Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Football: State of the Program

So 2019 is over.  It was a long season and we don't want to overly belabor it but also don't want to not take a second to understand how rough it was.  It is worth remembering when we get back again.

We are in year four of the worst four year period in team history.  In the 4 seasons since Babers left, BG is 12-36.  This has simply never happened to us before.  It shows the incredible importance of head coaching in college sports.  One decision can transform the program or it can wreck it and BG dropped the ball twice.

In 2019, Bowling Green repeated its 3-9 record but it was actually a significantly worse season than we had the year before. 

In 2018 when BG was 3-9 the team scored 24.7 PPG and allowed 33...conference games only...so that's losing 9 per game and placing 9th on each side of the ball.

This year, BG lost a touchdown per game ON EACH SIDE OF THE BALL.  The offense fell to 11th at 17.4 PPG and defense fell to last at 40 PPG.

So, one year you were 3-9/2-6 at -9 per game and this year you were 3-9/2-6 at -23 per game.

For reference, the Clawson 2-10 team lost by 10.5 per game.

It's no surprise how this happened.  If I had told you at the end of 2018 that BG would come back not only without Scotty Miller, but also Jarret Doege, Rico Frye, Re'vion Hargrove and Andrew Clair (essentially), you would have thought we were going to lose at least a touchdown a game.

On defense, BG was poor to start with and then had some off-season losses and then some injuries on top of that.  Especially up front, BG is starting way too many guys who are young, undersized, or are not D1 scholarship players.

It's not a reflection on the guys we have.  They've done nothing wrong, and, like I said, are survivors and that's worth something.  It was one of the worst seasons we have ever had...as far as I can see, the 1935 (net loss, 30 points) might be our only less successful season.

But this wasn't about being good this year.  Or, even next year.  This is about getting the program back to where it needs to be, which means a solid foundation, a good culture and a team set up to compete every year.  This year was part of that journey.

And next year is likely to be, as well.  BG is severely undermanned...short in double-digit numbers on scholarships.  Furthermore, the NCAA rules will not allow BG to get the numbers right in one season...and even if you did, they'd be freshmen and mostly not ready to play.  So that problem was bad...and could easily get worse if BG loses other players who aren't in for The Loeffler Experience.

Long term that's good.  Short term, that's a problem.

Below is the depth chart for the Buffalo game.  The guys marked out in orange are graduating and the players (right now there's only one) in brown are guys who entered the portal.  A couple of points.

On the positive side, with McDonald presumably at the helm next year and Clair back, the offense has the potential to be better.  We don't know how good McDonald will be...better than the guys we had, sure, but overall he's an unknown quantity but almost certain to be an improvement.

BG loses only one starter on the line, which is good.  The worst position is WR. BG is crazy weak at WR.  Ortega-Jones improved late in the season, so that's one.  There's Jake Rogers and Tyrone Broden, who saw a little action, and Noah Massey, who caught one pass in the opener.  There's one WR in the incoming class based on the verbals...he's a 3-star player.

TE I think is solid.  Morris is good, Sims showed some potential and Joey Carroll played a little as well.

On defense, you just have a long way to go.  On the line, you have some potentially decent players but you need to rotate 8 of them or so.  LB is also very shallow...there are a couple in the next class.  D-back is the most promising position, in my preview.  Jordan Anderson, Davin Wilson and JaJuan Hudson all played effectively as true FR, as did Biggers.  We saw the same thing with the 2010 backfield with Clawson...those guys suffered that year but ended up being players.  But the defense is undermanned and not a one-year project, either.

What we are about is getting 85 guys in here who want to do what it takes to win.  That's the game right now.  What you see on the field is something that has to happen, but BG needs 85 guys who want to win and have it in their DNA.

And that means recruiting.  In Coach's words, recruiting our tails off.  On this front, I believe we are in the right place.  My understanding is that BG is running a P5 level recruiting operation. 

We are 4th in the MAC in recruiting, but a couple of points.  First, Jaret Patterson was a 2-star recruit.  And, Jinks brought in highly ranked classes, look where that got us.  We're looking for depth...we can't miss on any of these guys and that takes a level of evaluation SO FAR past what the rankings do that it's ridiculous.  Our guys have to be good players and the right kind of people, or this program isn't going anywhere.

And that's incredibly difficult to do.  We'll see in a couple weeks how BG does in its first attempt.  As is always the case, people are after our best recruits and we're hanging on.  We have to succeed.  This class is a must-win game.

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