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.

Matt Lefeld does not have a broken foot

Here's DD in the Sentinel:

"Doctors told him he couldn't play basketball and they knew this was going to come eventually. His X-rays are going to be read by a radiologist and we're hoping and praying it's not any type of fracture in there."

So, that's not good, if it's something he's had his whole life, because it means its not going to go away. The Blade reporter came onto this AM and said it is, indeed, not a break, but the situation is serious enough that he isn't going to practice much, just as Fitch did not.

The real question is how does it effect his minutes? If he can't play more than 25 minutes or so, it really hurts our team. Of course, he's been self-limiting that with fouls (smile). Come to think of it, he probably hasn't played those kind of minutes since HS--though he has obviously lived through many Dakich practices.

Miami Wins, BG has three chances to win East

For BG to win the East, ONE of these three things must happen:

BG beats UT.
WMU beats NIU.
Kent beats Akron.

Akron needs all three to make the MACC--which could certainly happen.

On beating the Rockets....later today.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Reds Talking to Sweet Lou

Redsnation is abuzz with a meeting between the new owner and Sweet Lou. Will there be money and will there be some pitching? If not, Lou will just be managing a more historic version of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Lions defensive players seen here waiting for post-game bus.

Lions commentary slowly dwindling

as my apathy increases. Its just another crappy, hopeless year, looking like another 6 win season and another wasted high draft pick.

Today, frankly, could have been worse. You start out as a bad team playing against a good team, without five starters on defense and your "starting" QB. I thought the defense played very courageously at times, but you can't dismiss the 17 penalties, the most for the Lions in 35 years, and a team that cannot run the ball at all. We also gave up something like 26 first downs, though 9 were on penalties. Joey was OK, but his completion % is inflated by the extremely safe set of plays he is allowed to execute. He didn't make any mistakes. Roy was good, and CRog appeared to finally act like he cared--the same week the Lions tried to collect his bonus back from him, in what amounts either to "sending a message" or yet another self-injuring move by what could be the worst franchise in pro sports.

Well, look for another loss against a hungry Falcon team on Thursday, and we're now 4-7 and looking at another losing season.

Did you see the look on Mooch's face. He was trying to get that Cowher frown going, but he just doesn't have it in him. He looked pissed off, but like he was out of practice being pissed off.

I believe his job is in jeopardy. If this team can finally make a hire, I still don't think this team is so far from competing. But, you'd never guess it from this debacle.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Central Beats Ball State

So the Falcons cannot clinch before the game Tuesday against the Rockets.

Ball had them beaten until CMU blocked a punt with about 2 minutes left and returned it for a TD to take a 3-point lead. Ball sent the game to OT, where they lost in the first overtime.

Three East title routes exist.

  • Beat Toledo.
  • Lose to Toledo, but Miami beats OU and WMU beats NIU.
  • Lose to Toledo, but Kent beats Akron.

Falcons smoke Urbana....

As they should. They are in the NAIA, and they aren't strong at that level and they're down some guys on top of it. Two notable things....1,035 people showed up to watch instead of watching the OSU-UM game, and Matt Lefeld didn't play due to an injury that will keep him out one week. There is concern if its a deep bruise or a break. Let's hope he can go against Oakland--we are totally screwed on the inside without him. Dakich on Lefeld and the other injuries.

"It is a bone bruise right now... His x-rays will be read by a radiologist on Monday and we're hoping and praying that there isn't any type of fracture in there. ...But right now, it is a bone bruise."

"Steven is out of his boot and Dusan is out of his boot. They're not going to practice but they're doing their rehab stuff with our trainer."

Friday, November 18, 2005

Tuesday Presser on Friday

Coach Brandon held his presser today for next week's big contest against Toledo. Here's what I liked to hear:

Q: How much of a motivator is the second half of last year's game?
GB: We hammered that (into the players) pretty well in the offseason. Now, it's a new time, it's a new game. The kids all remember that game, I don't need to remind them -- we did that at 6:00 a.m. in January and February. This is a new opportunity.
He also talked about UT having something to play for, and how he kind of hoped they wouldn't. Let's hope we don't, either. GO BALL STATE!! GO MIAMI!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

One time in my life I root for the Rockets

And they freaking blow it.

Next Tuesday is two teams in the cage, with one to survive.

Updated third place tiebreakers.

BGSU: Ball State, Western Michigan and Toledo (14-7)
Miami: (NIU, CMU, EMU) (11-10)
Akron opponents (NIU, CMU and Ball) (13-8)

Now, let's reset. Akron's opponents still can't top 15 wins, so we need two wins out of our opponents. We go to 15 because Toledo would beat us under the scenario, and if BSU beat Central we'd be OK and if WMU beat Northern we would be OK. The BSU-Central game is the last chance BEFORE the BG-UT game for something to happen.

After all this, maybe OU will beat Miami anyway.

Mac Tie-Breakers

As the dust settles with the victory over Miami, people are starting to do the math and wonder what would happen if we did lose to Toledo. We know we lose the tie-breaker to Akron, but what about a three-way tie with BG, Miami, and Akron, each with a 1-1 record among the teams in the tie.

It would appear, in fact, that we could easily know on Monday night, if Miami beat OU (which I expect them to do).

Let's look:

Here's a direct quote from the Miami news release:

If a win over Miami and loss to Toledo results in a three-way tie with Miami and Akron, the tie would come down to the third tiebreaker, which goes to the team whose three cross-division opponents owned the highest winning percentage.

Here are the standings so far in this "race."

BGSU: Ball State, Western Michigan and Toledo (14-6)
Miami: (NIU, CMU, EMU) (10-10)
Akron opponents (NIU, CMU and Ball) (12-8)

Remaining Games for cross-division rivals:

Nov. 16 - Wednesday (Implications for all 3--BG Needs UT to win)
*Northern Illinois at Toledo, 7:30

Nov. 19 - Saturday (Implications for all three)
*Eastern Michigan at Buffalo, 1:30
*Central Michigan at Ball State, 1:00

Nov. 21 - Monday (Miami must win or this scenario doesn't even happen)
*Miami at Ohio, 7:30

Nov. 22 - Tuesday (UT wins, or this scenario doesn't even happen)
*Toledo at Bowling Green, 7:00

Nov. 23 - Wednesday (Effects all three teams)
*Western Michigan at Northern Illinois, 1:00

Nov. 24 - Thursday (Akron must win or this scenario doesn't happen)
*Kent State at Akron, 10:00 a.m.

So, let's kill some more time with what if.

What's the maximum amount of wins Miami's opponents can get?

If NIU beats Toledo, EMU beats Buffalo, CMU beats Ball State, and Northern beats WMU, than they would be 14-10. If that happened, BG would be 15-9, due to UT's win against us. We can't have fewer than 15, so I can't see how Miami beats us in this category.

Now, how about Akron?

If NIU beats Toledo and Western, and they get one win and one loss when Central and Ball play each other, they go 15-9, which is a tie with us and probably means that the head to head kicks in and Akron goes.

So, if Toledo beats NIU, they can't go over 14, and since BG has a minimum of 15 under this scenario....


Or so I think until someone proves me wrong. (Maureen Fulton of the Blade has been on with the same analysis)


Sometimes the light's all shining on me
Other times I can barely see
Lately it occurs to me
What a long strange trip it's been

What a night. What a strange night. From a 2 1/2 hour storm delay, to three safeties, to a thumping no one expected, it was one of those weird nights.

Thank goodness that this time, it bounced in our favor!

On Sunday, I published some things we had to do to win, under the heading of "IF." Let's take a look at how they came out.

If....Omar plays AND is sharp--like the early Wisconsin game, we can win.

Omar was pretty sharp. He was 21-34, though he threw 2 INTS. (I think Ruiz short-armed the second one). We were very conservative, so he only had 178 yards and no completion over 22 yards. 4 of his 21 completions were to Pope for a total of 4 yards, so that hurt. Still, the offense was humming when it needed to be, and adjusted accordingly when we had a big lead.

If...Turner plays, and we see the results of an offensive mastermind at work in our game plan, using the bye week to put new wrinkles into our attack, we can win. (Remember when that Missouri writer called our offense diabolical?)

Turner didn't play until it was over. We did have a better offensive game plan. We ran the ball when they dropped eight, we had a FL pass for a TD and we ran that throwback play for the first time in a long time for a TD. Our game plan was still very, very conservative. Tons of screens (which were not there), but then again, we had a big lead.

If...our year of hard knocks learning on rugby punts work and Ryne Robinson doesn't get any big returns off, we can win.

The punting game was good, as were the special teams in general. Robinson was contained on special teams.

If...the defense can get off the field, even occasionally, we can win.

The defense played its best game of the season. I was really happy with how they played. They seemed to do a lot more switching up and blitzing, a lot more changing looks, we got good pressure on Betts, coverage was generally there, we stopped the run effectively for much of the game--and this against a team which was really moving the ball coming into this game. Betts was obviously off his game, but we were making it hard on him. We contributed to that. As for getting off the field, Miami was 2-13 on third down.

If...we used the bye week to really prepare an aggresive, winning game plan, we can win.

I think we did.

If...we go at least +2 on turnovers, we can win.

How does +4 grab you? Then, add in the four punt/snap exchanges, which really are turnovers in every sense (especially psychologically), and you have a game where Miami made a bunch more mistakes than we did.

If...PJ Pope is a true weapon, running and catching, we can win.

The running game was strong early when we set the tempo, but did not finish strong. Pope only had 43 yards in 20 carries, and four catches for four yards. Miami did succeed in neutralizing him. (Remember when PJ used to catch passes downfield?) PJ dropped at least two other screens, too. I hope we spend this week figuring out how to get him into the game more against Toledo.

If...we get a lead and take the crowd out of the game, we can win.

Well, we did take the lead, but Mother Nature took the crowd out of the game for us. This was a huge break and it can't be over-estimated. Having the crowd out of the stadium negated a huge advantage that Miami would have had.


Actually, not a bad prognosis on my part. All the elements did come together last night. You could lose a couple details in there (the problems rushing, only 19 first downs, etc), but I am thrilled with the win, and thrilled with how our guys responded. Wouldn't it be great if we are peaking now, just when we need to? Beat Toledo (maybe twice), and rally for a MAC title when we really were right up against it? That would be sweet. More later.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Looks like a nasty night in Oxford

Hour by hour forecast has strong storms during the game.

Since I suspect we are in trouble, anything that shifts the prevailing dynamic works in our favor.

One Day More

Today's the day. Let's hope our team exceeds expectations, wins the big road game, gets help in Athens, and moves on to the MAC Championship game. We've had this game circled all year (although we didn't expect to be 5-4 when we got here). We have only won one game against a team with a winning record on the road in the Brandon/Meyer era. We need to make it today.

"To be a champion, you've got to play and win a game like this," Brandon said. "We've talked with our team about it. We need to go on the road with a hostile environment, quality opponent, big conference game, and win that game."
Here's the latest from the Blade on what the QB situation is:

In practice last weekend, Jacobs and redshirt freshman Anthony Turner took the same amount of snaps. Turner is still recovering from bruised ribs and a left shoulder strain suffered in the Kent State game.

"Neither one of them are 100 percent," Brandon said yesterday. "It's a game-time decision based on who we think is throwing the best and who we think can fight through some of the physical problems that they're fighting right now."

Miami coach Shane Montgomery said the RedHawks "fully expect Omar Jacobs to play."

"Knowing the competitor that he is and what he means to that team, we fully expect to see him out there," Montgomery said.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Omar ready to play

On a radio appearence tonight, Coach Brandon said that Omar was cleared to play, and that he hadn't decided who would start. You may see them both as a change of pace, but expect Omar to get the majority of the snaps.

What is Lionel Sullivan's Status?

"The NCAA ruled that (Lionel) was ineligible, and we've appealed that to where he is getting his full grant-in-aid, and he was able to practice while we were appealing it, and just before we left last week, they denied his appeal but gave him scholarship money, so we are going back and further appealing and asking he be allowed to practice. In the long run, it's going to end up really well for Lionel, its going be a redshirt year. In the short run we could have really used him the other day, I mean all weekend we could have really used him, but..."


Sunday, November 13, 2005

Falcon If-statements for Tuesday

If....Omar plays AND is sharp--like the early Wisconsin game, we can win.

If...Turner plays, and we see the results of an offensive mastermind at work in our game plan, using the bye week to put new wrinkles into our attack, we can win. (Remember when that Missouri writer called our offense diabolical?)

If...our year of hard knocks learning on rugby punts work and Ryne Robinson doesn't get any big returns off, we can win.

If...the defense can get off the field, even occasionally, we can win.

If...we used the bye week to really prepare an aggresive, winning game plan, we can win.

If...we go at least +2 on turnovers, we can win.

If...PJ Pope is a true weapon, running and catching, we can win.

If...we get a lead and take the crowd out of the game, we can win.

If we don't?

Today's NFL message: The Cardinals really suck

Man, the Cardinals must be really bad, as they were waxed by the Lions--making Joey and R. Williams look more like Peyton and Marvin Harrison.

Roy scored three times, Joey had a QB rating of 120.7, Kevin Jones had 81 yards on 14 carries (nearly six yards per carry), and the Lions as a team rushed for 157 yards. We controlled the ball for almost 35 minutes of the game. That's not our team!

We did get torched for 359 yards in the air, but we continue to be banged up with Bly and now Goodman not available due to injury. The defense did convert a safety.

At 4-5, we're two games behind the Bears, plus the tiebreaker, so that's not something that is likely to transpire. Back to reality next week at Dallas and then we have the Falcons on Thanksgiving, so 4-7 is likely, and at that point, you have to really run the table to finish .500.

Big week of QB controversey in Detroit. I think Garcia starts in Dallas next week if he is healthy, and if the recievers (RWilliams and Pollard) bring their game, we could compete. One win in the next two would be a real accomplishment.

Oh, and after his big week in practice, nice game by Rogers. Those 4 yards were vital.

Falcons do another 180, facing backwards again

Its just going to be that kind of year. We lost by 18 to Radford, another winnable game. The game was closer than 18 points, in truth, but we were also never seriously in the game. We're not going to win too many games when the other team scores 81. We had 27 fouls (a season low!) and had 21 TOs. Combine that with 38% shooting, (33% in the second half).

Soler played his first strong game of the season (38 minutes, 8 points and 7 boards), while Samarco, Floyd and Marschall were all in double figures. Lefeld and Clements fouled out.

Nick Wilson played, so apparently we're not redshirting him. We cut our technicals down to zero for this game.

Well, we're one very lucky tip from being 0-3, so we should take what we can get with a 1-2 start, and a win over Urbana will take us to 2-2. Then we play a down Oakland team that we should be able to beat on our floor.

One final note: whoever scheduled the Urbana game for 2 PM on OSU-UM day isn't trying to build a crowd.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Falcons do 180, shock Hokies in wild finish

You cannot turn a sharper 180 then that. From a lackluster performance over a poor team that resulted in a midnight practice to winning your first game against an ACC team since 1967, in their gym....that's got a lot of Falcon fans feeling pretty good today.

The end was crazy. We had led most of the game, until Va Tech took the lead with 11 seconds left. Still, we had the ball. We came down the court (didn't call time because we only had one and Coach was afraid we would need one to get it inbounds at some point), and didn't really create anything. Floyd made a drive and got it around the rim, and one of their guys tipped it in as the clock ran out. Coach ran the team off the court in about :10 in case someone decided to change their mind...there was no TV of the game anyway.

Its so exciting because our whole challenge is about projection--how good is this team going to be? Thursday and today would yield completely different answers. But to win today, without Steven Wright, and two other freshmen, would tell us that this team has the potential to compete.

All caveats apply--Va Tech is a little banged up and is not a hoops power. But they are in the ACC, and it was on their floor.

What improved. We played tough the whole way. We had a 12-point lead in the first half, and everytime they chopped it to get close, we'd make a play and put the lead back up again. We had numerous opportunities to fold, and we didn't. We were in foul trouble, physicaly overmatched against a rallying team on their home floor--a tough situation. A couple of times, I just thought we wouldn't be able to close it. But, to use Coach's favorite phrase, we were tough.

We had huge foul problems again, though only 29 fouls were committed. Mawel, Marschall and Clements fouled out, and Lefeld and Moon finished with four.

We shot FTs well (82%), and shot the rock pretty well (45.3%). We took care of the ball pretty well (15 TOs), but more than any number, we just hung in there.

Some notes:

John Floyd had 17 points, all in the second half, including two clutch three's when the game had gotten close. Floyd is much maligned among Falcon fans, and I guess the answer really depends on what you think you are getting. He's not all-MAC, and he's not going to lead your team. But he is tough and a competitor and has delivered before under these kind of circumstances.

Martin Samarco lead the team with 21 points, taking 18 of our 53 shots, more than 33%. Still, shooters have to shoot. I think if he can play in a three-guard set with Wright, the two of them have some potential to get some points.

Erik Marschall continues to be a very promising player. He had 8 boards, and 11 points, and some key passes and baskets.

Darryl Clements also played a very solid game, though it really isn't a numbers thing.

Matt Lefeld continues to play like a new man, though he needs to work on his inside touch, he was 1-7 from the field today. But he had 9 boards, and didn't foul out, though he missed some time due to fouls.

I'm sure Va. Tech is peeved at how it turned out, but that's basketball. We were all jumping around when the game ended, it was very exciting. Let's hope we can not do another 180 and beat a bad Radford team, and come home 2-1.

Absolutely great day for the hoops program. Its a one-day at a time kind of thing, but if we can get the following rotation going every night:

G: Wright
G: Robinson/Floyd
G: Samarco
F: Marschall
F: Lefeld
Moten (in December)

We might be able to score enough to compete. I know this--our program hasn't had this big a non-MAC win since the McLeod/Matela era.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Falcons Ugly Performance Nearly Nets Victory

Dakich Tossed

The Falcons cruised to an 18-point deficit, rallied hard to get within two inside of a minute left, but lost. All in all, it was an absolutely ugly performance, punctuated by a post-game practice, as reported in The Blade.

Coach Dakich called the notion that the team's rally added a positive element to the night "ridiculous."

Coach himself was tossed with 12:00 left on two T's. The team picked up a bench T, and Samarco had a key one after hitting a trey to cut the lead to 2 inside of one minute.

Here's a tale of woe:

FG%: 36.5%
FT%: 47.1%
Fouls: 35 (Are you kidding me?!)
Players fouled out: (Soler, Samarco, Robinson)
Minutes played by Patrick Phillips: 13
Fouls by Patrick Phillips: 4

Positives: Matt Lefeld had 14 points and six boards and Eric Marschall appeared to make some nice plays (or sounded like it).

This team is bad enough as it is, and without Steven Wright, they are non-functioning. Let's hope we can beat Radford Sunday...because Virgina Tech is going to be a beating.

Its worth noting the Nick Wilson didn't play at all--redshirt alert.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Real Season

I made the comment to someone in late September that today baseball is a general manager's game. It really is practically like a fantasy draft--you gotta get the right guys onto the field within your budget, and draft the rights guys in the minors. Over long, long baseball seasons, with nice those luxurious large samples, individual little plays matter less, and managers have less influence. Its who takes all those at bats, and who pitches all those innings, that will decide who wins those games.

Its even truer if you don't have a big budget.

With that in mind, I think you can argue that the real season begins when the on-the-field play ends. What the Reds do over the next few months to create some pitching will determine their ability to compete next year. With the offense, they should be able to compete. had an article on that very topic today. It says not to expect a bunch of free agent signings.

Why? The pool is light, and it doesn't make sense to drop big $$ on average (or below average) players--HELLO ERIC MILTON. Free agent talent is especially thin where the Reds need help--pitching.

O'Brien heads into the winter months with three main objectives: Prepare for the possibility of arbitration with up to nine players, consider trade options involving his position players and scour the Minor League free agent pool for potential help.

Teams have already begun approaching O'Brien about trades involving his four outfielders (Adam Dunn, Austin Kearns, Wily Mo Pena and Ken Griffey Jr.) and two catchers (Jason LaRue and Javier Valentin).

And though O'Brien ultimately plans to keep the left side of his infield -- third baseman Edwin Encarnacion and shortstop Felipe Lopez -- intact, he said he's willing to listen to trade ideas involving almost any of his position players.

The article finishes, by the by, with an additional reason why the club might not be out looking at free agents... the potential for major salary arbitration costs to eat up the budget.

In my opinion, we need to make those trades. We're cutting Ortiz loose, and with Harang and Claussen, if we get just add three average or slightly below average pitchers, this team could compete...or at least have a winning season.

One other note. There are closers available. Interesting to see if we drop any $$ on one. I'd rather see a starter--Weathers and Mercker are good enough, and it isn't worth the $$ unless you get an absolute lockdown guy.

Marc Lancaster had a story in the post on this as well.

Red Reporter has his view--which is the DanO is on the right track, if only by not saying much at all.

Did CRog get the idea

Reports are the Rogers actually showed up in practice today, looking like he did before the two collarbone injuries. If the receivers can decide they want to play football, this team could still make the playoffs, and might, just, have a future.

On other reports, Roy will start, Harrington will start Sunday, and Vines and Mike Williams didn't practice.

Tracking Falcons

Listening to the Falcons agaisnt Western Carolina, we're down early (11-8). Worse news--hopefully with more info on the way--is the Lionel Simmons is ineligible. Let's hope its temporary, or not serious.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

More Falcon injury updates

In the Sentinel tonight, Coach Brandon says that Omar isn't cleared to play, yet. The trainer continues to say that it wouldn't be a good idea to put him in the game--or its all a smokescreen. Just as badly, Turner has bad ribs. He played in a lot of pain at Kent, but he's actually more banged up than Omar right now due to a lack of rest. So, right now, we don't have one healthy QB.

We're got six days to get it better.

Killer Gets the Goods on the Lions

The Ones (our receivers) have sucked the life from this team--or "become a cancer" in his words.

And the worst part of all, is that the receivers -- three guys specifically: Charles Rogers, Roy Williams and Mike Williams -- have destroyed the team unity.

Only the Lions could screw something up this badly.


Omar on the radio and in the press conference is saying that he doesn't know when, or if, he's playing. Could be games, could be serious. He even talked about missing the rest of the season...and Coach Brandon said it was always a "maybe Miami, Toledo for sure" kind of thing.

It helps to have Miami guessing which attack we bring. Its all speculation right now. We won't know until we get the ball the first time next Tuesday. Let's hope the team pulls together a win.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Things are bad in Detroit.

The situation continues to deteriorate. Now, Roy Williams and Mooch disagree about why Roy wasn't in the game, especially when Mike Williams was injured. I'd say it all comes down to an argument about what the word "emergency" means, but that's just too depressing.

Not surprisingly, Garcia will start if healthy against the Cardinals.

Here's other news from the Killerchat.

  • Mike Williams has a sprained foot and is in a boot and unlikely to play Sunday.
  • The Lions have lost four games to backup QBs. That hurts.
  • The team did not trash the plane.
  • CRog and Roy should play next week.

Tuesday Brandon Presser


  • Extra time will help get guys healthy.
  • Pope is close to 100%.
  • Its nice to have the two back set back in the offense.
  • Loren Hargrove played well @ KSU.
  • Championship teams win games on the road.
  • Turnovers are really costly on the road, because it gets their crowd into it.
  • Miami has a good offensive scheme.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

As Killer Says...The Lions are on the clock

Not really. As crappy as the North is, this team could still make the playoffs. But it would be an abomination before everything that is holy for that to happen.

Joey Harrington was our leading rusher today, and Scottie Vines our leading receiver. Contemplate those words as if they had been spoken in August.

The defense--without two Pro Bowlers--continues to play hard and generally effectively. The offense gave the Vikings too many chances, and that's not the fault of the defense. Minnesota did run at will against us, and Johnson passed OK, but they didn't score a ton of points. We played well on third down which always helps.

I cannot believe we are still here, in the age of parity. High draft pick after high draft pick--some apparent progress last season. And yet, here we are. A bad team saved only by a cupcake schedule.

Charles Rogers is eligible from his suspension--yet he never leaves Detroit.

Roy Williams is not healthy. Mike Williams is healthy enough to play, but doesn't really seem that interested in doing it.

Remember when Tollner was going to help take the wraps off the offense?

Kevin Jones is in a major sophomore slump, though he constantly runs hard. The line play is bad, and we seem to forget we have Marcus Pollard.

Its hard to keep commenting on something that never changes. At least we don't have to worry about some temporary, illusory Joeysurge taking over the team. He played OK, as ill-served by his line and receivers as they were by him. And those 17 rushing yards....can't stop talking about that.

But I am sure Garcia is back when he is healthy. It won't make much of a difference.

Is this whole thing going to have to be blown up again? Or can a new coach take what's here and make it a winner? All I know is, week after week, this team has gone way past interesting and into annoying.

JD at Reds Reporter linked this

Its Paul Daugherty, writing an open letter to the new owners of the Reds. It is an excellent roadmap. It also points out that you can win @ $75 million. To me, here's a key quote:

What is happening to the Reds is worse than anger. Apathy is here, like July humidity over the Ohio River. No winning seasons since 2000, no bold moves to improve - Jerry Narron, sound baseball man, nice guy, never won, is still here - nothing to get the baseball faithful hopping.
As I have said before, I'd like to think there's potential for the new owners. But I'm not expecting very much. Daugherty only punctuates the feelings by reminding us that it can be done.

Update: The Enquirer has this that says the new owner is a fiery competitor who won't be satisfied with fifth place. That would be a start.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Falcons live to fight another day

The Falcons picked up a hard fought 24-14 victory over Kent today. It was a struggle the whole way--complete with AT going down and having to bring in our #3 QB (DB Van Johnson, recruited at QB). This Kent team is very young and banged up on top of it, so I think we should be careful about talking like "we're back." But it was a win.

We took care of the ball. We had a game plan AT could execute, including 50 runs and 16 passes. We could have fallen apart when AT went down, but we didn't. The defense played well, creating turnovers, making tackles. We DIDN'T make Jerry Flowers look like a Heisman trophy candidate.

This was a road game, and one we plainly could have lost, and for the first time since Omar went down, we gritted it out and got the win.

Terrell White had a great game, and so did Brad Williams. The DBs played well, and great hands on that INT by John Haneline.

Special teams were much, much improved. Nate Fry punted well, even on the rugby punts. Chuck had a big return. By and large, this was a much improved effort.

I wouldn't go this far though:

Bowling Green Head Coach Gregg Brandon
"Our guys played lights out . Our defense stepped up and our kicking game came through at some key times. Our DBs were hitting like torpedoes. Offensively we did just enough to win the game and keep ourselves out of trouble (0 turnovers). Being able to finish after their turnovers gave us a chance to win the game. Our guys have focused this season and we're still playing for a championship."

My chief complaint is our "scaleability," as the computer guys say. When its Betts and not Machen on the other side, how will we do?

Still, as Coach said later in his comments, we are still playing for a championship. With Akron's loss in Muncie, we win two, and we win the East. In fact, if Akron loses to OU on 11/15 (the same night we play Miami), we clinch the East with a win.

How likely is that? Who knows. On one hand, you have our lousy road record against good teams and our general lackluster play this season. You have to think its unlikely that it all turns around and we pull out a win down there.

Then again, this season has had nothing likely happen yet. How about this? Omar comes back, and he and the team realizes that have cheated death, and the team that comes out of the tunnel in Oxford is sick of being a little short, and we get the attack from the Wisconsin game, and the defense from later in the season, and we pull it out. With our A game (mythical so far this season), we are capable of doing it.

Of course, we've been capable of more than we have shown all year. There's been a lot of worrying here about the program being in decline, about how tough we are, and about how we meet obstacles. There's been talk of Gary Blackney, of missing determination, of a lack of fire, of poor recruiting, or who's blaming who.

Two wins (maybe one), and there's no blaming anyone. Maybe they'll realize it, feel the pressure of expectations off their shoulders, and pull the big win out at Miami.

It would be sweet, and something we would talk about for a long time.

2005-6 Falcons Hoops Predictions

Thu 11/10/05 Western Carolina Blacksburg, Virginia
Sat 11/12/05 Virginia Tech Blacksburg, Virginia
Sun 11/13/05 Radford Blacksburg, Virginia
Sat 11/19/05 Urbana Bowling Green, Ohio
Wed 11/30/05 Oakland Bowling Green, Ohio
Sat 12/03/05 Bradley Peoria, Ill.
Sat 12/10/05 Arkansas-Little Rock Little Rock, Arkansas
Sat 12/17/05 Florida State Mobile, Alabama
Mon 12/19/05 Troy Troy, Alabama
Thu 12/29/05 Notre Dame (OH) Bowling Green, Ohio
Wed 01/04/06 Central Michigan Bowling Green, Ohio
Sat 01/07/06 Western Michigan Kalamazoo, Michigan
Wed 01/11/06 Northern Illinois Bowling Green, Ohio
Sun 01/15/06 Toledo Bowling Green, Ohio
Wed 01/18/06 Eastern Michigan Ypsilanti, Michigan
Sat 01/21/06 Ball State Muncie, Indiana
Tue 01/24/06 Buffalo Bowling Green, Ohio
Thu 01/26/06 Kent State Kent, Ohio
Sun 01/29/06 Akron Bowling Green, Ohio
Wed 02/01/06 Miami (Oh) Oxford, Ohio
Sat 02/04/06 Ohio Bowling Green, Ohio
Tue 02/07/06 Eastern Michigan Bowling Green, Ohio
Sat 02/11/06 Toledo Toledo, Ohio
Tue 02/14/06 Akron Akron, Ohio
Sat 02/18/06 Bracket Buster Bowling Green, Ohio Bracket BusterW
Tue 02/21/06 Kent State Bowling Green, Ohio
Sun 02/26/06 Buffalo Buffalo, NY
Wed 03/01/06 Miami (Oh) Bowling Green, Ohio
Sat 03/04/06 Ohio Athens, Ohio
Mon 03/06/06 MAC Tourn. 1st Round TBA

Thu 03/09/06 MAC Tourn. Quarterfinal Cleveland, Ohio

Fri 03/10/06 MAC Tourn. Semifinal Cleveland, Ohio

Sat 03/11/06 MAC Tourn. Championship Cleveland, Ohio

That all totals up to 14-15, 9-10 in the MAC. This scenario I am following is a team that starts poorly, and then gains strength as the season moves along, and the very young team matures and Brian Moten becomes eligible. Also, we could easily have won 2 of the 3 games in Blacksburg, but the team isn't health (no Wright or Dusan).

Therefore, January games at home against NIU and Toledo are listed as losses, but later in the year I think we could pick up wins against Kent and Miami at home.

This kind of season would be an accomplishment for this team. If somehow they finished over .500, it would be even better. Our out of conference schedule has some really poor teams--WCU, Radford, Troy and Oakland--which gives our team the chance to get some confidence.

One last concern. This pattern is absolutely contrary to how DD teams have played in the last few years, when we have started hot and then burned out as time went on. It would seem as if this is an especially big risk given the young players not used to the college season. My hope is that the success creates some momentum that overrides that.

We'll see how it rolls out. I'm looking forward to an additional diversion.

Friday, November 04, 2005

That's enough rooting for the Rockets

They gave us our help, and OU now has a third loss in the MAC. We can now lose one more game and still beat them. If Akron loses twice, and we beat Miami, we could lose to Toledo and win the East.

"What are they going to do, bench me,"

The storyline is this: Joey, freed from the pressure of carrying the team, has found himself, firing balls all over practice. With nothing to lose, he begins to play, finally. According to Killer, the team has a little more confidence in him.

Running the scout team might be a lot like playing the Minnesota Vikings, but its not the exact same thing.

On the plus side, Roy Williams and Mike Williams look like they might play. According to the Killer, Vines is our best receiver right now, anway. Mooch may bench Rogers to send a message to him. On the other hand, Killer is calling for him to get hooked into the offense right off the bat so he can set up a big game.

Don't know what to think. It would be Classic Lions--I mean, CLASSIC LIONS--for him to have an all-pro game out there Sunday against a badly sucking Viking team, even on the road.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Jo-ey! Jo-ey! Jo-ey! Jo-ey! Jo-ey! Jo-ey!
Jo-ey! Jo-ey! Jo-ey! Jo-ey! Jo-ey! Jo-ey!
Jo-ey! Jo-ey! Jo-ey! Jo-ey! Jo-ey! Jo-ey!
Jo-ey! Jo-ey! Jo-ey! Jo-ey! Jo-ey! Jo-ey!

Yes, Joey. We are all holding our breath.

Pope Receives well-deserved honor

He's been invited to play in the Hula Bowl!! Hawaii in January!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Lions List Garcia as Questionable

Lots of speculaton on mlive that Garcia is prepping his excuses for later. Never liked Garcia, not one bit. Glad to have him on my team, but I never liked him. Based on that, I guess you can think he might play, but he has to be able to move, or else he's no good to anyone. Killer is also speculating that Millen is letting Mooch hang himself with Garcia--and then Joey gets back in the mix under a new this the most screwed up organization in sports, or what?

Meanwhile, we signed LB Nate Wayne, a veteran with starting time, to a contract. Teddy Lehman won't play Sunday. Bell, DeVries, Holt, Rogers and both Williams' are questionable...OUCH! Dre Bly is out, too. We remain banged up, and we're playing an awful Viking team.