Saturday, December 31, 2005

Lions Rumor Mill Blinking Red

Rumors out of KC are that Al Saunders is going to be the next Lions head coach. Killer reported that Jauron is unlikely to be back (contained in a larger story about Joey), but there's nothing I saw in the official media that confirms Saunders.

KC rumors say that the announcement will be made Monday, unless KC makes the playoffs.

We'll see. I have my doubts anything happens that soon, but if it does, its an advantage of making the change early in the season.

JD @ Red Reporter points us to this

Seems like we just dumped Jim Bowden.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Falcons Win Easily, Onto the MAC

With 7:19 left in the first half, the game was tied 19-19, but then BG scored the next 16 points and put the game away. We held Notre Dame under 40% shooting. They were badly overmatched, so it wasn't a huge surprise. Then again, as Coach said on the post-game, we're not good enough to assume we are going to beat anyone.

Here's a rather odd quote from Coach:

The guy who changed the game was Dusan (Radivojevic). Simply by being on top of the zone and throwing the ball into Matt. Now, once he threw the ball into Matt, they started fouling and got us into the bonus. Then, they constricted their zone and now we were able to hit a couple of 3's because of the zone at least having to converge on a post presence."

So, it all hinged on that one play.

Here's the question to ponder, in the background. Is this Falcon team a return to the sticky D that was a trademark years ago. Maybe it is, if we can hold off the fouls. We'll start to find out Wednesday.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Free Agent Pitcher List

Tony Armas, Jr.

Nats sign him to a 1-year deal. He and his 4.97 ERA will make a nice compliment to Ramon Ortiz, who they also signed.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Bring on MAC Hoops

Tomorrow is our last game before the MAC season starts against the Falcons of Notre Dame (OH). This should be an easy win, and then Central comes in a week from tonight for the first MAC game and what should be a win on our floor.

I'm ready to fire up the season. Let's hope we're healthy and getting ready to compete. I'd love to see us surprise the league. As I have written before, the elements are there (barely), and need to come together.

Here's a good MAC blog from a Buffalo fan, though he tries to blog the entire conference. Here's what he has to say about the season to date:

1. Buffalo (9-1) (1) – Bulls needed Calvin Cage, who I think is the MAC POY so far, to save their bacon against Elon in 68-67 squeaker last Wednesday. Coach ‘Spoon’s squad avoided trap game number two and must bust out the rust-oleom once again for trap game numero tres against an athletic and confident Delaware State squad this Friday.

2. Ohio (6-1) (2) – It’s tough to figure these (bob)Cats out. They start off they season by blitzing St. Francis and American, winning on the road against Marist and Rhode Island before getting run by Cinci, after which Tim O’Shea’s squad has sleepwalked through two consecutive games. Leon William needs more touches and to take more shots (he was only 3-of-5 in 56-55 squeaker over Detroit). Kentucky (this Friday at 8:00 PM) is a stiff test for a group that seems badly in need of a hangover spike.

3. Northern Illinois (5-2, 1-0) (5) – Big win for the Huskies over Kansas State last Tuesday, the Huskies second home dubbya over a squad from a BCS league. The recipe for victory for Mick McKinney, the Flash of the MAC, is simple: push tempo and score more than 70 points. San Jose State shouldn’t offer too much resistance this Thursday night but Rob Judson’s squad is 1-2 on the road so far. Could be trap game.

4. Akron (5-3) (6) – The Christmas break came at a bad time for a Zips squad that was rolling, having won two in a row before battling undefeated Clemson for all 40 minutes in 66-59 loss to the Tigers in the finals of the San Juan Shootout. A more balanced and aggressive offensive attack has been the key to Akron’s recent run. Play host to Wright State, who have been the MAC’s bitch so far this season, having gone winless in four games, on New Year’s Eve,

5. Toledo (6-2, 0-1) (4) – Rockets beat a not too good East Carolina squad last time out but that is the sort of game Stan Joplin’s squad has lost this season. Almost as good as getting the dubbya was the continued emergence of sophomore guard Kashif Payne (18 points) as a third scoring option behind Justin Ingram and Keonta Howell. Face Oakland tonight at 7:00 PM in final go-around before league play starts.

6. Ball State (4-3) (7) – Once again, the Cardinals put forth a gritty and determined effort in Peyton Stovall’s absence but came up short, losing 51-56 at Drexel. The kids are playing hard for Tim Buckley but the lack of offense may not be enough to save his job. I’m curious to hear what folks from Muncie think about Buckley. He certainly doesn’t seem to have engendered the sort of animosity that Jim Christian at Ball State has.

7. Eastern Michigan (3-4) (9) – A win 67-62 win over a mediocre Tulsa team may not seem like a big deal but the Eagles are showing real progress under first-year coach Charles Ramsey. They’ve been in just about every game and guys are starting to step-up and support John Bowler, as five players are averaging between 6.6 and 8.9 ppg, to complement the worthy MAC POY candidate.

8. Kent State (6-4) (8) – Golden Flashes fared OK on the Left Coast, hanging on to beat D-III Concordia before losing to St, Mary’s on a last second shot. This team is still too much Jay Youngblood and too little anybody else but Youngblood looks like the type of player that can carry a squad.

9. Miami (4-4, 1-0) (3) – This hurts. The Redhawks went 0-2 last week, losing to a Michigan team I harbor an immense dislike for, which came on the heels of a disheartening loss to Wichita State, of The Valley, which is the league most likely to steal the additional bid or two that would’ve come to us. Why does this hurt? Because not only is the MAC still winless against the MVC but I would’ve liked to have ranked the Redhawks #12 but couldn’t because the bottom feeders weren’t able to pull off any Ratt-like out of the cellar feats.

10. Western Michigan (3-6) (10) –Youthful Broncos had their moments of respectability last week, beating LMU and losing a squeaker to Oregon State. Unfortunately for Steve Hawkins’ squad, the loss to Oregon State and rout at the hands of a mediocre Colorado State team are more indicative of how league plays likely to go than is the win over LMU.

11. Bowling Green (3-6) (12) – Somewhat surprising road win over a middling Troy State team from the Sun Belt last Monday gives this inconsistent squad something to build on as we head to league play. With games against Notre Dame College, Central Michigan, and Western Michigan looming, Falcons could conceivably be 7-6 when they face NIU on January 11th.

12. Central Michigan (2-7, 0-1) (11) – When it comes to the Chippewas, progress is measured in small steps so not getting completely run by East Tennessee State or Southern Illinois in losses last week is a relative accomplishment for Jay Smith’s squad.

Another favorite is, a great blog from a guy writing a book on the MAC. Good sources, loves the MAC. Here's his assessment:

The East

Miami 4-4 overall record 1-0 conference. Charlie Coles has tested his squad often early on and they should be all the better for it. Alabama, Dayton, Xavier, Michigan, Wichita State and Cincinnati – doesn’t get much better than this, particularly when your youngest and most inexperienced guy (Mike Bramos) responds the way he has against real good competition. Miami seems ready for MAC play.

Buffalo 9-1 overall. Have beaten Detroit, Rutgers and Fresno State. Rutgers and Fresno wins were in Buffalo while the Detroit win was in Vegas. Lost at Boston College. Probably face their biggest test since BC coming up at Delaware State (who’s played a murderous schedule). I expected them to beat Rutgers. Beat Elon the other night – by one -- thanks to the brilliance of Calvin Cage. The Bulls should find out quick if they’re ready because the first ten days of MAC play has road dates at Northern Illinois and Toledo sandwiched between home dates with both Eastern and Western Michigan. The Bulls will get after you, but not sure if the four wins against Canisius, Buff State, Niagara and Liberty were worth it. If they can go 3-1 or better in the first four games it definitely would make the schedule a smart move because they’d be sitting pretty at 14-1 (assuming they beat Del St) and looking like they might have a chance for the at-large they missed out on last year. Jury is out, and as much as that might tick Bulls fans off – it probably makes Coach Reggie Witherspoon happy. He wants these guys playing with a huge chip on their shoulder.

Ohio 6-1 overall. Rhode Island, Cincinnati, Detroit and Kentucky. Rhode Island on the road is a good win and looking like it could stay a good win all year. Detroit is a solid team that is being overlooked right now. Obviously the second half against Cincinnati isn’t what these ‘Cats envisioned but the Bearcats are for real and will make noise in the Big East now that they have a legit point guard in Downey. If Ohio can somehow beat resurgent Kentucky – see the whupping they put on Louisville – then Tim O’Shea will have them at 7-1 with a major feather in their cap (Kentucky). This team started their run last year with a win over WMU in Athens. Their first MAC game? Yup, WMU in Athens. This team should be ready for league play provided they understand that the rest of the MAC is going to bring the heat every night against them.

Akron 5-3 overall. Got a big win over Miss St in San Juan, plus got to the final game there in a tournament setting – playing Clemson tough -- which always helps a team later on. Has gone on the road for hard games, pulled out some close ones lost to some big schools. This team understands the toughness of the MAC and has prepared themselves well for the challenge.

Kent State 6-4 overall. The Flashes have gone on the road and battled good teams. They’ve struggled some with injuries and confidence but have also found some help they weren’t sure of before the season started (Omni Smith and Ike Knight). They go to Syracuse Friday night and will enter conference play with ample “quality” game experience to draw from.

Bowling Green 3-6. Biggest MAC win yet over Va Tech. Slowly getting whole team back into playing shape. Almost got a win at FSU. Open with CMUand then go to WMU. Dakich – and Samarco -- will have them ready.

The West

Northern Illinois 5-2 overall 1-0 conference. Already got huge monkey off their back with road win at Toledo. Crushed by Missouri State but has wins over DePaul and Kansas State. Hughes in the middle is a key – if he stays out of foul trouble they could be real scary in the West.

Ball State 4-3 overall. Rocky start for the Cardinals and Indiana is coming up this weekend. Wins are over Oakland City, Wright State, IUPUI and Anderson. Open up league play with Akron at home and Ohio and Kent on the road. It could get ugly fast without Peyton Stovall (out for the year with his second ACL tear).

Eastern Michigan 3-4 overall. Has played quality games and gotten a big win over Cal. ‘Los Medlock is starting to come on for them at point guard while Bowler will challenge for POY in the MAC.

Western Michigan 3-6 overall. Some in Kalamazoo are worried but the Broncos have played a very good schedule and gone on the road to play good teams. They go to South Alabama on the 30th and open up MAC play at Ohio on the 4th. This is a young team that can’t shoot well, but they re-discovered their toughness in Hawaii and seem ready to enter league play.

Toledo 6-2 overall 0-1 conference. Talented group that needs to start games stronger for Stan Joplin – starts @Kent, @ Akron and hosts Buffalo. Ouch.

Central Michigan 2-7 overall 0-1 conference. First four MAC ganes are at BG, hosts Kent, then at Miami and at Ohio. Giordan Watson and Sefton Barrett have to carry them.

Finally, here's a great motivational quote from the hoopfactor site, if you are in to that kind of thing (and when its like this, I can be).

Adversity can be a good thing if the response to it is a renewed spirit and work ethic. To cruise along, without any apparent blemishes, is to risk having those blemishes exposed once it’s too late to correct them. There’s a point where perceived success dulls whatever edge was used to attain it. In the words of a great man – you still have to play the games. So go back to the hardwood and sweat. Don’t worry about the critics – because you should be the one analyzing what’s wrong more than some blowhard with a keyboard. The blowhards are just feeding the machine – why else would there be something as ridiculous as power rankings before anyone has played 10 games, or any rankings at all before the third week of January? Losses happen. Learning from the loss and applying that towards the future is what brings real success. Because at the end of the day only you – and you alone – can look in the mirror and answer the question did I get better today? It’s every person’s challenge in life – not just in basketball -- if they truly want to live it to the utmost. So remember what it feels like to lose badly on another team’s floor. Keep it so close to you that the next time you start to leave the gym on a miss it pulls you back. Stay so connected with the feeling that it doesn’t allow you to half step anything on the court. Set every screen and shoot every shot with that feeling right next to you. Because if you use that feeling to help make your team better – no matter what the final result – you’ll be a success.

Red Reporter Looks at Potential Free Agent Pitchers

It isn't pretty, is it?

Tony Armas: Armas is a good age, turning 28 next April, and he's had some success in the past (4.03 ERA in 2001, 4.44 ERA in 2002). He's suffered from injury problems the past couple of years, but if he's healthy he's slightly intriguing. The Reds haven't been able to turn guys like this around in recent years, but maybe they'll have better success with Vern Ruhle taking over the pitching coaching duties.

Jeff Weaver: It's tough to tell what kind of money Weaver will command, but he's clearly the best of the rest after the Rangers signing of Kevin Millwood. The major downside for the Reds is the 35 home runs that Weaver gave up last season playing in pitcher friendly Dodger Stadium. Probably won't be worth the money he gets, but that's not new in his case. I could really see Dan O'Brien getting excited about Weaver, so I really wouldn't be too shocked if the Reds made a play for him.

Byung-Hyun Kim: This is the guy the Reds should sign if they're going to get anyone. He can come out of the pen if necessary, and he could even close if asked. Strikes people out. Had a tough year last year but he had it in Colorado which means it doesn't really count, although his stats were actually worse on the road. I like the idea of signing Kim for the pen and using him as a swing guy who can be called upon to spot start when needed.

Other guys the Reds might be interested in (but really shouldn't be):

Joe Mays: He was sort of good years ago, and he's struggled badly of late. Dan O'Brien has been quoted talking about how teams like the Reds need to take chances on guys having bounceback season ... so a guy like Joe Mays might look attractive to DanO. Unfortunately.

Shawn Estes: Might not ever be willing to play for the Reds again, but I could see DanO being interested. He's a veteran "name" who "knows how to win". He keeps the ball in the park, but there's not much else I can say positive about the guy. One time around was enough for me.

Ismael Valdez: I've always kind of thought of him the same way I used to think of Ramon Ortiz. Even I don't really know what I mean by that, but I do know that it's not a complimentary association.

Al Leiter: Vet. Knows how to win. Coming off just one bad year, possibly due for a bounceback.

/channeling DanO some more

Jose Lima: Lima time baby! It'd just be too perfect wouldn't it? With Lima the Reds could have two pitchers threatening an over 7.00 ERA, which would make me want to gouge out my eyes.

Kevin Brown: Yeah, DanO type player, you know why by now. Would remind me a lot of the Eric Milton signing if he came to Cincinnati, because it would excite a lot of fans but would ultimately bring everyone a great deal of misery.

I mean, when you're reduced to hoping for a BY Kim pickup, you know the free agent pickings are slim. I like the idea that people understand we need to think groundball pitchers in our ballpark. Its just obvious that we aren't going to get a #1 or #2 starter without making a trade, or that we're going to have to adjust our strategy and go for a bunch of league average pitchers.

Any kind of thinking that we need a "bounceback" guy harkens back to the days of the Gullett/Bowden regime, and is the kind of thinking that got Jimmy Haynes here, among many others. Its like having your strategy be to win the lottery.

Finally, Redleg Nation quotes John Sickels (minor league blogger) with a key question about whether Ryan Wagner is going to more like Billy Wagner, or Matt Anderson. Sickels fears he is tending toward the latter--or he wouldn't have asked the question.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Lions Win

Lions won today. Had the game on the radio while I was getting ready for Christmas, but in terms of watching I felt that today's game was a little like someone getting an abcess drained: it has to be done, but no one should have to watch.

Quick note to Dan Miller. Easy big fella. It wasn't the Super Bowl, it was just a meaningless game between two really bad teams. Take a deep breath.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Joey Back in Starter's Role

Killer has the story, Joey back in the starting role. Garcia down to #3, and Orlovsky #2. Jauron had said he was playing Garcia when he got the job because Garcia gave the team the best chance to win, but since we didn't actually win under that theory, he's giving Joey the reins back.

This team has more question marks than ever...and that's saying something. Not only does coaching have to be addressed, but also QB. Its clear Garcia is no longer a quality NFL QB--at least as a starter on a team he has to more or less carry. If its true that the Lions have given up on Joey (as it seems to be), than the team's options at QB for next year are Dan Orlovsky, or a free agent or a draft pick.

And, you're not going to want to address QB until you address the coaching position.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Cole Magner Works out with Green Bay

Not a bad thing for him. Hope it works out! Go Cole!

Reds News

We signed Jason LaRue to a two year deal, apparently after attempts to trade him failed. He's getting $9.1M for two years, which some fans are screaming about, but is probably the going rate for a serviceable starting catcher today. Scream about that if you want. (Let's remember that Valentin has yet to prove he can produce at his '05 level over the long haul. And hey...who gets hit by a pitch better than Jason LaRue...I'm waiting.....)

Update: JD likes it at Red Reporter.

We also have Chris Hammond back. Under the MoneyBall Theory that you don't necessarily drop major coin on your bullpen, Hammond is not a bad acquisition. As the Dayton Daily News notes, he's had four very good years in a row.

Finally, Ramon Ortiz and Joe Valentine (Billy Beane Bamboozles) are gone.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Third Win Finally Comes

I was out and didn't hear last night's game, so I'm just cobbling together some things. Troy shot under 30%, and everyone seems happy with our defense. Things do seem to be coming together--its just how good they will be when they are together that is in question. You also don't know how good Troy is. We won despite Samarco being off, and we got some nice play out of Dusan, which is key. Here are the quotes from the Dakich post-game (note use of the word "nifty")

Dan Dakich Opening Comments
"I think we are getting better. I thought we played really well for 30 minutes at Florida State. Tonight our defense was great and helped us win this basketball game. I like the way our team plays. You have to remember, this is a team that had Mississippi State down 14 points with just a few minutes left and then Mississippi State makes five straight threes. I liked the way our team was the entire trip."

About the big shots down the stretch by Samarco and Floyd.
"Yea, that those shots were big when we needed a bucket and we were able to get the win. It was just a great team effort all night."

About the defensive effort
"I thought it was a really good team deal and a really good team effort. This was just a big win for us. We needed it like we needed air."

About Dusan Radivojevic
"I don't use the word nifty very often but he made some really nifty passes that others can't make."

Moten played 15 minutes, so hopefully he is getting into the flow. Wright only played 18 minutes. Samarco was 2 of 13 from the field.

This was our last real game until the MAC season starts. We start slow against CMU. It will be fun if this team develops.

Final Dakich quote from the Troy Messenger:

"If I had known he (Martin Samarco) would shoot 2-for-13 from the field I'd have said we'd be on the bus back home continuing to be sad," Bowling Green head coach Dan Dakich said.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Falcons Fight hard, lose

Somebody on AZZ said recently that if you shoot well, you can stay in basketball games. That sort of told the story last night against Florida State, where red hot 3 point shooting from Martin Samarco, and then Steven Wright, kept us in the ball game, but eventually we were beaten when the shooting dried up and our fatigue and lack of rebounding caught up with us. (71-60).

A few points:

  • We were outrebounded 43-25. Hopefully, that will get better in MAC play, but in the meantime, its an absolute disaster.
  • Brian Moten played only a few minutes, but Coach says he will get more time.
  • Steven Wright had 12 points, including some major 3s. He still shot poorly, but he's a much needed offensive force. With the poor play of Floyd and Robinson, he's going to have to play a lot more 1 than we wanted.
  • Floyd played 32 minutes and only took two shots, something which was considered largely impossible earlier.
  • FSU still shot 30 FTS to our 16. (And we missed half of our FTs, unusual for us.)
  • Our fouls were down (23) and we only had 13 TOs, which is important.
  • We still shot less than 40% for the game. Last time I looked, we were the worst shooting team in the MAC.
  • We had only 3 points off the bench, and that came on a garbage 3 from Moten late in the game. Let that sink in for a few minutes.
  • The T on Dakich certainly preceded the run that put us away. We had just scored to go up 3, but Coach thought Lefeld had been fouled and should have gotten "the harm" too. It preceeded an 11-3 run that set the tone for the final ten minutes. To be fair, the T happened with about 14 to go, and with just under 11, it was tied again, so I'm not sure it was as big a jolt as it appeared at the time.
  • FSU started the game on a 12-0 run, and shot 56.5% in the second half. Combine that with the Fts and the boards, and you win the game, even when they don't take care of the ball (18 turnovers).
Let's hope we can win against Troy. The team needs it and the program needs it. I'm not sure if I see something gelling or not.

Casey for Williams

Baseball Prospectus calls it a "steal."

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Nick Wilson leaves Falcons

Nick Wilson, one of our high level recruits from this year, has been released from the program. His father died earlier this year, and apparently, he just needs to get back home again.

It does explain some news from Kentucky with us after a highly praised recruit in Kentucky. No one on AZZ could figure out whose scholarship he was going to take, but now its clear.

Best to Nick and his family.

This is actually a good thing

I learned today that this area will not show the Lions game on TV. This was a common occurrence in the Silverdome era when sellouts were in doubt, but not common now. The explanation is that its a CBS/AFC game (Bengals), and the Browns are our first choice.

Its really better this way. Its like watching an animal die after its been hit by a truck. Slowly, but surely.

I'm going to listen to the radio and wrap Christmas presents and pretend like it isn't as bad as it is.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Bleak Lionup for Sunday

Killer on the radio, summarized here.

  • Says linebackers for Sunday will likely be James Davis, Wali Rainer and either Donte Curry or Nate Wayne. Nate Wayne got hurt in practice Thursday and Curry hasn't played in a while, but that's what you're stuck with.

  • Says Kevin Jones will not play Sunday. The elbow is too bad. He may tell the Lions he wants to play, but it's doubtful the Lions will play him. Artose Pinner and Shawn Bryson will likely split time
If you play fantasy, get your Bengals IN the lineup.

DOB says Morris only free agent of interest.

According to the Enquirer, we may have learned a lesson about bringing a Fly ball pitcher into GABP. Why the concept had to be seen to believed, I do not know. So DOB says no more free agent pitchers this year, but trade remains a possibility. Good idea--more selection, less $.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Reds Looking at Free agent pitchers

Most people seem to favor the approach of trading because of the shortage of pitching talent available, the extreme costs Scott Boras will extract, and then foul and rotten taste of the Eric Milton debacle.

Boras reportedly is seeking a five-year, $60 million contract for Millwood, who was 9-11 last season for Cleveland and was pitching on a one-year contract because of health concerns.

Washburn and Weaver won't be as expensive.

But you can make a strong argument that neither is worth the three-year, $25 million deal the Reds offered Matt Morris.

The article also says that the Reds have enough #4 or #5 starters, and are looking for an upgrade. My only comment is that if you have guys in your rotation who didn't belong in the majors--and we did--than a #4 IS AN UPGRADE. says Omar leaning to draft

As quoted on, insiders says Omar is leaning to leaving for the draft.

Killer Says Millen Staying

From today's Killer Column:

If you think marching down the street, chanting, burning tickets or wearing a "Fire Millen" T-shirt is going to make you feel better, knock yourself out.

But know this: You're wasting your time, energy and breath. Detroit Lions president Matt Millen isn't going anywhere.

I mean, he did get a contract extension, so this shouldn't be a surprise. Typical high quality Killer stuff--mostly about how Ford Sr's mind works.

For an idea on what is planned, see here.

The Lions are on the Clock.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Florida Linebacker Verbals to BG

From the same town that Charles Sharon is from....says he's coming here for the academics.

Bad, bad Karma for Sunday

Ford Field is not the place to be on Sunday. Keep the children and the families away. Its going to be a war zone. Our fans are in an absolute snit, and they will be undertaking every measure of protest that they can....

For example.


  • Contraband Fire Millen signs/Civil Disobedience
  • Making noise when WE have the ball on 3rd down
  • Rooting for the Red Wings
  • Booing loudly
  • Heavy drinking
  • Fights.
Its going to be ugly and negative and bad.

If you get a chance, listen to Dick Jauron's presser from yesterday. Beyond the annoying habit of talking like he is talking to an audience of people for whom English is not their first language, it was very amusing. On the Ticket they said that he is trying to make sure he isn't the coach next year, and my comment is he might be going overboard a little. I think he's gotten the job done. He says he has no idea how to fix the problems, he's going to talk to the NFL about the safety call (actually, he's going to have someone do it), and lauds the play of our kicker and punter.

So we got that going for us.

Finally, here's some notes on Killer's radio show yesterday. All of its a good read, but I am calling out the last two snippets...

Killer believes Millen will hire someone closer to his football philosophy, and who will hire coaches Millen thinks will be good. Mariucci had assistants who don't belong in the league. Andy Sugarman was just not a TE coach. It was a good old boy network. It goes with Pat Morris. His system works with some people, but not with these guys. Millen is going to put guys through the ringer, and trust assistants' decisions.

Killer says Mariucci will do broadcasting with ESPN. Mariucci was cheered at the MSU game. He's going to do TV, count his money, and relax for a while.

Millen taking a stronger hand in things....that will make the Lions Nation sleep well tonight.

Dakich on news last night, leading up to Seminole game

Hey, DD was on the news last night, and he said that apparently Fla St has a propensity to cause turnovers, and then, in his sardonic way, he said that with our ability to make them--he speculated we were near the bottom of the NCAA in turnovers--it might be an NCAA record.

That made we want to check the numbers.

We are actually, 237th out of 326.

In fouls, we are 303rd out of 326, far and away our lowest ranking.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Taking My Medicine

Ok, time to own up. On the Futility '05 tour, I badly over estimated the Falcon football team. I had them losing one game--@Boise--and other than that we were set to run the table. We had too much talent not to--and I wasn't even factoring in that the MAC was down this season.

Well, not so much. I'll look more in a while on what happened, but here's the game by game.

@Wisconsin W WRONG
@Ball State W RIGHT
@Boise State L RIGHT
Temple W RIGHT
@Buffalo W RIGHT
@Miami W RIGHT
Toledo W WRONG

I got 7 right and 4 wrong. Nothing in the world would have made me think we would lose to WMU and Akron. And we never should have lost to Akron. I was wronger than this, though, because I envisioned us just dominating the weak teams in our conference, and it wasn't to be.

As solace, I decided to look at how the media did picking the standings.

Here's what the media picked for the West. Clearly, they saw NIU as a strong contended, and correctly id'd two of the top contenders in the division. They overshot EMU, and missed the resurgence of programs in K-zoo and Mt. Pleasant.

1. Toledo (31)


2. Northern Illinois (11)


3. Eastern Michigan


4. Central Michigan


5. Western Michigan


6. Ball State


In the West, they badly missed the Akron run to the title. BG and Miami did end up in a tie for the title, so that's not too bad...still, I doubt if that was what they were seeing when the whole season started. The overestimated OU, and knew exactly what they were getting in Buffalo.

1. Bowling Green (30)


2. Miami (12)


3. Ohio


t-4. Akron


t-4. Kent State


6. Buffalo


Lions Suck So Bad they Blow

It was a typical Lions night. Last night's game, in its own way, is more symbolic and more typical of the Lions over the past ten years than the Thanksgiving massacre, or the Dallas game, or whatever you want to pick on.

Why does it happen to us?

The safety was, in its own way, completely bizarre. There are a million ways that's wrong--is he a passer? Come on. And the holding call. Jauron seemed to be very compliant with the whole was just one of those once in a lifetime things that seem to surround our team...and normally we are the victim.

But its a lot more than that.

Its pitiful play in the extreme red zone (inside the five). I would have kicked the FG, but you would think (and I'm talking about the last time), you'd try a bootleg, some play action, get Garcia outside the pocket rather than trying something you had learned was not going to work. The QB sneak goes down as one of the worst calls in the history of playcalling. Didn't we just get an new OC--the brilliant guy other teams want. That's what I thought.

Its our best played throwing a guy out of bounds in overtime.

Its Roy Williams dropping a sure fire TD pass that hit him right in the numbers. (To be fair, the right play was called there).

Its our conservative playcalling designed not to make a mistake.

Its Kevin Jones, injured again.

We're 4-9. And with the Bengals, Saints and Steelers, I think we have a shot at one win. 5-11 record is looking very likely.

The Lions are on the clock.

Matt Morris to sign with Giants

Per ESPN Radio. I said earlier that baseball is a General Manager's game. If so, we're down 7-0 in the fourth inning.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Are the Lions a cold-weather team?

Its 15 on the frozen tundra, and is expected to fall to 8. So, the question is, how do the Lions play in cold weather.

My prediction is they will suck just as bad as they do in climate controlled conditions.

Rogers and BMW are both active, Eddie Drummond is out. Vernon Freaking Fox is starting at FS, with Holt on DL and McGraw inactive. We might make the awful Packers look good.

Reds in hunt for Matt Morris

According to Ken Rosenthal, the Reds are in the final two for Morris, although it sounds like the Giants are a step ahead.

How's this for a rotation?

  1. Morris
  2. Harang
  3. Claussen
  4. Williams
  5. Milton

Debates on Casey trade rage

Hal McCoy--the venerable Hal McCoy--wrote some absolute gibberish about the Casey trade. The just as venerable Redleg Nation critiqued his story better than I can, so click here to see this dismantling.

Note that John Fay comes down on our side.

Here was my comment.

Wow. It boggles the mind. I respect Hal’s tenure and his history with the game, but that column was awful. He wants to replace production with myth–a common problem among old-time sportswriters.

Let me ask you this. Williams had an ERA somwhere around the league average–I don’t care if he was Pitt’s #4 starter. If the Reds had just AVERAGE pitching last year, what would their record have been.

Everyone is focusing on getting a stud–and if we get it, that would be great. But a league average ERA and we’re in the hunt.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Marc Lancaster says the hunt for pitching goes on

I like Marc a lot. He has a blog which lets us get a feel for him as a person, and is perfect for covering the ongoing, operatic baseball season. Today, he wrote that even with the Winter Meetings over, the Reds are still looking for pitching. Looking, but maybe not finding (my note).

First, he talks about how the Reds have positioned themselves to go after pitching.

By trading Sean Casey to Pittsburgh for Williams, they freed up about $5 million in spending money that could help them chase a free agent. By acquiring utilityman Tony Womack on Thursday, the Reds have given themselves flexibility to deal another regular position player (pick one: Austin Kearns, Wily Mo Pena or Ryan Freel) for a pitcher.

He then notes that this amount of $ is unlikely to buy much when Kenny Rogers just got $16M. Kenny Rogers. He concludes somewhat inconclusively.

The timetable for checking all these items off the list isn't prohibitively tight, so the Reds should be able to take a deep breath after the wall-to-wall scheduling of the winter meetings and figure out what comes next.

And there will be something.

We'll see. Reds fans are feeling badly burned by the Milton and Ortiz signings, and you have to really watch who you invest $$ in for more than one year.

Where is the brain? That's what I want to know. Who's out tracking down the groundball pitcher who's undervalued but who would thrive in our ballpark.

Finally, I have long advocated a model of average pitching and a great O. If the Reds trade Kearns or Pena, they're going for an above average pitching and good O model. That's fine, too. Little more margin for error.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Reds Trade for Tony Womack

Look out, Cardinals. Wow. He batted .249 last year. Here's what DanO had to say about him:

"We feel Tony is the prototypical National League-type player," said Reds general manager Dan O'Brien "He's multi-dimensional, multi-purpose in being able to play the infield and the outfield.

Two things are possible. Either Dan doesn't know what the league batting average was last year, or he doesn't know what prototypical means. It shows he doesn't have the first clue how to build a winning baseball team.

Here's a classic comment from Red Reporter.

Go ahead and spin this one.

Does it matter who we give away?

Meet your 2006 Cincinnati Reds, the new Pittsburgh Pirates.

By the way, we gave away our #8 prospect, Benjamin Hines and Kevin Howard.

I started to think maybe I had been too harsh. Maybe his OBP was higher. No, its .276 last year. And he's 36--think he's getting better?

Falcons Football, Hoops. Lions, Reds. 2005--the year of lost causes.

I'll tell you what DanO is--the prototypical loser asshole.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Reds Reported to Trade Sean Casey for....

Dave Williams. Marc Lancaster of the Post put this on his blog, and that's where the story started.

We'll see what pans out, but here's my reaction. First, from a strictly internal POV, many are saying that it frees $$ to get a pitcher, and gets WMP in the lineup everyday. Of course, there aren't many pitchers available even if you have money, and if you don't get a good one you end up overpaying for Eric Milton, or someone like him. (Note: late reports say that we are paying half of his salary on top of it).

Williams is an average pitcher. Not much return, and certainly not up to the hype we heard about how we could move one of our bats to get a pitcher. Don't get me wrong. If he pitches at league average, that's a huge step forward for our team, especially if we keep scoring runs like we did last year. And I'm not sure you do better for Casey, who is doesn't hit for power, is injured a lot, and just isn't the type of 1B teams building World Series contenders are looking for.

Of course, the Reds blogosphere is rocking and rolling. Here are some thoughts:

JD at Red Reporter likes the deal, but feels he is apparently in the minority.

A lot of the other criticism of the deal that I'm seeing revolves around Dave Williams. I've seen him compared in various places as another Luke Hudson or Josh Hancock. That's absolutely absurd. The last time I checked neither Hudson or Hancock has ever pitched more than 10-50 innings of decent baseball at the major league level. Williams pitched 138.7 innings of league average baseball last season. In the major leagues, not at AAA. At the age of 26, an age that is just before a pitcher's traditional peak. The Reds have exactly two guys who are anywhere near as good as this guy, and their names are Aaron Harang and Brandon Claussen.

Williams is an upgrade for the starting rotation. Period. That might be a sad commentary on the Reds starters, blah, blah, blah, but what I see is the starting rotation being improved without a corresponding knock to the Reds offense. If no outfielders are traded then Cincinnati probably just traded Sean Casey's nine homeruns for 30+ Wily Mo Pena homeruns. I'll take that.

Its safe to say the brigade is homicidal over the deal.

We'll look at Williams' stats later. I'm still undecided.


SteelSD, on, broke down the stats as well as I could have, and here is what he says. (I am particularly worried about him being another soft-tosser).

Re: Casey to Pirates deal close

Williams sure is a screwy guy. Got beat like a rented Milton at home last season. Very good on the road. Gave up a ton of HR at home, but the HR Park Factor for PNC was .868. The guy is virtually a straight-up 1:1 GB/FB guy and got slightly BABIP-lucky in 2005 (.281 BABIP) while putting up a pedestrian WHIP (1.41). Williams OPSA would have ranked him 83rd (of 94) among MLB ERA qualifiers had he pitched enough Innings to qualify. He's got a history of allowing too many longballs. He's not a strikeout pitcher and I'd want to go over his medical records with a fine tooth comb considering that a torn labrum (2002) put him on the shelf for well over a year. His arbitration clock is ticking.

Let's just say that Dave Williams does not profile as a pitcher I particularly care for. Worse players than Casey have been moved for more. However, I'll keep myself open to revising that take if there's a prospect of value also coming over from the Pirates.

There's value in moving the 8.5M left on Casey's contract if that money is used to actually benefit the club. But that's about the extent of the potential benefit if Williams is the only name involved from the other side and it's quite possible that those funds will be chewed up by a mediocre-to-bad pitcher once he hits arbitration.

Good GM's find undervalued players to acquire in deals. Dave Williams doesn't project to be one of those, meaning that you're trading mediocrity for mediocrity at a cost savings. That's not the worst thing in the world if you don't spend the newly-found payflex on mediocrity, but this IS Dan O'Brien talking about.

So there you have it. Both sides of the deal. JD loves it, SteelSD doesn't. I guess I'm somewhere in the middle. I can see some positives, but its mostly just that having Williams at $1M or so is less negative than having Casey at $8M. That's not really a motivating, warm and fuzzy way to look at your team, is it?

Monday, December 05, 2005

Reds interested in WBC

I like the WBC--I think it will be great for the game. And I'm proud as a Reds fan that Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey JR are both interested in playing. If enough marquee players sign in, it could be a classic, and very good for excitement in the game.

Felipe Lopez (Puerto Rico), WMP (DR), and Valentin (PR) are also interested.

Full coverage on

Bud's announcing preliminary rosters today.

Finally, here's a nice blog that tracks the WBC.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

One concern can be scratched

Dick Jauron takes the Lions on a winning streak and forces Fords to hire him.

It was five years ago today

That Urban Meyer was announced as the next Falcon coach. At the time we thought, hey, the guy hasn't even been a coordinator in D1 football. What the F! Oh, if only we knew the chain of events--most of them positive--that would set in place.

Winter Meetings Start tomorrow

A little blast from the hot stove for the Reds. Meetings start tomorrow. Of course, the only question is can or will we deal a bat for some badly needed pitching...and if we do, will it be someone who helps or does harm? Apparently, those going to the meetings have the word from the new NOW! No patience is available...

I like this attitude, and hope we can pull it off. Problem is, I 'm not sure there is a win NOW option out there. Free agent pitchers are way overpriced, and it takes time for your own guys to develop. Trades are the only way. Rumors are Casey to Boston for Arroyo or Youlikis, either of which is a fine deal. If you have Casey and Kearns/Pena, and you get two decent starters to go with Harang and Claussen, then maybe you have enough pitching to get you by, if you keep scoring. That's the only way I see it happening.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Falcons lose in War Crime in Peoria

UN Peacekeeping Mission sent in, little blue helmets seen throughout Peroria, ILL. More details later. Falcons expected to be victimized again and again throughout winter months.

Update....more than 9,000 witness the brutality (93-64).

Martin Samarco had 27 points, but plainly, we're just a bad team right now on both ends of the floor.

Patrick Phillips started. OK?

We shot 38% from the field, but you take Samarco out and the rest of the team shot 26%. Yes, you read that correctly. Including Lefeld (1-6!!).

27 fouls--(Bradley was in the bonus four minutes into the game). Bradley shot 44 FTs to our 21.

We're 2-4, and play three more on the road, including Arkansas-Little Rock next Saturday. Long week of practice in the AA gym for the guys.

DD in Blade today....

"I really felt that if we could get a handle on the game defensively in the second half, we would still be in the game," Dakich said. "But it was just easy basket, easy basket, easy basket."

Charles Sharon Team MVP

And well deserved, too. Other awards are:

President's Award (Athletic/Academics)-- Jonathan Culp

Future Award-- Antonio Smith

Captains-- Teddy Piepkow, Steve Sanders, Rob Warren, Mike Thaler, Omar Jacobs
Coaches Award (Attitude)-- John Nicholson, Derrick Lett

Carlos Jackson Leadership and Inspiration Award-- Terrill Mayberry

Ken Schoeni Award (Toughness and Desire)-- B.J. Lane

Orange Helmet Award (Football Player)-- P.J. Pope, Jamien Johnson

Doyt Perry Award (Supporter)-- Dr. Rick Barker

Aaron Richardson Award (Walk-on)-- Aaron Burkart

Top Defensive Lineman-- Mike Thaler

Top Linebacker-- Terrel White

Top Defensive Back-- Jelani Jordan

Top Offensive Lineman-- Rob Warren

Top Receiver-- Steve Sanders

Top Offensive Back-- Omar Jacobs

Special Teams-- Nate Fry

Victory Club Offense-- Kory Lichtensteiger

Victory Club Defense-- Brad Williams

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Garcia to start?

Jauron has announced Garcia will start Sunday. That says something about how the current staff feels about Joey. Perfect opportunity for a new start. I'm really surprised. Hopefully, we'll see some more field stretching, but on the other hand, we can't put a new offense in.

Long night at Anderson Arena

How in the world did this team beat Virginia Tech? Ouch.

We were inconsistent against Oakland (76-66) last night, but in the end were smoked out of the Arena. A few observations:

  • Our PG play was atrocious. Both turn the ball over too much (a charitable 10 in total), and Floyd further detracts by shooting too much. Even though he's a natural 2, Wright is going to have to play 1 when he comes back, because this team cannot function without someone to distribute the ball around a little bit.
  • I like Samarco, and he needs to shoot and keep shooting. Somebody has to.
  • Lefeld was dominant in the inside in the first half, but they doubled him in the second half, and we didn't convert on that, so we lost. The game was actually much worse than the final ten point deficit.
  • Dusan seemed OK. Played some good D, seems to know what he is doing. Looking forward to him stroking some shots....he didn't get any good looks.
  • We have real troubles with a zone. I would be surprised if we see anything else this year. There just isn't much to run motion on when the other team zones.
  • With four minutes left in the second half, we were being outscored 41-17. At one point, Oakland was leading by 19 points.
  • We were strong on the boards in the first half (25-15), but Oakland got that fixed and killed us on the boards in the second half (23-11). They were all over the offensive glass.
  • Soler continues to be a good role player, with 11 boards, a career high. He's tough and a hard worker. Not a shooter.
We now play four straight on the road. At 2-3, we could easily return 2-7, and 3-6 would be a pleasant surprise. If we can get this rotation going, maybe we have a shot to be not horrible, if we can stay out of foul trouble....

1 Wright
2 Samarco
3 Moten
4 Marschall
5 Lefeld
Bench, Soler, Dusan, Floyd, Robinson, Clements

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Brandon year-end presser

This will drive Brandon critics crazy, as he on one hand says that the team didn't meet its goals and that its not acceptable, but at the same time seems petulant when anyone else is upset about it. There are some rationalizations, and some bravado. Here's the most introspective part:

"You can get all caught up in it and say we were terrible in this phase or that phase but we were still playing in the end for a championship. We were in double overtime and if I went for two in the first overtime maybe we would have won that game and that is beating me up right now."

"Hindsight is 20/20. There were some guys in that situation that said lets go for two because our defense was tired, we hadn't stopped them in the second half, and we had momentum. Everybody felt that we had a play that would have worked. You can kick yourself until you can't kick yourself anymore on that. If we make it we win, great, everybody loves it, if we don't it will be, "Coach, why didn't you kick it and extend the game?" When you are in a close game and you lose, you evaluate every play. There are countless plays through that game that if we won, we wouldn't even care about."

I am not going to second guess myself. I feel fortunate the program is in a position right now to compete for championships. We got bowl eligible with a huge win over Miami. We recovered late in the season from Omar's injury with a win at Kent. Say what you want, but that is a tough road win; we lost Anthony in that game, but we hung in there and our defense responded. Obviosuly we are disappointed we are not playing in a bowl game and not competing for a championship. The program is at a point now where we compete for championships and that is what we are going to continue to do."

Interesting, indeed. That would have been sweet, to go for two and win the whole thing. (PS--that's what Urban would have done!. Did I say that?)

Here's another relatively insightful look (note the phrase "recruiting holes."):

"In the grand scheme of things we had some recruiting holes. We had some depth issues that I thought were going to manifest themselves last year but Omar shows up and goes off that charts. We were able to mask some of those because we out scored everybody. Eventually the lack of depth, caught us. I think it showed up in special teams. Not to say those kids aren't good players but some of them were not ready. We finished the season the way we started the season, struggling to stop people but still outscoring people."

On the defense:

"I think we just need to keep getting better on that side of the ball; keep recruiting good players there, which I think we have done. This last class I think was solid and we redshirted a lot of good young players that can run."

I would say that the final sentence there is, indeed, the final question. I think people where underwhelmed with the last class on paper. If this is a sell job, and the next group of players is not strong, then we are in for a downturn. If we can bounce back with talent on defense--and at WR, with a full year of work for Coach Lovett, then maybe the program can still compete.

Oh--and I could care less if they can run. Can they tackle?

My biggest fear is that next year's team will be hard pressed to be as good as this year's team. We lose guys on defense and offense that were big players, and the next generation does not appear to be as strong--but no one has seen the redshirted guys. Let's hope expectations are exceeded.

Tomorrow night is going to suck. We were that close. I hope they think it sucks, too. Reading these statements, I'm just not sure.

Its phrases like this that worry me:

"Really, I think, we're 6-5, in the hunt at the end and everybody is upset. I guess that is a good thing."

More to come.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Omar considering going pro

Maureen Fulton in The Blade talked to Omar Jacob's Mother about whether he's going pro.

Bowling Green State University quarterback Omar Jacobs is considering entering the National Football League draft, his mother, Barbara Bean, said.

Bean said Jacobs plans to file paperwork with the league to get feedback on which round he might be chosen in April's draft if he were to declare, a standard process for potential early entrants. Jacobs, who has a year of eligibility at BGSU remaining, hopes to make the decision by Jan. 1.

"He's straddling the fence," Bean said.

Well, I'm not surprised. Omar's got a tough decision. On one hand, he could clearly burnish his credentials with another season. He had a good year this year--(remember, he needs a great/awesome year to be draftable). Another year, and he could look better. But if he stays another year and has another good year, it could actually look like he's topped out and his sophomore year was as good as he's gotten. It could look like defenses adjusted to him, and he didn't adjust back. Like there was no "upside" to his game.

And that could happen. Unless major JUCO recruiting is done over the winter, Corey Partridge, Ruben Ruiz, and Marqus Parks (if healthy) will be his go-to guys. Not exactly Cole Magner, Steve Sanders and Charles Sharon. Plus, we have tough games against Wisconsin, OSU, and Boise State, plus we may play WMU on the road and we will play Akron on the road. Not exactly a chance to rack up big numbers.

In hindsight, he should have come out last year, but who would have forseen this coming. If I had to guess, the odds are that the little pass he threw to Sharon to not convert the first down in OT against UT will be the last pass he threw for the Falcons. I won't be shocked if he's back, but I don't think its likely. His odds of improving his stock only go down by staying.

Monday, November 28, 2005

All-MAC teams in

Not good if you aren't from NIU, UT, or MU.

BG put five guys onto the Second team.

Junior quarterback Omar Jacobs, a first-team selection in 2004, and sophomore offensive lineman Kory Lichtensteiger, a second-team choice last year, also was recognized for the second straight year. Senior wide receiver Charles Sharon, senior defensive back Terrill Mayberry, and junior offensive lineman Derrick Markray were chosen All-MAC for the first time in their careers.

There's some little grips here and there, but nothing major. Steve Sanders is as good as Sharon. Jelani Jordan ended up tied for the MAC lead in INTs, and doesn't get second team. Having said that, it was an uninspiring year, and we can't ask for much more than this.

Greg Jennings was offensive player of the year awards--well deserving. Dan Bauzin of CMU was defensive player of the year, Cubit Coach of the Year and Tim Hiller Fr. of the year. Jason Robbins of UT was the special teams player of the year, yet only the second team kicker.

UT is going to the GMAC Bowl, which I think is fair. They were 8-3 and clearly the second most deserving team in the MAC. They are also the league's most consistent and successful program. I feel badly for NIU, which is always on the verge of getting hosed. If Akron beats them, then they are most likely out in the cold. Which is why I am rooting for NIU to drill Akron like a dentist.

First Team All-MAC Offense
Center - Brian Van Acker, Northern Illinois, Sr., Crystal Lake, Ill.#
Lineman - Nate Bunce, Miami, Sr., Hamilton, Ohio
Lineman - Doug Free, Northern Illinois, Jr., Manitowoc, Wis.^
Lineman - Ben Lueck, Northern Illinois, Sr., Oswego, Ill.^
Lineman - John Greco, Toledo, So., Youngstown, Ohio
Tight End - Tony Scheffler, Western Michigan, Sr., Chelsea, Mich.
Wide Receiver - Martin Nance, Miami, Maryland Heights, Md.
Wide Receiver - Sam Hurd, Northern Illinois, Sr., San Antonio, Texas
Wide Receiver - Greg Jennings, Western Michigan, Sr., Kalamazoo, Mich.#@
Quarterback - Bruce Gradkowski, Toledo, Sr., Pittsburgh, Pa.
Runningback - Garrett Wolfe, Northern Illinois, Jr., Chicago, Ill.#
Runningback - Kalvin McRae, Ohio, So., Decatur, Ga.
Runningback - Trinity Dawson, Toledo, Sr., Tulsa, Okla.
Placekicker - Andrew Wellock, Eastern Michigan, Jr., Canton, Ohio#

First Team All-MAC Defense
Outside Linebacker - John Busing, Miami, Sr., Alpharetta, Ga.^
Outside Linebacker - Mike Alston, Toledo, Jr., Columbus, Ohio
Inside Linebacker - Matt Muncy, Ohio, Jr., Miamisburg, Ohio
Inside Linebacker - Ameer Ismail, Western Michigan, Jr., Holland, Mich.
Down Lineman - Dan Bazuin, Central Michigan, Jr., McBain, Mich.#
Down Lineman - Justin Parrish, Kent State, Sr., Landover Hills, Md.^
Down Lineman - Marcus Johnson, Miami, Sr., Youngstown, Ohio#
Down Lineman - Quince Holman, Northern Illinois, Sr., Woodridge, Ill.
Defensive Back - Darrell Hunter, Miami, Sr., Middletown, Ohio^
Defensive Back - Ray Smith, Northern Illinois, Sr., Crown Point, Ind.
Defensive Back - Dion Byrum, Ohio, Sr., Matthews, N.C.
Defensive Back - Keon Jackson, Toledo, Sr., East Chicago, Ill.^@
Punter - Chris Miller, Ball State, Fr., Libertyville, Ill.

Second Team All-MAC Offense
Center - Todd Londot, Miami, Sr., Utica, Ohio^
Lineman - Kory Lichtensteiger, Bowling Green, So., Van Wert, Ohio^
Lineman - Derrick Markray, Bowling Green, Jr., Detroit, Mich.
Lineman - Jeff Jenerou, Central Michigan, Sr., Manistique, Mich.
Lineman - Mark Kracium, Miami, Sr., New Craslile, Ohio
Tight End - Jake Nordin, Northern Illinois, Jr., Lake Lilian, Minn.
Tight End - Chris Hopkins, Toledo, Jr., Chicago, Ill.
Wide Receiver - Domenik Hixon, Akron, Sr., Columbus, Ohio
Wide Receiver - Charles Sharon, Bowling Green, Sr., Palatka, Fla.
Wide Receiver - Ryne Robinson, Miami, Jr., Toledo, Ohio
Quarterback - Omar Jacobs, Bowling Green, Jr., Delray Beach, Fla.#
Running Backs - Brett Biggs, Akron, Sr., Bartow, Fla.^
Runningback - Brandon Murphy, Miami, Jr., Strongsville, Ohio
Running Backs - Trovon Riley, Western Michigan, Sr., Kankakee, Ill.
Placekicker - Todd Soderquist, Miami, Sr., College Grove, Tenn.
Placekicker - Jason Robbins, Toledo, Sr., Sylvania, Ohio

Second Team All-MAC Defense
Outside Linebacker - Brion Stokes, Akron, So., Charlotte, N.C.
Outside Linebacker - Isaac Brown, Central Michigan, Jr., Saginaw, Mich.
Inside Linebacker - Thomas Keith, Central Michigan, Jr., Franklin, Ga.
Inside Linebacker - Anthony Jordan, Toledo, Sr., Whitehall, Ohio
Lineman - Kiki Gonzalez, Akron, Sr., Elizabeth, N.J.
Lineman - Blair Kramer, Ball State, Sr., Maumee, Ohio
Lineman - Kevin Howe, Eastern Michigan, Jr., Fruitport, Mich.
Lineman - Danny Muir, Kent State, Sr., Lanham, Md.
Defensive Back - Terrill Mayberry, Bowling Green, Jr., Farmington Hills, Mich.
Defensive Back - Rontrell Woodruff, Eastern Michigan, Sr., Southfield, Mich.
Defensive Back - Joey Card, Miami, Jr., Canton, Ohio
Defensive Back - Louis Delmas, Western Michigan, Fr., North Miami Beach, Fla.
Punter - Josh Brazen, Kent State, Sr., Ada, Ohio

Honorable Mention
Punter - Matthew Miller, Ohio, Sr., Westerville, Ohio
Running Back - Ontario Sneed, Central Michigan, Fr., Decatur, Ill.
Outside Linebacker - Michael Richardson, Eastern Michigan, Jr., Indianapolis, Ind.
Inside Linebacker - Jay Rohr, Akron, Sr., Massilon, Ohio

Specialty Awards
Coach of the Year - Bill Cubit, Western Michigan
Offensive Player of the Year - Greg Jennings, Western Michigan
Defensive Player of the Year - Dan Bazuin, Central Michigan
Freshman of the Year - Tim Hiller, Western Michigan
Special Teams Player of the Year - Jason Robbins, Toledo
Vern Smith Leadership Award Winner - Bruce Gradkowski, Toledo, and Greg Jennings, Western Michigan

What Mooch's firing means

  1. A new lease on life for Joey.
  2. Greg Olson takes the offense where the talent is--vertical. Jones is used to draw safeties in, in classic play action fashion.
  3. There's a reason to watch on Sunday.
  4. 50/50 chance that Jauron gets the new job.
  5. 50/50 chance that the first two weeks after Mooch make him look even worse than he really was.
  6. CRog gets worked back into the lineup.
  7. A new offense in the off-season.
If you go to Mlive, you can see all the dirt. This move had to be made if for no other reason than the Lions are completely imploding in the locker room. Dre Bly says Joey is the only one to blame for these problems--??--and other people snipe at one another. Someone had to restore order. Bly quote below:

C’mon man. It’s not hard to figure out. When coaches are fired the first guy they look to who is not developing is the quarterback. The quarterback here has been bad, as far as his play. He hasn’t gotten the job done since I’ve been here and they’re pointing the finger at Mooch.

Millen Press Conference on Now

Jauron is in! Its Jauron! Jauron! Stop the Presses!

No deals beyond this season.

Killer asks if he considered not taking the job....Jauron says he asked Steve, but that it wasn't personal, it was business.

Millen says Olson is the OC and will call plays.

Dick Jauron talks like he is talking to someone with an IQ of 80.

Says he thought about it for 30 minutes before taking the job, so it was agonizing.

Mooch Update

From, Killer speculates that QB coach Greg Olsen could be the guy to take over if Jauron ultimately does not agree. He's coveted around the league right now. The Saints wanted him to be their offensive coordinator, but the Lions didn't give him permission to interview.

Tom also hit the forum with this nugget.

as of right now (1:15 p.m.), dick jauron has NOT agreed to be the lions head coach ... there is definitely a hangup in the talks and i've heard it's because jauron wants some long-term assurances but i can't confirm that ... still, as of now, jauron is not on board ...

Mooch is Gone

The Lions fired Mooch today, and some assistants. More news to come in a press conference at 4.

Look for Tollner to go, and Greg Jones will be the next OC.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Jerry Green of the Detroit News says its the worst season he's seen in 35 years of Lions football

Remember, this isn't Rob Parker talking.

Green's column is linked here, but the key excerpt is below.

It has been another ruined season. And to me, having hung around for so many other implosions, this has been the worst season of all. The worst in 35 years or more. It has been worse than those that resulted in the firing of Rick Forzano and Tommy Hudspeth, worse than the difficult years of Monte Clark and the disastrously bewildering years of Darryl Rogers. Worse than those confusing, and sometimes semi-successful, seasons of Wayne Fontes. Worse than Bobby Ross’ regime with its moderate success and undisciplined failures. Worse even than Marty Mornhinweg’s two atrocious seasons — and Mariucci’s first two of slip-sliding through the autumn.

It is the worst because this season, 2005, the Lions talked about playoffs. Joey Harrington did. The Lions, it appeared, had the best talent of the four teams in the weak NFC North. Simply, they did not seem to be as weak as the other three, the Bears, the Packers, the Vikings. They figured to make it into the first week of the postseason, at least.

What occurred on their home turf of Ford Field on Thanksgiving with millions of America’s pro football addicts bearing witness on television was abject humiliation. The Lions plain disgraced themselves in their 27-7 loss to the Falcons.

I hadn't looked at it this way, but he makes a good point. After rebuilding, high draft picks, a solid coach--you just think you'd compete this year. And to completely and totally stink...its pretty bad. I feel as bad as during one of those two win seasons....its become largely unwatchable. At least before it was funny.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

The BG-UT game in 23 acts.

As I wrote in my BG-UT post, it was one of those games when you can look back and find little nuggets of the ebb and flow of the game where it could literally have turned on any play--missed opportunities, converted plays, big stops, everything. It really was a classic game--though one we should have won.

I took a look at the play by play, with an eye toward a closer analysis of the phenomenon I mention above--the operatic storyline of a closely played, important football game.

  1. Omar Jacobs is credited with a first quarter TD he apparently didn't score.
  2. UT recovers their own fumble on the ensuing kickoff--a huge momentum play if we get it, score and get the home crowd rocking.
  3. We block the UT punt on the same possession, but throw incomplete passes (note a theme here) on second and third downs to fail to capitalize. Again, a score here, and the crowd's rocking and we could be off to the races.
  4. On a 4th and 10 from our 26, we hold Steve Odom inches short on a pass, and take the ball over. Again, UT handing us a key opportunity, if we capitalize.
  5. Starting on our own 17 (after the Odom 4th down play), we are inside UT territory after four running plays. Then, on 3rd and 1 from their 30, we get an illegal motion, throw an incomplete pass on third down and then punt from their 35 (a touchback). A key missed opportunity where passing failed to convert.
  6. On the next possession, we have a chance to get off the field. Its third and 7 from their 23. Instead, Bruce and Odom get 8 and keep the drive alive--a major factor later when we were tired in OT.
  7. On our 15, UT fumbles. We get yet another opportunity to capitalize on their error. Instead, on 3rd and 3 we get a replay-review incomplete pass to Ruiz that was initially a fumble and have to punt.
  8. UT recovers their own fumble on the 34--a huge play if we fall on it. To the contrary, Broussard rips off 28 yards on the very next play, and Odom ties the game three plays later on a 29 yard TD pass.
  9. Next possession (starting with 1:11 on the 2Q clock), we get the ball. We are in UT territory in two freaking plays! We get down to their 19, take a sack, and then have a FG blocked. Big momentum for UT.
  10. First drive of the second half. We get a three and out. Unfortunately, we are called for a roughing the kicker penalty, and UT capitalizes with a FG to take the lead.
  11. Next possession, on the combination of a short kick and a penalty, we start on our own 44. This time we capitalize and get the TD (14-10) on a few rapid fire plays and a UT personal foul. Where was that before the half--and later?
  12. Next possession. On 3rd and 5, Bruce throws incomplete. We are heading off the field, maybe to take control of the game. Mayberry is flagged for a personal foul, and UT again converts with a TD (17-14).
  13. BG takes the kickoff on its own 30. Two lays later, we are on the UT 38. After a pass interference and a catch by Derrick Lett, we are first and goal. Two incomplete passes and a poor run, and we have to settle for a FG where I am sure the Rockets would have scored (17-17).
  14. UT comes right back, scoring a TD on a three play drive including a 46 yard pass to Odom. (24-17).
  15. BG comes out and throws three incomplete passes, and the D is put on the spot.
  16. BG's defense comes through and gets the stop with a sack on 3-11.
  17. To our credit, we take advantage of this one, going 71 yards in five plays to tie the game @ 24.
  18. The D comes out and gets another stop, with a Parks sack on 4-7 from our 32.
  19. Again we take advantage. In four plays, we moved from our 38 to the UT 23. PJ ran it three times to the 11 and then Sanders scored. We lead (31-24 with 7:56 left). One more stop and it might be over.
  20. Not this time. UT converts a 3rd and 10, makes a 3rd and 10 into a 4th and 1 that they make, and then they score to tie the game (31-31). Clutch 6:13, 14 play drive on the road staring defeat in the face for UT.
  21. We have 1:43 to try and win the game. In two plays, we are at midfield. On 1st and 10 we ran our guaranteed 10 yard WR screen, where we throw it to Sharon, and Sanders and Rob Warren block and Chuck powers down the sideline. This time, Omar throws it at his feet. On second down, Omar throws a ball so wild that it hits the defender in the numbers--and is not intercepted only because he isn't looking. On third down, PJ Pope stretches to the chain, only to be about six inches short of a critical first down. We're going, run the sneak, but there's an illegal motion penalty and we punt. OT. (Perhaps the most critical decision in the game. I was in favor of punting, but perhaps that was the wrong answer. Maybe you take the shot and go.)
  22. In OT, there isn't much to say. We traded quick TDs. Then on 3rd and 6 we threw a crappy one yard pass to Sharon surrounded by six guys. UT goes for the kill and wins.
  23. Somewhere in there, Steve Odom dropped a sure TD pass way behind the defenders.
See what I mean? The whole game was a tapestry of missed chances, converted chances, some defensive stops, but in the end, a Rocket team that figures out how to win.

The Rockets may end up with the MAC's second bowl bid if NIU beats Akron as expected. More power to them. They are the MAC's most consistent and dominant team and they deserve credit for it. Our program has to strive just to be that good. Meanwhile, we got 1-3 in MAC games at home, whereas UT has lost twice at home in something like 30 games.

Apparently, Millen has reconsidered on the wisdom of an in-season firing

Note the words "in-season." Killer has the story today on a bizarre about face from the Lions GM.

Millen was close to pulling the trigger but he didn't. The only logical explanation is that he didn't like his options. The only viable candidate to replace Mariucci at this juncture is defensive coordinator Dick Jauron, the former head coach of the Chicago Bears.

Maybe Millen didn't want to make the move to Jauron for philosophical reasons, thinking his approach was too similar to Mariucci's. Or maybe Jauron didn't want the job at all or, perhaps, Jauron was asking for too much money or too much future security and wouldn't accept the job without some assurances.

Who knows. But Mooch now goes the rest of the season with a sword over his head, and no authority with the players. Candidly, I don't think firing him would have helped very much, and we would run the risk that Jauron would run off some wins and we would have been stuck with him next season.

Either way, its just another day of mismanagement of the worst franchise in football--possibly in pro sports.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Mooch not gone----today

Killer reports that nothing will happen today, and that he thinks Jauron is playing hard ball on an interim coaching contract, with Millen resisting. Since Jauron is really the only option, he probably he thinks he holds all the cards. Millen does not, in fact, have a lot of options, but he could ride it out to the end of the season....

No comments on Lions game

Because there was nothing remarkable about fact, the remarkable thing is that this coach after coach meltdown, rebuilding after rebuilding collapse, is absolutely un-remarkable.

From the Free Press:

Nov. 25 Free Press: The game ended in fitting fashion. Orlovsky took a shot into the end zone for tight end Casey FitzSimmons. When the ball fell to the turf out of bounds, the Lions' mascot, Roary, dove for it. He couldn't get it, either. Then Orlovsky lost a fumble. The Falcons recovered it, took a knee, and that was it.

And the inevitable coup de grace:

8:52 a.m. - TomKowalski: About Mooch ... i think millen is very close to pulling the trigger, but you have to understand something ... while a lot of you might take great glee if firing mooch, millen won't ... mooch really is a helluva guy and this isn't going to be easy ... for the sake of the team, i think it's necessary ... the locker room is a lost cause ... i just don't see how the lions can continue on this course ... like i said, i think millen has already made his decision, it's just a matter of when he's going to do it -- this afternoon or in five weeks ... my guess is that it's 95 percent today ...

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Over and Out

When it's over
That's the time I fall in love again
And when it's over
That's the time you're in my heart again
And when you go go go go
I know
And it never ends
It never ends

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Rockets beat Falcons

I don't know what to say. More will come in the coming weeks, which will almost certainly be Falcon-free, unless Kent pulls an absolute shocker tomorrow. The Rocket game itself was a great football game--one of those tight games where nearly every play had game-changing consequences. In the end, the Rockets were the better team, and deserved to win the game.

Two factors overrode the entire thing. First, you cannot let the Rockets rush for 284 yards. If they establish that kind of running game, their deadly play action pass game will absolutely be there--you cannot defend it, and you cannot stop it. You will pay if the offense executes, and Bruce is a winner. So, the same run defense that killed us all year killed us again on Tuesday.

Second, our offense just wasn't where it needed to be--and not for a lack of talent. In fact, we may never have had so much talent on that side of the ball in our history. A bunch of things played into that, but before people start talking about scoring 31 points in regulation, etc, let me say why it mattered. It mattered because to win the game, we needed a drive in the last minute to get at least into FG range. It mattered because sticking the ball back into the end zone after the blocked punt might have set us on a course to a rout. It mattered because our defense got tired because our offense couldn't stay on the field.

A winning team takes that drive in the fourth quarter and wins the game on its home field. Why didn't we? First, I am afraid that Omar is a technician, and not a general. If Josh Harris is our QB, he carries the team on his back down the field. If Bruce Gradkowski is our QB, he carries the team down the field if he has to.

Even more disturbing is the overall tenor of the offense. Poor execution. Omar all over the place in the fourth quarter, and with more than enough time to throw. He did all he could to throw a pick, and the Rockets merely failed to oblige. Beyond that, notice the incredibly aggressive and creative offense the Rockets run. They just do not let up, and they find more ways to move the ball than any team I have seen (note they have a new OC...and note that our team used to have that reputation, too). That throwback screen to the TE in the fourth quarter worked as well this year as it did last year. The winning TD was a great use of play action and misdirection to get a guy open in the end zone.

Note that they did NOT do what I fear we would have done---throw a dink pass five yards upfield and hope you can run for the first down.

I'm disappointed, not so much for the Rocket game, but for how the whole season appears to have ended. We'll review it all shortly, once we know its over, but the Rockets continue to have a better program than we have, and that doesn't have to be. We can brag about our accomplishments, but the Meyer/Brandon era continues to have provided one (and almost certainly to stay one) division title, and no MAC Championships.

Up until this year, we were exciting and flashy also-rans. This year we were underachieving, uninteresting, and uninspired also-rans.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Falcons and Rockets--the key to winning

Tonight's the big game--Falcons and the Rockets from the Doyt. November football in the Midwest--a good crowd, we hope, and hopefully a Falcon team that makes last week's win into a trend and doesn't regress to earlier performances (and I mean games we won like OU, BSU, etc).

A few thoughts.

UT is backed into a corner, and they will bring a better game than the one they brought last week. Bruce won't play as poorly as he did, and his receivers will catch the ball. UT is a well coached team, and they won't stink two weeks in a row.

Having said that, we had better be ready to go. Any of the problems which hurt this team in the games I mentioned above, and we're looking at a Boise-type situation, and I don't care where the game is being played.

We have to eliminate mistakes. That means taking care of the ball, and making our special teams plays. Just as importantly, I'm including tackling. If you don't tackle UT, they score TDs in their system. We simply must bring the tackling game we brought against Miami, running to the ball and wrapping up. Are our guys learning the Lovett system, or did we catch an out-of-sync Miami team? Let's hope its the former.

The other key to our team is to get a lead. We played well with a lead against Miami, and we need to get one tonight. Omar has to be on, and Sharon and Sanders have to be determined to make their last game at home a winner. We have to bring the passing game we have not brought since the Wisconsin game, and haven't brought for a whole game since GMAC. Pope and Lane have to be running and darting, receivers have to be open, Omar has to be accurate. If the offense is playing well, the pressure on the opposing team is tremendous.

I understand we are 6.5 point favorites. I'd take the points. This is going to be close, in my opinion. I simply don't believe UT will get blown out today, and I hope we can't get blown out too bad at home. We have to absolutely bring our best game to win this one. I hate to admit it, but I think over the course of the season, UT is the better team. Are we peaking now? Let's hope so. Playing in the MAC Championship game would be a sweet end to a season, and a MAC title, obviously, is what the goal has been all along. (A rematch with WMU wouldn't be bad, either).

I'm nervous, and I don't feel confident. Perhaps I am mistaken, and I will be happy to see us dominate tonight, but I don't expect to see it. May my gut feeling please be wrong.