Sunday, October 29, 2006

Finally, I can comment

I will say this. I am not as distraught at this as the rest of our tribe is. Temple was going to win sooner or later. We have a habit of struggling against bad teams--and we just aren't a very good team.

Still, it's no fun. A team we put 70 on each of the last two years beat us yesterday. (Note: their comments in the press in Philly indicated that this fact added some pleasure to the overall feeling of the event).

What happened? Well, in some ways, it was a typical BG performance. We dominated them on many of the statistics.

  • We had 27 first downs. They had 12.
  • We had 294 net rushing yards for a 5.4 average. They had 94 yards and a 3.4 average.
  • We had 158 passing yards (though it took us 36 passes). They had 162 yards on 13 passes.

Here's the most amazing stat:

Bowling Green ran 82 plays. Temple ran 41. Can you believe that? And we lost.

You might ask, how?

It comes down to the old bugaboos...big plays, special teams, and inconsistent execution on offense.

Let's run through the litany:

  • Temple's first TD was on a 43 yard pass.
  • Temple's third TD was on a 45 yard pass.
  • Temple's last (and back-breaking TD) was on a kickoff return of 96 yards that came just after we had scored to cut the lead to 7 points.
  • We had a punt blocked.
  • We missed a FG.
  • We fumbled the ball at the goal line through the end zone for a touchback.
  • We threw two interceptions.
And that, students, is how you rush for 249 net yards and lose.

Anyone who reads this blog (and the statistics indicate that the numbers are not large :0), will know that I have staunchly defended Anthony Turner. I have always felt that he gave us the best chance to win, and all this agitating for Tyler Sheehan was nothing more than typical football-fan backup QB is always an all-star psychology.

Having said that, when coach brought Tyler out to start the second half, I was for it. And, as far as I am concerned, he should start against Akron, too.

Turner simply is not managing the offense well. I don't mean to call him out. Perhaps he is not recovered from his shoulder injury (as coach intimated this week). Having said that, even in the runspread, we need to be able to make passes, and he just hasn't gotten it done. He threw 63 yards on 7-16 during his first half action, meaning he completed nothing but the easiest and shortest passes. Heck, his long was 15, so his other six completions were for 48 yards.

Furthermore, AT was supposed to be a RUN-PASS threat, as we adapted to the runspread. He only ran the ball three times for 14 yards, and is not a threat out of the option or designed runs. Again, he may not be healthy, but the production is not there.

So, we brought Sheehan in not, in my view, because it had to work or because he has supplanted Turner, but because we had nothing to lose on this day on that field.

Sheehan's numbers were a little better--though not incredible.

  • Turner was 7-16. Sheehan was 12-20.
  • Turner had 3.93 yards per attempt. Sheehan had 4.75 yards per attempt.
  • Sheehan was sacked twice and threw two bad interceptions. (Note: he holds the ball too long. But, Turner might have thrown those INT's because we were pressing by then.)

What typically happens (and by that I mean it has happened twice), Sheehan nails a couple quick slants, everyone decides he is better, but in the end, he doesn't really move the offense a lot better.

Having said that, the decision at Akron is the same. We have nothing to lose by putting Sheehan out there, and we begin the process of deciding who will QB next season. AT can get healthy or get his head straight. But, I just don't see what we have to lose.

Another note: Chris Bullock is an absolute stud. He had 29 carries for 192 yards (The Temple announcers wondered why we ever passed). Dan Macon also had 64 yards on 9 carries in his first productive work of the season. Bullock also caught four passes for 31 yards. If we could just pass a little, I still think this team can defend well enough to win a couple games on the home stretch.

Another note: Much anxiety has been invested in Kenneth Brantley II, who has hung around the depth chart while younger players passed him by again and again. He is starting to produce--6 catches yesterday. With Parks a non-entity, Ruiz (and his two bad drops) not contributing from an already thin receiving core, we can really use this.

Then, we get to what the Falcon Nation is really locked onto today. What is the state of our program--and how soon should Gregg Brandon be fired--as in, should it be today or tomorrow.

My view is as follows. Certainly, this is not a high point for our program. I'm not sure it falls to level of giving Buffalo their first IA win (which caused Blackney to resign), but it is not a high point. (Personally, the Kent loss was a bigger low, in my opinion, but it is a close call).

A dose of reality. Coach Brandon is not going anywhere unless he decides to be the offensive coordinator at Central Florida or something, and I don't see it happening. He has a couple years left on his deal, and BG does not fire coaches who have time on their deal--we can't afford it. Yes, I know we have a new AD. Yes, I know we are fighting attendance requirements and can scarcely afford to have losing seasons when we need bodies in the seats. I will believe we make a move on a coach when it happens. (Check the hoops program out if you don't believe me--and I hope Dakich succeeds).

Brandon does infuriate his critics with his post-game press conferences, where he says things he ought to keep quiet. He has a tendency to make excuses that I do not believe reflects the accountability he holds himself to. To his usual "youth" excuse, he added that we are "tired" due to the lack of a bye week. (To be fair, he warned of this during his weekly press event prior to the game). Temple was a younger team than us (believe it or not), and they haven't had a bye week either. Most teams don't get bye weeks under the new schedule, especially with the MAC weekday schedule in November. All along we have said we were building to November, and now it turns out we aren't ready or able to play in November.

I'm not giving up on this team or this staff. As up and down as this season has been, I still think the building blocks are there to get the program back on track. We have been inconsistent. We have outplayed teams (CMU and Temple) and lost. We have made too many mistakes. But, we have shown that we can run the ball and defend it at key times. If we can shore up special teams, tighten the D up on special teams, and pick up some passing attack (all of which have been in sight at times this year), I can see this team growing back into a contender.

Much as I say with basketball....our program will get turned around. I hope Coach Brandon is the one to do it.

But I don't blame anyone for having doubts about our progress. Our team has created doubters and now has to prove them wrong.


Anonymous said...

Well put, O&B!

I just wish I had read your stuff *after* my morning foray into the muck that is anti-Brandon Central...

Here I go... wish me luck!

Orange said...

Thanks! Appreciate you reading and commenting. I will check in and see what you came up with.

Anonymous said...

I didn't come up with much.

A lot of drunken rambling and a joke about Temple's admission standards and Jell-O UPC's that was taken way too literally at The Futon Report.

Anonymous said...

Yeah... I'm more disgusted with the "Falcon Nation" right now than I am with the Falcons themselves. Yeah, we lost to Temple. That sucks.

You know what doesn't suck?? A gorgeous autumn day in NW Ohio.

Too simplistic? I don't think so...

Orange said...

Pepperguy...true enough. Took a long walk on a stunning day this afternoon. Feeling pretty good.

Unknown said...

The sun came up, the birds sang, and the damn train woke me up at 6am.

All is right with the world.

Oh, and we're still better than Toledo.

Orange said...

The sun'll come out
Bet your bottom dollar
That tomorrow
They'll be sun!

Just thinkin' about
Clears away the cobwebs,
and the sorrow,
'Til there's none!

When I'm Stuck with a day
That's gray,
And Lonely,
I just stick out my chin
And Grin,
And Say,

The sun'll come out
Tomorrow So ya gotta hang on
'til tomorrow
Come what May

I Love ya

You're always
A day


When I'm stuck with a day
That's gray and Lonely
I just stick out my chin and grin
And say, Oh

The sun'll come out tomorrow
so ya gotta
hang on
'til tomorrow
Come what May
Tomorrow, Tomorrow
I love ya, Tomorrow
You're always a day, Away!