Thursday, October 31, 2013

Two-Deep Adjustments

Falcon Fodder has the news on the latest from the Falcon Football camp. With Cohen and Martin out, the team has issued a revised two-deep.

Justin Ford is now listed as #1 at rover.  He is a R-JR who has played a decent number of snaps this year.  He's stepping into a big spot on the defense.  The Rover is the answer to the spread set...this is essentially a hybrid between a Will LB and a DB.  Martin was incredibly versatile covering those two roles and you can expect the RedHawks to test him Tuesday.  He is being backed up by Brian Sutton, who was originally a Rover and moved to S and now is moving back.

That became possible partly because Josh Pettus is finally expected to play again.  According to Falcon Fodder, he was dressed for Toledo but did not play.  Anyway, that probably frees Sutton up to move to Rover.

At WR, Heath Jackson has now moved into a starting role.  He has a nice game against UT and I think has potential to be a good possession WR.  He is being backed up by Herve Coby.  According to The Blade, the Falcons are trying hard to keep Teo Redding's redshirt on.

Happy Halloween to the Falcon Nation

MAC Blogger Roundtable...

This is the next installment of the MAC Blogger Roundtable....this week, the questions came from Let's Go answers are below.

1. What one game left on your respective team’s schedule is an absolute must-win?

Well, in a way all of them. But, the real must-win is OU. That's for a couple of reasons. That's a key win to getting the East, but also this team was knocked on its butt by the UT loss and needs the win over OU to establish that this program is where everyone thought or hoped or wished it was. Again, BG needs all 4 wins, but the OU game is looming the largest.

2. Disregarding record and tie-ins, based on what you’ve seen through 9 weeks of the season, what one team would you like to have a shot at in a bowl or playoff game and why?

I'd be lying if I said anything other than this: I'd like to have a shot at Toledo in a playoff game. I believe the reasons are obvious.

3. We’ve seen a bevy of new bowl games with MAC tie-ins. What’s your take on the additional bowl games -- good exposure for MAC teams, too many bowl games already, or something in the middle?

I'm for the exposure for our teams and for the reward to our players for the work they put in. I am very worried about the sustainability of playing these games in front of mostly empty stadiums and having the MAC shell out huge dollars to participate, all in an age of austerity. It is a huge change. Falcon fans remember the fat punter play against CMU...there was no second bowl for the MAC then. In fact, for a while there was no bowl. Anyway, the answer is I am for the exposure but I believe that the system is unsustainable and I don't think the MAC or its schools should have to pay huge amounts of money to fill ESPN's schedule.

4. Power poll… rank the MAC teams 1-13

  1. NIU
  2. Ball State
  3. UT
  4. OU
  5. Buffalo
  6. BG
  7. CMU
  8. Kent
  9. Akron
  10. EMU
  11. WMU
  12. UMass
  13. Miami

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Benchmarks for UT Game

So, here are benchmarks for the UT game.  A couple things jump out at you.

First, BG threw 32 passes, counting sacks, and UT has a sack on almost 19%, almost 4 times the average in the MAC.  Obviously, very hard to win like that.

When you adjust running and passing stats so sacks count against passing and not running, you see that BG had a pretty inefficient game passing the ball.  When Johnson was able to get the ball off he was good, but as a team the passing was not efficient due to sacks.  BG did a nice job running the ball.

On the flip side, UT's passing game was also not very efficient, but that was mostly due to low yardage passes.  

BG's red zone defense gave up 4 TDs in 4 Rocket trips...which was after "leading the nation" in Redzone defense coming into the game.

BG had good success on 3rd down, as did the Rockets.

Honestly, except for the sacks, the stats are as close as the score was.  

Injury News Not Good for BG...

(See above).  The news is not good for BG on the injury front.  I think anyone who saw the UT game sensed that Gabe Martin's injury was pretty serious, and it is.  He has a torn ACL and will miss the remainder of the season.  He was one of BG's top defensive players and one of the best LBs in the conference and he will be missed.  BG has some LB depth, but you don't lose a player like Martin and not notice.

Jared Cohen, who was slated to move up and take Gallon's spot at WR, has a high ankle sprain and will miss 5-6 weeks.

Best wishes to both of these young men for a speedy recovery and return to health.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

International Centre for Special Teams Research

BG has now had 8 straight positive games...although this one was just barely positive and represents BG's poorest special teams game of the year.  BG was +1, and no big plays and three minor negative plays.  UT had a very solid game (+4), again with no major plays but only one negative play. There were no huge plays..nor any major screw ups. (The whole dumb thing is explained here.)

BG Positive Plays: (+4)
BG KO Return to 45 (+1)
Punt to 11 (+1)
2 point conversion (+1)
BG KO TB (+1)

BG Negative plays (-3)
20 yard net punt (-1)
BG Ko ret to own 19 (-1)
UT KO ret to own 35 (-1)

UT Positive Plays (+5)
UT KO TB (+1)
UT KO TB (+1)
BG Ko ret to own 19 (+1)
UT KO ret to own 35 (+1)
Punt to 16 (+1)

UT Negative Plays (-1)
BG KO Return to 45 (-1)

MAC Basketball Pre-season poll is out

I think you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who does not expect this to be a very long season for BG's men's basketball team.  Something different can always happen and somebody picked low always surprises, but it is hard to see how this year's team is as good as last year's team and maybe by a lot.  The top two players are gone and there are no proven replacements for them.  And then, there's the whole coaching issue, with Coach Orr on the last year of his deal and widely seen as a lame duck.

There are clearly four very bad teams in the MAC, based on expectations.  BG, Miami, CMU and NIU.  CMU had to use overtime to beat Lake Superior last night...just as an example.

I will have a basketball preview coming up later this week, including some things to watch for that might make this team better than expected.

Expected.  Oh yeah.  Well, the MAC pre-season poll came out this morning and BG was picked to finish last in the East, behind even Miami, a team that is in turmoil, lost players from last year as well.  Based on votes, the only team with less support is NIU.

So there it is.  Here are the full results.

2013-14 East Division Predicted Order of Finish
1. Akron – 143 Votes (18 first place votes)
2. Buffalo – 120 Votes (6 first place votes)
3. Ohio – 94 Votes
4. Kent State – 91 Votes (1 first place vote)
5. Miami – 42 Votes
6. Bowling Green – 35 Votes

2013-14 East Division Preseason All-MAC Team
Javon McCrea, Buffalo
Demetrius Treadwell, Akron
Will Felder, Miami
Will Regan, Buffalo
Quincy Diggs, Akron

2013-14 West Division Predicted Order of Finish
1. Toledo – 149 Votes (24 first place votes)
2. Western Michigan – 108 Votes
3. Eastern Michigan – 101 Votes (1 first place vote)
4. Ball State – 89 Votes
5. Central Michigan – 50 Votes
6. Northern Illinois – 28 Votes

2013-14 West Division Preseason All-MAC Team
Rian Pearson, Toledo
Julius Brown Toledo
Shayne Whittington Western Michigan
Majok Majok Ball State
Glenn Bryant, Eastern Michigan

Monday, October 28, 2013

Falcons Get Men's Basketball Verbal

I'll bet you didn't expect to see that today.

His name is Bernard (BJ!!!) Edwards from Lehigh Acres, which is in FL in the Ft. Myers area.  Edwards is a 6'0" PG who made a visit a weekend ago, watched our scrimmage and liked the atmosphere at BG, the facility, etc.

Edwards Jr. averaged 18 points, six assists and six rebounds per game last season as a junior.  No idea about the level of competition in the area.  He also played for the Nike Team Florida AAU squad.

Presumably, he will sign during the November signing period, which starts on the 13th.  No idea what he has in the way of other offers.  Welcome to the Falcons, BJ, and here's to you lifting the MAC Championship trophy someday.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Past and Future Opponent Land

A look at how our opponents fared this weekend....

Tulsa (2-5)  Lost 14-7 to Tulane.
Kent (2-7)  Lost 41-21 to Buffalo.  With Archer.
Indiana (3-4) Idle
Murray State (5-3)  Idle
Akron (2-7) Lost 42-24 to Ball State
UMass (1-7)  Rowed by boat.
Mississippi State (4-3) Beat Kentucky 28-22
Miami (0-8) Lost 41-16 to OU.
Ohio (6-2)  Beat awful Miami
EMU (1-7)  Lost in war crime to NIU.
Buffalo (6-2) Beat Kent 41-21.

2013 Totals:
MAC vs. FBS: 10-28
MAC vs BCS: 4-22
MAC vs FCS: 10-2

Clawson and big games: The record

So, to no one's surprise, there is unrest in the Falcon Nation.  As you would expect, the unrest is focusing on the coaching staff, and pretty much no one is safe.  Most of it is pretty crazy but losing 4 straight to your rival will do that for you.  It also doesn't help that there seems to be a common issue--slow starts--but frankly, when people are this wound up about something, they would find something else if they didn't find this.

I'm nowhere near the "blow it up stage."  I do agree that we're past the rebuilding stage.  Coach Clawson agrees...he said that at the beginning of the year and he hasn't blinked from it since.  The program should be competitive.  But, judging it on one game isn't right.

One thing is factual.  BG has loaded up with wins against poor teams.  I did a little fact checking.  BG had 11 FBS wins over the past two years.  Only one of those teams looks likely to finish with a winning record--that's OU from last year, at 8-4.

The other wins--Ak (2), MA (2), EMU, Buff, Idaho, Tulsa, Kent, Miami, are all teams who had or have losing records and in general BIG-TIME losing records.

Here is the record of the teams we beat.

This year:  7-26
Last year:  21-63
Total:  28-89 (24%)

I'm not trying to pile on.  As I always say, you can't run away from the record, and BG's record against winning teams is one win over the last two years.

There's a chance to start to right this and that would be on November 12 at the Doyt against OU.  It is going to take a more focused and complete effort than what BG saw yesterday.  If BG goes 2-2 coming home--and that could easily happen--with wins over EMU and Miami...then arguments like this are going to gain currency.

The difference...

There were a couple key differences in the game..

First, Terrance Owens was the difference, especially on the last drive.  He has had a rough season and has been criticized, but he brought everything out there yesterday.  He was 15 of 23 passing for only 130 it wasn't a big numbers thing...3 of the completions were for touchdowns, he had big scrambles, he has a knack for completing a pass just seconds before he gets hit...and he delivered his team to victory on that final drive.

Matt Johnson played very well for BG.  He was 17 of 26 for 208.  He also made some nice runs from pressure.  In fact, I can see Matt Johnson as a senior being the QB that Owens was yesterday.  Johnson was sacked 6 times, at least a couple times when he held the ball for a long time, but he was also victimized by at least 3 key drops.

So when I say that Owens was the difference, I don't mean in comparison to Johnson.

Not so at WR.

UT is just much, much stronger at WR than BG is.  Reedy and Russell are both great players.  They got open, caught passes, and generated yards.  They were also a difference in the game, especially on the game's deciding play when Russell beat double coverage inside the red zone in what Clawson called a "great play."

BG started the year hoping for improvement at WR but without depth, and I think there has been incremental improvement.  Then Gallon went down.  It seemed like Ronnie Moore got most of Gallon's reps, but finished the game with no catches and one drop when he had the ball in space.  Moore, Burbrink and Joplin all had key drops on important plays and those sacks where Johnson held the ball too long are partly on them, too.  UT's WRs are simply better than BG.

As an aside, Heath Jackson could be emerging as part of the answer to that puzzle.  He had 7 catches for 72 yards and seems to be emerging as the sure-handed possession receiver (see Barnes, Jordan) that the BG offense seems to really need.

The final difference was up front.  On the d-line, BG obviously lost Chris Jones and there were some guys lost at D-tackle due to various reasons.  The d-line has been good this year, but not great.  BG has struggled to get pressure without blitzing and that was a big issue yesterday.  As for rushing, BG is 9th in the MAC in opponent yards per carry and that was a difference in the game.  Our D-line did win some battles...there were a number of plays for loss, but the very good UT line dominated and for much of the first half UT ran at will.

Travis Greene deserves a lot of credit.  He had another huge game for BG.  He had some lost yards plays, but he provided consistent and effective yardage, especially in the red zone.  He's just really good at moving in traffic and finding space.

Sadness Accrues, Part II

Where to start.

It was a roller coaster day for fans of BG and UT.  There were three distinct phases to the game.  The first 27 minutes, then next 27 minutes and then the last 6 minutes.

The first phase was not kind to BG.  The Falcons got off to one of their patented slow starts and for a while it looked like this game could be a total rout.

BG did get the ball to start the game and drove to the Toledo 23.  Facing a 4th and 10 and heading into the wind, BG decided to go for it and failed to connect on a pass play to Ryan Burbrink.

UT ripped off a 47 run by David Fluellen and was in business.  (Fluellen left a couple plays later with an injury, but the Rocket running game did not slow up very much).  A couple plays later they were in the end zone and up 7-0.

When the Falcons got the ball back, one of UT's six sacks on the day (perhaps the key factor in the game) derailed the Falcon drive and it was 3 and out.

UT's next drive featured BG mistakes that might have cost the team the game.  UT was gashing the BG run defense--Hunt's first two runs were 16 and 14 yards on the drive--and they were on the BG 18.  The BG defense got the stop they needed and Detmer came in and made a FG.  Except that BG roughed the kicker.  UT snapped the points off the board and went back to work.

On 3rd down and goal from the 13, BG again stopped UT short of the first down and had a FG opportunity...except Cam Truss was called for unsportsmanlike conduct after the play and it was another bad penalty for first down.  And the Rockets scored.

With a PI penalty BG drove to about midfield but Schmiedebusch only kicked the ball 20 yards and UT started on their own 33 and 8 plays later the game was 21-0.

At this point, the game was completely one sided.  There was 4 minutes left in the half and BG was in really deep trouble, mostly because it was difficult to see our defense ever getting stops.

BG came up with what they had to have, which was a scoring drive.  The drive was a monster--12 plays, 81 yards.  It did not feature a 3rd down play until BG was on the 1 yard line.  Matt Johnson had two key scrambles on the drive for good yardage and Travis Greene added a 21 yard run and BG finally scored on a Matt Johnson QB sneak.

So, 21-7 at half.  At least BG has some 21-0, it might have been over.

UT got the ball to start the half.  BG's defense is typically very tough in the 3rd Q and it was this time as well.  On the first drive they got to Owens, forced a fumble and BG recovered on the UT 29.

BG drove to the 3 yard line and Matt Johnson scrambled toward the end zone.  He dove for the goal line, was called in but then the play was reversed on replay.  With a 4-1, BG was going for it....except they were called for an incredibly costly false start (and it was our all-MAC guard, Flewellyn who was called) and had to settle for a FG.

UT got 2 first downs on their next drive but BG eventually held and got the ball on its 23.  Despite a drive in which Matt Johnson was sacked twice, BG was able to score a TD.  Greene had 20 and 16 yard runs on the drive.  It was early 4th by now and BG went for 2 and made it, cutting the lead to 21-18.

BG's defense is playing better by now, the place is rocking.  UT gets offensive pass interference and has to punt.  BG starts on the 16 with about 12 minutes left.  BG runs a great drive...10 plays, 64 yards.  BG has a sack, but Johnson has a big scramble for a first down, BG hits Joplin for 30 yards and then Greene had a 19 run on 3rd and 7 and then a 7 yd TD run and BG had the 25-21 lead with 5:54 left.

This is all we would have asked for...our defense on the field with one stop needed to win the game.  On the drive's 2nd play Owens hit Reedy for 32 yards down to the BG 38.  Owens essentially took over the game with his feet here, gaining 11 yards on 2nd and 15 and 5 yards on another play.

It was 3 and 11 from the BG 13.  UT completed a pass to the BG 11, setting up a 4th down play for the game.  However, UT got an offensive pass interference penalty and BG chose to take the penalty.  UT was 3rd and 26 from the BG 28.

Freeze those words in your mind.  Because you have to win a game where you have your opponent 3rd and 26.

Owens went back to pass, got out of the pocket and scrambled for 17 yards setting UT up with a closer 4th down play than before the penalty.  From there, they ran a pass play.  Owens released the ball just in time and Russell was open at the goal line (despite, according to Coach), being double covered and UT had the lead again.

BG only needed a FG, but was heading into the wind.  The game's final heartbreaking moment came when BG threw a bomb, had Shaun Joplin open and he dropped a perfect pass.  He easily could have scored on the play or at least gotten deep into UT territory and BG only needed a FG, but that did not happen because he dropped the pass.

And that was that.  A heartbreaking way to lose.  It wasn't all lost on the last drive.  BG played an uneven game, especially on defense, and made critical errors at critical times.  It reminded me of the 2011 OU game...a team taking a long, clock killing drive when behind to put us away.  We did not close the deal.

Give credit to UT.  More on this later today, but Owens and their WRs were the difference in the game.  UT deserved to win the game and BG did not.  If you had told me our defense would give up a 3rd and 26, I would not have believed it, but that is what happened.

The Falcons can still win the East.  Last year's team was 8-4 in the regular season and BG would have to win 3 out of 4 now to equal that record.  If you want to look ahead, picture Terrance Owens dashing around there today and put Tyler Tettleton in that place.  And, Gabe Martin was injured and it looked very serious.

We will see what BG is made of.  They have a couple weeks to make adjustments before the big OU game...a similar performance in that game will yield a similar result and leave BG with a very disappointing season.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

And there was sadness....

Very disappointing day out there at the Doyt.  It was kind of a 2011 "Close the deal" thing, with Toledo marching down the field just like OU did to put the Falcons away.  Bowling Green certainly had an uneven performance but had overcome all that to take a four point lead with about six minutes left to play.

At that point, you have to win the game.  And, when you have them 3rd and 26 and 4th and 9, you have to be able to make those stops, and BG did not and UT won the 4th straight game in the rivalry.

Coach Clawson called it "heartbreaking."  I'm sure it was very quiet in the locker room after that one.

It was a great football game and very competitive and all that.  It came down to who made plays in the last six minutes, and this year it was the Rockets again.

Congratulations to them.  As Coach said after the game, they deserved to win it.  BG's goals are still all available to them, so there's a premium on getting over this one.  It was very disappointing...both that we didn't make the plays in the last minutes but also that we played so poorly for the first 27 minutes.  You'd like to bring your best game in this situation, and I certainly hope that was not it.

More to come.

Game time...NOW

We will....

The Power of the Peregrine

Ay Ziggy Zoomba...for richer and for poorer

1959 Falcon National Champions Sing Ay Ziggy Zoomba

Forward Falcons..

This. You must watch this. BEAT Toledo.

Shine like no other.... well he should be.

This is what it feels like.

It is Dawn....on Beat the Rockets Day...

Friday, October 25, 2013

25 Questions that Suck....

What is their body of work?

Their record is not great, but they are a lot better than that might appear.  They have lost to a healthy Florida team, a Missouri team that is now in the Top 5 and a very good Ball State team, all on the road.  I listened to the Missouri game on the way back from Kent and they were very competitive in that game.  They beat Navy in OT, as well as CMU and WMU.  This is a strong program that is good year after year and they are

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

24, which is a good number.  The offense is more experienced than the defense.

Who are their statistical leaders?

David Fluellen is #3 in the nation in rushing yards, #4 in yards per game, #6 in rushing touchdowns and #8 in all purpose yards.
Jayrone Elliott is #2 in the nation in forced fumbles with .57 per game.
Junior Sylvestre is #7 in fumbles recovered and #8 in total tackles.

What is their turnover ratio?

They are +8, third in the MAC.  They have 16 takeaways...BG had 8.


How is their QB Play?

Owens is a good QB who is not having a great year.  He is #9 in yards per game passing and #10 in passing efficiency.  Still, he's a senior with a whole bunch of starts under his belt.

What is their scoring and yards per play?

They are scoring 30.9 points per game (about the same as BG and 4th in MAC) and 4th in yards per play at 6.2 yards per play.

Can they run the ball?

Yeah.  David Fluellen is one of the leading RBs in the nation.  Yes, he's injured but I would expect him to play Saturday.  Whether he is up for a lot of carries or at full strength is another issue.  Kareem Hunt is his backup and he's pretty good, too.  You don't rack up those numbers without a good line, which helps whoever is the RB.

Do they pass the ball?

As mentioned above, they are struggling here.  Owens is completing 60% and has 5 TDs over 6 INT.  He is getting 9.7 yards per completion, which is not great.  He has 2 really good WRs to throw the ball to as well.

How is their run/pass balance?

They run on 52% of their plays, which is a normal percentage.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

Not especially well at 38%.

Do they score in the red zone?

They are scoring just over 5 points per trip, which is very good.

Do they protect the quarterback?

Uh, yeah, about that.  They have given up only 3 sacks which is 1.3% of their passing attempts. This is something to watch for.  BG has struggled to pressure the QB.  If BG has to blitz, then they are going to have to get home because UT has skilled guys who are dangerous in space.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

They are 4th in the MAC in total defense and 6th in scoring defense.  That's 27.9 PPG and only 5.5 yards per play, which is actually better than BG's yards per play.

Do they defend the run effectively?

Actually, at 3.9 yards per carry they are tied for 2nd.  (BG allows 5).  And that's with a Navy game in there.

Can they be passed on?

Somewhat.  They are 6th in pass defense efficiency.  This is a key area for BG.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

OK.  Fifth in the MAC, 41%

Do they defend in the red zone?

They are terrible. 5.4 points per trip allowed.  (This and 3rd down account for how they are better in yardage defense than they are in scoring defense).

Do they pressure the QB?

They are 5th in the MAC with 18 sacks.  That's 8.4% of passing attempts and a very productive number.

Special Teams:


They are 5th in the MAC in net punting with only one touchback and 15 inside the 20.

Punt Return?

Reedy does their PR.  He has one for 33 and six for 34 more.


Dude is ridiculous.  12 of 13 this year and 5-5 over 40.


See above.  27 touchbacks in 43 kicks.  Average starting point is the 25.

Kickoff Return?

OK.  They start on their own 25.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

UT has won the last 3 games in the series and the last one at the Doyt.  They have clearly been the stronger program while BG was rebuilding.  Meanwhile, this is the first rivalry game for BG when they have been back at a competitive level.

The team's strengths clash.  UT's offense against BG's defense.  That will be the battle to watch.  Note the importance of BG getting some kind of pressure on Owens.

At the same time, on offense BG has to establish the run.  That's going to start up front.  With a decent running game, they will also need to protect Johnson so he can get the ball moving in the air.  BG simply can't leave UT's offense on the field all afternoon.

Couple other notes.  Could be very windy based on the forecast, and that will put a premium on being able to move the ball on the ground.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

MAC Blogger Roundtable, My Responses....

Our questions this week come from Hustle Belt...

1. It's rivalry week with Bowling Green taking on Toledo and Miami taking on Ohio. What is the best rivalry in your opinion in the MAC and why?

Well, I'm a little biased, but I think the BG-UT rivalry is a great one...lots of history, a heated rivalry, passion on both sides, long-standing competition.  BG and UT are not OSU-UM in terms of history, but the rivalry is every bit as intense.  Having said that, I suspect everyone else has their favorite, and Miami-OU and Kent-Akron certainly are also big rivalry games.  The underrated one might be CMU-WMU.  From what I see, those guys really don't like each other.

2. NIU has opened up in the 18 spot in the last-first BCS standings, albeit behind Fresno State. If both teams manage to win out, should both teams bust the BCS or just one of them and which one? (put aside the MAC bias for a moment)

Well, I don't think both teams end up busting in, but I didn't think one would last year and I was wrong about that.  The biggest thing for Fresno is that they have the win over Boise for the conference games are pretty soft.  NIU won at two Big 10 teams--albeit bottom tier teams.  If I had to guess, though, I think the formula would put Fresno in.

3. What has been your biggest surprise/storyline thus far this season and why?

For the MAC, or for BG?

For BG, it has been the emergence of Matt Johnson and Travis Greene to perform as well as they have while replacing long-time starters.

For the MAC, I'd say it is the absolute suckitude of WMU.  Thought it might be a tough year, but this is beyond what I would have expected.

Great SI Article on Coach Clawson

Pete Thamel, who is a legit bigfoot sports writer, did an awesome profile of Coach Clawson on  So if you want to know about how Coach left college unable to cook pasta, how he came up with a game to wear out four year olds and the various odd jobs he had to support himself as a young coach, this is your article.  There's also a nice summary of each of the turn arounds--Fordham, Richmond and BG.

It gives you a nice view of who he is and reminds us that these guys are human beings.

I think the most salient point is that, in his own words, Coach is not a "system guy."  He said that he would do whatever he has to go get the ball to his best players in space, and that has been lived out here at BG.  I think it is how people should coach.  As he says, it is easier to tweak a system that get good players.

I recommend the article to anyone.

Clawson Presser: Two Word Message

Coach Clawson had his pesser yesterday, and I listened so you don't have to.

The high point came when Clawson was asked whether he hears from a lot of alumni and former players during Toledo he week.  He said and that there is a two-word message, and depending on how it is, the words can be different.

He had a lot to say about the rivalry, none of it unexpected.  It is an important game to the program and for the history of the program and the players clearly know that and so do our coaches.

Clawson gushed about UT...though, I think if you did a content analysis you would find he had as much good to say about UT as he did about Murray State.  Anyway, he said it is the best UT team BG has faced in 5 years, a time when Clawson is 1-3 against the Rockets.  He said that of anything, this is the best Rocket defense they have had during that time.  They are getting ridiculous sacks with a 3-man front.

He downplayed the injuries of Voss, Fluellen and Gallon, noting that UT is "loaded at TB."  He said that you expect injuries in October and you just have to be ready with depth.

With the Gallon injury, he said that BG had plans to work Jared Cohen into the rotation against Mississippi State, so he had been playing well.  He said what you expect...BG will miss Gallon but Cohen has to be ready to go.

He was asked if BG was motivated by taking UT out of the conference title running.   He said that "our motivation is for Bowling Green and not against Toledo."

Yeah.  OK.  Whatever.

Also, Teo Redding is now on the 2-deep, but he could still redshirt.  We will play him if we need him, however.

So that's the story.  Back to painting rocks.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Toledo rock gets needed facelift

So it is Beat Toledo week down at BG.  The Falcon Fanatics are doing a great job...first, they painted the UT rock a much more appealing orange and brown, and they have been holding all-night vigils to protect the BG rock.  Great to see it.  We're going to have a great atmosphere on Saturday.

Go Falcons!  Beat the Rockets!!  WIN WIN WIN!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Bad News: Gallon Out for Season

Jack Carle and the Sentinel have the story...Chris Gallon is injured an out for the rest of the season.  He injured his knee down in Starkville and will not return this year.  I'm sure everyone sends Chris their best wishes and hope for a full recovery.

He had 54 grabs last year and 24 so far this year, with 2 TDs.  Gallon emerged last year when BG was really struggling at WR.  He didn't return to that level of effectiveness, but that might be due to improved play from Joplin and Burbrink.

Jared Cohen, who has been getting some reps and made some catches replacing Gallon @Miss State will step up to the 1WR slot.  He will be backed up by Teo Redding.

I think Cohen has shown himself to be a good player and I think he will do well.  Obviously, Gallon was the starter for a reason, though, and for that reason alone represents a setback for a team that already wasn't great at WR.

Warning: Image not suitable for children

There they are....the history of Rocky Rockets.  Honestly, it is hard to say much.  The second guy from the right has to be the creepiest mascot I ever saw...I wonder how many dollars were spent on therapy bills from children traumatized by this "Rocky."  Then you look all the way to the left and you're like, yeah, uh, I didn't know Rockets have noses.  Or, the second from the left...when, stinging from comparisons between their mascot and marital aids, they decided to just randomly put a motorcycle helmet on "Rocky."

Sunday, October 20, 2013

It is time....


Great story on Chris Jones and his football journey

Chris Jones is making an impression with the Patriots, the smartest organization in the NFL.  ESPN talked with him about his journey in the world of football.  Here's what Belichick said...

“In a short amount of time, he’s become a pretty dependable guy for us,” coach Bill Belichick said. “He’s a hard-working kid that has some skills.”

So, that's good.  Anyway, the article talks all about how he picked up football, what brought him to BGSU, etc.  Nice piece.  We are all pulling for Chris Jones.  FOREVER a Falcon.

Past and Future Opponent Land

A look at how our opponents fared this weekend....

Tulsa (2-4)  Idle.
Kent (2-6)  Lost to South Alabama, of Sun Belt Conference.
Indiana (3-4) Lost to Michigan.
Murray State (5-3)  Beat Austin Peay 31-3.
Akron (2-6) Broke road losing streak with win in Oxford.
UMass (1-6)  Smoked by Buffalo.
Mississippi State (3-3) Idle
Toledo (4-3)  Beat Navy in OT.
Miami (0-7) Lost to Akron.  Nightmare continues.
Ohio (5-2)  Beat stricken EMU.
EMU (1-6)  Lost to OU day after tragedy.
Buffalo (5-2) Creamed UMass.

2013 Totals:
MAC vs. FBS: 10-28
MAC vs BCS: 4-22
MAC vs FCS: 10-2

Friday, October 18, 2013

MAC Blogger Roundtable, Compiled!

So, the MAC Blogosphere is coming back at your again.  This week it was our week to host, so below you will find the questions I asked and the responses given by our peers.  Thanks to Over the Pylon for the kind words on his blog.  Enjoy.

1: PJ Fleck. He came in, young and brash. They were walking on coals and getting highly ranked recruits. Now a rough season...Fleck says the year has been "100% success." Is Fleck going to succeed or flame out spectacularly?

(Bull Run) To be completely fair to PJ "The Human Meme Machine" Fleck that quote has been taken wildly out of context. Fleck was talking about what is happening off the field. The recruiting, donations, and facilities work is, in his opinion, 100% in line with where he wants it to be.

I don't know enough about Western Michigan football to know if even in context it's crap.

The Biggest thing in PJ Fleck's way is PJ Fleck. The guy has been nothing but a position coach and only that for a half dozen years. You could count the one day he was NIU's offensive coordinator but taking your job at your Alma mater on February second and leaving for Tampa Bay February 3rd is not exactly a character endorsement. But jumping to the NFL after one day on the jobs was a Fleck thing to do.

Flecks success or failure at WMU is going to hinge on how fast gets out of his own way and on his willingness to he learn, because he still needs to learn to be a head coach.

Learning at WMU will be difficult. Even though his coordinators, Ciarrocca and Pinkham, bring 50 years of coaching experience not one of those years is as a head coach. Quinn brought in a similar staff at Buffalo in 2010 and he had bravado in spades. Look what that got Buffalo.

After an awful season the Quinn fired his offensive coordinator and brought in Alex Wood. Wood brought with him head coaching experience from his stint at JMU. When UB's Defensive coordinator was hired away by the Bills Quinn tapped ex Illinois coach Lou Tepper. The experience from both coaches appears to have aided Quinn.

On the field Buffalo stopped trying to be something they were not. The "Cincinnati Spread" was replaced with a version that uses a fullback and tight ends. It's a different offense, not something Quinn tried to do when he was just starting out.

I would guess that unless WMU wins four of their remaining five games Fleck will have to replace some of his staff. He would do well to go find someone who has been a head coach to help mentor him along.

And for Pete's sake Stop rowing the boat and keep your damn shirt on, nobody is shooting a calendar.

(Let's Go Rockets) It’s too early to determine if Fleck is done at WMU. He’ll get another year or two before the school would even consider cutting their losses, in our opinion. He is working on changing the culture at WMU and that doesn’t happen overnight. When the Broncos played the Rockets, the announcers were very high on Fleck and said at that time, he had the highest ranked recruiting class in the MAC for next season (according to one recruiting site). With a program that went 4-8 in 2012 before getting a new coach/staff, it would be difficult for anyone to win at a high rate right from the start, especially facing quality teams in the conference like NIU and Ball State. It’s possible that Fleck isn’t ready to hold the reigns as the head coach yet, but we think it’s too early to judge.

(Over the Pylon) The flame that he’s already created makes Rome’s infamous fire seem like a hobo cooking situation, and there’s PJ doing his best Nero, sans fiddle, rowboat dancing all around the embers. The fact that he says this season is a 100% success makes me wonder what a 100% failure would look like. He’s winless, hapless, sort of a joke, and there’s really not a lot of gap between rock bottom and where this program is at. He’s the worst. Seriously. He’s like Lane Kiffin with less talent and that’s saying a lot. If I was a Western Michigan fan, I would just start rooting for Eastern. All of the losses, but only some of the lost dignity. My only hope is that he’s also a complete prick off the field. Rolling through Kalamazoo in a T-Top Trans Am with an eagle airbrushed on the hood, spinning donuts in old people’s yards and knocking off mailboxes with one of his boat oars while littering. And stealing things from children. He’s a joke. But the one good thing he has done is make Bill Cubit look like a serviceable head coach, so let’s take a minute and marvel at that spectacular feat.

(Eagle Totem) Yes.

Fleck came in with a turn-the-program-upside-down attitude that would have been suitable — heck, it would be welcome — at EMU. The problem is that, although they did lose to the Eagles the last two years, Western Michigan has generally fielded MAC-decent teams. When Bill Cubit was fired, I can only assume that both the university administration and the fans were hoping for something far, far more than what Fleck has delivered so far.

If the team starts to show signs of improvement, if Fleck can hold his recruiting classes together and if the recruits then live up to their ratings — a lot of ifs — then Fleck will be fine. Let’s be honest, if a coach is as bombastic as Fleck has been and disrupts a program the way he has, that coach had better deliver wins…quickly.

(Hustle Belt) Oh man. My heart tells me that the Nicholls game was a fluke, the rest of the schedule was monstrous (it really was), and Bill Cubit wouldn't have done much better than the 4-8 (3-5) I predicted at the start of the season. Fleck turns it around, figures out this whole coaching thing, and actually turns into a semi-decent coach after some growing pains. I mean, he can recruit and fund raise, but the X's and O's aren't apparent right now.

However, my gut says he sucks and gets the "Ianello Treatment", especially if he goes 0-fer either this season or next. Last year's Bronco team was competitive, better than their 4-8 record suggests, but questionable coaching decisions (Carder over TVT against Buffalo, Carder playing late against UConn), bad luck with injuries, and high pre-season expectations made the team look bad. Now we have this team looking horrible. They can't score, can't move the ball, and can't stop anything.

Fleck is in deep right now, and HAS to beat UMass next weekend, or the uproar will be deafening. Lose to CMU and EMU as well? Oh man, I don't want to think of that. That would be the first 0 win season in WMU history. That almost has to get you canned without major improvements in your 2nd year, if you get one (which Fleck will). It just sucks. Really bad. Next question.

2. NIU had a close call with Akron. Is this just something that happens or do you think it exposed weakness for the Huskies?

(Bull Run) Coming into this game Akron had nearly beaten Michigan (now 5-1), Lousiana-Lafayette (now 4-2), and held their own against Bowling green for two and a half quarters. The Zips are a bit better than their record indicates so I am chalking their effort against NIU as "something that just happens".

(Let's Go Rockets) We feel this type of game can be indicative of both factors you mentioned above. Sometimes a team just trips up – they enter the game without the kind of focus they need or a gameplan doesn’t go as expected and their timing and rhythm is thrown off. Akron may have keyed into what NIU is doing well and disrupted their flow. Our guess is that this was a combination of both factors, plus NIU might have been overlooking an opponent who, on paper, shouldn’t have been much of a threat. A team that isn’t given much of a chance in a game is usually pretty dangerous.

(Over The Pylon) Did someone say OUR MOST HATED RIVAL NIU? I hope that close call against Akron demonstrated their weakness, however, considering Ball State needed a last-minute touchdown to beat Kent State, it would be hard for me to sit in my glass mansion and throw boulders at OUR MOST HATED RIVAL NIU. Hard, but not impossible. Therefore, yes, it did exhibit significant weakness. I think OUR MOST HATED RIVAL NIU is a paper tiger and nowhere close to the buzzsaw that people are making them out to be. Their scores this season have been less than impressive, and in all reality, they haven’t really beaten anyone. Sure, they beat Iowa, but how hard is that? They thumped Purdue, but the Boilermakers can’t beat their meat this season, so that is also not impressive. Their weaknesses will cost them. For example, they can’t appreciate a good sunset. Whack, bro. They also don’t drink Jager bombs and ask random strangers “How much you bench?”. Why? Because they are weak. OUR MOST HATED RIVAL NIU is weak and it is my belief that the MAC West is ripe for regime change.

(Eagle Totem) The Huskies can take consolation in the fact that their margin of victory against Akron was nearly double what Michigan was able to do, so at least they win that whole transitive thing.

(Hustle Belt) Both? Honestly, I didn't catch the game, so let me look at the stats.......

Hmmm......not too much there. The way I see it is that Akron got up for another big game, and couldn't finish it off. The Zips run game appears to have never got going, and Pohl threw a crap-ton for a not-so-bright average (4.7yds/attempt). Lynch didn't have a great game though either, and the Huskies went 1-for-15 on 3rd down. I mean, yes the Huskies are vulnerable, but I'm not looking too much at a "down game" in my eyes. Statistically, both teams stunk, it happens.

3. I have been proposing for some time that first downs be added as an individual stat. What do you think? Any other things you think could be added?

(Bull Run) I'm working on something for capturing the number of plays a pass rusher occupies two or three linemen. Call it a "Mack" ratio. Khalil Mack spends more play's facing multiple blockers than he does in one on one matchups. Tossing around Ohio states tackle like a rag doll in week on set the tone for his season. Against Western Michigan he was double teamed almost every down and triple teamed quite often.

That kind of attention has slowed down his assent up the NCAA all time TFL charts but it has also made Colby Way and Adam Redden that much more dangerous as pass rushers.

A great Linebacker or lineman will take the attention in stride. It can get frustrating for them personally but it's great for the team.

(Let's Go Rockets) We agree that first downs would be an interesting individual stat. For receivers, it would be interesting to see yards after the reception tracked and for the rushing game, it might be appropriate to track yards after initial contact. Both these stats would give you an idea of the performance of the athlete after they received the ball/received contact and would paint a better picture of their individual performance rather than only getting a summary result of the play.

(Over the Pylon) I like it. If for nothing else, it would give something meaningful for Western Michigan to shoot for. First down? ROW THE BOAT, MAN!!!! I think a stat like yards after contact or yards after catch assuming they are kept objectively would give a much more complete picture of an offensive team. Perhaps official pass deflections, etc. to let you know whether all those interceptions WMU is racking up are the QBs fault or just fluke luck. I’m a big proponent of anything that gives a more complete and accurate picture of established and accepted statistics is a good thing. But again, the key to that is the MAC doing it effectively and correctly, which they can’t do. Between the referees, the chain gangs, etc. I’m pretty sure the MAC would screw up a ball bearing.

(Eagle Totem) I don’t see all that much value in tracking first downs on an individual basis. If we’re going to start adding stats, I’d like to start with stats that can’t be derived from a normal complete box score and play-by-play listing. For example, breaking down passes into distance thrown versus yards-after-catch would actually add useful information, as opposed to simply presenting information that’s already tracked. Distinguishing between on-target passes that were successfully defended, on-target passes that were dropped, and off-target passes would also be useful, although it presents more of a judgement call than most other stats. Tracking of personnel and formation by play would also be nice, although it would be a lot of work. Basically, I’m looking at the kind of information that Brian presents in his “Upon Further Review” posts at MGoBlog.

(Hustle Belt) Fantasy owners would love this for "power backs" and "possession WRs" who consistently get called in the middle of the field. I like it. Among other things that could be added in my eyes include, but are not limited to: Bat-Downs (or J.J. Swats), QB Hurries (I know they are counted en masse, but individually?), and WAR (because why not have sabermetrics?).

Redshirt Report

One of the goals of any program is to have enough good players to be able to redshirt most, if not all, of your freshmen.  They get a year of practice and work out, and you get the benefit at the back end, when they are the most mature and capable.

BG is doing well on this front.  From what I can see, BG has only pulled the redshirt off 4 guys...

The most productive true FR has been Ronnie Moore.  He has caught 12 passes for 190 yards and he has scored twice.  He's also been returning kickoffs.  He's really fast.

Fred Coppet has had 23 carries at 4.9 yards per carry.  He has battled an injury.

Finally, there is Isaiah Gourdine, a d-back who has played in 4 games on special teams.  My guess is that the d-back injuries caused an issue on special teams and he was drafted into duty there.

Technically, William Houston is also a true FR.  Seems different, but that's four.  He has scored 7 TDs on 30 carries...he's one of the top 30 or so (there is a big tie) in the country.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Speak It!!

International Centre for Special Teams Research

BG has now had 7 straight positive games...BG was +5 for the game, which is another solid if not great performance.  There were no huge plays..nor any major screw ups. (The whole dumb thing is explained here.)

After two weeks without a negative play, BG did have one--the Ronnie Moore kickoff return--but only one, which is still pretty good.

BG Positive Plays: (+6)
Punt inside 20 (+1)
BG KO TB (+1)
Punt inside 10 (+2)
BG KO TB (+1)
45 yd FG (+1)

BG Negative plays
BG Ko ret to own 14 (-1)

MSU Positive Plays (+5)
BG Ko ret to own 14 (+1)
Punt inside 10 (+2)
MA KO TB (+1)
MA KO TB (+1)

MSU Negative Plays (-1)
Penalty on PR moves ball inside 10 (-1)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Benchmarks, Mississippi State

Here's the benchmark report for the Mississippi State game.  You can see what it works out to.  A few notes...

First, BG's offensive numbers were pretty good.  Those are MAC-game averages and we were playing an SEC defense. The biggest weaknesses was a relatively low completion percentage and not doing very well on third down.  BG had only one turnover and that came on the last play lateral drill.  In fact, given all that, it is actually surprising BG didn't get more points.  They did have a drive that ended in a missed FG, but by and large the numbers were a little better than the points.

On defense, Mississippi State put up some good numbers.  Sack adjusted, they were very strong on the run, which is reflected in play selection, and considerably less effective against the pass.   They probably could have scored more too, except for the negative pass plays, which were a lot given the number of passes they threw.

BG had a nice game punting.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Welcome the Bahamas Bowl.

Bowl news continues to come in, and it is of the positive variety if you are a MAC football fan...we're not going to go into the whole bowl thing here, except to say that if they are going to have them we should  be involved and I hope they figure out a way to have them not lose so much money.

This one is in the Bahamas, the only bowl as of now that is outside the US.  There's still one more bowl to be announced and then there will be "several" conferences rotating among the three is a little clearer now but you can read the MAC's summary here to see what the plan is.  I'd explain it here but I'd have to understand it myself completely.

Anyway, the venue is obviously interesting.  The problem with travelling to a bowl game (and this one appears to be pre-Christmas, too) is that you don't get much notice.  People who work are going to have a hard time just up and running off to the Bahamas with three weeks notice.  The locale is certainly appealing...and if people were going to up and run off, it would be the Bahamas before it would be, say IDAHO.  If you see what I mean.

Of course, these are really just TV shows for ESPN, so we can count on the game being on TV.

Starting in 2014, BG will have 5 guaranteed bowl slots, which is a nice number and helps reward teams who take a tough in-division loss but have good years.

Matt Johnson: MAC East Offensive Player of The Week

Matt Johnson has been named the MAC East Offensive Player of the Week for the 3rd time in his short (7 game) that's pretty good.  This one is for the performance in Starkville, where he went 20-34 and ran for a TD.

Johnson is clearly making a splash in the MAC this year.  He's 2nd in the MAC in passing efficiency and 2nd in passing yards per game.  I think you can see that he has improved the offense and did it from the first snap.  He's a sophomore as well, so still time to get better.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Past and Future Opponent Land

A look at how our opponents fared this weekend....

The biggest news here is the OU loss.  BG and Buffalo are now the only undefeated teams in the East.  If you have to lose in conference, you want it to be a cross-over game, but it could make a difference.  OU's schedule is pretty soft coming home.  They still have Miami, UMass and EMU, but they also have to play @BG, @Buffalo and an improving Kent team.  Essentially, they may need to run the table and if they lose a 2nd time, it could keep them out of a tie at the end of the year.

Tulsa (2-4)  Defeated UTEP for 2nd win.
Kent (2-5)  Battled Ball State very tough before 3 point loss.
Indiana (3-3) Whomped by MSU.  Trending back down.
Murray State (4-3)  Lost to SE Missouri State in OT.
Akron (1-6) Pressured the hell out of NIU before losing.
UMass (1-5)  Popped cherry with home win over Miami.
Toledo (3-3)  Idle.
Miami (0-6) Lost @Umass.  Nightmare continues.
Ohio (4-2)  Lost against CMU in Athens.
EMU (1-5)  Lost 50-25 to Army.
Buffalo (4-2) Creamed awful WMU.  Buffalo got huge break on cross-over schedule with EMU and WMU.

2013 Totals:
MAC vs. FBS: 9-28
MAC vs BCS: 4-22
MAC vs FCS: 10-2

Cowbell Land, Part II

Looking now at the numbers and the performance of the various units...

BG had a very good day on offense.  This is certainly something to be taken as a positive.  Our offense has been much improved but not always great, but BG moved the ball against an SEC defense with NFL players and it bodes well for the future.

You can run right down the list:

  • BG had 6.1 yards per play.
  • BG's only turnover was on the last play of the game.
  • BG rushed for 5.5 yards per carry and both the TBs were over 6.
  • BG completed 58% of its passes with 11 yards a reception and only 1 sack.
  • BG punted only twice.

That's a pretty good day for the offense.  Travis Greene continues to impress.  Guy is just a player.  He had 99 yards on 15 carries and Givens contributed 24 on 4 carries.  Hopgood also had a key 9 yard run.

As noted above, it was a good day for Matt Johnson, who continued to play efficient football, adding 6 rushes for 29 yards to the numbers you see above.  In fact, his numbers would have been better if (as Coach says) "we catch the balls we are supposed to catch."  WR drops are probably the only fly in the ointment for BG's offense yesterday.

Jared Cohen--a JUCO transfer in his second year here--led the team with 5 catches for 51 yards.  He was replacing Gallon.  Burbrink was 4 for 66 and Joplin 4 for 40.  In all, 8 Falcons had receptions.

As for the defense, certainly the numbers are not great but certainly representative.  MSU had 6.4 yards per play and 6 per rush.  They complete 78% of their passes, but for limited yards--9 per reception, which is typical of a spread team.  The defense got an INT and 2 sacks and did it without its second best player for half the game.

Just as importantly, BG shut them out in the second half and held MSU to 124 yards in the 2nd half to keep the Falcons in the game.  Coach has said before that you want to win your share of the battles, and it is clear our defense did that.

Individually, Royster and Montgomery both had sacks for BG, Truss had 2 break ups, BG had 7 hurries in total (2 from Ouellet), and held an SEC team to 21 points...below their average.   They scored 26 the week before against LSU.

On special teams, Schmiedebusch buried both his punts and Tate was 2-3 on FGs and 1-2 from outside 40.  Kickoff coverage was solid and no major mistakes were made.  I think special teams will grade out pretty well.

Narrow Defeat in Cowbell Land

So, the Falcons went down to Mississippi yesterday to play a good SEC team.  As Coach said after the game, the only thing you can be disappointed in is the final score.  BG played with the Bulldogs, was obviously well prepared and played without fear in a very tough environment.  After three weeks of playing teams we were supposed to beat and did (if not as proficiently as we would like), this was an opportunity to show that the team could elevate its play against a good team.  And they did.

The start was certainly similar to what we have seen in other games, as MS State took the opening kickoff and drove 75 yards in 5 minutes to score a TD.  BG made one first down and punted.  Then BG got a break when Boo Boo Gates got a pick in the secondary and ran the return 34 yards to the MSU 13.

When you look back, this is one of the missed opportunities.  With a holding penalty and a negative rushing play, BG actually lost 4 yards and had to settle for a FG.

On the next play from scrimmage, MSU's QB ran 75 yards for a touchdown to go up 14-3.

At this point you had to be pretty nervous.  You've got that whole Indiana feeling all over again.  That is not, however, what happened.

BG drove to midfield and put MSU down at their own 1.  The Bulldogs were still moving the ball, and drove from there to the BG 31 before a big sack by Taylor Royster forced a punt.  BG started on its own 4.

And here the Falcon came alive.  In what was probably the most important offensive series of the game, BG marched the 96 in 6 plays to get the TD and make it 14-10.  The drive featured a PI against MSU, but also a Johnson rush for 13, a Greene rush for 29, a Beck reception for 28 and a Givens run for 7 and the score.

MSU took the kickoff and came right back, marching 75 yards in about 3 minutes to get a TD and go back up 21-10.  The drive featured mostly Dak Prescott runs and was aided by a personal foul on BooBoo Gates which resulted in his ejection.  (I didn't see it, so I have no idea how good the call was.  It was reviewed by replay, which is the rule.  I do not believe BooBoo is a dirty player or a headhunter).

BG got the ball back with 1:04 left. Travis Greene ran for 19, and Johnson completed passes of 6 and 20 yards and BG was on the MS State 25 and finished the half with a FG that left it 21-13 and BG was within one score.  Coach said that the FG was huge in terms of sending BG into the locker room with some momentum.

BG got the ball to start the half and showed something they have shown in every game...the 3rd Q is our time.  BG marched down to the MS State 27 before missing a 45 yd FG.  The defense got a 3 and out and BG started on its own 24.  BG made 41 yards on two Burbrink receptions and tack on a facemask and BG was on the 18 yard line.  Travis Green drove it to the 6 and then Matt Johnson ran it twice and scored on the second one to make it 21-19.

Clawson said he thought about going for 2.  There was 3:51 left in the 3rd.  He said he usually doesn't go for 2 until the 4th and I agree.  I think coaches make a mistake by trying to chase that point too early.  As he said, if BG is down 2 and gives up a TD then we are down 2 scores, whereas if BG gets the single point, even a TD keeps us in the game.

So, at 21-20, of course, that's all the scoring there was.  MSU drove to the BG 27 before BG stiffened up and Oulette got pressure on a 3rd down pass and then the Bulldogs missed a FG.  (No team has made a FG against BG this year).

BG drove to the MSU 40 and had it 2nd and 2 but could not get the first down after 2 running attempts.  BG went for it on 4th--another decision I endorse--and did not convert the first down.

MS took advantage and ran the ball down to the BG 8.  It was 4th and 3 with 4:27 left in the game.  Mullen decided to go for it instead of kicking a FG and taking the FG out of the game.  They had already missed one FG and have struggled this year and we all known the Mullen's mentor Urban Meyer was more than willing to just say screw it, no more FGs, so they went for it and BG got the replay-verified stop.

BG had one last shot.  MSU actually had a stop after a 3rd down sack but there was another face mask penalty.  BG had one more first down in them before hitting their own 45 and a 4th down pass went through Ryan Burbrink's hands and that was the game.

Again, a strong and tough effort by the Falcons.  I hope it provides the confidence they need as they prepare for the UT game.  We have a bye week--which is nice--and a chance to recover.

Two final notes.  Chris Gallon was injured, we will need to keep an eye on that.  There was some conflicting information on BooBoo Gates.  I believe the final understanding is that no part of his targeting foul will carry over to the UT game, so we will keep an eye on that.

More later on the numbers.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Tough Defeat. in Starkville....

Tough loss for BG, but a really solid effort from our guys.  Very proud of everything they did out there tonight and while I understand there are no moral victories, I also believe this game will serve to give us confidence moving forward.  That's a very hostile environment and BG was down early and they battled back into the game and had a shot to win the game in the 4th Q and that's what you look for.

Just listened to Coach's post-game presser.  He seemed most disappointed in BG's WRs who dropped several key balls, right up until the end on the 4th down play.  He mentioned it several times and seemed locked onto the topic.  Obviously, to win a game like this one you have to play pretty mistake-free ball, and those dropped passes might have given up the margin for error.

Also, Chris Gallon was injured (no further report on his status) and Boo Boo Gates was ejected for a helmet target in the first half.  His normal backup, Josh Pettus, is injured as well.

More to come tomorrow, but for today, even if it wasn't all it could have been, it was a good night to be a Falcon.

Mullen Stalks

Last thing before gametime.  As everyone knows by know (if they didn't), Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen was the QB coach at BG during the Urban Meyer years.  

A couple things.  Every year, I find somewhere on line where someone says that Mullen was the OC at BG during those years.  In fact, he was not.  If you don't believe me, consult the man's official biography.

I had one exchange with a Professional Football Writer that went something like this.

Him:  Mullen was OC at BG.
Me:  No Gregg Brandon was.
Him: OK.  But, Mullen was the architect of the spread at BG.
Me:  No.  That was Urban and Brandon.  Mullen was the QB coach.
Him: It has to be true, I read it somewhere else.

Even Chris B. Brown, known on twitter as @smartfootball, wrote an entire e-book in which much of the early section talks about OC Dan Mullen.  Maybe he is not so smart.

Anyhoo, the awwww story this week is the romance between Dan Mullen and the woman who now is his wife--Megan.  She was the sports reporter at Channel 24 and Dan was home watching the news one night and was attracted to her and emailed her, informing her that he was the QB Coach at BG (an irresistible lure to any woman).

Sadly, the email also went to the news director who read it out loud to the entire newsroom.

Undaunted, he tried again, informing Megan that he was "not a stalker."  Little hint here:  if you feel compelled to tell someone you are not a stalker, you need to strongly consider the idea that you ARE.

She was finally pressured into the date by her news director and from there is was a love story for the ages.  Or, for an age.

Anyway, that's the Dan Mullen story in BG.  He's gone on to bigger things....Urban had quite a coaching staff there at BG.

Lamming it in Boca

So, the MAC has announced their newest bowl tie-in, this one in Boca Raton at Florida Atlantic University.  The last time I remember hearing about Boca it was as the Soprano's favorite place to go on the lam.  It is Boca where Junior displays his legendary oral talents with his talkative girlfriend, eventually leading to a brutal mob war.

Well, now there's another think in Boca worth talking about (see what I did there?).  The Boca Raton bowl with a MAC tie-in.

Announced today, the bowl will be played pre-Christmas.  The set-up is ridiculously complicated.  From what I can gather, there will be other bowls anounnced that is of yet unnamed and the bowls will rotate their spots among several FBS conferences.

For example, in 2014 the MAC will play C-USA.  In 2015, the MAC will play the American Athletic Conference.  In 2016 and 2017, the MAC will be out of the rotation for the BocaBowl and then back in for 2018. That doesn't mean the MAC will have a bowl-tie in for the 16 and 17 season because they could be tied in with the Mystery Bowl or Bowls.

Here's a fuller explanation for the MAC.

As of 2014, the MAC now has four announced bowl ties.

GoDaddy Bowl (Mobile, Ala.; vs. Sun Belt);
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise, Ida.; vs. Mountain West)
Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, Ala.; vs. Sun Belt)
Boca Raton Bowl (Boca Raton, Fla.; vs. Conference USA)
Bowl Game - TBA -

Big congrats to the MAC Office.  As I have said before, I think the bowl system is ridiculous and unsustainable, but the only worst thing would be for the MAC not to be included.  I do appreciate that post-season play is a reward for our players.  Hopefully smarter people than me are figuring how they can not hemorrhage money.

MAC Blogger Roundtable Compiled

The MAC Blogger Roundtable is up...Bull Run is our host and he has used a MACLaughlin Group in Mor-TON KON-dracky-wacky and WRONG!  Researchers are trying to determine whether this is the first use of PBS in a sports blog.

Friday, October 11, 2013

25 Cowbell Questions

So this is their big tradition.  Cowbells.  With long handles
like on a kid's bike.  An infernal racket, from what I hear.
What is their body of work?

For many years they were SEC bottom-dwellers.  From 2003 to 2006, they did not win more than 3 games in any season.  This is Mullen's 5th season and they are certainly playing better.  They have 9, 7 and 8 wins over the past 3 years, which is pretty good for a team playing an SEC schedule.  For this year, I doubt they are too thrilled, though they only have one bad loss.  They are 2-3 this year with wins over Alcorn and Troy (Troy does not have the team they have had in the past).  Their losses are to high ranked OK State and LSU and then to Auburn, a road game but probably the one they wish they had back.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

25, which is a good number.

Who are their statistical leaders?

Nickoe Whitley is #6 in the nation in INT/G.
Jameon Lewis is #15 in kickoff returns.
Dak Prescott is #17 in passing yards per completion.

What is their turnover ratio?
Tradition was not welcome here.
This sign as much as said "this means you."

They are +4, which is good.  They have created 9 turnovers.


How is their QB Play?

They do.  They have 2 in fact.  Tyler Russell started the year as the #1 guy, got injured and then was replaced by Dak Prescott.  Prescott is an average passing QB but was leading the team in rushing.  With some struggles against LSU, Russell came back in and actually had better passing numbers and had a QB rating of 135 last year, as starter.  Prescott is listed as the starter, but anything could happen.

What was their scoring and yards per play?

They are scoring 32 points per game an 6.4 yards per play, both of which are good numbers.  They put up 62 against Troy.

Can they run the ball?

They have been good this year, if not great.  (And look, we recognize that these numbers were generated against LSU, Auburn and OK State and not Akron, UMass and Kent.  We look at them in their own context.  Just assume this comment applies for the whole post).  They are rushing for 4.9 yards per rush with Prescott getting 6.5 yards per carry.  The other RBs are in the mid to high 4s.

Do they pass the ball?

Prescott has not been that effective, completing only 53% in a spread offense, which is usually pretty high. He has gotten yards per completion, but only 3 TDs over 2 INT.  Russell is better with 63%.

How is their run/pass balance?

They run on 58% of their plays, which means they are using the more running based version of the spread.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

Not especially well at 36%.

Do they score in the red zone?

They are scoring just over 5 points per trip, which is very good.

I did not make this up
Do they protect the quarterback?

This has not been great.  They have given up 9 sacks in 161 (sack adjusted) attempts, which is 5.5% and not great.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

They allow 24 points per game and 5.7 yards per play.  The yards isn't too bad but the yards per play is a little high.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They are good against the run...4.2 yards per rush.

Can they be passed on?

They are in the upper part of the lower half of FBS in pass efficiency defense.  Most of their numbers are not that good.  64% completion percentage, 11.3 yards per reception allowed.  What has saved them is getting 5 INTs so far.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

They give up 38% which is good but not great.

Do they defend in the red zone?

They are terrible.  5.6 points per trip allowed.

Do they pressure the QB?

They have 8 sacks in 160 passing attempts, which is 5% and represents pretty good productivity.

Special Teams:
Ring them bells, ye heathen
From the city that dreams
Ring them bells from the sanctuaries
’Cross the valleys and streams
For they’re deep and they’re wide
And the world’s on its side
And time is running backwards
And so is the bride

Read more:


Their net punting is 37 yards, which is basically average.  Guy has a huge leg but has given up 3 TBs and some return yards.

Punt Return?

They have 1 punt return yard this year.  Still, gotta believe he's capable of breaking one.


The guy is not good...5-9 FG and 4-7 inside 40...long of 40.


Good...opponents start on 23.  Bunch of touchbacks.

You were expecting Walken?
Kickoff Return?

Unit is good.  They start at the 29.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

One little odd side note.  This is the first time Mississippi State has played a team from the MAC, something I find pretty surprising.

This is probably the best team on BG's schedule and obviously we are playing in their stadium.  It opened with Mississippi State a 10.5 point favorite.  Obviously, BG wins these games every once in a while.  In fact, Coach Clawson has yet to nail a major upset in his time at BG.  You want my opinion, I would trade this game for a win over UT all day long.