Thursday, August 31, 2006

What We Now Know

The first night of MAC football is in. What have we learned? Actually, not too much that we didn't know or suspect.

First, we now know (as opposed to suspect) that Toledo is back with a vengence. They played from behind all night before scoring a TD and 2-pointer late in the fourth to tie the game at 23. You do not want to tangle with the Rockets in OT. They are absolutely deadly. They went into the third OT in what appeared on gametracker to be a scintillating OT with big plays all around. Both teams scored TDs in the first two OTs, and then Iowa State got one to lead off the third--with the deuce on top. UT then scored, but could not covert the two and lost. Clint Cochran was 39-49 for 370 yards and 3 Tds/1 Int. Not too much question about QB succession, eh? The NIU-UT battle will be a good one this year. Either team could run the table, and they are clearly the best teams in the MAC.

Watched part of Boston College against Central. Central made a nice comeback, and appears to have a couple decent run/pass QBs. I like Brian Kelly, but between the goofy fourth down call in the first half that gave BC a TD, and that weird formation on the final drive that led to the game ending interception, I think he really took his team out of a position to win the game with unneeded trickery. Having said that, CMU will be a tough out, especially at home.

Update: Mgoblog's Brian Cook wrote on The Fanhouse at AOL about this. Key line:

Don't get me wrong: this is a wonderful development for college football. Central Michigan is competitive for the first time in years because they hired a man marginally less sane than Charles Manson. Brian Kelly, we salute you!

Ball State held serve against EMU at home, in an expected outcome. Also watched part of this. Don't think BSU was especially strong, and EMU was about what you would expect.

Northwestern went to Oxford and got a win. Again, I think this was expected. It will take Miami some time to gel, and Northwestern had a lot of emotion to work with--not to mention probably being the better team.

Minnesota went to Kent and drilled the Flashes 44-0. No reason for any optimism there for the Flashes.

Finally, we learned that Buffalo and Temple both suck. They played four quarters at 3-3, before Buffalo won in OT. Most of the game was completely scoreless. Not pretty. BG should cruise to victories over both these teams.

Final Exhibition Game Good To Falcons

Nice night for the Falcons in the final training camp games. For our guys, this is often their last proving ground.

Best news of all was Omar. Lots of rumors that they were going to put him on the practice squad instead of the 53 man roster. He needed a respectable performance tonight, and he got it. He took most of the snaps, went 13-19 for 179 yards. I think the fact he got the snaps, and played well, bodes well for his spot on the final roster. I think Omar has a ways to go to be a NFL QB, and it probably won't be with Pittsburgh. But, if he had the stigma of coming out early and getting cut, that would be bad.

Now, we had three other TDs. PJ Pope was 15-69 for 1 TD with the Bears. And Charles Sharon scored two TDS--3 total catches and 45 yards in his only real action of the pre-season.

We will await Saturday with baited breath. I would be surprised if PJ or Charles made the 53 man roster, and surprised if Omar did not. But, time will tell. At least our guys will have some success to look back on later, whether they make it or not.

Grim Look at Football Schedule

ESPN's 10 worst DIA football teams contains FIVE Falcon opponents (Temple, Buffalo, Kent, FIU and EMU) and three-fourths of our Doyt Schedule.

This is the basis of my belief that we can go 6-6. I guess we shouldn't be worse than 5-7.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Day Date Opponent Location PredictionOutcome/Time
Sat 09/02/06 Wisconsin Cleveland, Ohio LOSE7:00 PM
Sat 09/09/06 Buffalo Bowling Green, Ohio WIN3:00 PM
Gametracker | Listen
Sat 09/16/06 Florida International Miami, Florida WIN6:00 PM
Sat 09/23/06 Kent State Bowling Green, Ohio WIN1:00 PM
Gametracker | Listen
Sat 09/30/06 Ohio Athens, Ohio LOSE2:00 PM
Sat 10/07/06 Ohio State Columbus, Ohio LOSETBA
Sat 10/14/06 Eastern Michigan Bowling Green, Ohio WIN4:00 PM
Gametracker | Listen
Thu 10/19/06 Central Michigan Mount Pleasant, Michigan LOSE7:30 PM
Sat 10/28/06 Temple Philadelphia, Pa. WIN1:00 PM
Sat 11/04/06 Akron Akron, Ohio LOSE1:00 PM
Wed 11/15/06 Miami (Oh) Bowling Green, Ohio WIN7:30 PM
Gametracker | Listen
Tue 11/21/06 Toledo Toledo, Ohio LOSE7:00 PM

Was that so painful? So, 6-6/4-4. That's what I think. As mentioned earlier in the week, I think we could win at Central and OU. If we can, and we start to gel late in the year when the games get really tough, then we could still win the East. It is possible, but not likely. We are very young, and I do not believe we can go on the road and win tough games. Just as likely is a loss to Miami and a 5-7 season.

Here's the game by game:

Wisconsin--They have their problems, but we are too young to compete. They will run on us, and we do not have a scoring machine to keep us in the game this year.

Buffalo--We've already lose to Buffalo once in my lifetime. Its enough. They played us tough last year, but we should win.

Fla Int--On the road, anything could happen. We should still win.

Kent--At home, we should win. They may be improving, but it is still Kent.

Ohio U--I think we lose on the road to this team, which is improving, and can make OU a tough place to play. This is winnable, but I think the Bobcats win.

OSU--Buckeyes blow us off the field.

EMU--It's EMU. Our home schedule is embarrassingly easy.

CMU--This is really tough. Good team, well coached, tough place to play. I'd be really surprised if we won this one.

Temple--This one should stay within 21 points, but we will win.

Akron--Can't see us winning this one the road. If we do, we play for the East title one week later.

Miami--I think we win this one. They are young but talented like us, and we win at home in the middle of the week.

Toledo--No way at this juncture am I picking us to win at the Glass Bowl. This one should not be close--let's hope it doesn't matter.

I couldn't resist. This is fun. Be warned. You ARE on notice.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

NFL Falcons Hang On

Omar, Sharon, Pope, Mrucz, Campbell and Suisham are all hanging tight in the NFL camps. Final cut is this Saturday.

Falcon Hoops Schedule is Out...
Falcon Nation Wails

OK, here's the official schedule for the Falcons Hoop team, as Coach Dakich tries to save his job next season (last contract year). Initial Falcon Nation reaction via AZZ is cold--to say the least. The accusation is that the schedule is loaded up to be as to help Coach rack up 17-18 wins and gain a new contract.

I will say one good thing about the schedule. Last year, we had next to no home games prior to New Year's. This year, home fans will at least get to see the team play. A number of them are on weekends. This is good for fans. I firmly believe this will help our crowds. There is only one non D-I game on the schedule.

Part of the advantage is that the MAC went to a 16 game schedule (it was 18 before), which means that you get some OOC games. Downside: only one game with UT this year and it's at Savage, depriving us of our one guaranteed sell out.

So, let's look at last year's records and Sagarin ratings from last year. (There are 334 Division I teams). For reference, we were 7-21, 246.

Arkansas State 10-18 224 (We play them home and home)
Furman 12-13 228
South Alabama 23-7 99
Troy 11-15 202
Central Arkansas First D1 season.
Wright State 12-15 162
Northern Colo. 3-24 314
Marshall 12-16 231

Not inspiring, is it? South Alabama at our place is a good thing. On the other hand, Wright State clocked us last year and a number of these teams might have beaten us as well.

Rumors are that the Wisconsin tourney includes W-GB and two DII teams. If so, it is not inspiring, either. Clearly, the Central Arkansas and Northern Colorado games ALONE are two more wins than we likely would have gotten in our 17th and 18th MAC games.

This is partly much ado about nothing. The final test is where we finish in the MAC--and there's no hiding there.

Day Date Opponent Location TVOutcome/Time
Wed 11/08/06 Capital (Exhibition) Bowling Green, Ohio
7:00 PM
Sat 11/11/06 Denison Bowling Green, Ohio
2:00 PM
Thu 11/16/06 Arkansas State Jonesboro, Arkansas
Sun 11/19/06 Furman Bowling Green, Ohio
2:00 PM
Sat 11/25/06 South Alabama Bowling Green, Ohio
2:00 PM
Sat 12/02/06 Troy Bowling Green, Ohio
2:00 PM
Mon 12/04/06 Arkansas State Bowling Green, Ohio
7:00 PM
Sat 12/09/06 Central Arkansas Bowling Green, Ohio
2:00 PM
Sat 12/16/06 Wright State Dayton, Ohio
Tue 12/19/06 Northern Colorado Bowling Green, Ohio
7:00 PM
Fri 12/22/06 Marshall Huntington, W. Va.
Wed 12/27/06 UWGB Tournament Green Bay, Wisconsin
Fri 12/29/06 UWGB Tournament Green Bay, Wisconsin
Sat 12/30/06 UWGB Tournament Green Bay, Wisconsin
Sun 01/07/07 Buffalo Bowling Green, Ohio
2:00 PM
Thu 01/11/07 Ohio Athens, Ohio
Sun 01/14/07 Akron Bowling Green, Ohio
2:00 PM
Wed 01/17/07 Miami (Oh) Oxford, Ohio
Sat 01/20/07 Kent State Kent, Ohio
Wed 01/24/07 Western Michigan Bowling Green, Ohio
7:00 PM
Sat 01/27/07 Central Michigan Mt. Pleasant, Mich.
Wed 01/31/07 Ball State Bowling Green, Ohio
7:00 PM
Sat 02/03/07 Toledo Toledo, Ohio
Wed 02/07/07 Northern Illinois DeKalb, Illinois
Sat 02/10/07 Eastern Michigan Bowling Green, Ohio
2:00 PM
Tue 02/13/07 Buffalo Amherst, N.Y.
Sat 02/17/07 Bracket Buster TBA
Wed 02/21/07 Ohio Bowling Green, Ohio
7:00 PM
Sat 02/24/07 Akron Akron, Ohio
Thu 03/01/07 Kent State Bowling Green, Ohio
7:00 PM
Sun 03/04/07 Miami (Oh) Bowling Green, Ohio
2:00 PM
Wed 03/07/07 MAC Tournament Cleveland, Ohio
Thu 03/08/07 MAC Tournament Cleveland, Ohio
Fri 03/09/07 MAC Tournament Cleveland, Ohio
Sat 03/10/07 MAC Tournament Cleveland, Ohio

Sunday, August 27, 2006

MAC Preview

I have spent considerable time slicing and dicing the MAC for 2006, in order to develop these predictions for you, the valued reader of this blog.

A note--I looked at conference games. I could care less about the OU-Tennessee-Martin game.

You're going to get two things today. First, a team by team look at the coming season. Then, a couple insights will be revealed. There are, in fact, a couple of teams--teams we are not certain about--who will do a lot to decide the races in the various divisions.

Let us proceed anon.


Akron (6-2). The East is clearly a riddle, wrapped in an egg roll wrapper that has been lying out on the counter for a few days. I can and will make the case for any of four teams to win the East. That being said, I believe Akron is most likely. They have only one tough road game in the division--(OU), and if there is one weak link in the four contenders for the East Crown, it is OU. I am not subscribing to the Franklove. I believe, in fact, that Akron will lose at CMU and at Toledo, and nowhere else. I believe they will go to Athens and get a win.

Miami (5-3). I don't think the RedHawks are back on form yet. They lost a lot off last year's team, and return talent if not experience. In that, they are like BG. I believe NIU will go to Miami and win, and that Miami will lose on the road to Akron and BG. To win the title, Miami only needs to win the game at Akron...certainly not an insurmountable task. If the game were in Oxford, I think they would, in fact, win the game. But it is not.

OU (5-3). GBHFrank has a couple of breaks on his schedule. First, any team that uses one of its four road games on EMU has an advantage, because there's no home field advantage there at all. They also have Kent on the road--another winnable game. Their only tough road games are NIU and Miami. I think they will lose those games, and I think Akron will win in Athens, too. To win the East, all OU has to do is beat Western, Buffalo, BG and Akron at home and EMU and Kent on the road. Certainly not an insurmountable task.

BG (4-4) Falcon fans may think I am too negative. I just think we are too young to play well on the road. Therrefore, I think we lose to CMU and OU in the early parts of our schedule, and Akron and UT in the November portion. I defy anyone to say this is not plausible. On the other hand, to win the East, all BG needs to do is beat Akron and either OU or CMU on the road. Certainly not an insurmountable task, but a little more insurmountable than for the other three teams.

Kent (2-6). I think they will beat EMU in Kent and Buffalo on the road.

Buffalo--(1-7). I think they will beat Ball State in Buffalo. I don't know why, but I don't see them winless.


NIU (8-0). Novack has to absolutely love how this schedule stacks up for his team this year. I strongly believe that NIU could run the table. First, they play only one tough road game--at Miami...a game I still think they will win. They have their primary West opponents, UT and CMU in DeKalb this year. And they have Garrett Wolfe running behind a supercharged Oline.

UT (7-1). I think UT will take the third Bowl bid for the conference. In fact, the only game I see them losing is @NIU. I think they sweep their crossovers, (Akron, BG and @Kent), and beat CMU and Ball in the Glass Bowl. They have road games at EMU and WMU--probably not a difficult assignment. UT did lose some talent. However, they will get stronger as the season they always do.

CMU (6-2). I like Brian Kelly, and I think CMU will thrive this year. I think they will only lose to UT and NIU on the road. Since their other road games are Buffalo and EMU, I like their chances of going 6-2.

Ball State (3-5). Ball has a tough road. It isn't clear how much they have improved, really, and after losing to UT and NIU--the two best teams in the conference--I think they will also lose @ Miami and Central.

WMU (1-7). Don't know what to make of this team (see notes later). They lost an awful lot last year. I can't imagine them being any good this year---though I guess if I am off on a team, this is it. I think they beat EMU. They have a really though schedule. They play three of the top four teams in the East.

EMU (0-8). And hundreds of people will watch.

Some notes:

Two, maybe three teams are going to have a lot of say in how things go.

The first is WMU. I mention that they play three of the top four teams in the East--@OU, @Akron and Miami. If they hold serve against Miami at home--which I don't see--then Miami has a much harder road to the title. If they can pick up a road upset against Akron (not a huge upset) or OU (really not a huge upset), than that also throws the very competitive East into chaos. Finally, they host UT and NIU. If WMU has any team at all and can defend their home field, a 4-4 season is possible.

The second is CMU. They play two of the top East teams, both at home. BG and Akron will both need wins in Mt. Pleasant. If Central is as good as I suspect, they both will lose. If CMU is faltering, one or both teams picks an additional win up.

The maybe team is OU. I don't think they are going to be strong, but I could be wrong. They could easily, easily, win the East, see above. And then Franklove will move the act to a BCS eligible school.

I think NIU will beat whoever the East proffers up in the MACC. And I think the Bowl bids will go to NIU, UT, and Akron/East Slappy.

So there you have it. This will be a total laugh to read around Christmas time. A game by game prediction of the BGSU season will be on the way later this week.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Falcon Game Notes

The Falcon game notes for the Wisconsin game are out--a savory sweet place to wallow in Falcon football. Some notes.

First, "senior defensive back Van Johnson, sophomore running back Scott Goodwin and redshirt freshman wide receiver Rhett Magner have voluntary left the program..."

This is certainly too bad. Van Johnson was one of the big athletes who UM brought in--as a QB originally. He was eventually moved to DB, but could never get any playing time there. One of those guys that everyone kept saying they had to find a place for, but never did. The 5Sr. probably got tired of not seeing the field and left the team.

He will hold a place in Falcon history because he stepped into the breach at Kent when AT and Omar were both injured, and he held the ship together until AT was able to get back. In doing so, he helped us eke out the win in Kent, and save our season for another week.

Rhett Magner--what can you say? At one point, FalconNation was paranoid the UM was going to lure him away to Utah. His Falcon career ends without him ever playing a single down. His brother was a charismatic star who helped to turn our program around. It's too bad. The mythology would have been great.

Finally, Scott Goodwin. No clue. Really.

On the depth chart, we have to conclude we're pretty banged up at skill positions. Expect lots and lots of runspread. Ruben Ruiz, Marques Parks and Zach Charles are listed as starting WRs. If we go four wide, I assume Brantley II is the man. If we go five wide, I assume Macon actually gets out there, ala PJ. Chris Bullock is the backup at TB. We are actually listing a TE and a FB in our starting lineup.

Note on Zach Charles (true Fr). He's getting lots of buzz. He's supposed to be a Charles Sharon acrobat type, though not as big.

Overall, our depth chart emphasizes our youth. We're showing nine true freshmen in the two deep. In case you went to UT and math is not your strength, that's nine out of 44. There are 11 redshirt freshmen. That makes 20 out of 44 players in the two deep making their first collegiate appearence. And that doesn't include the kicker and the punter.

All four safeties are freshmen of one variety or the other. This could be the youngest team we have put on the field in years, if ever.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Rumors Say Floyd has left hoops program

Internet rumors of reasonable reliability are indicating that PG John Floyd has left the hoops program. He had problems with a DUI this year and reportedly had his scholarship pulled, and now is apparently gone from the program. According to the same rumors, Dusan also decided to stay in Serbia this Fall.

The University published its hoops roster just yesterday, and it listed them both, but who can tell. Neither player will be missed per se. Dusan had a little promise and was struggling to adjust.

Floyd got a lot of PT, infuriating many Falcon fans, but always gave his absolute full effort on the floor. He was unathletic and fell in love with his very average jumper, yet he also drained some big 3s and had some scoring runs when we really needed them. Hopefully, he will graduate and do well.

His loss leaves two seniors--Samarco and Lefeld. All of last year's PG minutes have now left the program (Wright, Floyd and Robinson). Who goes now? Ryan Sims? Darryl Clements? Brian Moten? Doesn't seem like its going to be a strong position for us.

UPDATE: The latest Falcon roster shows that Floyd is gone. Dusan is still on the roster. Word is that Floyd was given a second chance--without a scholarship--and had attitude problems, and quit the team when confronted about his attitude.

UPDATE II: The Blade has the story on Floyd leaving the team.

The Bloody Recruiting Tale

Note: Only one player in three classes finished his four years at BG.

Stephen Wright--Productive player, left prior to his senior season.
Ron Lewis--Two productive seasons, no junior year.
Raheem Moss--26 games, two starts, 66 career points, left program.

Chris Hobson, 28 games, 51 points, left program.
Austin Montgomery 56 games, 189 points, transfered.
Reggie Harwell--Nada.
Matt Lefeld--45 games, 52 points. Still in program.
Isaac Rosefelt--24 minutes, two points. Left Program.
John Floyd--Played 59 games averaging 8.4 ppg. 247 career assists.


Scott Vandermeer, 60 points and 40 fouls. Transfered.
Moon Robinson, Left program after sophomore season.
Mawel Soler, completed eligibility. Effective player, even good in spots.


Jeremy Holland--left program after one practice
Nick Wilson--left program without playing a game.
Lionel Sullivan--eligibility redshirt.
Dusan--42 points in 15 games as a freshman.
Erick Marschall--appears to be legit.
Daryl Clements--didn't see much action. People seem to think he could be good.
Brian Moten--high credentials, didn't produce much and seemed lost. Still here.
Martin Samarco--2nd team All-MAC, legit D1 player.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

News from Camp Falcon

Via MoFul in The Blade....Best news is the Corey Partridge's MRI must have been pretty good, because he is expected to play in the Buffalo game.

Also, Coach says Freddie Barnes is improving everyday at QB, throwing better, being a leader, etc, but Turner will start when he returns. (No QB controversey here!)

"I feel very comfortable with Freddie Barnes, with running the offense, managing it," Brandon said. "I like the way he's stepped up as a leader. He's improving every day as a passer."
But Brandon reiterated sophomore Anthony Turner will be the starter once he serves his one-game suspension and brought up the possibility of Barnes playing elsewhere. Where?
"I'm making my offensive coordinator [Greg Studrawa] figure it out," Brandon said.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Partridge Injured

From BGSU's football billboards to the sidelines, Corey Partridge is now confirmed with a serious knee injury. They are thinking partial MCL tear, and a minimum of 6-8 weeks. MRI tomorrow will tell more.

Suffice it to say that the team will miss Corey. He was helping us at a key position. He played very hurt much of last season, and has already used his redshirt season. So, naturally, he's a little down.

Lest we forget the human aspect, note the post from his father on Its the one from Spart43.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

PJ Pope plays for Bears

14 carries, 56 yards. Not bad!

Two pieces of Falcon News

First, of uncompletely unknown accuracy, there are internet rumors that Corey Partridge was on crutches today at practice. We are badly thin at WR, and losing him would be a disaster.

Second, AZZ posters are saying we've gotten a top flight WR recruit from Michigan. Directly from the Falconfan1 (himself a reliable source) post:

Detroit Urban Lutheran WR Ramond Hutson has verbally committed to BG for 2007 according to Rivals. Lists at 6' 2", 175, 4.39. Credits Coaches Brandon and Azzani for impressing him at camp and in the recruiting process. Class D all stater; small school may have kept many colleges from pulling an "early" trigger- my speculation- but I understand this young man is indeed a real playmaker.

3.96 GPA and 23 ACT makes him quite a STUDENT-athlete.
More info here.

I like it. He's got some size, runs like a deer, is a good student, and probably only fell to us due to Class D competition. Can't wait to see him catching passes, returning punts, running the reverse. You get the idea.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Falcons Cut Magner

Good run, Cole. Keep plugging. Think CFL. It will feel like home.

Blog Poll roundtable:

1. What's the biggest ripoff in this preseason poll? Either pick a team that's offensively over or underrated, or you can rag on a particular voter's bad pick (hey, we're all adults here, we can handle it).

Two people (Bruce Ciskie and 50-yard Lion) picked Oklahoma to be fourth in the country. Are you kidding me? Talk about living on reputation, and without your QB to top it off. Further, neither of these can even fall back on emotion and bias--they aren't even OK fans. I thought the ranking in the teens might have been a gift.

2. What shold a preseason poll measure? Specifically, should it be a predictor of end-of-season standing (meaning that a team's schedule should be taken into account when determining a ranking), or should it merely be a barometer of talent/hype/expectations?

This is a tough one. Personally, I tried to look at how the teams are entering the season, and rely less on how it might look in January. It is a pre season poll, and so it should be a starting point. This impacts West Virginia most of all. With their cake schedule, they could easily back into the Championship game. Still, they aren't a top flight team in my opinion. After the first week, I believe it becomes a measure of performance during this season.

3. What is your biggest stretch in your preseason ballot? That is to say, which team has the best chance of making you look like an idiot for overrating them?

Cal. No doubt. I went with them at #5 but it was one of those "either put them #5 or #15 decisions).

4. What do you see as the biggest flaw in the polling system (both wire service and blogpolling)? Is polling an integral part of the great game of college football, or is it an outdated system that needs to be replaced? If you say the latter, enlighten us with your new plan.

There's no perfect system. The biggest flaw is that it is very difficult to evaluate teams. First, you can't see them all. Second, statistics and scores are tough to compare because the quality of the opponent makes such a big difference. There's also a team that holds back a little, yet dominates a game to win 27-3, as opposed to a team that wins 70-3. The only alternative is to use a computer system, and we've seen how well that works.

5. You're Scott Bakula, and you have the opportunity to "Quantum Leap" back in time and change any single moment in your team's history. It can be a play on the field, a hiring decision, or your school's founders deciding to build the campus in Northern Indiana, of all godforsaken places. What do you do?

There are so many....I would go back to my senior year, 1986. BG is setting up to play Fresno State in the California Bowl. When Coach Denny Stolz is approached the week before the game by San Diego State, he says "talk to me after the game" instead of "yeah, I'm ready. Let's announce right before the Bowl Game."

A close second would be hiring Jim Tressel instead of Gary Blackney.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

My First BlogPoll Post

Oh boy, Oh boy, I'm so excited. Commentary to follow as time allows.

1 Ohio State 25
2 Southern Cal 24
3 Texas 23
4 Auburn 22
5 Cal 21
6 Louisiana State 20
7 Florida 19
8 West Virginia 18
9 Michigan 17
10 Georgia 16
11 Oklahoma 15
12 Louisville 14
13 Florida State 13
14 Notre Dame 12
15 Miami (Florida) 11
16 Iowa 10
17 Penn State 9
18 Virginia Tech 8
19 Clemson 7
20 Nebraska 6
21 Tennessee 5
22 Arizona State 4
23 Oregon 3
24 Boise State 2
25 Wisconsin 1

Dropped Out:

Falcon Position Changes

Reports are that Coach Brandon and DC Jon Lovett are continuing to move the pieces around hoping to stretch the most of of a thin defense--thin based on experience, and not necessarily talent. The front line appears to be pretty strong, though Diryal Briggs is not healthy and continues to be a concern. He may not play against Wisconsin.

The manuvers appears to be focused on LB and the D-backfield. From my perception, the goal appears to be to move the experienced players to LB, and have a young but talent defensive backfield.

For example, Will Myles, who came to BG as a QB, and is a 5Sr, was moved from D-back to LB. Just as singificantly, Jr. Loren Hargrove, who pushed his way into the starting lineup at safety late last year (making a significant contribution to the season's strongest point), is now at LB. BG has done this plenty of times before--think TJ Carswell, in particular.

Erique Dozier, another recruited DB, is also moving up to LB, with the same thing in mind (R-so). His roster weight is 195 pounds, which I assume is no longer accurate.

According to the Blade, it will be Terrel White (Sr) in the middle, with So John Haneline on the weakside and Dozier on strong.

It leaves you with a small and hopefully quick linebacking corps. That's OK if the line can eat up blocks, but it hurts when Wisconsin (or Toledo, for that matter) get a hoss on your LB in the open field. (Think Dozier playing strongside...eeek!). John Haneline's brother Chris was an absolute warrior for the Falcons, and I liked what I saw of John last season.

The defensive backfield, however, should have to go out in diapers and pacifiers.

At the corners, you have Antonio Smith and Kenny Lewis, both True Sophs at Corner. In addition, Vince Corner has moved from RB to Corner, if for no other reason than we can say "Cornerback Vince Corner." Both Smith and Lewis played very well last year, and they are a talented duo. As Juniors and Seniors they will be absolutely lockdown. As Sophs, I still worry a little.

Finally, at Safety, we're even younger. True Fr. PJ Mahone, a big time recruit from Elyria will play at one safety alongside R-FR Jerrett Sanderson, an apparently quality player who also has no game experience (He enrolled late here from prep school).

I can only conclude that Coach has decided that having Hargrove, Myles and Dozier at LB is more important than having two safeties making their first game appearences, and I hope that works out. I don't think there are a ton of options.

I think we are a year away, but could still win the East if we can get hot late.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Hoops Interlude

We've got another player coming in, this Fall, I assume. His name is Brandon Bland. He is from John Hardin High School in the Lexington, KY, where he averaged 15 points a game. He is apparently a walk-on. Former walk-ons Alvin Freeman and Patrick Phillips are gone, so maybe there is space. Uninformed Internet Opinion appears to think there are no scholarships available.

Stocco to Play?

Latest reports from Madison say that Stocco is now expected to play, though without as much pre-season practice as they would like.

Falcons Exhibition Game Action

The first round of exhibition games (sorry--PRE SEASON) games are in, and some Falcons saw some action.

Due to injuries, PJ Pope in Chicago got 8 of the Bears 16 carries. The running game was anemic, and then some. He gained 18 yards on those carries with a long carry of five yards.

Cole Magner did not play for Atlanta in their first exhibition game. Web reports indicate he was on the sideline in civvies. Robert Redd, however, caught one pass and returned a punt in his long-term effort to hook on in the NFL.

Charles Sharon also did not play for Jacksonville. No known reason why.

The big news, and perhaps the only news from a player likely to make an NFL roster came from Omar. He was 5-7 for 61 yards and the only Steelers TD in the game. There were reports out of Pittsburgh that he was struggling in camp and could lose the #3 spot, but hopefully this has solidified his position.

Scott Mruczkowski appeared for the Chargers, but no stats for lineman are available. He spent last year active on the SD roster. Apparently, he had a holding penalty.

Shaun Suisham kicked a FG for Dallas, and seemed to be shopping to be a KO specialist.

Khary Campbell made a tackle for the Redskins.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Blade Looks at Starting QB Freddie Barnes

Blade looks at the man who will start at QB (can't really say under center with this team) against Wisconsin in Cleveland Browns Stadium.

Of course, Freddie Barnes is filling in for Anthony Turner, the starter out of Spring Ball. Anthony had a little run in with the law, and will sit out the Wisconsin game.

(Fan's note: reports are that Wisconsin QB John Stucco will also miss the game, leaving both teams without starting QBs.)

The assignment for Barnes is to force himself into a QB rotation with Turner. The coaches considered moving him to WR or DB, but couldn't bring themselves to do it. He has to play so well, that there has to be a place for him.

The part that got me going on the article was the Joshua Cribbs reference. Joshua Cribbs was absolutely sick--you closed your eyes every time he touched the ball. He kept Kent in a game at the Doyt long into a cold night before we finally put them away and he was literally carried off the field.

Man, if Barnes can produce like Cribbs--with superior talent Cribbs never had--he could be damned dangerous. As could AT. Either way, its clear we are running the runspread not the throwspread this year, and that can still be exciting.

Falcon fans are nervous, and not without reason. Barnes looked shaky in the Spring game, at times, though I thought he was generally stronger than most did. We don't run a complicated attack, and he ran it in high school, so Coach McCall should be able to make a lot of improvement.

I cannot wait for this season to begin. I'm going to write more on how the season could emerge (hint: all our big games are late), but I am excited to watch this team develop.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Updates from Sentinel

An AZZ reader posted the following update from the Sentinel, an excellent source of Falcon news, with no online presence at all. Anyway, his quotes, my comments in italics.

O-Line- Lichtensteiger at C, Markray and Lanning at G, Nystrom moves to LT and Huelsman takes over at RT. Patrick Watson is challenging Lanning at LG.

Increasingly, I think people are realizing this is the strength of our offense. If these guys give AT some protection, that will help a lot.

Injuries- [Marques] Parks recovery from a broken leg has been slowed by mononucleosis. He hasn't worked out for about two weeks. Nick Davis is also down with mono. "They'll be ready to go," Brandon said. Briggs is making a slow recovery from his broken foot. Finally out of the boot and doing some light running. Brandon is hopeful he will be ready to go against Wisc. Perry is no longer in school. "He's got a medical issue that he just wasn't able to overcome, " Brandon said.

Marques Parks is coming off a broken leg last season. We need him, so let's hope he's up and going by October 1, latest. Nick Davis showed a lot of promise last season in early reviews, and he is one of the young guys we really need, because he has at least a little experience. The Perry thing hurts. We only have three seniors on D, but there are also only two juniors, and with him gone, now it's one. Safety is not a strong position for us, and he made some athletic plays. I hope his medical situation is resolved, and perhaps he can eventually return to school and graduate.

Freshman- All 22 incoming frosh have been attending classes and workouts.


WRs- Brantley and Jones could be factors this year.

Hmm. Not good news, in my opinion. These guys have been passed over time and again, and wear the "underachiever" label. We knew we were young at WR, but offense requries an absolute butt-load of receivers, and this could indicate that the younger players aren't where we hoped.

Other- Bobby Thomas is out for academic reasons. Vincent Corner, a 5-9 200 lb freshman from Springfield North, is a possible RB candidate. He was second in the state 110 hurdles last spring.

Thomas was reported earlier. We need depth at RB (hence the talk about Corner), because last year's three top RBs are now out. That's a little misleading because Macon would have been a top three back if he hadn't redshirted. I look forward to seeing him perform. A lot will be on his shoulders. Our challenge is to move from the throwspread to the runspread, which we had with Josh.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Coach In Blade

Coach Brandon in the Maureen Fulton article in The Blade today:

"Any team that has a fifth-year quarterback and just won a championship, I can see them being picked," Brandon said. "I think the East is a pretty mixed bag. Hopefully if it comes down to the tiebreaker it will fall our way this time."
Let me get this straight. Hopefully, if there's a tiebreaker, it will fall our way? Are you kidding me? Boy, that's going to be quite a talk to get the guys ready for fall practice.

Akron won the East. Akron beat us. It wasn't the tiebreaker. Akron beat us. Also, we had the ball in the Rocket's territory in the final two minutes of regulation in a tie game, and didn't get a score, even with Omar at the helm.

So let's not act like we lost it on some technicality. And how about something like:

"If we can go to Akron and beat them like they beat us at our place last year, then beat Miami on our home field, I like our chances of winning the East outright."