Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year to the Falcon Nation....

May 2007 Bring Championships to a Hungry People!

Falcons Fall Short Against UWGB

In what sounded like an ugly and nasty encounter in Green Bay, the Falcons lost 65-62. I've been urging the Falcon Nation to keep a careful eye on our early season success due to a schedule of very winnable games. UWGB is a MAC caliber team, so this was a nice test.

And you might be expecting me to say that we lost, so we're in trouble.

Actually, I think the game does bear out my point, but there's another point beneath that.

The mere fact we were even in this game is significant. We were down 1 with :28 left before UWGB drained a big three to put it to rest. We get a stop there, and we are that close to pulling it out:

This despite:

  • A 30-13 foul discrepancy that led to UWGB hitting 27 fts to our nine.
  • More on fouls...
  • Lefeld fouled out in ten minutes.
  • Five players finished with four or five fouls in the game.
  • A four minute period in the second half where we did not score...and an even longer period without a FG.
  • Giving up 15 (are you shitting me?) offensive boards.
  • Making 16 turnovers, most in the first half.
  • We made only 56% of our FTs.
How did we do it? Well, we held GB to 33% from the field, and shot 51% ourselves, including over 60% in the first half. In fact, but for the foul difference, we could have blown the game open in the first half.

So, you can see, it was ugly. But, we were there near the end, and we're 9-4 heading into the league. You can check here to see what a computer thinks of our pre-season.

Even so, its been a good December. Better than last season. Brian Moten continues to come on--he was our leading scorer against UWGB--and he is a real addition if he shows the ability that had him on scholarship at Virginia. Marschall is rumored to be back for the Buffalo game, and if he is healthy, I think we are competitive with this rotation:


Primary bench players: Moten, Lefeld, Sims.

Final note: Darryl Clements has nearly fallen off the radar. Hopefully, he will rally and earn more playing time.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Falcons Win #9

The Falcons won their ninth tonight with a hard fought 77-69 victory over Jacksonville State at a Holiday Classic in Green Bay. We have equaled last season's win total.

Jacksonville is 3-9, and you might have expected us to have an easier time, but at the same time, I don't think you can really expect that out of this team. Notwithstanding the strong record, I am recommending all Falcon fans temper their expectations until further evidence emerges.

As usual, Samarco led us with 19 points. However, our new hero, Nate Miller had 13 points, 9 boards and five assists. (Just wait until Marschall is back). And, of all things, Brian Moten came on with 18 points, in 20 minutes, with all points coming in the second half.

JSU shot pretty well against us (47.4%), which is unusual. With about 3:30 left they were still within three points, BG never led in double digits, so it was a tight game wire to wire. We hit eight straight free throws to ICE the game (Green Bay joke).

Miller has contributed nearly every night he was out there. If Moten can contribute at all, he just adds tremendous depth.

I don't know what we have. I really don't. (Except to say that I know it's better to watch as a fan than what we had last year).. But, I can't wait for Buffalo to head into Anderson Arena so we can find out.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Falcons Win #8

BG wins by 12 against Michigan Tech 58-46. We led by as much as 21, so this one wasn't even as close as it looked. As well it shouldn't have, as Tech is a solid D2 program without much this year.

The key element was that they shot like crap--28.6% for the game, and only 20% for the first half. We built a 29-14 lead at halftime, and then cruised home from there. Todd Walker said it was a pretty lackluster game, and we didn't shoot too well, either (36.2%). Hamblet had a double double (our second straight game with a double double) at 18 points and 11 boards. Samarco had 16, and Nate Miller went 9/9 (almost a second double double in a row for him, plus a double double double double when you combine him with Hamblet).

Back against Jacksonsville on Friday, then the tougher of the games in Green Bay with the hosts on Saturday.

Perhaps more interesting than the game was the trip to Green Bay. Witness below---from, and by all means, avoid the shrimp at the Dakich's house!

Do You Know The Way to Green Bay?

Dec. 27, 2006

Green Bay, Wisconsin - "Guys, I hope you enjoy your break with your family and remember practice is Christmas night," BGSU Coach Dan Dakich said as he addressed his team following the Falcons 79-78 win at Marshall last Friday. "And remember, if your car is going to break down, you better make sure it breaks down before noon so you have time to find another way to practice."

Nothing scatters a team faster than knowing it has around 48 hours away from each other to spend time with family and friends over an abbreviated holiday. And during the last 20 years, more games are being played over traditional holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's and Easter in college athletics.

Some of the Falcon players live as close as an hour away, while a couple have a six hour drive to return home. The rest fall somewhere in between. Nate Miller celebrated his 19-point, 10-rebound performance by going home to Springfield with his mother directly after the Marshall game.

Knowing that every minute counts, most of the team spent the five hour bus ride back from Huntington sleeping. When the Falcons returned home around 3 a.m. early Saturday, some, like Brandon Bland, were packed and ready to go. He dropped fellow freshman Ryan Sims off at home in Ft. Wayne, before heading home himself to Kentucky.

Everyone made it back in time for practice, and that is when the fun begins.

Sophomore Dusan Radivojevic went to the emergency room at Wood County Hospital after he suffered an allergic reaction after eating shrimp earlier in the day.

"This past summer I had something similar when I tried cranberry jelly," said Radivojevic. "They gave me Benadryl and it cleared it up."

The Falcons then returned to Anderson Arena at 7:30 a.m., Tuesday where they would hold a quick practice before busing to Detroit Metro Airport for what would be a one hour flight to Green Bay early in the afternoon.

All was well for the first couple of hours. The team quickly showered, boarded a bus and enjoyed fresh baked goods from the recently opened Tim Horton's. One hour later, the team arrived at the airport and as far as group check-in's go, this one was flawless.

The team had 90 minutes to spare as its flight was due to take off around 12:13 from Gate 71 (a nice haul if you have never been there).

It was at that time that players are encouraged to grab an early lunch/late breakfast. Midway through his second chili dog around 11:15 a.m., Coach Dakich was informed by booster Bill Wammes that "the flight was cancelled, we need to go to gate 41/43, and they said somtheing about taking a train for part of the trip."

The team grabbed its carry-on items and and made its way to the requested gate, where it was told "Here, you may want to get on the phone to try and make your arrangements," by a helpful, though obviously stressed airline representative.

Once it was determined that no trains were involved, options were considered. The first option presented to the group was they would be put on a flight that night at 11 p.m. which would arrive in Green Bay around midnight. The possibility of breaking up the group of 25 in three's also was suggested, but ultimately, thanks to the help of Assistant A.D. Jim Elsasser and Lakefront Lines, a charter bus was dispatched to Detroit and the Falcons would make the eight-hour trip on the ground.

With its 3:30 p.m. practice time in Green Bay now shelved, the team gathered in a meeting room and conducted practice in the airport for about an hour. An assistant coach and another administrator had the duty of getting food and water, courtesy of the airline, for the trip. Forty-four double cheeseburgers and 22 10-piece chicken nuggets later and the team was ready to go.

The next item to consider was how to retrieve the luggage already checked in, which in some airports, requires an act of congress. Thankfully, Wammes, his wife, Sue, and Bill Frack were able to get on a flight to Green Bay at 5 p.m. and they would be able to bring the luggage to the team hotel in their rental car.

The bus arrived at the airport and the Falcons were on the road about 2 p.m. After passing the homes of Martin Samarco (Ypsilanti), Marc Larson (Mattawan, Mich.), and Ryne Hamblet (Chicago), the Falcons received a rare treat.

Avoiding construction and rush hour traffic, the team started off on Lake Shore Drive where it passed all of the major museums and Soldier Field and got to take in a view of the Chicago skyline that was spectacular. The route also took the team through the diverse neighborhoods of Chicago before catching I-94 north of the city on its way to Wisconsin.

Some 15 hours after their day began, the BGSU men's basketball team made it to its destination, the Holiday Inn City Centre in Green Bay. The team held a brief walkthrough before getting their dinner and heading to their rooms for a good nights sleep.

"Considering what could have happened, things worked out for us at the end of the day," said Dakich. "I didn't want to break up our team and who could guarantee that the later flights wouldn't have run into trouble. What we learned today was a great life lesson. A lot of people, from our bus drive, the airlines, our hotel, the Wammes' and Bill Frack, etc., really went out of their way to make the best out of a tough situation."

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

MAC Wins Motor City Bowl

And a good thing, too. You had CMU--the MAC Champion--playing a team that didn't even win the Sun Belt title in what was essentially a home game. Yes, you did have Brian Kelly fly the coop during bowl prep, but the MAC still needed CMU to win that game. And they did, pretty easily.

These are not golden days for the MAC. NIU was waxed by TCU out of the MWC. According to the Sagarin college football ratings, the MAC was the 12th ranked Division I conference, behind even the Great West in I-AA (probably an anomaly--its a 5-team conference and one of them beat Minnesota, but STILL). The only worse conference in I-A was the Sun Belt.

We are so long from the days of Pennington, Leftwich, Rothligsberger--really, the glory days of the MAC. (Include Josh Harris if you like). I don't know what to make of it, but we used to have a conference with a gulf between the haves and the have nots. Today, there really aren't, from a national perspective, any haves at all.

I have a theory that it was the Marshall effect. I remember when UM came in, he said that Marshall was the team to shoot for in our conference...that they were just loaded. Did that force everyone else to be better? I don't really know, because they weren't performing when they left the MAC, but there is no disputing the results. The MAC is a shadow of where it was only a couple of years ago.

It doesn't put a great light on our Falcon season....4-8 in a weak league. Still, I'd rather feel how Central feels tonight than how I feel. (about football, anyway).

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Santa Brought Me a New Falcons Sweatshirt

Brown, sweet! Hope your Christmas was good, too.

In some Falcon news, Dennis Springer a BG assistant, is heading to Western Kentucky to be a D-Coordinator. He has coached RBs and DBs for BG.

This is a good career move for Dennis. WKU is a I-AA powerhouse who is looking to move to I-A, potentially in the MAC. He could be making a nice long term investment here. Obviously, he will be missed at the Doyt.

"This is a great opportunity for Dennis and his family and we wish him nothing but the best," said Brandon. "He was a big reason for the success that we have enjoyed, including two bowl championships and a MAC West title."

Sunday, December 24, 2006

It's Christmas Eve

and sacred feelings run deep tonight. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to the Falcon Nation.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Falcons Win Again

The Falcons went down to Huntington, WV last night and picked up a nice win (79-78) on the road. We burst out to a 16-0 run in the second half, and then had to cling on to win when Marshall missed a shot in the last few seconds.

Marshall is 3-8--not a good team, and I think that now that we are 7-3, we need to maybe temper our enthusiasm a little. Don't get me wrong...I'm thrilled to see us winning. But we are playing a pretty weak schedule.

In fact, according to Sagarin only three teams in D1 hoops have played a weaker schedule than we have. Note this:

Furman, who we lost to is 3-6. Central Arkansas, who we lost to is 1-7.

Arkansas State, who we split with, is 5-7, and ranked #252 in the nation (out of 336).

Troy is 4-7 ranked #214.

South Alabama is 4-5 (ranked #171).

Wright State is 5-5 (#220).

Northern Colorado is 1-9 (#324).

In fact, we have yet to play even one team that is a stretch for our team. And, its going to get even a little worse, because we play Michigan Tech (not D1), Jacksonville State (2-7, #307), and UW-Green Bay (#152, probably our toughest pre-MAC game).

I'm not trying to be negative and I'm not being a pessimist. I am merely pointing out that things could get tough in MAC play, that this is a young team, and we could have some struggles ahead.

There is one reason, however, to be optimistic. He emerged last night...his name is Nate Miller, a transfer to BG from UNC-Wilmington. Last night, he played 27 minutes with 19 points and 10 boards, our first double-double in god-knows how long. He was 7-13 from the field, and helped us battle to even in the rebounding battle, where we have been destroyed in recent weeks.

His reputation is as a tough 6'3" inside guy, like Anthony Stacey. If he can continue to contribute like he did last night, I believe this team becomes a serious contender on the floor against any MAC team--not better (yet), but in the discussion.

We'd start like this:

F Marschall
F Miller
F Dusan
G Samarco
G Hamblet

From the bench, we'd bring Lefeld, Clements, and Sims (primarily), with Polk, Larson, Moten (who also may be coming around), Bland and Guerin.

That's kind of a bipolar post, I realize. I believe the program might have turned the corner, but there could still be a rough road ahead until we're a little closer to the finish line.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Lionel Sullivan not with program

Recruiting class update included

This was in Thursday's Sentinel....

"SULLIVAN UPDATE: Dakich said Lionell Sullivan, a 6-6 redshirt freshman, is currently not with the program and it is 'entirely an approach issue' which is 'all encompassing' by Sullivan. He declined to make any other comments on Sullivan."

Sullivan was never working out here. Falcon fans were attracted to him because his Mother told him to go after rebounds like they were "food," but we didn't expect him to bring a knife and fork to the game (rim shot). He had an eligibility fight with the NCAA, which the NCAA won, and he had to sit out last year, and as the quote indicates, he doesn't seem to be a Dakich kind of guy.

There are times, of course, when a guy is not "currently" with the program and gets reinstated. Kevin Netter spent more time out of the program than he did in the program. Still, this one feels permanent.

(UPDATE: The Blade had this:
“It might be permanent, I’m not sure if I’m ready to say that yet,” Dakich said.")

Below is the running tally of our recruiting post-MatelaPardonMcLeod. Beware, the story is not pretty. Eight players entered in Sullivan's class, which is actually the best we can see right now. As noted below, three of them have made no contribution to date, but some have. Which is an improvement over some previous classes, where virtually no one ocntributed.

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. Probable All-Big Ten Selection.
Raheem Moss--26 games, two starts, 66 career points, left program. Contributing at Cleveland State.

Chris Hobson, 28 games, 51 points, left program.
Austin Montgomery 56 games, 189 points, transfered.
Reggie Harwell--Nada.
Matt Lefeld--A contributing senior and a true warrior.
Isaac Rosefelt--24 minutes, two points. Left Program.
John Floyd--Played 59 games averaging 8.4 ppg. 247 career assists Left program.


Scott Vandermeer, 60 points and 40 fouls. Transfered.
Moon Robinson, Left program after sophomore season. Transferred.
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--has apparently left school
Dusan--Is contributing as a sophomore.
Erick Marschall--appears to be legit.
Daryl Clements--Still showing signs of contributing.
Brian Moten--high credentials, didn't produce much and seemed lost. Still here.
Martin Samarco--2nd team All-MAC, legit D1 player.


Ryne Hablett--Contributing player, maybe better.
Brandon Bland--strong defender, role player at least.
Marc Larson--Getting some minutes.
Otis Polk--huge man, huge upside.
Ryan Sims--has big potential, is contributing.
Nate Miller--Too soon to tell, but will get minutes.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Falcons Win Again

The Falcons beat a Northern Colorado team last in AA that is now 2-9, matching a blow out loss to Ball State with some close wins against major college teams. It is hard to tell how good they are. They were not good enough to beat our team last night. (63-53).

I'm not complaining. We're 6-3, and after last year's 9 win season, each win is sweet.

NC got out to a quick start, but Ryne Hamblet got hot and by halftime we were on a run and up 11. In the second half, the Bears never got the score within 6 and trailed by double digits most of the way (as high as 14).

It sounded like a pretty dull game in front of 1,045 at AA right before Christmas. Here are some key points:

  • We are getting killed on the boards. It happened at Wright State, and it happened against NC. Without Marschall, we are hurting. (With Marschall, we probably weren't a great team on the boards).
  • 42 of our 63 points came from Samarco and Hamblet.
  • We held another team to a lousy shooting night/another team shot lousy against us last night. Not sure which. NC shot only 34%.
  • We had 18 fouls, which isn't too bad. However, I think we had 3 in the first half, so they second half was pretty gross.
  • We only had 11 turnovers.
  • We are turning into a team that gets a lot of steals--not on the ball, but in the lanes (sound like hoops talk?) We had 11 steals.
  • Coach gave Brandon Bland a lot of credit for turning the game around in the first half. Calling him the best defensive player on the team, Bland made some stops, I guess. Nothing in the stats line, but a shutdown defender is certainly an asset.
  • Finally, in a little diversion after game day, the Falcons held a team bowling tourney. Coach is apparently the best bowler on the team. You fill in the rest from there.

We play Marshall Friday night, and then go to Green Bay for a tourney where we play the host (UWGB) but also Michigan Tech and Jacksonville State. We should hit MAC play with at least 8 wins, maybe 9.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

More transfer news

Well, the bad transfer news just keeps rolling in for the footballers. All three are transferring to Eastern Illinois. All were redshirt freshmen

The outgoing....

Guy Williamson (6.4", 325) (O lineman) (0 games played)
Kevin Mahoney (6/6", 315) (O lineman) (2 games played)
Trevor Frericks (6'1", 266) (D lineman) (4 games played)

For those scoring at home, here is the current status of the recruiting class signed in February of 2005. Note: UM's departure had no effect on this class, and we were coming off a win in a bowl game for two straight seasons. (Note, to be fair, that Barnes, Bullock and Antonio Smith are producing players already from this class).

Luke Alexander + WR 6-0 170 Springfield, Ohio (South)
Freddie Barnes QB 6-2 185 Chicago Hts., Ill. (Homewood)
Cody Basler LB 6-3 225 Auburn, Mich. (Bay City Western)
Jarrett Buckosh OL 6-7 254 Elyria, Ohio (Clearview)
Chris Bullock RB 5-11 220 Destrehan, La. (Destrehan)
Aaron Davis WR 6-2 182 Seffner, Fla. (Armwood)
Trevor Frericks DL 6-1 255 Quincy, Ill. (Quincy Notre Dame)
Jacob Hardwick DL 6-3 260 Virginia Beach, Va. (Ocean Lakes)
Thomas James DL 6-2 255 Goose Creek, S.C. (Goose Creek)
(Note: rumored to be transferring)

Nick Lawrence LB 6-3 220 Brighton, Mich. (Brighton)
Rhett Magner WR 5-10 165 Palmer, Alaska (Colony)
Kevin Mahoney OL 6-6 295 Springfield, Ohio (North)
Brady Minturn DL 6-4 250 Loveland, Ohio (Loveland)
Phillip Pollard OL 6-3 270 Westerville, Ohio (Westerville South)
Michael Ream DL 6-3 235 Bluffton, Ohio (Bluffton)
Jimmy Scheidler TE 6-4 240 Indianapolis, Ind. (Bishop Chatard)
Antonio Smith CB 5-10 175 Miami, Fla. (Miami Central)
Richard Solak OL 6-4 280 Boardman, Ohio (Cardinal Mooney)
Shane Steffy OL 6-3 290 Oakmont, Pa. (Riverview)
Bobby Thomas DB 5-10 200 Warrensville Hts., Ohio (Warrensville Hts)
Cordelle Thompson LB 6-1 205 Middletown, Ohio (Middletown)
Stephon Thompson CB 6-0 175 Franklin, Mich. (Southfield-Lathrup)

Calvin Wiley DB 5-11 185 Detroit, Mich. (Notre Dame)
Guy Williamson OL 6-4 300 Mahomet, Ill. (Mohomet-Seyomur)
Chris Wright CB 5-10 175 Middletown, Ohio (Middletown)

Monday, December 18, 2006

Some Hoops Updates

A few quick bullets....first, note what Ray Mernagh of Hoopwise has to stay after watching the Falcons practice. Notice, especially, what he says about Otis Polk.

Otis Polk made three plays that made me go shi#, did he just do that? In between those plays the youngster looked like…well, a youngster. But he’s a 6-9, 285 pound package of youngster! The first two plays were shocking to me only because Polk sprang up and banged on teammates both times — for those of you not used to these rambling posts that I used to write frequently back when I wasn’t trying to sell a book 24 hours a day that last part translates to he dunked hard on two teammates. I say that was surprising because Polk doesn’t look like he has that in his arsenal off first glance, but he quickly made me a believer in his future when he impersonated a ballerina while making a light, quick-footed spin move that he punctuated by smoothly going into a jump-hook that fell nicely through the rim. When Polk gets deeper into the season and continues to absorb what he’s being spoon-fed by his coaches – while improving his conditioning, he could contribute significant minutes (maybe 12 a night but those 12 could be high impact “tick” as John Beilein would say).
Meanwhile, on a Lionel Simmons follow up, here is what Jack Carle had in the Sentinel.

BG’s Lionel Sullivan did not make the trip to Wright State and Dakich said “I don’t have a word on his status at the point. As I’ve said all year, if you’re not going to do what I want you to do, I’m not bringing you.”

OK, then. Do what he wants you to do. However, it appears he is eligible.

Tomorrow is Northern Colorado. Transfer (corrected) Nate Miller will make his Falcon debut in that one. While 6'3", I think he can provide us with depth inside with Marschall out. He was recruited to UNC-Wilmington, so he should be able to play.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Falcons Beat Wright State

From what I heard and hear, it wasn't a pretty win--but, it was a win, and I'm thrilled to have it. On the road, for the second time this year, we were playing a team that beat the snot out of us last year on our floor, leading 28-4 at one point. My previous comments stand--this is one I thought would be tough. Instead, our guys really rallied and got the win, to be 5-3 on the year.

Let's look at how it happened.

The narrative is that BG led by 11 in the first half, but then went on a 24-4 (sound familiar?) to take a 9 point lead in the second half. Our guys could have folded there, and, in fact, would have folded there last year. We tied the game with 3:38 left, but the key sequences came when Ryne Hamblett hit a three that bounced on the rim like a jumping bean before falling in (he seems to have a proclivity for that). That gave us a 2 point lead.

With :34 left Dusan fouled and Wright hit a FT to cut it to 1. The Raiders looked to foul little-used Darryl Clements, and did. He drained two free throws (BG +3). Wright hit a jumper to bring it back to +1, and then they fouled Clements again. And he made the FTs again, and then Wright State missed their last shot, and we had the game.

Oh, and Coach Dakich revealed in the Blade that Clements got a 4-point this semester. That's impressive.

"We got his grades back, and they were spectacular," Dakich said. "I went into the locker room and said 4.0 students make big shots."
Some bullet points on the win:

  • The key stat in the game was Wright State's shooting--they shot only 34.5% from the field, and made only one trey in 12 attempts. Hard to tell how much influence BG had on that, but that's the key element in the game.
  • Lefeld struggled for much of the game, but hit some clutch baskets down the stretch.
  • It also appeared that Samarco and Hamblett combined for some nice passing down the stretch.
  • Martin had 22, and struggled to shoot for much of the game, ending up 9-20. His stroke did seem to come back late. He only had 2 treys. (He also had 8 boards)
  • Dusan continued to break out, with a career high 12 points. He was 4-5 from the field--all behind the arc. (For a nice MoFul profile of Dusan click here.)
  • The team committed 23 fouls which is still a lot, and we played the second half with Lefeld and Samarco with four fouls.
  • We also turned the ball over 17 times--but six in the second half.
  • Lionel Simmons did not make the trip and was reported to be in the Union. With the end of the semester, this is a worry...
We're really not in a bad position. At 5-3 with a weak Northern Colorado team coming to AA next Tuesday, and a trip to Marshall, I think we should be, worst case, 6-4 hitting the holidays. Then, we have kind of a soft tourney in Green Bay--we could have nine wins (last year's total) before we hit the MAC season. Or at least 8.

More than that, I really feel like we have a team--one that has the potential to bring the team back. We will see what actually happens, but for the fan, there is at least something to watch.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Falcons Play Wright State Today

BG tackles Wright State on the court today in Dayton. If you're interested, the game is being streamed by the Horizon conference for free. Anyway, this team positively drilled us last season, and I think we're up against it on their home floor. They came within 1 of Miami in Oxford earlier this year. This is made more complicated in that we left our lousy game against Central Arkansas and had finals week, so we haven't gotten much work in.

On the other hand, Wright State isn't Duke. They lost by 10+ to Chicago State and got blown out by a good Bradley team (39 points) and lost to Marshall. They aren't a big team, which helps us playing without Marschall.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Coach Brandon in Year End Sentinel Article

in which he utters some words many Falcon fans have wanted to hear (emphasis added)....

Everybody’s looking to blame somebody. I’ll take the blame. You can write it, it’s my fault,” said BG’s Gregg Brandon. “I’m the head coach, so it’s my fault. The performance of the team, it all comes back to me.”

Still Brandon remains optimistic, emphasizing that having eight months to work with the younger players should pay benefits for the 2007 season. A total of 14 true freshmen and 17 redshirt freshmen saw their first collegiate action in 2006.

“None of these (true) freshmen who played for us this year have been through an off-season, have been through a spring ball (except Jerett Sanderson). They had no idea what it takes to play at this level. This season they found out,” Brandon said. “They weren’t ready. We got exposed. But that’s the hand we were dealt. Will that make them better down the road? Absolutely. They got big-time battle experience.

“My concern with this team is that they don’t get beat up so much, mentally, emotionally, physically, that they never come back.”

Of course, words are words. I think everyone who is rooting for Coach--and I'm one of them--would like to see him be more careful about commenting on his players when he talks to the media. Beyond that, he needs to challenge himself to bring this team around. If some part of him still thinks "hey, I didn't miss that FG" then I worry we won't get the job done.

The last paragraph is one of the things everyone fears going into the off season. This staff has a huge job ahead of them. Even this "battle tested" team will only go from being freshman-dominated to being sophomore-dominated next season, and along with that developmental curve there are also the morale issues to deal with. Another losing season, and we really could lose the team--yet winning is not a certainty next year.

Final note: internet rumors are that we are going to schedule Navy home and home, with the Midshipmen making the trip to BG next season. Navy may be the first team in history to schedule a home and home with us and come to our place first! Anchors aweigh!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Interesting quote from Tim Beckman

The Findlay Courier did a story on Tim Beckman, BG's former DC who is now on the defensive staff at OSU, about to coach against his former boss, Urban Meyer. Here's what he said....

"He was the offensive mind behind what we did at Bowling Green and he let me run with the defense."

See, that troubles Falcon fans. Because we were told we hired the mind behind the offense at BG to replace Urban--not that it was Urban.

I wonder if there is a reason that these teams that Urban coached don't stay at the same level after he leaves?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Finished 1 Chance 2 Dance

Just finished 1 Chance 2 Dance, by Ray Mernagh, author and hoopweb guy from Hoopwise. com, a great site on mid major basketball. Just a quick word....I really enjoyed it. It is kind of a "John Feinstein" style look at a year in MAC hoops. I am a sucker for these fly on the wall accounts, and this one gives you great insight into the people of the MAC. There are some nice Dakich segments, including some insight on Steven Wright quitting the team last year.

If you love MAC hoops, or someone on your Christmas list does, I recommend this book. Click here to place your order.

Monday, December 11, 2006

So, how'd we do

Catching up on what promises to be an extensive analysis of the Falcon football season...I know, the season has been over for a while. So, I've already flagellated myself repeatedly over my awful record picking MAC games. Let's see how I did on the Falcons games....

The record is, in fact, much better. I picked 7 of the 12 games right. I have done better, but there were some years when we had whole months of guaranteed wins. Not this team. I thought we would split OU and CMU--just got them backwards. Obviously, did not see the Temple loss coming. Thought we'd beat Miami, which we probably should have. Didn't see Kent coming.

I think we had modest expectations for this team, and yet the results were more modest than even we had anticipated (to put it in a capsule). I think if you beat Temple and Miami, you're 6-6 and the program feels a whole lot better about itself.

Sat 09/02/06 Wisconsin Cleveland, Ohio LOSERIGHT!
Sat 09/09/06 Buffalo Bowling Green, Ohio WINRIGHT!
Sat 09/16/06 Florida International Miami, Florida WINRIGHT!
Sat 09/23/06 Kent State Bowling Green, Ohio WINREAL, REAL WRONG
Sat 09/30/06 Ohio Athens, Ohio LOSEWRONG!
Sat 10/07/06 Ohio State Columbus, Ohio LOSERIGHT
Sat 10/14/06 Eastern Michigan Bowling Green, Ohio WINRIGHT
Thu 10/19/06 Central Michigan Mount Pleasant, Michigan LOSEWRONG
Sat 10/28/06 Temple Philadelphia, Pa. WINWRONG! (Oh, the humanity)
Sat 11/04/06 Akron Akron, Ohio LOSERIGHT!
Wed 11/15/06 Miami (Oh) Bowling Green, Ohio WINWRONG!
Tue 11/21/06 Toledo Toledo, Ohio LOSERIGHT!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Falcons Lose to Central Arkansas

The Falcons dropped a home game to a team in its first year of D1 competition yesterday, losing by 14 before a miniscule crowd of about 1,100. It certainly wasn't a good day, but I also am not in the school that compares it to losing to Temple, the apocalypse, etc.

It was, however, their first D1 win as a D1 team. Here's the headline in The Blade.

Can anyone beat BG?
Yep, Central Arkansas notches first D-I win

Here are some quick thoughts:

  • We lost because we flat out shot awful. We shot 32% from the field, and 28.6% from 3. That means that even our 2FGs were about 35%. We simply could not buy a bucket. I thought, furthermore, that we got pretty good looks. It just wouldn't go in the hole.
  • We missed Eric Marschall. That's not an excuse, but we missed him. Otis Polk (4 minutes), Marc Larson (7 minutes), and Lionel Sullivan (9 minutes) did not have produce in his spot--and I don't think that's to their blame. None of them has seen a lot of game action, and they are all in their first year of eligibility.
  • Matt Lefeld was 2-7 from the field.
  • Martin (8-25) and Hamblet (2-14) both shot terribly.
  • We took care of the ball in the aggregate, but made some bad turnovers in key points. My perception was that the team was lacking a QB for much of the game. I thought Ryan Sims played well--he clearly made some good shots. But when Guerin and Hamblet were at the point, we had trouble getting things moving.
  • Coach was, to say the least, NOT happy. We left the arena, walked to the car, went to our old house and checked in, drove to Kroger's to get gas, and then as we hit the city limit, Todd Walker said coach was STILL in the locker room (Blade says 40 minutes).
  • I think this is a young team. We won a couple decent games, and now we lost one we should have won, at least on paper. I guess I think that we got good looks and they didn't fall, and sometimes that happens.
  • We only fouled 22 times, and that includes a lot of fouling at the end. Central Arkansas did shoot 1o more FTs, but again, there was the fouling at the end.

Next up is Wright State, a good team that beat us last season (this is the return visit for the Bracket Buster). They won @Miami, against Detroit at home and @St. Bonaventure. Bradley blew them out in Peoria. We're going to be up against it down there.

By the way, Nate Miller, our transfer from UNC-Wilmington, will play in the Northern Colorado game. He was eligible for Wright State, but is being sanctioned by the NCAA for playing in an intramural game or some shit like that.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Falcons Land WR Recruit

On our way to Anderson Arena, but quick news on a Cleveland-area recruit. He's a WR named Charles Brown....I shit you not. He verballed to BG after coming to campus with his HS teammate Ty Pronty, a WR who saw some action this year.

In fairness, with the Ellis defection, we expressed some concern about whether Coach has lost the team. There are still unconfirmed rumors of more transfers. In the interest of balance, clearly Ty Pronty is still buying in.

Coach Dakich describes Falcon D in comfortable Arkansas State win

"I watch this game, and the second half is almost unwatchable in terms of defensive play. No offense to the people at the rec center, but it looked like a rec center game playing defense in the second half. That's not good. We have to get that shored up."

(Via MoFul in The Blade)

Friday, December 08, 2006

Bullock All-American Freshmen Third Team

And congratulations to him. He had a a great year, and I can't wait to see the rest of his career. I hope we can build a program to support him.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Confirmed: Sean Ellis has left the team

True dat.

Update: Note a post here by Ellis' Father on I think it says a lot about the poor morale and environment around our football team right now. Go to page 6 and look for a post from MIBGSUFan.

Mick McCall, BG QB Coach, interviews for Idaho State Job

He's a smart one, and I would wish him the best. I believe he hails from the West.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Set back in Basketball Land

Sophomore F Eric Marschall, who seemed to be coming into his own, broke his foot Monday and will be out 4-6, quoting Ray Mernagh on Hoopwise.

Ray is the author of 1 chance 2 Dance, which arrived via special delivery today. Can't wait to read it.

Brian Kelly gives Chippewa players Hose Job--like a former Falcon Coach did.

CMU coach Brian Kelly has apparently decided to coach Cincy in the International Bowl. Which means, I assume, that he won't coach CMU in the Motor City Bowl. Further, there seems to be some idea that he will take his assistants--or most of his assistants--with him to Cincy. CMU could be real short of coaches in what is the most exciting moment of many of his player's lives.

Don't blame him for leaving, especially as his contract was up. Don't blame him for taking the $$. This is an act which is without conscience.

Here's what their fan forum has to say.

Update: Central's assistants are going to coach the team in the bowl game, including a longtime Kelly Coach who followed from Grand Valley, and who considers himself a candidate for the full job.

Final Blog Poll

Brian isn't letting us say we voted Florida #2 because we don't want a rematch. I don't, but that's not why. Simply put, Florida played the tougher schedule and with one loss in the SEC, they deserve the chance. Don't count style points....a win is a win. So there.

1 Ohio State --
2 Florida 2
3 Michigan --
4 LSU 1
5 Auburn 1
6 Southern Cal 4
7 Oklahoma 2
8 Louisville --
9 Boise State 1
10 Wisconsin 1
11 Arkansas 4
12 Notre Dame --
13 California 1
14 West Virginia 3
15 Texas --
16 Virginia Tech --
17 Tennessee 1
18 Wake Forest 5
19 Brigham Young 1
20 TCU 1
21 Rutgers 8
22 Texas A&M --
23 Hawaii 1
24 Nebraska 5
25 Houston 1

Dropped Out: Georgia Tech (#25).

More rumors from football

In addition to Ellis, we now hear that Alonso Rojas (our punter, and supposedly the top Fr. punter in the country) is leaving school. Also, DL Thomas James is said to be going home to South Carolina (A r-Fr, he played in all 12 games and made seven tackles). Finally, rumors are that there are 2-3 more that we haven't heard about.

We probably won't get much confirmation on this. In fact, we might not really know until the roster is released for the spring game. Perhaps the Blade will call the players at home to determine if this is true or not.

These defections worry me as much or more than the losing. I know that some will say it is addition by subtraction, but we needed every guy we had to improve and be less young. Now, with James, we have to bring in a true FR again. (I assume we will go JUCO at K and P).

It worries me because it looks like the problem could go beyond a young team rallying for next season. It worries because it could mean that Coach has lost the locker room--and in that case, the program is DOA until new blood comes in.

For now they are just rumors and worries. Let's hope for the best.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Falcon Hoops Posts Strong Win

The BG Hoops team posted a strong win against Arkansas State at AA tonight, leading comfortably most of the way to win 81-72. A little harder to comment, since I was limited to the (still excellent) play calls of Todd Walker, with a trip to BG not in the cards tonight.

Here's what I noticed.

  • We shot 52.7%, while holding A-State to 43.9%.
  • This is a rematch from our D1 opener. They beat us by 10 down there, so it was nice to play so well up here.
  • Dusan continues to play better and better...10 points, 5 reb, 6 assists and 3 TOs.
  • Samarco....what can you say? 29 points, 5 Reb, 4 assists and 2 TOs in 39 minutes. Coach said in the post game that he got the 29 with 18 shots, and it wouldn't be bad if he got a bunch more.
  • Marschall had 14 in the first half, but hurt his foot and did not appear again. Let's hope the injury is not serious.
  • Coach felt we defended badly. Running is in the offing for our team.
  • We had 1,700 in AA. That shows a gradual increase in attendance. Hopefully, a nice crowd shows up for the game against C. Arkansas on Saturday. We've come a long way since the Furman game.
There may be more, but its late. For now, that's what we have. That is 3 wins in a row, and a consistent improvement in play each week.

Small thoughts on the BCS Clusterf**K

Two things. First, Coach Brandon voted for his buddy, Urban.

He did vote Wisconsin #4 (WTF?). And he did NOT vote MAC Champ CMU into the top 25.

Second, there is continuing talk of an inevitable playoff. Such a thing would be a disaster for the MAC, which would get one post season bid, tops, and would spend it playing a #1 seed and getting drilled. It would be back to the old days for our conference.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Coming to terms with Urban

There is no time when I had a greater passion for Falcon football than when Urban Meyer was our coach. When he was named the coach (six years ago today), it was hard to figure out exactly how he had gotten the job--he had never even been a coordinator. Anywhere. Lou Holtz (who I dislike strongly), said Meyer had something special. Lou was right.

The team was 2-9 the year before. Urban turned the team right around with an opening season win @ Missouri. Later, we went to Northwestern and won our second game ever in a Big 10 Stadium, and wrapped up the season by beating Toledo 56-21 in an absolute beat down, smack down. To this day, if I want my blood to pump, I watch our highlight video from that season: "Why not us, why not now?" It makes me want to run through a brick wall.

You wanted to follow him. He had a presence, a way of establishing expectations. And the football on the was entertaining, risk-taking and unabashedly aggressive. Someone would score on us, and we would be in their territory three plays later. We blocked punts, we faked punts. We had throwbacks and screens. We brought unremitting and unrelenting pressure on a defense.

Next year, we were 9-3, including a thrilling victory against Missouri on our field. Just to give a flavor of how it felt, check out this from the St. Louis Post Dispatch the day after the game.

Sorry, Mizzou fans; loss to imaginative Falcons is no upset

GREEN, Ohio - If the dateline had been different, maybe it would
be easier to digest this, but the setting was all out of whack. If the dateline said
Norman, Okla., or Lincoln, Neb., or even Austin, Texas, it all would have made
so much more sense. But none of this made even a little sense, because what was
happening to Mizzou was not being perpetrated in some hallowed college football
temple like Oklahoma's Owen Field, or Nebraska's Memorial Stadium. On this
breezy, steamy Saturday night, in this most unlikely place called Doyt L. Perry
Stadium, the Tigers were routed not by Nebraska, but by Bowling, freaking Green.

"My heart's in my stomach right now," said Missouri kick returner Tyrone
Roberson. "I'm hurting, I'm really hurting."

Roberson and the rest of the Tigers are hurting with just cause after a 51-28 spanking, not simply because of the final outcome, but because of the painful and obvious fact that this was no upset.

The better team won.

Now there will be a whole lot of folks all across the state this morning scratching their heads and wondering how a team like Bowling Green -- so far out of the loop of the BCS championship series that even Martha Burk couldn't get them an invitation to the national championship dance -- could do such a thorough destruction on a team from the almighty Big 12. But don't be fooled by the intimate 30,000-seat
stadium, or the Mid-American Conference pedigree, or the names on the Falcons'
roster that look so unfamiliar to the world of big-time college football.

What happened here was no fluke. First of all, take a quick glance at
the college scoreboard this morning, and what you'll see is several MAC teams
giving schools from the major conferences absolute fits. It happens all the
time. Now, take a deep breath and listen to the stats that Bowling Green piled
up on Missouri:

When you pile up 577 yards of total offense, and score
on six of your first seven possessions (the half ended on the seventh), that's
no fluke. When you build a 34-14 lead by halftime, when you have a quarterback
named Josh Harris giving you 394 yards of total offense (311 passing, 83
running), a receiver named Robert Redd, who caught 10 passes for 209 yards and 1
TD, and a running back named Joe Alls, who added 119 yards rushing . . . Oh
yeah, and a wide receiver named Cole Magner who threw 2 TD passes just for
yucks, this is no upset. This is simply one of the most dazzling offenses Mizzou
will see all season.

If you do not know much about the Falcons, here's a little introduction. A year ago, they made the top one-year turnaround in NCAA Division I-A, going from 2-9 two years ago to an 8-3 record. Bowling Green head coach Urban Meyer was the MAC coach of the year last season with good reason. His dazzling spread offense has no fancy name like Fun 'N Gun, or Run & Shoot. But what it lacks in name recognition, it more than makes up for in entertaining, head-spinning effectiveness. With a jaw-dropping quarterback like Harris operating almost exclusively from the shotgun, the Falcons threw every conceivable bit of offensive fireworks at Mizzou's defense, and waded up the field with little resistance.

If you think Mike Martz has a vivid offensive imagination, wait until you get a peek inside the diabolical offensive mind of Urban Meyer. This guy's offense is so aggressive, he makes Martz look positively timid. Imagine a wild video game in hyper-drive, and you begin to understand what this Bowling Green attack looked like. There were five-receiver sets, empty backfields, shovel passes, reverses, double screen option passes, reverse option passes, quick pitches, option pitches, and when they got really bored, the Falcons even used straight handoffs to the tailback Alls.

And there was nothing the Tigers could do to stop them. They did not overlook
Bowling Green, nor were they surprised by all the razzle-dazzle. "We knew they
did a lot of trick plays," said starting middle linebacker James Kinney. "We
just didn't stop them."

And now, in a weird way, this major butt-whipping could be the turning point in Missouri's season. If they did have a big head after beating Illinois, the hat size shrunk dramatically Saturday night. Coach Gary Pinkel says they are neither as good as they looked against Illinois, nor as bad as they looked against Bowling Green. Now they have the rest of the season to show us Pinkel's right, and figure out exactly where they do fit in on college football's pecking order.

Tomorrow is the sixth anniversary of the day Urban Meyer was named our coach.

And next Monday is the fourth anniversary of when he left.

Rumors swirled throughout the second season that he was on his way out. Though young (not even 40), he was the hottest commodity in the coaching profession.

In response to the rumors, Urban stepped up to do an interview with the Sentinel, ostensibly to try and reassure people that he would not be leaving. It was called Staying Put, and in it he said things like this:

"We are nowhere near what we can do here. That's what's driving me right
now," Meyer said Tuesday afternoon. "Everybody's worried about those other
places; nothing's going on."

"I was contacted by one, but I'm not interested. I love it here. We have a
lot of work to do. That's the bottom line."

Meyer said the talk of him leaving started when he took the Bowling Green
job. Coaches from other schools tell recruits Meyer is not going to stay with
the Falcons.

"With recruits, that's been for two years, even before we won," he said.
"(They say) "that guy's not going to be there very long"; that's silly ... The
future is fantastic here ... I'm proud to be the football coach here.

"Once they get to know me, know my family, know how important it is to have
continuity, my kids going to school somewhere."

I read that interview. And I bought it. I believed him when he said it. Then, two days later, he announced he was going to Utah.

On December 11, 2002, he left BG.

I felt like someone had ripped my heart from my chest. I felt so betrayed, and I was so angry--angry beyond any reasonable level. I was not alone. Signs popped up around campus calling him "Urban Liar."

I hated Urban Meyer with a white-hot hate. I declared him "dead to me." I was so angry that I actually questioned the time I had spent following spectator sports, and whether it had not brought a greater misery index to my life. For three weeks, I swore off sports completely. Didn't read the stories about Brandon being hired. Stayed off the Internet message boards. Decided, in my mind, to find another hobby, one less painful.

It would have been one thing to leave. But to leave two days after calling the notion "silly," after selling me on the idea you were committed to staying, after bringing your family into it, I simply could not contain myself.

It lasted, too. I rooted against him in Utah. I could hardly stand the sight of him. Then, three things happened.

  • First, I got over it like the grown up I am supposed to be.
  • Second, he hosed Utah, and that sort of took the stain off for us.
  • Third, I heard about something he did for someone--someone who had nothing to
    offer him. He did something incredibly nice--and more than that, something
    incredibly thoughtful, something which reflected the actions of a person that wasn't the
    vector of evil that I had built in my mind.
So, I decided to stop hating Urban Meyer. And I will be rooting for him on January 8th, both because I hate the Buckeyes, and because it will be pretty cool for us to have had a piece of a guy who is now working his third two year miracle in coaching.

A few thoughts on Urban as a coach.

  • He's a good one. When he left BG, the team thrived for two years, and then is 10-13 over the next two seasons. Utah has also failed to keep their momentum. In both cases, Urban assistants were put in charge of the programs. Clearly, he makes a difference.
  • A lot of people (including Coach Brandon, who is a friend of Urban's), have been blaming Urban's recruiting for our hole in the senior class this season. My opinion is that Urban told Gregg to blame it on him, and Gregg did. I don't think Brandon really believes it, but it is something to say to take pressure off yourself.
  • Some question Urban's ability to win with his own players. That is a laugh. Look at the talent he recruited to our program. This year's Florida team played the nation's highest number of freshmen--those are all his guys, too.

So that's my star-crossed relationship with being a fan of Urban Meyer. I'm not proud of how strongly I felt--I'm not proud I hated him--but I'm not exaggerating. I really did. Go Gators!

Falcons Win Another Thriller

The Cardiac kids are back, I guess. The Falcons picked up a good win Saturday at Anderson Arena against a Troy team that was fast and athletic as hell, and has led the nation in 3FG the last two seasons. I don't think they are a great team, but the wins are great for our team's confidence.

It almost went the other way. We had played an absolutely great game for 37:30, and we led Troy by 11 with 2:32 left. Wait a minute, you say. Where's the thrill in THAT?

Hang on to your hats. Here's how it happened.

2:20 Troy misses, but gets the board and converts a 2FG. (BG +9)
1:49 Samarco has shot blocked.
1:48 Marschall fouls (out). Troy hits both FT (BG +7)
1:34 Troy misses two shots at hoop, and fouls on the rebound.
1:33 Samarco hits one FT. (BG +8)
1:21 Troy hits jumper (BG +6)
1:15 Troy fouls Hamblet, who splits the 1-1 (BG +7)
1:06 Troy turns it over

(STOP HERE. Should be over, right? Up 7, 1:06 left, with the ball?)

:54 Samarco turns it over.
:49 Troy nails a 3 (BG +4)
:43 Samarco turns it over.
:38 Troy hits fast break lay up (BG +2)
:37 Hamblet turns it over, but Troy misses the shot and we get ball back.
:15 Troy fouls Samarco, who splits the 1-1 (BG +3)
:04 Troy's Cedric Jackson drains a 3 with somebody right in his face (TIE).

So there you have it. Three To's and two missed FTs, against a team that hits the three, and it is a game again.

Ryne Hamblet (last week's hero) took the inbound and drove up the right. He was surrounded as he reached the top of the key, and a lot of players would have just pumped it to the hoop. But Ryne is a good ballplayer, and saw a lane to Samarco in the corner. In fact, from our seats, we had a perfect view of the exact lane. I remember thinking, about one second before he let the ball go, hey, there' s a lane to Samarco. Hamblet gets him the ball, and Martin does a brilliant catch and shoot under heavy pressure and hits nothing but net.

BG Wins by 2. And the 1,500 in the stands go crazy, again.

In the post game, Coach acknowledged that it would have been ugly had we lost this game.

"The ups were not as high as the downs. We didn't quit in the last 15 seconds and we gave a good shooter, Jackson, his shot in his spot. That is where he shoots the basketball. Then when our shot went in we were obviously ecstatic but at the same time, a little bit upset with how you played in the last three minutes. I don't know what I would have done had we lost this one."

It didn't make the transcript, but on the radio, he said something like "The entire building would have come down, and not just from me." He also said the players ran to the locker room saying that it should never have come to that.

Overall, though, I don't think we should lose the good stuff in the sauce. It was actually a pretty good BG performance for most of the game. I am becoming cautiously optimistic that this team might finally be turning the corner.

Some thoughts.

Troy plays zone. BG has absolutely blown against the zone for as long as I can remember. Yesterday, however, we actually looked like we had some idea what to do. In particular, Dusan and Guerin both drove the ball to the soft spot in the zone and kicked it back out to get a shot.

We only shot 42.4%, and we won anyway. We held Troy to 35.9%. Teams are not shooting well against us--a hallmark of good Dakich teams.

Dusan is really coming around. He had 8 pts, 5 boards and 3 assists, but in reality contributed a lot more. He was a steady presence with the ball against pressure, and he attacked the zone. He may not have gotten some assists, but he often made the pass that led to the pass that led to the basket. He is earning his minutes (27) and is the kind of role player winning teams have.

Ditto Brian Guerin, who played 28. Coach said he really seemed to start getting it in practice this week, so he saw the floor, and then earned himself more time once he was out there. Again, the stats line was not outlandish (5 points and 5 assists) but he really contributed to the offensive effort.

In addition to zones, we absolutely blew wind against pressure last year....both full court and traps. (See UT). It was painful to watch. We had trouble even getting the ball inbounds against quick teams. We got trapped in corners a lot with no help. You get the idea. Not last night (for 37 minutes). We only turned it over 14 times, which is a big improvement. Hamblet (even with 5 turnovers) is a steady force with the ball, as were Guerin and Sims with fewer minutes. Dusan, too, and Samarco as usual. We were poised, confident, and it was great to see.

Samarco--what can you say. 29 points, (11-14 from the line, lest you get the wrong idea from his missed shots down the stretch). He brings it on every single possession, on both ends of the floor. Everybody shows up to stop him, and he still produces. He is an absolute warrior.

Our inside game wasn't quite what it was before, but Marschall had 10/5, though he fouled out. And Lefeld could only play 10 minutes. Still, we at least have the potential with this team to go inside and out.

I'm feeling pretty giddy and hopeful. Monday, we play Arkansas State at home, a team that beat us by 10 on their floor earlier in the year. Beating them would be a nice sign that we are improving.

I don't want to jump too far ahead, but there is no question this team is playing harder and smarter than last year's team, and I would love to see us pull a surprise in the MAC.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Coach Brandon gives year end interview to Blade

Now that the Ellis rumor has brought it up, it might be a good time to look at what Coach had to say in his year end interview with Maureen Fulton @ The Blade. Normally, there is a year end presser referenced on the Falcon website, but it hasn't happened yet. So, for the final time (I think), I say this. Smart aleck comments are in orange.

"The negativity that came out of this season as a result of a losing record, I'm not dwelling on it," Brandon said. "There were a lot of good things that we accomplished. I didn't want to go into the season and call it a building year, but that's what it was. I think we were fortunate to win some of those early games, as young as we were."

This is the first time I have seen Coach acknowledge that there was negativity from the losing record the the losing season. I don't know exactly what he refers to--if it is among the fan base, the Internet fan base, or in his own locker room. I have to guess that it is some of all of the above. We know there is negativity outside the program, and it would not be a surprise--though it would be worrisome--if there was negativity inside the program. Athletic programs do not function well on five game losing streaks...any of them.

He says it was a building year. At this point, that is what we hope it was. And, he is exactly right--the season could have been lots worse. We won some close games. Whether that is the only way for those things to turn out...well, that's another matter.

I'm not sure telling your team that just lost five games in a row that they were lucky they weren't worse is exactly the best way to motivate them for the off-season, but I'm not a D-I football coach.

"We got exposed," Brandon said. "Will that make us better down the road? Absolutely. They got big-time battle experience."

The first part of that statement is a fact. We were exposed. Never badly (we didn't get blown out too much), but our lack of ability to finish, win games, and deliver for 60 minutes were exposed consistently, especially by CMU, Akron, and Toledo.

Time will tell if this makes us better someday. Falcon fans don't speak this, but when you have a team dominated by freshmen, they next year, you have a team dominated by sophomores. And, in college football, that rarely represents much of a difference. So, we could be a year away from seeing an improvement.

Of course, that year will represent the last year of Coach's contract, so you can see it might seem like he's running out of runway.

The staff is also looking at junior college kickers to handle kickoffs and give some competition to Sean Ellis.

"We're not even talking about kickoff coverage if our kicker gets the ball into the end zone or out of the back of the end zone," Brandon said.

"Our punter and kicker are going to be good players. I don't want to invest more scholarships in those positions right now. Rojas will develop. I think he'll be OK. Ellis will too. He's just got to grow up, mature, get stronger.

See previous quote--Kicker Sean "Big Bird" Ellis has left school. It is back to the kicking merry go round for us. You can read the statement above for yourself and determine if these statements served as an incentive for Ellis to come back to BG.

"This team really lacked confidence, you could see that from week to week," Brandon said. "It's my job to get them confident. It was hard to put them in successful situations this year because a lot of them start, and they weren't ready to start, so they got burned."

Again, it is hard to argue with this. The question is will they contribute as starters as they get more experienced, or will they just be inconsistent juniors. There's no Plan B. If this class does not contribute as it matures we're looking at four straight losings seasons (or more) and an unwanted change in direction for the program.

"Whoever the Bowling Green quarterback is, I'm asking that kid to put us in position to win a championship and go to a bowl game," Brandon said. "In the spring, they're all going to get an opportunity to compete and win a job."

From the Nation's standpoint, this is the most common question. A poll on has Turner with the most choices, Sheehan the next, and Anthony Glaud (based on what, I do not know) third. We simply do not have a QB who has shown the ability to lead this team on a consistent basis. We have, in fact, only one who tried (AT), and he has sometimes done well and in others he has not done as well. I like the idea of making them compete. I have said elsewhere that the coach is the most important element of a D1 football program. The second is quarterback play. Witness, if you will, last night's MAC Championship Game.

I still think AT is the man. The more important question is "who will stand out there with him?" If someone besides Corey Partridge doesn't compete at WR, then his upside is limited (both passing and running). If Barnes comes along, then OK. That is a start. And if we can get one more contributing WR, then maybe we start to have something. And the line needs to continue to protect well. And Bullock and Macon need to run the ball.

UPDATE ON QB POLL: Turner now leads Anthony Glaud only narrowly. Go figure. Anthony Glaud. Who not person has seen play.

Rumor Mill Says Sean Ellis leaving

The rumor mill out of BG says that FR. Kicker Sean Ellis--who we invested a scholarship in--is leaving school. While this has not been confirmed officially, it is coming from a couple different sources.

Brandon detractors are jumping on this. Brandon specifically mentioned bringing in a JC kicker during his year end interview with The Blade, and bemoaned our propensity for short kickoffs. Also, there was an awkward public situation where Ellis told ESPN that he wanted to kick the FG vs. Miami from the left hash, but we lined the ball up on the right hash, and then Ellis slipped and fell on his butt on national television, after being shown walking gingerly in the mud for several minutes prior to the kick. There was also the statement that he was going to see a sports psychologist.

Anyway, if true, it is too bad. I wish him the best. Meanwhile, if true, it doesn't help our woeful special teams.