach.  He was an assistant line coach at Texas Tech, which means something completely different there.  They had an OL coach and Hamby was that guy's assistant.  He also played at Texas Tech.

BG did retain two coaches from the Babers staff....Andrew Sowder is staying, along with Mike Mickens.

Finally, what do Barack Obama, John Kasich, Rob Portman, Sherrod Brown and Mike Jinks have in common?

They all have a "Chief of Staff"

The one at BG is Ryan Downard, who is a "defensive assistant" with the Cleveland Browns.  He played at EMU.  No idea what a chief of staff does on a college football team.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Minns Arrested, Suspended

The Sentinel is reporting the story listed above...Mike Minns II has been arrested and charged with "corrupting another with drugs."

Here is the key sentence from the Sentinel.
Video was obtained from the business which police say show Minns placing the substance into the victim’s beverage.
An allegation, obviously, but a disturbing one.  If true, Bowling Green cannot tolerate actions of this kind and I'm sure they won't.  Hoping for justice to be done.

Updates on Football Recruiting

So, the news continues on the recruiting front.  There is probably a lot more news than I have here, but this is what I have that's available online.

First, the positive news.

There is a new commit.  He is Josh Stoner from Worthington Kilbourne, a multi-threat RB who can score on passes, runs and punt returns.  He was all-district second team.  From what I can see online, he projects as a WR in college.

Caleb Bright is staying.  He told The Blade that "my word is my bond."

And the coaches made an en masse trip to see Elijah Cunningham, a verbal at QB...apparently with good success.

Now, the less than good news.

AJ Garson, TE, to UConn
Sharif Saleem, DL to UMass
Andrew Armstrong de-commits

Below is the information we had before on de-commits...

Dirion Hutchins, a St. Louis area D-lineman has de-committed.
Evan Foster, who is from Michigan and whose brother played here has also de-committed. Was offered a Purdue scholarship recently.
Terrance Landers. the top recruit and a WR (according to the rankings) has de-committed. Would not be surprised to see him in Syracuse. Info based on media accounts.
Kyree Calli, a WR from the same HS Matt Johnson attended, has de-committed, based on his twitter feed.

A word on this...look this is an incredibly important decision for these young men and they have the right to go where they want, just like all of us did.  I wish all of them the best.

Blade Reports Jinks Bringing QB With Him

The Blade reported some pretty big news for the Falcon football program.  While Coach Jinks is in the process of importing wholesale the state of Texas up to Bowling Green, he is bringing one very important import, and that is QB Davis Webb.

You can link to see more about Webb, but the idea is that he would graduate, come to BG and be immediately eligible and have one year to play.  Webb started plenty for Texas Tech, including as a true FR, and his progress was only derailed by an injury.  At one point he rotated with a guy we know as Baker Mayfield.

Anyway, he also knows what we would assume Coach Jinks wants to do on offense.

It is a big deal because the assumption is that Matt Johnson won't be back.  Matt would have to apply for a 6th year which he would not hear about for a while and which would leave him probably unsure if he would be draft eligible.  Furthermore, he has led his team to a conference title both years he was a starter, he was conference player of the year and rewrote Big Ben's records during this year.  Not sure there's a lot more to prove at BG.

Anyway, that was leaving a hole in the BG QB position.  Without any new players, the competition would have been between James Knapke and r-FR James Morgan.  I had always assumed Morgan was the future at QB, but this would give him another year to adjust, if it works out like this.  Anyway, QB is vital to this offensive set and Webb would certainly be an interesting and potentialy productive addition to the mix.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Huge Honor: Lewis AP All-American

Huge news for BG football.  Roger Lewis--who led the nation in receiving yards--was named to the AP 3rd All-American team.  This is huge.  There are tons of All-American teams now, but this one is the Granddaddy of them all.  If anything, it is the team of record.

The last Falcon to land on this All-American team was K Brian Leaver in 1994.  According to BG's release, 24 Falcons have received All-American honors.

It is a very big moment for the program.  Congratulations to Roger.  Always a champion, always a Falcon.  And always an All-American.

Lewis has been posting on twitter that he has some decisions to make, which he certainly does.  He only played 2 years at BG, but because of his year in prep school he is eligible to declare for the NFL draft.  I'd say that the continuity we are seeing in the offensive style as well as the apparent arrival of a new QB are good reasons for Lewis, but I also think fortune has favored those who strike when the iron is hot.  If he came back, Lewis would have to equal this year's numbers and do better, and that's not going to be easy.

Love to have him back, but I would be surprised to see it.  In the meantime, he had a historic season for our program.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Back soon

OK, kids.  It has been a WILD few weeks of blogging...I mean, incredibly good, but WILD.  Football championship, Babers goes, Jinks comes, men's basketball is 7-2...anyway, I'm heading out of town for a couple days.  Good luck to the men at UD Saturday...the Titans beat UT the other night...see you on Monday.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Jinks Introduced

OK, the deed is done.  Jinks has been introduced.  I don't think he said anything revolutionary and I don't think Kingston did either.  These pressers are a little bit like recruiting videos...everybody's got one, good coaches and bad.


He said, "Bowling Green is one of the best jobs in the country."

We're going to go fast.
He has integrity and discipline, moral character.

When asked why he would move to Bowling Green from Texas, Jinks said, “Why not? Somebody’s gotta take it."

Now he can go to work.  He is going to split time between BG and Texas Tech, which plays December 29 against LSU in their bowl game.  Of course, the dead period starts soon, so at some point it becomes less of an issue until January, when it gets crazy.

He has picked one staff member.  Perry Eliano will be the team's d-coordinator.  This is his first shot at being a coordinator.  He was working at UTSA for five years as a safeties coach.

As I noted before, the selection of a staff might be the single thing a head coach does that can ensure success or create failure, so it is the first task for Coach Jinks.

Welcome to Bowling Green, Coach Jinks and Coach Eliano.  Let's get 'er done.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

BG MBB gets blow out win over Southeast Missouri State

BG picked up their 6th straight win last night over the RedHawks of Southeast Missouri, who are winless.  BG rolled over them easily, winning 79-52.

Look, SEMO is really struggling right now.  Even having said win by 27 on the road?  That's pretty good at any level.

BG led wire to wire.  They were up 13-11 about 7 minutes into the first half and pushed the lead up to 9.  SEMO had it back to 4 with 6 minutes left and then the Falcons closed the half on an 11-2 run to head into the locker room leading by 13.  The game was never closer than 10 again.  BG continually pushed the lead up, hitting 19 with 10 minutes left, 21 with 7 minutes left and led by more than 20 for the last 6 minutes of the game.

The preview had identified that SEMO was having serious issues scoring the ball.  In fact, they were among the worst teams in D1 in offensive efficiency.  This game was no different.  It was a game with only 64 possessions, which is slow, but SEMO had only .81 points per possession, which is just slightly UNDER their season average.  Meanwhile, BG had a very big offensive game at 1.23 points per possession.

The difference was shooting.  This is just a crazy defense.  BG shot 55% from 3FG and 55% on all FGs...which is just deadly shooting.  BG made 10 3FGs in all.  Meanwhile, SEMO shot 32% and 18%, which is just a very long night.  Turnovers were fairly even and BG was unusually weak on the defensive boards.  SEMO had 19 offensive rebounds, which is a lot even given the opportunity to grab all their missed shots.  In total, they had 40% of the available rebounds.  There were almost no FTs shot in a game that was over in 90 minutes.

Anyway, that shooting difference is incredible and is the kind of thing blow-outs are made of.

Zack Denny had the hot hand for the second straight game.  He scored 18 on 7/14 and 4/8 shooting, which is very efficient.  He added 7 rebounds.  After a couple down games, Spencer Parker was back in the pink again, scoring 18 on 8 of 13 shooting in 24 minutes due to foul trouble.  Those were the only Falcons in double figures, though that was partly due to some bench-emptying and reduced minutes.  Pep Joseph had 6 assists over 0 turnovers in what might be his best game of the season.

So BG is now 7-2 on the season.  You have to be happy with that, but I'd continue to keep it in perspective.  According to, BG has played the 328th ranked schedule (out of 351), so you have to keep the results in perspective.  Unlike Rob Murphy of EMU, I do think it matters who you are playing.  I look forward to seeing us continue to grow and (I hope) be ready to be competitive when we hit league competition.

Next up is Detroit at Calihan on Saturday.  They play the Rockets tonight.

My Early Thoughts on Coach Jinks

So, BG acted fast and decisively and (to be sure) they acted boldly in picking a new head football coach to take over a championship-level program.

I will say this.  Chris Kingston has some set of balls on him.  This is no way includes playing it safe.  Whether it works out is another matter, and I don't mean that to be negative, but some things work out and some things don't.  At your job and my job, we're expected to actually do it and I'm sure Jinks feels the same way about his.

Here's the thing.

There's very little on paper that suggests that Mike Jinks is prepared to be a Division I Head Coach.  Yes, he was a successful HS Coach in Texas.  You're going to tell me that coaching HS in Texas is like coaching in college, and I'm going to tell you that I don't buy that.  I cannot think of a modern (last 20 years) coach who was successful at DI coaching only 3 years removed from coaching HS.  If you can, I'd love to hear about it.  (OK, you could give me Paul Brown, but that makes my point below, stand by.  Oh, and yeah, I know his background is very close to what Doyt Perry's looked like when he came to BG, too.).  NOTE: since this was posted a commenter pointed me to Art Briles as well.

The examples I can think of are Gerry Faust and Bill Blankenship at Tulsa.

I do agree, it is better than no head coaching experience and it is better than coaching HS in Indiana, but in my view it isn't the same as coaching college.

And then three years at Texas Tech--a very average program--as a position coach and one year as an associate head coach...that's just not a lot of track record to go on.

Now, Chris Kingston is nothing if not thorough.  He has done his homework.  Again, that's no guarantee of success, plenty of well researched and well thought out initiatives don't work.

So there has to be something else.

A lot of you are pointing me to Urban Meyer.  Yes, it is true, when BG hired Urban Meyer my reaction was "we couldn't even get a guy who had been a coordinator?"  First, Meyer had been a D1 assistant for 15 years, and while it was not as a coordinator it was 12 more than Jinks has.  And second, just to be clear, our examples so far are Urban Meyer, Doyt Perry and Paul Brown.

My point is that some people just have "it."  And I'm guessing that's what Kingston saw.  Regardless of whether you agree about coaching HS in Texas, there had to be people with more directly applicable head coaching experience that would have been interested in this job.  So, Kingston has to believe that Jinks has "it," meaning the undefinable quality that will make him a successful head coach.

Whether he is right, time will tell.

Based on some media reports and Twitter, Jinks is much loved in his area...with the "good coach and better person" idea at the forefront.  You'd expect his friends to be supportive of him--and Texas Tech fans probably think BG is high school coaching--but clearly he has built up a lot of good will in his neighborhood and that's good.

The University will put out a lot of quotes from other coaches on how perfect he is for the job, just as they did when Louis Orr and Gregg Brandon were hired.

Only one thing will speak without ambiguity, and that will be the results.  Back to having balls, if Jinks has "it" then it is an incredibly savvy move.  If he doesn't, it will look really dumb.

Obviously, I want to see it work out.  I'll be there, in my usual seat, yelling myself hoarse.

Last thing.  We won't know, but the chances of success for Jinks will largely be determined in the next two weeks when he hires assistants.  Both Clawson and Babers had outstanding staffs that were critical to their success.  Jinks is coming in without any holdover staff (in all probability), and the coaches who are on the staff will largely decide the answer to these questions. 

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Jinks Links

OK, so the first one isn't a of the things that was important was getting a coach who would not need to change systems.  Because he worked with the Air Raid offense at Lubbock, he will fit well with BG, keep current offensive players here and maybe even get a couple of the commits back. And hopefully keep the transition pains to a minimum.

First, he is coming with good reviews from a Texas Tech blogger.  And we all know that bloggers have the real insight.

Applied for North Texas job.

He was also being considered for the OC job at UTSA, which he "brushed" off, for good reason.

This article talks about his fast climb to being Associate HC at Texas Tech...and says the rise "should not have shocked those who watched Jinks over the years."

Kliff Kingsbury, who is an old family friend, convinced him to leave HS.  Also, note the "I'll never leave Texas."

BG Names Jinks to Coach Falcon Football

So, it is Mike Jinks, who is an Associate Head Coach at Texas Tech, where he also coaches running backs.  This is a very, very interesting hire.  He has only been an assistant coach at the collegiate level for three years.  He was a very successful high school coach in the San Antonio area, going 43-3 in his last three seasons.

Kingston is certainly not playing it safe here. This was a pick that took some courage. He did pick Babers and claims that he spent every Sunday this fall previewing possible coaches, so who knows?  But there is nowhere to hide here.  You had the last two guys from this job go big and it is a very attractive job.  Looking forward to Coach Jinks keeping BG football at the top of the MAC.

More to come.

Here is the Jinks bio from Texas Tech.

Begins his third season at Texas Tech where he coaches running backs. He was promoted to Associate Head Coach in January 2015.

• Tutored the first running back to run for over 1,000 yards, in more than a decade, in his second season (2014) at Texas Tech. DeAndre Washington became the first Red Raider since Ricky Williams in 1998 to rush for 1,000-plus yards in a single season. Washington finished the year with 1,103 rushing yards on 188 carries.

• In his first season in 2013, Kenny Williams and DeAndre Washington combined for 1,013 rushing yards, 533 receiving yards and 13 total touchdowns.

• Joined the Texas Tech program after a highly successful tenure at Steele High School in Cibolo, a suburb of San Antonio. Jinks was the first head coach at Steele when the school opened its doors back in 2005 and it didn’t take long for him to mold the program into a state powerhouse.

• While at Steele, he compiled a 76-18 overall record and an impressive 43-4 mark in his final three seasons. He led the Knights to the 2010 Class 5A Division II State Championship and to the state finals again in 2011.

• His highly successful career (79-25 record) in Cibolo led to him to receiving the honor of coaching the West Team in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in January 2013. After serving as a high school assistant coach and offensive coordinator at five different schools, Jinks earned his first head coaching job at Burbank High School in 2005.

• Was a two-year starting quarterback at Angelo State University where he earned his degree in Kinesiology.

• He and his wife Meredith have two children, Jaden and Madison.

2015-Present: Texas Tech Associate Head Coach (running backs)
2013-14: Texas Tech Assistant Coach (running backs)
2006-12: Cibolo Steele H.S. Head Coach
2005: Burbank H.S. Head Coach
2002-04: Robert E. Lee H.S. Offensive Coordinator
2000-01: Galena Park H.S. Offensive Coordinator
1999: David Crockett H.S. Offensive Coordinator
1998: Judson H.S. Assistant Coach (quarterbacks)
1996-97: Ellison H.S. Assistant Coach (quarterbacks)

Monday, December 07, 2015

SEMO Preview

So, the beat goes on for the BG Men's Basketball team as it heads to Cape Girardeau, MO to play SE Missouri State.  They were 13-17 last year, lost 3 starters and were picked to finish 4th in their division in the OVC.

Following that, Head Coach Dicky Nutt (no really) was fired and a new Coach brought in...his name is Rick Ray.  It has been a rough start for the Redhawks.

They have yet to win.  They have played a tough schedule.  They have lost @UD, @Evansville and @Memphis, for example.  They have also played only one home game.  On the other hand, they have lost by 18 @Alabama A&M, by 24 @SIU, and to Loyola Marymount by 13 in that home game.  Their closest margin has been 9 points at Troy.

Which is good.  On the other hand, these guys are desperate to win.  They played Memphis tough in their last outing and they are hungry to win.

BG beat SEMO by 8 last year at the Stroh.

When you look at the Red Hawks, the first thing that jumps at you is that they are really, really bad at scoring.  They score .82 points per possession which is among the five lowest in D1 basketball to date.  (Remember, about 1.02 PPP is AVERAGE).  They combine that with very poor defense...1.06 points per possession is also below average.

Now, they haven't played a DII team and BG has, so that mitigates it a little bit.  Based on what is below, you'd expect to see the Falcons be able to pick this one up.

So, how exactly does SEMO arrive at that really bad offense.  It comes from being really poor shooters.  They are 341st in the country in effective FG%...that's 43% overall and 24% from 3FG.  Very tough to win at that rate.  The rest of it isn't too bad...turnovers are 21% against a national average of 18%, their offensive rebounding and free throw rate are about average.  They just struggle to put the ball into the basket.  Note that BG's defense is almost right on the national averages down the line, except for offensive rebounding, where BG is better than the national average.

Flipping it around, we know that BG scores about what SEMO allows....and we don't see any surprises here.  The only issue might be getting to the line..SEMO has given up more FTs than BG is used to getting.

Individually, their leading scorer is Antonius Cleveland, a JR G.  He scores 12.6 PPG on 40% shooting and 7% from 3FG.  FWIW they play a deep rotation..9 players at 13 minutes or more per game and no player more than 27 minutes, so numbers are tamped down.  Anyway, Cleveland is a 6'6" G and also has 5.4 rebounds per game and could present a matchup issue for BG.

Their second leading scorer and leading rebounder is 6'7" Trey Kellum, who scores 10.6 PPG and also gets 5.1 rebounds.  He shoots 51%.

Marcus Wallace leads the team with 24 assists, which isn't a lot for 7 games, but remember, they don't make that many baskets.

Just to get an idea where the poor shooting comes from, Isiah Jones is second on the team with 60 FGA, but has only made 27%.

Anyway, so that's how it looks.  Let's hope that they don't wake up and learn how to shoot on Tuesday.  This team will be desperate to win.  I am believing a little more in our guys....this one's on the road.  Will be interesting to see.

Football Update for Monday

So, it has been the type of day we might have expected...and yet, the type of day that is hard to enjoy.

Coach Babers had his opening press conference in Syracuse.  He said he plans to take assistants from BG...specifically "all the good ones," which probably doesn't make CB Coach Mike Mickens feel very good since he appears to be the only one staying behind.  Coach mentioned Ward specifically, others are based on scuttlebutt.  Nick Monroe, who pre-dated Babers at BG, told a local reporter he is already on the ground recruiting, so that one is confirmed.  Coach brought his whole team to BG from EIU so this isn't surprising.  Anyway, a lot of empty offices.  The word is that they will be back to Coach the bowl game, but the level of focus has to be in doubt.

Tough day on the verbal commit front:

Based on twitter feeds, here is the news (there may be more).

Dirion Hutchins, a St. Louis area D-lineman has de-committed.
Evan Foster, who is from Michigan and whose brother played here has also de-committed.  Was offered a Purdue scholarship recently.
Terrance Landers. the top recruit and a WR (according to the rankings) has de-committed.  Would not be surprised to see him in Syracuse.  Info based on media accounts.
Sharif Saleem, a DE from the Cleveland area has de-committed based on his twitter feed.
Kyree Calli, a WR from the same HS Matt Johnson attended, has de-committed, based on his twitter feed.
AJ Garson, a TE from Florida has not de-committed but was visited by UCONN.
Cam Jeffries was offered by Air Force, according to his twitter feed.  Nothing explicitly saying he de-committed.
Elijah Cunningham was offered by Toledo.  Nothing explicitly saying he de-committed.

Anyway, that's the news as it stands right now.  Be strong, Falcon Nation.

Sweet Victory: MAC Title Game Offense

So here is the thing.  The BG offense as performed during 2015 is designed to be tough to beat because you can't commit to stopping any one thing.  Teams that tried to play base defenses found themselves giving up 600-700 yards per game.  So, teams did what teams do...try to take one thing away and see what happens.

In other words, do you want #11 to beat you or #8?  See, that's a tough call.

NIU made a clear choice...they were going to stop #11 and take their chances with #8.

They did hold Johnson down.  Yes, he had a good completion percentage with 25 of 37 overall, but the 25 passes netted only 235 yards, which is about 9.5 yards per completion.  About 20% of those came on the big Lewis pass, leaving 190 yards on the other 24 completions.  Johnson was also sacked twice and threw 2 picks.

As someone said after the game, BG kept facing "light boxes" so they did what you do when you are in that run.

Accounting for sacks, BG tried 39 pass plays and 51 runs.  Even with the clock killing aspects in the 4th Q, that's a lot different than we might have expected.

You take what they give you.

So, you want #8 to beat you?  Well, he can do that.  Travis Greene capped off his career (bowl notwithstanding) at BG with a simply commanding performance that made him the game MVP.  Greene was just an absolute beast out there for BG.  He carried the ball 29 times for 183 yards and 2 TDs.  That's 6.3 yards per carry.  How'd you like to cap your career with the most yards you rushed for in a game?  Nice.

He was simply unstoppable when he got to the second level.  It was among the best rushing performances in a critical game  that I can remember from a BG player.  He created miss after miss, broke tackle after tackle and pushed pile after pile.  I hope Falcon fans appreciate the incredible performer he was for our team.

Maybe his performance is best captured in the video here, where he got into the secondary and just abused Brandon Mayes in the secondary on his way to a 25-yard TD run.  (Note the Chris Kingston high-five after the score!).

Oh, and if that wasn't enough, you also had Fred Coppet 16 times for 85 yards and a TD, for a 5.3-yard average.  Even including sacks, as a team BG averaged 5 yards per carry.

Finally, you have to give credit to BG's offensive line.  NIU teams are historically very tough up front, but BG's line was consistently opening holes and getting Greene and Coppet onto the second level.  The line has been a strength for BG all year, and they delivered a virtuoso performance in the title game.

Said it before...just incredibly proud of our guys.  Many of these guys are two-time MAC Champions and all of them are Falcons forever and champions forever.

Defense to come.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Bowl Bid Enrages Many in Falcon Nation

And then the Falcon Nation found out we were playing Georgia Southern in the GoDaddy Bowl.


People are really upset.  I'm not in the camp, for a few reasons I will spell out here.

First, the objections, which boil down to this:

We are conference champions and we deserve a better bowl with a better, more name opponent.

Among the things that have been said:

It is a garbage bowl.
I've never heard of Georgia Southern
We deserve better than the #3 team in the Sun Belt.
We should be playing Temple or Boise, both of whom got MAC opponents.
I don't care about the game, etc.

A few thoughts.

Bowl invitations are extended by the bowls...not the MAC or anyone else.  GoDaddy had the first choice of MAC schools and picked the champion.  The tie-in is with the Sun Belt and they invited Georgia Southern.

If you've never heard of Georgia Southern, you aren't a very big college football fan.  They took Georgia to OT in Athens and easily beat WMU this year alone.  They beat Florida two years ago.  This is a solid program.  The argument that you never heard of them belongs in the same place it belongs when P5 schools say that before they play us.

They are a good team.  They play an option style, which is always tough for teams to defend when they don't see it, and we haven't.

Also, they are a multiple FCS champion and are new to FBS.  This is their first bowl game.  They are going to bring people and they are going to be stoked.  If BG doesn't come ready to play, especially with an interim coach, they could get blown off the field.

Would be it be better to play Temple or Boise?  Sure.  Would a higher-profile game have been a nice reward for a truly special season?  Yes.  But that wasn't what was available in the contractual agreements the MAC signed on to.

Will it make a huge difference in anything?  No.  We weren't going to earn anyone's respect beating Temple or Boise...we're always going to be an oddity.  Maybe we had a shot at ending up ranked.

Now, as it relates to the GoDaddy bowl...I think this is the best of the bowl opportunities we have.  BG has been twice and Mobile really embraces the game and you get a real bowl-week environment, as opposed to, say, playing a bowl in DC.

So, hey, look, it isn't perfect, but it's a real game.  We just won the MAC Title.  Let's enjoy life a little.  Bask a while longer.  Lighten up.  And let's beat Georgia Southern.

BG Notches Nice Win Over Drake

Not saying Drake is going to be a Sweet Sixteen team or anything, but this was a solid matchup for the Falcons and BG was able to put them away with relative ease--thanks to finally making some shots--and at 6-2 hopefully the team can keep building.  My own view is that while the schedule is soft, the team is a little bit better than I expected them to be so far.  Alcegaire, in particular, is making a real difference.

Most of the first half was tightly contested, with the leading changing hands a number of times.  It was tied 30-30 and then BG went on an 8-0 run to lead 38-30 with about 2 minutes left.  The Bulldogs rallied to cut the deficit to four at the half.  Four minutes into the second half the game was tied again, and BG went on a 3-minute 11-3 run (5 points from Denny) to take a lead they would not relinquish.  Drake ran the lead to 2 again, but BG went on an 11-1 run to pop it up to 12 with 6 minutes left and from then on in the lead only dipped inside 10 once as the Falcons cruised home with the 75-63 win.

The difference in this one was shooting.  BG has struggled to make shots--especially from 3FG range--in its earlier games.  Not so yesterday.  BG shot 49% overall and 65% from 3FG (which is just ridiculous...11 of 17) and when you do that you are going to be very difficult to beat.  BG had 1.14 points per possession, which is really good.  Meanwhile, Drake was supposed to be the hot shooting team, but they shot 42% and 25% and that role reversal was the difference in the game.  All the other measures were very similar.

Individually, Zack Denny was the man of the night.  He's been slumping a little bit, but he hit 23 points on 9 of 13 shooting and 4 of 5 from 3FG.  He also added 7 rebounds.  Wes Alcegaire also had a very nice game, scoring 17 on 5 of 11 and 3 of 6 shooting...he's a very solid MAC player.  Pep Joseph, who has been struggling to find his rhythm this year had 10 points on 4 of 8 and 2 of 2 shooting.  He also had 4 assists with 3 turnovers.  Spencer Parker did not score much, but he added 9 rebounds and 5 assists to go with 3 turnovers.

So, BG is 6-2 with 5 straight wins.  They travel to play SE MO State on Tuesday...they are 0-7 against the #35 schedule to date in the country with only one really bad loss.  BG ran the table on their homestand but have not played a true road game since FGCU.  It remains very interesting to watch this program evolve under Coach Huger.

Falcon Football Update...

Ok, so obviously a lot went on yesterday.  Let's check out what we know.

Obviously, Dino Babers is going to Syracuse.  Defensive Coordinator Brian Ward will coach BG in the bowl game.  Chris Kingston said yesterday that he expects all the assistants to coach BG in the game.  Exactly what that means isn't clear.  For example, when Clawson left, Elko and Ruggerio coached BG in the Pizza Bowl, but they did so after spending most of the time before the game at Wake.  There's no word I can find about what Babers is doing in terms of assistants to Syracuse, which could also play into it.

Obviously, I'm keeping my eyes open to see what happens.

The other event from yesterday was that BG learned it will be in the Go Daddy bowl in Mobile and play Georgia Southern.

I've seen some unhappiness on twitter about the assignment, which are based on a couple things.  People would like a higher profile opponent and a higher profile bowl.  Working in reverse order, the bowls are pre-decided.  This year, Go Daddy got to pick first and they picked the conference champion with the big offense and there's no surprise there and we should be flattered.

Also, I think Mobile is the best bowl experience for the players.  The town rallies around the bowl game and it is a big deal and they get a true "bowl" experience.

People are pointing to last year when the MAC did some maneuvering to get NIU to play Marshall, which was the C-USA champion.  It was a very nice matchup for the MAC. Having said that, apparently that wasn't available this year because BG is playing Georgia Southern.

By the way, more to come, but that's a tough matchup...not a high-profile matchup, but that's going to be a challenge.

OK, so what happens next.

This period is usually pretty chaotic.  You've got an entire staff either getting ready to go to Syracuse or trying to get a job for next year.  You've got recruits looking around and people trying to poach them.  At Toledo, you had the old coach trying to poach recruits.  And then you have only a few days until the dead period starts and you want to be in that "space" as much as possible.

I recall hearing last time that Kingston was involved in calling the recruits and keeping them on board and most of them did come.  I also recall hearing that Kingston insisted that the new coach (Babers) honor any commitments to the program and the previous staff.  Anyway, that's something to keep an eye on as well.

As for the new coach, my warning would be this.  There will be internet rumors and sites promising coach scoops.  Last time, none of them mentioned Babers.  This decision isn't being made by a committee, it is being made by one guy and don't get caught up too much in rumors about who we are thinking about.

BG has had success twice now looking for proven head coaches in FCS ball...and that same approach brought Chris Jans in as well.  Kingston said last time when he announced Babers that some people just are head coaches and some people are not.  By getting somebody who is already winning as a HC-as opposed to a coordinator from a bigger program--you can eliminate some of the guesswork.

In terms of promoting within, it would surprise me.  But I don't know the guys.  Maybe one of them is a "natural born" Head Coach.

Stay tuned....

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Drake Preview

Well, with all the football excitement, we have men's basketball today, not to be forgotten.  This game has the potential to be interesting.  BG has been playing a soft schedule, to be sure.  Drake is a team BG beat in Iowa last year in our first signal that we might be better than we expected.  Still, they are in the Missouri Valley Conference...where they were picked to be 8th, but still.

They are 4-3 with an RPI of 244 right now.  They lost to pretty good Weber State and UMKC teams and beat Pepperdine and Western Kentucky (neutral floors) and those both look to be top-half D1 teams.  They also beat UIC (very bad team) and lost @Tulane.

Anyway, I think this has the potential to be a pretty good test for our boys.

This team is very efficient on offense.  They are the 25th best shooting team in D1...more on that later.  They don't play at a high pace, with 70 possessions per 40 minutes about a half possession below the national average.  However, they are earning 1.09 points per possession, which is significantly above the national average, which right now is about 1.02 points per possession.  This is going to present a challenge to the BG defense. On the other side of the game, they are a good defensive team and BG is slightly below average on offense.  Both teams have one non-D1 blowout that inflates stats....

As mentioned this is a very good shooting team.  The EFG you see here is about 7% better than the average, which is right around 49%.  Nothing else on their offense is special...their turnovers are slightly above average, offensive rebounding is really poor and they don't get to the line that much.  The most important of the four factors is shooting and it isn't close and they are shooting 49.9% overall and 44.8% from 3FG.  Also, their stats lines on the three less important measures are pretty close to what BG usually allows.

On the defensive end, you can see that BG is an average shooting team and Drake has typically allowed a little worse in terms of shooting %.  The profile here actually matches up really closely, with the exception of FTs.  Drake has done a good job not allowing FTs.

Based on that, I'd say we'd get a normal offensive effort from BG and the challenge will be seeing whether the Falcons can impact Drake on the offensive end.

Individually, they are led in scoring by 6'8" R-JR Kale Abrahamson.  He sat out last year after transferring from Northwestern, but this guy is putting up eye popping numbers.  He is scoring 19.1 PPG, which is in the top 60 in the country.  He is doing it with 47% shooting overall and 37% 3FG shooting on a team high 51 attempts.

He is joined by Reed Timmer, who scores almost as much, at 18.6 PPG.  He's a 6'1" SO.  He's shooting 54% overall and 55% from beyond the arc, though he has tried only 22 of those.  Those are both good numbers for a guard.  The overall shooting % would be good for a center.

Their PG is Graham Woodward, who is average 13 PPG with 3 assists per game at a 1:1 ratio with turnovers.  He's shooting 46% overall and 56% on his threes, which again are just really good shooting numbers.

They have a 7'0" guy from Denmark and Poland and they play about 17 minutes per game, almost like they split the game.  BG doesn't have anyone at that height, but I get the sense from the data that Drake plays small, which is a decent matchup for us.  Abrahamson will be a tough matchup with his size and ability.

Anyway, this is a good test for our guys.  Will be interesting to see how it turns out.

Breaking: Babers to Syracuse

So, it didn't take long.  The news is all over the Internet, Coach Babers is indeed going to Syracuse.

This is the world we live in.  If you win in the MAC, you move up.  Your choices are to win and face this challenge with coaching or lose and have it be like Gregg Brandon.

I like this better.

Babers leaves with my best wishes.  Man wants to ply his trade at a higher visibility institution and for more money, I wish him 100% the best.

He promised us he was 100% focused on the game last night and he delivered.  He promised to wait until after the game and he was good to his word.  He was 100% honest and won last night's game.  That's a championship.  In a world where coaches lie and hose players all the time, where Coaches talk about team and then act about self, he took care of the team's business first.

Contrast that with our last two and done coach...Urban Meyer...who made a big speech about how he was staying because his family needed stability and then left two days later.

And Babers is leaving a ring behind.  Unlike Meyer.

I'll be rooting for Syracuse and Coach Babers.  Thanks for a great two years.  It wasn't always smooth sailing, but you delivered exactly what you said you would and pretty much exactly the way you said it would happen.

Bon voyage.