Monday, August 31, 2009

Clawson Presser--Inaugural Pining for the Past edition

Well, as you know, I've made no secret of my enjoyment of Coach Brandon's weekly pressers. This was especially true with the BGSU website had an actual transcript of the remarks that were ripe for the insertion of wise-ass, uninformed comments.

When it comes to this, I consider the following to be my guide...

OK, seriously. I'm not going to pretend that the issue of the weekly presser didn't come to my mind within, say, the first hour after I found out that Coach Brandon had been let go....right about when the shock wore off.

So, anyway, everything is different. First, the presser is now available in VIDEO (golllyyyy), and that's harder to make edits with, although I prefer it just to the audio version. And, it can be on Youtube, which is both more reliable than whatever audio deal they had last year, AND it can be posted here on this site. And will.

So, I watched the presser. I swear to God, 95% of all coach's pressers have to be the same at every college in the country. You know, we gotta move the chains, score points, take care of the football, play good special teams....someone should write a computer program that could do one of these pressers.

Which is why Coach Brandon erupting into a dissertation on how "salty" the opponent was, or, for that matter, in outright dissembling and deception, was very rewarding. (Sniff).

So, here is a summary of what I heard from Coach Clawson that seemed meaningful (editing out the platitudes so you don't have to).

He says that with the first game, you don't know what you are going to get, and that includes Troy. Even though their coaching staff stayed the same, they could still have done some "research" in the off-season, and have some new wrinkles.

Coach says we have gotten better. You know, we just need to eliminate mistakes, and play assignment football...because Troy has some big play guys, and we miss an assignment, they will score.

He had lots of good things to say about Troy, which is both obligatory and in this case, true. They are very fast, and have a very good WR and TB. Clawson actually recruited Levi Brown, their QB, to Richmond, and he transferred to Troy. Anyway, there was then a long declimation on the virtues of having multiple weapons on offense.

He also noted that both Troy DEs, in his opinion, could be drafted. When asked how we would handle that, he said, "we have to block them."


The game notes came out with the depth chart today. The biggest surprise was the emergence of Brandon Jackson at Defensive End. He will be starting. A true senior (right? ugh), he has not had much playing time, but Coach said he had the best camp and knows what he is doing. We will do a lot of rotating however, and while all the lineman are new and none are experienced, we do apparently have 7-8 who are equally capable, which does let us keep them fresh. (And, if true, does bode well for the future as they mature together).

Oh yeah. You have to "play with a motor."

Coach also talked about some Falcons who had big camps and emerged as big players. They include Ray Hutson (WR---boy, could we use that), Keith Morgan at S, and Willie Geter.

He talked extensively about Willie Geter, saying that he is as important to our team as any offensive player we have. He talked with admiration about his pass blocking and fearlessness.

He also said that he has preached to the team that they have to be tougher and deal with adversity better, which is probably the one thing that cost us a shot at the conference title last season.

He was asked about Robert Lorenzi who was suspended by Brandon for one game but was injured. For the second time, he acted like he had no idea there had been a suspension and said Lorenzi was "cleared" to play.

Finally, he was asked to comment on the imbroglio de jour...the RichRod practice controversey. His answer was that the rules are "pretty clear," but that you did have players coming to look at film on their own time. (This whole voluntary thing is completely unenforceable, but that's another issue).

Anyway, you can follow below to watch for yourself.

Pre-Season Blog Poll is UP

The pre-season blogpoll is up....attached below. I did not win "Mr. Stubborn" because it was possible, but wait until next week. In the meantime, here is how the blogosphere feels. Note Notre Dame hatred.

Special Teams Addendum

The depth chart in the Game notes shows Jerry Phillips as the starting Kicker and Willie Geter as the lead punt returner. Willie could be very dangerous at that position, but will need to hold onto the ball and stay healthy. More on the depth chart later.....

The Game by Game Predictions

OK, time to take my medicine. Each year, I predict each game before the season starts, and then I at the end of the year we look back and see how I did. It gives new meaning to the word "clueless." I'll list each game with some explanation...

9/3/2009 Troy LOSE

This game is winnable, but Troy brings huge firepower to this game and a very strong defensive front seven. Mostly, I sense this is not a great match up for this.

9/12/2009 at Missouri LOSE

Our dominance over Missouri will take a hit this year. Gary Pinkel has the program cranking right now, especially on offense. The Tigers win this one.

9/19/2009 at Marshall WIN

After two very though openers, the Falcons go on the road and get their first big win of the Clawson era. Marshall is improving, but the Falcons put everything together and beat the Herd.

9/26/2009 Boise State LOSE

This is also an upset possibility, but Boise has too much talent and wins this one.

10/3/2009 * Ohio WIN

Falcons win this one over OU at the Doyt. Their offense doesn't expose our young defense, and the offense continues to crank.

10/10/2009 * at Kent State WIN

I like the Falcons to win this game, though Kent is a hidden threat in the MAC. We beat them pretty solidly last year, and there is no reason to think we can't do it again. We have to contain Jarvis and get a lead.

10/17/2009 * at Ball State LOSE

Although Ball State is re-tooling, they still have talent, including an outstanding running back. This game is certainly winnable for the Falcons, but I see Ball winning on their field.

10/24/2009 * Central Michigan LOSE

I'd love to see us pull this upset off, but CMU is the conference's most complete team and they will have too much for us.

11/3/2009 * at Buffalo WIN

The Falcons settle the score with the Bulls, who are not the team they were last year.

11/12/2009 * at Miami (OH) LOSE

Perhaps Clawson can reverse the Miami Whammy. This is the year to make it happen. Still, somehow I cannot bring myself to pick it to happen.

11/20/2009 * Akron WIN

At the Doyt, BG and Akron meet in a high scoring shootout that ends with a BG win because Tyler Sheehan is better than Akron's QB.

11/27/2009 * Toledo WIN

This is a tough one. I believe UT is going to be vastly improved and they will be smarting after being pasted the last two games in this series. I'm going to pick Bowling Green for a couple reasons....first, I want to sleep tonight. And second, because I am hopeful that this team gets better as the season goes along and is playing well. This is still a home game, and I'm going to call for BG in a much closer game than in past years.

So, a 1-3 start and then a 5-3 finish for a 6-6 overall ranking, marginal bowl eligibility and a decent finish in the MAC East.

You beat Miami or Ball State on the road, and you are in the title hunt, but several of the other wins are far from certain as well. Ultimately, in this year's MAC East, anyone staying healthy and playing consistent football could end up winning....

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Special Teams Review....will the Horror Return?

Nothing caused more foul language and gritted teeth than the special teams during the Brandon years. Lousy placekicking, bizarre punt protection and incompetent kick coverage were too often killing the team's chances to win. Eventually, things did improve, starting a couple years ago.

The bottom line for '08 was that placekicking was pretty average, punting above average, and kick returns were pretty good. Punt returns were serviceable, as was kickoff coverage (maybe even a little better). Overall, some solid play and very few times when the special teams killed a chance to win (although there was a special section on onside kick coverage....rrrrrrrrr).

So what can we expect this year?

Well, the punting is in solid hands. Iovinelli is among the better punters in the conference. His yardage is good, and he is very tough to get a return on, and he was at least as good as other punters in getting the ball inside the 20. Last year's coverage unit was also pretty good, and most of those guys were defensive starters who are gone. Still, it seems like we have enough good defensive players that this unit should be able to perform as well, or nearly as well as last year's.

On the return game side, I also think we will be OK. Roger Williams was injured last year and Kenny Lewis filled in well for him on kickoffs. If Williams is healthy he represents our best game-breaking threat back there in many years. As for punts, I am not entirely sure who is on that beat this year. We have several people I think we can count on to at least hang onto the ball and make the right fair catches, and maybe occasionally find a seam and get some yards.

Which leaves placekicking. This is certainly a question mark. Our two kickers are Jerry Phillips (of Clyde) and Matt Oczpok of Pittsburgh. At media day, Coach said that he saw the kicking as a contest between these two players, and whoever was kicking better when the opener came around would get the job.

This always makes me nervous. It just seems like what happens is that kicker A is in there, misses an easy FG, and then he gets yanked for the next one, and in comes Kicker B. He misses, and we go back to A. No one gets any confidence, and they become afraid to miss, and you can't kick if you are afraid to miss.

Field goals can be very important. When you have a six point lead with 4:00 left and you can drill a 45-yard FG with reasonable confidence, that is something that really helps your team win. When you have to go for it in that situation, it can make it much harder to win. Let's hope our kickers do come around and at least get to the point where they are pretty automatic from 40 yard in, which is something nearly every team in the MAC has.

As far as kickoff coverage, I think that will be similar to the punt returns. Last year we stopped giving up touchdowns and seemed to cover much better. You need your kicker to put a high kick outside the numbers, and then good tackling. If you can do those things, it seems like it is tough for big returns to happen.

In the end, I'd love to see special teams become a major weapon in our arsenal, but will be satisfied for this year if it isn't a weapon pointed at our own feet.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Great time at the Doyt

My son and I went to the Doyt tonight for the fan event the Athletic Department held. It was an absolute blast. There were chances to take your shot at nearly all the BG sports, and then a chance for some autographs from selected athletes. Also, Toft's has an awesome "BGSU Churn" that is vanilla ice cream with peanut butter and chocolate covered pretzels. Very good and free, at least for tonight.

All of the student athletes we ran across were friendly, engaged the kids, and made everyone glad they came. It is great to see (again) what a special group of people we have at our University.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Cue the Wringing Hands...the defense

So, having looked at what to expect from the offense, now we are looking at what we might see from the defense.

To begin with, I reviewed the defense from 2008 during the spring. What I concluded was that the defense was, on average, better than we thought, which was somewhere in the middle of the conference. Of course, there were some pretty bad meltdowns here and there that cost us a shot at the MAC Title, but on average, we were OK against the run and pretty strong against the pass and fourth in the conference in scoring.

That is not terribly surprising, given that it was a senior dominated unit. Since then, we've seen big losses in our defensive line and linebackers....positions that had already suffered losses from some of the Brandon-era disciplinary problems.

For example, on the defensive line, the starter at every position left (based on the depth chart for UT, and that includes Michael Ream who was dismissed from the team in the meantime) as well as super-sub Adrian Baker. And, at LB, we lost two very strong LBs in Erique Dozier and John Haneline.

Which leaves exactly one starter returning in the front seven--Jerrett Sanderson. This is a huge hole to rebuild for our team, and is the single thing that worries me most about our team for this year. If teams can grind the ball against us and if we can't pressure the QB, we will find it hard to get off the field.

The defensive line has three juniors--the media guide depth chart shows, left to right, Darius Smith, Nick Torresso, Kevin Alvarado and Angelo Magnone. However, these are juniors without a lot of playing experience. Smith, for example, played in six games last year. Torresso, Alvarado and Magnone all did get some playing time through the season and even had a few big plays.

Their reserves are the same issue, only more extreme.

At LB, I think the situation shows a little more promise. Certainly, we lost two very good players. Furthermore, Eugene Fells was a backup and kind of expected to move into a starting role, and the depth chart shows him still as a back up. But you have Jerrett Sanderson returning along with Cody Basler who was division player of the week against Wyoming and made 11 tackles vs. UT (Dozier was suspended). At the weak side you have James Schneider, a JUCO transfer who made a handful of stops last year.

I guess when you look at a team, you either have players who have proven they can do it, or you have players who have not proven they can do it. Doesn't mean they can't, only that they haven't. And, there are a high number of question marks in our front seven.

The defensive backfield has our two best defensive players (Jahmal Brown and PJ Mahone) at safety, but both corners graduated, and they were good ones too. Roger Williams and Adrien Spencer are the new players here, and they are both pretty untested, playing most in the occasional nickel coverage. Also, the players we would use in our nickel and dime packages are fairly untested too.

I guess I don't want to belabor the point. There are six seniors on our starting defense, and for all I know, they are gelling into a very strong unit. But that will be a surprise. This year's defense--especially on the line--is going to have to work hard to achieve. My hope is that the offense can take care of the ball and limit their snaps and that our new coaches are able to coach these guys up.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Offense....The Hope of 2009

When last season ended, I did an analysis of our offense for the 2008 season. You can read the post here, but the bottom line is this:

  • Any idea that our Gregg Brandon offense was some kind of juggernaut is not supported by facts.
  • We were hampered by our inability to make big plays. Our dink and dunk attack simply didn't deliver enough production.
  • The only reason we finished in the middle of the pack in scoring (6th) in a weak conference is that we were strong in the red zone and on third down. By performing on those key plays, we did get a middle of the pack performance.
Here's a review of the rankings in a bunch of offensive metrics, most of which I made up....

From FalconBlog--Triumphs and Trials in the BGSU Falcon Nation

So, what's in store for 2009? We can't begin without acknowledging that virtually everyone in the world thinks Dave Clawson's highly complex, rocket scientist offense is impossible for a bunch of players to grasp in less than two years. I submit that this remains to be seen. And, virtually everyone says that Clawson had losing seasons his first years at Fordham and Richmond. And I submit (without benefit of any facts) that this is the most talent he has started with.

The bottom line is that if this team is going to be bowl eligible--much less compete for the MAC title--the offense is going to have to deliver. Big time. Not middle of the MAC pack.

That's going to mean a few things. First, it is going to mean (as Coach has said) that Tyler Sheehan is going to have to be the best (or among the best) QBs in the MAC. That means we are going to have to score points by the bushel...both because I suspect we will need it to win, but also because I think our defense stands a much better chance if we can force teams to be one-dimensional and go to the air.

Tyler is a senior, and he has been a very productive QB. When you look at his numbers last year, you see someone who did everything that was asked for him. He threw for a high% and also did more than his share of running for a drop back QB. The one thing he did not do very often is go deep---and we don't really know if it was our hyper-conservative playcalling or whether he doesn't have a long arm. I suspect we will find out this year, because I think you will see us stretch the field in that direction more than in the past.

If Tyler is injured, by the way, his backups are highly touted but young QBs (Pankratz R-FR, and Schilz True FR). While these guys might be very effective, I think it is safe to say this team's success is reliant on Tyler producing at high levels all year.

Our other challenge is to run the ball. We did not get the kind of running we should in a spread offense last year, especially out of our RBs. If you factor out sacks, Tyler Sheehan had the most rushing yards on our team last year. Anthony Turner is next, and he has graduated.

The returning backs are Willie Geter (who averaged 6.7 yards per carry but only played in eight games due to injury) and Chris Bullock, who did not seem to have a place in the Brandon offense. I have already written that I think Bullock has the ability to really thrive in a more traditional run offense, and reports from Fall practice have shown that Geter has been ripping off some huge runs.

The need to run would help with two things the Brandon teams were woeful on...short yardage conversion and killing the clock in the 4th quarter when you have a lead (uh, tap tap tap, is this thing on??).

Also, you can expect us to line up with a FB in some formations, so don't get alarmed if there's another guy in the backfield. He's supposed to be there.

I think we are in solid shape at RB and QB. I am a little worried about WR, where we lost our #1, #4, #6 and #7 receivers from last year. If Freddie Barnes can stay healthy all year, he has proven that he can be a real weapon, especially as a possession receiver. The other remaining players have never come up with huge numbers or been go-to guys (Pronty, and Wright) and other young players (Hutson, Hodges, Joplin and Brighton) that we like but haven't seen enough to know if they can produce.

If the offense is going to ring all the bells on the scoreboard--as we need them to do--we are going to need to find out that at least a couple of these guys are as good as we think they can be. I do understand, by the way, that we don't need four or five quality WRs in our offense anymore, but I think we probably need three for most of our sets, and we have yet to see if we have them.

I think the TE position is solid. Jimmy Scheidler had some big games (7 of his 17 catches were TDs) last year, and I think he can play an even bigger role in this year's attack. I assume he can block to, because I also suspect we will use our TE as more than a big receiver.

Moving now to the line, which is where I guess we should start each analysis. The skill players rely on the line to move things along. We graduated two starters off the line, and have 52 line starts returning this year, based on this from Phil Steele.

This is the new big holy grail of prognostication stats, based on a feature in the Wall Street Journal. We'll see how it tracks. There are four teams in the MAC with even fewer returning line stars, and EMU has the most.

Like I said. We'll see.

For our Falcons, we will need Scott Lewis, Scott Albert and Tyler Donahue--each of whom got some snaps last year--to develop into solid players right away. Only one of those three is a senior, and we have five lineman who red-shirted last year. I guess it seems like our line is a year or two away from reasserting dominance, though I kind of worried about them last year, and they did seem to do pretty well.

So, to recap.

  • Last year's offense very average.
  • This year's can't be.
  • Need Sheehan to kick ass.
  • Need RBs to produce as we have seen them...
  • We need WRs to produce as we haven't seen them (except Barnes)
  • Need a continual maturing in the offensive line.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Troy Blog Exchange

We had a great time with blog exchanges with Gopher and Boise blogs last year, and we're looking to do it again this year. I've made contact with a Troy fanblog, and we are going to exchange five questions, which can be football related, school related, or just snarky/fun.

Any suggestions? Leave them in the comments....

Now for the West

So, yesterday I ran down the East, and today we move on and look at the MAC West. The East, to review, is wide open. The West is less so. There are, however, much stronger teams in the West. In fact, I would say that at least 3 and maybe 4 of the West teams would win the MAC East. It figures to be a dogfight over on that side.

Here's what I see for the West....

  1. CMU
  2. WMU
  3. Ball State
  4. Toledo
  5. NIU
  6. EMU

Now, for the rationalizing and outright wishful thinking and guessing....

Central Michigan

Of course, it does not take a genius to make this pick. Everyone is picking CMU, and with good reason. They have the MAC's best player, a winning tradition, good coaching, a deep, veteran team and don't forget Antonio Brown, probably the best WR in the MAC, too. They are not world beaters on defense, but I think they are the clear choice to win the West and the MAC.

Western Michigan

WMU has a lot going for it and probably makes it back into a bowl game this year. Their QB is also a senior and very good (Tim Hiller). And they have some strength at skill positions too. I can't pick them to beat CMU, however, because they had some huge graduation losses, especially on defense, and if nothing else I can't see them beating CMU head to head.

Ball State

What can you say? Of course, they lost all-everything Nate Davis. They also have Kelly Page in the wings, and the Texan came to this conference very highly touted. He will still have MiQuale Lewis, one of the league's best RBs. There is huge talent in place here and the defense looks to be decent.. Still, the offensive line was the team's quiet strength last year, and they lost a lot to graduation. I think they will surprise and do better than expected, though they could also finish down with EMU.


Writing these words does not make me happy, but I have no doubt that UT is on the way back up. Tim Beckman was present for UM's big turnaround at BG, and I believe he is prepared to do the same thing at UT. While last year's team was dreadful, they were very, very young, and as they mature this year with the new energy provided by a new coach, I think they will have a quick turnaround. There was never any reason for them to be that bad anyway. I considered picking them for second in the division, but I don't think they are terribly strong at QB and could be a little upset prone.


Jerry Kill is in his second year here, and he is going to win in the MAC. Just wait for it. He won at SIU, and he will win here. His team surprised last year, but has some serious holes to fill, especially on defense where Larry English is headed for the NFL and there the front is decimated. For that reason, I don't see them finishing higher in this division, though I think they might be good enough to win the East.


Of course, Ron English is the new head coach at EMU, which has been a graveyard for coaches over the past few years. The cupboard is not bare, especially on offense, where they have a highly productive QB (Andy Schmitt). But the defense was dreadful last year, and while English is a defensive coach, it isn't likely he can completely turn it around this year. I'd like to pick EMU to finish ahead of someone this year, but I can't figure out who it will be...and, of course, they will not be the cross-over push-over they were in past year.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Whoa Dude! More basketball....

The basketball recruiting news continues to come in, as Coach Orr continues to ink players to fill out the roster. Two more are on of whom is very interesting and set to start this season.

That young man is named James Erger. He is from Texas, and is 6'6", scoring 25 PPG and 7 boards per game his senior season. He was all-state in Texas...twice.

Obviously, this appears to be a very attractive player for us to get. Falcon fans (and MAC fans on the whole) are somewhat conditioned to await the words that follow "but..." It isn't clear, in fact, why Mr. Erger did not sign earlier...he is unlikely to a head case or a poor student. In fact, he is literally an Eagle Scout, and I never met any Eagle Scouts who were not accomplished people.

He was healthy his senior year. He is a little thin, but beyond that, maybe he just took his time making his choice. Either way, it would appear that he has size and can shoot and I would have to believe he can contribute right away. (Oh, and yeah, maybe it was small town ball in Texas, but here's a guy who averaged 25 PPG in a 32 minute game).

Here are some youtube vids....for the time being, we will pretend like he did not spell state wrong....

The 2010 recruit may be even more significant. It is Craig Sealey (6'6") of Brookhaven HS near Columbus. Word is that ESPN ranks him as an 83, which is pretty much through the roof for a MAC player. They believe that he can contribute right away in a Division I program. He also appears to be a very strong player with an inside presence, which we are stocking up on.

Anyway, I think it you look at the data, this program is bringing in talent at levels we just have not seen in a long time in Bowling Green. I am really looking forward to seeing Coach Orr bring this program around---I get the feeling we are really upgrading. Of course, it all has to be earned on the court.

East Preview and Prognostications (Stark Injury)

OK, so we're getting close here, and it is time to take the humbling exercise of looking at each division in the MAC and thinking about how things are likely to turn out. On these types of things, I am often wrong but never in doubt, so here we go.

Any thoughtful analysis of the East has to admit the following: any team except Miami could conceivably win the division. Every team has flaws or is filling major gaps in its lineup, or has a new Coach, etc. And, the division was weak last year. You could write a scenario for any team to win. Maybe this is a disclaimer masquerading as analysis, but there it is.

Looking at each team, we find that there are clear flaws with each.

  • Temple: Offense, QB graduated
  • Ohio: Stagnant Offense
  • Akron: Very poor defense
  • Buffalo: new QB, losses on Oline, defense a question mark
  • Kent: Replacing QB
  • BG: Big losses on defense, new coach
  • Miami: Big questions on defense, new coach

With that in mind, I am first going to pick my expected order of finish. Then, I am going to write a short capsule for each team explaining my reasoning and how they could win the East.

My projected order of finish:

  1. Temple
  2. Ohio
  3. Kent
  4. Bowling Green
  5. Akron
  6. Buffalo
  7. Miami

Reasoning/dissembling/spinning/outright rationalization of guesses follows:


I think Temple is the most likely team to win the East. They nearly won it last year and, you could argue, should have. This team is learning how to win. And, they have an excellent defense. In fact, their defense is probably the strongest unit in the East. Yes, their offense is weak, but I think their defense can cover it. In a flawed division, I like this team best. (They also play EMU and Ball State along with Toledo on cross-over, a relatively favorable schedule).


This is the team Phil Steele has winning the East. They have a lot back from a team that was a hair's breadth from being better (though, on reflection it seems like everyone in the East can say that.) They have a strong defense, and if you have to choose a team with a good offense and no defense over a team with good defense and no offense, I take the latter everytime. A solid defense is just more predictable. OU is also strong at QB.


I picked Kent as my sleeper team in the MAC this year. There are a couple reasons for that. There are really two knocks on Kent this year. First, they're Kent. And second, their elusive, slippery-as-a-wet-bar-of-soap QB, Julian Edelman is off in an NFL training camp. Their new QB filled in for Edelman for two games a couple years ago and seemed to do pretty well, and for that reason, I think they may surprise. They have a very solid weapon in Eugene Jarvis and a decent defense as well.

Bowling Green:

The Falcons are coming off a season where they should have won the East, but didn't. Lots of tools are back on offense, but the defense is virtually all-new, especially on the front seven. Having said that, the offense has lots of tools back, and if they have assimilated the Clawson offense then that unit is a big strength. For the Falcons to win, the offense is going to have to be absolutely unstoppable. They are going to have to score points and eat clock. They are going to have to be able to kill clock win winning. If the Falcons can get leads and make their opponents one-dimensional, they could have a shot at winning the East.


Akron is very similar to Bowling Green. Strong on the offensive side of the ball, veteran QB, big question marks on defense. The only reason I rank them behind BG is because I think BG has the better veteran QB. That being said, for Akron to win they need the same things Bowling Green needs. Despite winning the MAC recently, I would say this program has generally underachieved. They are opening a new Stadium, though I doubt that factors into this at all.


I have said a lot about Buffalo, and I don't have much more to say. They barely won last year, lost their QB, have a suspect defense and a lousy offensive line and have now lost their star RB to injury. Yes, Roosevelt is back, but this team can't hope to get as many breaks as they got last year. Secondly, the atmosphere in Buffalo has been so self-congratulatory that it hard to imagine they are really preparing for this season with the hunger that it takes to win. I see a big fall for the Bulls.


You know, even Miami has a chance to compete. They do have some skill on the offensive side of the ball. At the same time, they were dreadful on defense and lost their only good players, and it is hard to imagine their offense being good enough to overcome a really porous defense.

Update: Note via comments that Bull Run (a Buffalo Blog) is now saying that James Starks, Buffalo's star RB is out for the season. The writeup above has been updated, although I didn't move Buffalo below Miami....obviously, they are now missing two of their top offensive players from last season.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Friday, August 21, 2009


1. What school wins the MAC?

Central Michigan. Central has the most complete team, the best QB, and a team that should have won last year but didn't, so they will be hungry. The only thing that could stop them is a really tough schedule, including a game against WMU in Kalamazoo. Every other team in the MAC has a flaw of one kind or another, especially some teams with unsettled QB positions.

2. Who is the biggest dark horse candidate to take the MAC title?

I'm not sure what qualifies as a dark horse in the MAC East. In a sense, they are all dark horses. And because I think Central is the only complete team in the MAC, I don't see a dark horse coming out of the West. Anyway, I'll take Kent. They have a lot of returning players from a team that was not as bad as it appeared last year, and their new QB was effective when pressed into action as a true FR two years ago. If they can open Jarvis up and he stays healthy, this could be a dark horse team.

3. What team is the most overrated in the conference?

Buffalo. They won a bunch of close games last year (including two absolute miracles) with a huge turnover margin they are unlikely to repeat. They lost their QB and don't have a clear replacement. Everyone may be in love with Turner Gill, but I think the Bulls are being way over-estimated.

4. Who is the player of the year in the MAC?

This is such a boring pick, but I'm going to go with Dan Lefevour. He is in an interesting position. A few MAC QBs of this caliber have gone pro before their senior season, and not had too much success, at least in the draft. There is a trap, because if your senior season is only as good as your junior season, it looks like you might have topped out. On the other hand, Lefevour has come back and has a chance to show what he can do. Since I think CMU will win the MAC, I also think he will be MVP.

Lame, I know. Anyway, just for fun, let me give you some dark horse candidates:

  • Eugene Jarvis, Kent
  • Morgan Williams, UT

5. What are the most likely BCS upsets this year by MAC squads?

Does Indiana count? If so, Akron hosts Indiana and I like that as a BCS upset. In case Indiana doesn't count, I would point MAC fans to OU hosting Connecticut and Kent hosting Iowa State, a team they should have beaten on the road last year.

6. What new head coach will have the most successful season?

This hurts to say, it really does, but I think it is Tim Beckman. UT really under achieved last year and has some talent, and they were really, really young. Beckman has walked into a really nice situation and I think he is modeling an Urban Meyer approach that has produced quick turnarounds before.

I think that Bowling Green could compete, but has a few more obstacles due to losses on defense (we were an underachieving veteran team). Miami looks to be pretty bad. Ball State lost a ton of talent and doesn't figure to compete in Parrish's first year either. EMU will be better but not enough to make a dent in the West.

7. Will any MAC coach be leaving the conference after 2009?

Tim Beckman. (Just kidding. A little).

Butch Jones is the real answer. If the Chips can win the West again, he should be outta here.

8. Who has the most ridiculous mascot in the MAC?

The Rockets. This isn't new. Going back to the old days when their mascot was a marital aid through now then their mascot is less phallic but perhaps even stupider.

9. Are you bullish or bearish on Buffalo making another run in the MAC East?

Bearish. They won a bunch of close games last year (including two absolute miracles) with a huge turnover margin they are unlikely to repeat. They lost their QB and don't have a clear replacement. Everyone may be in love with Turner Gill, but I think the Bulls are being way over-estimated.

10. Who is in your title game and which teams make bowl games? goes. I will have more posts on this later, but I see CMU beating Temple. Anyone could win the East, but Temple has a very strong defensive front and I think has as good a shot as anyone at winning the East. I think they will join WMU and NIU in bowl games.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Oh Happy day!!

Oh today is a happy day !!! Football tickets arrived!! Go Falcons!
Only a little while longer to wait…

Basketball Interlude

We interrupt our non-stop obsessing over the start of football season to let everyone know that the basketball schedule is out. My first impression is that this is a pretty typical MAC schedule in that we have limited home games during the pre-conference season. In fact, we go from December 3 to January 2 without a home game at all.* (Normally, someone takes pity on us and comes in over the holidays). While I understand that scheduling is a difficult task, I always think it is a shame to not let our fans get acquainted with the team in December.

And, of course, five straight road games is a struggle for anyone.

There are two good home games. I like to see us play Horizon league teams like Wisconsin-Milwaukee (they were 17-14 last year), and they will be coming to AA. Also, we have an A-10 team coming into Bowling Green, and they were 18-14 last year. (LOOOoonnnng time Bowling Green fans might remember that St. Louis was an early rival of our hockey program back in the formative years of the CCHA. The Billikens and Falcons had some very spirited contests in both places).

And the bracketbuster will be at home, again.

Beyond that, some of the road games are certainly winnable. Fordham (also A-10, 3-25) was among the worst teams in D1 hoops last year. (Is the A-10 considered a mid-major conference? They are certainly a multi-bid conference).

One other thing is that AD Christopher talked about needing to add a money game to the hoops schedule as part of the overall budget woes he is facing. I don't know if Xavier counts, but there is no true money game, as I would think of it (Big 10, Big 12, SEC opponent, etc).

From the competitive viewpoint, we do have four of our last six conference games at home, and since we are a young team replacing four of our best players from last season, that has the chance to be very helpful for us. If Coach Orr can get the team to gel on the home stretch, we might be in a position to use that momentum heading into the tournament.

So, there's a basketball interlude. I'm looking forward to getting the ball in the air. Truth be told, I love basketball season as much as football season.

2009-10 SCHEDULE

Nov. 17 at Xavier
Dec. 5 at Fordham
Dec. 12 at Canisius
Dec. 19 at Detroit
Dec. 28 at Temple
Dec. 30 at Towson
Jan. 2 ST. LOUIS
Jan. 9 at Akron
Jan. 17 at Kent State
Jan. 20 OHIO
Jan. 23 at Miami
Jan. 27 at Eastern Michigan
Feb. 4 at Ball State
Feb. 6 at Western Michigan
Feb. 14 MIAMI
Feb. 17 at Buffalo
Feb. 27 AKRON
March 4 at Ohio

* The game with Savannah State is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 3 but may be moved to a different date in December.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Doyt recognized at The Doyt....

The Falcons are doing a really cool thing this season at (as we now call it) "The Doyt." They are honoring Doyt Perry, the coach who started it all.

I like this because it occurs to me that most of the people who come to games (or, at least, many) probably think that Doyt Perry was a big donor or something (ala Sebo Center). In fact, as we all know, he was a coach and a great one.

From, here is some information on his incredible career.

His final coaching record stands at 77-11-5 over his 10 years at Bowling Green, and his .855 winning percentage goes down as one of the top five in college football history. He was inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1988.
And he won a small college national championship in 1959 (more on that in future days).

I wrote something on this back in the UM days, when he was winning. I noted that even if he continued to win as he had in his first two years, and did it for eight more years without stopping, his winning % would have been less than Doyt Perry. Astounding.

Also, there is the old story (apparently true) that the last time Bo Schembecler and Woody Hayes ever met was at Doyt's house in Bowling Green.

WBGU made a great documentary about Doyt. (There is a link on this page to actually watch the show online, and I highly recommend it). He was beloved by his players, and his colleagues. Bo actually cries when he thinks about Doyt. In fact, he said this....

"I don't believe I can name a coach, anywhere, anytime, anyhow, who did it better than Doyt Perry."-1955 BG Assistant Bo Schembechler
I had the honor to meet Doyt a number of times, and he was a nice man who was respectful and patient. He had the opportunity to throw his weight around, but he was always content to blend into the crowd. He was humble above all.

And from that we could all learn something.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Formal announcement: MAC Blogger roundtable

I think I mentioned to you previously that I would be participating in a blogging roundtable with the rest of the MAC's burgeoning blogosphere. Thanks much to Alan at Over the Pylon for organizing this, and for his kind comments on my blog.

Since, I can't do it better, I'm going to include his comments below about each of the participating blogs. I agree with all of them except the one about the Rockets.

Hopefully, you will find this must-reading each Friday, beginning the day after the Troy game and running through the football season. There will be a couple weeks where I will be writing the questions, and I will solicit ideas from the Falcon Nation as those days approach.

Red and Black Attack: The lone representative for the MAC in the impressive SB Nation and dealing with Northern Illinois, Mike at RaBA is building a website and a community worthy of the honor. It’s a site that is well laid out, well written, and clearly a site on the way up… much like the NIU football team under Jerry Kill. Also a member of the CBS Blogpoll.

FalconBlog: BJ at FalconBlog may very well be the person who understands the best the purpose and freedom that blogs are made to give. FalconBlog brings killer content, are voting members in the CBS BlogPoll, and cover the Falcons tremendously well. FalconBlog is daily reading for OTP and should be for you as well.

Let’s Go Rockets: One of the best designed and eye pleasing sites out there in the total blogosphere, much less the MAC. The staff at LGR are loyal Toledo enthusiasts and will bring a Rocket fueled perspective to their roundtable answers. We have yet to ask them about the 2000 BSU-Toledo game. A piece of that goal post resides in my office.

Temple Football Forever: One of the most well-known MAC blogs out there and recipient of the 2007 Best New Blog and 2008 Best NonBCS Blog from the CFB Awards, Temple Football Forever is your one stop shop for the Owls. Mike, who runs the site, is far more than just your rabid fan. He’s an alum and also a reputable mainstream journalist.

Rasor on the Zips: Mike Rasor runs Rasor on the Zips, a comprehensive site about Akron so it’s aptly named. Blogging not enough? How about going to law school. Still not enough? Editing the law review. Aside from all of that, Mike keep fans and MACphiles the world over updated on the Akron Zips with a great info-heavy site and true dedication to the task.

Fire Up Chips: Kyle at Fire Up Chips runs the Central Michigan component of our Blogger Roundtable. He has coverage of games and main stories, sure, but Kyle certainly earns his bones with his recruitment coverage. For anyone looking for rational CMU coverage, this is the place to be.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Recruiting Class continues to grow, and with highly rated players

Two more players have been added to the recruiting class for next year, a QB and a DB. I have some comments on the QB, so let me cover the DB first.

His name is Jude Adjeri-Barimah of Columbus Northland. He had some interest from Minnesota and Purdue according to ESPN, which has him ranked as the #75 CB in the country. He apparently really wanted to go to Kentucky, but did not get an offer there. Anyway, ESPN really likes him, only wondering if he is a pure cover corner. So, welcome to the Falcons, Jude.

In addition, Trent Hurley has signed to play at BG. Like all of our QBs now, he is a pocket passer and not a run-pass guy. At 6'4" 218, size should not be an issue for Trent. He is also from Pittsburgh, and as far as I am concerned, we cannot recruit enough guys from that area. Football is in their DNA. ESPN ranks him the #128 QB and gives him two-stars. They like his size and productivity, noting that he releases low, partly negating his height. They also use the phrase "dying breed," which sort of stings. Anyway, they think he can fit in the right system, and the fact he is coming to BG must be an indication of where we are going.

Beyond that, we are surely loading up on QBs. There was a time when we brought in 6-7 QBs in a class, but most of them were considered to be athletes and were switched to other positions virtually immediately. Right now, however, our QB stable looks like this....

  • R-FR Aaron Pankratz, the apparent back up this season. At 6'6" and 220, he certainly fits the size bill and was highly productive in HS.
  • FR Matthew Schilz, who de-c0mmitted from Kansas State to come to Bowling Green. He's 6'2" and was the #5 non-BCS QB recruit.
  • Incoming Caleb Watkins, a two-star recruit, (6'2") recruited by most of the MAC and the #99 QB recruit in the country.
  • Trent Hurley....see above.
Obviously, our coaching staff is committed to depth at QB, and creating competition internally. On paper, these are four guys who can really play, and it would appear to be a real dogfight for playing time when Tyler graduates. Again, this is probably exactly what Coach Clawson wants. A commenter on has noted that we can probably expect a transfer when the guy who is #3 realizes it, but for now, we have as impressive a set of QBs as we have had in a long time at BG.

Just for the sake of memory, we have in recent memory only gone two deep and then needed to bring a DB in (as in the Kent game when AT was injured).

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hi honey, I'm home

Back from my vacation, feeling rested and ready for some football.

What did I miss?

Well, probably the biggest news is that backup QB Andrew Beam has decided to transfer. He was apparently battling for his backup spot and wants to play his senior year, for which you cannot blame him. Good luck to him. I was pretty surprised that he didn't throw a pass
at all last season.

As a side note, his loss will not doubt be bemoaned by those fans for whom the backup QB always has mystical powers which are wasting away on the bench.

Anyway, for this year, it certainly makes things tougher. The spot will either be taken by r-fr Aaron Pankratz or true fr Matt Schilz.

Both were highly recruited and have promise but will be taking their first snaps if something happens to Sheehan. At least Beam had some Juco snaps.

Also I saw that Calvin Wiley (Sr WR) may be out for the year, which could hurt depth just where we need it.

More tomorrow on another verbal and a serious attempt to load up at QB.

An update: I see in the Blade story that Beam had actually lost the starting job, so obviously our coaches were more comfortable with Pankratz or Schilz (or maybe both).

Monday, August 10, 2009

FalconBlog On Vacation

I'll be on vacation for the next week. Looking forward to getting back and ready for the football season. Enjoy everyone!

2010 Basketball Verbal.....

Cameron Black, 6'9" PF, has made a verbal commitment to be a Falcon, according to the BG News Blog via Highmajorscoop.

He is just now entering his senior season, so we are talking class of 2010. According to highmajor scoop...

Cameron owns unreal guard skills for a big guy and with the rapid speed of growth that has occurred over the past 2 short years. Two words, Very skilled! I hate to project or predict anything, but he could be a 7-footer someday!

Oh yeah, he's from Kent, too, though Kent does not seem to have recruited him. He was considering Akron and a couple of other schools.

Even at 6'9" with good athletic skills...well let's just say that if that all develops that is the kind of thing that is very dominant in our conference. And then the idea of him still getting bigger and staying athletics. Well, its too hot to start getting all excited about stuff like that.

He had 11 points and 10 boards as a junior.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Falcon football gains two verbals, one of them a *** (three-star)

Bowling Green has recently received two new verbal commitments for football, one of them a highly rated player from here in Ohio.

Willie Tatum (6'2" 200) LB from Pickerington is our highest rated recruit to date, based on (I know, I don't put too much stock in those ratings, but you can take them for what they are worth.) The ESPN site really, really likes him, and he sounds like your prototypical linebacker with speed and good tackling. They projected him to potentially be a BCS LB, although there didn't seem to be any offers in that respect.

The other is Gabe Martin, a DE from Grand Blanc Michigan who apparently is projected to move to LB at BG.

He is listed at 6'3" and 21o pounds. Here's a local news report on his signing.

Welcome aboard to both of the new Falcons.

"Grass Basketball"

Donald Emmons of the The Blade has a nice piece on yesterday's media day. Today (Sunday) is the day players are finally allowed to put on full pads. Here's the first interesting quote in that respect.

"The real football players start rising up and the guys that just play grass basketball start drifting away," Clawson said. "I'm always curious with the first day of full pads to see some of your younger players. You really find out which guys are physically tough and which guys don't back down."

I love the phrase "grass basketball." This part of football has been a real education for me in the past few years. I never would have imagined that a player could get to D1 football and not be physically tough. It just seem like it would have shown up in high school at some point.

But it does happen. Players get a rep for being soft. I guess when the hitting intensifies at the college level, some guys aren't ready for it, but would rather play more delicately.

The second interesting item is from the end of the story where there was a drill to simulate clutch kicking. Jerry Phillips had a 32 yarder which would end wind sprints (for the entire team) if he made it, and cause more wind sprints if he missed it. Which he did not.

Third thing was Willie Geter showing his speed on some drills. If Coach Clawson can find ways for a healthy Willie to get the ball in space, he will be a dangerous and gamebreaking player. Based on his record at Richmond, you have to believe that he will figure that out.

Finally, there's a second story in The Blade (Zach Silka) on the legacy of QBs in the MAC, which is being carried through by Tim Hiller and Dan Lefevour. Tyler Sheehan is also mentioned positively. The reasoning appears to be as follows...if you are a WR, you know the team will rotate those guys in and out and you might go and compete even if you aren't the top guy. But at QB, there is only one and the team prefers to leave that guy in for years at a time. So, D1 quality players would rather head to smaller school like the MAC and get on the field than spend a career as the 3rd QB at OSU.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Coach Clawson talks on Media Day

Via, we have this video of Coach Clawson following a rather soggy media and picture day. Just a couple minutes of video that you can watch below.

A couple comments....

First, Jack Carle asked him if there were any scholarship freshmen that didn't show up. (I assume that means literally and not a figure of speech, as in "Bowling Green did not show up in the 4th quarter last year.")

I'm not sure what was behind that question, but there had to be someone he was thinking of. That's not the kind of question you just jump in with.

Second, check out what he expects out of Tyler Sheehan. He wants him to be the best QB in the MAC. I can't wait to see how Tyler responds to this kind of a challenge. He's a senior and under the right system, I'd love to see him make it come true.

Clawson meets with reporters at Media Day from on Vimeo.

There's also an interview with OC Warren Ruggierio on the site that I won't belabor by putting here. He looks, well, wary most of the time.

Friday, August 07, 2009

"You're Never on Break From Being a Bowling Green Football Player"

Excellent piece by Dave Hackenberg in The Blade on Coach Clawson, which contains the quote listed above....the article is very encouraging and can be summed up by the above quote. (Which, by the way, can join "Every player should leave with a diploma in one hand and a championship ring in the other" on a Dave Clawson quote wall).

No one is currently ineligible, no blotter incidents, and the article has some nice stuff on a strong but quiet style from the Coach.

This is a pretty good perspective, too.....

After that 0-11 start at Fordham, Clawson's teams went 19-6 in his last two seasons there. He moved on to Richmond, where the Spiders went 3-8 during his first year and 26-12 thereafter. Last fall, in his only season as offensive coordinator at Tennessee, the Richmond team he left behind won the Division I-AA national championship.

MAC Report Online Talks Friendly Fourths with Coach Clawson

It is the season for preview stories, and MAC Report Online jumps in....this one is more of the normal blah-blah until it gets to the end, and you can see this.

As an example, Clawson noted Brown had games where he was in on over 100 snaps, including his work on defense and on the special teams. No matter the level of strength and conditioning, that many plays can wear a player down and lead to inefficiency at the end of the game. Clawson hopes by finding quality depth, the key players will be better rested for the fourth quarter.

I found that notable. It had not occurred to me, but I guess he would have. 100 snaps is an awful lot. And, maybe that did have a role in the end of the game collapses. Not that that is an excuse. If that was the case, then the coach needs to adjust to give the players some snaps off during the game so that doesn't happen.

We didn't have terrific depth in the d-backfield last night, especially with the high percentage of nickel sets.

Of course, it will be even worse this year, more than likely. Coach Clawson will have the same choice---put a less prepared player on the field for, say 10 plays, or keep Brown in and hope it doesn't come down to the 4th quarter.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Big Changes at

Hey, just a quick note to everyone that things are really coming around on The sidebar on this blog says that AZZ is the spiritual home of the Falcon Nation, and I feel strongly that is the case. I know that my enjoyment of Falcon sports has increased massively since I discovered the site shortly after Cole Magner scored a 2-pointer in Evanston, IL.

They are now incorporating videos into the site. In addition, Ryan Autullo is on board. You might remember Ryan from his days at The Blade. He was eventually downsized there and is investing some of his time in doing some video coverage of Falcon sports at the site. He's a good guy who was a reader here during his time at The Blade. He's a BG Grad, and pretty new media savvy.

Anyway, I'm not going to post or link to everything they do because I want people congregating over there for the content. I might do some re-posting if I have something to add to the whole conversation. I'll just put this up as an example of what you will be able to see.

Roger Williams from on Vimeo.

It is a great addition to the Falcon nation, and I encourage all Falcon fans to check there often.

Blade Reports on First Practice

The Blade has this report from practice number one....the main article is the usual blah blah you get. No one is going to say how much the team sucked in their first practice. I would wager there is precious little variance in what is said from the best program to the worst.

There was some news, too, as cited below.

SOUTHVIEW GRADS ABSENT: Southview graduates Alex Pidcock and Shaun Joplin, who led the Cougars to a 15-0 record and the Division II state championship last fall, were not among the 100-plus student-athletes who practiced yesterday.

Pidcock, who announced during the spring he would attend BG as a preferred walk-on, recently informed the coaching staff he was not interested in playing football.

Joplin, who also announced during the spring he would attend BGSU this fall, has spent part of the summer working on becoming academically eligible to participate in football this season.

No word has been announced on his academic status.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Knight Transfers

Via the BG News blog, there is a report that the team has announced that Chris Knight has decided to transfer from Bowling Green.

He certainly had a great amount of ability and was one of the more athletic players we have had since the early Dakich years. Still, he had academic issues, was suspended once, and struggled to get playing time. He should have been freshmen of the year his first year, but for a stupid rule the MAC has.

There were continuing rumors that he was having ongoing problems this year (and there had reached the BG News back in May), and while I have no idea if they were true or not, this news probably says a lot.

I think all Falcon fans wish Chris well, and hope he can finish his education and have a good life.

Meanwhile, just because I have, here are the post-WVU recruiting classes at BG and how the players fared.

Falcon Hoops Recruiting Scorecard, Updated March 2009

Stephen Wright--Productive player, left prior to his senior season.
Ron Lewis--Two productive seasons, no junior year. Prominent Big 10 player.
Raheem Moss--26 games, two starts, 66 career points, left program. Contributing at Cleveland State.

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


Scott Vandermeer, 60 points and 40 fouls. Transfered, contributed at UIC where I think he ended up as a pretty good player.
Moon Robinson, Left program after sophomore season. Transferred.
Mawel Soler, completed eligibility. Effective player, even good in spots.


Jeremy Holland--left program after one practice
Nick Wilson--left program without playing a game.
Lionel Sullivan--Sayonara. 30 minutes, 6 points.
Dusan--Minor contributions. Left program prior to Junior Season.
Erik Marschall--Coming off injury he contributes effectively off the bench.
Daryl Clements--Good contributing player, played strong D, stable presence and probably underappreciated player.
Brian Moten--MAC sixth man of the year in junior season and all-MAC HM as a senior. Good player at this level, had game-changing shooting potential.
Martin Samarco--2nd team All-MAC, legit D1 player. Finished career.


Ryne Hamblett--Contributing player, but kicked off team prior to senior season.
Brandon Bland--Left the program.
Marc Larson--Gets minutes, is more valuable than his stats indicate.
Otis Polk--Can be a force in middle.
Ryan Sims--left team early in Junior year. Made little contribution.
Nate Miller--All-MAC First team. Great player, carried team into post-season.
Chris Knight--Transferred following two seasons at BG. (Technically, he was a Dakich recruit).

Joe Jakubowski--Quality player, good addition to the program.
Cameron Madlock--Transferred out.

Dee Brown--Limited playing time, has potential.
Scott Thomas--Strong performer off bench, has All-MAC ability.
Au'ston Calhoun--Redshirt.

On the scheduling of I-AA/FCS teams....

I have long been in the apparent minority in the nation, in that I believe there is nothing wrong with us scheduling 1 of our 12 games as a FCS team. I felt less strong when it was 11 games, and I don't support 2, but I think if we play a BCS team, it is OK to play a FCS team.

My rationale is simply that most teams do it, and it is OK for them, so it should be OK for BG too. It gets us a home game and an easy win, which is the same reason everybody else does it. There is nothing wrong with one easy win in a 12 game schedule.

Now, from a frank angle comes mathematical proof of the premise of my argument--that most teams do it.

In fact, according to the analysis in the post, of 66 BCS teams, 77% play at least one game against a I-AA team. If it is good for 3 out of 4 teams in major conferences, why isn't it good for us? If Florida can do it and still be national champion, then we should be able to.

If you are curious, here are the BCS teams without a FCS game..

Colorado, LSU, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oregon, Purdue, Va Tech, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, UCLA, USC, Washington, Washington State
Seven teams play 2 FCS teams....let us speak of them no more.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Coming News in the MAC Blogosphere

Hey, there's some great stuff going on in the MAC Blogosphere....led by Alan at Over The Pylon (Ball State) we are going to have a weekly roundtable this year during the MAC football season. There are, at most recent count, 7 MAC blogs, so we're starting to get a critical mass. You can follow them on the left sidebar, where we have a feed that tracks all their posts. I'm especially glad that these are all fan blogs...which I think is really the flavor we are going for.

Anyway, I will also be trying to do more blogger exchanges like we did last year. It makes the season lots of fun.

And, I will be participating in the Blog Poll again.

Starting to get the juices flowing....

Monday, August 03, 2009

Could we take the field someday in the Hot -N - Ready Bowl??

Well, according to the Detroit Free Press, there are sponsorship troubles at the bowl formerly known as the Motor City Bowl.

The story says that Chrysler dropped out last year and GM is dropping out now. Ford is re-evaluating its participation.

George Perles apparently did a series of interviews, which, as far as I can tell, probably brought winces and grimaces from the actual staff at the Bowl game. He sort of tore through the media with the faculties of a man who has escaped from assisted living.

Apparently, they are looking at Little Caesar's for a name sponsor, which makes lots of sense. They are big Detroit boosters, are rich, and very interested in sports. They have stores all over the country, and could benefit from the publicity.

They are also rumored to have insane bouts of jealousy about the Papa John's Bowl, which has caused more than one awkward and silent Christmas at the Illitch compound.

OK. I made that part up.

Perles babbled that the it could be the "Little Caesar's Pizza Pizza Bowl," which, the paper notes, has not been used in their marketing for some time. (Looking at Perles, you wouldn't think he would make that kind of mistake about food, but it is what it is).

Anyway, it probably would just be the Little Caesar's Bowl, but if they do include a marketing program, they would be the "Hot-N-Ready Bowl." One good thing is that it would guarantee a segment on The Daily Show.

The bigger issue is what would happen if you didn't have Little Caesar's. The head of the bowl thinks they could play without a sponsor (perhaps calling the game the "Motor City Bowl") but you have to wonder how long that could go on. I don't know how much sponsors pay...ESPN puts money into these bowls for the programming.

Bowls do go away, but for MAC fans, it would be a shame if this one did....

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Falcon Fans might be surprised to read this....

From Tyler Sheehan, as quoted in today's Blade...emphasis added

"When talking to him for the first time [the offensive system] was one of the first things we talked about," Sheehan recalled. "He told me we would be throwing the ball and running the spread [offense], and we would mix in some run plays to help out the spread. So, that was encouraging from that standpoint."

So, for all the people who were saying BG can't compete because Clawson would bring in a whole new complicated system like he did in Knoxville, maybe not. Maybe he's smarter than that. On his first day, he said he isn't a system guy. He wants to get the ball to his playmakers in space.

MAC Football Meetings....some uninformed analysis

First of all, it appears from my perusal of the MAC blogs, some of my "peers" were actually at the meetings. Me? Not so much. We have our editorial standards to maintain.

Anyway, there are some things to use here. First, the University has some stuff on the official site...there are some photos, and these make me ask precisely where in Ford Field they held this so-called media day because it looks like it was in the boiler room.

There is audio with Coach Clawson, Tyler and Jahmal Brown, the Falcons who were in tow. The announcer is Todd Walker, though he sounds like he has pneumonia.

So, I listened to the Clawson interview, and here is what he had to say, in general, and editing out the blah-blah like how hard he is working and how much he loves it, etc.

The key thing I noticed what there was one word he seemed to use quite a big... it was "overachieve." I thought that was interesting. After a few years of feeling like we underachieved, it would be nice to overachieve. I'm not sure Falcon fans view it as bleak as need to overachieve, but that might really be how it is.

Offensively, he said that we want a commitment to running the ball. The reasons: protecting leads, excelling in short yardage and the red zone, which are precisely the things that had the nation gnashing its collective teeth. However, he points out that the offensive players were recruited to play a spread attack, so we have to figure out how to run without a bunch of FBs and TEs. Our best players are QBs and WRs.

He talked about Tyler Sheehan, saying that the team needs Sheehan to have his best season, with more accuracy and better decisions. He hopes that a better run game will help but that the team needs Tyler to have a huge year.

On defense, he said we can expect to see a 4-man front as the base defense, and that the team has to excel in its base before it can vary. He noted that Sanderson, Mahone and Brown are all very good players, and "they better be" because everyone else is new....not without experience, just new to their role.

Finally, they talked about special teams. Beyond general agreement that the punting is in good hands, the kicking is as "big a concern" as he feels we have. The job is "wide open," which might mean we have two good kickers but probably means the opposite. This is scary.

My perception is these open kicking deals are very problematic, and when a guy misses a FG the instinct is to run the other guy out there next, and they never get any confidence (This has been a Wolverine specialty in recent years).

He said Jerry Phillips (the holdover who redshirted) was good in spots but inconsistent, and the other kicker is Matt Oczypok, a FR who (I can only guess) was recruited as a walk on. He is from Pittsburgh.

So, we'll keep our fingers crossed on that one. The inability to make a FG and a basic kickoff can really impact a team, so I hope we get this worked out, though the initial signals are not too positive.

The BG News has a little video with Coach, too