Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Falcon MBB Captain Launches Podcast

Brent Klassen was a member of the last BG basketball team that I would say was truly relevant in a MAC race.  Yes, I know BG won the regular season in 2009, but the last time you really felt people circled BG on the schedule was that long ago, the 2001-02 team that made the MAC Final and lost to KSU.  That was the last pre-WVU year...and I have written plenty about how that is a turning point in Falcon basketball, which has struggled to reach those heights again.

Klassen was a co-captain and co-MVP of that team.  Well, he's stayed interested in the game--and the mid-Major game--and has launched a podcast to talk about mid-major basketball.  It's called "Bringing up the Middle" and the landing page will tell you how to subscribe.

He appears to have a good sense of humor, as you can see here.

I haven't listened yet, but I plan to listen on the way to work tomorrow.  Falcon fans should do the same!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Adjei-Barimah injured in Tampa

Thanks to commenter Perry Boise, who pointed me to some unfortunate news about Jude Adjei-Barimah down in Tampa.

Jude has broken his patella for a second time.  It happened once late last year and then he broke it again in a non-contact drill in practice.

He was expected to be the Bucs' nickelback, so this has to be very disappointed for Jude.  He is slated for surgery and could miss four months and probably the entire season.

Get well, Jude.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Jinks Clarifies QB Situation

So, here's the QB news I think we all expected.  As I speculated over the weekend, I think they have more confidence in Doege, but would like to put a year between him and Morgan, eligibility-wise if it can at all be pulled out.  But, any minor injuries or garbage time reps will go to Loy.

We didn't do much with Loy because he was a walk-on, but this is a really interesting story.  He didn't really blossom as a QB until his senior year due to a broken back as a sophomore.  He was also a highly decorated basketball player.  Check this article.  The lengths that this dude went to get into college football--before BG, he was signed to play at Dodge City Community College in Kansas--are pretty inspiring  Little surprise that he has worked his way up the BG Depth Chart.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Blade on the scrimmage...

John Wagner weighs in here on the scrimmage....

A note of interest...

First, the BG defense played effectively without Bozeman and Jackson, two big parts of the secondary, as well as Posey and Judd.  However, the offense was working without their best returning receiver in Scotty Miller.  No one is believed to have a serious injury.

Scrimmage Report

So, made it down to BG to pick up the season tickets and get a first look at the Falcons for the year.  It was a beauty day and it is always great to see the guys again.  A few general impressions:

First, I honestly don't know if the defense is going to be better, but I honestly can't see how they aren't.  First, they were playing with a HIGH degree of enthusiasm and energy, including from the sideline.  I wasn't keeping track, but it seemed to me that the defense won more than their share of the battles.  Not all of them, but more than their share.  Brandon Harris, in particular, seemed to be all over the place.  Banks, too.  Josh Croslen swallowed a running back.  Anyway, the defense seemed to me to get the better of it.

As for the offense.  Well, I guess if you thought it was just going to be one down year and then be back to the offenses those MAC Championship teams had, I just don't see it right now.  Not that they won't be better, but I guess I wouldn't expect it to be a machine offense.  They made yards, for sure.  I thought all the QBs missed more throws than expected.  I thought they gave up a lot of "sacks" and yeah, I know that favors the defense because the QB doesn't actually have to be brought down, but also those throws were missed by QBs who didn't have to worry about being hit.  I thought the inside rushing game wasn't great and the only RB getting yards was Cleveland...and he was very effective.

I guess I would say that the line could improve...and let's not expect SO James Morgan to be SO Matt Johnson.  As for the backup QBs, they all missed throws.  Doege dropped some nice passes in and then missed some.  My uninformed suspicion is that they will leave Foy on the 2-line and would like to redshirt Doege, but depending on when the need came they might use Doege in a critical game, depending on how he develops.

The other thing was the coaching.  Last year, my recollection is that the Coaches were fairly retired and quiet.  Sort of Baberish.  Cool.  Not this year.  They were highly involved.  Lots of cursing.  Love it.  When Phoutavong accessorized a great TD catch with a taunting penalty, coach spent 15 seconds "correcting" him with his hand pulling on his face mask.  He had a "talk" with another player who threw his helmet and threw one defensive player off the field.  Called time out and seemed to be yelling at the coaches.  It was much more intense than we had seen last year.  I don't actually know if that is good or not, but I have to assume this is more in line with the way football is usually coached.

Anyway, just a few weeks to go.  Overall, my optimism meter for measured progress this year is modestly up.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

BG with D-back Verbal

The Falcons are piling up the verbal commits of late.  Today we have James Harris, Jr., of Pompano Beach, Fla.  He is a d-back and a 2-star recruit at 24/7.  Also according to 24/7, he had an offer from Florida Atlantic, which is literally down the street from him but he has opted to make his way North to play in the MAC.

Not a ton of numbers on him.  This article from Miami about South Florida's hotbed of DBack prospects said this about him:

Yet another sound football player who will benefit this season with the upgrade for the Tigers on the field as well as with the coaching staff. Harris has size, athletic ability and a passion for the game.

He was second-team All-Broward County as a junior, which is also no small feat.  He ran track as well and was second team all-county in the triple jump.

Welcome to the Falcons, James.

Falcons Snag Another 3-star verbal

The Falcon recruiting machine continues to work, picking up another 3-star recruit from Ohio.  This one is Jevon Henderson of Centerville, a 6'3", 265 pound D-tackle.  BG also have incoming FR WR Colin DeBord from the Elk's program, which is a successful Ohio program.

Henderson is a highly-sought after player.  He had offers from UCF, Duke, UC, Colorado State, Kent, Marshall, Miami, Northwestern, Ohio, Toledo and WMU.  So, on signing day, this is another player that a lot of people wanted who has committed to play for the Falcons.  24/7 says he is the #92 ranked D-tackle and the #53 player in Ohio.

He was very productive as a junior.  Remember that guys on the inside of the line don't always get a lot of numbers.  They can contribute to the team by clogging up the middle and drawing double-teams.  He had 52 tackles and 5 sacks in 10 games last year.  He was honorable mention all-district.

Welcome to the Falcons, Jevon.

Saturday, August 05, 2017


So, Coaches love to talk about turnovers.  You've seen it this year too.  A significant amount of the pre-season talk from our coaches has been about turnovers...both in a way that you would expect and a way you would not expect.

There's no surprise on offense.  You ran a freshman QB out there for most of the year (and James Knapke for the rest of it) and with that you are going to turn the ball over.  In fact, MAC play only, BG had the most turnovers at 19...which is 2 more than the next worst team, which was Ball State.  By comparison, WMU turned the ball over 5 times in conference play.  I'd say BG needs to get in the 11 range (where Miami was) to be competitive, and that's almost half.

The interesting thing is defense.  The Sentinel quotes a defensive player as saying Eliano burst into a meeting and said was BG's defense needs to do is create more turnovers....just that...and we will win the MAC.

Well.  Hmm.  First, that would certainly be great.  BG actually received 14 turnovers and only two MAC teams were above that amount---WMU and Kent.  BG forced the same number of turnovers as the division champ and one more than Miami.  Kent got 18 and they didn't win the MAC.  More on that in a minute.

In MAC play, BG had an average defense based on scoring and yards per play.  They were helped by playing some badly struggling offensive teams late.  John Wagner says "all signs point to an improvement on defense."  Not sure I would go there.  Yes, (as he points out), they are a year into the system, Stephens is back and Fred Garth is probably an instant upgrade in the backfield.

Even so, there are question marks at all three levels.  The line has depth issues, at least one of the LBs is pretty untested and the d-backfield remains a question mark.  Also, we have yet to see our coaching staff execute a strong game against a team with a functioning offense.  Furthermore, they have never done it anywhere else, either.  Until they do, it is a question mark.  As Wagner notes in the same article, they have to know the pressure is on

So, I guess I can agree the defense will improve.  But I don't think it will be a big improvement.

Anyway, here's the interesting thing.  Kent was +12 in turnovers last year.  That led the MAC and was #8 in the country (all games).  And they were 2-6 in MAC play.  How can you do that?  You go +12 and then you only win 2 games?  That's hard to follow.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Opponents for the Campbell Event

So, I found this online and it would purport to be the opponents BG will face in the round-robin event down at Campbell, which, as noted, is Buies Creek, NC.

Abilene Christian is in the Southland Conference, where they were 13-16 with a kenpom of 298.  BG will face off against Jalone Friday, who was the marquis recruit in what would have been Chris Jans' first recruiting class.  He led them in scoring last year (13.7 ppg) and blocked 34 shots.

USC Upstate...the SC is for South Carolina.  They play in the Atlantic Sun and were 17-16 last year, playing in the CIT and losing their first game.

BG is a clear outlier here.  BG plays in the MAC which is the #13 conference, based on kenpom.  The Big South is #28, the Atlantic Sun is #25 and the Southland is #27.  On the other hand, USC-U ended up with a higher kenpom than BG, while the other two were lower.  It does follow BG's scheduling practice of late, which is to schedule relatively softly while the program rebuilds.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Men's Basketball Schedule is out

So, in the midst of the anticipation over football, BG announced its non-conference MBB schedule.

Let's take a look.

First, BG has no P5 teams on the schedule.  The Frack Challenge is Florida Gulf Coast.

Second, BG headed further down the slippery slope toward EMU's schedule by adding a second non-D1 game.  Lake Erie College is DII and we are playing Lourdes (yes, that Lourdes, yes they have sports), which is in the NAIA, which is about as low as you can go.

They were 7-22 last year.

As I have stated before, I'm OK with playing one...the second one (and more) get harder to understand as prep for the conference season.

Now....the home games....

South Dakota, return game from last year, Coyotes beat BG 78-72.  They were 22-12 last year and played in the NIT.

Florida Gulf Coast, the legendary Dunk City team that went 26-8 and lost by 6 to Florida State in the NCAA tourney.

San Jose State....return game from last year when the Spartans beat BG 77-76 on their way to a 14-16 record.

Evansville, in a return game.  BG lost 69-66 last year.  They finished 16-17.

(and then Lourdes and Lake Erie).

So, in general, there are some interesting games, a couple good mid major teams, but only one big name.  The Florida Gulf Coast is a good get...but overall, a soft start for a young team.

On the road....

BG opens at Drexel in Philly.  They play in the CAA and they were 9-23 last year.  No idea, but hopefully this is a home and home.

BG is then scheduled to play at the Campbell multi-team event.  I assume multi-team event is a term for the kind of thing BG has been in pretty much every year, not a tournament per se, but it allows you to slip in a couple of extra games.

BG is scheduled to be there for three days.  Campbell is in the Southern Conference Big South Conference (h/t to commenter) and they were 19-18 last year.  There's no word on who the other two teams are.  I assume the teams will be announced by the hosts.

BG will play @Norfolk State, a return game from the game at BG, which BG won by 9 in unspectacular fashion.  Norfolk was 4-13 at one point with an RPI of 314 before they won 10 straight games.  They finished 17-17, 12-4 in the conference and qualified for the CIT.

BG will play @Old Dominion.  Hopefully, this is the start of a 1-1 with the Monarchs, who are a strong program.  They were 19-12 last year and play in the CUSA.

Lastly, BG will play @Green Bay, a return game from last year.  This is also a very good program.  they beat BG at the Stroh easily (77-61) and went 18-14.  They played in the CBI, losing to UMKC, a team they destroyed...also at the Stroh.

So, for the road games again, nothing spectacular.  ODU and Green Bay and every solid mid-major programs, but there are potential wins against Drexel and in the Campbell thing (I suspect).  Also, Norfolk State may finish the job and beat BG this year.

This is essentially the scheduling strategy Huger has used since he got here, and follows a MAC trend of fewer P5 games and more non-D1 games.  I understand where it comes from and I understand it is tough to get teams to play at the Stroh.  I just think that it would help build a fan base to have at least a few more interesting matchups.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Blade Provides Additional Roster News

John Wagner had some more news on the Falcon football roster....

The biggest one is that Matthew Guvremont, the JUCO lineman, will not attend BG.  No word on what happened, normally academics in a situation like that.

Matt Naranjo is also transferring to BG.  He is coming from the University of New Mexico and will sit out this year.  He is a punter who walked-on at NM.  Apparently, he was a student manager who was punting after practice and caught the attention of the coaches.  He did punt in HS in Skokie, IL.

Also, BG picked up Roland Walder, a transfer from UK, as we had here earlier. 

Also CJ (or Charles) Lamar is back.  He red-shirted and then sat out and now is back with the program.  He is from Florida...he had been a recruiting target prior to coming to BG after not getting into Florida Atlantic.  He was all-state at DB, so could have special teams or even potential defensive application.