Monday, July 01, 2019

Football Verbal: Myles Williamson


BG has its newest football commit.  This young man is Myles Williamson, a CB from Westerville Central.  He's 5'10 and 171, has 2 stars from 247 and an offer from Miami.

His brother Marcus plays for OSU.  This McCallister guy has a little scouting report on his, including his tackling and a lot of his fundamental skills.  He needs to get bigger and stronger (McCallister says), which obviously he will as he matures and then gets into the BG weight program.  I saw elsewhere that he is used by his school as a shutdown corner.  He was special mention all-district last season.

Welcome to the Falcons, Myles.


Saturday, June 29, 2019

Hassan Belton to Retire


So, Hassan Belton has decided to leave football for medical reasons.  He will graduate in August and we wish him nothing but the best for his future.

It is a reminder of the risk that these young men take to play college football.

Belton came to BG in January of 2018 as a JUCO transfer at LB.  Also, he was injured playing Maryland, the type of game BG plays to fill the coffers for the entire athletic department.  After the game, Coach Jinks said his injury "doesn't look good."

Belton started last year on the starting line of the depth chart.  He was expected to contribute right away and was part of a catastrophic string of injuries that crippled an already challenged defensive unit.

Again, congrats on the graduation and best of luck.

Football Verbal, Shon Strickland


BG has a new verbal commit.  Shon Strickland, a WR from Reynoldsburg, OH, has now committed to be in the fold.

He's 6'0" and 175.  Reyoldsburg had an unusually good season last year, going 10-2 and making the regional semi-final.  They beat Start 52-0 in the state playoffs.

Shon was second-team all-league with 27 receptions, 408 yards, 5 TDs.

He also played basketball and his Mom ran for City Council.

Welcome to the Falcons, Shon.


Friday, June 28, 2019

Football Verbal: Dylan Walker


Another football verbal.  Dylan Walker is from Daniel Boone High School in Birdsboro, PA.  (Birdsboro is about 4 miles from the Daniel Boone Homestead.)

He's listed on HUDL as a WR, TE and DE.  He's 6'5" and 225 pounds, if that's something that might be of interest to you.  He doesn't have a ton of notoriety or offers due to the fact that he missed his entire junior season due to injury.  Even so, he was named by this writer as the #64 ranked prospect in football-rich PA.  The only offer I could find was from New Hampshire.

Anyway, he seems tailor-made for our offense, which values dual-threat TE and WRs who put pressure on the defensive coordinators when they are putting their personnel on the field.

Welcome to the Falcons, Dylan.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Falcon Verbal from Sandusky



BG has another highly-ranked verbal commit on board.  This one is a young man named Terion Stewart, who is a RB from Sandusky.

If you like production, he's your guy.  He was first-team all-Ohio last year, rushing for 2,731 yards on 10.9 yards per carry.  He has 3,964 yards in two varsity seasons.  He had 39 TDs last year and 61 for his career.  He brings a combination of power and speed.  He is 5'9" and 205 pounds, and ran a 10.9 100-yard dash in track.

247 has him ranked as a 3-star recruit and he's just outside the top 100 RBs in the country.  Neither 247 nor twitter lists any offers for him other than BG, for whatever that is worth.

Welcome to the Falcons, Terion.


Saturday, June 22, 2019

Football Verbal, Aaron Washington


Another verbal!  Coming hot and heavy now.  This is a 3-star ILB from Atlanta, GA.  He's about 5'11' and 202 pounds.  He was highly recruited...including App State, Air Force, UB, CMU, Coastal Carolina, Columbia, FIU, FAU, Georgia Southern, Kent State, Liberty, Marshall, Mercer, South Alabama, Tulane, and Western Kentucky.

He was first team, all-region for 4-AAAA.  He's in this story for having six TFL as a sophomore.  This is a high-quality program.  Their QB is on his way to UCF...and they have been regularly winning their district championship and made the state semi-finals recently.

Welcome to the Falcons, Aaron

Friday, June 21, 2019

Springdale ARK to the DOYT...pipeline continues




So, amazing as it is....BG has now picked up its 3rd and 4th commits from the football hotbed of Springdale, AR, courtesty of Har-Ber High school.  The previous two, Jay Brown and Torance Farmer have committed earlier and then yesterday and today this two young men also committed.  It's just unusual to get four players from one school and to have it be a school 807 miles away.

If you are curious, the school is named for local industrialists Harvey and Bernice Jones.

They won the state title in 2009.  Last year they had a bunch of controversies.  So the school paper (I swear to God) broke a story about a transfer violation, the school tried to shut it down and then ended up forfeiting 3 wins.

My understanding is that BG has a family link to the area and has been riding it to recruit Har-Ber HS.

So, the players. 

JaJuan Boyd is a 6'0" and 160 lb CB.  This story said he was one of the top juniors in Arkansas.

Boyd returns from a sophomore season that saw him collect 32 tackles, including one for loss, four interceptions, seven pass breakups, one fumble recovery and a forced one. He returned three kickoffs for 44 yards. On offense, Boyd caught 12 passes for 116 yards.  This story says he ran a sub 4.5-40.

His twitter feed revealed one FCS offer and if there are others I was unable to find them.

The other is LB JB Brown.  He's 6'2" and 210 and runs a 4.6 as well, based on his hudl page.  This is a guy who there's not much out there on, but he offers from NE State, Missouri State, and Indiana State on his twitter feed.

Welcome to the Falcons, JaJuan and JB.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Falcon Football Verbal--Dontrez Brown


BG has another football verbal, as the commits are coming in fast and furious now.  Dontrez Brown is a DT from Fremont Ross HS.  The Little Giant is 6'1" and 280 at the end of his junior year.  He doesn't have a ranking from 247 right now, though they have been going back and giving 2 stars to guys.

Based on his twitter feed, he had offers from Air Force, WMU, Ball State, EMU, Akron, and Toledo, as well as Fordham, Georgetown and Robert Morris.  If you have Georgetown and Air Force, you can figure you have a good student.

He was also first team all-state as a junior in DII.  He had a big year.  As a junior, he had 59 total tackles in 2018, eight TFL and 14.5 quarterback sacks along with two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and two pass break-ups.

Looks like another really strong recruit for BG, which is racking up commits now. 

I have this as BG's 14th verbal.  We can expect a full class, due to BG's soft numbers, so there's a way to go yet.  Brown is the first d-lineman BG has gotten a commit from, but I'd expect you will see more in the next 11 guys, because it is a position of severe need.

Current Position breakdown:

DL:  1
WR:  2
QB:  2
OL: 2
TE: 2
DB: 3
LB: 1
RB: 1

Or...

Offense:  9
Defense: 6

So, I'd suspect you'll see D-lineman and defensive players coming, as that is an area where we are very short of quality players.

Football Verbal



BG has netted another verbal commitment from ground zero for our program....this one from Detroit. His name is Marcus Sheppard and he's a DB from Detroit Country Day.  He's 5'11 and 167 and 247 says he had offers from Kent, Alabama A&M, Eastern Kentucky, Indiana State, Morgan State and Western Illinois.  Additionally, the d-zone says he was also recruited by Ohio, Grand Valley and Ferris State.

247 has him as a 2-star recruit and the #71 recruit in Michigan.

As a JR he had 3 INT and 19 passes defended.  Also 6 TFL.

Welcome to the Falcons, Marcus.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Two more football verbals




So, I guess I posted the last verbal a little early, as we learned of two more in recent minutes.

The first is the second three-star QB to come BG's way in about a month. The first was Riley Keller of Whitmer. Now, BG has a verbal from Tucker Melton, a 3-star QB from Phenix City, AL. He had offers from Akron, Arkansas State, Troy, South Alabama, Southern Miss, UAB, USTA, along with EKU, Youngstown St and Chattanooga.

He's 6'2" and 220 pounds.  24/7 gives him a 3-star rating.  His twitter profile indicates that he is going to enroll early.  Obviously, he lands at a position of extreme need for BG, even including Keller.

He was a backup his junior year, which makes all this really interesting.  The starter is committed to LSU.  He did get in some games last year and threw 10 TDs, even as a backup.  His coach says he put enough onto film to show he has a strong arm and there was spring practice as well.  He made some big visits, including to Georgia.  The HS team won the state title last year.

The other new verbal is Javonte Kinsey of Jacksonville, FL.  Javonte is also a 3-star recruit with offers from UC, Colorado State, UConn, FIU, South Alabama, Charlotte, East Carolina, FAU, Southern Miss, Troy, USF and UAB.  That's a good list.

He's 6'5" and 200 pounds with a reported 4.5 40, if that's something you might be interested in.  This article here says he goes after ball like a small forward getting a rebound.

That's 3 highly ranked players committed today as BG looks to rebuild it's talent pool.  Welcome to the Falcons, Tucker and Javante.

Falcons Post DB Verbal


So, BG has a new commitment, this one a highly-ranked CB.  His name is Elijah Eberhardt, who attends Cincinnati Princeton.

Here is his story.  He was a very highly ranked CB entering his junior year.  In fact, he was the #13 player in Ohio, according to 247.  He was off to a big start for his junior year, with seven tackles, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and an interception in Princeton's first two games.  Then, he injured his ACL and missed the remainder of the season, but was expected to be back for camp season, which I assume he was.

He had an offer from WMU as well, his only other reported offer.  247 has him a 3-star recruit and is the #98 CB in the country.  And yes, we all know that the rankings are only part of the story--they have to get here, fit in, and then turn into players at the higher competitive level.  Still, he's ranked as the #20 recruit in Cincy by the Enquirer.

Welcome to the Falcons, Elijah.


Thursday, June 13, 2019

Football Verbal


BG has another football verbal.  This one is named Fortune Woods, a LB from Clark High School in Whiting, IN.  He lists himself on HUDL at 6'3" and 188.  In today's hybrid game, you're never sure if a guy is a LB or a S or maybe one of those in-between things.  Also, he just finished his junior year of HS so by the time he gets into the game, he could be bulked up a little.

He also played RB and was one of the better ones in their area.  He was honorable mention all-area in the Chicago Tribune.

Welcome to the Falcons, Fortune.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Falcons Land Four Football Verbals








So, a flurry of recruiting activity for the football programs.  BG has had four young men commit in the last couple of days.

Torrance Farmer is a RB from Fayetteville AR.  He's 6'1" and 210 pounds.  Not a ton of information on him, but this Arkansas blog says that he was more explosive as a RB in the spring.  Also, they gave him an additional ATH tag and say he doesn't have top end speed but passes the eye ball test. He does not have a 247 profile.

Griffin Little is a TE from Ft. Wayne.  He's 6'3" and 230.  He had a lot of offers, including Air Force, Ball State, CMU, NIU and Tulane, along with some other FCS offers, including Cornell.  He was honorable-mention all-state as a WR but tore his ACL in January, presumably playing basketball, but was able to get back to recruiting and accept a BG commit.  He was also second-team all-district.  This story in his local paper says he led his team 53 receptions for 926 yards and 10 touchdown.

Jay Burns is also from Arkansas, playing at Har-ber High School, which is right outside Fayetteville, which is where Farmer is from.  He plays at Har-ber HS and had some eye-popping success.  On October 12, he had not had an offensive touch--he had been playing CB--and then he went on a proper tear with the ball in his hands.  He had 323 yards and 4 TDs in that first game.  In his second game, he went for 350 and 2 TDs.  There were other examples. 

The fourth is Levi Gazarek from North Baltimore.  He's highly recruited and is a good example of keeping the local players home.  He has offers from Ball State, CMU, Charlotte, UConn, EMU, Fordham, Kent and Yale.  He's 6'5" and 230 pounds and is the QB at NB, but you'd expect him to play TE in college.  He is also a top-flight baseball player and his twitter announcement would seem to indicate that he's playing both sports at BG as would this article. He was also state honorable mention in basketball.

Welcome to the Falcons, gentlemen. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Turner Returns to BG

No big surprise here...Justin Turner has withdrawn his name from the NBA draft and will return to BG, having benefitted from an evaluation from the scouts that the NBA provides to players.  He was expected to return...and I think any player in his position should take advantage of the evaluation.

As Nick from The Blade points out, BG returns 10 players...something you rarely see in today's college basketball world.  I would expect BG to be picked to finish near the top of the MAC next year and they have expectations to meet for the first time in decades.  More on that in another post.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Falcon Get QB Transfer



So, most of the mystery is resolved as it relates to the QB position, as BG has Matt McDonald transferring from Boston College.  Just to review, BG's starting QB Jarrett Doege transferred to WVU after spring practice, leaving the Falcons with two essentially untested scholarship QBs left.  BG talked immediately about going out and getting a QB transfer to fill the gap.  They did...but I think it is safe to say that everyone thought it would be a grad transfer who would be eligible immediately.

Now, as noted above, McDonald might be eligible right away.  I'll be the first to admit I don't understand how this hardship stuff works.  I didn't understand how Martell or Doege was a hardship so I guess I can't explain why this one would be.  Usually, you see a young man returning home for some reason.

Unless BG has another guy on the way, you'd have to think they have a decent hunch the hardship will be approved....or taking this chance was their best shot with the players still available.

Anyway, this transfer is one thing if McDonald is eligible immediately and another if he is not.

He was a 3-star prospect out of Mission Viejo, CA.  That's a huge HS program.  He's listed as 6'3" and 210 pounds. He had great numbers in his one year at Mission Viejo...before that he was at Mater Dei. Even with this high ranking, he was late to sign to Boston College which had some people scratching their head.  He was injured for his junior season.

Here's what the article said about him:
All of the what ifs and second-guessing were put to rest during McDonald’s 2016 season when the senior nailed 136-of-211 pass attempts for 2,764 yards with 39 touchdowns against just eight picks. His completion percentage remained high at an average of 64 percent per try putting in a first team All-League kind of season. His dual-threat abilities really started to take hold carrying the rock 39 times for 235 yards with four more scores posted. All of the activity on the field helped the Diablos to an 11-1 mark ripping through the South Coast during the regular season. 

He red-shirted at BC and then he played late in two blow-outs last year as a R-FR.  The BC Blog says he left spring practice at least on the third string.

So, I guess time will tell as it relates to his eligibility.  He certainly was more recruited than the QBs BG has right now, but he's just as untested, though he obviously knows Loeffler.  Welcome to the Falcons, Matt.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Huger Gets Extension

Last week, BGSU announced that it had given an extension and raise to Coach Huger, meaning that he is under contract until the 23-24 season.

People said what they usually say.  Moos said he wanted to continue the athletic and academic performance of the men's basketball team.  Huger said he wants to stay here, that he is "haunted" by the ghosts of 1968.

A few thoughts.

I'm glad they did it.  After the year, I did a little look at the WMU program--one whose success we would take in a minute--and I think stability was one of the keys they have.  They weren't looking to replace Hawkins every time he had an OK year, and they were rewarded with consistently competitive basketball and two Big Dance trips.

So, I think it was an appropriate thing to do.  Right for the program and earned.

But let's not go overboard on what it means.  Phrases like "Huger will coach here until 23-24" are not really what this contract means.  (I point you to the extension Coach Oats signed at Buffalo).

All a contract like this does is establish conditions of pay,  bonuses and then (most importantly) the costs of getting out of the contract should either side desire to.  Anyone saying that a recruit signing today knows that Coach Huger will be here his entire time does not follow college athletics.

So, let's say BG has a big year and makes it to the Big Dance next year and Coach Huger gets the big offer.  Under this scenario, BG would receive $500,000 and off he would go.  (I never understand why this isn't higher.  If he's going to a p5 school it's pocket change, and you could restrict his options to go to more lateral moves).

Now, to focus on the element that makes BG fans most concerned...the buyout if BG wants to terminate the contract without cause.  For reference, without cause means for losing.  If Coach Huger breaks an NCAA rule, school policy, etc, he doesn't get a buy-out.

Buy-outs get the attention of BG fans because of situations related to Louis Orr and Mike Jinks.  In the former case, BG let Orr finish his contract even as it was clear he was going to go, leaving the program twisting in the wind for a year.  In that case, I understood that the University felt it was bad optics to pay a man not to coach basketball when other budget cuts were going on at the school.  Right or wrong, keeping him that last year was a significant setback for the program.

The other is Mike Jinks, where it was clear from literally the beginning that he was not going to be able to coach D1 football but who BG could not get rid of due to what we were led to believe was a choking buy-out.

Coach Huger has the same buy-out.  The remainder of the contract, with a duty to mitigate damages with earnings from another job.  So, if BG terminates Huger, BG pays the difference between his BG salary and whatever he might make coaching basketball elsewhere.

Middle of year three with Jinks, we learned a little more about those buy-outs.  During years one and two, I had the impression that had BG let him to, BG would have had to stroke him a check for his remaining salary on day 1...a seven-figure nut that would be impossible for BG to swallow. 

But, when Jinks did go, we learned that it wasn't like that at all.  BG only had to pay him every month--as if he were on the payroll and not in one big check.  And, you figure he gets a job as an assistant and earns back most of it--in fact, if the job was at a big school, maybe all of it.  The actual amount BG would pay him was considerably less than it would first appear and not in one check.

Now, BG is a cash-strapped department, so every dollar counts.  But the magnitude of the problem was worse than we were led to believe, mostly by the media.  Obviously, BG never said publicly they were keeping Jinks because of the buy-out.  (Not to dwell on this, but in retrospect, it's hard to believe Jinks returned for a second season).

BG has the same deal with Huger.  On one hand, I can see where this is hard to buy for people.  In my mind, honestly, all any Coach in this situation is due a year's pay.  That's more than anyone else in the stands at any game at the Stroh would get after failing to succeed at their job.

I do see the other side.  BG gets a new athletic director, re-directs budgets, whatever.  New President who went to Duke.  There's risk for the Coach because he could be earning elsewhere right now as well.

I also understand that this is the industry standard.  I don't see why that should be, but fine. 

Here's the thing:  I have always said that almost all coaches in the MAC either succeed and leave or fail and leave.  You prefer the former.  If Coach gets us to the Dance and there's a better opportunity for this family, I'd wish him only the best.  I want him to succeed.  I also don't want us to have to suffer through two lost years at the end of a contract because we can't.

Having said that, let's look at the actual risk BG is taking. Worst-case.  Say that last year's success proves to be elusive, maybe there are some injuries, and you get a bunch of transfers and you're in single-digit wins in year two of the extension.  BG would owe Huger a monthly check equal to his current pay, less what he would make elsewhere, and you have to figure he'd probably be able to get at least an assistant's job elsewhere.

Would that prevent BG making a move?  I feel like it would.  But, one year later, probably not.  In other words, I don't feel like the buy-out terms constrict BG in a way that others might. History might argue against me.

Of course, those first two years I'm talking about were already under contract.  BG had the opportunity to see how things went next year before extending Coach Huger--they could even have given him a raise--without risking a 22-23 buy out (for example).  They chose not to do that.  I think the extension is the right thing to do, but I can see why some might disagree.

Let's hope we continue the upward trajectory.  If Coach Huger can continue to build the program to where the next guy isn't a re-build guy, and if we can get to the NCAAs, this deal will have been well worth it

Friday, May 17, 2019

Riley Keller Commits to BG


So, after a long recruitment that started back at BC, Scott Loeffler has landed Riley Keller as a verbal commit.  Riley is a 3-star player who plays at Whitmer and has a wide range of offers and visits from top programs.  According to 247, Iowa State (Matt Campbell) had offered, along with Ole Miss, NIU, UT, WMU and WVU.  He would be in the 2020 class and provide BG with an immediate impact recruit at the key position.

He was second-team Division I All-State after his junior year and was first-team all-district.  He was co-first-team all-TRAC with Brady Lichtenberg.  He's a three-sport athlete whose Father is the Whitmer OC.  He's listed as a dual-threat QB, though I would suspect he spends more time in drop back with the pro-style offense.

This is a big one.  Coach Loeffler said he likes to spend a year recruiting a QB because he is the CEO...so here's the first product of that process.

Welcome to the Falcons, Riley!


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

BG Gets Kicker Commit


So BG has a new commit for football....another Lucas County prospect.  It is Kyle Rhonehouse, a Springfield HS product who is a kicker.  And a very good one.

He was all-state at some level three times and first-team all-state as a senior.  He had been heading to Miami, but wasn't listed on their recruiting class, at which point you assume walk-on...which isn't unusual for a kicker.  Anyway, you can see above that he's heading to BG now.

All these eligibility rules confuse the crap out of me, but I'm assuming if he didn't sign a NLI or enroll, he is eligible, but that's a guess.

Here's the best recap on him from The Blade.  He's a highly effective kicker, even from distance, having hit from over 50.  Also, he fits the old Clawson rule of being a football player who happens to be a kicker.  Springfield used him on offense and defense.

He's also a 4.0 student.

Good kicking is important.  Seems like these pro-style offenses end up with a lot of FGs (see Michigan), so we can use a guy who both can get the job done but also grew up kicking in the cold and the wind.

Welcome to the Falcons, Kyle.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

BG Football Verbal

So, BG has its third 2020 verbal...this one with a familiar name.


Shawn Simms is Trent's father.  Shawn Simms was an All-MAC performer who graduated in 1986...which is the same year I did.  He was an assistant at Illinois, OSU, Pitt, Iowa State, Miami, Toledo, Colorado, Heidelberg, Oberlin, and possibly others before entering positions in private business.  He is from Fremont and his half-brother is Charles Woodson.

Trent attends Sylvania Northview, which makes him our third verbal from Lucas County and our second who is a multi-generational player.

He's 6'0" and 190 pounds.  247 said he had offers from Ball State, WMU and EKU.  They list him as an athlete.  At Northview, he plays QB and DB.  I would suspect we project him on defense, but I don't know.  He was second-team all-district as a DB and was a very dangerous QB as well.

This review on 419 Football says that he has natural football instincts and a high football IQ, which are things you often get with the children of coaches.

He was also a three-sport star, playing basketball and running track as well.

Welcome to the Falcons, Trent.

NickP With Loeffler

So NickP caught up with Scott Loeffler to talk about the roster issues facing the Falcons.  You should read the article--there are rules involved in how many guys you can bring in every year, which is why losing guys is such a serious problem.  Definitely worth a read.

Having said that, one piece of news worth commenting on.  Coach says that he is looking to bring a QB in to help with Doege's departure, which took him by surprise.  That would mean a grad transfer or possibly a JUCO (I guess) because you would need immediate eligibility.

So, I'm sure we will keep an eye on that.  With grad transfers you don't usually get spring practice anyway, so it will be a busy summer.  It's a little strange in that the pro-offense, which used to be everyone's base, is now almost an odd-ball offense.  It'd be easier to find someone versed in spread.  Anyway, we'll watch what lies ahead.

Here's a link to guys who are still available.

Happy Mother's Day



Happy Mother's Day to the Falcon Nation.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

The Blade: Rico Frye's Career Likely Finished


So, terribly disappointing news for Rico Frye.  I have no idea about what happened, but here's a person who gets the chance to do something he had dreamed his whole life of doing and then gets to play for one year and he's seemingly on the path to success and this happens and it is over.  Big disappointment to have so early in your life.  Best to him.  There's a whole life to live.

From a football perspective, Nick sums it up well here.
Which is right, it does explain the transfer at RB.  Makes Hargrove's transfer harder to understand, but that's his call.  Coming in, you thought RB was a strength and you had a QB who had played and a couple WRs and a dozen TEs and you might be able to move the ball and keep the defense off the field.  That's looking less likely right now.

A tall mountain keeps growing for the 2019 Falcons. The key is to put the pieces in place so we don't stay here.  My negative example is Ball State, who had the Hoke years but have 2 winning seasons in the 10 seasons since Hoke left.  Six of the 10 years were 4 wins or under.  Their "Neu" coach won 4 games last year in his third year.

It's not about 2019, but suffering this year doesn't guarantee success in the future.  That's the challenge facing the program.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Report: Jarrett Doege in Transfer Portal


Well, that's unexpected and going to make things a little more difficult.  I mean, it wouldn't have always been unexpected.  I kind of expected it at the beginning, when Jinks left, but then there was a story about how closely he and the new coach were bonding and then spring practice happened, so I started to think that he'd be back.

Here's what he said in the story linked above:

“It’s a complex offense with a lot to learn,” Doege said. “I’m getting it down, but I can’t wait to learn more.”

"Basically, I’m trying to portray him, but he’s just a crazy dude,” said Doege of Loeffler. “I’m kinda laid back, but being around him more I’m starting to turn into Coach Loeffler.”

But, if this is true, then not.

Obviously, he came here as an Air Raid guy from the town where Jinks coached.  His brother was an assistant who was let go.  Was he comfortable in the pro-style offense?  Seemed like it, but then it wasn't.  He's got every right to leave and he's doing what most college players seem to do under these circumstances.  We wish him nothing but the best.

The QBs on the roster include:

Grant Loy
Bryce Veasley
Grant Strock

There were no QBs in the signing class.

There is the possibility of a graduate transfer with the position opening up.  If not, I'd expect Loy to be the starter when the season kicks off.  I think he's better than people would expect, and with a power offense he might fit in ok.

Additional Transfer for Football


BG has a new transfer coming to the football program.  No idea what the plan is...and what the deal is with sitting out...but the young man is named Declan Burt.  He played (wait for it) TE at Bryant University, which is an FCS school in Rhode Island.

He played there two years and apparently did not redshirt.  He missed the last 3 games last year with injury.  He's a good-sized young man, at 6'4" and 210 pounds.  He hasn't been a pass catcher, with 13 receptions in 14 games.  He was an all-state player in Massachusetts in high school.

His father played water polo for Canada.

Welcome to the Falcons, Declan.

Monday, May 06, 2019

Graduate Transfer and New Assistant for Football


So, a little Monday news from the football program.

First, Davon Jones is a graduate transfer on his way here from Boston College.  He was a combo RB/LB at BC, and you might think that he'd play LB here at BG, a position of need, but NickP at The Blade has indicated that BG plans to use him at RB, where he joins Andrew Clair, Rico Frye and Bryson Denley on the depth chart.

He's 5'10 and 235 pounds and from that you might infer that he's more of a power back than a speed back, like the other three young men we have returning.  He carried the ball 91 times for 4 yards per carry as a freshman, and then carried the ball 16 times over the next two years as he also played on defense.  He has 5 TDs.

He will be eligible immediately.

The new coach is interesting as well.  One non-surprising thing is his Michigan pedigree.  His name is Steve Morrison, who will coach LB and be the Associate Head Coach.

Morrison was an all-Big Ten LB at UM and played for the Colts and the Lions, making 31 NFL starts.

He was a graduate assistant at UM after leaving the NFL, and then coached at WMU, EMU and Syracuse.

Up until then, it is a pretty typical resume.  Then, he put out this statement.




And then he left football and spent several years on a couple sales jobs.



And now he's back in football after quite a lot of time out of the game in medical device sales.  I suspect we'll get some more info on him as we move along, but it certainly raises some questions...as in, why get out and why get back in?  You don't see that very often.  I will say that this is the first of the assistant coach choices that has made me wonder...and I'm not sure why he's the Associate Coach.

Anyway, welcome to the Falcons, Davon and Steve.

Sunday, May 05, 2019

New Football Verbal, May 5


So, BG has notched another football verbal.  His name is Alex Wollschlaeger, and he is a rising senior at Oswego East High School, which is a suburb of Chicago.

He plays OL and DE in HS.  His twitter profile says offensive lineman.  He's got the right height, which is 6'6" and he weights 252, which would obviously need some work (and may be outdated, too).

He broke his collarbone and did not play his junior season.  BG offered a while ago and he was down for the spring game. He visited EMU and said he had been talking with Harvard, Western Michigan and South Dakota State.

He's the second OL out of 3 so far.  Coach has talked quite a bit about the need for depth and numbers at most positions.  Of the 13 OL on the BG roster, six of them are in their last two seasons.  There were 3 in this signing class...and the 7 who are returning haven't really been game tested yet.  Could also be some PWOs.  Point is, I think I have heard you need 10 playable OL and when BG takes the field in 2021 that's going to be a project.

Welcome to the Falcons, Alex.

Saturday, May 04, 2019

New Football Verbal

So, BG has its second verbal (to my knowledge) for the 20 football class.  This young man is Matt Fortner of Sylvania Northview High School.  He's a lineman who has played both ways and been recognized all-district and special mention all-state as a d-lineman.  However, his profile pic on twitter says "offensive line."

He's listed as 6'3" and 280 pounds.  He doesn't have a 247 profile. so there's no information on stars or any other offers.  Here's an evaluation from the McCallister Report on him.

Matt's brother plays for Kentucky.

That's BG's second verbal, and good to Coach's word, they are both local boys.  ln fact, they are both in Lucas County.

Welcome to the Falcons, Matt.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Hargrove Portals


So Hargrove enters the transfer portal.  Best of luck to him, he should be able to attend college and play football where he wants, and I wish him nothing but the best.  It happens when things are transitioning...and BG is very deep at RB and Hargrove might have been more of an Air Raid guy than a pro-style guy.

He was active as a true FR.  He had 33 rushes, caught 10 passes along with returning kicks.  He scored twice and was third on the team in all-purpose yards.  He was a highly-productive HS player, runner-up for Mr. Football, etc.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Scotty Miller Drafted!

So, the good news out of yesterday's final day of the NFL draft is that Scotty Miller was drafted in the sixth round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

It's excellent news and we are very happy for him.  Warm your heart here.


By the way, that video was posted by James Morgan, who QB'd here, just to see what kind of guy he is.

Miller is an all-time great at BG.  He finished 3rd in all-time receptions and receiving yards.  He was all-MAC twice...one on the first team and should have been twice...his senior year he was 7th nationally in receiving yards and 18th in receptions and yet did not make first team.  He also holds a MAC Championship ring.

The Miller narrative is one of being under-appreciated.  He had one FBS offer.  And he wasn't invited to the combine or to any of the all-star games.  What I suspect moved him into the draftable range was that he ran a 4.3 on pro day at BGSU and when you combine that kind of speed with the production you saw at BGSU, and people started to take notice.

Again, incredibly happy for him.  As I said, he's an all-time great.  He's a Falcon forever and a champion forever...regardless of whether he plays a down in the NFL.  We're rooting for him like crazy, but he could quit now and never be forgotten here.

One reason why is because he stuck with this team through some of the worst years in the program's history.  He could have transferred or quit, but he kept battling and fighting even when there were precious few victories to savor.

A few notes as it relates to the draft and the NFL...

  • I saw somewhere that if Miller plays in the NFL, he will be one of three WRs on the 2015 championship team to play in the NFL, and Teo Redding is on the Packers practice squad.  (Thanks to the commenter who pointed this out to me).
  • It is BG's first draft pick since 2012 when Chris Jones was picked.
  • Since 1994, BG has had six players picked in the draft.
  • BG has had players make the NFL as UDFA coming out of the Clawson years...Adjei Barimah and Gabe Martin both played in the NFL, along with Gehrig Dieter and Ryan Hunter.
  • As far as I know, BG didn't have any UDFAs or camp invites this year.   Update Montre Gregory has a camp invite to KC.

The MAC had 9 players drafted into the NFL.

2nd round, 39th overall    DB Sean Bunting (Central Michigan) by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2nd round, 55th overall    OT Max Scharping (Northern Illinois) by the Houston Texans
3rd round, 66th overall    WR Diontae Johnson (Toledo) by the Pittsburgh Steelers
4th round, 106th overall   DE Maxx Crosby (Eastern Michigan) by the Oakland Raiders
6th round, 175th overall   DE Sutton Smith (Northern Illinois) by the Pittsburgh Steelers
6th round, 185th overall   DB Ka'dar Hollman (Toledo) by the Green Bay Packers
6th round, 195th overall   DB Xavier Crawford (Central Michigan) by the Houston Texans
6th round, 207th overall   LB Ulysees Gilbert (Akron) by the Pittsburgh Steelers
6th round, 208th overall   WR Scott Miller (Bowling Green) by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The surprise here is Tyree Jackson, who left Buffalo early and was projected to be a day 2 pick and fell completely out of the draft.  He was the conference offensive player of the year and I feel sort of fell in the Omar Jacobs trap.  He did sign with Buffalo.  The knock I heard on him was accuracy, which people are fond of saying know can't be taught to someone his age.

Also, Anthony Johnson wasn't picked, a bigger surprise for my money.  He's going to join Miller in Tampa Bay.

MAC Prospectus is tracking the UDFA/invite scene, which you can find here.

You look at the list, and you just see how you can be a really good player in the MAC and not be drafted.  It's just not easy.

I was glad to see Sutton Smith drafted.  I think he can play for the Steelers.

Friday, April 26, 2019

MBB Verbal is a very big person


So, this is interesting.  Dylan Swingle is a transfer from Duquesne....6'11 and 300 pounds.  He redshirted at Duquesne in his only year there, so there's no news about him related to his collegiate play.  He was, however, a highly-decorated player in HS.

He's from Chillicothe, so an Ohioan.  That is in D-III of OHSAA.  There are 4 divisions overall so this one would be the second-smallest.

Dropping some knowledge:

  • Ranked 35th nationally among centers and in the Top 11 in the state of Ohio by 247 Sports.
  • Two-time First Team Division III All-Ohio.
  • Rated as a 3-star recruit, and 10th-best overall player (No. 3 center) in Ohio, by ESPN.com
  • Averaged 23.1 points, 13.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 3.7 blocks per game as a senior in leading Paint Valley (17-8) to the Division III district semifinal.
  • Finished his career with a Paint Valley High School, Scioto Valley Conference and Ross County record 1,796 points. The Paint Valley scoring record stood for 43 years.
  • His 1,160 rebounds were the most in school history and second-most in conference and county history. Also had 267 career blocks.
  • Two-time District and Scioto Valley Conference Player of the Year.
  • Averaged 21.3 points and 13.0 rebounds per game as a junior.
  • 2016-17 Associated Press All-Southeast District Division III co-Player of the Year.
  • According to 247, offers from Akron, WVU, GW and Dayton.

I have no idea if there is some kind of hardship involved here.  If not, Dylan will have to sit next year per NCAA rules and then would have three eligible seasons moving forward.

So, you wanted a big man and you wanted to use all the scholarships, there you go.  Not expected to see him impact next season, but if he develops he has the looks of somebody who could be a very effective MAC player.  At his size, you'd expect big HS numbers--and they are there.  If he can play against guys his size, everything points to a formidable post presence.

Welcome to the Falcons, Dylan.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Happy Easter to the Falcon Nation



Happy Easter to the Falcon Nation.  Regardless of our religious faith, we can unite around the idea of committing ourselves to a new beginning built on love and forgiveness.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Spring Practice Wrap Up

So Coach Loeffler had a presser after the end of the Spring practice today.  I watched it.  You can, too.  It's on the internet, and embedded below.

A few things jumped out at me.

First, Coach thinks our running backs are going to be pretty good and we're going to use them.  Given his offensive track record, I'd envision a lot of 12 and 13 personnel and an attempt to run the ball.  If you think about it, that would take the pressure off a defense that is going to start undermanned.  Run blocking was an issue last year (understatement) but with a new coach on the o-line they have moved some guys around.  I felt like they had ability all along and they've certainly gotten time to play, so with effective coaching and a run-friendly personnel grouping, maybe more holes can open up.

Second, he talked about the opening days of practice when he had to teach the players to get into "basic football position."  He describes what he means by that in the clip, but what's interesting is that he positions it as the kind of thing that is just fundamental to know and says that our guys did not know how to do that.  That's kind of an artifact of where we were the last three years.  I suspect it was worse than we even thought, based on that.

Third, he says that the practice moved inside, which was OK because he wanted a short practice for "player safety."  BG has only one healthy scholarship RB, for example.  And shortages in other position groups.  So, we didn't want a 150=play scrimmage, though Loeffler thinks that would have been "AWESOME."

Fourth, and perhaps most significant, was that he said "the numbers aren't right."  I believe this is related to what I mentioned in my post on the roster....BG is short on guys at certain positions.  He went on to say that BG has scholarships available but they can't be filled due to "rules."  I don't know what "rules" he is referring to, but I believe you can only give 25 scholarships in any year.  You are allowed 85 total, so you can eventually catch up, just not right away.  Those PWOs are going to be really important.  Point is, that we are short on players at some positions and that is one of the challenges he is dealing with as we attempt to rebuild the program.

He said that he was happy with the spring but there's a long way to go.  Almost has to be true.  Pretty much four months and they'll get their first test at home against Morgan State.




Football Verbal


So far as we have heard, this is the first verbal commitment to the football program.  As noted in the tweet, Boyer will be a 4th generation Falcon, which is pretty cool.

He attends Anthony Wayne HS.  This is the golden age of AW athletics.  They were undefeated in football, made a deep run in the boy's basketball tournament and are a power in baseball as well.  Boyer has played football and basketball for the Generals.  He is listed at 6'4" and 215 and played TE/DE in HS. 

He was second-team all-NLL on offense.  There aren't a lot of stats on him, but he is cited in news stories as making big catches in key games.

I'll tell you this.  I think he's at BG because he loves our school.  And he's an athlete and a leading player on a great team.  Welcome to the Falcons, Bryce.

Spring Roster Review

So, the spring roster is out.  There are a few players who were expected back who are not listed and a few new guys who are in camp, based on the roster.  We're on a transition point between coaches and it's normal to see some turnover, especially as there are attempts made to improve the culture.  I'm told that these players include some players who left the program and some who had medical issues.

We have already written about losing Josh Croslen and Kyle Junior.  Junior grad transferred to Oklahoma State, by way of an update.

Others.

Wortham--mentioned just this week as one of only four returning CBs with playing experience who were returning, Wortham will now be added to the departing CBs.  He played as a true FR and then gained a medical redshirt and played 10 games last year.

Marble--was a walk on QB from Warren MI.

Hall--walk-on RB from Jeanette, PA

Judd--a LB who would have been a R-JR.  He played in 11 games last season, with a handful of tackles.

Antwuan Johnson--a LB who was a highly ranked 3-star recruit when he came to BG. Red-shirted last year.

Fitz-Henley--also a highly recruited LB with a lot of offers.  He actually moved to TE for a while last year.

Keije Brown--a walk-on WR who actually played in the UB game to end the year, which I am betting you didn't know.

James Lachey--a recruited TE and son of football announcer.  Played for a BG grad in HS.

So, what's the take away?  Honestly, this is not a surprising turnover. LB was hit hard as a position, but just as importantly, it shows that recruiting rankings are though to judge, as are young people in HS.

There are significant deficiencies on the defensive side of the ball in terms of manpower.  You're basically losing six more guys who would have been considered to be in the pipeline when they got here.

Nick P in The Blade talked about some position changes today.  Evan Brown, from Anthony Wayne and the baseball team, came as a CB and has been moved to LB and is listed as a starter, just to illustrate the manpower issues.  RB CJ Lamar also moved to LB.  Caleb Biggers is now a CB and Sotolongo is back at S.  For other updates, definitely read the article.

There are also five new players on the roster, three of which you have heard about before.

One is Joey Carroll, the St. Francis grad who is listed as starting at TE as a true FR.  Appears to be popular with Loeffler.

Another is Jake Rogers, Medina, who was a PWO and is now listed as the starting KR.

Austin Dorris, a grad transfer from Indiana who is a TE and should contribute.  (Remember: You spell Loeffler T-I-G-H-T-E-N-D.

Najee Freeman, Kissimee--walk on WR from FL who was productive in HS...not too much out there on him.

Corey Frank, is a d-lineman from Cincinnati Reading.  His school did a cool thing.  They had a signing cermony for their top 10 students.  Of which he was one.  Also a walk-on.

So, that's the update.  Remember, we're in a process here.  I do think the offense has a shot to be decent.  They are moving guys around on the o-line and they kept a lot of good players and you have Johnson-Mack coming into the fold after transferring.  Done right, I think we might be able to score a little.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Herrmann: Out

Tracing back the story here, the original idea was that Carl Pelini was going to stay as DC and Van Gorder was going to coach LBs.  Then, Pelini left, Van Gorder was made DC and Jim Hermann was brought in as Associate Head Coach and LBs coach.  He has a large amount of college and professional experience that was viewed as helpful in the AHC role to a first-time Head Coach.

Well, Herrmann is now leaving to take an unspecified position in the NFL, according to the school as reported in The Blade.

So, Loeffler goes back to the drawing board.  Herrmann will finish out the spring, which is good.  So far, Loeffler has hired seasoned and qualified coaches and I look forward to seeing who he gets with the next one.  Herrmann wasn't a token "seasoned" coach, he was one of many.  It would have been great to have him--quite probably only for a year anyway--but it's not the end of the world.  We're on a building process here.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Some football info from Spring practice

So Nick from The Blade is doing a nice job on the spring football coverage.  I'm not going to do something every time he writes.  You can read that for yourself.  Only when I'd like to comment or add something.

Today's article is about the lack of CBs on the BG roster.  Marcus Milton, Clint Stephens, and Montre Gregory all graduated and left a pretty thin CB corps for BG.

First, a nit to pick.  The article cites BG as being 6th nationally in passing yards allowed.  Which is true.  However, it's not a great measure, because teams didn't pass as much against BG due to the ease with which they could run against BG.  In fact, BG faced only 262 pass attempts, the lowest BY 18 in the entire FBS.

More accurately, BG was 10th in pass efficiency defense in the MAC.  They were 9th in conference games.  BG was 10th in interception/passing attempt, 9th in yards/completion allowed.  Etc.  I say that just to note that BG lost those guys off a below average pass defense, not a good one.  There's a way to go.

So, BG has four guys on the roster right now with some playing experience.  Only 1 has made a start.

Torrian Hampton
Darius Wortham
Ty Redding
Antonyo Sotolongo (missed entire season).

There's also one R-FR.

Five of the first signing class were d-backs.  They could get action right away.  Obviously, that was a big part of the struggle in Jinks I, but you have to hope that we have the staff to be a little more tactical and protect guys a little more.

There's a big issuer that I feel is important for Falcon fans to know and it can be seen throughout this story.  BG has big holes in the roster.  This is a rebuild.  The program is largely in tatters, especially in critical front-line positions.  Here's what coach says in the article.

“That’s the issue next year, even with recruiting,” Loeffler said. “Normally, you’re sitting [and saying], ‘OK, we’re going to take two offensive linemen, we’re going to take two this.’ We’re taking five D-linemen and five O-linemen, four tight ends. That’s a lot.

"I mean, it goes on and on and on.”
So, just a reminder to have careful expectations for the first year or two.  The roster and the culture are being re-built.  It might be a while before we see the mess cleaned up.  If not, all the better.  The hope is to see progress, in my opinion.  And be prepared for continued patience.

Friday, April 05, 2019

The Coming Year in BG MBB

Let's look ahead to what we have for the next year.

A couple things.  First, as noted in my state of the program post, Coach Huger will be back.  The Blade has reported that there are discussions around an extension for him.  One thing I forgot to note when I extolled the success of the WMU program is that perhaps as much as anything they also had stability at the top.  They were succeeding and not looking to get Hawkins out every time something didn't go well.  I believe that BG would be well-served with similar stability in the program.

I would support Coach getting a reasonable extension.  My thought is two years...one is OK.  Anymore probably isn't a good idea.

So, what does next year look like?  First, of course, is the caveat that you have to wait and see who's still around November comes.  I have no knowledge of anyone looking to leave, but in a world where there are hundreds of transfers each year, the idea can't be ignored.  I know of no one leaving now and that's what we are basing this on.

BG lost 3 significant contributors off the team this year:  Wiggins, Lillard and Uju.  That's your 3rd and 4th leading scorers, your best rebounder and an important role player.   In the large scheme of things, that's not a crippling graduation loss, but in BG's case there is one issue, which is that Wiggins and Uju were really BG's only post players.  Replacing them will represent a challenge to the team in keeping its momentum moving forward.

BG has two current players on the roster who could be post players but have not seen much time.  Taylor Mattos, who will be a SO, played 67 minutes on the year and Joniya Gadson, who will be a Junior, played only 107 minutes over two years.  Not to say that either of these players can't play in the post, but we have yet to see them shoulder that burden in game play.  They may have shown it in practice, but we haven't seen it in a game.

All 3 of BG's incoming freshmen appear to be good players (more in a second) but none is a post player.

Which brings us to the most common complaint I hear about Coach Huger from Falcon fans...that he hasn't used all his scholarships.

BG played last year with one open scholarship and still have one open for next year.  For some, this is a pretty big issue.  You'd like to think you have an opportunity to bring in post players who could help right away--either Grad transfers or JUCO players.  It does seem to be the way the sport is going.  Certainly hasn't hurt Buffalo.

FWIW, while I haven't lost my mind on the issue, I do think that now that the program has some success and would be attractive to a player coming in, we really should be about the business of filling those slots, especially as there is an apparent hole in the roster at a pretty important position.

The two freshmen coming had very strong senior years in HS.

One of them is Davin Ziegler.   He's a 6'2 SG from Cleveland Benedictine.  He comes from a basketball family...his uncle is Ernie Ziegler, former UCLA assistant, and CMU Head Coach, and Trey Zeigler is his cousin and it goes deeper than that.  He won the Clark Kellogg award for boy's basketball player of the year in the Cleveland area and he finished all-state first team, Division II.

Zeigler scored 20.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game during the regular season.

The other FR coming in is Chandler Turner of Renaissance HS in Detroit.  He was named Mr. PSL (Public school league) this winter.  Also, he finished in the final 4 for Mr. Basketball in Michigan.  He was first-team all-state this year as well.

He's a 6'6" 2/3 who had offers from Kent, CSU, UB, NIU, Milwaukee, and IUPUI.

As a senior, he scored 24.7 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 7.3 APG and 41% 3FG shooting.

The last one committed yesterday.  That's Trey Diggs.  More on him here.

Adding all that up, you look to have Frye, Turner and Fields off the starting team.  Plowden really seemed to come on late, so you have him as a starter.  And then you have the open slot in the post.  Lillard was highly productive coming off the bench, but I'd like to think that Turner and possibly Diggs can fill his slot pretty nicely.  You've got Laster back, along with Marlon Sierra.  And then Mattos and Gadson and Kulakovics, which is all guys you don't know what you have.  You'd certainly think the Diggs can bring some points off the bench and I think Zeigler can contribute as well supporting Frye,

Which I hope adds up to some nice depth for BG, which was a strength this year.  I'd assume under this scenario that Mattos starts in the post.  I will say this:  BG did a great job bringing Wiggins along and maybe they have been doing the same thing with Marros.

Again, on a team that I think you have to feel pretty good about, the question mark is in the post.

I can't wait to see it start. The challenge is to string these years together and I'd love to see Coach Huger do that and get the program where it needs to be, year after year.

Thursday, April 04, 2019

MBB Commit


So big news for the "use all the scholarships" camp.  There's only one left.

Trey Diggs announced his commitment to BG today.  Diggs is a JUCO player who will be eligible immediately and have two seasons ahead of him.

He's a 6'5" G from Northwest Florida State College.  He didn't put up big numbers there...7.7 PPG and 42% overall shooting.  He's clearly a shooter.  He shot 39% from 3FG, which is good, and he had a significant number of attempts.  He averaged about 16 minutes a game.

He played on a good team.  They were a #1 seed in the national tourney and made the Elite Eight.

He started his college career at DII Florida Southern, where he scored 9.6 PPG as a FR and shot 41% from 3FG.  He went to NW Florida State because it is a high-level JUCO program that puts a lot of guys into D1 ball.  A teammate committed to Oregon before the season started--he is the #1 JUCO prospect.  They have 5 of the top 100 JUCO transfers, all guys who are not Diggs.  They had 5 last year, including Derek Funderburk, who went to NC State.

Diggs averaged 20 PPG and 8 RPG as a senior in HS in Niceville FL.

I'm only kind of kidding about using all the scholarships.  The only thing I would say is that I had expected BG to use both scholarships for some post help.  Will be interesting to see what happens with the one that's left.

Welcome to the Falcons, Trey.


Saturday, March 30, 2019

MBB: The State of the Program

So, the dust has settled.  OU has a new coach and Buffalo will have one soon.  UB lost a ton of players and their next class was JUCO players designed to keep the program moving forward.  Those guys seem to be fleeing the coop and it looks like UB might not keep their assistant who recruited all those guys...which is not to say that UB won't continue to be the conference's lead program but that there might be a break in the reload-cycle.  And if Rob Lanier (the moment's favorite and a guy who is coveted by Tennesee fans and yet being rejected as a loser from Siena by some UB fans) isn't the right choice, then the whole thing can turn in the other direction pretty fast.

Beyond that, OU lost its better players when it did not renew Saul Phillips. In today's transfer crazy environment, it is something you have to factor in when you have a coaching change, especially one the school causes.  Actually, I think you see evidence of that concept across the MAC.  Contracts notwithstanding, I think you would be surprised that Montgomery, Murphy, and Whitford are still in their jobs after long tenures not breaking through.  For perspective, if BG used their standard, Louis Orr would still be here.

Point is, that's a big decision when you hire a coach.  The most important decision and one that is harder to get out of than ever.  So, you want to make the right choice.  Pretty much have to.

Which brings us to BG.  I've been a little surprised at the undercurrent I'm hearing from BG fans that they kind of hoped Coach Huger might get hired away somewhere based on this year and let a new guy pick up with the team that is returning. 

Again, I find that surprising.

I'm not going to claim that I am sure that Huger will put the program back where it needs to be...more on what I think that is in a minute...because I'm not and nobody should be.  This is a thing you have to do, not have the potential to do.  And he hasn't done it.

A couple of things.  First, the initial years of the Huger tenure were rough, no doubt.  What he walked into was tough, though.  You want to talk about transfers?  BG was a couple clicks from having a situation like the one Gene Cross left at Toledo.  Clearly, you had guys who were not bought in and I believe he did a good job keeping a team on the court.

There's a time limit on that,  though.  You wanted to see progress last year and it seemed like we were and then we lost the last 6 and all the transfers and it was not great...and then we're picked last and then we're treading water pretty bad and we get embarrassed by Cleveland State...and then things came together and you saw what happened, which is one of the 2 top seasons BG has had since WVU, probably the best given the appearance in the tournament final.

So, if you're going to blame Coach Huger for problems in the years leading up to this season, it seems a little unfair to act like this year was in spite of him.  I point to 2 things in particular.  First, I believe BG succeeded this year with less talent than UT and UB had.  BG played a stronger team game, had parts that fit together well and were generally tough to beat.  That's a reflection of coaching.  Second, I believe Coach Huger showed his ability to adapt and grow in his job when he took stock of the program with the players after the CSU and altered his style.

Again, do I know he's going to get it done?  No.  To me, there's reason to believe he will, though.

He has two years left on his deal.  I'd think he will get an extension...something that is fraught with risk, for sure.  But, I'd have no problem with adding a year on the deal based on what we saw this year.

All right.  Back to the question of whether he will get it done.  Let's talk about what "done" means.

Yes, 1968.  We all know it.  We all want to make the NCAAs.  But that can't be the only measure of success and, in fact, it misses a key step.

In this league, making the tournament is hard.  It is downright cruel.  You're basically taking an entire year's worth of effort and deciding it in 72 hours in a zero-sum contest where everything has to go right.  Strict merit isn't enough on its own.  You need the cosmic tumblers to click into place.  This idea drove Keith Dambrot from the MAC.  UT's coach called it out as he neck-veined on David Briggs. 

To me, the way you get there is to be in the conversation all the time.  Four years out of 5.  Getting byes.  Getting to the semis.  You have to spin those tumblers often...not twice in 16 years, as BG has done.

For example.  Since the WVU year, BG has made the MAC finals once.  They have been to the semi-finals four times.  Beyond that, they've had four winning seasons in that time.  Won 20 games twice.

Let me show you another MAC team's record over the same period of time.

2 NCAA tournament appearances
8 20 win seasons
9 seasons with 10+ MAC wins
5 losing seasons
5 top 4 MAC finishes

Got a guess on who that is?  Western Michigan.  Yes, I know they were awful this year. Also, yes, fine, we should want to be what Buffalo was this year.  That's a historic anomaly, though.  I'd think if we can get BG's program to look like what we see above--and it's totally doable--we will be where we need to be.  And in the tournament twice.

Which means we need to begin to string together seasons like this one.

Do we have the coach to do that?  Time will tell.  It will happen or it won't.  But, for the first time in many years, I feel like we've got some evidence that we can get the program where we want it to be.  My next post will look at next year, but in the meantime, I'm a) not interested in re-booting with a new coach and b) on the optimistic side of the ledger.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

MAC MBB Check in

So, it's early Saturday afternoon in week one of March Madness and the MAC is down to one team still playing.  UT, CMU, and Kent went down in their tournaments, leaving just the Buffalo Bulls still in play.

And how in play they are.  The Bulls destroyed Arizona State in their first-round game.  I, for one, would love to see the national media find a way to talk about Buffalo for 60 straight seconds without mentioning Bobby Hurley.  Nate Oats can coach and he deserves some credit, not just being mentioned as riding Hurley's temperamental coattails.

The Bulls pulled 1.23 points per possession in an NCAA Tourney game and allowed 1 ppp.  Massinburg, Graves, Harris and Perkins were all incredibly effective for Buffalo.

Look, they are slipping. They beat Arizona by 21 last year in the first round.

That's a joke, son.

The last MAC team to win games in consecutive tournaments was that Kent team they are normally compared to.  Kent did it in the 01 and 02 tournaments and in 02 made the Elite Eight.  If Buffalo wins tomorrow, they will be the first MAC team in the Sweet Sixteen since OU in 2012.

It won't be easy.  Texas Tech is an underrated team if you can be that and win the Big 12 title.  Kenpom gives Texas Tech a 66% chance to win and ESPN has them at 72%.  Vegas has it at 3.5 points.  I believe UB will give them all they can handle...and I think the Bulls are being under-respected a little, even with a 6 seed.  This is the best team UB has played this year and it isn't close, but in no way do I think they will be over-matched.

Last thing.  I keep hearing how Nate Oats is winning "with Hurley's players."  Would you like to know how many points last night were scored by a player who played for Hurley?

The number is zero.

Go get 'em Bulls.  Make us proud.

Monday, March 18, 2019

MAC MBB Post-Season

Four MAC teams are in post-season play.  One in each tournament.

Of course, the one we want to watch is Buffalo.  They have a real shot to get to the Sweet 16 or further, and last year's win over Arizona gives them a great deal of confidence.  That's an experienced, senior-led team.  They were seeded #6, which had some Buffalo fans upset on Twitter.  I think that's a little unreasonable...and it is the highest a MAC team has been seeded since the tournament expanded to 64 teams.  They play Friday at 4 against the winner or AZ State or St. John's.  If it's the Sun Devils, that sets up an interesting match up between Buffalo and their former coach.

Toledo got into the NIT.  Toledo is a #6 seed and will play @ Xavier on Wednesday at 7:00

In the CBI, CMU is @ DePaul, Wednesday at 8 and then would play the winner of Southern Miss-Longwood

Lastly, in the CIT..Kent is @Louisiana-Monroe, Thursday at 8 pm.

As you know, BG opted to not accept any bids once the NIT selected someone else.  I've already said on Twitter that I support the decision...in the sense that if the players and coaches don't want it, they shouldn't have to do it.  The tournaments mean nothing and BG left everything they had on the floor at the Q.

Some people have also asked me about not getting into the NIT.  A couple of things.  First, the NIT already has to take every regular-season team that loses their conference tournament and didn't get into the NCAA.  By definition, those are all mid-majors.  The NIT is owned by the NCAA, and that's about all the mid-major they are going to be able to take.

Even assuming decisions are made rationally, BG's losses to Hartford, Detroit and Cleveland State make it tough to get an at-large bid.  BG finished with a kenpom of 106 and the lowest ranked team in the NIT as an at-large was Wichita State at 93.