Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Signing Day Update

So, signing day is tomorrow.  Here's the latest from The Blade.  Nothing too new here from what you would have found here over the weeks, except for the verbal from Andrew Bench of Genoa. 

A couple of additional notes.  First, the class is thin.  Loeffler has brought in one top-flight player and kept the top recruit we had from before.  Beyond that, recruiting was lagging while Jinks was here and it's just not going to be a huge class or highly ranked.  In fact, I think the fact that recruiting had died out was the reason Jinks had to go.

Recruiting isn't over...there are players who have not signed who can sign in February.  I would expect to see BG on that circuit as well.  Also, don't forget in this era of college sports, there is an opportunity to get some grad transfers to use scholarships for a year while the coaching staff fires up a true recruiting effort for next December.  The contacts of our coaching staff might be able to make something out of that.  There's also the possibility of transfers or JUCO players, though you'd like to get a JUCO player here for the Spring.

One last thing...one thing we have not heard is players transferring.  They just have to enter the NCAA portal now, but I'd still expect them to use social media for some kind of announcement.  We also lost guys last year after spring practice, but any idea that there was going to be an immediate flood of outgoing players does not appear to have happened.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Football Verbal


The Loeffler era has its first high-profile verbal--at least that we are aware of.  This is a good one.  In fact, he's the highest rated player in the class to date.

His name is Brock Horne, and he's from Romeo, MI, which is kind of north of the Detroit suburbs, almost in the base of the thumb.  He's a MLB and a 3-star recruit from 24/7.  They rank him as the #61 ILB in the country.

He had offers from Buffalo, CMU, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Iowa State, Miami, Princeton and Toledo...so this is a guy who had a lot of options.  He also had a PWO from Michigan.

He's 6'2" and 210 and had a very productive senior season.  He had 108 tackles, 10 for loss and 2 sacks.  For that matter, he was also a thousand-yard rusher, though he certainly seems to translate to a MLB in college.  He was first-team All-State for Division 1-2 on defense. 

You have to like those Ivy League offers, because they show he's a good student as well.  Based on his picture, he will compete with Caleb Bright on day 1 for best hair on the team.  I'm going to guess that one key item in his decision is that BG can use LBs and there's a chance to play right away.

Welcome to the Falcons, Brock.


Falcons Wake Up, Defeat Findlay

With about three minutes left in the first half, the game between BG and Findlay was what I had feared.  Findlay--with a strong contingent of fans in the house--was up 9 on the Falcons, who had apparently not taken seriously Coach Huger's warning that Findlay can play.  They were hitting WIDE open 3s as well as back door layups, all off a motion defense that BG was not willing to defend.


BG then woke up.  They scored the last 9 points of the first half and the first 7 of the second half (in 82 seconds) and then played suffocating defense against the Oilers.  The lead got over 10 with 16 left and never got inside 10 again.  In fact, the lead got as high as 29 and BG won 82-57 in the end.

Findlay actually had played on Saturday, so that's a tough back-to-back, but BG did a nice job putting pressure on the team and showing effort on the defensive end to get the win...which is what should have happened, but had to be done.

BG is 5-0 for the first time ever at the Stroh.  The 2008-9 team was the last to start this way...in fact, they went 6-0.  It was the second Louis Orr team and a team that went on to win the regular season title, though that's not a comparison we probably want to get too hung up on.

BG hasn't won back-to-back games over 25 points since 1996-97.  The wins were over Tiffin and @Wright State...that team also was a MAC Co-Champ in the regular season and played in the NIT for Larranaga's last year.  Same thing on the comparisons.

The best thing about the two games is that BG has found its shooting touch.  Coming into the Green Bay game, BG had hit in the low 20's from 3FG for four straight games, but now BG has two straight games over 40.  They won't play on the road again until they are at Kent on January 5, so we're going to have to see if the gains can translate to the road.  But, for now, the ball is going in.

BG ended up with 1.16 points per possession.  They shot 48% from 2FG and 42% from 3FG--on only 19 attempts, which I think is part of the key.  We need to be a team that attacks the rim and then makes the 3s off the penetration.  If we "settle" for 3s, they don't usually seem to fall.  BG took excellent care of the ball, had a good if not great offensive rebounding game and got to the line A LOT.
The first half free throw shooting was putrid...6 of 14, which is bad, but then missed shots were falling off the side of the rim, bricks off the phlange...it was not good.  BG did make 12 of 16 in the second half and for the game outscored Findlay 18 to 4 at the FT line.

On defense, BG held Findlay to .8 points per possession.  They shot 24% in the second half--with about 7 minutes left they had only 10 points.  For the game, they shot 33% from 2 FG and from 3FG and took good care of the ball.  BG dominated the glass at that end and, as mentioned, they rarely found their way to the FT line.



Individually, Justin Turner continues to shine.  He scored 22 points on 8 of 13 shooting, 5 of 5 at the line, 6 rebounds and 4 assists.  Young man is a player.  Also, in that 16-0 run, Turner had 10 of the points, which is something you see pretty often.  He can take over. 

Dylan Frye was also very effective, hitting 5-5 from 3  FG, scoring 16 points and adding 3 assists.  Wiggins had 14 points and 8 rebounds, so he missed a double-double.  He shot 6 of 11 from the field but was 2 of 5 from the line.  He played only 22 minutes due to foul trouble.  Daeqwon Plowden had 9 points and 9 rebounds.  Uju had 11 points and 8 rebounds, making all 3 of this FGs and getting to the line 8 times.

BG's also got strong minutes from Marlon Sierra.  He's a tough inside player, can shoot the jumper.  He played 12 minutes, I'd suspect he'll get more when MAC play starts.  BG did start Plowden and Fields again...Lillard played only 11 minutes.

Next up is Western Carolina at 1 pm on Friday, which is strange.  Anyway, BG is now 6-5 with 2 non-D1 wins.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Findlay Preview

The Findlay Oilers come to town Sunday.  On paper, this might appear to be a win day for BG--and it should be--however, Findlay is no joke as a DII program and if BG comes in and does the zombie routine then the Oilers will make BG look very bad.

Just to recap it, Findlay has made the DII Sweet 16 the last two years. They've made the DII tournament 14 times and won it in 2009.

They were picked to win the Great Midwest this year in the preseason, and they're off to an 8-1 start.  They are the #14/#20 ranked DII team right now.

For common opponents, they beat UT last year (as compared to BG??) and both teams have a common win over Tiffin.  This is no guaranteed win game.

This is one of BG's oldest opponents.  This is the 72nd meeting in a series that started in BG's first season of basketball.  They played twice that year...BG also played EMU and UT from the current schedule.

BG is 55-16 in the series.  The teams have played only 3 times since the early 90's, and Findlay beat BG in 1991.

We don't have the usual statistical breakout, but here are a couple nuggets.  There are 305 teams in DII, for reference.

#81 in scoring offense
#160 in scoring defense
#12 in A/T ratio
#11 in Assists per game
#91 in FG%
#228 in FG% Defense
#71 in 3FG%
#219 in 3FG% Defense

So, you can see a team that shoots well and takes very good care of the ball, while being perhaps a little more porous defense.

Individually, they are led by Alex White, who is averaging a double-double.  He's a 6'7" SR averaging 18 and 10 with 6 double-doubles, 10th in the nation.  He's a 48% shooter and is #11 in blocked shots.

Next is Aaron Overhiser, a 6'7" JR.  He has 16 PPG and 6 RPG on 54% 2FG shooting and 58% 3FG shooting.  Trey Smith is a 5'11" Sr. G who is shooting 47% and 43% and scoring 12 a game.  Tommy Schmock has 6 assists per game and is #25 in the nation.  He's a 5'11 SO from Cleveland St. Ed's.

This is a good team that is well-coached and used to winning.  If BG comes into this game thinking this is an easy win coming out of finals, Findlay will get the win.   BG has played well at home, let's hope they bring the focus to this one and get the W.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

MAC Men Hoops Check In


So, a quick MAC check-in while the conference takes a break for finals.  The MAC is off to a very good start...as noted in the tweet above, the MAC is the #9 conference in the NET rankings...the NET is the new RPI...and is 11th in Kenpom.  That's pretty good.  The MAC is almost always in the Top 13 or 15, but this year the league has a number of teams off to good starts.

Below is the current ranking for all the teams on KENPOM and Net.  As you know, there are a million ways to measure all this stuff, and there are clearly differences here.  One way NET was supposed to be better than RPI was that it was going to take margin of victory into account, which kenpom does.

Anyway, the clear leader to date is Buffalo.  Reigning champs, beat Arizona in the Big Dance, has a win @WVU this year, ranked #14 in the AP Poll and #15 in the Coaches.  Right now, they would end up with an at-large bid, but there's a long way to go. 

The MAC has two teams in the top 100, which is unusual at this time of year.  Toledo is 9-1 and ranked in the mid-70s.  In fact, based on NET the MAC has four teams in the top 100, counting Ball State and an 8-1 Kent State team (weakest schedule in MAC but a big win @Vanderbilt).  Groce seems to have Akron rebounding ahead of schedule and OU is also off to a 6-3 start.  No one in the conference has a losing record.  Not CMU, who has shown the ability to rack up big numbers against terrible schedules--#335 out of 351.

Meanwhile, EMU is off to a rough start.  They are 5-5 with 3 non D1 wins.  They have lost to 3 top 100 teams, including Duke, but also to Detroit (294).  They were picked to win the MAC.  They play a really good UC-Irvine team on Wednesday in Ypsi...a team Toledo beat, so that could be an interesting test.

Anyway, right now this is looking like a very competitive conference.  You'll note that BG is 11th in Kenpom and in NET.  This isn't looking like a year to be down in the MAC, especially in the East.  BG's going to have to show some improvement.


We will check back on this right before conference play starts, but for now the MAC is having its best basketball season in years.  That always makes for an entertaining new year, but puts pressure on BG to get things put together or risk being left behind.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

BG PWO Verbal and Jinks Final Settlement


A couple pieces of news on football.  First, the team has a verbal.  This is a preferred walk on (PWO) and he's a kicker.  He plays at Rochester Adams HS, which is a north suburb of Detroit.

Just a hunch, with the late recruiting start you might see more PWOs than normal as BG starts the long process of rebuilding its roster.

He seems to have been a productive kicker, though we don't have a ton of info.  A lot of scouting of kickers takes place at camps, so maybe it was that as well.  He was also offered a PWO by Toledo, according to the link above.

Anyway, BG had a kicking crisis this year--and it worked out OK, Needham didn't get many chances but made them OK and kickoffs were fine--but some attention to kicking is vital, especially if we're going to play a more pro-style game.

Anyway, welcome to the Falcons, Ben.

The second thing is that the BG/Jinks transaction is done, based on this from Jordan Strack.

Ended up being way less than it had been built up to be.  It is among the costs that came with that hire.  Anyway, we should be looking forward now.  What's done is done.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Wiggins Piling Up the Numbers

Demajeo Wiggins is piling up the numbers this year, his senior year.  His stats are significant on a national level.  For example, here are his national rankings:

Double-doubles:  #1
Rebounds per game:  #1
Total Rebounds:  #2
Defensive rebounds per game:  #3
Offensive rebounds per game:  #6
Defensive rebound rate: #8 (from kenpom, number of rebounds based on available rebounds).

His 19 rebounds in the last game is tied for #7 in the country this year.

He started the year with 704 rebounds.  With 129 this year, he is at 823, moving from #10 to #6.  For you old-timers, he passed Rex Leach, Anthony Stacey, Al Dixon and Ron Hammye. 

Here are the standings right now:

1. Nate Thurmond (61-63) 1295
2. Cornelius Cash (73-75) 1068
3. Len Matela (98-02) 890
4. Colin Irish (80-84) 871
5. Jim Connally (69-71) 851
6.  Demajeo Wiggins 823

There are at least 22 games left on the schedule.  He's a lock to make it to #3 career, assuming he's healthy.  If he continues at the 12.9 rate, he would finish with 1,106 rebounds and be #2 on the list, passing Cornelius Cash.  Obviously, the odds get better with more postseason games, but MAC play probably softens that average as well.  He'd only need 8 a game to get to 1,000, putting him over 1,000 in scoring and rebounds,

One note, just for context.  Total rebounds is a stat that is biased toward current players, who play 4 years and more games.  When Cash played at BG, freshmen weren't eligible.  Even with his big numbers this year, Wiggins is not in the top 10 for rebounding average--he stands at 7.9 and #10 is at 8.  Cash averaged over 13 rebounds a game in his BG career.

Anyway, Wiggins is off to a big year, the biggest year we've seen statistically for quite some time.  Enjoy watching.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Football Staff Complete

Coach Loeffler filled out his coaching staff this morning, and one of the hires is a WOW.

Brian VanGorder will serve as Associate Head Coach and the coach of the linebackers.  This is a guy who has been around the block.  How does 38 years in coaching sound?  How does being DC at Louisville, Notre Dame, Auburn and Georgia sound?  Broyles award winner?  Or being a Head Coach at Georgia Southern and Wayne State?  Or five years as DC of the Atlanta Falcons?

I think that would sound good.  He'd be the most seasoned DC we ever had...and he isn't even the DC.

The final coaching spot is Julian Campenni, who will coach the d-line.  He has been a graduate assistant at BC and joins Coach Adazzio in the mix as younger coaches.  Nothing wrong with a mix...for example, Campenni has Van Gorder and Pelini to lean on and learn from as he develops the defensive line.

A couple other adjustments were made.  Erik Campbell, WRs, will also coordinate the passing game.  And Jacob Schoonover, who had previously been announced as the LB coach, will be the special teams/linebackers coach.  He worked with special teams at Illinois State.

So, all ten of the guys are in house.  I think BG fans should be happy with what we see.  The first step in a new coach's tenure is to hire the staff, and I think he's done a good job on paper.

One note.  If you check the Internet, it is pretty clear that a lot of the fans of schools where Loeffler has been OC don't have fond memories and basically think it's a joke that he's an FBS Head Coach. 

I guess I have a couple responses to that.  First, Tennessee fans told us that about Clawson.  Second, when you look at the staff Loeffler hired, which of these things do you see?

A.  A guy who's thinks he knows everything he needs to know and doesn't need to get better.
B.  A guy who understands the challenge ahead of him and has chosen a staff to compliment what he is good at so the program can succeed...a guy with either the humility or the drive to surround himself with good people.

It's B.  So far, I like how things are going.  Nothing will guarantee success, but we're moving in the right direction and I'm excited to see what this guy...guy B...can do.

Sunday, December 09, 2018

Falcons Stun Green Bay with Blowout Win

Well, of all the things I expected to see yesterday at the Stroh, a blow out win was not one of them.  BG, which had two straight poor to very poor road losses, came back at home and played its best game of the season to beat Green Bay.

BG won 97-68 and the outcome was never really in doubt.  In fact, Green Bay never led.  With about 8 minutes left in the first half, BG was up 20-14.  Over the next four minutes, BG went on a 13-6 run to inflate the lead to 13.  BG kept it rolling and led 49-29 at halftime, meaning over the last 8 minutes the outscored the Phoenix 29-15.

In the second half, BG did what they had to go, which was to prevent any kind of comeback.  The lead never got inside 18 and BG led by as much as 35.

It was a remarkable game.  BG had their best game of the year on both ends of the floor.  BG is a much different team at home so far (undefeated) and a much different team when they are getting stops and playing in transition, an observation echoed by Justin Turner and Coach Huger last night.

As advertised, it was a fast game, with 81 possessions.  BG scored 1.2 ppp and allowed .84, both of which were season highs in D1 games.  The only comparable offensive performance against decent competition was last year vs. WMU.  The defense was also as good as a couple of BG's non-D1 opponents last year.

BG held GB to 40% shooting on 2FGs and 32% 3FG shooting.  In comparison, BG shot 64% from 2FGs and 41% from 3FG.  That's going to win you games.  That's as compared to the national average of about 50% EFG%.  BG did have some turnovers, but dominated the boards on both ends and got to the line more. BG was 19 of 39 at the line, which is 69% and about average while GB was only 13 of 24.  There were 45 fouls called.

Hard to put to fine a point on this.  BG dominated both ends of the court and this is a decent team.  They gave Belmont their only loss, beat NIU (a team picked ahead of BG in the MAC).  They battled Oregon and Iowa tough.  This was a good opponent.



Obviously, you're going to see some individual performances buried inside that.  Justin Turner was just spectacular.  He scored 25 points, shooting 8 of 14 from the field with 6 assists and 1 turnover.  He was 7 of 9 on his 2 FGs and 8 of 10 at the line.  He was very efficient.  He's so effective finishing at the rim, it would just open so much up.  There was one play when he went coast to coast into three guys at the rim and scored with the foul.  He's just a sophomore and I think he's playing better this year than last.

Wiggins double-doubled in the first 10 minutes of the game.  He ended up with 12 points on 4 of 7 shooting and at the line.  He added 19 rebounds, the second most of his career. 

Dylan Frye, who is struggling with his shot, made 5 of 9 overall and 2 of 5 from 3FGs to break into double figures

BG got really good minutes out of Fields, Laster, and Sierra.  Sierra was especially good with 7 points and 8 rebounds in 20 minutes.  He can handle the ball and shoot from outside as well as play inside.  Not sure why he's not getting more minutes in general.   Matiss made 2 3FGs in 6 minutes.

BG started Fields, Plowden, Frye, Wiggins and Turner for the second straight game.

Anyway, right now it appears that we have a team that plays well at home and struggles on the road.  The next three are at home and very winnable.  BG's goal needs to be to hit the MAC season at 8-4, when we open @Kent, the surprise pre-season team in the MAC.  Once BG is on the road again, they're going to need to get some consistency.

The frustrating thing is that you can see some ability and a critical mass of players.  You figure, you take the starters and mix Lillard, Matiss, Sierra and Laster in, if they were playing effectively for longer stretches of time, you could be OK.

You just don't see it all come together very often, and when its bad its pretty bad.

BG Football Loses Two Verbals

A couple of quick news hits from the recruiting front. BG has lost a couple of members of its incoming class, which is not a surprise.

Logan Holgorsen, the highly-rated QB from Morgantown actually switched his twitter profile a while ago.  Holgorsen and his father all tie back to Lubbock, so it isn't a surprise.  If I had to guess, Texas State, which is where the WVU OC is head coach now, would be a likely landing spot.  By the way, Jordan Strack has reported that he will not be coming to BG.

The other is Josh Moore, a JUCO WR who committed last June.  He cites "unforeseen circumstances."



No idea what went on.  There was a tweet from a Josh Miller who is (and I assume now the word was) BG's Assistant WR Coach who apologized for BG deceiving Moore in some way.  No idea what the worst is, but Moore won't be coming to BG.  One good thing is he is a December grad and could have been at BG learning the system early in the Spring and our WRs have been thin.

Anyway, best of luck to Josh and Logan.

Friday, December 07, 2018

Green Bay Arrives at The Stroh

So, the beat goes on.  BG faces a pretty tough test Saturday against the Phoenix of Green Bay.  Formerly Wisconsin-Green Bay, this team has a pretty good basketball tradition that had fallen on some tough times...but seems to be turning it around this year.

They won 20 games in 2014, 15, and 16, playing in the NIT the first two of those years and then in the NCAA in 2016.  They were 18-13 the next year and fell to 13-20 last year.

This year, they were picked to finish 4th in the Horizon, which is higher than two teams BG has already lost to (albeit both in road games).

BG beat them on the road in OT last year.  This year, the Phoenix are off to a good start.  They are 5-3 with one non-D1 win.  They beat NIU and Belmont over the past week in Green Bay...the Belmont win, in particular, is significant.  In addition, their losses are to Indiana State, @Iowa and @Oregon, so they are without an especially bad loss.

The first thing to know is they like to play fast.  They are #11 in the country in number of possessions (that Belmont game must have been something to see).  BG likes to go fast, too, so this could be fun to watch at least from that perspective.

Green Bay is right on the national average for points per possession, while BG is below average defensively.  Green Bay is also below average defensive (1.03) but they are closer.  BG's offense is very poor to date.  BG is #234 in offensive efficiency.




So far as that goes, look how evenly matched the GB offense and BG defense are.  Pretty much, BG allows what Green Bay is used to getting.  GB shoots well.  They don't try a ton of 3FGs, but they are effective at making them and are above average from 2 FG.  They take good care of the ball and average getting to the line.  They are almost exactly as bad shooting FTs as BG is.

You'd have to expect that they might work the 3FG more into their attack, given BG's issues, but then again the game might largely be played in transition.


As noted, BG's offense has been poor.  BG is very good on the boards, but well below average on every other measure.  Other than giving up a lot of FTs, Green Bay is effective/average or better at every aspect.  They are very good defending the 3 (#66) but in the bottom 100 in the country at defending the 2FG, which is where you'd like to see BG focus to try and prop up the FG shooting that is making it difficult for them to win.



Individually, they have 3 players scoring 14 a game.

One is JayQuan McCloud, a second-team All-American JUCO player.  He is very efficient, shooting 49% and 41%, and usually comes off the bench.

Second is ShanQuan Hemphill, who played at Florida Southwestern for former BG staffer Marty Richter.  He's 6'6" and shooting 61%, all of 2FGs, horrible at FTs.  He also averages 5.3 rpg.

Third is Sandy Cohen III.  He is a Marquette transfer who opened his GB career by scoring 16 and grabbing 6 rebounds vs. BG last year.  He's also 6'6", shoots 45% and 36% and leads the team with 6.8 RPG and over 6 assists per game.  He is all-Horizon pre-season.

Lastly, 6'8" Manny Patterson average 8 ppg and 6 rpg in about 20 minutes per game.  He played in foul trouble a lot against BG last year.

This is a pretty experienced team and much different than the team we played last year, with the two JUCO players.  They are playing pretty well.  BG has played better at home, but this is the best non-conference team we will see at home and if the effort isn't any better than the last two games, Green Bay will this one.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Zone Makes Falcon Men Into Zombies

So, while there's a lot of excitement about the Falcon football team, hidden in there is a continuing malaise in the men's basketball program.  The Falcons lost their last 6 last year and are 3-5 in D1 games this year, making it 3 wins in the last 14 games.  Last night's loss was an 18-point loss to a 2-7 Cleveland State team and just has to rank as very disappointing.  There was no energy on BG's side.  Coach Huger said they were walking around like "zombies" after the game...by which I mean he said it after the game but the zombie walking was during the game.

BG started out hot and had an 11-point lead in the first half.  Then, CSU switched to a match-up zone and that seems to send the Falcons into zombie mode.  Coach said we were getting the looks we needed and just missing shots, but then there's that zombie comment and you don't really know where that falls out.  It's the second time that BG has completely fried when facing a zone this year.  The offense went south and then the defense joined it.  Coach wants to say we attack the zone well, but this team's continuing inability to attack a zone defense has to reflect on the coaching most of all.  He simply should be able to prepare to beat a team playing a zone, especially a team like CSU that doesn't play one ordinarily.  Huger himself said it wasn't a good zone.

Coach did try to shake up the starting lineup.  He started FR Caleb Fields in place of Lillard and Plowden in place of Uju.  Also, Michael Laster was a DNP.  No idea, he might be injured, but when they needed a PG to spell Frye, they went with DeAndre' Austin.

BG had a putrid offensive night.  Remember that CSU was allowing 1.08 points per possession coming into the game...BG scored .92.  BG shot 36% EFG, its lowest of the season, making 38% of its 2FG and 22% of its 3FG.  Those are just unbelievably bad.  Over the last four games, BG is 20-93 on 3FGs.  BG did take good care of the ball, did well on the offensive boards, but didn't get to the line very much and shot FTs poorly again.

That was complemented by an equally bad night on defense.  CSU, a struggling team, scored 1.18 per possession.  They allowed 63% EFG.  Both numbers were BG's worst game of the season.  CSU made 50% of the 2FGs and 50% of their 3 FGS.  As of this morning, BG is #333 (out of 351) in defending the 3.

Coach was rough on his defense and there was a little back and forth about whether missing shots or not getting stops is worse with Todd Walker.  I will say this.  Our team is horrible in half-court offense.  They need stops and transition to score points.


Individually, really only one Falcon had a strong statistical game and that was Wiggins.  He scored 21 points in 26 minutes, shooting 7 of 14 from the field, 7-9 from the line, adding 16 rebounds and no turnovers.  They offered him space to operate in the zone and he took advantage of it before foul trouble limited his minutes.

Justin Turner scored 16, but it was a rough night.  He shot 6 of 18 and 2 of 7 to get there.  Not to put too fine a point on it, but BG's other starters were 5 of 21 shooting.  Matiss came off the bench to score 9 on 4 of 7 and 1 of 1 shooting, and 6 rebounds in 13 minutes.  If he's up to it physically, you'd like to see him in there more, too.

Anyway, the team is not better than we expected right now.  In fact, they are probably worse.  Next up is a pretty decent Green Bay team that is 5-3 and beat NIU and Belmont in its last two games.  Let's hope they play man-man.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

The BG defense did improve

I know that there was some chatter during the season about the lack of progress our defense made in its first year under Carl Pelini's coaching.  I wanted to make a couple of points about that.

First, even as Eliano was being let go, we knew that BG had a lack of talent as well as a lack of good coaching.  The biggest complaint was the defense never seemed to improve and that's certainly a fair description.  The problem became worse with off-season transfers and dismissals as well as serious injuries to Konowalski, Murphy, Pence, Belton, Walder, etc, and lesser injuries to Croslen, Brooks, etc toward the end of the year.

It just wasn't going to be night and day given all that.

With that, the defense did improve.  Yes, from among the worst to merely bad, but the defense did improve.  As you can see, in MAC play, BG gave up 4.2 points fewer per game and .6 yards fewer per play, moving to 9th in both categories.  BG moved up to 11th in rushing yards per carry allowed and held ground in pass efficiency defense and 3rd down defense.

Again, not claiming this to be a stratospheric leap.  Just saying that its very possible the 18 defense had less talent than the 17 defense did and there was coaching involved even in this modest increase.  In contrast, despite having people back and relative health, BG's offense scored 6.5 fewer points per game and fell from 7th to 9th.


Tuesday, December 04, 2018

BG Nabs Football Verbal





Joey Carroll will go down as the first verbal of the Loeffler Era.  He's a big young man who is also local, which apparently is something we're going to focus on.  He had offers from Toledo, Army, Colgate, EKU, EMU, WMU and Youngstown State.

Some notes.  Here's the story in The Blade when he committed.  The recruiting people in the story say he is an "on-the-ball" TE who can also run in the slot and catch passes.  He was second-team All-TRAC.  There are also stories listing him as big at 6'7".  Didn't find much from him in the way of stats.

He joins Presley Motes, Julius Van Rooyen, Tyler Traylor and James Lachey as TEs at a position where I believe there is immediate playing time available.

Cleveland State Preview

So, the Cleveland State Vikings are next on the schedule.  This is an opportunity for BG to get a road win, that's for sure.  CSU is 2-7 this year, with wins over Urbana and #342 South Carolina State.  They lost to #222 Samford and #210 IPFW at home, as well as @Toledo (by 12) and Kent at home (by 4).  They also pressed DePaul, trailing by 4 with the ball in the final minute of the game.

They were picked for #6 in the Horizon by Blue Ribbon and #7 by their own media.  With that said, BG has already lost to the team picked to finish last.

They were 12-23 last year and 6-12 in the conference.  A #8 seed, they made a run in the Horizon tourney and almost made it.  They lost 3 starters and a key reserve from that team and have six new players.  Their coach told Blue Ribbon they were "starting over."  Kenpom shows them to be one of the 30 youngest teams in the country.

Tempo-wise, we can hope for an up-paced game.  BG and CSU both move at 72 possessions per game.

It won't be surprising to know that CSU has not been good on either side of the ball.  Looking first at their offense, they are scoring .97 PPP, which is really bad.  National average .93.  They are just as bad on defense, allowing 1.08 PPP.  They are ranked #286 in both on kenpom.




When CSU has the ball, you see why that all is.  They shoot below national average, but turn the ball over more than average and poor offensive rebounders.  They do a good job getting to the line, but are poor FT shooters at 65%, though not as bad as BG (63%).  They love the 3--43% of their FGs are 3FGs--but make them 34% of the time, which is just a little bit above the average.  They only make 48% of their 2FGs.

That would all be comforting except for BG's difficulty defending Hartford, who unleashed a similar attack against BG Saturday.  In fact, BG is #310 in the country defending the 3FG.  Also, BG does not force turnovers so it will be interesting to see if CSU can handle the ball against us.



On the defensive side, they are bad at everything.  They are easy to shoot against, don't turn the ball over, can be beaten on the boards and allow a lot of FTs.  They defend the 3 very effectively but don't defend the 2FG very well.  This should be well-suited for BG, unless we try to match their jump shooting attack, which seemed to be what happened in Hartford.  Teams are going to pack in on Wiggins but jumpers aren't the only answer to that.  Also, BG is not set up to take advantage of their tendency to foul.


Their top player is Tyree Appleby, who is a SO returning starter.  He's scoring 14.7 per game on 41% and 33% shooting, which is not terribly efficient, but somebody does have to shoot the ball.  He has 40 assists (4.4 per game) over 34 TOs.  Their other double-figure scorer is Stefan Kenic, a 6'9" Serbian scoring 10.4 on 43% and 38% shooting.  Their leading rebounder is 6'7" Jalaam Hill, at 6.1 per game.  He's a JUCO transfer.  They also have a FR 6'6" guy named Seth Millner, who is scoring 9.6 per game and shooting 47% and 50%.

They play a deep rotation, with 10-11 guys getting in most games and the most-played player topping out at 30 minutes a game, something to keep in mind when you look at the stats above.

This is a game at the start of the year you would have expected BG to win.  I wouldn't be shocked if BG won but it's far from something that can be counted on, given how BG has played in other games.

BG Announces Assistant #8

The Football announcements keep coming.  Seven assistants and a strength coach were announced yesterday.  Today, the school announced that LaMarcus Hicks will return as secondary coach.  BG has kept three coaches from the previous staff, all on defense:  Pelini, Schoonover and now Hicks.

Two coaches remain to be selected.  One is the d-line and I would suspect one is a special teams guy.  The previous staff broke CBs and S out seperately, but Hicks is announced as secondary.

Anyway, it will all be revealed soon enough.

For my money, Pelini just picked the defensive staff a year ago.  If he's going to lead the defense, then it makes some sense you'd retain the assistants if they're happy and you're happy.

More to come....

UPDATE:


Monday, December 03, 2018

First Round of Assistants Announced

Coach Loeffler announced his first round of assistants and showed that he is committed to building a program...starting with his staff.  The University also showed that it understands what was wrong with the Jinks staff, because every bio of one of the new assistants highlights his experience as a coach.  There's also a tabulation floating around that says the staff has an average of 22 years (or something) of coaching experience.


You can see the full story here.  Here is a summary with some general thoughts.

First, Loeffler, as expected, cleaned house on the offensive side of the ball.  All of the original Jinks assistants are now gone.  This includes Seth Doege, whose brother is our QB.

On defense, Loeffler did keep Carl Pelini.  I'm happy with this because I think he's a good coach and a former head coach and he provides some depth on the defensive side of the ball that Loeffler does not have.  For those of you who think Pelini did an awful job with the defense this year, I will have a post up on that in due time.  When we get some players, Pelini will coach a very solid defense and the players respect him.

The only defensive coach retained right now is Jacob Schoonover, the LB coach.  The d-line and D-backs coaches are not known at this time.

The biggest news was Terry Malone at OC.  This is his second stint in that job.  He was here from '86 to '95.  He has coached all over the place, including at UM, Purdue, the Saints for Sean Payton, etc.  He was at WMU when he took this job.  He's got experience and ability.  He will also coach the line, which I contend was the most poorly coached position group on our team over the last three years.  He's done enough to provide Loeffler with the support he needs as a new head coach.

The RB coach is a guy named Chris Hedden.  He has coached all over the place, including being the head coach at St. Francis.  He's currently OC at Trine, a DIII school in Indiana.  That team has a RB who is a semi-finalist for the DIII player of the year award and is #4 in the nation in rushing.  He was also an assistant at UT for 8 years.

Erik Campbell will coach the WRs, after a 30 year career, much of it in the Big Ten and some in the CFL.

Max Warner will coach QBs, as I noted yesterday.

The TE coach will be Louie Addazio.  The son of BC Coach Steve Addazio, he's a GA at OSU right now.

And the strength coach, Kevin Tolbert, was at UM for the last 3 years and will SF and Stanford before that, as he moved along with Coach Harbaugh.

So, here's the thing.  Coach said that he was going to find the best staff in the country, and I think he's done a great job putting a team together and doing it fast.  Clearly, this was not the first time he had thought about it.  The only guys without collegiate assistant coaching experience so far are Warner and Addazio.  That's in contrast to the last staff, for sure, where most of them had a resume like Addazio's.

And not to say Addazio won't be a good coach.  He grew up around it, worked at OSU, etc.  Just saying that instead of having a full staff of people like that, he's the only one and can continue to learn from the other coaches.

I think BG fans will be happy with this staff.  The last two positions remain to be filled, but the opening announcement of the Loeffler Era shows a coach who's prepared and ready to re-build this program.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

MAC Title and Bowl Games

So, a quick football update.

All year, I've been looking forward to NIU and Buffalo in the MAC final.  These were both really good teams, well coached and I felt it would be an excellent matchup.

And it was.  Buffalo seemed to have it won, but NIU mounted a furious comeback to take the title, 30-29.  Rod Carey has clearly been underrated as a head coach.  They were off last year, were predicted to win it this year and they did.  Meanwhile, Lance Leipold has the Buffalo program loaded and ready to compete, and we know he's used to sustaining success.

The bowl bids are also out.  In all, 6 bowl games will include MAC teams.  Miami was the only bowl-eligible program to not make it, and they were 6-6.

Overall, the matchups are not bad.  As normal, the MAC is matched up with G5 programs, not P5 programs, which I think would be everyone's preference.  For example, the NIU/UAB game is interesting because UAB won their conference and therefore it is hot champion-on-champion action.  Toledo will take on Florida International, QB'd by former BG QB James Morgan.  WMU and BYU is a good matchup--BYU is a name opponent, though they are deprived of a trip to the warm weather.  Also, all 3 are non-Sun Belt games.

EMU in a bowl game is interesting just because it is.  So much credit for what Chris Creighton has done there.  Also, Georgia Southern was 9-3 and play the same soul-crushing running attack they did when they embarrassed the Falcons in '15.  And Sun Belt.

I'm sure Buffalo would rather not be playing a Sun Belt team, but Troy is a good team with a strong historic program.  They were 9-3 as well.  In addition, they are playing near home.

Ohio might have the easiest game.  San Diego State was only 7-5 but the game is a long way from home.

  • Eastern Michigan vs. Georgia Southern (Sun Belt), Raycom Media Camellia Bowl, Dec. 15, 5:30 pm ET (ESPN)
  • Northern Illinois vs. UAB (C-USA), Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl, Dec. 18, 7:00 pm ET (ESPN)
  • Ohio vs. San Diego State (Mountain West), DXL Frisco Bowl, Dec. 19, 8:00 pm ET (ESPN)
  • Toledo vs. Florida International (C-USA), Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl, Dec. 21, 12:30 pm ET (ESPN)
  • Western Michigan vs. BYU (Independent), Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Dec. 21, 4:00 pm ET (ESPN)
  • Buffalo vs. Troy (Sun Belt), Dollar General Bowl, Dec. 22, 7:00 pm ET (ESPN)
The bowl games are pretty much silly, given the number of teams that make them.  I felt that more strongly when BG was making them on a regular basis.  Anyway, I like to watch these games and I look forward to seeing how our MAC brethren do and I look forward to seeing our program back on this list.

A couple football updates

There's a couple updates on the football program.

First, courtesy Thomas Schmeltz, BG's QB Coach has been selected and has quit his previous job.

His name is Max Warner.  He has been a high school head coach for three years and was a quality control assistant for Virginia Tech for one season, where he undoubtedly ran across Coach Loeffler.  He was at Bloomingdale HS in the Tampa area, where he was 24-10 as a head coach and gave that high school its first ever three straight winning seasons.  He is their all-time winningest coach--by NUMBER OF WINS--after only 3 seasons.

Boston College is playing Boise in a bowl in Dallas and Addazio has been quoted as saying that he expects Loeffler to call plays in that game.

Not going to lie, both of these are giving me some disturbing feelings of deja vu of the kind of things that went on during the last transition.  The staff needs to be judged in total, but if we don't end up with experienced college assistants I think we'll all be pretty disappointed.  And Jinks said that coaching Texas Tech in the bowl game was a mistake he made before his first BG season, saying that it cost him valuable evaluation time.  It is during a dead period, recruiting wise---the game is the day after Christmas.


Falcons Fall in Hartford

The Falcon MBB team had a disappointing result Saturday in Hartford when they lost 76-63 to the Hartford Hawks.  The Hawks were 2-6 coming in and the oddsmakers had this one as even when it tipped, but in the end, BG lost a game they could have won to a team that would probably be in the lower half of the MAC.  It pairs with the Detroit loss to give BG 2 losses to teams with over 200 kenpom rankings and does not lend any hope to the idea BG will exceed expectations this year.


Hartford led for almost all of the first half, going up by as much as 14 and leading by 9 at the break.  They were back up 40-27 in the second half when BG went on a 14-0 run to take a 1-point lead with 11:00 left.

And then, Hartford proceeded to score 36 points in the final 11 minutes against BG's 22 to get the easy win.  They led by as much as 17 in the final minute of the game.  Giving up that many points in 11 minutes is going to make it difficult to win any game, particularly when its the last 11 minutes.  

BG falls to 4-4, with 1 non-D1 win.

It was a slow-paced game at 67 possessions, which was the second slowest game of the season for BG.  The Falcons had a poor offensive game at .95 points per possession.  When you shoot 43% overall and turn the ball over on 27% of your possessions, you will have a hard time getting enough points to win.  BG was effective at 2FG, shooting 55%, but made only 7 of 32 3FGs...that's awful on two fronts.  First, it's 22%.  It's also a huge amount of the overall FGAs...BG hasn't tried 32 treys since the 2017 season and this was a slow-paced game.  In fact, I believe my preview said that BG would be in trouble if they were jacking up 3s against a team that was struggling to defend the 2 and that was just what happened.

Hartford didn't do anything special with field goal shooting...that's right on the national average.  They took really good care of the ball, though, and then got to the line for 24 FTs.  The Hawks were outstanding...making 23 of those 24, while BG was poor, making only 10 of 19. (BG is currently #313 in FT% in the nation).  And that was the difference in the game.  


Individually, Demajeo Wiggins got himself over 1,000 points for his career.  He double-doubled, but was not effective.  He scored 11 on 3 of 7 shooting and 5 of 8 from the line to go with 14 rebounds.  He also had 6 turnovers.  Justin Turner had 17 points, making 7 of 15 overall but only 2 of 7 from 3FG.  Dylan Frye had 10 on 3 of 9 shooting---all 3s.  Five players--Uju, Matiss, Lillard, Laster and Plowden--were 9 of 29 and 2 of 16 from 3FG. Frye and Lillard also had 3 turnovers each.

Anyway, not that it should have been a slam dunk win, but it was certainly a disappointing loss that does not bode well for MAC play.  They have another winnable road game coming up against Cleveland State in a couple days and we'll continue to watch to see BG begin to upgrade its play.