Monday, April 30, 2007

Draft Wrap Up/UDFA update

The results are in. Eight MAC players drafted, the most since 2005, when 11 were picked. Five players in the first three rounds is the best ever. CMU's 3 players is the most since Ball State had 3 picked in 2005.

The UDFA listings are trickling in. MAC Report Online is following them closely. Note that there is no news on Derrick Markray to date. 18 MAC players have UDFA contracts with NFL teams, while Phil Horvath has a UDFA contract with Detroit....for a total of 19.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

In touch with our dark side

Admit places you don't talk about at cocktail parties, dark places in your soul, there is no better, spine-tingling schadenfreude fun that watched an over-hyped, pretty boy QB fall down the draft board like a brick in a pool. We didn't really know how much fun it was when it happened to Aaron Rogers, but we got to enjoy Leinhart, and REALLY got to enjoy Quinn today. All the way to #22. And we watched him every step of the way.

Same to his sister.

The third round is about half over, and Bazuin, Staley and Usama Young (Kent) have been picked. I loved the commentary from Kiper and the boys on Usama--Kiper says "average player who had great workouts." Can't see that one working out. He wasn't even first team ALL-MAC.

Doug Free may still go tonight. He is currently the top O-tackle on the board.

Update: Shows what I know. No Free, but G Andy Alleman from Akron went to New Orleans, whose draft strategy appears to be an unusual one of cornering the market on MAC talent. Then, the Bears pulled a pretty big shocker by taking Garrett Wolfe in the 3rd round. At this size, that's a pretty big surprise. A number of backs--including Antonio Pittman--were ranked ahead of him on most boards.

FINAL TALLY: Drew Mormino (C) of CMU, Doug Free (OT) of NIU, and Ryne Robinson (WR) of Miami went today, making it eight total MAC picks. I'll be interested to see how that ranks historically, but it's on the high side, that's for sure. That CMU team had three NFL draft picks on it--not too many Falcon teams (if any) can say that. And, of course, they all date back to the DeBord regime.

We'll keep an eye on the free agent wires. I'm thinking Markray might get a UDFA shot.

Friday, April 27, 2007

MAC Draft Addendum

Not too long ago, I reviewed what I thought the MAC draft possibilities were. I see in The Blade today that a guy named Usama Young from Kent, of all places, who I admit I was not familiar with, is racing up draft lists and could go in the second round.

Joe Staley of CMU was picked by Mike Golic in ESPN's Mock draft last night.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Team Orr Continues to Come Together

Coach Orr is continuing to assemble his team to coach at BGSU. First, he has kept LaMonta Stone on board. LaMonta is popular in the Falcon Nation, and we're glad to see him stay on. He has great recruiting connections in Detroit, and that's obviously the source of some great MAC ballplayers.

The other new assistant is George Jackson, who coached with Orr at Seton Hall and was a highly successful HS coach in Cincy @ Withrow High. He was more than 300 games in 20 seasons as head coach. I think he can coach--and, of course, he has great connections in another major metro area in our region.

Every coach has this guy--and they should. This is the guy Orr trusts to help him keep the train running on time. I'm thrilled to have him at BGSU along with Coach Stone.

The third guy will be hired in a month or so. Right now, they have a big enough staff to get the job done.

Of course, there are two scholarships to be given, (maybe three). The next thing the nation is watching for is a true, honest to goodness PG...probably JUCO.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Marshall Scheduled

BG has announced that it will play a home and home with Marshall. This means that the game in Huntington will be in the Fall of 2009, and then sometime in January, 2010, Marshall will renege on their promises to return to BG.

When last we saw the Thundering Herd, they were playing their final MAC game at the Doyt, in the face of an old-fashioned, prison gang beat down at the hands of 04 and the Falcons. It was highlighted by BG on the Marshall 2 as time ran out---and we down the ball. Beat freaking down.

Oh, yes. It was sweet.

In all seriousness, this is a good thing, and this is a good development.

On the other hand, in semi-seriousness there are two downsides. First, why do we always play the first road game in a home and home? I will believe Marshall is coming to BG when they march their loser asses onto the BG field turf.

The other downside is that we will have to put up with their obnoxious hillbilly fans one more time--though they may have jumped off the bandwagon now that the team sucks like a sink hole in your backyard. The Marshall fans--and players--stand to this day as among the most distasteful elements in my time following BG sports.

Still, I always rooted for them to beat UT.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Spring Game Report--Defense Wins

Here, in today's game, Dan Macon runs to the left with one of his 18 carries.

OK, so here's the deal with the spring game. It's a ying yang thing. When the offense lights it up (as it did a couple years ago, courtesy O4 and AT), you're glad to see it, but at the same time, you worry about the defense. Same thing for a low scoring game, only in reverse.

With that thought in mind, the defense won the spring game. The ying-yang doesn't stop there. I mean, does it mean our really young D has come around, and is ready to contribute as a leading unit in our conference....or is our offense consigned to another season of low wattage output while the defense gets lit up like a Christmas tree?

Of course, there is no way to know. Reviewing basic facts, the game produced only 3 TDs, and one of those was off a very short field following a Sheehan INT. So, really, there were two sustained drives. The offenses would move the ball for a while, and then stall out, and that was true for both of them.

Looking first at White, (the Turner/Glaud team). What you have is playcalling that very closely matched what we ran last year, and that can't be what we want. Turner was 9-14 and Glaud was 5-6, so that's 14-20, or 70%. Not bad. However, those 20 passes accounted for only 82 freaking yards, the kind of line we saw commonly last year. That's about 4 yards per pass play--actually much less than the 5.8 the team did last year. So, yes, nice %. On very, very short passes. And Turner threw an INT. He was only sacked once, but I would hope so.

It actually is a little worse. Glaud had a 29 yard completion. That means the other 19 completions were worth 53 yards, less than 3 yards per attempt.

So, at least we ran well with White, right. Dan Macon had a nice day (18 for 86 and 4.8), but Eric Ransom (highly touted JUCO transfer) was 14-46 for 3.3, which isn't too much. Plus he caught four passes for -5 yards. Turner was also no threat on the run, although Glaud did run for a TD.

Now, he didn''t have Corey Partridge, who (we will cover later) is simply as good a possession receiver as we have ever had. Marques Parks caught four passes for 60 yards.

Play mix was 38 runs and 20 passes.

Well, let's look at the Orange. Playcalling on this side was, interestingly, a little more typical of a Gregg Brandon offense. 34 passes, 31 runs.

How about Tyler Sheehan? The backup QB fans have fallen in love with? I thought he looked good in spots, but he also threw 2 INT's and was sacked three times. He also fumbled. In all, he was 20-33, which is about 61%. But, those 33 passes covered 179 yards for 5.4 yards per attempt, so there was at least some degree of difficulty. Sheehan had a nice TD pass to Kelvin Davis for 32 yards, which made up for an alligator arm Davis pulled on sideline pass a few plays before that (Davis is a redshirt Fr, and has a great body. I'm looking forward to watching him).

Chris Bullock ran 18 times for 83 yards, a respectable 4.6 average.

The real star of the game for Orange was Corey Partridge. He is simply a fantastic receiver. We had no one who could cover him. He caught ten balls for 96 yards--by far, the best offensive performance for the team.

So, you have two distinct playcalling styles and sets of performers, playing against defenses that were equally mixed. Both Orange and White averaged 3.9 yards per play (a full yard less per play even then last year's anemic offense). Which leads me to my fear--that we aren't going to move the ball again this year....that we have three QBs who are OK, but none that is really good. That we have some running, but not enough receivers to really open it up.

In fairness, I thought the defense made lots of plays. Diryal Briggs is going to be huge in this conference (9 tackles and 2 sacks). Lewis Parks, PJ Mahone, a number of our players had pretty big games. We forced four turnovers (both ways). Our defense is still painfully young. The depth chart in the prospectus lists 33 players. 2 are seniors, and one of those is Sean O'Drobinak.

I hate to say that we might still be a year away on defense, but I will say this: if this defense produces this year, this conference is in for a scary couple seasons. If this defense proves to be young and untalented, then we're in for a scary couple seasons.

Special teams. Improved. Iovinelli punted for both teams and got somewhere near 40 yards. He wasn't rushed at all, and we didn't send defenders down field, either. The crowd applauded politely with each successful punt. Vrvilo made 3 FGs. The walk on ("other kicker") had one blocked. We had a couple cruddy kickoffs, but I don't remember which kicker that was.

So, there's the spring game. Next time we see our heroes, they will be running onto the field of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome to play the Golden Gophers. Today, I saw a defense win over the offense. What that means depends on whether you see ying or yang.

Spring Game!!

Oh boy! Spring Game. Can't Wait! WHO-HOO!

Quick comment. The U released its football prospectus. I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but I will. The latest depth chart out, and it lists Erique Dozier at MLB and Loren Hargrove at WILL. It says Sheehan or Turner (in that order) and Ransom or Bullock (in that order). I don't think the QB battle is over, or will be over until we head to Minneapolis. I only hope that then it IS over, and one QB takes 95% of the snaps from there on in.

Friday, April 20, 2007

In memory....

of the murders at Virginia Tech, we are going Maroon and Orange today, as part of a national movement to recognize the suffering and grieving in Blacksburg.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Coach Brandon holds Spring Game Presser

Gregg Brandon Spring Game Press Conference--

Here we go, Falcon Nation! Deep, rich minutiae leading up to Saturday's "game." Wallow away. Wise ass remarks are in orange below.

April 18, 2007

Bowling Green, Ohio - Bowling Green State University football coach Gregg Brandon talked about Saturday's upcoming Spring Game. The scrimmage will be held at Bowling Green High School at 1 p.m. Admission is free. (I would hope so).

Have there been any injuries or problems?
"Loren Hargrove pulled a muscle in his shoulder and we are sitting him out the rest of the way, just to be on the safe side. He lost some strength in there and he had been doing a great job at middle linebacker and he's earned the starting spot going into the fall. (WHOA!! Hold the phone. Loren Hargrove is going to play middle linebacker? Very interesting. The spring depth chart had him at Weak LB and Haneline at MLB. In fact, my own post registered caution on Haneline at MLB. Hargrove is only 211, so we're apparently building for speed, because that is very light. We're going to need the D-line to keep blocks off him.) There is no need to force him back. We are just going to rest him and get him healthy in the summer. When he gets his strength back he'll be able to crank it up a notch."

On the orange/white game
"We are going to draft the guys tonight. It will be a steak and bean game, the winner eats steaks and the loser serves them. That will be Tuesday night after our last practice. (Sounds like fine motivation. What kind of beans, anyway? Never mind. For fans, the key point here is that it isn't #1 offense playing together. They are going to be mixed up)."

Have you had any intense scrimmages this spring?
"We had two of them. We had one the first Saturday and another one this past Saturday. The first Saturday was intense and it wasn't as long. We probably had 70 or 80 plays and last Saturday we had upwards of 90. Very similar scrimmages, a lot of good work."

Is there anything that stood from Saturday's scrimmage?
"I think Tyler Sheehan is stepping up at quarterback. I am going to keep evaluating. I have three players that are all competing. With Sheehan, [Anthony] Glaud and Turner I think I have three guys that are all capable." (Interesting signal from Coach. Kremlinologists will parse each word to determine what they might mean. If nothing else, they may be designed to motivate Turner--or, Sheehan might really be the guy. I think QB controversies are really distracting for teams looking for a leader, so I hope we can find a guy and stick with him. MLB controversies are not such a big deal)

Anyone else who has stood out?
"Sean O'Drobinak has really taken to defensive line. He has really stepped up that way. Erique Dozier, we moved him inside and he can play in there. (WHOA again! Moved to the inside of what? Does he mean inside as backup MLB, or inside, as in the defensive line? He's only 221 pounds. WTF.) He has done a good job with that. We know he can play out there with space and now we have put him in the box. (Must have been a failure to communicate). He has got to be able to mix it up in there and be a physical player, which he is. He has found a home in there and I am excited about that. I think our secondary has matured. I really like the way those kids are playing together. Adam Gonzaga has done a nice job with that group. Our corners are veterans now, Antonio [Smith] and Kenny [Lewis] are going into their third year. All of those Freshman that played last year, Jahmal Brown and P.J. Mahone, Mahone we moved to linebacker. (HOLD THE PHONE AGAIN!! All right then. He started the spring at FS, back up, but is now at LB. He weighs 201--not to be overally anal about that kind of thing). Those guys are doing a great job. They have a year under their belt and they are stepping up. You can just see the maturity and growth of the football team in that regard. (If there's so much maturity and growth going on, why does everyone have to change positions?) That is something I knew in the back of my mind all last fall. I was saying that these kids are a year away or a spring away. It's spring and we are twelve practices in, and we are making progress with the youth on defense. With O'Drobinak in there and Mike Ream is improving as an inside guy. Jacob Hardwick is having a great spring as an end. It has allowed us to leave Jacob at end with Nick Davis and Joe Schaefer being out. Two of our better players are out on the defensive line. Diyral Briggs is picking up where left off. He is an impact guy and a hard guy to block. I am pleased with the way our defense is running to the football. We are developing some depth, which we haven't had in the last couple of years. We have recruited speed in the last couple years and it is starting to show up. You don't really have the patience to let that happen, but we didn't have a choice. We didn't have the patience to let that happen and last year we went through some growing pains there."

On the spring game
"We are going to do live kicking but there won't be tackling. Everything will be above the waist (it is prom season after all), which you do in the kicking game anyway. We just won't take anybody to the ground. I want to see the ball punted (don't we all) and I want to see us cover kicks, from a kickoff and a punt perspective. I want to see our guys catch the ball. We will fair catch everything. I want to see them handle balls. If we kick the ball on the kickoff, since it is from the 30-yard line, I think we need to see that because there are going to be a lot of returns. I want our guys to run and catch kicks, I want the whole thing."

Will you rush the punter?
(Beads of sweat appear on the foreheads of the Falcon Nation). "We'll rush him, but we will be in a return mode. (Whew. We'd be the first team to have four kicks blocked in its own spring game. Merely seeing our team line up in the accursed formation will be enough to drive fans to distracton). I want to see guys cover and I want to see guys holding up the guys that are covering. I want to see where we are with that. We are not going to try and block it, because we are going to split the teams up and that could be chaos. (as can be witnessed viewing special team game films from last season. Final note. I will bet that no other coach in America was asked if he was going to rush the punter in his spring game)."

Will it be 15-minute periods in the first half and running time in the second half?
"That's the plan, that is what we have done in the past." (The media is really grilling coach, here).

What do you hope to get out of Saturday?
"(Steak. Not beans). I want the kids to have fun and enjoy playing a live game. I have done that every year I was here except for last year because we didn't have enough bodies and we couldn't do it. We were just so young that we needed this practice and we needed this scrimmage. I am not saying that we do not need that now, but I feel comfortable now. (OK. If anyone can make sense out of that, feel free to translate in the comments). The kids have had a good off-season and they had a good winter. They had 13 good practices and the attitude and chemistry of this team is coming together. Let's let them play a game and put something on the table, the steak and beans, and let them have some fun."

Do you give the fans a chance to come and watch? (Apparently. And for free).
"Our fans can come out and see our kids in a live situation which is good. I think they have to understand that the teams will be split, so you are not going to see the best offense or the best defense out there. The spring is an opportunity for individuals to make moves, to make jumps on the depth chart. Every situation that we have created in the practice has been competitive, to see how guys handle pressure and how guys respond when we turn on the lights. This game is going to be no different. It is an opportunity for a guy to make a play, to catch a touchdown pass, throw a touchdown pass, to get an interception, to get a tackle for a loss or to get a fumble. All of those things are out there, but you are not seeing the best offense or the best defense. I think the fans will understand that. (Speaking for myself only. I understand that.)"

Is there anything else relating to the spring game?
"We are going to select the player of the spring. Basically it is who every coach would take as a first round draft pick. (I think if he is on the losing team he should get steak, too) We are going to do it at Commons, with Bob Sebo as the commissioner. It should be a fun deal."

Are there any other roster moves that you have made?
"Vincent Corner has been working out at safety, he had been a cornerback but he is working in safety now. (I personally think that a guy named Corner should play corner, but, hey, if you want to run around doing what's best for the team and everything, rock on. I would assume he is taking the spot held by Mahone.) Offensively, Marques Parks has stepped up in his receiver position (This is pretty huge. If Parks, Partridge and Barnes can be our receivers, then I think we can start to open things up a little bit). Eric Ransom is in the lead in the running back position. That to me is like the cornerback race. We have Ransom, Chris Bullock and Dan Macon who are there good options." (Last and final WHOA!! I actually don't find this surprising. Coach made a cryptic comment earlier in this regard and Ransom appears to be a big talent. We will have depth at RB).

See everybody Saturday! Go Falcons.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

AyZiggyZoomBlog links to great new site

One of the posters at the AyZiggyZoomBlog, and a frequent commenter here, has created a great database of Falcon Football results. Warm and safe feelings invade as the Nation wallows in the thick, fragrant detail...

Note, if you will, this:

Games: 832
Record: 469-311-52 (252-112-27 at home)
MAC Record: 232-142-13
BGSU points: 16713 (20.0877 points/game)
Opponent points: 13647 (16.4026 points/game)

Pretty dang good, if you ask me. Hopefully, we can hit 500 wins in about three seasons--or at least four.

One thing I looked up was the result from my very first Falcon game, which was a game my Dad took me to on November 13, 1971. We played Xavier--and we lost 42-27.

Xavier no longer plays football.

There's tons of great data here--including record by month. (Hint, we have a winning record in every month of the year).

Bookmark this site, FalconNation.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Brandon's Contract

So, I've been saving this until there was nothing going now.

Last year, USA Today published the contracts of most of the coaches in DI-A football.

I printed out Brandon's, and meant to post on it. So, here it is. This is extra fun, because it has the feeling of seeing something you aren't supposed to see, even though it is a public document.

Here's a summary....

His contact extends until the end of the 2008 season--which is defined as the last game of the season that year--including bowl games.

If he is found to have violated NCAA rules--here or before he came here--he is subject to disciplinary procedures.

Raising funds and making personal appearances are part of the job. (Includes, humorously, "football camps throughout the world.")

His base salary is $150K.
He does get merit increases every July 1, for which there is no information.
He does not accrue vacation, but gets 22 days a year.

There are numerous incentive clauses:

  • If we win the West (ha! ha!, I'll bet he didn't like the move to the East), he gets $2,000.
  • If we win the MAC, he gets $5,000.
  • If we make a bowl game, he gets $5,000 (meaning that a MAC Championship win is really a $10,000 win).
  • If we make a BCS bowl game, he gets $20,000.
  • If he is MAC Coach of the year, he gets $2,000.
  • If we have a 70% graduation rate of scholarship athletes, he gets $2,000.
  • If we retain 95% of our players, he gets $2,000.
  • If the team has a 2.75 GPA, he gets $2,000.
  • If the GPA is over 3.0, he gets $2,000 more.
  • If we average 17,000, he gets $2,000.
  • If we average 20,000, he gets an additional $2,000.
  • If we average 22,000, he gets an additional $2,000.
  • If we finish in the Top 25 (AP or USA Today), he gets $5,000.
  • If we finish in the Top 10, he gets $10,000.
  • If we lead the MAC in Total offense or scoring offense he gets $1,000.
  • If we lead the MAC in total defense or scoring defense, he gets $1,000.

He also gets media compensation, which is $20,000.

So, eliminating the incentives for making the BCS game or being in the top ten, he has the ability to realistically earn in excess of $30,000 in bonuses if we had a good season.

He can also earn outside income, but it must be consistent with his BG coaching duties, and he must disclose it.

He gets a membership at one country club.

The university gets to pick the apparel provider, in consultation with Coach Brandon.

Termination--of course, he can be terminated for cause, like death, disability, violation of duties or rules, felony charges, actions prejudicial to BGSU, anything that would cause the termination of a typical employee, and violating his restrictive covenant with BGSU--which says if he is approached for another football job, he has to notify the university.

He can also be terminated without cause. Yes, Falcon fans, firing him for losing is "without cause." In this case, he would get the greater of one year's base salary or $250,000.

Let's say Brandon terminates the contract. If it is between the end of the season and May 31, he can give the Athletic Director 30 days notice. He cannot terminate his contract between the June 1 and the end of the season--not counting a "non-league" bowl game. In such a situation, Brandon has agreed that the harm would be "irreparable and could not be quantified or remedied with damages."

(This is an important distinction. His contract term is until the end of the season including the bowl game. But, if we wanted to leave between the MAC Championship and a "non-league" bowl game, he could. Now, I don't know what "non-league" means. But, this is the home of uninformed opinion, so here you go. The current MAC bowl games (GMAC, Motor City and International) would be considered "league" bowl games. So, if Coach got us into the Fiesta Bowl (bear with me), he could terminate his contract before the bowl game.)

If Brandon does terminate his contract, he owes BGSU $100,000. This is the "buy out."

All the information--recruiting, films, etc--belong to BGSU, although many Falcon fans would urge the ritual burning of the whole collection if it gets to this.

Then, there is one more interesting thing. In the interregnum period between ADs, he got Ed Whipple to sign an amendment to his contract that requires the AD to consult him on the schedule, starting with this year's schedule. This clearly is the result of Brandon being unhappy with the schedule developed by Krebs in his last season. Coach complained at the time, and throughout the season about having OSU on the schedule, lack of a bye week, etc. So, I think he lobbied for this when he didn't have a boss.

And, when the schedule was announced, if you go back and look, you will see that Christopher's comments included the words "in consultation with Coach Brandon." In other words, no complaining this year.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

MAC Draft Prospectus

The sports world is devolving into its normal "all draft, all day" mode now that baseball has started. Not wanting to be left out, I thought I would jump in and look at MAC prospects.

It is really tough to make the NFL from the MAC. You can be an absolutely great MAC player, and not even get a sniff in the NFL. Choosing examples is so easy there's no point.

Based on ESPN rankings, here are MAC players projected as draft-worthy, with their rank at their position.

#3 Joe Staley, OT from CMU. Looking late first round, based on their projection. Is a converted TE, but they seem to really like him at tackle in the NFL.

#5 Doug Free, OT from NIU. First day pick. Dominant in the MAC.

#6 Andy Alleman, OG from Akron. ESPN says his stock is "soaring" and could be a first day pick.

#14 Garrett Wolfe, NIU. Early second day.

#16 I was most surprised to see Dan Bazuin ranked as 16th as his position. I thought the hype was that he was going in the first round, but now, it looks like he will go in the second day. Apparently he had a bad senior year--never mind that he was injured and his brother died before the season started.

Possible picks

Drew Mormino, C, from Central Michigan. Late pick, if at all.
Luke Getsy, QB, Akron
Chad Upshaw, TE, Buffalo (This is Gene Upshaw's son).
Andrew Wellock, K, EMU
Ryne Robinson, WR, Miami

And that's it. 5 MAC players likely (perhaps as many as 10) to be drafted. Note a trend there? Yes, all the top 10 players are offensive lineman. Skill position play in the MAC is simply not up to the level we saw five years ago. Remember the MAC being the conference of QBs? Overall play in the MAC is down, but among skilled players, it is most down.

As a Falcon Blog, we pay passing tribute to Derrick Markray, our only player in danger of being drafted. Coach Brandon thinks he will be a UDFA and make an NFL roster.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

BG Keeps Coach Miller

Quick post. BG has re-signed Coach Miller of the women's basketball team through 2013. And, he is now the highest paid coach at BG, which, as G-Rant notes here, is pretty dang cool.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Weather

The weather today reminds me--exactly--of the Miami game last year. Just sayin'.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Coaching Philosophy

Note--I wrote this before we hired Coach Orr, but didn't get it published because, we, well, hired Coach Orr. But, dang it, I wrote it and its going up.

We need a new basketball coach, and as you listen to the speculation, it is clear that there are a few directions you can go.

For example, here are some types you could find:

The Urban Meyer: The next up and coming coach who makes a name here and moves on. Normally, an assistant at a major program. Both of our last two hires (Dakich and Larranaga) fit this mold. This is probably the most common MAC method of replacing a coach. See Charles Ramsey, Ronny Thompson, Ernie Ziegler, O'Shea.

The John Weinert: Find a very successful coach at a smaller program. WMU had a lot of success with Bob Donewald. Upside is that this coach might be less likely to move on the first time he has some success.

The Traitor: Getting an assistant from another conference school, like Josh Oppenheimer at Kent. Bob McDonald left UT to coach at Kent once, but this is very rare).

The Promotion from within: As in Jim Christan @ Kent, or Steve Hawkins at WMU. Joplin, Dambrot, too. Generally requires the program to be, oh, winning, before it is likely. Not in the cards at BG.

The Retread--the Urban Meyer is designed to pick a guy on the way up, capitalize on youth and enthusiasm, and catch a ride. The retread is the opposite--find a wily, guileful veteran who is on the way down, hoping his superior coaching ability will lead him to success. This is the model behind the Louis Orr interest. This is how we got Denny Stolz, for example. Good example: Charlie Coles. Extreme example: Ricardo Patton at NIU, who found a way to fall off the bottom step.

The Local---See Reggie Witherspoon. Local man known for ability gets chance, despite apparent lack of D1 coaching experience. Theory upon which some fans want to see Ron Niekamp of Findlay hired.

What should we do? Got me. The Urban Meyer model has proven itself over time, and I think that is the safest route. There are lots of hungry, aggressive young coaches who have the energy to turn a program around to meet their own ambition.

But, I think we often undersell ourselves on a really successful coach at a lower division. Some of those guys can really coach and really recruit. From another sport, I'd like to introduce you to a guy named Jim Tressel. Or Brian Kelly. These guys are used to working in facilities like ours and know the coaches in the midwest as well as a D1 coach. Not a sure thing, but I think we fail to find these guys under our nose while we look for a marquee name. Like this guy.

I'm not much on the Retread model, and I don't think we have the balls to get an assistant from another school. Plus, I guess Josh Oppenheimer is waiting for Christian to move on. The local? You'd have to be sure the guy could recruit. It isn't the same in DIII.

You wanted uninformed opinion? You came to the right place. Odds are big on the Urban Meyer model.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Testing Our New Template

How we looking?

Don't forget football

Yes, we use all kinds of balls, and spring practice is still going on for the one that is funny shaped.

Jack Carle had this story after Coach Brandon's Spring Presser.

Here's the official transcript of the Spring Presser, as released by BGSU. I have inserted snarky, uninformed, and unhelpful comments along the way in Orange.

Gregg Brandon Spring Football Press Conference

April 5, 2007

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio - Head football coach Gregg Brandon met with members of the media to discuss the team's progress as Spring football drills continue.

On Spring drills thus far
New coaches have come in, and you can just tell those kids are like "I got a new coach I better be going hard." (Maybe half the staff should have left two seasons ago). That the reason why our defense dominated the scrimmage on Saturday. Our offensive was all over the place, and while that's not a good thing I would rather have it that way now so we can work out the bugs. (This is one of those ying/yang deals where when one unit stands out, the other doesn't, and you don't know who is good and who sucks. Wouldn't it be just as good if the offense kicked the defense's butt and we worked THOSE bugs out? I worry about the offense. And hey, don't we have new coaches on offense, too?). We are also giving three quarterbacks reps, and playing a lot of different guys at receiver. We are giving them a lot on their plate, and they are struggling sometimes to execute because of that. I am just going to keep pouring it on them in hopes to find out who can handle it.

On position change for Sean O'Drobinak
We wanted to give him a chance to play more and get on the field seeing as we don't use the tight end position that much. He's a good athlete and veteran kid, and I'll tell you what, after six practices he can play on the defensive line and that's exciting. To me, spring is the time to tweak some things with the roster or make some moves to see if a kid can do something. If we need to, we can always move him back to tight end and he will step right back in the fall without missing a beat. He is going to help us on defense and be a player there.

He was a bit surprised when we asked him to move to the defensive line (I'll bet he was) because he is a little bit out of his comfort zone, but like I said, he is a veteran guy. Sean is doing a nice job in there. He has the size and quickness plus he can run because he is athletic. That is the type of player we need in there.

I first wanted to see if he could play defense and I knew he could because he played some in high school. He is a good enough athlete so I think he that he has been able to earn a starting job on the dept chart right now.

On the relationship between Coach Mike Ward and Sean O'Drobinak
Having him coach the defensive line has really helped Sean, no question. Mike recruited Sean, so he has known that kid since he came into the program. I think that has helped make this a very easy transition for him.

On Shane Steffy and Brandon Curtis's depth chart positions on the offensive line
Right now Brandon Curtis and Pat Waston are playing center for two reasons. First is Kory Lichtensteiger is not playing and second, we need to find Kory's backup. Both of these guys will get a chance to compete in the fall for guard. Steffy is also competing, so there are three guys we have in mind. Brady Minturn is a kid we moved from defense that's in the offensive line mix who is also doing a nice job too. We are also going to play Mack at guard too. (We have an experienced line and I think it has the potential to help carry the team. We have had consistent line play--above every position--during the entire Brandon/Meyer era).

On the Receivers
He has moved right up here to the top of the depth chart (I have no idea who this is referring to). Kelvin Davis, Zach Charles, and Freddy Barnes are doing their part to get ready for fall and are having a nice spring so far. Marques Parks is also doing a good job. Although he has had to battle back from breaking his leg, I think he is having the kind of spring that he needs to have.

On Nick Lawrence as a fullback
I think defensively we have recruited more speed and if anything Nick is probably a guy that could maybe play defensive line for us down the road some day. Right now, he is working on fullback because we have improved our athleticism defensively and we have to play all the guys that can run.

On standouts who have caught the coaching staffs eye
The defensive line has really shown up this spring. (They're going to need to if we're moving TEs over to D-Tackle.) I think Jacob Hardwick and Trevor Frericks are just getting better and better.

The secondary is playing well; those guys are all athletic kids that have all got Baptism by fire last year. They have learned from that and are doing a nice job that way. The four starters in the back are playing well together. Kenny Lewis and Antonio Smith are playing really well in the corner right now. Jahmal Brown and P.J. Mahone are doing a nice job at safety too. Despite their youth Tarell Lewis and Vincent Corner both played last year and now that experience is showing up and they're doing a nice job. Jerrett Sanderson is a year better now too. That's a pretty good group.

On Quarterbacks
It is a three horse race right now. We have been trying to get each one the same amount of reps, with the same people. We chart every throw in practice, so we can measure their progress and have some tangible data. We have tried to get them to do the same plays, so we can make it as objective as possible. In that position however, there is a lot that goes into decision making because you don't want to have someone who just goes through the motions. We want a guy who can be a leader, and make good throws and decisions. (This is really good news. We absolutely must get consistent play at QB this year. Earlier in the Spring Coach said we needed 65% completions to move the ball. I think AT was coming along late last year and will when the job, but I love to see the competition. If Sheehan (or Glaud, see below) are better, than let's get them in the game. With an experienced line and the additional of Eric Ransom, we can put the octane back in the attack).

Anthony Glaud did not compete last year but, he really wants it. (I assume that means that he didn't play--which is a fact--and not that he didn't show up). He is a great team guy who really loves Bowling Green. He is a talented player who just needs tons and tons of reps.

On Jimmy Scheidler

Jimmy has done well for us. We are playing more the moving UH back type guy, which we used that quite a bit last year. Jimmy can do that. He can also line-up in an attached tight end. I like standing him up and flexing him out a bit, because now that's a big guy in the box working a release. He can get open over the middle with some crossing routs, and he is athletic enough to do that. That will make him harder to cover because; you are going to have to put a bigger body on him. (But, we don't use a TE that much?)

On Chris Bullock
Chris has been ok. (That's kind of an odd statement. I guess it would all depend on the inflection. Is it "Chris has been, O-K" or "Chris has been OK!)? I think Eric Ransom has got Chris's attention. That's the whole thing we needed to create, was competition. Competition is going on in a lot of positions, and that's really been good a good thing. Chris needs to become an everyday player. He is a talented guy, who has already demonstrated that he can run the ball in this league. He has just got to take it to the next level.

On the kicking game
I think I really like the punter we signed, Nick Iovinelli, he is really good and going to help us out in that position. The kicker also, Sinisa Vrvilo, he has been great so far with field goals and extra points, and that's such a breath of fresh air after what we went through last year. It's been huge to have two guys who can kick and punt. You can just see that the team has noticed that too, the tempo is better. I like our defensive energy. (Well, we need some defensive energy. As I mentioned in the depth chart review, the backfield is a strength (see above), and Coach says the line is practicing well. No mention anywhere in the presser of the D. If we can move the ball like I hope we can, and we can get off the field once in a while, maybe we can turn this around).

Friday, April 06, 2007

Did we hire Ward Cleaver to Coach Basketball?

Hey, I'm kidding, OK? I'm a father, and it has defined my life, and if you believe in family, you will fit in well at BG. The only remarkable thing here is how open he is. He certainly sounds like a man who knows what he is about.

There's a certain tone to these opening press conferences. It isn't all that different from the John Beilein conference at UM, and sounds stunningly like the introduction Rod Marinelli gave for himself in Detroit. Keep this in mind: it isn't an easy task. Introduce yourself as a basketball coach and a person, without sounding overly preachy or trite....a very awkward feeling. I'm sure every coach is glad when these things are over and they can get to work.

Back to hoops, here's the report from Coach Orr's welcome presser: (Any wiseass commentary by me is in orange, but there isn't much to say).

(puts on BGSU cap) I don't wear many hats. I think it's a family trait. There are not many hats that fit; our heads are kind of a large size.

To God be the glory. (This isn't my cup of tea, but it is a free country.) I am very thrilled and pleased, and feel very blessed to be the men's head basketball coach here at Bowling Green State University; to become a member of the Bowling Green family. That's what it's about. As I get older, and the more I've been in coaching and athletics, you can take all the nice buildings and the arenas, all of the glitter and the glamour (Sardonic Falcon fans will point out a lack of nice arenas and glitter and glamour at our school, but we get the point).; it comes down to relationships. It comes down to people. It comes down to commitment. That's the feeling I got the minute I talked to Greg, when I got the chance to meet other administrators, and when I got the chance to sit down with Dr. Ribeau and his wife. It is a large school, but it is truly a warm family.

The fact that I have my family here ... as you get to know me, I can be an emotional guy at times. I don't mind shedding a tear or two. But to have my family here -- I've been involved in a few press conferences in my day, but this is the first time that I've been able to have a lot of my family here. I have my beautiful wife, Yvette, here. I miss my son, Chauncey, and my daughter, Monica, but coming from New Jersey, they have their responsibilities and their obligations. But, it is truly a blessing. It feels good to have family, and to be part of a family that is committed to excellence and support.

The tradition here at Bowling Green is something I have known about since I was young. Growing up in Cincinnati, I've been a fan of MAC basketball for a long time. I remember working out with Cornelius Cash and Skip Howard when I was in high school, and I knew they were from Bowling Green. (Cash and Howard were on the Falcon teams of my youth--the first ones. This is a cool connection to have--they were both remarkable players who only failed to win a MAC title because CMU had James McElroy, Dan Roundfield and Ben Poquette). I remember as a youngster watching Nate Thurmond play, because I was a big NBA fan from a young age. Nate was a great defensive center, played for the Warriors for a long time as you well know, and was one of the top 50 players in the NBA. So, I have been familiar with the history here, and I have gotten more familiar as time has gone on.

And, I am excited about the future, and these young men here to my right. I got a chance to speak to them earlier, and I got a chance to let them know that we are expecting great things. We want to go in expecting great things. It's a process, but I think we have to expect great things out of ourselves. Sometimes, in our youth, we don't expect enough out of you. There's a fine line between winning and losing, and we talked about that, but we are going to make the commitment to be the best that we can be.

We want to compete for championships. I think when you play ball, just like anything else, you want to compete to be the best. You want to compete to be champions. The first champions have to come from within (This is perhaps the single thing I have most learned in my life...your biggest opponent is yourself); you have to be the best that you can be as an individual, and then as a team, and you hope that equates to wins. But the first thing you have to do is be the best you can be, and that's our challenge: to be the best that we can be. Those young men that are in the room; that's our challenge, and it starts today, to build on the tradition of Bowling Green basketball. (Music to my ears, Coach Orr!)

It is good to be back in Ohio; it is good to be home. I have been a Buckeye all my life; traveled around the East coast for a while, but it is time to get back home. It is good to have the support and the love, not just from the Bowling Green family, but also from my immediate family. It feels good, and I am looking forward to the challenge.

My expectations ... I have been through a lot of things as a player and a coach, and I know what it takes to win. I know you have to lay the foundation to building a championship team, but these young men have what it takes to get off to a good start, and like I said, our expecations are high. We shoot for the stars, and that's what we are looking for. (He sounds hungry to win to me...)

Again, I am thrilled to be here, I'm looking forward to a great relationship with the community, and I am a family guy and a people person. I lead a normal life. I go to the grocery store -- this past year that I have been off, I did a lot of grocery shopping. (We have a nice Kroger, coach.) My wife went to work; she graduated from college in '05, so I told her, 'I'll take this year off; you go out and earn a living, and I will take care of our son.' I was the one that, when he forgot his schoolwork or his sneakers -- which he did a lot -- he would call and say, 'Dad, can you bring my supplies to school' or 'Dad, can you take me to the game,' and I was the one to make the run. I had more time to spend with my son than I ever had ... I counted my blessings to have the opportunity, but it is time to get back to work, and I am looking forward to it.

Thanks for coming out. It means a lot to me, and I promise you, I'll give you everything that I have, and all that the good Lord allows me to give, and I'm looking forward to great things from these young men and in the future.

Maureen also had some comments on her blog. First, some housekeeping. Brandon Bland is gone--I'm not sure if he was on a schollie or not. Marschall will be ready to practice again in two weeks.

Coach Orr is making $160K, which is more than Coach Brandon. Also:

The team met with Orr for about an hour before their press conference. The players were extremely impressed that he knew all their names and faces. He had watched several DVDs of their games already.

I cannot wait to get started again next Fall.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Welcome! to new Falcon Blog

A quick howdy to the guys at AyZiggyZoomBlog, (also in the sidebar links) our newest blog in the Falcon Nation. It's some guys from, the true capitol of the nation (besides the Doyt and Anderson Arena). Glad to have you on board. We'll be in touch!

SO, what do I think about the new coach?

I know you wanted to know. But, like I say, when you wanted uninformed opinion, you can always turn here.

On balance, I like it. I have another post, which I already wrote but which was overtaken by events, in which I defined the different types of coaches we might get, and what TYPE of coach might be a good idea.

Generally, I thought we would get an up and coming guy--the Urban Meyer model, I called. (I will post it eventually, because I wrote the dang thing).

Instead, we went with a guy who is trying to rebuild his career...who has been a head coach, and normally at a bad school.

I like this hire for a number of reasons:

Orr is a successful and proven head coach. Not something you get with the latest hot assistant. He took Seton Hall to post-season play three times. He was Big East Coach of the Year. While he only coached there for five years, he has a winning record. Plus, while Seton Hall has had winning programs, it isn't Duke.

Orr appears, based on what we know, to play a defensive style. I think this will ease the transition for our players. I worried that we would bring in a guy whose style would be a problem with our existing players and their skills.

Orr was a player and a good one. He played in the NBA. I hope he can relate to the players and motivate them (and recruit them).

He also seems to be a quality person who will represent our university well--something we absolutely expect. Here is what Charlie Coles (another guy I respect the hell out of) said in today's Blade--emphasis added

Miami coach Charlie Coles has known Orr since Orr was growing up in Cincinnati. Orr and Coles spoke a few weeks ago about BGSU's opening, and Coles said he told Orr the "community was a very good place" and "the gym worked for the home team every time."
"He's a very, very outstanding man," Coles said. "He's a Christian, he's got great values and a pretty even temperament. He's the Tony Dungy of college basketball."

Here's what Jim Christian said in the same article:

"He's a man with unbelievable integrity and faith," Christian said. "Because of his experience as a player and coaching at the level he has, he can relate to the players."

Orr is from Ohio and his wife is from Ypsilanti. He made a comment in BG's release about being able to share his life with loved ones (or words to that effect), and I assume this is what he meant. I think he wants to be here.

Orr was a "big", which could help with Otis Polk's development (although I do not subscribe to the theory that you have to have been a big to develop one).

He seems to be generating positive momentum right off the bat for the program.

I also list this as a qualified positive: people in Falcon Nation seem to think he might be ready to settle down and coach here for a while. Since he is older, the view is that he would be less attractive to a major program if he succeeds here.

I hope this is true. A couple qualifications, though. First, I think it is a little bit of wishful thinking. How old is John Beilein? Second, I appreciate the desire to settle down. At the same time, how much of a college coach's success is driven by ambition--how much of making those long drives, kissing the butt of some AAU tyrant, how much of those things are because a guy wants to get ahead? Or, how much are a passion/mental illness I can't access. It's an open question, if only to me: can a non-ambitious coach succeed in the MAC? (Charlie Coles is, for example).

Now, the biggest negative is that he was fired at Seton Hall. You don't want a failure coming into your program, because coaching in the MAC is really hard--in some ways, getting a big to the Big Dance from the MAC is as hard or harder than at Seton Hall. Here's what Coles says:

"He should have never been let go," Coles said. "He made the tournament and they let him go. That was one of the biggest robberies of all time."

Maureen seems to indicate some kind of clash with the new AD. I do get it: good people are fired in every walk of life, every day.

For now, I'm not real worried about this. Just seems like the guy can coach. Like everyone else in life, he now has to prove he is up to this challenge--not the one at Seton Hall.

After his press conference, it won't be about the past, it will be about today.

It is great to see energy in the program again, and I cannot wait to have some excitement back in Anderson Arena again. You will find me in my usual seat.

Postscript Notes:

Here's what Coles told Orr about the job:

Orr and Coles spoke a few weeks ago about BGSU's opening, and Coles said he told Orr the "community was a very good place" and "the gym worked for the home team every time."

Love the AA comment. Wish it were slightly more true, though Miami does not win there, despite having better teams.

On assistants:

Orr will likely hire close friend George Jackson as an assistant. Jackson coached under Orr at Seton Hall and was a long-time coach at Cincinnati's Withrow High School, Orr's alma mater.

LaMonta Stone, who had been running the program's day-to-day operations since Dakich resigned, was expected to discuss with Orr last night about whether Stone would be a part of his staff.

Love to see LaMonta stay if it can work out.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

ESPN says that Orr is the man

ESPN says we will announce Louis Orr today.

This is also now in The Blade. Presser is tomorrow, but we will announce today.

Streaming detail.

He's already listed on the official roster. Even better, LaMonta Stone, DD's top assistant is still listed, while the other assistants are no longer there. Falcon Nation feels very good about Stone, who is well liked and who people feel can recruit Detroit effectively, and I think everyone hopes this means that he is staying on.

Here's the Seton Hall message board. They have good things to say about him.

Via is the official release.

OH, the rapture. Spring Depth chart is out....mmmmmmmmm

Geeks of the Falcon Nation, heads up! The Spring Depth chart is out. After a long winter and a week or so of Spring ball, here's the first look at what is up for 2007. Calm sense of well-being, wallowing waist deep in spring-fed minutiae.

OK, there are some changes. Nothing too earth-shattering, but some changes have been made.

  • First, Coach has already said that all the jobs are open. So, the fact that the 1st string QB is Anthony Turner (r-Jr), -or- Tyler Sheehan (So) isn't a surprise. Or is it?
  • As reported earlier, Sean O'Drobinak (5-Sr) has moved to the D-line. We had heard he was at DE, but the depth chart shows Sean at D-Tackle weighing in at 270 pounds. (Exactly what he was listed on the chart for last year's UT game, conspiracy theorists). He's taking the spot Brad Williams held until he graduated.
  • Brady Mintun (r-so) was the second stringer there last season, but apparently he never had the makings of a varsity d-tackle (name the pop culture reference), because he is now backup LG.
  • Brandon Curtis (r-Jr) has jumped from off the chart to RG, where he is starting. (Brandon switched to Oline from Dline before last season).
  • What happened at Guard? Well, both Markray and Lanning graduated. Shane Steffey (r-so) moved up from #2 to #1 at LG, and Andrew Stanford has disappeared from the depth chart at RG (Hence Curtis).
  • Other O-line starters...Drew Nystrom (5-Sr) is back, and starting at LT. Block o' Granite Kory Lichtensteiger (5-Sr) is back at C, and Kevin Huselman (5-Sr) is back at RT. There was some movement on the back ups. Jeff Fink (r-Jr) moved from LT to RG (#2), and Brandon Mack (Sr) moved to Oline from Dline, and is back up at RT.
  • With O'Drobinak now on defense, Jimmy Sheidler (r-So) is now starting at TE...when we use one. (He was back up last season).
  • To round out the offense, starting WRs are Barnes (r-So), Corey Partridge (r-Jr), Marques Parks (comeback kid, hope he is healthy, we can use this guy, R-JR), and Kelvin Davis (R- Fr.) The only real surprise here is Davis, who wasn't on the 2-deep at the end of last season. Back ups are Zach Charles (So, a little set back for the next Charles Sharon), Ty Pronty (So), Calvin Wiley (r-so, moved from backup S), Chris Wright (R-So).
  • The fullback is Pete Winovich (Sr), with former LB Nick Lawrence backing him up (r-so.)
  • Finally, TB. The official chart shows it Bullock (r-So), Macon (5-Sr), and Eric Ransom (Jr). I believe it is safe to say that the Falcon Nation thinks that is downplaying the role Ransom will have.
  • On the line, Diryal Briggs (r-Jr) steps up to take the DE position held by Devon Parks. At the other end is Jacob Hardwick, (R-so) who is moving outside from starting NG. I think it is safe to say that the Nation has high, high hopes pinned on watching Briggs charge around the end to the QB this year.
  • Adrian Baker (R-JR), who was a reserve LB is now backing Briggs up, and Angelo Magnon (r-FR) is backing up Hardwick, filling the space created by Thomas James transferring.
  • Inside, Michael Ream (r-Fr) has moved up from backup NG to start. R-FR Orlando Barrow will back him up. So DJ Young, who was injured last year, is backing O'Drobinak up.
  • Now to the much maligned LBs. Terrel White, our best LB, who played MLB, graduated. They moved John Haneline (R-so) to the MLB, Erique Dozier (r-Jr) will start at SAM, as he did last year, and Loren Hargrove (5-sr) will play the weakside, where he backed up last year. JUCO transfer Jerrson Davis will back up at SAM, Cody Basler (R-So) will back up at MLB again, and Lewis Parks (r-FR) is introduced to the two-deep at Will.
  • (I wince when I look at that. I'm not sure Hargrove is a pure LB, though I like Dozier. I don't know what to make of Haneline).
  • In the backfield, stability reigns! Corners Smith (Jr) and Lewis (Jr), and Safeties Sanderson (So) and Brown (So) are all in the same place as last year. Their backups are also the same (Corners Tarrell Lewis--so--and Corner, So, and safety PJ Mahone (So). The only new face is Calvin Marshall (rr-fr) behind Brown, who is taking the place Calvin Wiley used to hold.
  • Of course, the K and punters are new JUCO transfers.

So, what does that all mean. Frankly, this much shifting and movement is very typical. I'd like to think O'Drobinak wasn't a desperation move, but I will have to be convinced. We'll start only four seniors on offense (three if you don't count Winovich), and 3 of those are on the line. We're still young. Yet, with game experience, a healthy Marques Park giving us three solid receivers and QBs with some additional seasoning, I hope we can score again.

On defense, the backfield is a strength. I worry (see above) about the linebacks and D-line. We project starting only two seniors on defense, and one of them is O-Drobinak. The defense remains very, very young, if a little more experienced.

Ahhh. Now doesn't that feel better?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Personal Thoughts on Coach Dakich

Here, Coach Dakich makes his senior day address at center court at Anderson Arena. I took the picture because while I didn't know for sure, I think everyone was pretty sure it was his last moment at Anderson.

I've been meaning to do this for a while, and just haven't gotten around to it. In the days after he and the program parted ways, a lot of people talked about how good a person he was. On Wamer's show, DD predicted that would last about one day, and then it would be "who's the new coach going to be."

Of course, he was right.

So, I decided to wait a little. But I do want to say--there are many fond memories of Dan Dakich, who will be missed in the community. I understand why what happened happened, but it is a shame it didn't work out.

My son was in Junior Falcons, and we attended a Father-Son Dan Dakich camp one June in Anderson Arena, which is roughly like playing basketball in a pizza oven. At every turn, Dan was great with the kids, setting a good example, showing them how to have fun, work hard, etc. The Junior Falcon program was great--my son was coached by Kevin Netter and John Reimold (two extremes) and got to play twice on the big floor at Anderson Arena.

You would see Dan around town, and he was approachable and pleasant. He really could have grown up in BG. He acted right at home. He went to Church on Saturday nights, and is a committed and dedicated father and husband.

At Junior Falcons, the kids brought in their papers from the week and if they had an A they got a piece of candy. I remember one time on the way to the parking lot, he was jogging by, and he saw my son, recognized him by name and complimented him. That kind of thing sticks with an eight year old. Another time, he came over to invite us into the locker room--after a win, he was very specific--sometime during the year.

Another thing he doesn't get credit for is he is funny. Maureen Fulton said his final presser at the Q was like stand up comedy. He is like that much of the time. After each Junior Falcon practice, the players would put their hands in a circle, and, normally, say "Go Falcons." After he melted down and was reprimanded following a loss @ IPFW, he had the kids say "Coach, keep your mouth shut after the games." Very funny.

He certainly had some moments that were not his proudest....most of them dealing with the media. He melted down at IPFW as mentioned, and once at Dan Cummins, and of course there was this year's Buffalo debacle.

I have always said that Dan is like the younger brother in the family, who has a huge heart but sometimes is his own worst enemy, and you wanted to protect him because you sort of felt like it was your job and it would be worth it.

DD had a lot of contradictions. He appeared to be a "my way or the highway" kind of guy. He was intolerant of people who did not give their best. He did not give up, and his only sure remedy was to work harder.

At the same time, I think he really did care about his players. A lot. He wasn't going to fall into what the President called "the soft bigotry of low expectations." He believed in you, or he wouldn't have bothered.

He certainly lost lots of players. Playing for him apparently wasn't for everyone. Still, a number of his players ending up playing professionally, in the NBA or overseas.

I don't mean to make this too much of a eulogy. I know he wasn't perfect. But, on balance, in my view, the final analysis is clear.

He is a good person, who extended kindness to me and my family. I know he will continue to prosper. (For additional evidence, check out this post on his inspiring appearance on The Ticket.)

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Falcon Hoops Year In Review...Oh, the Humanity!

Just kidding.

Anyway, let's embark on a long overdue exercise--reviewing the Falcon men's hoops season. It ain't pretty, and its worse than it looks. More on that later.

First, at the beginning of the season, I do a little exercise where I try to predict the result of every game. It's fun and humbling, like playing whack a mole.

So, let's take our medicine. How DID we do? I had us 13-13, 7-9 in the MAC. (I didn't call the tourney game or the bracket buster since we didn't know who we were playing).

I got 17 right. 9 wrong. Not so bad, considering. I missed the (surprising) wins @ Marshall and Wright State, as well as the home win over Southern Alabama. At the same time, I thought we would beat Central Arkansas. I correctly called the 0-for-the-road in the MAC. So there.

11/11/06 vs. Denison Bowling Green, Ohio W RIGHT
11/16/06 at Arkansas State Jonesboro, Arkansas L RIGHT
11/19/06 vs. Furman Bowling Green, Ohio W WRONG
11/25/06 vs. South Alabama Bowling Green, Ohio L WRONG
12/02/06 vs. Troy Bowling Green, Ohio W RIGHT
12/04/06 vs. Arkansas State Bowling Green, Ohio W RIGHT
12/09/06 vs. Central Arkansas Bowling Green, Ohio W WRONG
12/16/06 at Wright State Dayton, Ohio L WRONG
12/19/06 vs. Northern Colorado Bowling Green, Ohio W RIGHT
12/22/06 at Marshall Huntington, W. Va. L WRONG
01/07/07 vs. Buffalo Bowling Green, Ohio W RIGHT
01/11/07 at Ohio Athens, Ohio L RIGHT
01/14/07 vs. Akron Bowling Green, Ohio L RIGHT
01/17/07 vs. Miami (Oh) Oxford, Ohio L RIGHT
01/20/07 at Kent State Kent, Ohio L RIGHT
01/24/07 vs. Western Michigan Bowling Green, Ohio W WRONG
01/27/07 at Central Michigan Mt. Pleasant, Mich. L RIGHT
01/31/07 vs. Ball State Bowling Green, Ohio W RIGHT
02/03/07 at Toledo Toledo, Ohio L RIGHT
02/07/07 at Northern Illinois DeKalb, Illinois L RIGHT
02/10/07 vs. Eastern Michigan Bowling Green, Ohio W WRONG
02/13/07 at Buffalo Amherst, N.Y. L RIGHT
02/21/07 vs. Ohio Bowling Green, Ohio W WRONG
02/24/07 at Akron Akron, Ohio L RIGHT
03/01/07 vs. Kent State Bowling Green, Ohio W WRONG (What was I thinking?)
03/04/07 vs. Miami (Oh) Bowling Green, Ohio W RIGHT

Now, to the body count. Here is what I said at the beginning of the year. (Note the highlights I have added below as evidence of some foresight).

  • The out of conference schedule is very weak. Yes, it is all Division I, (not true, actually) but Arkansas State (who we play twice), Troy, Furman, and Central Arkansas are all picked to finish low in sad sack conferences. Further, more of these games are at home, so we should hit Christmas in pretty good shape.
  • If the MAC tourney doesn't work out I think we will qualify for the Sun Belt tourney.
  • On paper, every team in the MAC is better than us. I'm not picking us to win in the MAC on the road, and we probably will, but I'm also picking us to beat Kent at Anderson near the end of the year (on the hope we have brought around the team by then), and that might not happen, either.
  • I think I've picked near the upside. If anything, we could drop some of those early home games.
  • It is possible we are on the verge of turning this around. I hope so. But I cannot find a valid reason to think this group of players will produce this season. If they give me one, I am happy to take it.

Now, let's do the autopsy.

In the past, I have just run the season-long stats and looked at how we fared compared to our conference peers. But, given that we played among the weakest OOC schedules in the country, it seems like that might make the crash of the Hindenburg look a little bit more like the crash of a twin-engine Cessna in a snowy field in South Dakota. (Just kidding). So, I have printed out the MAC-only stats, for a more apples-apples comparison.


We were 10th in scoring offense @ 64.9 points per game. This has some significance, because we had the MAC's leading scorer on our team. So, we didn't get much else from other guys--at least consistently.

We were 11th in team defense, giving up 73.3 points per game. Remember when defense was the hallmark of our program under DD? Man did that fall by the wayside. This is an absolute disaster.

It goes without saying that at -8.4, our scoring margin was the worst in the MAC. By three points.

Let's break it down a little more.

When we had the ball:

  • FG% 43.6% (7th)
  • 3FG% 30.4% (11th)
  • 3s made 5.5/game (9th)
  • FT% 66.7% (9th)
  • Assists 13/game (6th) (Note, I have long suspected that Mary Poppins keeps assists at BG. Witness John Floyd's numbers if you want further evidence).
  • Turnovers 15.2 (8th)
  • Off rebounds 9/game (9th)
Well, what does this tell us? First, we didn't do anything well on offense. However, the team simply did not shoot well in conference play. We did shoot well in our OOC schedule, but against MAC defenses, we simply couldn't hit. (part of this is a lack of a consistent inside game). We were lousy on the boards (more later) and were only OK at taking care of the ball. In particular, a team that can't the ball inside and shoots the 3 that poorly is not going to be competitive.

OK, now for the defense.

  • We defended the FG well (43.5%). (4th).
  • Not so the trey 37.9% (12th).
  • We had the worst rebounding margin as well (-4.8) (12th)
  • We forced 13.8 TOs/game (9th)
What does this tell us. Teams scored on us because we didn't defend the perimeter, and because they mopped the boards up with us.

There's one more reason. And it is something the MAC is loathe to publicize, and that is fouls per game. They simply don't list that, probably to try and protect its horrid officiating program. With that in mind, I went to the NCAA site. BG had 23.1 fouls per game. Out of 325 Division I teams, we were 319th.

So, that seems to be a problem. Let's go a little deeper.

BG shot 581 free throws and made 393
Our opponents shot 850 free throws and made 599.

Yes. They made more than we shot. We lost 6.6 points per game on the line alone. (That's for all games.)

In MAC games, we lost 8.8 points per game. More than our scoring margin.

Are you shitting me?

Yes, I know that could be a little magnified because we were constantly behind and fouling late in the game. OK? But let's be serious. Fouls crippled any chance this team had to win.

Aside: if you are interested, we were 289th in the country in rebounding margin.

So, you have a team that:

  • Shot poorly
  • Murdered on the boards
  • Gave up 8 points a game on the free throw line
  • Did not defend the three well.
  • Finished in last place.

Not much more to say than that. We'll look to the future soon....admittedly a difficult task given the uncertainty in our program. If you look at the turnaround Central had this year, that is, in my view, about the best we can hope for.