Sunday, September 30, 2007

Falcons Dominate WKU, win 41-7 (21)

"It's tough to pin down a weakness for BGSU one quarter into the season. Special teams? Solid. Offense? Fluid. Defense? Opportunistic. A more complete team in the MAC may not exist."

Ryan Autullo, The Blade.

So says Ryan the Vowelmeister. (At four games, we are a third of the way into the season, but who am I to nitpick.) Like all Falcon fans, I remain cautiously pleased and optimistic about our season. Our win yesterday over WKU was what we should have had--a solid domination of a team we were supposed to beat. It was a nice, 20K+ crowd on a beautiful night in BG. We're starting to feel like we might be back. There are no dominating teams in the MAC (the closest might be Ball State)--we've got as good a shot as anyone to win the conference. Good day in the nation.


The overall review of the offense is positive. 28 first downs, 425 yards, some running success, plenty of points. Let's take a look.

Tyler Sheehan continues to be a force for this team. He was 31-42, three TDs, no INT and was only sacked once. He manages the offense really well, is in command, and rarely misses a throw. We don't even make audibles from the sideline anymore--he calls them all right on the field. He is still a SO, and has his big games in October and November ahead of him, but I am very encouraged at what I have seen.

We ran a little adjustment in the second half that put the game away. We have run it before. We call it fastball--it is a no huddle attack that puts a lot of pressure on the D and doesn't let them substitute, and just keeps pushing them down the field. It is a great way to set the tone for a half, and put the defense on its heels. And since we're planning it, we can put our best plays in.

We did some nice work with Anthony Turner, too. He's too good an athlete not to be on the field, and we got him some snaps. He actually lined up at RB in a couple key situations, and he can run the ball of a hand off. Its a nice mix--they can't key on him like they do in the direct snap. He is just a really strong runner. They also have to keep it at least in their minds that he might throw--and someday he will and it will be wide open.

Tyler Sheehan was injured at one point (apparently minor) and we brought in Anthony Glaud, who supposedly is #3 but seems to be our first choice to run the full playbook. He was very effective, for the record, and I think we can be confident that we have respectable depth at QB if Sheehan does get injured.

Finally, the question of the week was whether we can run the ball. Bullock and Geter got 16 carries (in 82 plays). Bullock averaged 5.1 and Geter 7.6, so that's an improvement. Still, coach said we took the starch out of them with the fastball, and we had them worn down. Things are good, so I'm not complaining. But I hope we can call on a running game if we need it.

The defense continues to be the thing that surprises Falcon fans the most. We just looked so poor last year, and this year, we just seem to have some great athletes out there and we are bringing solid game plans and a persistence we didn't see in the past.

Now, to be fair, we gave up yards to WKU, even when the game was in doubt. Black and Hayden both ran for 100 yards or more, though partly on some big runs. They are both good players and in space are going to get their yards. In fact, WKU had outgained us at halftime and came within 12 yards of us for the game.

Having said that, we really one had one bad drive. In the fourth, WKU drove ten plays, aided by some personal fouls and a BS pass interference call, and got their first score. WKU had seven first half drives, and turned it over on four of them. On 13 possessions, there were 3 TDs, five turnovers, and five punts--each of those in 3 or 4 plays.

It has been so long since we had a defense like this that we forget--its OK to force turnovers and score off them. Other teams do it all the time. It helps the team win.

We are assembling a real corps of damn good defensive playmakers. Let's look at what we say yesterday.

  • Jahmal Brown forces fumble
  • PJ Mahone 2 INTs
  • Erique Dozier, INT, 12 tackles
  • John Haneline 11 tackles
  • Antonio Smith, INT 8 tackles

And that doesn't include Diryal Briggs, who had a quiet game. Black was very elusive and hard to sack. And it doesn't include Kenny Lewis, who made a big play against Temple.

Finally, special teams. As Vowel Boy said, they were solid.

  • Vrvilo was 2-2 on FGs.
  • Kickoffs were a little spotty. I don't know why we just don't let him drill it deep. One time, he squibbed one out of bounds, they made us kick again, and he drilled it to the goal line and then we tackled the guy on the 22.
  • We have the best kickoff returns we have had in a long time. Roger Williams is going to break one. And, he founded Rhode Island.
  • Punting was solid. No adventures. 39.4 average, 38.0 net. Three inside 20.
  • Punt returns. I don't know. Charles did OK, 9+ average. But, he makes me real nervous. He just looks like a train wreck waiting to happen. Perhaps I am wrong.
So, we're 3-1. We travel to BC this week, probably the best team on our schedule. Then, we hit the four games that will decide our fate--four straight in the East.

  • @Miami
  • @ Kent
  • OU
  • Akron

Our fate is still unknown. But, I like where we are right now.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Game Day!!

Should be a cool but beautiful night at the Doyt. Go Falcons.

Three notes:

First, according to The Blade, WKU will use both QBs, but start r-FR K. J. Black. He is the running QB, and the article notes that we need to defend him better than we did the mobile QBs at Temple and Minnesota.

Second, according to their local paper, WKU is without two of its D-backs, including its long-time safety who has played 38 straight games. This should help us. We don't have a lot of ideas how WKU will respond in this environment--their schedule gives few clues.

But Western will be shorthanded. Safety Marion Rumph's 38-game starting streak is expected to end because of a foot injury, and cornerback Rashad Etheridge is doubtful due to an ankle injury.
Third, Mel Kiper has Kory Lichtensteiger ranked as the #2 C coming into the draft. (via

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Falcon Hoops Gets New Verbal

Coach Orr has signed what we believe to be his third recruit for the 08-09 season.

Country Day guard to Bowling Green
The leading scorer from a state championship team -- Birmingham Country Day's Darnell "Dee" Brown -- has committed to Bowling Green.

Brown is a scoring guard at 6-foot-2, but has the strength, leaping ability and confidence to make up for the lack of ideal height, and can definitely get it done in the MAC. He's very creative and confident with the ball and a dangerous three-point shooter from the corner. With his skill level, could play some point guard. He rebounds well, given the physical attributes just mentioned.

Brown's Country Day team will be our No. 1 ranked team in the preseason. He is Bowling Green's second Michigan, and Oakland County, recruit, following 6-7 Austin Calhoun of Southfield.

With Calhoun, and Scott Thomas of Delaware, that gives us three players in that class. Which seems odd, given that we only have one guy graduating (Hamblet). I'm sure Coach Orr can count, so we may get some additional roster news as practice starts in a couple of weeks.

Mr. Bold Comes to his own defense.

I thought, in fact, that being bold was a good thing. Apparently not. But on the blogpoll this week, I was named Mr. Bold, and even though my victory was razor thin and hanging chad induced, I was still called out. So, I feel compelled to defend myself. In the table below, my rankings are listed and compared to the ratings of my fellow bloggers. One by one, I am going to analyze where I see things are why, in cases where our rankings are separated by more than 5-6 spots.

Obviously, the big one here is Penn State. Upon thoughtful review, I will cop to the idea that Georgia and South Carolina should have been ahead of Penn State, and maybe Clemson, but I thought Penn State was good enough to be #6 the week before, and they lost on the road to a much improving Michigan team in a close game. I can't see dropping them into the 20's. Does the blogpoll really think Penn State is worse than Cincinnati and Missouri? And Arizona State?

Now, let's look at some other differences.

Boston College? #10? Based on what? A razor thin win over Wake Forest and a victory over Georgia Tech, who has since lost to Virginia?

South Florida? #15. Based on an upset over an overrated Auburn team? Its a nice story, and if they beat West Virginia tomorrow, I'm in. But they haven't show it. Unless Elon is better than I thought.

Texas #8? They barely beat Central Florida, beat an underachieving TCU team, and that's their quality win.

Rutgers, #12--Buffalo, Navy, Norfolk State. Until I see them play like last year, I don't think they are good enough to say, hey, we haven't played anybody but we're #12.

Kentucky, #14--Kentucky is a nice story, too. But, they beat a Louisville team that was clearly overrated and an Arkansas team with a losing record. I don't think they go this high until they get more quality wins.

Georgia and South Carolina---I will cop to the idea that South Carolina should be ahead of Georgia, since they beat them. But, beyond that, these teams should be ranked higher than the blog poll shows them. The teams rated in front--many of which I have discussed already--have simply not earned their blogpoll ranking. Just as a final point, I think they both have a better case than Wisconsin, which struggled to beat UNLV and the Citadel.

So, that's my defense. Call it bold if you like.

Blog Poll Rank


My Ranking



LSU (37)




Southern Cal (25)




Oklahoma (2)




Florida (1)




West Virginia








Ohio State












Boston College




















South Florida








South Carolina












Virginia Tech




Arizona State




Penn State
















Texas @&M






Wednesday, September 26, 2007

At Look At Our Guests---the Hilltoppers

If you are a member of the Falcon Nation, you find yourself at road games from time to time, and when you do, you will find that almost everyone things BGSU is in Kentucky. In fact, you might think that right now.

It is not. It is in OHIO. That's right, round on the ends and high in the middle.

We were in East Lansing for the Spartan game, and, in fact, more than one person indicated that they thought BG was in Kentucky--and they ARE ONLY TWO HOURS FROM OUR CAMPUS.

So, now we are playing the University that actually IS in Bowling Green, Kentucky....Western Kentucky University.

In fact, our paths have crossed before. Back in the 50's, we had a huge rivalry in basketball. In fact, both schools named their arenas after the coaching combatants--Harold Anderson in BG, and (I swear to god) EA Diddle at WKU. We played every year in some great contests, as I have heard it. (We played 29 times and WKU won 20.)

In football, WKU has had a very strong I-AA program. They won national championships there, and are now moving to I-A. In fact, there were rumors of them coming to the MAC as the 14th (note, this is what we call an EVEN number. Even numbers are our friends). Instead, they are entering the Sun Belt.

What do we know about them? They are 3-1. They lost to Florida, which you would expect. They beat Eastern Kentucky, which I would guess you would expect, too. They also delivered a biblical can of whopass (87-0) to West Virginia Tech, a NAIA school. (Check the boxscore out here. WKU lead 49-0 at the end of the first quarter. WVTech made 2 first downs. There's more, but that's enough).

That leaves the Middle Tennessee State game. Coach is pointing to their win in this one to show they are dangerous. MTS did play in the Motor City Bowl, but let's not overstate it--they did not win the Sun Belt Conference.

I tried to look at the stats, but, frankly, when 1/4th of your games are against WV Tech, its hard to judge much from the stats. They are primarily a runspread team--like we were in the Harris years or last year. In fact, they run significantly more often than they pass (182 against 89. They use two QBs, Wolke, a runner, and Black, more of a passer. They also have a pretty decent RB named Tyrell Hayden.

Teams like this are so hard to defend. I will say this...if we don't show up and make some open field tackles, it could be a long day. We have to tackle effectively, and pressure the QB to hold them in check.

Defense? Hard to say. They had MTS to under 300 yards total offense. They don't seem to create a bunch of turnovers, when you take out the one outlier.

They appear to have a decent kicker.

So, in the name of Harold Anderson and EA Diddle, lets tee it up. This game is dangerous. If we come out playing sloppy, especially on defense, WKU could beat us. If we come to play, they shouldn't.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Brandon Presser--Hilltopper Edition

This week's Coach Brandon presser is here. Media pretty soft on him this week, pretty much all Tyler all the time. Limited wise ass remarks are in orange.

First, the following quotes mysteriously did not make the transcript (HA!) but The Blade ran them this morning, though they were scooped by

- Joe Schaefer will undergo an MRI, could be worse depending on what they find but he is definitely a no go this weekend.

- Ream is under an indefinite suspension for disciplinary reasons...Corner has academic troubles and Lawrence is not likely to return to the team. (Note that Nick Lawrence was given a second chance at BG, after the story that follows here.)


Where on the scale is Western Kentucky, are they more like their opponent Florida or are they more like West Virginia Tech?
"What I told the kids last night is they beat Middle Tennessee, who won the Sun Belt and played in the Motor City Bowl last year, so that gives you a little bit of perspective of what they are capable of. They're a pretty fast team that gets some good athletes. Size wise I think we have an advantage there, but speed and quickness I think they match up pretty good, they have some talent. Their quarterback is a pretty nifty guy and they run a lot of offense that we have run through the years with Josh [Harris] and with Anthony [Turner]. Defensively they move a lot, stunt, and pressure, so it's like every week we have to block and tackle. I say that and sound like a broken record but it's true we have to block them and we have to tackle them."

This team absolutely will beat us if we don't show up to play. They are probably as good or better than Temple and perhaps more dangerous due to the running QB, which we have not faced and typically struggle with. This is a trap game, coming right before BC. I don't think I'm paranoid--BG had better be ready to play Saturday.

What's your blocking shaping up to look like after watching Saturday's game film, the pressure that Temple was getting was Tyler mention that sometimes they would rush three and drop eight and then rush seven and drop four were they disguising it that well?

"Temple did a nice job of mixing things up. I thought they had a good plan; we still threw for 350 yards so we are going to get our yards but you have to work for them a little bit Saturday. We had some drops, I think we had five drops, but they did a good job of mixing up their coverage and the rush scheme just to keep Tyler off balance. As we progress through the season he is going to have to be able to handle that. He is still a young quarterback and every week is a new adventure with him."

Well, I think WKU probably saw some things you can do to try and keep Tyler off balance. I didn't think we protected him very well--he seemed to be scrambling a lot. I hope that against a smaller team, we should be in a better position.

Having said that, the more he sees things the better he is. Is he smart enough that he can continue to pick things up?

"What I like about him is his ability. In the touchdown he threw to [Marques] Parks there was a guy right in his face and he just hung in there. They blitzed everybody, went no deep and the guy that was covering [Peter] Winovich rushed right into the A Gap and was right in Tyler's face. He had the poise to just stand there and let Marcus just get a second to beat that guy and threw a strike. That really impressed me. He is poised, he's not going to run out [of the pocket] and when he does he makes some throws and he makes some plays. He has done that consistently; he can scramble, throw and complete balls. I think that is something from a defensive prospective that is hard to cover. DiMichele's ran around making some throws on us. You've got a scrambling quarterback that can complete passes I think that is hard to defend."

A Gap....ah, rich nuggetty football goodness. Excuse me...Tyler has ability, no doubt about it. As a sophomore, he is way ahead of where Josh Harris was, and while not where Omar was, he doesn't have the support either--as in 3 receivers who each got NFL looks. See below....again and again and again.

Tyler was able to hit Freddie a couple of times on the sideline throws - the only way they would stop it was if Freddie dropped it or they interfered with him.
"He's accurate for the most part. The second interception was a poor throw and it wasn't a great call on our part. It was third and one and we're throwing the ball down field but the play was designed to hit the guy in the flat. I think when he saw that it wasn't open but it came open late but he already let the ball go."

Well, he's going to protect the ball better. He's only making his third start. All this talk about the QB--and no controversy.

As far as Tyler's game action last year, in four appearances there really wasn't anything that would indicate what he has done the first three games of this season. Did you see things in practice that the rest of us didn't see, did you expect this type thing or are you surprised too?
"The only thing that I am surprised with is that he has picked it up this quickly as a true sophomore. Omar [Jacobs] had the benefit of being in the system for a couple of years and it took Josh [Harris] a little longer. Tyler is a great student of the game. I think that we know our system pretty well now as a staff, at least myself, Coach McCall, Coach Campbell and Coach Rothenbuhler, we have been together long enough now that we know our problems so that helps Tyler as well. He has done a great job and is a good student of the game. He is always in the offices as if he was a gym rat watching film all the time. I knew out of high school that he had the arm to what we wanted to do for sure."

Doug Philips is a defensive line coach who went to school at Toledo, coached at some area high schools and then spent some time with Coach Tressel at Ohio State. What do you like about him as he replaces Coach Mike Ward as the defensive line coach?
"Well, he is an excellent football coach, he is a good motivator of kids and a good technician. He understands the game and brings a lot to the table for us especially in terms of recruiting in Northeast Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. He is just a guy that I wanted to have on my staff for a couple of years and just hadn't worked out, so when it came around this time I was able to hire him."

Peter Winovich is a guy that has just moved all around the field. He made a couple of catches on Saturday and in addition he can block out of the backfield. He seems like a guy that maybe won't show up on the stats but contributes in other ways.
"He's really accepted his role and really embraced it well and I think. He doesn't get a lot of touches and he's kind of a sixth offensive lineman for us in protection and does a great job. The offense is designed that we can use him is screens, in protection, or let him carry the ball every now and he gets a little fired up when we get that going. He's doing a nice job. He's a kid that has been around now and is a good leader. He has made some sacrifices trying to find a home in our schemes, and he has found it now."

Are you guys to some degree a more of a passing offense now than maybe you were even with Omar [Jacobs] and Josh [Harris]?
"Probably not more than with Omar but definitely more than with Josh Harris. The things we did with Josh, for what we did in '02 and '03 with him, he was pretty good. He could rush for 50 or 60-yards a game and then throw for another 300-yards. We haven't had a guy like that since then. Omar would through for 350-yards but he wasn't going to rush for those kinds of yards. I don't think Tyler is that kind of guy either, although Tyler has demonstrated some scrambling ability. I hadn't seen him under duress till this year; we don't manufacture those situations in practice, we blow the whistle and keep everyone safe from injury. Tyler can run the ball and will surprise you that way. Having Omar go 41-4 [touchdowns/interceptions], I don't know when you will see that again."

You mentioned that Temple's DiMichele the illusive (HA! BG hires its own graduates) quarterback who could give a defense you some troubles, what does Western Kentucky have?

"They have the same deal but they are playing with two guys. The kid that played the last half of their last game against Middle Tennessee is a pretty good run around type guy. We're going to have to do a good job of just not letting him out. We did a good job against DiMichele of not letting him out, we just missed him. There were times when he stepped up and made a move. He was good and pretty nifty. [Diyral] Briggs did a good job of running him down a couple of times. He is a good player and made some plays. So their guys are like that."

Does Freddie [Barnes] look more like a receiver now than maybe he did even a month or two ago?
"Yes, I think he is coming on. He still has to get stronger and learn all the little things of playing the position. He's matured every week he gets better out there."

On a scale of one to ten, if Omar [Jacobs] and Josh [Harris] were tens as the finished products where is Tyler now and where can he get to?
"He could be a ten. He's got all the tools. The thing that I've said all a long that I've wanted to in all my quarterbacks, Tyler knows this, is accuracy. I think he is about 64-65 percent right now. We stress being above 66 percent. That is something I challenged with Josh after his junior year, he was about 60 percent and I said you have to be a 65 as a senior he did, he was at 66. Then Omar was like 66 or 68 somewhere in there. That's my expectation so to me if you are going to throw the ball 50 times a game and if you're not completing at least 65 percent of those you're not going to be effective."

Monday, September 24, 2007

That's who we are. We are a throwing team. As long as Tyler keeps throwing the ball like he is throwing we are going to continue to be a passing team

In the aftermath of the Temple victory Saturday, Coach Brandon made the statement above. The Falcon Nation, ever looking for something to debate, has taken to wondering if a team with an imbalanced attack can succeed consistently.

The stats sheet says we have passed the ball 151 times, and run it 74 times--a 67% play mix in favor of passing. In fact, it is worse than that. There are 8 sacks, and Sheehan has 14 other runs, almost all of which were scrambles off pass plays. So, that would mean 173 passes and 52 runs (77% pass mix). Our RBs have run the ball only 40 times in our 225 plays! (The remainder are mostly to Anthony Turner on designed QB runs).

By contrast, Omar's 2004 season had 472 passes and 432 rushing attempts in raw numbers.

There are two schools of thought on this.

One is a traditional, by the book school. You need balance to succeed. If you can't keep a defense guessing, then sooner or later they will be able to put enough guys in the right place to defend you. Also, you need a plan B for use in case Tyler Sheehan is having a bad day, or is injured, or the weather sucks.

Commentary: this school appeals to common sense and logic. That does not mean, however, that it is the only way to run a football team. We have run very little so far, yet Sheehan is lighting up the passing stats. Further, we tried a one-dimensional attack last year, and it failed badly.

The other school of thought is a little more radical. It says that while the balance is the preferred route, you can succeed if you can do the one thing you do really well.

Commentary: it seems like some teams succeed without passing very much. It seems to follow that some teams can succeed without running very much. But, you have no margin for error. What you do, you must do nearly to perfection, under all conditions with whatever injuries come along.

Teams have typically defended BG by dropping seven into coverage, which makes the most sense, given our ability to spread the field. They then try to get pressure by rushing four, but rushing hard, because they aren't worried about the run. Our main defense to this has been the screen--but not to any great success.

I guess we really get an idea from the quote that leads this post how much Coach Brandon hated last year's offense.

Here is my final, uninformed and totally personal opinion: I believe, in theory, that you can win with a one-dimensional attack. However, I believe it almost always misses opportunities to be even more dangerous. PJ Pope was devastating on those Meyer/Brandon teams...a backbreaking weapon and a serious consideration for teams racing back into coverage. I understand that Willie Geter and Chris Bullock and Dan Macon are not PJ Pope and BJ Lane. But, given the space they should have, I can't imagine they can't produce.

Just as an example, we threw and failed twice on 3rd and 1 Saturday. You'd like to think you could run for those.

Of course, so long as the team keeps moving the ball, the whole argument looks silly. But on, let's say, a blustery November day in Buffalo when the passes aren't falling, I'd hate to think we don't have the ability to open some lanes mixing it up a little bit.


Here's the blogpoll this week.

Welcome the Miami Hurricanes back to the poll, and the Bearcats are in, not so much for who they have played as for how badly they beat them. South Florida is in due to a strong start. Wisconsin is too high--but they are undefeated.

1 LSU --
2 Southern Cal --
3 Oklahoma --
4 Florida --
5 West Virginia --
6 Ohio State 1
7 Oregon 3
8 California 3
9 Penn State 3
10 Georgia 2
11 South Carolina 2
12 Clemson 5
13 Virginia Tech 5
14 Wisconsin 1
15 Texas 1
16 Missouri 2
17 Alabama 4
18 Boston College 1
19 Rutgers 1
20 Kentucky 2
21 Miami (Florida) 5
22 South Florida 4
23 Cincinnati 3
24 Hawaii 1
25 Texas A&M 11

Dropped Out: Arkansas (#21), Nebraska (#23), Louisville (#24).

Sheehan MAC East Player of Week....Again

Good job, Tyler.

By the by, in three games Sheehan has averaged 345.6 yards per game, which, extrapolated over a 12 game season, would put him at 4,147 yards....and ahead of the stratospheric season Omar had in 2004. He won't hit the 41/4 TD:INT ratio, but he is on pace for 28 TD passes, too.

Later we need to run?

Also, courtesy ESPN, here are some video highlights of the game from the Doyt. You know, if you didn't think the place looked better in person, check out how it looks on TV.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Falcons Bag Owl....This year's limit

And so it goes. The final score was 48-35, but Temple got two garbage TDs against our reserve D, so the score is a lot closer than the game actually was. On balance, there were lots of positives, things to do better, and a great day to be in the Doyt.

Normally, I review the offense first because, well, we're Bowling Green. But, the defense was dominating for one quarter yesterday, and that put the game away.

The game was tied 21-21 at halftime. Defensively, our first half was marked by a relatively sloppy effort--lots of missed tackles and big holes for the Owls RBs. They weren't helped by 3 turnovers from the offense, but even so, the defense looked worse against Temple than it did against MSU. The safeties, not the LBs, were making the tackles.

The second half was a different story. The D-line brought absolutely relentless pressure against Temple's QB and the RBs. Temple had no answer for Diryal Briggs at all--that guy is an absolute beast, and the Temple LT was playing the role of a pylon. The QB seemed to be running from Briggs every time he went back to pass. We also got pressure the other way, and in the second half we did better keeping him in the pocket.

The defense made two big plays in the third quarter--plays that put the game away. The first was on a 3rd down play when Temple went into the wishbone and ran a misdirection to their FB. It worked...he had the first down. However, as numerous Falcons tackled him, Kenny Lewis reached in, ripped the ball out, and raced 35 yards for a TD that gave BG a 28-21 lead. Coach called it the play of the game, and it was. Just 1:35 in the second half, I think it set the tone for the remainder of the game.

Then, with seven minutes, this sequence occurred. First, BG drove to the Temple 37 but stalled. A third down holding penalty was declined, on the bet that we would not be able to nail the punt. Iovinelli absolutely delivered, putting Temple on their own 9. After stuffing a run for one yard, Briggs got a sack and Temple was on their 3. Inexplicably, Temple went with a full drop pass, and their QB was absolutely swarmed by the Falcon rush. A scrum ensued, and most of us were waiting to see the referee make the safety signal.

But, instead, it was TD. Jacob Hardwick had stripped the ball, and Orlando Barrow recovered and it was another defensive TD.

By the numbers:

  • 4.8 yards per play, even with garbage time.
  • They only gained 140 yards rushing on 37 attempts. A fine effort in the end. Temple's lead RB only average 3.7 yards per rush.
  • The defense played well in the second half, despite Temple having almost 21 minutes of possession in the first half, and a hot sun.
  • 14 points scored.
  • Six sacks, four "hurries." Many more hurries they apparently don't count.
  • Two forced fumbles.
  • Temple's first seven possessions of the second half were ALL three plays. We score 14, and they punt 5 times.
Now to the offense.

The first half had some strong points, but also some very sloppy parts. We turned the ball over three times, twice on interceptions and once on a really bad Willie Geter fumble. This led to a missed FG and two TDs. Essentially, we kept Temple in the game in the first half.

On the other end, we did move the ball. Corey had seven catches, but didn't take all the snaps, and Freddie Barnes showed that he will continue to be a playmaker for our team--even if he did have a couple drops later on. When Tyler was scrambling, Freddie worked his way into the picture and gave him somewhere to go with the ball. Barnes is also real good on the sidelines.

Tyler Sheehan had a good game, again. 64% completions, 30-47, 351 yards and four TDs. Yeah, that's what I'm talking about. He was further hampered by some second half drops. He rarely completely misses his receiver. Falcon fans have to remember, he is only making his third start. So, he did throw a bad pass into coverage once, and he did throw a 20 yard out on 3-1 when the first down was there (according to Coach) and get picked. Even so, he had some nice scrambles, and got the job done. The Nation sees great things for Tyler Sheehan.

QB note: When garbage time came, we put Anthony Glaud in, not Turner. Coach says Turner is still #2 (and he did get some snaps), but that Glaud deserved to get a shot. Turner ran the ball--he is really hard to tackle. We forget. I can't believe we can't find a way to get him onto the field, as we did with Freddie.

We didn't run the ball much, or well. We had 115 yards gained on 27 carries, but 36 of those were by Turner in the late 4th and 42 were on Sheehan's scrambles. Our main RBs only got 11 carries, for 27 yards. Coach said in the post-game that we are a passing team..."that's Bowling Green football," he said. At the start of the year, we thought RB depth was going to be a strength. With Ransom out for the year, it doesn't look so good.

I guess you can pass without running better than you can run without passing, like last year. Still, it is a shame, because our game should open up some huge, backbreaking run opportunities, and we don't seem to be able to take advantage.

Now, to special teams. Things continue to get better. Last year, Travis Shelton torched us with a big return, but our guys really delivered this time. We had, more or less, our starting D out there, and Temple averaged only 12.4 yards per return. Plus, we forced one fumble from Shelton, that we converted into an easy TD.

It was truly great, and credit to our coaches. What frustrated the Nation over the past two seasons was that the special teams sucked, and no one seemed to take measures to fix them. There were signs of effort--and production--this time.

Everything else solid was solid:

  • One good kick return.
  • Punting at 37.7 net, with 2.5/return.
  • Two FGs.
  • Nothing blocked.
  • 6.7 per punt return for us
  • Roger Williams (founder of Rhode Island) nearly broke one KO return. We averaged 22.2 yards per return.
That's how these teams worked on a good team.

So, 2-1, 1-0 in the MAC. We now take two weeks off from MAC play, with a I-AA/A game against Western Kentucky and then at Boston College, and then into the home stretch. More later in the week, but I think we can remain optimistic. Akron beat Kent, but we have them at the Doyt, so that might be OK. The East is wide open.

Friday, September 21, 2007


When I last walked out of the Doyt....

When last we left the Doyt, we were cold, wet and dispirited. I was, in fact, leaving a game THAT early for the first time in many years. The team was limping to its first losing season in the Meyer/Brandon era, and Sean Ellis was playing the role of Charlie Brown.

Oh, how different things will be tomorrow.

Field turf
Sebo Center
A seemingly rejuvenated program.
A new quarterback
A gorgeous Fall Day predicted.

It will be nice to be home again, in the Doyt. Soak it in.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Blog Poll Out--I am BOLD and STUBBORN

Hey, the blog poll is out. You can see it in the sidebar on the left.

I'm in the awards again this week, simultaneously finishing #4 in "Mr Bold" (for variation from the poll at large) and #3 for "Mr. Stubborn" which means I was similar to what I was the week before.
I'm not sure that I had thought I could be bold and stubborn at the same time, but I am working my magic.

I suppose the biggest difference is Virginia Tech, which I have #9 and the poll has at #23. The poll also has Texas at #9 (WFT--Can you say Big XII halo?) and some differences on Rutgers and Cal.

As for being stubborn, I say again: when these teams play teams they are supposed to beat and do, I don't understand on what basis they should be shifting around. Once we get into conference play, my poll typically shows more movement.

In general, I think the top 4-5 teams are head and shoulders above everyone else. The rest is yet unwritten.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Hoops Recruit Inked

Official confirmation that 6'7" F Scott Thomas from Delaware has committed to be part of the Falcons 08-09 recruiting class, joining Austin Calhoun. (via The Blade)

The 6-foot-6, 190-pound Thomas averaged 24 points, nine rebounds and six assists last season on his way to being named third-team All-Ohio. For his career he has surpassed 1,000 points, 300 rebounds and 200 assists.

That makes two freshmen, with only one scholarship available (Hamblet). The rumor is that Calhoun will have to sit out his freshmen year ala Chris Knight and NOT be on scholarship due to Prop 48, and will then start then next year using one of a larger number of scholarships.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

"Can you describe the feeling of the plane ride home from Philly last year after a crushing loss?"

"It was awful -- that's the best description..."

Its Tuesday, and that means Brandon presser day. As always, uninformed, ignorant, wise ass remarks are in orange.

On the call that went against Temple in the Connecticut game:
"That was a tough one for the Owls but they hung in there. They are playing hard, they looked like a different team (against UConn) than they did against Buffalo. I would anticipate that the team that played UConn will be the one that shows up here. They were running the football, playing snap to whistle and playing the way you're supposed to play."

Well, you have to figure Connecticut isn't very good this year. They've beaten Maine and Duke, but Phil Steele had them only beating Syracuse in the Big East. And, the Owls lost to Buffalo and Navy, and their unfortunate win over BG last year remains the only positive part result for them.

How excited are you to finally have a home game?
"Well, it's great to get a home game especially against a team that beat us last year and ended their losing streak. Our guys have a lot to play for for the first the home game. It's a MAC game now; Temple is in the conference. It's an ESPN (regional) game, a noon start, dedicating the Sebo Center ... there are a lot of positive things going on right now with this football team. Hopefully, we can build on that, get a W and keep it going."

Yes, indeed. There are lots of positive things. In the 5-game MAC division format, even one less can be deadly. Let's not make it Saturday.

Can you describe the feeling of the plane ride home from Philly last year after a crushing loss?
"It was awful -- that's the best description. But, that was last year, this is this year."

Amen, brutha. Sometimes Coach gives the feeling that losses don't bother him. I don't think its true.

Do you feel like the kids are more excited than perhaps they normally are before a game because they want to get revenge?
"It's to early to tell, it's Monday. We had a good practice last night, and they were fired up. I think as the week goes on as momentum builds, I think we will see that."

(Travis) Shelton gave you guys some problems in last year's game.

"He is a good return guy and an offensive weapon. They're playing him at some tailback; he's just fast and as a return man he has great vision. We didn't have the speed on the unit that we have now. Hopefully, that will show up Saturday and we can keep him under wraps."

Well, kickoff coverage is our last remaining sore point on special teams. Let's make sure we cover this dude.

Looking back at the offensive line in the second half against Michigan State, has it been a challenge for them at all? Last year, they were run blocking so much and there wasn't much passing. Now, they have to change their schemes a little bit. Does that change anything for them?
"No, I don't think so. I think it is harder to run block than it is to pass protect. We worked hard on the running game last year simply because that's who we needed to be. Pass protection has been something that we've always prided ourselves on, protecting the quarterback and pass blocking with those guys. I think it is has been more difficult than when we were running the ball last year. The guys complain to me more that they want to run more. (Kory) Lichtensteiger is always giving me the shot, 'Let's run it, let's run it.' He just likes to knock guys around. That's the nature of offensive linemen."

This is interesting.

What has changed with Temple? They haven't won many games over three years, but are they making progress? Are they still bringing in junior college kids?
"They're bringing in a significant amount of junior college kids; they're getting some transfers, recruiting some freshman. He's working on building the program. They have some athletes, we saw that last year. I watched the UConn game both on TV and the tape copy. They are running around -- we've got to block them, we got to tackle because if we don't they can do some damage. They have good speed and when they are playing hard they can play with people. They have demonstrated that, I think."

They always say that. They are running around--I assume that's a compliment. Anyway, they shouldn't be able to play with us...again.

With the extra week have you done anything with your team or your playbook? Have you put in anything that you didn't have in there before?
"No, we basically tried to get well. We didn't want to beat the kids up in the bye-week, because we played two pretty physical teams. We will still practice a lot of our stuff, just keeping it sharp. We've worked on some kick off and kick off returns because we've struggled in those areas. Hopefully you will see the improvement in those two phases on Saturday. We are definitely going to have to be good on kickoffs."

See, what did I say earlier. By the way, why isn't even one of the questions about the health of the team? Corey? Hello?

Are you at all worried about have the bye-week this early in the season?
"It would be nice to have a bye-week that first week in November, but it's just the way it goes. I think sometimes you get into a rhythm and flow and you get used to it and a bye-week can be disruptive, but this time around it was needed."

Coach is never happy with the bye week.

Now that Temple is in the MAC, just the East Division standings determine who win the East. Does that make a game like this so much more important?
"Yes, I think a MAC East game, those are the ones that we have targeted all along. If we can win our MAC East games, win the crossovers we'll go to a Bowl. That's the big thing we have been talking about ever since I have been here; we need to win the right games and this is one of those 'right games'."

Yeah, it makes it more important than last year. Sheeesh.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Blog Poll

Here's this week's blog poll. Three teams are really good. Florida continues to amaze.

1 LSU --
2 Southern Cal --
3 Oklahoma --
4 Florida 3
5 West Virginia 1
6 Penn State --
7 Ohio State 1
8 Virginia Tech 1
9 South Carolina 1
10 Oregon 3
11 California 4
12 Georgia 5
13 Alabama 5
14 Texas A&M 2
15 Wisconsin 4
16 Texas 11
17 Clemson 3
18 Missouri 1
19 Boston College 4
20 Rutgers 2
21 Arkansas 5
22 Kentucky 4
23 Nebraska 2
24 Louisville 12
25 Hawaii 1

Dropped Out: UCLA (#14), Washington (#24), TCU (#25).

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Mood: Sad

Saturday with no Falcon football makes me sad.

Couple observations:

  • Temple played Connecticut tough.
  • Eastern won. Cue the apocalypse.
  • Buffalo scored 24 at Penn St. Could they be better than we though?
  • Notre Dame's #2 QB didn't get on the bus to Ann Arbor and instead went to DeKalb, where he will play for NIU. Good for the MAC and the Huskies...who lost to EMU. Just sayin.
  • Minnesota lost @ Florida Atlantic......Ouch.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I win another Blogpoll Award

The latest blogpoll is out, and I have won "Mr. Numb Existence" for having a poll most like the week before. Well, OK. I can't really figure out how you can make big moves when teams only play at home and beat lesser teams. What makes one better than the other? So, things stay a lot the same until I see them against serious competition.

In the meantime, I was on warning for a whack ballot for having LSU at the top in the pre-season poll. Seems maybe like it wasn't so whacked after all.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Brandon Bye Week Presser--What, no QB questions?

Sept. 10, 2007

Usual drill. My uninformed and obnoxious comments are in orange.

What does the bye-week schedule look like for the team?
"We are going to practice this week; not the usual hard, physical practices, but we are going to go out and run around -- pass and catch, things of that nature. My team is beaten up right now. We need to get some guys healthy and rested so that they will be fresh and ready to go next week."

Who asked this question?

Have you seen receivers such as Derek Brighton and Marques Parks embrace their chance to shine due to Corey Partridge's injury?
"We challenged that position group to step up when Corey went down. Freddie [Barnes] kind of led the charge last week at Minnesota and Marques had a good game there, too. At Michigan State, when [Eric] Ransom went out we challenged them yet again, and Brighton had a nice game there. He was the staff's selection as player of the game at Michigan State. Those kids just need to keep coming along and getting better. Tyrone Pronty caught a touchdown pass on Saturday and Zach Charles is still improving. We are going to need all of those guys if we keep getting them dinged."

Wow, great question. Seriously, though. Derek Brighton did play a great game, putting a visible charge into the nation. We're built on possession receivers, and it looks like he will be a good one. Though, we could use one deep threat.

With these players stepping up, how nice has it been to have multiple players catching numerous passes each game?
"It is obviously good to have that type of depth and productivity. Having those back-up kids come in and make plays for us is only going to help the team in the long run. As the season wears on, we are able to have those six, seven, or eight fresh guys to throw in there at any time and have the confidence they are going to run routes, get open and catch the football."

Yeah, its good to have players step up. Man.

Considering it is a bye-week, when will the staff begin mentally preparing the team to face the Temple team that beat Bowling Green last season?
"I do not think that is something we need to bring up to the team. The minute we put the MSU game to rest after reviewing the film on Sunday evening, the immediate talk was questions of where the players could get Temple film. I do not think we need to get their attention for this one."

Love this quote. Moved it to the bar on the left, if you notice. If Buffalo beat these guys 42-7, then we should hit another 70. I'm just saying.

Do you feel as if there were some protection issues in the second half with the offensive line?
"I do not think it was all protection issues. Of course when you give up seven sacks, it is assumed you can not protect, but there were times when Tyler [Sheehan] was holding the ball and there were times when the receivers could not get open. When we lost Ransom, after already not having Partridge, we had to juggle some guys around to get them in there to be productive. We struggled in the second half with that."

Finally, a question Coach can answer. I think he's right. They did get pressure, but Tyler did hold the ball a little, and no one was getting open at all. The killer was, the pressure they got was with everyone in coverage. So, they had the best of both worlds.

Their [MSU's] defensive line was unbelievable. Usually there is a defensive lineman or two that you need to find and figure out how to get four hands on; on Saturday you faced four of them.
"Their whole team was the best-looking team I have seen in a long time of coaching. Their offensive line was massive, the two running backs were quality Big Ten backs. Plus they had a receiver that was just lights out."

"Best Looking" He said that before, I don't get it. They're not supposed to be any good, but they are apparently good looking.

Were you surprised the defense was able to not stop the run, but at least slow it down a bit?
"I thought the defense did an outstanding job keeping us in the game and giving us a chance to win it in the end. We had a very effective scheme by showing an eight-man front which Michigan State obviously had not worked on. We were also able to get our linebackers free to make some plays, and our line did a nice job with the movements and stunts. I just think we are more athletic and have more depth on our D-line now.

"In the linebacker group, John Haneline has really emerged as an outstanding MAC linebacker . [Erique] Dozier is going to be back there every week playing and Loren Hargrove is always getting better at the position since it is only his second year playing
back there."

Again, some actual content. First, as to the eight man front, you mean we had an actual game plan on D. Cool! We didn't just line up in base? Nice. Haneline really has developed, and the other guys, too. The defense is the true revelation for this year, and the real reason I think we can compete.

Was there any worry about the new core in the linebacker group after Terril White graduated?

"I just said that yesterday, 'Just think if we had Terril White right now, just how good we would be." I think those guys have all stepped up, Dozier, Hargrove and Haneline. Cody Basler made some very nice plays in that game, and he has really matured. He is a redshirt sophomore, and that is the time that we want these guys to come on and 'be the guy' unless they have been playing since their true freshman year."

OK, the first question guy is back again! Yeah, we worried when White left. But, the LB corps has emerged and is playing well. We are tackling well for once.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Ransom Injured......and Brandon Comments after MSU game

Its clear we may need our depth at RB. Eric Ransom, who showed some great stuff at Minnesota, is down with a knee injury and a possible ACL, according to Jack Carle's Blog.

Coach's comments from the MSU game were unusually accurate and direct, so I am reprinting them here without benefit of my normal wiseass commentary.

Bowling Green Head Coach Gregg Brandon
Opening comments...
There is no consolation in losing, but our kids played their guts out. We thought we had a chance against them, but turnovers got us today. We had trouble in the second half, that was a big physical back, make no mistake about that. They are the prettiest looking guys I have ever seen, in 30-years of coaching. I mean Number 80 [Kellen Davis] should go to the league right now. Out guys played with a ton of heart, and they kept hitting, and sticking, and guys jumping on the ball until the very end. [Ervin Baldwin] was a good player, he would rush the passer, and he would run, and [Devin Thomas] is freakish. We played with a great heart, but that just wasn't enough today, when you are playing against people like this you have matchup problems. What we can take away from this game and last weeks game is that we can slug it out with the Big Ten, but we don't play the Big Ten. So, we need to get ready for MAC play now, and we had some injuries today, unfortunately. We have to see where that is on Monday. Thankfully we have a bye next week.

On what he learned about his team today...
I learned a lot about them. They have great heart, great commitment, they were fighting until the very end just like last week. I think we have some guys that grew up in a hurry.

On the coverage in the second half...
I think in the second half they caught us a little bit, they were fast, we really had to work to get open. We couldn't just run routes and by guys, we had to work in order to get anyone open. We had success in the three-step stuff, but they started sitting on that stuff. Then you have to run by them, and we struggled to run by them. We missed [ wide receiver Corey] Partridge today.

On the MSU passing attack
I think there were two plays, [by Devin Thomas]. He made a freak catch down at one end, and then another one down at that end. You take those two plays out, and it is a whole different deal. That kid ran by us, he out-jumped us, and he made great plays. I don't think that this was anything that they executed offensively, except for those two big plays. They got to run the ball a little bit on us late. But we still had our chance.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Blog Poll

Here's the draft of my blog poll. Like always at time of year, I view everyone from 4-15 as pretty much interchangeable. Comment if you like.

1 LSU --
2 Southern Cal --
3 Oklahoma --
4 West Virginia --
5 Texas 1
6 Penn State 3
7 Florida 4
8 Ohio State 2
9 Virginia Tech 4
10 South Carolina 4
11 Wisconsin 3
12 Louisville 5
13 Oregon 1
14 UCLA 2
15 California --
16 Texas A&M 1
17 Georgia 4
18 Alabama --
19 Missouri 1
20 Clemson 1
21 Nebraska 2
22 Rutgers 2
23 Boston College 3
24 Washington 2
25 TCU 3

Dropped Out: Auburn (#19), Florida State (#25).