Thursday, December 31, 2009

Hey, the Men's Hoopsters won a close one...

While the football team was losing a heartbreaker, the basketball team was holding on to win a very close road game against Towson (70-69)

To be honest, I didn't hear even one minute of the game.  I did check in on the scores from time to time, but my focus was on Boise.  So, looking at the boxscore and such, pretty much all you need to know you can see here.

See that orange line?  With 5:09 left, we have 65 points and Towson had 52.  See how flat the line is after that?  That isn't supposed to happen.  Sadly, BG went the last 5 minutes of the game without a FG, and that allowed Towson to rally back into the game and actually possession at the end and down 1.

BG had failed to get the ball inbounds and Towson had 3 seconds to go the whole court, and they threw a lob pass that Otis intercepted to preserve the victory.

Which is better than losing.

Otis had a huge night, with a double/double (17 points and a career high 16 boards), which is nice to see.  He actually took 17 shots, and I would be shocked if he had ever taken that many before.  Meanwhile, Dee Brown had 15 points and took only 9 shots, so he had a nice and efficient night.  Joe Jakubowski had 12 points and Scott Thomas 10.

A few notes on the game:

We shot 37% from the line.  Really.
Towson shot 43% from the field and 40% from 3 range...we can't be happy with that.  They had a 10-4 advantage in 3s, which is a big part of how they stayed in the game.  (effective FG% for Towson was over 50%).
BG was dominant on the boards, which we probably are pleased with.  Of the 41 available rebounds on our offensive end, we got 18.
There were 70 possessions, which is a pace more to Towson's liking.

In what seems to be a trend, Erik Marschall played 30 minutes and Larson only played 15.  (See chart, Larson is the orange line that is falling.

The final stats break-out is below.

One more non-conference game remains on the schedule. They didn't have any comments from Coach Orr, so I don't know what his thoughts were, but my perception is that maybe the improvement of the team has flattened out a little bit, and we probably have some work to do heading into the conference season.

The Sad Tale of Woe continues....

With BG's loss, that makes 13 straight bowl losses for the MAC.  Let's hope NIU and CMU can salvage at least a little of our respect.

Clawson Presser

Hey, just listened to the Clawson should head over to and take a listen.  I don't know if he had anything terribly enlightening to say, but the disappointment in the result is clear in his voice.  One thing he mentioned was their tall receivers eventually were going to be a problem, and it helped them on the 50-yard catch and the fade before the half.  We had some execution mistakes on the blocked FG and on the last TD that he goes into (talking football stuff like "C gap," "strong hand" and "squeeze the route.")

He is a competitor, but he didn't throw people under the bus or attempt to minimize his disappointment (as we would have had last year) and I believe our program is in good hands.

My Kingdom for a stop

Well, it was certainly a wild night in Boise and on some levels pretty disappointing, but I have to say that I am not too disappointed this morning.

Yes, you'd like to think that with a 7-point lead with :32 left  you would win the game.  That 50 yard pass was an absolute heartbreaker, and while you can say how that never should have happened inside the last minute of a game, let's remember that just one play before that, BG had completed a 50-yard pass to our best player who was wide freaking open, and that shouldn't have happened either.

And I guess that summarizes why I am not too disappointed....because this game was pretty much what we expected and our team gave us pretty much what they have all season, ie, a stellar offensive performance, inconsistent defense and an inability to consistently stop the run.  Idaho gave what they have as well, which is pretty much the same.

So, they had the ball last, and they won the game.  I love the fact that they went for 2 to win, (more on that later, but I think if you have that chance in the last seconds, it is almost always your best chance to win), and no matter how you slice it, the game came down to one play and they made it.

I have watched the final drive on ESPN's video service (which they won't let me embed, because, yeah, don't know), and it certainly does appear that Idaho found a weak spot in our defense and exploited it.  Enough said about that.  On the 50 yard play, we actually had three guys around the ball, as you would expect given that it was an absolute rainbow, but the it wasn't a pure hail mary in that Enderle had to scramble and it might have been improvised.

Either way, in a prevent defense, one of those guys should get the ball, that's what the defense is designed to prevent, after all, but they didn't.  We still had chances after that to win the game.

I was obviously incredibly pleased with the offensive performance.  Idaho had a weak D, and we exploited it for over 500 yards.  Tyler and Freddie had a great night in their last game in orange and brown.  I am so happy that Freddie stepped onto the national stage and showed the kind of player he is, which is a hell of a football player and not some minor-conference freak catching bubble screens. 

He had 17 catches and over 200 yards, which is a huge game, and he was upfield much of the time and they simply could not cover him, especially when he got matched up in single coverage.  He has an amazing ability to find open spaces in almost any defense (perhaps his QB training), and while not blazing fast, he finds space and that makes him a very good player.  He is a solid runner with the ball, and is a complete player.  It has been a privilege to watch him this season.

Tyler was 33-47 with 4 TDs, and and average per attempt over 8 yards, which is pretty good and certainly not emblematic of a high percentage passing game.  Obviously, you'd love to have the one interception back, because that was a big play in the game, but he bounced back from that and eventually took us into the lead, so you can't complain about it too much.

Willie Geter also had a 100 yard game, and also had 5 catches for 65 yards, and remains a very good player inside the offense we like to play.  I think he is a tough runner who just hasn't been given openings to run, or wasn't much for much of the season.

The defense?  Well, what can you say?  Enderle was a little rusty and certainly came out having some problems, but once he got his rhythm, he was pretty much shredding us.  Maybe the biggest key to the game was that Idaho also rushed for 200 yards, and that gave them a dimension that made them hard to stop in the end.  The defense did force 7 punts (we punted only 3), and had some times when they made stops, but they did give up 43 points, so we don't want to overplay that hand too much.

One thing that might be forgotten, but that blocked FG was disappointing.  First, that we didn't get a TD, and second, that we didn't take the opportunity to extend our lead when we had them on their heels.

But beyond that, it was pretty much what the first 12 games had told us to expect from both teams, and in the end, it came down to one play and they made it and we didn't.  It was a thrilling game, and I'd love for us to have won, but I can't feel bad for Idaho.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Falcon Bowl Defeat

Pretty drained right now, it was one of the most exciting football games I have watched in a long, long time.  I'm certainly disappointed that we didn't win...but I can't be too disappointed.  It was pretty much as expected, too potent teams working against very non-potent defenses, and the last team with the ball won the game.  You'd like to think that you can keep a team out of the end zone in :32, but you do have to give Idaho credit.  They were at least as good as we were tonight, and had as much business winning as we did.

More tomorrow.  How long until the Spring Game?

Bowl Game Trauma....

The Falcon Nation is treading lightly onto the bowl game stage, because, well, our last trip there was pretty painful.  Like, wake up screaming in the night painful.  Granted, not as painful to us as this was....

but emotionally painful.  Which still hurts.

Anyway, I'm talking about the GMAC Bowl, which turned into an ugly rout at the hands of Tulsa, and was the worst bowl defeat in the history of bowls.  63-7.  Not pretty at all, as our team was completely unready to play and was blasted out from the very early minutes of the game.

And for those of us old enough to have survived the Denny Stolz-wrecked Raisin Bowl in Fresno (51-7, a shade closer but still equally humiliating and maybe more so given that team was undefeated), there are actually two bowl traumas in our past.

Yes, in between they are pretty good, and BG has won 4 of its last 5 bowl games.  Still, those humiliations do kind of sting, even years later.

So, let's hope our team erases those memories with a victory in Boise this afternoon.  We don't need any more nightmares.

Towson Tiger Preview

So, the Falcons escape out of Philly and head south to Towson, which is in Maryland, and where I think we will find a much better winning environment than in venerable McGonigle Hall.  While no pushover, this game will be a nice test for our team.  (The rest of the Falcon Nation will no doubt be focused on the blue turf, but a reminder that you can flip over to the game on an internet-only broadcast).

We played Towson last year and beat then 77-58 at AA, with Clements and Moten being the leading scorers.  Towson shot only 33% from the field for the game while the Falcons shot 55%.

Towson is 3-9 on the season, with a win over Miami being their signature win.  Their wins over Maryland-Baltimore County and Hampton are over teams in the 300s, RPI-wise.  Their losses are to some decent teams, with the exception of a 17-point loss to Navy.

They have yet to lose at home.  This year.

They will present us with a different style than we are used to playing, which is to say they are a little faster paced than MAC teams are.  They are getting 72 possessions a game, which is 7 more than BG typically runs, which just is to say that they play a pretty fast paced game.

This tempers how you look at the per game stats.  For example, with that pace, 71.9 PPG is just over a point per possession, and is especially not good when you allow 78 points per game.  But, given the tempo, that's only 1.09 points per possession, which is not as bad as it might seem.

Anyway, they have clearly struggled this season, and they do allow teams to shoot effectively against them, (46%).  On rebounding, FT shooting and ball handling, they appear to be pretty well matched with us.

The challenge for this game is that Towson will represent a tempo challenge for our team.  We normally play well against teams that you can shoot against, and it would be great to see us get some offensive confidence back right away.  This team is not Temple, and if we can bring a strong defensive game, this looks like a matchup we can win.

Vandal Nation posts my answers

As you know, we did a Blog Swap with the Vandal Nation and he's posted my answers on his site, head on over and take a look if you like.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Vandal Blog Swap

We've had a chance to blog swap with Vandal Nation, the blog of the student newspaper out there about the upcoming Humanitarian Bowl.  They have an excellent site, and I encourage you to check it out for news about our opponent.  I answered some questions from him which should be up this afternoon.

1. Vandals is a unique (and great) nickname. What is the history behind it?

The University of Idaho's sports teams didn't have a mascot or nickname for about the first 20 years of their existence. Then, in the late 1910s, Harry Lloyd "Jazz" McCarty, a sportswriter at The Argonaut, the student newspaper, wrote that the Hec Edmundsen-coached Idaho basketball team was "vandalizing" its opponents, and the tag stuck. In 1921, a student and faculty-led campaign led to the Vandals being officially adopted as Idaho's sports nickname.

2. After a really hot start, your team lost four of its last five. Three of these teams did make bowls. What changes were there in the team from the 6-1 team to the 1-4 team.

In a word, health. Nate Enderle got hurt, meaning we had to rely on sophomore backup Brian Reader at quarterback and it was a rough introduction to Division I football for the juco transfer. Reader showed flashes of brilliance, perhaps never more so than in leading Idaho to a stirring comeback win at San Jose State, but he also showed that rookies make lots of mistakes. Enderle, though oft-maligned by the fanbase, is a three-year starter, intimately knows the offensive system and is the best shot-caller we have. Without him, the Vandals' scoring machine couldn't run on all cylinders. We also had guys get banged up on the defensive end, and given our struggles there even with everyone healthy, even minor injuries had a major impact on our ability to get stops.

3. Obviously, Akey's first two seasons in Moscow were pretty shaky. Tell me about how the program transformed itself this year and what led to the success. Did you see it coming?

I'd love to tell you I was prescient enough to see this coming, but I'd be a liar. Anyone who says they saw it coming is a liar. Honestly, if this team had gotten four victories (a doubling of last year's win total) I'd have called it a success. That's why... well, yes it's disappointing that we faded down the stretch, but if you'd have told me in August that the Vandals would have a winning season and a bowl berth, I'd have had you committed to a mental institution. The turnaround is nothing short of a miracle.

I think what happened this year was a culmination — Robb Akey finally has his recruits in place, he's had three years to develop his system and the pieces all came together. We had a solid quarterback, a diverse set of receivers with different strengths and three quality running backs ready to run opponents into the ground. When everything was working together, our offense was able to score almost at will.

4. Your team has struggled against the pass, as was among the worst FBS teams in efficiency defense and sacks. What to you think the Vandals will try to differently to get some defensive stops?

That's a good question, and I think the game will hinge on how we answer it. Our DBs are great guys but we just don't have the speed necessary to go stride-for-stride with most receivers. So we sit in zone reads and rack up tackles, but it very often looks like pitch and catch out there for opposing quarterbacks. We're going to have to go for broke, so I wouldn't be surprised to see some totally different, never-before-seen looks on defense, more blitzing perhaps... it's clear we can't go with the same old same old, because it's not working. If we let Freddie Barnes run wild, it's going to be a long, long afternoon for fans of the Silver and Gold.

5. On the other side of the ball, Nathan Enderle is one of the top ranked QBs in the country. Talk about his health, as well as how the Vandals move the ball.

Enderle's health is key to this team's success because he's our proven, consistent starting quarterback. We hope his arm is back to full strength, but of course we won't really know until after kickoff. The waiting game is underway. We're able to pass or run with a variety of different looks and a diverse array of weapons, starting with a bunch of wideouts who score — Max Komar, Maurice Shaw, Daniel Hardy and Eric Greenwood, to name a few. On the ground, it's a three-headed running monster of DeMaundray Woolridge, Princeton McCarty and Deonte Jackson. Woolridge started the season nearly unstoppable, but it seems opponents have gameplanned him better and slowed him down of late. If he can break out against the Falcons tomorrow, Idaho will take a big step toward victory.

6. Tell me a little bit about Moscow, ID. What's the best place to eat? What are the university's strongest academic areas?

Moscow is a great little college town of 22,000 on the eastern edge of the Palouse, a farming region of steep, rolling hills in eastern Washington and northern Idaho. In fact, it's quite literally on the border — university property stops at the state line. There's a thriving, walkable downtown business district, plenty of bars and restaurants and a vibrant arts and culture community drawn in by the university. Just to the east, the Rocky Mountains begin to rise up, so there's also outdoors activities close by. The University of Idaho is the oldest in the state, established as the territorial land grant institution in 1883, and its 10,000 students are mainly residential. In a quirk of geography, Washington State University is just 8 miles west in the town of Pullman, making for a region dominated by academics and packed with college sports.

The best place to eat, in my opinion, is West of Paris, an expensive but indulgent French restaurant in the heart of downtown. For everyday eats, you can't go wrong with the Bagel Shop, which is open until 3 a.m. to catch the bar crowd.

Academically, UI is the leading university in the state and one of the best in the Pacific Northwest. Class sizes are relatively small and the residential, college-town atmosphere leads to good academic focus. I'm sure I'm leaving some out, but particular areas of excellence include forestry, engineering, an AACSB-accredited business school, pre-medical education and the state's only College of Law. The undergraduate School of Journalism and Mass Media isn't bad, either, and that's why I'm a Vandal.

25 questions to Vandalize

What is their body of work?

They are 4-5, and lost four of their last five games.  Given that they won 3 games total the last two seasons, they are pretty high on their season, I would expect.  They did pick up an early win in DeKalb against NIU.

What is their best result?

Their wins over NIU and a 6-7 Hawaii team.  Their other five wins are against teams that won 4 or fewer games.

What is their worst result?

Losing 52-49 at home to Utah St.

What is their turnover ratio?

They are -9, which is unusual for a team with a winning record.


How is their QB Play?

Very good.  Nathan Enderle is a junior and is the second most efficient QB in the WAC behind Kellen Moore, which is pretty good company.

What was their scoring and yards per play?

They are 4th in the WAC in scoring offense, but second in yards per play (6.9, a figure anyone would drool over).

Can they run the ball?

While running is not their calling card, they do have a solid running game.  They average 4.6 yards per carry, which is 5th in the conference.  They have used a three-headed attack, with DeMaundray Woolridge and Princeton getting more than 100 carries at 5.7 yards per carry.  Deonte Jackson carried 83 times at 4.3 yards per carry.

Do they pass the ball?

They are 11th in the nation in passing offense and 10th in passing efficiency.  BG is 8th in passing offense, so we can expect that they will bring the same firepower that BG does.  Nathan Enderle is a very good QB (see above).  Max Komar is their leading receiver with 62 catches and 10 TDs, and they have 4 additional WRs between 28 and 38 catches.

How is their run/pass balance?

This is very interesting.   They obviously can run the ball and pass the ball.  Unlike most teams we run across, however, their play mix is strongly titled toward the run--with 53% of total plays.  The implication of that is that the Idaho passing offense is going to be more downfield focused than the typical offense we face.

Do they convert on 3rd Down.

Yes, they are second in the WAC with 47.9%, which is very strong.

Do they score in the red zone?

3.5 red zone trips per game is not especially strong, and neither is 4.3 points per trip.  They have 4 turnovers in the redzone, including 3 fumbles.

Do they protect the quarterback?

24 sacks was 5th in the WAC, which is probably pretty average.  Yes, they don't have a pass-rich play mix, but they do throw upfield more, which obviously exposes your QB to a sack more than a bubble screen-style passing offense.

Clearly, this is a very strong, multi-faceted offensive football team with good skill players.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

Here the story turns a little bit south for the Vandals.  They were last in the WAC in scoring defense and tied for 5th in yards per play allowed (6.5).

Do they defend the run effectively?

This is the stronger of the defensive attributes, with 4.6 yards per carry, which is in the top half of their conference.  They don't see as many running plays as most teams because of their problems defending the pass, but they are respectable against the run.

Could they be passed on?

Yes.  They are eighth in the WAC in pass defense and pass defense efficiency.  The pass defense efficiency is 117th out of 120 in FBS, and they were particularly porous in their struggles down the home stretch.

Did they get off the field on 3rd down?

They are dead last in their conference, allowed 52.6% of 3rd down conversions.

Do they defend in the red zone?

They are soft in the red zone.  They are allowing almost 5 points per red zone trip, which means when you get there, you are likely to get a TD.  They have only 6 FG attempts against them in the red zone.  They allow 4 red zone trips per game.  This is also not a strong point.

Do they pressure the QB?

They have only 14 sacks in 12 games.

Special Teams:


Their punting is very average, at 34 net yards per punt.  In addition, they were blocked twice, which should be good news for our improving block game.

Punt Return?

They have only 14 returns, which means they fair catch a lot.  When they do return, they are 3rd in the WAC with no TDs.


Their kicker is very solid, more than he might appear on paper.  He was 13 out of 19, but tried 3 of his misses were outside 50, (mostly unmakable for a college kicker) and he did hit 2 from beyond 50.  54 was his long.  He was 7-8 inside 40.


Their kickoff coverage is very typical at 42 yards, which means that a team starts on their own 28 following a kickoff.  They have allowed 1 TD.

Kickoff Return?

Not especially strong, with a 44 yard net and 1 TD.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

In general, you have 2 very good offensive teams and 2 teams who do suffer on the defensive end of the field.  My hope is that BG is just slightly better on the defensive end, and will get enough stops to win what should be an offensive shoot out...but who can tell.  This is a good match up for us, however, and I do like our chances at grinding out the win.

One big thing in Idaho's favor is that they will have a good home crowd and will be playing a home game from that perspective.  We have played on the blue like they have, so I think that advantage is negated, but they will have a home field type advantage.

BG clearly comes in playing better football, winning 6 out of 7 as opposed to losing 4 out of 5.  The long layoff does seem to negate that advantage, but I do hope to see our players have some additional confidence, especially after a couple nice wins at the end.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Falcons Get Throw Back Beating in Philly

As I said in the preview, Temple is a good team and probably the best team BG will play this year, and the game in Philly was pretty much a worst case scenario.

The Owls are just a fantastic defensive team, and they held BG to 13 points in the first half and 39 points for the whole game.  BG shot 27% for all field goals and 20% from beyond the arc, and you pretty much can't win a game like that.  (Perhaps even worse, BG shot 17% in the first half).

It is BG's worst offensive performance since 1995.

As you can see below, BG was close for the first 10 minutes, mostly on getting stops, but then for the last ten minutes the Owls went on a 21-6 run and the game was pretty much blown open.  I do give our guys credit, they came out of the locker room and stabilized things and got the game within 10, but it would not come any closer and the Temple talent and ability eventually came out and they won going away.

While BG was shooting poorly, Temple had the range, shooting 47% and 43% from 3, and had a nice scoring game, despite running down the shot clock almost every time they had the ball.

There's not a whole lot more to say. Temple just dominated the Falcons in every way possible. It was throwback night, but the Owls brought a medieval beating down on BG.

The good news is that the teams gets to go right back on the court Wednesday against a decidedly less talented Towson State team, and can continue to improve as conference play--and our real goals--approach.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Temple BlogSwap

We have had a bunch of blog swaps for basketball, but not so many for basketball.  College football seems to have a bigger following in the blogosphere, and many of the blogs are just football-only or football mostly.

Of course, things are different at Temple.  Notwithstanding their recent success in football, and I am very much rooting for them to spank UCLA, they are known primarily for basketball.  They play in a competitive A-10---and it looks to be even more competitive this year than normal.  So, this all comes from Dave at The Owls Nest.  Dave is a huge Owl fan with a great blog, and I recommend you check it out.

I asked him six questions.  He gave me six answers.  (My answers to his questions can be found here).

1. The game is being played at McGonigle Hall, which is not Temple's normal home floor. What impact do you think that will have on the game?

- The entire theme of playing in McGonigle Hall and wearing the old jerseys are part of bringing back and recognizing the success Temple University Basketball has had. Before the Liacouras Center was even built, M.H. was the home of some of the best basketball teams in Temple history. I think this will have more of an effect on the fans than it will the players, though it will be neat to see and feel the atmosphere.

2. Your team is 9-2 against one of the 10 toughest schedules in the nation. Do you think this team has the capacity to make a Sweet 16 or Elite 8 run?

- It's very early to say, although the Owls have played a number of talents this year. Playing talent and quality teams outside of the conference allows you to get an understanding of what kind of team you are on a nationwide scale. Temple has had the opportunity to play several teams from the Big East, the Big Ten, ACC, and soon the Big 12. The solid idea of this team I believe will come Jan. 2nd when Temple host #1 Kansas. The Owls are predicted already as an NCAA Tournament invite, but personally I feel it's way too early to make these types of predictions. It's a great sign when you are playing good games against the Villanova's and Georgetowns of college basketball though!

3. Your offense is interesting. On balance, it has been just OK, but you had some pretty good games against Siena and the MAC teams, but especially against Villanova. What has separated big offensive games from lesser games.

- I believe it really comes down to the team getting into a good groove or flow. When several players are able to contribute or make plays, the Owls have been able to find multiple ways to score or continue the momentum. Unlike previous years, Temple's success has been based off of the team's overall effort instead of counting on one player to contribute. Generally, the guard play has been the key to the Owls' success-- if the guards are able to find their own shots, it opens up even more opportunities for the bigs down low. The momentum the team builds and the contributions from several players are what have determined how our team plays.

4. Much like the Falcons, you are clearly a team that wants to be hard to shoot against. What is the defensive style for your team? Is trap/pressure incorporated?

- One of the keys to Temple's success on the defensive side of the floor is that the Owls are able to hold their opponents to one-shot possessions. Defensive rebounding is key in having a lockdown defense because the offense is put in a position where it is score right away or bust. TU's guards play up close and personal at times, and do not give way and allow guys to beat them to the hoop. The problems the Owls force come from the half court defense, and the trouble forced on just half of the timeline.

5. You seem to have three players who are your primary scorers and playmakers. Give us a little preview about to expect from them.

Juan Fernandez - The point guard of this offense. He can beat you on the dribble, or pull up and hit the jump shot. He has been more willing to shoot the ball recently with his performances against Villanova and Seton Hall. His ability to see the floor presents a lot of problems for defenses as well because he is such a great passer.

Ryan Brooks - A great shooter and rebounder. Expect Brooks to break down his man and be the guy to pull up for the jumper. He will also get out on fast breaks and push the ball up the floor. Brooks somewhat resembles what was done with former Temple guard Dionte Christmas-- coming off the screen to get a nice look at the basket.

Lavoy Allen - He has a very powerful inside presence, and can score from almost anywhere on the floor. Even at 6'9", Allen is not afraid to step off the block and take a shot from the foul line. When he has the ball, he is physical on the post up and has a dangerous turn around score. He is Temple's best rebounder on both sides of the floor.

6. Philadelphia probably has the best and longest standing college basketball tradition of any city in the US. Is college basketball still woven in the fabric of Philly?

- College basketball still remains to be a big tradition in the city of Philadelphia. The Big Five continues to thrive, regardless of where the games are played. The Palestra is known as "The Mecca of College Basketball", and is still one of the best atmospheres for a college hoops game. Many players on these teams are still from the local Philadelphia area, and understand what it means and what brand of basketball Philly brings.

Temple Preview

Basketball season gets back onto the rails started Monday night, as Bowling Green heads to Philly to play the Temple Owls in McGonigle Hall, which is significant primarily because it is not their main home floor. They are making it into a throw-back night, and will wear their uniforms from the 1980s, which is kind of cool.

McGonigle Hall is a venerable venue, as we can see here (set up for volleyball.  Use your imagination).

It kinda reminds me of, well, OUR arena, the one we play in all the time.

Philly has a huge tradition of college basketball, and playing here is an excellent opportunity to live part of that history.

When I heard it was a throwback game, I thought they might play with those really narrow lanes and oval wooden backboards, but I'm guessing not.

Temple is the best team we are playing this season.  They are 9-2 to date, and have played the eighth toughest schedule in D1 basketball.  Their losses are to Georgetown and St. Johns (at the Palestra), and their wins include a huge win against Villanova, along with Siena, Virginia Tech and Seton Hall.

As part of their deal to play MAC football, they schedule a number of MAC teams, and have beaten Ball State, WMU, and Miami already.  And, they have already qualified for a bye in the MAC tournament.

I kid.

Offensively, if you look at their whole season, they are at about 1 point per possession, which is pretty average.  However, they did get over 1.1 points per possession against all three of the MAC teams they have played.  They only shoot in the low 40s, and they don't try a ton of 3s, so that low % is coming on a shot mix that is a little richer in 2FGs.  They are a good but not great rebounding team.

Remember, however, that those stats are aggregate stats that were generated against a really rough schedule.

Keeping remembering it when you look at their defensive stats.  This is simply a dominating defensive team.  Opponents are shooting 37% against them.  Opponents are making only 23.9% of their 3FGs against Temple, the second best % in the country.  The allow only 55 points per game (3rd in country, albeit against a very slow tempo).  Even tempo-adjusted, they have one of the top 20 defenses in the country.

Getting good shots against these guys is really hard.

In that sense, they present a really tough matchup for us.  We have a hard time getting good shots normally, and we are going to have to figure out a way to compete with this team.

Guard Ryan Brooks is their leading scorer at 15 PPG, with Juan Fernandez scoring 13.5 (he is from Argentina).  They are both 6'4" and with that size could present some matchup issues for our guards.

In the middle, they have 6'9" LaVoy Allen, who is averaging  double-double.  There are not too many bad players who AVERAGE a double-double.  He is in the top 30 in the NCAA in rebounds and offensive rebounds.

After those three guys, their next highest scorer averages 4 points a game, so they are reliant on those three guys to score.

They have eight players averaging 10 minutes a game, so that's a pretty decent rotation.

All in all, as I said, this is the best team we have played or will play this year, and they are much better than the team that came into Anderson last year.  BG will need to play its best game of the year to compete.  While it looks unlikely on paper, upsets like this happen every week in college basketball.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Holy Crap!! Urban Meyer resigns at Florida.

Urban Meyer has resigned as head coach at the University of Florida.  Wow!  The man is full of surprises....he cited a need to take care of his health and his family.  He did spend the night after the Alabama game in the hospital.  Just shocking news for the former Falcon coach.

He is an all-in kinda guy.  Let us hope that is everything he wants to fix can be fixed once he steps away from the incredible grind of coaching at the highest level.

MAC Drops Ninth Straight Bowl Game over past three seasons

Update: In total, it is the 11th straight bowl loss.

Falcons Dip into Western Pennsylvania, D-End makes soft verbal

Bryan Thomas of Washington High School  (suburban Pittsburgh) has made a verbal commitment to the Falcons.  At 6'4" 230, he played TE and DE in HS, but the article linked here says he was recruited to play defensive end.  Sounds like he might project to the line or LB---and he might make an intriguing choice at FB, too.

Lots to like here.  When the team was without a coach, he essentially ran the team's off-season workout program until a coach was hired.  You have to like the sound of that.

He was named to the local Elite 11.  I have no idea what the means exactly, but it sounds like an honor.

Their HS nickname is the Prexies which I love.

One warning.  This appears to be a soft verbal, and he says he wants to look at some colleges and maybe West Virginia might be interested.

I love it when we get players from the Pittsburgh area.  Those guys are raised to be football players, and they produce tons of D-1 players every year.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from FalconBlog

I hope everyone enjoys a peaceful and happy Christmas and holiday season, in full concert with your own beliefs and traditions.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sometimes a butterfly's wings can start a hurricane

It started innocently enough.  The Big 10, desirous of a conference championship, is looking to add a team.  Then, made 4 teams.  Or 5.  Those have to come from somewhere, and then those conferences double back  and try to find replacement teams.  The PAC-10 joins in.  And the football landscape completely changes.

Be prepared to think the unthinkable.  The Big East/ACC thing could end up being nothing.

Here's what the Orlando Sentinel said in its top flight college football blog.

The Big Ten and the Pac-10 said last week they would consider adding more teams. But the most intriguing possibility is whether the Big Ten goes “big” literally and becomes a 14- or 16-team league. One league source told the Chicago Tribune “anything is possible” when it comes to expansion. Essentially, everything is on the table.
That would change the face of college football, essentially forcing all the other conferences to attempt to expand to 14 or 16 teams. The strong conferences would become super conferences, the weaker ones would be weakened even further and become irrelevant. It would be a fight for survival.

Not saying the sky is falling....just saying that storm clouds are gathering.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Falcon Recruit has great season

We've been following Trent Hurley of Greensburg Central Catholic.  He is a QB verbal to BG, and is from the Pittsburgh area.  He led his team to the Western Pennsylvania Championship (note:  football might be a big deal over there) and to the state championship game, where he scored two touchdowns in a losing cause. Still, huge accomplishments, and we look forward to seeing him in orange and brown.

(You can see video highlights here).

So Who Are These Idaho Vandals

So, we're coming up on a week away from Bowling Green's Humanitarian Bowl game against the Idaho Vandals, and before I start to look into the game itself, we would take a look at the school itself.

First, Vandals is a kick-ass nickname.  Love it.

Second, they do have a blog that appears to be run by their student paper--Vandal Nation.  They have been kind enough to link here, so head on over and check out their site.  It is a pretty good blog.

I always like to look at a school's famous graduates....and there's plenty to work with here.  Sarah Palin AND Deep Throat....yes, those are two different people.  Allow me to elaborate.

Yes, Sarah (Heath) Palin did graduate from the University of Idaho.  I don't know if anyone at that time had any idea that she would end up "going rogue" and hijacking a major political party, or for that matter, that she would write a book (yeah, I know, that was a joke, OK??), but I'm gonna guess they didn't.

Also, Mark Felt, who was the Deep Throat source to Woodward and Bernstein.  He was always, as it turns out, a Vandal.

Who else?  Here's an interesting one.  There was a guy named Holden Bowler who attended Idaho.  He had been working on the docks or something with a guy named JD Salinger, and Salinger promised to name a character after him in his novel.  Which, I hope you are aware, he did.  (UT grads should google it to figure out what we are talking about.

Also, Mark Schlereth, owner of 3 Super Bowl rings, known on ESPN as "Stink" for his habit of peeing in his football pants before games.

Decathelete Dan O'Brien....Vandal.
Packer great Jerry Kramer...Vandal.

Beyond that, and an apparent stranglehold on Idaho politics, there are numerous other athletes, and dignitaries, including a wicked Danish shot putter.

The school was founded until 1889 and until 1963 was the ONLY university in the state.  (This boggles the mind).  Despite being a land grant university, the school has 11,000 students or so.  It is located in Moscow, right on the border with Washington, and is only 8 miles from Washington State University.

Skiing was dropped as a varsity sport in 1972.

Anyway, that's a little bit about the University of Idaho.  More will be done in the coming days to examine their football team, in the meantime, if you have to go rogue, at least wear a helmet.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sentinel Tribune Article on H Bowl Prep

The Sentinel had a story on H Bowl prep, which includes the fact that until now, the team has had relatively light practice schedules, but will now dive in with vigor toward next week's game, looking to make the prep as much like a normal week as possible.

The biggest news in the story is that Kevin Alvarado, who was suspended following his arrest, will not play in Boise.

And we will wear white.

Martin-Manley Commits to Iowa

Kevonte Martin-Manley has committed to Iowa.  Once he made the trip out there for a visit, you had to figure it was all over, and it was.

That's the second verbal we have lost to the Big 10, with LB Willie Tyler being the other earlier in the year.  Obviously, you'd love to have kept both those guys because they would have been huge impact players, but we are recruiting well enough to be on their radar in the first place, and that is a positive.

For Kevonte, we wish him the best.  I don't think we have any players who would pass up a shot at playing in the Big 10, so best wishes to him.  And I hope he lights Ohio State up 4 times.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Falcon Verbal Being Wooed by Big Ten

According to this on the Hawkeye Insider, Kevonte Martin-Manley, a Detroit area WR and a BG verbal commit, was at a recent Iowa basketball game and is being recruited by the Hawkeyes.  According to ESPN, he is our top ranked verbal.

Falcons Battle Back, Lose to Titans

It was an interesting game yesterday from Callihan Hall in Detroit, and one that says a lot about our team as it develops, even in a defeat.

Detroit came with a pressure defense.  They are an aggressive team, and that is how they play.  And the Falcons were clearly knocked back by it.  BG shot 38%, made 10 turnovers, and scored only 22 points, six of which came from a couple early Scott Thomas 3s.  In Detroit's arena, the Titans were playing their style of ball and having their way with the Falcons.

Their lead reached 20 with about 16 minutes left in the game.  At that point, though, BG responded and really made a very impressive run and got themselves back into the game.

The key was guard play.  As Coach Orr said in the post-game show, you have to make plays against pressure, you have to attack it, and BG found the right combination in Joe Jakubowski and Jordan Crawford.  The two of them scored 28 points in the second half on the way to a team total of 47 points (a pretty unheard of total for us for a half of basketball).  It is great to see Joe respond like this, and I still believe he has more to contribute as a playmaker, and Jordan Crawford is absolutely fearless and is going to be a very good player for us.

From that point when the lead was 20, BG went on a 7 minute, 22-4 run to bring the game within 2.  Obviously, that includes getting it done on both ends of the floor.  Detroit got one FG during that time, which is the kind of defensive stretch you need to get back in the game.  During that 22 point run, Jakubowski and 9 points and Crawford 7.

Unfortunately, BG never was able to take the lead.  With 1:56 left, BG had it down to 3 and got a stop and had what was one of one a couple possessions where BG was within one score of tying it up.  BG was unable to convert with a basket, Detroit took the rebound and ran a fast break and got the transition basket, were up 5 with a minute to go, and that was all they needed.

On the statistical front, the most of it was pretty even, as you can see, with the exception of offensive rebounds.  In the post-game presser, Coach Orr mentioned this a lot, and it clearly hurt us.  One of the things Coach always says is when you get the other team to miss, you need to reward yourself by getting the rebound.  Anyway, that was clearly a factor in the game.

Beyond that, however, I do think there are positives from this game.  I think we might see some roles starting to evolve for the team.  We saw Crawford continue to emerge and got a big half from our PG.  Most of all, our identity as a gritty team that keeps working and grinding is starting to gell, and that was the kind of thing that served us well last year.  BG has won 4 out of its last 5, and while a comeback victory would have been nice last night, I do think there are parts that showed we are making progress.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention, however, that the team did get to the line 28 times and make 67% of their free throws, which is a significant improvement and without which BG would not have even been in the game.  Otis was 7-9!!!  Go Otis!

The team now takes a long Christmas break before coming back with the Temple Owls, which will be a very tough game.  They will following that with @Towson and St. Louis, and then the real season starts.

I remain confident that we will develop into a competitive MAC team this year, and more importantly, that our program remains on an upward trajectory.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Football Scheduling News

A little news on next year's football schedule.  Maryland was, apparently, on the schedule, and now they aren't.  The good news it that BG has added a home-and-home with Tulsa.  The front end will be out there next year, and then they'll make a return trip out to BG in the future.

A few notes.

First, it means BG will play 5 home games next season.  While having 6 games was great this year, our AD has been saying that the budget issues at the university would prevent us from making that a long-term habit, and this is the result of that.

The road games will be @Troy, @Michigan and @Tulsa.  Marshall will drag the moonshine wagon into Ohio for a return on their home and home.

Tulsa is an excellent team for us to have a home and home with, and does represent an advance in our schedule.

Of course, the Falcon Nation has PTSD when it comes to Tulsa, based on a long, tragic, painful night on the Gulf Coast of Alabama, the worst bowl defeat in history for any team.  So, you know, it would be nice to get a win and settle the score a little.

Titan Preview

So, after a quiet week in the Nation, the Falcons prepared to tip off with the Detroit Titans on Saturday from Callahan Hall.

The key story line here is related to what I believe will be a resurgence of the Detroit program, led by Ray McCallum.

McCallum is very familiar to MAC fans.  He had a stellar career as a player at Ball State, leaving as the MAC's career scoring leader.  After a long stint as a Big 10 assistant, he was a highly successful coach at Ball State, making 2 Big Dance appearances, and then coached at Houston for four years.  The head coaching string ran out there, and he ended up part of the Kelvin Sampson debacle at Indiana, and then ended up being head coach at UDM.

The Indiana connection is important, because he brought two of the Hoosiers troubled but talented crew to the Titans, and they are helping with their year's resurgence.

Last year, they were, uh, not good.  They were 7-23 for the year.  They played at Anderson Arena, and shot 22% and scored 38 points on their way to the lowest point total against BG since the deadball era.

Things are looking better this year.  They have six wins ALREADY, and have a nice win over a pretty good WMU team.  Their losses are not bad either, including to Cal, DePaul and Michigan.  I suspect the only loss they'd really want back is to Tennessee State at home, but there were some injuries that day.

The resurgence is partly built on the power of transfers.  Eli Holman is a 6'10" post player who is a Hoosier refugee and a very good player.  He is averaging 15 points and 9 rebounds and shooting 62% from the field.  He missed three games, including the TN State loss.

Chase Simon, a CMU transfer is also averaging in double figures.

Add to that the return of Xavier Keeling, who missed all but 7 games last season, (14 PPG, 4 RPG), and you can see where the improvement is coming from.

Thomas Kennedy is back and scoring in double figures as well.

They play a slightly up tempo game from BG, but they are a very good shooting team with a 45% shooting percentage and nearly 50% as an effective field goal %. They are not reliant on the three--they lead the Horizon in percentage of points coming from 2FGs.  They get to the line a lot as well.

Defensively, perhaps the biggest achilles heel is that they give up tons of free throws, a weakness it will be difficult for our team to exploit.  Their defensive efficiency is just under one point per game, and they defend the FG pretty well (43%) and the 3 especially well (31.5%).

This is a good test for our team, especially on the road.  I think it is a tough matchup for us.  We're going to have to play our best defensive game of the season, and hitting more than an occasional FT would be great.  I think a key matchup is going to be inside, as Otis battles Holman, and Otis' ability to compete in the paint with a quality big man without getting into foul trouble will be a key element to our ability to compete.

I do think McCallum is going to win at Detroit--and there is no reason for Detroit to not be good--and that might be his ticket back out of town, but for now, it looks like he has the Titans headed in the right direction.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Last Chance....Blog Survey!!

Hey, just a reminder to the Nation that we are trying to help out an intrepid researcher learn about the dynamics of people who create content on line.  It would be great if you took the opportunity to participate, regardless if you are creating content or not.  If you want to see the explanation, click here, and to take the survey, click here.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hey Falcon Nation, Blog Survey Reminder

Take it...I did

Hey, just a reminder to the Nation that we are trying to help out an intrepid researcher learn about the dynamics of people who create content on line.  It would be great if you took the opportunity to participate, regardless if you are creating content or not.  If you want to see the explanation, click here, and to take the survey, click here.

My new Christmas tree

I've always wanted a Bowling Green Christmas tree, and this year I got my wish.....

Cool, huh?

Football Verbal--Jamel Martin

The Falcons have their 17th football verbal. is reporting that Jamel Martin of Bolingbroke, IL has committed to the Falcons.  He is a RB who, from the scouting report, appears to be an inside runner who runs well in a crowd.  ESPN rates him a 73, which is pretty good.

Bolingbrook is known for fact, it is referred to as "Tailback High" in the Chicago Tribune.  Martin was special mention all-state, and had 20 carries for 176 yards in a state playoff game, and he had 1,24 yards in 180 carries for the season.  The Tribune reported here that he had a "handful" of scholarship offers.

If you want to see some video, look here.

He is the first projected RB in this year's class.  Welcome to the Falcons, Jamel Martin.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Falcon Hockey Blogs

Hey, I just learned that there are two new (to me anyway) entrants to the Falcon Blogosphere....both covering hockey.  They both look really good, and they are welcome additions.  Once in a while I get a comment asking me why I don't cover hockey, and the simple reason is that I don't have enough personal bandwidth to do any more sports.  Men's basketball and football are closest to my heart, so that's what I do.

Anyway, the links are as follows:

Falcon Hockey Hooligan, which does a series by series review of the season....with humor.

Bring Back the Glory, which is also a blog covering Falcon Hockey.

A riddle....

The answer to this riddle is a US State.

Q:  What did 20 women say when Tiger Woods ran over the fire hydrant?
A:  Idaho.

Survey Reminder......Blog Readers United for Knowledge

Hey, just a reminder to the Nation that we are trying to help out an intrepid researcher learn about the dynamics of people who create content on line.  It would be great if you took the opportunity to participate, regardless if you are creating content or not.  If you want to see the explanation, click here, and to take the survey, click here.

Freddie Barnes....All American, Part II

The BG News has been doing a great job of cataloging Freddie Barnes' various national honors.  To date, he has been named to seven different All-American teams.  Add to that a probable all-time NCAA season receiving record, and it has been a historic season for our program.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Reminder, Blog Survey

Hey, just a reminder to the Nation that we are trying to help out an intrepid researcher learn about the dynamics of people who create content on line.  It would be great if you took the opportunity to participate, regardless if you are creating content or not.  If you want to see the explanation, click here, and to take the survey, click here.

Quick Coaching Note

In his presser a couple weeks ago, Coach Clawson talked about Dave Cohen, the head coach at Hofstra, which dropped football. Clawson said he and Cohen had coached together and were friends, and he seemed upset that the change had happened. According to this article, Bowling Green is among the schools looking at Cohen...for an assistant head coach, in our case. He does have coordinator offers. He is a defensive coach, and BG had co-coordinators this season, FWIW.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Orr Presser....State of Prayer Edition

Coach Orr held his presser today, and you can watch it over on  It is about 11 minutes long, and has a couple interesting moments.

The first question is about free throw shooting, and it is a fair one.  There are 334 D1 teams, and as of today, we are #326 in free throw shooting, which is just downright poor.  (Not last in the MAC though.....THANK YOU NIU).

Anyway, Coach went on at some length about what he has tried to make it better in practice.  When asked if the players make the free throws in practice, he replied: "Not really."

He said something like "You feel like you should shoot them better.  It is a free shot, you know, no defense.  A free shot."  (At least we are clear on that). 

Coach Orr said he is in a "state of prayer" on every free throw.  Which appears to be warranted and not particularly effective.

Just kidding.  He knows we have to work through it.  He does point out that we are getting to the line more, that does help (shooting 55% of 25 free throws is better than 55% of 10).

Beyond that, he is happy with the field goal defense, which is improving, though he would like to see if under 40.

Beyond that, he is in a state of prayer over finals week too (and we only hope that our grades are better than our FT shooting).

He was asked about the player rotation, and said that there is room for adjustment and the key things is how you practice. Specifically, he said that Au'ston Calhoun has his best week of practice. Coach doesn't like to play guys until he thinks they are confident enough to play and have it be a growing experience.

Finally, even though Scott Thomas continues to have some shooting woes, Coach feels his game is maturing in other ways, especially as he learns to attack the basket. Against Canisius, he had 10 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists with 2 steals, which is a pretty decent line. When his shots start to fall, I still believe he is poised to be a really good player.

Freddie Barnes....All American

Freddie Barnes was named FIRST TEAM All-America by the Football Writers Association of America.  He was one of only two non-BCS players on the team, the other being a player from Idaho, coincidentally.

BG's last All-American (1st team) was kicker Brian Leaver back in the 90s.

This a great recognition for Freddie and for our program.  He certainly had an All-American season.

Falcon Nation asked to participate in research that could change the course of human events....

OK.....Maybe not quite that great, but it is cool.  I have been contacted along with a number of sports bloggers to help Mr. Toby Hopp, who is a graduate student in California.  

If you have the time, I think it would be great if you clicked the link below and spent 10 minutes or so taking his survey.  His goal is to understand the creators of "user-generated content" which is a fancy word for "crap like this."  (See below for his own description of what his goals and methodology are.)

Anyway, whether you create anything or not (and I'll bet you post on, please consider taking a minute and helping Toby out.  It will help us understand more about this growing culture of content creation on the web.....

The life you save could be your own.

My name is Toby Hopp and I’m a longtime college sports blogger/blog reader. I’m also a graduate communications student at San Diego State University who is interested in studying how and why Internet users generate content online. What precisely, you may be asking, is “user-generated content?” Well, “user-generated content” includes comment sections at the end of news/blog articles, messageboards, diaries, polls, and the like.

To me, one of the great parts of the blogosphere is the interaction it enables between readers. As a community, we’re able to provide feedback and discuss issues in real time. However, the concept of “user-generated content” and its subsequent social applications has not, at this point, been thoroughly studied by communications researchers and is, in my estimation, completely misunderstood by the
mass media.

So, if you have 10-15 minutes to spare and support empirical media research (and the social sciences in general), please click the survey link below. Even if you NEVER create/read content on blog or newspaper websites, PLEASE consider taking the survey as your answers are as important to me as the answers supplied by individuals who DO regularly create content. Rest assured that all answers and provided information will be strictly anonymous and kept totally confidential.

Survey Link:

For those of you interested in statistics, all collected information will be scientifically analyzed and utilized to create an inherently unique structural equation model. To that end, I’ll send a report out
to each participating blog which details general trends and reader utilization issues of note.

Again, please consider taking this survey (Survey Link: whether or not you ever create or read “user –generated content” on blogs or newspaper sites. The
survey itself will take 10 – 15 minutes and, I promise, will be quite painless. As stated above, research on the topic of “user-generated content” is incredibly sparse and your participation will go a long
way in understanding the environmental factors that encourage meaningful intra-community participation. And, of course, you’ll be doing me a great and immeasurable favor.

The survey will be active from Monday, December 14 through Friday, December 18. Please feel free to e-mail me at if you have any questions relating to the survey or my over-arching
methodology/conceptual framework (obviously, there’s a lot more to the study that can be reasonably described here).

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Falcons Defense Stymies Canisius

I know it has been over 24 hours since the game ended, so here I am with my better late than never edition of the game review from Buffalo Saturday night.

In my preview, I noted that Canisius has been a poor shooting team thus far this season, and for that reason, they might be a really good match up for us, for the simple reason that we have the ability to lower that below the level where you can reasonably expect to lose.

And, as you can see below, BG held Canisius to 31% shooting, 37.5 effective field goal %, and less than .9 points per possession, all of which are very solid numbers from a defensive standpoint. As you can see, BG took care of the ball better than they have been, won the battle on the boards and only a disadvantage in free throws made it close. (Canisisus made 6 more FTs and had 3 more attempts).

Speaking of free throws, though, it wasn't all negative. With :32 left, BG was up only 2 and had the ball. Dee Brown was fouled and sunk both free throws. It goes without saying that those clutch shots are huge, pumping the lead to two-possessions that late in a game.

Just how important was made clear shortly, as the GGs hit a trey, and it was still only a 1-point game. With :13 left, they fouled Brown again, and he hit both free throws again. Canisius missed a three, and Brown was fouled again, making 1-2 and BG won, but Brown's clutch free throws were vital to the victory. With the free throw shooting we have had down the stretch in the past, this game could easily have been a loss.

Looked at another way, BG was 9-16 for the game. Before Brown went to work in the final minute, BG was 4-10. Just sayin.

Anyway, the game was close the whole way, which is exactly the kind of contest I like to see our guys in.

One last thing. Coach Orr went with a really tight player rotation in this game--more or less six men. Only the starters and Marschall got more than ten minutes. It will be interesting to see how this goes as the season unfolds, but I thought it was interesting to see.

In the end, that's a second straight road win, and this Canisius team does not appear to be good bad. It is a nice to win for our guys to get. My perception is that the team actually is improving, and with continued improvement has an excellent chance to compete in the MAC East.

Dee Brown, who led us in scoring again, is easily the most improved player on this team. As he warms to his role, I just think it makes the team all the more productive.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Great Black Family Profile

Cameron Black II has signed a LOI to play basketball at Bowling Green.  He is from Kent, where he plays for his father (Cameron Black I), who has been a coach for more than two decades.  There is a great profile of the two of them in a local paper.  For example:

When Cameron Black II was only a toddler, he was the halftime entertainment for Kent Roosevelt basketball games because he could dribble a basketball that was nearly bigger than he was.

Black II said when the family is watching basketball games on TV, his dad will push the stop button on the DVR and rewind so he can explain how the Rough Riders should be executing the same play.

“Other kids just go home and forget about it, but after the game we’re still getting it,” Black II joked.
It is no secret that Coaches love to recruit the son's of other coaches.  They know what it takes to win, and just grew up around the culture of a specific sport. Witness, the immersion in basketball mentioned above--something not every player is going to get.

Of course, there is more to life than's what Cameron's Mom has to say....

“We’ve always taught them basketball can get you places in life and it can be a means for whatever you want to be in life,” Casondra said. “If they get to the NBA that’s great, but being able to pay for college with it and make a life is great too. That’s their father’s success story.”

Well put.  I look forward to seeing Black in Orange and Brown next season.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Dear Tennessee Fan:

Thank you for keeping in touch over the summer.  We do appreciate your correspondence concerning the incredibly complicated and impossible to execute offense (or, as you so cleverly named it "Clawfense") that Dave Clawson brought to you as your offensive coordinator.  We do appreciate your warnings that a team of nuclear physicists was required to execute the playbook.

At this point, the Falcon Nation would like to suggest to you that perhaps you might have gotten this wrong.  We have smart players, though none of them are nuclear physicists (yet).  And you know what, they seemed to adapt pretty well to the Clawfense.  We had almost 400 yards in total offense a game, a 10% (rough) increase in yardage over last year, and had a receiver up for the Biletnikoff Award last year. 

We'd also like to suggest that you might have had some problems with your program that weren't Dave Clawson.  Now, we're too adult to mention these wholesome young ladies....though we did think that Orange Pride was part of the Southern California LGBT community. 

But, perhaps, just perhaps, you had a coach on his way out and a team that quit on the coach, and then that coach--who wants to coach again, found a convenient scapegoat in his offensive coordinator.

You know, seems like Coach Clawson knows how to put together a winning football team.  I wouldn't trade him for the a-hole you have now, that's for sure.

With Love


Gesundheit II

So, last year, when I found out we were playing Canisius in the Bracket Buster, all I could think was "Gesundheit."

10 months later, I still have the same juvenile sense of

"Gesundheit."  Again.

I have said before that I like the Bracket Buster.  The part I like best is the required return trip.  It just gets some variety in our schedule that, for a long time, was sorely lacking.  And, I see in the official game notes that BG is 5-1 in Bracket Buster return games.  Dominance.

Last year, the Golden Griffins (Gesunndheit) were the only non-MAC team to win a game at Anderson Arena, as they headed in on a snowy February day and beat BG 71-66 in OT.  BG had a furious rally to force OT in the first place, but ultimately BG's inability to keep them off the offensive boards or the free throw line cost the Falcons the game.

That team now returns all its starters and it six top scorers.  In particular, little (not Jordan Crawford little, but little) Frank Turner appears to be a really special player.  They are 4-3 to date, with a win over Buffalo and a loss to an EMU team that might really surprise some people this year.  They are a small team that also does not shoot the 3 well.  In fact, they do not shoot especially well at all, and allow over 50% shooting (effective field goal percentage) against them.

Based on that, I just think that if BG can play its fundamental defense and make a poor shooting team even worse, and then do enough on the offensive end, we could grind this win out.  It is on the road, and they still are strong at the free throw line, so we will need to watch our fouls, but on paper this appears to be a good matchup for us.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Hey here's a surprise....a WR from a BCS school won the Biletnikoff

Is Notre Dame a BCS school?

It was kind of what I expected, and Tate is a very good player.  It would have been refreshing to see a record setting WR from a non-BCS school win, but that's now how those things work.  Freddie has had a historic season, and he remains #1 in our hearts, and I was immensely impressed to see this on my television tonight.

Football Recruiting Updates

There is a lot of news on some of our football verbals, as the post-season honors roll out.  Let's scan the wire....

Kevonte Martin-Manley and DJ Lynch were both named all-Oakland County.

Check out what the paper had to say about each of them..

Kevonte Martin-Manley, Birmingham Brother Rice Sr. WR — As dangerous a deep threat as there was in the state, Martin-Manley closed out a fine high school career by catching 43 passes for 745 yards and 10 touchdowns despite facing constant attention from opposing defenses. For his three-year career at Brother Rice, the Bowling Green-bound Martin-Manley had 1,545 receiving yards and 22 touchdowns.

“Kevonte is one of the best all-around athletes I’ve ever had at Brother Rice,” Brother Rice head coach Al Fracassa said. “He is a hard worker in the offseason and dedicated to continuous improvement. His knack for making the big play in crucial situations has helped us win many games over the past three years.”
D.J. Lynch, Auburn Hills Avondale Sr. LB — The focal of point of Avondale’s defense all year long, Lynch in nine games had 49 tackles, 14 of which came for loss in being named honorable mention all-state in Division 1-2. Committed to Bowling Green, Lynch also rushed for 347 yards and four touchdowns on 35 carries and caught 19 passes for 303 yards and three touchdowns on offense.

QB Trent Hurley led his team to its first Western Pennsylvania football title (if you don't know, football is kind of a big deal over there).  

Caleb Watkins of Middletown finished D-1 All-Ohio, along with numerous other district and country titles.  This article is very positive, and talks about how he sacrificed his personal stats so they team could win.  (article also notes he is graduating early and will be in Spring practice for the Falcons.) 

“It stopped being about me throwing for 250 yards and a couple of touchdowns in a game this year,” said Watkins, the 2009 JournalNews Butler County Offensive Player of the Year. “It was about Antonio (Banks) getting his yards and us just doing everything we need to to win.”

Marcus Beaurem continued to excel, even as his team was defeated in the state playoffs.

Lorain OT Isaiah Byler was named first-team all-state.

Dlineman Darius Gilbert was named second team all-Butler County.

Orr Presser

Coach Orr had a presser earlier this week, which I just got around to watching.  Feel free to head to the BGSU site to watch the whole thing for yourself.  Here are the parts I found particularly interesting...

He feels the team is improving.  The defense is playing better and contesting shots.  We are shooting better and going inside-out more effectively.

Just a personal note:  our defense did look better against Fordham, a bad team without their leading scorer...I think it bears watching to see if the improvement continues).

We are playing mostly zone right now, and that is what is working for us.  In man to man, dribble penetration was killing us.  I've only seen a couple games, but I think our 2-3 zone is really tough, and I clearly this it is our stronger look.  Coach says he wants us to play both man and zone, but that right now, the zone is working for us.

Against Fordham, every possession was zone.

He also talked about Dee Brown, and his hard work and commitment to his game.  Dee has really improved over last season, and is become an effective and efficient scorer.  The idea of efficient scoring (which basically means scoring without eating up a ton of possessions like, oh, Martin Samarco, for example) is one of the most compelling parts of the advanced basketball stats that have been emerging. 

It is a very compelling way to look at the game, I think.  For example, his offensive rating is nearing 100, which means 1 point per every 100 possessions he uses up (with a shot or turnover).  100 is decent for a team, and that number is clearly heading in the right direction, especially for a sophomore.

For example, for the season, he is slightly more efficient than Carlos Medlock, considered to be a premier offensive player but considerably below the conference's leading scorer, David Kool.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Freddie Barnes Video Blogs....

Freddie Barnes is in Orlando for the Biletnikoff Award ceremony, which is Thursday at 7 PM.  He did a really nice job with some video blogs along the way.  Check back on for more information, but in the meantime, here are the first two installments.

Also, named Freddie as a 2nd Team All-American....Go Freddie! Blog Poll Revised

1 Alabama
2 Texas 1
3 Cincinnati 2
4 Florida 2
5 TCU 1
6 Boise State
7 Oregon
8 Ohio State
9 Georgia Tech 1
10 Iowa 1
11 Penn State
12 Virginia Tech 3
13 Brigham Young 1
14 West Virginia 5
15 LSU 6
16 Miami (Florida) 4
17 Pittsburgh 5
18 Arizona 5
19 Oregon State 6
20 Stanford 4
21 Wisconsin 4
22 Nebraska
23 Southern Cal 6
24 Utah
25 Oklahoma State 3
Last week's ballot

Dropped Out: California (#16), Houston (#18).

I made a couple changes. I decided I had Miami too high and Oregon State too we take a blogpoll break until the bowls are over.