Thursday, January 31, 2008

Falcons Now Win on Road

Bowling Green went to Muncie last night and beat a bad Ball State team, on the road. Still, it was a road win, a rare event in the MAC this year, though 3 of the 4 road teams won last night. If you follow the post, you know I have always carried a torch for Brian Moten, who I think has the ability to be a very solid guard in our conference. He had 19 points last night, along with 13 from Darryl Clements and 12 from Nate Miller. Both of the latter are beginning to develop the consistent production this team needs. (Miller also led the team with 8 boards).

We turned the ball over 19 times, which is not good, but we made up for it by shooting 56% for the game, and roughly equal in both halves. (Otis was even 4-6). We shot well from beyond the arc--even though we only tried 11 times, and were even in rebounding. We did have 21 fouls. Ball State meanwhile shot only 33%, 28% from 3, and brought only 2 points off the bench (Ugh!) and that was enough for us to get the win.

In terms of game flow, we went on a 9-0 run partway through the first half to go up 8 and then gently bumped that lead to 11 by halftime. The second half was a controlled performance, as we led by as much as 16 and the Cardinals got within five but never made it a one possession game again.

But hey, this team is 5-2 in the MAC, after being 8-26 over the past two years. Things are looking up. Looking ahead, I know the game @WMU will be tough, but let's try for something like this: let's get a big old, Anderson Arena, House That Roars welcome for the Rockets on February 10th, and get a win over our arch-rival and remind everyone about how cool Falcon basketball can be.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Dude, take your medicine

Back in August, I tried my hand at predicting each game on the Falcon schedule. Always a challenge, and an excellent exercise in humility. Anyway, it wouldn't be complete without counting up the did I do?

I saw a 6-6 season for the Falcons, and obviously, that was wrong. I didn't see us beating Minnesota, Kent (because I listened to Phil Steele) and Akron, but I also thought we would beat OU. So, overall, I was 8-4....much like the Falcons. Not too bad. Of course, the MSU, Boston College, and Temple games were gimmees. Anyway, its just for wagering, please.

9/01/07 at Minnesota TV WRONG LOSE
09/08/07 at Michigan State TV RIGHT LOSE
09/22/07 vs. Temple TV RIGHT WIN
09/29/07 vs. Western Kentucky RIGHT WIN
10/06/07 at Boston College RIGHT LOSE
10/13/07 at Miami TV RIGHT LOSE
10/20/07 at Kent State WRONG LOSE
10/27/07 vs. Ohio WRONG WIN
11/02/07 vs. Akron TV WRONG LOSE
11/09/07 at Eastern Michigan TV RIGHT WIN
11/17/07 at Buffalo RIGHT WIN
11/23/07 vs. Toledo TV RIGHT WIN

Monday, January 28, 2008

January 28 Recruiting Update

Two pieces of news.

First, DL Winston Etheridge III of legendary Glenville High has committed to BG. And Jerry Phillips, Clyde kicker, is greyshirting to wait out the career of Srinsa Vrvilo.

News on the recruiting front is surprisingly quiet. We only started with about 14 scholarships to give, so that could explain it. According to this, we have nine verbals at the high school level.

Tim German OL 6-4 286 Newark, OH
DeMark Jenkins WR 6-2 190 Gary, IN
Keith Morgan ATH 6-1 195 Bellefontaine, OH
Jerry Phillips K 6-2 200 Green Springs, OH (reportedly a greyshirt)
Lane Robilotto DB 6-1 180 Painesville, OH
Chip Robinson OL 6-7 340 Middletown, OH
Marc Stevens OL 6-6 295 Lexington, OH
Blaec Walker OL 6-5 315 Middletown, OH
Norman Young DB 6-0 165 Trotwood, OH

You can add at least three more:

QB Aaron Pankratz of Macedonia-Nordonia. (see Ryan's blog entry).
Two Juco guys: Casey McHugh (offensive line) and Robert Lorenzi (defensive back).

So based on those facts, those are 12 guys right there. Anyone reading with other information is welcome to comment and we can update this further.

Falcons Win Another Close One

The Falcons picked up another close win at Anderson Arena yesterday, taking down the Huskies 63-59. We were down 1 inside 90 seconds, but Joe Jakubowski got a steal and a layup to give us the lead. After a free, BG was up 2, with NIU having the last possession. Amazingly, (and I mean this), we had like two team fouls. We committed three fouls in the last 20 seconds, each time forcing NIU to break their play up and inbound the ball. Very nice. (The NBA used to have 4 team fouls per quarter, but two in the last two minutes to prevent this.) Then, Nate Miller got a steal, and MOJO-JAM, and we win. Video highlights, including the steal are here, courtesy of BCSN.

We're 4-2 in the MAC right now, and for a team that was 8-26 over the past two seasons, that has to be viewed as pretty good. True--all the wins are at home, (the home team has won 31 of 36 games in the MAC this season, is that ridiculous or what?). Still, progress is better.

A couple of things stand out. First of all, we only committed 8 fouls, with three of those in the last 20 seconds. So, really, five fouls for 39:30. Damn. There were plenty of games in the past few years when we had five fouls five minutes into the game. Hell, Kevin Netter usually had three all by himself a couple minutes into the game.

So, that's a huge improvement. NIU shot only 2 FTs. Wow.

We also only made 7 turnovers, against 13 for NIU. Seven turnovers is a really good number--as to be our lowest in years.

We continue to get good play out of Nate Miller every night, and Clements, Moten, and Jakubowski also seem to be getting more consistent. Chris Knight nearly had a double-double, too. On the downside, our post play is not productive. Combined, Polk and Larson played 40 minutes with 3 points and five boards. They did block 6 shots, to be fair, but post play is not producing a lot.

We help that by playing a 2-3 zone and rushing to the middle when the ball gets in there. Teams have not consistently kicked out of that against us.

I think Falcon fans are gradually becoming more positive about the team, and we feel like we're seeing some progress, and a team playing above its actual ability, which is limited. Now we had to Ball State for a winnable road game--if there is such a thing--and then to WMU for a tough one.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Recruiting Update

News on the recruiting front is surprisingly quiet. We only started with about 14 scholarships to give, so that could explain it. According to this, we have nine verbals at the high school level.

You can add at least three more:

QB Aaron Pankratz of Macedonia-Nordonia. (see Ryan's blog entry).
Two Juco guys: Casey McHugh (offensive line) and Robert Lorenzi (defensive back).

So based on those facts, those are 12 guys right there. Anyone reading with other information is welcome to comment and we can update this further.

Kory Lichtensteiger in Senior Bowl and QB Wrap Up

First, Kory Lichtensteiger is playing in the Senior Bowl today. That's quite an honor for our team MVP, and I hope he showed good things in practice this week and I hope he can generate an NFL career. His Falcon career was simply marvelous.


On November 1, I blogged about a QB controversy in the Falcon nation, spawned by a team that had lost 3 of its last 4 games and seen poor QB play from Tyler Sheehan. Fans wanted Anthony Glaud (who is now gone).

I found the concept laughable...and now I close the case. Coach was saying that Tyler had not been healthy for the four games....and the stats certainly bore that out when I compared the first four games to the second four games. Now, I look at the last four games.

First four games 127 of 190, 1304 yards, 10 Tds, 4 Ints, 10 sacks, 66.8% and 6.9 yds/attempt
Second four games 76 of 136, 848 yards, 5 Tds, 6 INT, 14 sacks, 55.9% and 6.2 yds/attempt
Third four games 86 of 131, 971 yards, 8 TDs, 1 INT, 3 sacks. 65.5% and 7.4 yards/attempt

Clearly, this bears the theory out. Sheehan was healthy starting with the Akron game, and he was very productive in his final four games. A percentage comparable with the first third of the season season, with better yard efficiency, only 1 INT and only 3 sacks.

There are a couple stories inside the numbers.

  • Tyler does tend to hold the ball when he's in trouble, and he avoided sacks.
  • I also think our season offensive line really put the hammer down and protected the QB.
  • You'll note that the number of attempts was way down from the pass-happy first part of the season, and somewhat down even from the dark days of October. That's because the last third of the season coincided with the emergence of Anthony Turner as our TB, and with a running game in play AND a healthy Tyler, the passing game became lots more efficient. This probably helped on the sacks, and maybe on the INTs, too.

I stick with my previous opinion. Tyler is our QB of the future. Since he is not a dual threat (very much), he will need a strong RB to compliment him. If he has that and if he's healthy, he is perfectly capable of leading us to a MAC title.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Falcons Get Nice win at Anderson

The Falcons picked up a nice win last night at Anderson Arena. You can check out a game story here, but I don't have time for strong analysis.

A couple points.

  • 3 MAC wins is how many we had last year.
  • We are at least defending home court.
  • We needed a stop for the second straight home game. Last time, we gave up an open look and they missed. This time, we locked them down and they couldn't get a shot.
  • Miami had some huge pre-season wins, but are really disappointing everyone in the early MAC play.
  • We shot 47% from beyond the arc, far and away our best in recent memory.
  • Cameron Madlock, our Fr, got 12 minutes of time, his second straight game with some playing time.
  • I think Chris Knight is going to be a really good player once he brings his game around.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Thump, Thump, Thump

As Coach Orr said in the Sentinel, when you play a team like Akron on the road, there's no margin for error. And we found that out, losing 80-44. Ugh.

Here's how Jack Carle described it:

But the majority of the team struggled. BG shot just 33 percent from the field, including a 2-of-16 effort on 3-pointers (12.5 percent) and a 10-of-25 performance from the free-throw line (40 percent). The Falcons had 21 turnovers, with Akron making 11 steals, which led the 26 points for the Zips.

That pretty much details the sad tale of woe. The 44 points is the lowest we have scored in almost ten years--we had 41 against UT back in January, 1998.

Our team is clearly a work in progress, and nights like this will happen. Its not all bad--I think cautious optimism and appreciation for small steps forward is what this team needs.

On to the next thing. There's no point in dwelling on that defeat any longer. Miami is next in Anderson Arena Wednesday. They have struggled in MAC play while looking like world beaters in pre-conference play.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Zips Commit War Crime at JAR

Smoke Falcons 80-44. More to say tomorrow.

Hoops Tonight

Hoops Tonight, in a rare, and frankly bizarre Sunday night tilt in Akron. Akron appears to be pretty good, 13-3 and 2-1. Their schedule is only 280 (Sagarin) but their overall ranking is a strong #65. They beat Temple and nearly beat highly ranked Dayton on the road. It will be a nice test for our team.

Ryan Autullo of the Blade has some stuff in this blog and a story today about whether the team is making progress. I like the way he's thinking. I am a little more cautious until I see some more consistent production against stronger opposition, but, here is what he said....

From the Blog:

The men’s team looked excellent Thursday against Buffalo. It was a whoopin’ throughout. Buffalo never made a serious run to get back in it and looked totally frustrated trying to attack BG’s defense. I said it a couple of blogs ago, and I’ll say it again. BG’s defense will win games on its own this year. They attack, disrupt passing lanes, and as soon as a post player gets the ball he’s immediately being harassed by multiple defenders. That said, when the offense is firing, as it did Thursday, BG is at least a top five team in the MAC.

Otis is on a roll right now and he may never look back. He’s definitely starting to get it. Maybe Moten is starting to figure things out as well. Shoot, maybe the entire team is beginning to get it. Sunday’s game at Akron should reveal more.

From the newspaper:

It's too early to determine whether the offense is about to take off. BG shot 53 percent against Buffalo yet converted just 42 percent last Saturday in a 63-49 loss at Kent. Returning to northeast Ohio today, the Falcons will be challenged by the MAC's top-scoring offense. Akron has won three straight, the most recent coming Thursday in a 55-54 win over Ohio (1-2 in MAC). East members Miami and Buffalo are each 0-3 in the MAC.

Autullo Updates us on Football

Ryan did one of those year-end look-forwards with Coach Brandon in The Blade. Click on the link to read that we are putting Tulsa behind us, and why our only acceptable goal is to win the MAC outright---which I agree with 100%.

Some nuggets of info...

Anthony Glaud, R-FR backup QB, is transferring to Delaware State. Seems like all is good. He wants to play, and knows he will probably have to wait for Sheehan to leave before it happens. So, he told the coach he wants to play, and he's going to go in an honorable fashion to another school. Best wishes to him.

As for QB, there was chatter on that we were looking at a pretty good Juco QB, Andrew Beam. Andrew's a pretty big boy--6'4" and 237--and is at San Joaquin Delta JC. You can see some video here and here. With luck, he will sign and be our backup.

We also have a verbal from Macedonia Nordonia's Aaron Pankratz. Aaron received some D-1 HS honors here in Ohio. Click here to see what Ryan has blogged based on a conversation with Aaron's Mom.

Also on the recruiting front:

Junior college transfers Casey McHugh (offensive line) and Robert Lorenzi (defensive back) already are enrolled in school as is freshman defensive back Lane Robilotto, who graduated early from Riverside High in Painesville.


Shane Steffy will not be in Spring Drills, but Sheehan, John Haneline, Eric Ransom, Calvin Wiley and Jerett Sanderson should be. On balance, good news.

Position change:

Sophomore D.J. Young has moved from defensive tackle to offensive tackle. (O-Line is the one area of serious concern on our team, based on minimal graduation losses)

Other Transfer:

Also transferring to Delaware State was WR Zach Charles, a FL guy who had gotten passed over in the WR rotation and lost his punt returning gig after an unfortunate day against OU.

Coaching changes:

We're not hiring an O-coordinator, but we will hire a QB coach. Matt Campbell and Troy Rothenbuhler, current offensive assistants will share playcalling.

Finally, note this, the quote of the day:

"It's very similar to the team we had [in 2005]. We haven't arrived by any stretch. Sure we had the best record in the league, but the one thing that's eluded us since I've been here is an outright MAC championship. We've done everything else that you can do at a MAC school except just flat win it outright. I think that's a great thing to stress with these kids."

Right on Coach. Bring it home!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Blast from the past

Brian Scanlan, who was a forward on the first Falcon teams I remember when I was about ten years old is now the first AD at Ave Maria, the college Tom Monaghan founded. He's played hoops overseas and coached in Europe, too. Good for him. I always remember him as a scrappy player on some really good teams.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Falcons Pick Up Win

Well, after some anxiety over the Buffalo game, the Falcons came out last night and beat a team that they were probably evenly matched with on paper....maybe not. Still, we've defended home floor twice, and in a season of baby steps, we'll take it.

We certainly got off the scoring schnied, pumping in 83 points, practically two games worth of scoring in recent weeks. The victory was built on a huge 17 point halftime lead, and Buffalo was never closer than 11 as the Falcons coasted to the easy victory.

Brian Moten had 20 points. I have blogged here often that I think Moten is a quality player who just can't get his legs under him. Having said that, he has never consistently produced while here. If he can, he will provide this team with a scorer that it really needs.

We shot nearly 54% and held Buffalo to 40%, and its hard to lose when you play like that. Add decent (finally) free throw shooting (69%), and 25 (ugh!) Buffalo turnovers, and you have the formula for an easy victory.

Otis had a 13/10 double-double. Boy, do we need to keep seeing that. Clements had 13 points and 7 assists.

So, let's enjoy the win. Buffalo is not very good and not healthy, and I think Reggie Witherspoon is not long for being a D1 coach, but we are 2-0 at home, and 2-1 in the MAC, and it is what it is. (Don't forget, we were 8-26 in the last two years in MAC playing coming into the season, and that includes a 7-10 record at home). We will keep monitoring for signs of progress. We play Akron Sunday night in what we can expect to be a really tough game.

But, if we can get consistent production from some guys, and we win the game, its a good sign.

Note below: Highlights from BCSN

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Buffalo Upcoming

The Hoopsters get the opportunity for another home win when they play Buffalo at AA on Thursday. Buffalo has struggled, much like we have, although they have played a considerably tougher schedule (@UConn and @Pitt). In fact, according to Sagarin, their schedule is ranked #71, and ours is in the 170s.

Overall, this should be a pretty well matched game between two teams which have not hit their stride yet. Falcon fans are latching onto Buffalo's road woes as a sign of weakness, but their have played a couple tough teams and lost to Kent and Akron, two of the strongest teams in our division.

At home, I'd like to say we would win this game. But, this team is a game by game proposition.

UPDATE: I am informed on that Buffalo's starting Center, a Russian who came to Buffalo for the weather, has injured his knee and is out for the season. So, we've got that going for us.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Falcons Fall to Kent

Not a whole lot to say here, Kent bolted out to a 12-0 lead, we eventually got it to 4, but then they blew it open again and it was never really close again. Right, now, its apparent that this team, which is playing without three of its four top scorers from a poor offensive team last year is having trouble scoring.

We nursed a victory against OU on our floor last week, but on Kent's floor, and against a team that is a victory machine (Coach Orr calls them "efficient" in his post game presser, audio here), it just wasn't there.

Some of our goals we met. We got to the line as much as Kent did, didn't commit too many fouls, held them to 44% shooting and didn't give up the three ball.

On the other hand, our putrid free throw shooting continues (7-16) and we were pretty badly beaten on the boards.

Nate Miller had 17, but this team is desperate for someone to score and its hard to see who it might be. Otis continues to be a force on the boards, and he blocked four shots, but he shoots like he thinks there is a lid over the basket. Hopefully, that will come around, but he can be valuable strictly on defense.

On another note, the women's team drew over 3,000 last night for a game against OU. That's just awesome, and I'm glad to see our students and community supporting the program like that. They deserve it.

Next up is Buffalo on Thursday, at home. This one is winnable, if we play reasonably well.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Good to get back to the games

Its good to get back to the games again.....after a long week following the GMAC debacle, we fire it up again against Kent on the road in hoops tonight. They're tough---and this could be rough---but then again, let's throw the ball up and see what happens.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Falcons OC heading to Northwestern

Mick McCall, who was our QB coach through the Jacobs and Harris years and our offensive coordinator this year, is now reportedly headed to Northwestern as the offensive coordinator. Its a good move for him, and he's a good coach who has had several other offers. Congratulations to him. Northwestern made a great pick, and we appreciate the work he did for us.

As for the future, Falcon fans are thinking two things. The first is that a QB coach gets brought in, and Coach Brandon calls his own plays from the sideline. The other options would be someone on the staff, (like Matt Campbell, who called plays at Mount Union) or someone from another program.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Final Blog poll out

I am not whacked, or stubborn, or bold.

Thanks to the sponsors. Its my second year, and I had a great time again. Really adds to the college football season.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Final Blogpoll

Just want to say I picked LSU in the first poll. And was accused of nearly having a whack ballot. Just sayin'!

Rank Team
2 Kansas
3 West Virginia
4 Southern Cal
5 Georgia
6 Ohio State
7 Missouri
8 Oklahoma
9 Boston College
10 Virginia Tech
11 Texas
12 Tennessee
13 Arizona State
14 Auburn
15 Texas Tech
16 Cincinnati
17 Oregon
18 Wisconsin
19 Clemson
20 Michigan
21 Florida
22 Illinois
23 Virginia
24 Hawaii
25 Wake Forest

Dropped Out: Arkansas (#21), Brigham Young (#24).

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

See, Life Goes on

Falcon fans are rightfully disappointed at the humiliating defeat in the GMAC bowl--the worst defeat I can remember of a Falcon team, though there may have been worse. Not by a lot, that's for sure.

Still, I think its possible to take it a little too far. You can check on to see the primal scream of the Falcon Nation, with declarations that certain players, by name, are the worst player in the country, calls for firing of the coach, etc. I just think its a little too much for one game.

Was it an awful performance? Yes. I doubt if anyone from the team would dispute that. Is it good for the program to get beaten like that on a national stage? No. I doubt if anyone from the team would dispute that. Are there any excuses for getting beat like that, especially against C-USA competition? Nope, and I think the team would agree with that. I'll bet they are feeling as badly about it as we do.

But, sometimes these things happen in sports, and in life. You come in, you're ready, and it turns out it just isn't your night. You're not a machine, you're a person.

These things I still believe:

  • Coach Brandon has done a good job with our program and deserves a two-year extension.
  • We were significantly improved as a team and are poised to compete for a MAC title next year.
  • Our program is headed in the right direction.
  • We have good players who uncharacteristically made too many mistakes on Sunday.
  • The game was an aberration.

So Falcon Nation, its time to move on. I'm going to be reviewing the season over the next few days, and then recruiting comes up. I can't wait for us to kickoff again next Fall. Love Falcon football. Meanwhile, we can point our energy to hoops and hockey, and the long wait for Fall.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Oh My God!

The last time I felt like this, I had walked out of the GRE exam in the Math Science Building on campus to find out Fresno State was beating us like a drum. Its an absolute and complete butt-kicking, much of it self-inflicted.

Only this time we can't blame Denny Stolz.

Depression descends...

6 hours to Game Time

Falcons Get Big Win at Home

Reasonably speaking, I think most Falcon fans thought we were dead meat against OU. We've been playing poorly, and this is a good team with an ACC win and a Big East win already this season. Further, they have been beating us like a drum lately, and have a strong inside game with Leon Williams that figured to give our big men fits.

As my Father used to say, that's why we play the game. BG brought a disciplined, defensive game and beat OU 62-59 in front of a small crowd (and strong OU contingent) at Anderson Arena. It was a thriller, with the hated Bubba Walther missing two (oh yes) good looks from 3 that could have tied the game, and then falling more or less at our feet at the corner of the Anderson Arena floor.

It was a pretty ugly game. We shot 30% and they shot about 39%. Further, BG was clearly taking the air out of the ball, running the clock inside 10 time and time again. The keys to victory were:

  • We only made 16 turnovers. They pressed us the whole game, and while it wasn't always pretty, we handled it pretty well. (Joe Jakubowski might not be the greatest player ever, but we'd be dead meat this season without him). We got the ball up floor, and didn't care we had lost time on the shot clock, since we were going to hold it anyway.
  • We shot 22 free throws, and they only shot 9. I cannot remember the last time I saw a Falcon game when the opponent only shot 9 free throws. Amazing. (we had sixteen fouls). Further, we hit 73%, much higher than normal. Coach Jackson said on the post game that players have been in the arena shooting hundreds of free throws on their off days to bring these numbers back up.
  • We held Leon Williams to 14 points and 9 boards, well below his average. His partner, Jerome Tillman, had only two points. Credit here, Otis and Marc Larson on the inside D.
  • Nate Miller was on Bubba Walther, and we held him to 3-10 from beyond the arc. Also a big help. (Nate had a 13/10 double-double).
  • Most importantly, we out-rebounded them 39-33, and 22-10 on our defensive boards. This is something Coach Orr has emphasized, and the rebounding has improved a lot in recent weeks. Nice to see it in a MAC game. (Miller 10 boards, Otis 9, Knight 6).
  • We had balanced scoring, putting four players in double figures. (Miller 13, Knight 11, Clements 10 and Moten 10).
  • OU had 20 turnovers.

I have to confess that as the game started, and the sizable OU contingent was showing some energy, I was pretty depressed at the state of our program. And, when Williams got the ball inside right off the bat, I just had the feeling that we might have a long day.

But, our guys really rallied. Played well enough to win. Coach preaches you have to win even when you don't shoot well (we missed about 10 shots from two inches away from the basket), and that was certainly the case.

I cannot express in words how good it makes me feel to walk out of that place with a win.

We have to be careful with our expectations. Earlier in the year, we had a little success, and we thought we were going to have one of those "new coach-instant turnaround" deals. This will be a touch MAC season, we only have 9 games and we will have to scrap for everything we get.

Here is what Coach Orr said in the post-game.

Opening statement
"Somebody asked me after the Duquesne game, what could we take away from that game. I said 'let's wait and see,' and that I could answer that after this game. The reality of it is that we are learning to scrap, claw and fight for everything we get. We are learning the value of defense. In two of our last three games, we have held teams to thirty-some percent shooting, and we won both of those games. We have outrebounded our opponents in those three games. We've had 18, 18 and 17 offensive rebounds, and we went to the free-throw line over 20 times in each of those games. And in (the two wins), we probably shot around 30 percent."

"Nate was right. Our foundation is that we are going to compete, we're going to defend, we're going to rebound, and we're going to be tough. Offense may come and go -- and hopefully we will have better shooting nights. I'm sure we will. But, when you defend, rebound, get to the free-throw line, you play together, you play with a resolve and a determination, and you have faith, a lot of great things can happen. So, to God be the glory."

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Falcons Win!! Beat Bobcats!!

More later. Picture anti-hero Bubba Walther on the floor at your feet after missing game tying shots. Yeah, like that.

Reports out of Mobile

Blog posts continue to arrive from Mobile, where the big game is 24 hours away.

Jack Carle, for example, woke up not feeling well but has joined the chorus of people who have reported good eating from the Gulf Coast. He also notes that Coach Brandon is confident Brady Minturn will play well on the line, and that the team is ready to hit someone.

Note that Shane Steffy broke his leg by falling down the stairs at home over the Christmas break.

“A guy plays 12 games and doesn’t get a nick and then he goes home and falls down the stairs,” BG head coach Gregg Brandon said Friday afternoon.

Ryan of the Blade talks with a Mobile native who has served as an unofficial host to the Falcon Nation, setting up a "Falcon Bar" and the whole nine yards. He is rooting for BG because C-USA fans are "ungrateful and arrogant," a sentiment I concur with heartily. No conference suffers from bigger delusions of granduer than the new C-USA.

The football team visited the children's hospital, a de rigeur part of any bowl week. Note Kory's blog for some other updates on the trip.

MAC Hoops Season Starts

We're firing up the MAC hoops season today. In our last 34 MAC games, we have won only 8, as sure a measure of the state of the program as you can find.

OU is a good team, with talented players. Let's hope we can pull an upset.

I mentioned earlier that we needed to make progress in having consistent output. One key element is Otis Polk, who showed his first long-term performance against Duquesne. Here's what Coach Orr said, as listed in Jack Carle's blog:

Orr on Otis

“I’m a firm believer that if you practice well that’s the first evidence you see with a player coming into his own.

“With Otis especially since he’s come back from the break, I’ve seen him start to arrive on the offensive end, on the boards, playing more confidence. He’s got more spring in his step.”

Friday, January 04, 2008

Ryan From the Blade Mobile Blogs

Ryan's in Alabama, and you can read his blog to find out that its colder than he thought it would be.

The real news is that we knew that two players were ineligible. We now find out that (according to Ryan) Glen Stanley and DJ Young did not make the trip. If so, that's a shame and blows a hole in our LB corps. Stanley did a great job filling in for John Haneline after he was injured.

Brady Minturn is going to start for injured Shane Steffy, and a number of players are rotating around Diryal Briggs' DE spot.

Falcons in Mobile

Well, the Falcons are in Mobile. Kory Lichtensteiger is blogging on, and there are some reports on activities down there from Day One and Day Two---including that Antonio Smith bowled a 208. No kidding.

We are not worthy.

The game notes are out, too, 92 pages of rich, nougatty goodness for any Falcon fan.

We looked at some stats from Tulsa. From the game notes, here are some November stats for the Falcons.

Team Stats

Points/Game .......................................... 37.8
Points Allowed/Game ................................. 19.8
Yards/Game ........................................... 448.0
Yards Allowed/Game .................................. 383.5
Rushing Yards/Game ...................................187.5
Passing Yards/Game ...................................260.5
Turnovers ................................................3
Takeaways ................................................8

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Duquesne Outruns Falcons

Duquesne came to Anderson Arena and scored an amazing 60 points in the second half last night, and blew a relatively close game wide open and won 96-78.

As late as 7 minutes left, it was only a four point game, but from there on in Duquesne scored an amazing 32 points and won.

The Dukes play a very upbeat style. They established the tone for the game by forcing 10 BG turnovers in the first ten minutes, on the way to 24 total Falcon turnovers. We also committed a mind-boggling 28 fouls, and Duquesne shot 45 free throws. (We shot 33--LOVE THOSE MAC REFS, blowing their whistles like traffic cops).

I wrote yesterday that as fans we wanted to have some signs that things were turning around...some idea that we were on an upward vector. One thing emerged in that Otis Polk, long a repository of hope for Falcon fans, played to the ability we all think he has. He had 17 points and 7 boards, and played 31 minutes, meaning he avoided foul trouble for most of the time. If he can begin to assert himself, he will make a big difference for the team.

Chris Knight also had a double/double, and we had five guys in double figures. Even Brian Moten managed to get into double figures as well.

Point being this: from time to time, different players have chipped in, but we have not really gotten consistent production out of anyone. But, if Otis can keep out of foul trouble and on the floor, and Chris Knight continues to mature, and Brian Moten gets into the flow, and Nate Miller continues to play well, and Daryl and Jakubowski keep playing--and each of them is capable of it--this team can compete in the MAC.

Saturday the Ohio Bobcats come in for the MAC opener, a huge challenge for our guys. They are very strong this year. We are 8-26 over the last two years in MAC play, and that includes just one road win. There is some work to do.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Falcon Hoops Tonight

Falcons take on one of the nation's high octane offenses tonight at Anderson when Dusquene visits. They are in the Top 40 RPI in the nation, and will represent a formidable challenge to our short-handed and young team.

Having said that, you that's why they play the game. Falcon fans continue to watch primarily to see signs of progress. Is the team getting better? Is their hope for next season....or the year after?

In Memoriam

Two BGSU students were killed this morning when the van they were riding in flipped over in the state of Indiana. In total, six students were in the van.

Our deepest condolences to the families and friends of the students killed.

Looking ahead to Tulsa

Having had a little fun with Tulsa's silly-ass nickname, let's get down to business....something that is not silly ass. Looking at Tulsa to size up our chances to win our fifth straight bowl game.

The final analysis is that this team presents us with a huge challenge. Next to BC, this is without doubt the best offensive team we have played, and they can put huge points up. In fact, my guess is that we will need to do one of two things:

  1. Score like mad
  2. Get some turnovers.
Luckily, as we will see below, both of these things could easily happen. We absolutely must control the football and make first downs. Otherwise, it could be ugly.

The velocity of the Golden Hurricane offense cannot be underestimated. They are Category 5 (hehehehehe). Consider this:

  • Tulsa scored 48 points or more in four of its last five games.
  • They are scoring 39.6 points/game, 9th in the NCAA.
  • With 542 yards per game, they lead the NCAA in total offense.
  • They are not one dimensional. They are 3rd in passing yards and 41st in running yards.
  • They are fifth in passing efficiency.
  • Yes, many of these numbers were racked up in the C-USA, college football's smelly ass. But, they did score mad points on BYU and Houston, both of whom made bowl games.

We'll look at their individual players a little more later in the week, but this is an offensive machine. The only blemish on their record when they have the ball is that they were shut down twice by UCF--a team that look decidedly average in their bowl game.

Now, on defense.....well, its a different story. They also gave up 39 or more points in their last three games, including against Army.

Consider this:

  • They are 105th in the NCAA (out of 119) in Scoring defense.
  • They are 111th in Total Defense (yards).
  • They are 108th in Pass defense by yards and 96th in pass defense efficiency.
  • They are 97th in rushing defense.

Simply put, this is a one-dimensional team. They score like mad, but do not defend. With that in mind, we could easily score like made against this team, and our team, which I feel is slightly more balanced than this one, can hopefully get enough stops to win the game.

As for victory condition #2....note this:

  • Tulsa is 106th in turnover margin, and 11th in their own conference.
The special teams are not especially good. Not to belabor the point, but they appear to punt poorly and have an average kicker and only average kick returns.

I think this will be a good game with lots of scoring. BG will be hampered by playing without its best pass rusher, but while this team has some gaudy numbers, I believe we match up well with them.