Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween to the Falcon Nation

25 Questions that are not about the last 3 years

 What is their body of work?

So, NIU has been the conference's leading program for the last few years.  They have won the West six times in a row and played once in the Orange Bowl.  This year, however, things have not been so good.  In fact, if there's a coach who has his fanbase more irate at him than Mike Jinks, it is Rod Carey.  NIU did not play a P5 opponents, and yet lost all four of their non-conference games...Wyoming, South Florida, San Diego State and Western Illinois.  Since then, they are 2-2 in the MAC, beating Ball State and Buffalo and losing to WMU and CMU.  The Buffalo win was a 44-7 win.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

They have 25.  Lot of juniors, though.  This is a youngish team.

Who are their statistical leaders?

Aregeros Turner is #13 in Kickoff returns
Kenny Golladay is #16 in receiving yards per game and #14 in receptions per game.
Anthony Maddie is #14 in rushing yards per carry

What is their turnover ratio?

(Most of the stats below are conference only).  They are even for the year.  (BG?  -5)


 How is their QB play?

BG won the MAC Championship last year with Drew Hare and like 3 other QBs injured.  One of those was Anthony Maddie, who has returned as the starting QB.  He is a typical NIU QB...dual-threat.  He's the #7 QB in passing efficiency and #5 in rushing.

What is their scoring and yards per play?

They are #3 in the MAC in scoring offense, scoring essentially what UT does.  They are 3rd in yards per play at 6.5, also essentially the same as UT.

Can they run the ball?

They lead the MAC in rushing with 6.2 yards per carry, and it isn't especially close.  This is a huge test for BG, which just struggled to defend the run against a weak running Miami team.  (Also, though Coach Jinks likes to talk about BG's defensive stats being tilted by "two games," BG is also last in the MAC in defense in conference games.

Do they pass the ball?

They are 7th in pass efficiency. They are 7th in completion %, with 7 TDs over 6 INTs and 11.9 per completion.

How is their run/pass balance?

They run on 57% of their plays, which is surprising given how strong their run game is.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

They are good, 3rd in MAC at 46%.  (BG is last).

Do they score in the red zone?

They are OK at 4.5 per trip.  10 TDs, 4 FG, 4 misses.

Coach Jinks, I feel your pain
Do they protect the quarterback?

Yes.  They have allowed 2 sacks in MAC play.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

This is where you have a team that is not usually what they offer.  They are young on D.  #6 in scoring defense and yards per play allowed.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They allow 4.4 yards per carry, which is #4 in the conference.

Can they be passed on?

They are average here as well, #6 in passing efficiency.  They have allowed 60% completions, but 7 INT over 6 TD and 12.5 yards per completion.  This is an opportunity for BG.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

Yes they are #4 in the MAC.

Do they defend in the red zone?

They are good, probably above average, at 4.3 points per trip allowed.

Do they pressure the QB?

They have 11 sacks, which is 4th in the MAC.

Special Teams:

Who's a good boy?

They are 4th in the MAC in net punting with no blocks and no major issues on returns.

Punt Return?

They actually have a returner with over 8 yards per return, though they have only returned 6 (all games).


Their kicking is normally pretty good, but he's struggling this year at 7 of 12.  He's missed 3 inside 40, blocked once, long of 41.


They lead the MAC in this category, with teams starting on the 22.  Pray for touchbacks.

Kickoff Return?

They start on the 27, which is pretty good (note, national leader above, and this is all games.)

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

So, this is how we meet again.  BG and NIU played for the last 3 MAC titles, and now are playing for, well, not much.  A collective 3-13 between them, NIU would have to run the table to get to a bowl game from here and BG will not be in a bowl game.

What is there to say?  Both teams have something to prove...I'd say that NIU appears to be the better team to date but I also see that the game is considered a pick 'em.

BG has yet to win an FBS game, and getting a couple would seem to help turn what has been a debacle into a something that is less debacley.  Having said that, if BG didn't beat Miami at the Doyt, I'd be surprised to win this one on the road.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Past and Future Opoonent Land

Ohio State (7-1)  Defeated Northwestern
North Dakota (7-2) Beat Weber State.  Undefeated in conference, #12 FCS team entering game.
Middle TN (6-2) Beat FIU 28-21
Memphis (5-3) The unstoppable Memphis Tigers lost at home to Tulsa by 29.
EMU (5-4) Lost to Miami
OU  (6-3) Beat Toledo
Toledo (6-2) Lost to OU
Miami (3-6) Beat EMU
NIU (2-6) Off
Akron  (5-4) Lost 41-20 to Buffalo
Kent (3-6) Surprising win over CMU
Buffalo (2-6) Surprising easy win over Akron

And listen here people...the MAC East beat the MAC West 3 times this week!!!!!!!


FBS:  13-21
P5:  4-10
FCS:  9-4

West:  6
East:  4

MBB Preview: The Schedule

Last year, BG benefitted in its overall schedule by playing a pretty soft set of opponents...and I think you will see a similar trend this year.  This preview is based on the analysis, which as predictions goes is pretty much as good as anything else.  Let's take a look.

Overall, game-by-game, he projects BG to go 16-15 and 7-11 in the MAC.  Actually, on overall probability, he thinks we go it is between those two.  That indicates a 2-3 game improvement in MAC play for BG and a finish slightly below the middle in the conference.

I think it is reasonable to expect BG to have a winning November.  There's the Bill Frack challenge so BG will play a lot of home games...and Duke ain't walking through that Stroh Center door.  Anyway, with a loss at Oakland, they see BG going 6-1 in November...which would mean 10-14 after that.  SO...if you're shooting for a winning record overall (and that's a good goal for this team as we see it now), that's going to be important.

6-1 would mean losing to Oakland, winning @South Dakota, and then beating UMKC, Green Bay, Murray State, Morgan State and Notre Dame (not that Notre Dame) at the Stroh.  Within those wins, you have a road win--never a sure thing, even against South Dakota, and home wins against good Green Bay and Murray State teams.  So, could be 4-3, could be 6-1.

Things get tougher.  BG is likely to lose @UC and @Evansville, but then has four straight winnable games.  You would expect BG to beat Detroit at the Stroh...lose @San Jose...and then beat Alabama A&M and Norfolk State at the Stroh.  In fact, San Jose State is not very good and that's almost 50/50 according to Kenpom.

That takes us to the end of the pre-season.  BG could be as good as 10-3 and as poor as 7-6.

Then you enter MAC play.

Here are the projections.

Looking at this, you can see a couple things...first the real chances for that 8-10 record (or better) are going to come at home.  I kind of feel like anything between 40 and 60 is an open question...that's the difference of just 1 game if you played five.  Basically, all but Miami and Kent are inside that range.  Now, history tells us that Akron has around a 90% chance of winning against BG, but basically (due to home court) these are very competitive games.  BG is going to have to beat very good NIU, Ball State, OU and Buffalo teams to get the 6-3 project record.  Also, they have no recent track record beating Toledo, who are not supposed to be great this year, but still.  BG won only 2 MAC games at home last year and they're not going to ever contend until that gets turned around.

Conversely, BG did play relatively well on the road at 3-6.  The projection has them going 1-8 on the road.  I can see this going better.  I'm not sure how BG ended up, for example, with a 33% chance of winning at CMU, but I suspect its higher than that, and I also suspect there's a higher than 31% chance at WMU.

By the time you mix all that out, I think 7-8 wins is a pretty good target.  Even if you adjust a couple of those road games, it just seems like a lot of uphill climbs for such a young team.

So, add it up, maybe you get as good as 18-13/8-10 and as poor as 13-18/6-12.

I'd like to see the whole thing be improved over last year, particularly in the MAC, by 2-3 games.  A .500 MAC season would be great.  Anything better, and things are really looking up.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

MBB Preview: Two Feet In.

So, men's basketball.  Coming down the pike.

As we look ahead to Year Two of the Huger Era, let's take a minute and recall where we left the team last Spring.

In short, it was good.  BG got hot in the MAC tournament and made the semi-finals, something they had not done in 7 years...and for the first time in years, there was a positive sense around the Men's Basketball program as the year ended.

And I believe that the program is on the way up.  But, that might not be immediately evident just this year.  Don't get me wrong, it could.  But I think that it might still take a year or two more...but, even signs of improvement and competitiveness could be evident and enjoyable as the team moves forward.

Let's remember...notwithstanding the tourney run, BG had a very tough season.  The Falcons were 5-13 in regular season MAC play. The last Falcon team to struggle that much was in 2007 when Dakich's final team went 3-13.

Huger told the Blue Ribbon Yearbook that “there were divisions on the team last year.  They had three coaches in three years, three different styles, three different personalities. Guys had one foot in and one foot out until the very end.”

And you have to admit, that was a difficult situation.  Recruited by Orr, bought in to Jans and then, boom, here comes another Coach.  So, the first reason for optimism is that the players for whom that's an issue are becoming fewer and fewer.  In fact, only Zack Denny remains on the current roster as a player who played significant minutes for all three coaches.  Fox and Worrell have been here that long...but far more of the players on the roster are new.

From last year's team, Spencer Parker and Pep Joseph graduated. Parker was the team's leading scorer and Joseph played a lot of PG minutes.  JD Tisdale and Garrett Mayleben have also moved along.

BG is picked to finish 5th in the East by the MAC media...ahead of Miami....and 6th by the Blue Ribbon preview...behind Miami.  On paper, that's hard to argue with.  On the current roster, 8 of the 13 players are FR or SO.  Of the five who aren't, only one (Denny) has had a full career as a D1 regular.  3 are JUCO and one is Matt Fox.  So, this is a young team and probably younger than last year.

Further, BG has a long way to climb.  The Falcons were 11th in the MAC in both offensive and defensive efficiency last year.  I think they are addressing those issues, but immediate results might be another matter.

For example, on offense BG's biggest issue was shooting.  BG was 7th in the MAC in protecting the ball and 6th in offensive rebounds.  (All stats MAC games only).  However, BG was 10th in effective FG%...which comes from being last in the number of FG attempts that were 3FG attempts and only shooting 47% on your 2FGs (9th).  If that's going to be your mix, you need to do better on your 2FGs.
The other issue was at the FT line.  BG was good at getting TO the line (4th in the MAC) but ranked dead last in making FTs, which is another kind of shooting.

So, I think help is on the way for shooting.  Dylan Frye is a FR from Miami who (I have heard) has been lighting it up as a shooter in the early practices.  I think he's a guy to keep an eye on.  Two other FR--Justin Turner and Rodrick Caldwell--were scorers in HS, and if they can translate that to D1 (as seems likely) than BG begins to line up some offensive playmakers.

Beyond that, you have the continuing opportunity for Antwon Lillard to improve, along with Wiggins and Worrell, and you can see signs of an improved ability to score.

For this year, you also have Denny and Alcegaire, both of whom have proven themselves to be solid-good D1 players.  Also, Ish Ali is a solid PG...BG was 9th in assisted field goals, which probably is as much about missed shots as it is point play.  I felt like BG's PG was solid, but there was no star playmaker at the position.

On defense, BG was also 11th.  Here, as well, the issue was shooting.  BG was 11th defending the shot.  That grew out of being 11th in defending the 3FG and only 7th in defending the 2FG.  BG was just average in forcing turnovers (7th)...stops either come from missed shots or turnovers, and you generally have to be able to do one or the other to have a defense that puts you in a position to win.

This will be interesting to see.  You have another year of people buying into the Huger system...and I have heard coaches say that defense is partly if we had one foot in and one foot out...anyway, you'd hope to see improvement, but we're young and you don't get stats on whether your recruits are good defenders, so that will be a wait and see thing.

One thing...actually stops come from missed shots and rebounds.  BG was 10th in protecting the defensive boards.

Which brings up another issue that runs all throughout the defensive stats, including shooting percentage...and that is big men.  The MAC has changed a little bit on this front.  You are seeing the emergence of big, 747-style 5s out there.  Akron's Isaiah Johnson, OU's Antonio Campbell, and NIU's Marin Maric are all traditional centers who presented huge issues for BG, which has no current players in their mold.  This year, Kent, Buffalo, and Miami have added large bodies to try and combat that.  Now, Johnson, Campbell and Maric can play...and we can speak from experience that just being big isn't enough (not naming names here, you know the examples)...but BG is a little behind the curve on this.  (A big guy is on the list for '17).

Anyway, offense or defense, there's really only one direction to go. I think we are on the right track, but the results might not come right away.

If the team has both feet in, then (as Coach says) he can stop coaching effort and coaching basketball.  I think we're going to exceed expectations and be more competitive, but my guess is we will still have room to improve after this season.

Tomorrow, a look at the schedule.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Jinks Presser

Pretty quiet Jinks presser.  Normal stuff, really, with just a couple exceptions.  Most stuff is trusting the process, do things the right way, etc.  We're close, in all the games, etc, can't tackle in space and we are poor on sudden changes.

The two interesting things were that the break in the schedule is allowing the team to get out and do some recruiting.  He was asked if the pitch has changed, and he said it has.  Now, it is "come and you can play."  In fact, he noted that it is probably the same as the one Clawson used on current BGSU seniors.

Speaking of Clawson...

First, someone asked about Clawson winning two games his first year.  I have fallen into this trap, too.  Clawson made a bowl game his first year.  It was the two years after that which were pretty ugly, but he had at least one good year under his belt.

Either way, Coach said Clawson was the first person to reach out to him when he took the job and has stayed in "constant" touch with him.   I find this really interesting and a classy move by Clawson.  For what it is worth, Clawson has urged Jinks to stay the course,  do things the right way, trust the process, etc.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Past and future opponent land

Ohio State (6-1)  Lost @Penn State
North Dakota (6-2) Beat Idaho State, #16 FCS team entering game.
Middle TN (5-2) See here...won @Missouri
Memphis (5-2) Lost to Navy
EMU (5-3) Lost to WMU
OU  (5-3) Beat Kent
Toledo (6-1) The beat goes on, beat CMU.
NIU (2-6) Blew Buffalo out 44-7
Akron  (5-3) Rallied to win at Ball State.  (First win of the MAC East over the MAC West this year)
Kent (2-6) Lost to Ohio
Buffalo (1-6) Lost to NIU


FBS:  13-21
P5:  4-10
FCS:  9-4

West:  6
East:  1

RedHawks Beat Falcons at Doyt as season slides away

So, the Falcons lost again at home Saturday, as the one-week flash of hope that came out of the UT game disappeared in the wind and BG lost again, this time to a Miami team that also had one win coming into the game.  It was a game of two programs that seem to be heading in opposite directions...the RedHawks finally turning things around and the Falcons watching their championship run disappear with disturbing speed.  I would guess that the hunter and the hunted will soon have switched places for a while.

Coach focused post-game on the number of mistakes we made---and that was certainly an issue.  But it wasn't the only issue.

Miami came into the game 124th in the nation in points per game.  They left with 40 points on their side of the scoreboard.  They entered 9th in the MAC with 5.1 yards per play and left with 5.3 for this game.  They came in running the ball at 2.7 yards per carry, which is second worst in the country, and finished at 4.7 yards per carry against BG.

Meanwhile, BG ran the ball for 2.5 yards per carry...and didn't seem to stick with the run.  Coppet had 49 on 10 carries, but it seems odd to me that you wouldn't get him more touches than that in that kind of wind.

And, then the mistakes.  BG turned the ball over 4 times.  Three were Morgan throwing picks and one was a messed up lateral to Ronnie Moore that only Miami seemed to realize was a live ball.  BG performed a miracle turning that into a could easily have been a touchdown.

Yes, and then BG had 10 penalties for over 100 yards.  Frankly, though, that wasn't a relative difference in the game.  Miami had almost the same numbers on penalties and the drive for the Skattebo TD was greatly aided by RedHawk penalties.  Yes, BG had some very poorly timed penalties.  There was an interception in the end zone by Bozeman turned back by a roughing the passer call...and a Miami TD on the next play.  And there was Will Watson going the distance with a KOR....only to have it turned back by a penalty.  In fact,  the Morgan-Moore lateral happened on the very next play.

And that is a trend with this team.  Bad things tend to happen in combination.

James Morgan had an up-and-down game.  Coach Jinks said after the game that Morgan is the QB for the remainder of the season.  Which is the right thing to do.  The offense is clearly more effective with him in the lineup and the change probably took too long to happen.

Miami does have a strong pass defense.  Each side won their share of the battles.  BG completed 61% of its passes at almost 13 yards per completion, both of which are solid numbers.  There were three TDs...and then those 3 picks...all of which came on consecutive possessions in the 4th quarter.

Look, this was an evenly matched game of two teams, both of which are young, both of which have holes and neither of which played a great game.  Miami is on the upward track, led by a Coach with 22 years of college coaching experience and his coordinators, not one of whom has less than 10 years collegiate experience, and Miami was the better team on the field at the Doyt.

After the game, Coach said what he always says...our team is trying to do too much, shooting themselves in the foot, they don't trust the process, there are mental lapses on both sides of the ball.  After 8 games, that has to be in some way attributable to coaching.  Again, not to minimize the challenges we faced this year, but it seems to me the coaching has failed to make it better and might well have made it worse.

Coach was asked how you fix the penalties.  He said you have to hold guys accountable.

One last thing.  Coach was asked if he would sub the seniors out now to get experience for the younger players.  He responded that there was no one left to sub in.  We're down to the last guys.

The team gets a long week now.  No game Saturday, and next up is NIU in Dekalb.  The Huskies are struggling, but they destroyed Buffalo 44-7, and Buffalo at this point is the only team in the MAC that is likely as weak as BG is.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Falcons Lose Again...questions that should be asked

I doubt if anyone will come into the presser Monday and ask Coach Jinks if he feels vindicated.  The self-congratulations from the media following the loss to Toledo was surprising at the time, and is certainly hard to fathom now, after BG lost by 2 touchdowns at home to a 1-6 Miami team...well, now a 2-6 Miami team.

In fact, however, all of the questions in the post-game presser seemed designed to offer Jinks ways out...leading questions centering around whether or not it is the team's youth that is causing the problem.

I don't understand the desire to protect Jinks.  I'm not saying expectations weren't too high and I'm not saying that there haven't been a lot of injuries...but no one but the fans seems willing to entertain the idea that at least part of the problem has been the coaching staff.

I'm not sure why it is.  I think it is surprising.  Just to make it clear, I'm not saying he's going to fail and I'm not saying he should be fired.  I'm not saying he should be written off.

I'm saying that the team is 1-7 with NO FBS WINS, the worst two losses in program history, and now an 0-4 record in the MAC and a loss to a team that had the same number of wins as us coming into the game.  At home.  By 14 points.

And I'm saying you have to wonder whether the coach with no collegiate head coaching experience and only 3 years as a position coach and his staff with next to no experience as actual coaches is contributing to making the year the debacle that it is.

And whether a more experienced coaching staff would have the situation more stable than it is today.

These seem to be reasonable lines of inquiry.  For my money, I do believe that coaching has played a significant role in the immediate demise of this program.  I wrote last week that the UT game provided hope...and we were hitting the softest part of the schedule.  Apparently not soft enough.

One last thing.  There's no room for the "first-year coach" excuse.  Getting a first-year coach was a choice that was made.  And not surrounding the first year coach with more experienced assistants to compliment him was a choice that was made.  What is happening is the result of choices.

Here are the questions I would think you would ask.

1.  You said earlier in the year that nothing had happened to give you any reason for self-introspection.  Is that still true?

2.  You said that you have seen this approach work.  Has anything that has happened this year made you think that you might have to adjust--not abandon--the approach you took to build a program at Steele High School.

3.  Do you think your team was the best-prepared team in any game this year?

4.  Is any unit exceeding the expectations you had at the beginning of the season?

5.  Is the team now closer to "turning the corner" or farther than when you said it before the Toledo game?

Friday, October 21, 2016

25 Questions that say Welcome Back

Welcome back Miami
What is their body of work?

Miami is one of the most amazing stories in the MAC.  Look, for decades they were a consistent football power.  They were the cradle of coaches.  They had Big Ben.  Since then?  A long, hard slog of very poor football.  Since 2003, three winning seasons.  Since 2010, 14-53, including an 0-12 season.  They just have fallen off the mountain.  They are on a one-game winning streak, after beating Kent last week...they lost all the rest, including their FCS game.  Historically they have owned BG.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

They have 18, which is possibly the youngest team I have ever seen us play.

Who are their statistical leaders?

Nick Dowd is #15 in FG%.
Billy Bahl is #1 in passing yards per completion and #7 in yards per attempt.

What is their turnover ratio?

They are -4 for the year.  (BG?  -13)


 How is their QB play?

They've had a lot of struggles.  They have used 3 guys.  They got Gus Ragland back from injury and he is slated to start.  He started the Kent game and was 10-21 for 181 yards, 2 TD and 0 INT while being their leading rusher with 36 yards.  He now appears to be the man.  Billy Bahl had most of the other reps and was about the same level of efficiency.

What is their scoring and yards per play?

They are a poor offensive team.  They are 124th in the nation in points per game and 9th in the MAC in 5.1 yards per play.

Can they run the ball?

Not to date.  They are last in the MAC with 2.7 yards per rush--and 2nd to last in the country.

Do they pass the ball?

They are 6th in pass efficiency.  The big thing has been yards.  Completion percentage is 54%, not good, and they have 12 TDs over 6 INT.  They do have over 15 yards per completion, which would indicate a high risk, high return pass game.  WR James Gardner leads the team with 26 catches at over 17 per reception.

How is their run/pass balance?

They run on 56% of their plays, which is a strong commitment to the run, especially when you are that bad at it.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

No.  The only team worse than they are in the MAC is BG.

Do they score in the red zone?

No.  Twenty trip, 8 TD and 7 FG.  3.85 per trip.

Do they protect the quarterback?

No.  MAC-worst 26 sacks, 11.6% of all passing attempts.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

They are much better on defense.  They are #2 in the MAC in yards allowed per play and #6 in points allowed.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They allow 3.9 yards per carry, which is #4 in the MAC.  They give up a lot of total yards rushing per game, but they get run on a lot...because...see below.

Can they be passed on?

They are #2 in pass efficiency defense in the MAC.  They allow only 58% completions, 9 TDs and 7 picks, which are good.  They allow 11.5 yards per catch, which is not great but not awful.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

Middle of the pack, #7 in the MAC.

Do they defend in the red zone?

Yes.  They are very good.  In 27 opponent trips, they have 7 outright stops and 15 TDs and 5 FGs.  That's 3.3 points per trip.

Do they pressure the QB?

They have 13 sacks, which is in the middle of the pack

Special Teams:Punting?

They are 8th in the MAC in net punting.  No blocks, one big return, but not for a TD.

Punt Return?

They have zero punt return yards.


They have used a couple.  Dowd is the current one.  He's 6-7 and his only miss is over 50.


They are 10th in the MAC.  Teams start on the 30.

Kickoff Return?

They start on the 25, which is well below average.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

Well things are looking better.  BG needs a win in this one.  This is a winnable game.  Also, it is a lose-able game.  Miami has a strong defense that could challenge a BG offense that has only had one good game, and then you have to wonder if our defense can actually stop their offense.  How many people will be there?  What willll the environment be like?  I'm sure how guys will be hungry for a HUNGRY--but Miami probably feels the same way.

You gotta get this one.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

ICSTR, Go for it on 4th edition

If you read this blog, you know that I started in 2009 using my own system for evaluating special teams play for Bowling Green.   You can read the full introduction and see the scoring system here, should such a thing interest you.  The basic idea is that you get positive points for good plays outside the middle area of the bell curve on the right and negative points on the left.  The system doesn't care if you get to the 26 or 28 on a kickoff or if you make a short FG...make a long FG or miss an easy one, now we're talking.

Basically, BG continued its good, but not great special teams play.  Obviously, punting remains a strength, as we can see here...all but one of BG's positive plays was on a punt.  BG struggled mostly on the pooch kick and the kick after the Zimmerman penalty, as well as one Davidson punt and giving up the 2xp.  BG +4 for the game.

UT was only +2.  They punted well, too, had a big punt return, and got points for those two kickoff returns and the 2XP.  On the negative side, they missed an XP, put a kick OB, and gave up that fake punt.  They were +2 for the game.

One hidden part of special teams is what BG's FG kicking is doing to the team.  Obviously, we try almost no field goals.  BG has gone for it on 4th 30 times, which is the highest in the country.  The next highest is 20.  BG has tried 6 FGs.  In the MAC, only Akron has tried fewer.

Here is how it broke out.

BG Positive (+8)

Punt inside 20 (+1)
Punt inside 20 (+1)
82 yard punt (+2)
Kickoff touchback (+1)
Successful fake punt (+3)

BG Negative (-4)

26 yard net punt (-1)
UT KOR to 44 (-1)
UT KOR to 40 (-1)
2 XP against (-1)

UT Positive (+8)

Kickoff touchback (+1)
Net punt 49 (+1)
Punt inside 20 (+1)
Punt inside 20 (+1)
26 yard PR (+1)
KOR to 44 (+1)
2xp (+1)
KOR to 40 (+1)

UT Negative (-6)

KO OB (-1)
Missed xp (-1)
34 yard net punt (-1)
Allow fake punt (-3)

Monday, October 17, 2016

Jinks Presser

OK, Mike Jinks was back in the presser room today.  It was a much better environment.  I mean, he said we were turning the corner the week before...and, well, I'm not sure we HAVE turned the corner, but, people seem to think we did and everything is back on track.  I'm not sure we're there yet.  So far, we've played one complete game out of 7 and succeeded only against the low standards of the earlier parts of the season.  UT did win the game.  Those program-record losses are still out there.

Don't get me wrong.  Things look a lot better than they did the week before.  BG played a very solid game and the schedule ahead is very forgiving.  It is very well within the realm of possibility that BG could finish 6-6 and make a bowl game.  We can revisit the turning the corner conversation as the season plays out.

Just as an example, he talked about Joe Davidson in glowing terms that Davidson deserves.  Also, he said that everyone needs to talk him into coming back.  But when he talked about the fake punt, he said that "He might have single-handedly changed the course of the season around."  I mean, I know what he means---it might end up that way--but Coach also later said "we are 1-6" and I guess it is a little early to be looking for where it all turned around.

A bowl game is the goal he has set for the team.  He talked about it in the presser.  He is putting BG into a playoff like run through the last 5 games.  Gives the guys something to play for...unless they lose.  Anyway, I'm for it.  And it is possible, are other things.

Coach gives good presser, I will give him that.  He had some interesting things to say today.

He seemed to really enjoy the Glass Bowl environment as a guy who loves football, which you have to appreciate.  He mentioned before that this was really his first rivalry game as a coach so he felt it was a great environment.

We need to play better in the 2nd and 3rd quarter.  Just have to be in a better position entering the 4th.

He says he sees improvement from the whole team, players and coaches, which I thought was an interesting way to put it.

He noted the two big penalties and said they were indicative of how far we have to do as a team.  The Banks penalty was just playing without confidence and the Zimmerman penalty on the TD was just (costly) youthful exuberance.

"I felt comfortable with the process.  I've seen it work.  Some people may not think so, but I've got an idea of what we want this thing to look like."

Just my aside, the key is can it be gotten there, not is there an idea.  Everyone is sure there's a idea.

Hitting the long passes changed the "dynamic" of the team.  It forced UT to decide whether to load the box, it opened up underneath routes as well as the run.  We can use some of the "air raid type stuff."  He went on to say that QB is "essential" and that he saw a different look in his team's eye with the offensive improvement, which should have led someone to ask....well, what took you so long to get Morgan into the games?

But didn't.

He noted that we are not playing at full tempo, which he says has helped the defense and I would imagine the offense as well.

He said he was most proud of Morgan checking from pass to run 3 of 4 times, something I would assume a gunslinging QB is reluctant to do.

He says our biggest improvement has been at WR, which is interesting.  He has been hard on them.  Drops are way down.  He says that is all confidence.

He does not fear an emotional letdown.  "No, sir. We're 1-6."

Wagner began to ask about the burning of redshirts.  Coach said he wanted to redshirt all of them.  For example, Bush got banged up and they had to put Tyrik Jones in and Jones, it turned out, was better than some of the older guys.  You could not have told him, he says, that he would have to play Zimmerman at "142 pounds."  The third one is Cam Jeffries...shouldn't have played this year.  And you never want to play a o-lineman but Tabor has had to start twice.

Then, in what became relatively funny, Wagner continued to name guys off...Terence Stephens, (coach would take that one back), McBride...Pickrom.  At this point, Coach said it was making his stomach hurt.

You don't want to plan 8-10 freshman.  He said it is a setback.  You have numbers you want at each position.  For example, you want 16 scholarship WRs.  We have 8-9.  It will take two recruiting cycles to get that fixed.

Davidson and Morgan win MAC POTW awards

Here are the write ups from the away....maybe it isn't "cool" to mention in the special teams award, but Davidson also ran for a 24-yard run on a fake punt and a key first down.  Morgan is certainly deserving as well...hopefully the first of many such awards.

Davidson was granted the special team award for the second consecutive week. Against Toledo, he punted seven times for 309 yards and a 44.1 average. Four of the seven punts were downed inside the UT 20 yard line. Overall, he ranks fourth nationally and first in the MAC in average (47.5). Fifteen of his 42 punts this season have gone at least 50 yards, and 16 of them have been downed inside the opponents' 20.

Davidson's fourth punt of the game, in the second quarter, traveled 82 yards and stands as the longest punt in the NCAA this season. The punt was critical, as BGSU was pinned at their own two yard line, and it forced Toledo to start the ensuing drive at their own 16. He also had a 62-yard punt in the game and now owns six punts of 60 or more yards in the last four contests. He has at least one in six of the Falcons' seven games and each of the last five in 2016.

Morgan's first career weekly MAC award follows his third career start. He torched the Toledo secondary for 335 yards and five touchdowns, including 166 yards and three touchdowns in the fourth quarter. That performance helped BGSU overcome a two-touchdown deficit to tie the game at 35 in the final minutes. Those are the most passing yards by a Falcon quarterback since Nov. 4, 2015 and the most passing touchdowns since Oct. 24, 2015.

In just three career starts, Morgan has already made Bowling Green history. With efforts of 250, 253 and 335 yards, he is the first freshman Falcon quarterback to throw for 250 or more yards in three straight games. His totals of 1,041 yards and eight touchdowns are already in the top ten of the MAC, even though he has started fewer than half of BGSU's games.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Past and Future Opponent Land

Ohio State (6-0)  Beat Wisconsin in OT
North Dakota (5-2) Beat Southern Utah 45-23.  #18 FCS team entering game.
Middle TN (4-2) Lost 44-43 to WKU on a blocked PAT in 2 OT
Memphis (5-1) Beat Tulane 24-14
EMU (5-2) Won @OU
OU  (4-3) Lost to EMU
Miami (1-6) Beat Kent 18-14
NIU (1-6) Lost to CMU
Akron  (4-3) Destroyed by WMU
Kent (2-5) Lost to Miami
Buffalo (1-5) Lost to Ball State


FBS:  13-21
P5:  4-10
FCS:  9-4

West:  5
East:  0

"Rivalry" Loss: Last Word, Special Teams...DAVIDSON

So, mostly, there are two words to say about special teams:


This dude is an absolute beast.  He's probably the best player on our team.  He has a complete game.  He bombed an 82 yarder, which I believe is the longest kick in FBS football this year.  He took two more and nailed them inside the 20 from short range--maybe a rarer skill.

And, he kept the Falcons alive with a 24-yard run on a fake punt when he successfully evaded a defender in the open field to get the first down.  BG was down 2 scores at the time and a punt is just deadly.  Instead, BG keeps the ball, scores and ends up later tying the game.  He's a good athlete and a great punter...a real weapon, especially with our growing pains defense.

Other special teams note is on the pooch kicks, which have a lot of people upset this morning.  First, while the announcers were bellowing about the "pooch" kick that came after the penalty on the Zimmerman TD (he won't do that again, don't worry)...the kick was kicked from the 20 and fielded on the 20....that wasn't a pooch kick.

Obviously, sometimes it was a pooch kick.  Those seem to have come in the 4th q.  BG's first 3 kickoffs BG had were a successfully defended one and 2 touchbacks.  The rest of them came in the 4th Q....I don't know if they didn't think he could get the ball out of the end zone with the wind or what, but of the 3 kickoffs, UT started on the 44, 40 and 34, which is obviously not optimal for a team struggling on defense and trying to make up a deficit.

I don't mind pooch kicks.  A good pooch kick comes down at about the 25 and the guys is tackled right away.  Nothing wrong with that.  Our kicks were shorter and the guy was decided not tackled right away in two cases.  In the end, though, with the way the UT offense moved the ball in the last drive, whether they started on the 25 or 34 was not really the issue.

Will Watson seemed to stabilize the return game, which would be a big help.  We did not try a FG.

"Rivalry" Loss: The defense

Here's what the defense did...hold UT to their season averages.  Those are big numbers...but by holding them to their average on the year, they gave us a chance to win.

UT is #3 in the FBS in yards per play at 7.5.  Against BG, they got 7.4.  Their 42 points were right on the season average.

Just for whatever it is worth, the last two times we played an explosive offense like this, we made history in a bad way.

So, no, the defense is not great.  But they are improving and they do get stops and they are holding their own.  Coach Jinks and Coach Eliano seem to be working hard on this...they are making adjustments, going to fewer down lineman, more zones, trying to help protect our youth and experience.  Beyond the "what took you so long" question, this is a good development.  If they continue to improve...well, I don't think we have another explosive offense on our schedule.

One funny note.  When listening to Coach Jinks in the presser...he has an ability to switch here as he switches from football technobabble to Texas Cowboy...he said something like "When Eastern was in 20 PER and three guys to the surface side...we were a little light in the britches."  Hilarious.

One key addition was getting Will Watson back.  With him, BG was able to take the pressure off our younger players in the secondary.  It will continue to help.  (He also handled BG's kick returns, providing an experienced hand at that, too.)

The other was Tyrik Jones.  I was literally scouring the internet...WHO THE HECK IS TYRIK JONES?  FYI (or FMI), he is a recruited walk-on for Florida that we got late.  (In fact, we have significant contributors who came to BG after signing day.)  Anyway, he was a skilled player in Florida, and he's another walk-on getting time on BG's defense.  He had 9 tackles, 2.5 TFL and 2 sacks.

So, back to UT's "average" game.  They ran for 5.1 yards per carry.  BG did a good job with Kareem Hunt, holding him to 4 yards per carry and a 14-yard long.  Terry Swanson had 112 yards on 12 carries, most of which came on a big 63-yard run that was almost one-third of UT's rushing output.  Doesn't minimize can't allow those kinds of plays.

Woodside is good.  He completed 76%, 14 yards per completion.  He had 4 TDs and one pick.  He's just a very efficient QB and if he had been healthy I think they would have beaten NIU and made the MAC final.  BG didn't have any particular success defending him, but they did it well enough for the game to be tied with 3 minutes left.

UT was 6 of 14 on 3rd down, which is good but actually less than their average.  And BG sacked Woodside 3 times...two by Jones and one by Lunsford.

Anyway, you can't talk about the defense without saying that when UT needed a TD, they gashed us for 61 yards on four plays and put the game away.  In that situation, at that time of the game, we were no match for them.

The thing with the defense was that it was hard to tell if they were much better against EMU and OU, who are not highly effective offensive teams.  BG's defense is not ready to stop an offense like UT but they didn't lose all the battles, either, and if they continue to improve and stay healthy, we could see things get better in the second half.

"Rivalry" Loss #2: The Offense

The first difference coach noted was that "we scored some points."

And yes, the biggest difference on the Falcon team is that they finally got some offensive productivity.  That's been sorely missing and the biggest issue in why the Falcons have been unable to win to date.  With a productive offense, everything on our remaining schedule looks different.

BG had 7 yards per play, by far their best offensive performance of the season.  They ran the ball effectively and passed it, were 6 of 14 on 3rd/4th down, scored TDs on all four red zone trips and made explosive plays.  It was a completely different team and gives us a chance to win.

The biggest difference is James Morgan.  He was highly touted when he came here, and he is making dramatic improvements each week.  He played an excellent game against Toledo.  With Morgan, Elijah Cunningham already here and then two highly touted young men on the verbal wire, the QB position is looking very solid.

Morgan completed 66% of his passes and had 13.4 yards per completion, which is very good.  There were five touchdown passes and he was sacked only twice.  He threw only 1 pick in 38 passes....fumbled once on a sack attempt where he probably got a little sidewise.  Having said that, this is the kind of game he is capable of producing.  He just can make big throws and has really improved.  He still made mistakes--one of which had Coach Jinks pounding on his shoulder pads on the sideline--but by and large he is much improved and still can get better.

BG also ran the ball well, with 4.9 yards per rush.  Coppet was great, 105 yards on 17 carries, with is 6.1 yards per.  Cleveland had over 5 yards per carry...62 yards on 11 carries.

And we saw what we saw last year...a team that puts the defense on its heels and lets them choose whether you move the ball running or passing...we got some pace going.  Our offense needs successful plays to work.  It was a completely different experience.

Scottie Miller had a great game, with 8 catches, 149 yards and 3 TDs.  Ronnie Moore only caught 3...I don't know if they were keying on him and creating space for other guys or what.  But, with Miller getting that kind of success, they might have to start keying on him and that could open up other things.  Redding had a couple nice plays and Deric Phoutavong got back into the mix with 2 4th quarter grabs.

BG gave up only 2 sacks and one pass rush fumble (which got out of bounds).

It was about execution...throws in the right place, balls caught, blocks made, running backs hitting the right holes...and if that continues the rest of the year has a completely different tint to it.

"Rivalry" Loss #1: Big Picture

It is a measure of where this season is that it feels so good not to be completely humiliated by your arch rival.

And yet, that's where we are.  Coaches will say there are no moral victories--and there are not--but after the "debacle" that the first season has been, fans were terrified about this game.  UT is a good team capable of dropping a huge number on the team that was out there against Memphis.  That did not happen...and the game was tied with 3 minutes left to play.

There are no moral victories, and this wasn't one.  UT took the ball over with about 3 minutes left in a tied game and made 61 yards on their first four plays from scrimmage to ensure they would end up with their seventh straight win in the "rivalry"

The team is improving.  This is really the first game of the year where I felt the Falcons had a game plan that was designed to win and executed effectively for the entire course of the game.  I feel like we are making talked after the game about going to fewer down linemen, going to a nose tackle, playing more zone coverage, etc...and it does seem to be improving.

Here's the thing.  Coach Jinks said after the game that BG's "worst" defense in the country was skewed by "two games."  Which is true...the two worst games in the history of the program.  Those don't go away and you deliver that kind of result, it isn't dismissed as "two games."

Having said that, I think we are seeing signs that answered the biggest concern everyone had, which is whether the Jinks selection was some kind of monumental gaffe...put another way, whether Mike Jinks has the ability to deliver a MAC Championship to the Doyt.

The question is not answered yet.  It will take more than one better-played loss.  But I think you are seeing signs that he can coach.  We have seen (with very preliminary results) that recruiting is good.  We have seen he and his DC make strong adjustments week to week.  Did their inexperience lead them to have the wrong plans in the first place---that's probably true---but the team is improving with mostly the same players (Will Watson and Tyrik Jones excepted).

And the offense is finally playing like we need.  James Morgan is improving fast.  In fact, if there was a gaffe this year, it might have been not having him in the game sooner.

Coach said he will never play nine freshmen again.  "We want to build this thing the right way."  "We want to recruit holistically."

One other note.  You gotta watch Jinks' presser after the game.  You get a sense of the intensity he brings to the job.  On Mondays, he is so cool and confident and business-like.  After the game...WOW.  He's like a caged animal.  His eyes are darting around, he's talking in short sentences, he answers questions when they are 1/3 asked, he's pounding the podium.  He is intense.  It is well worth a watch.

Here's the thing.  Yesterday was not a moral victory.  It was another bitter defeat.  But it was also at least a sign of hope.

Friday, October 14, 2016

25 questions about throwing out the record book

What is their body of work?

UT is good.  Real good.  They have been among the top teams in the MAC, and only were kept out of the MAC title game by an inability to beat NIU.  This year, the big game will be WMU.  Obviously, no secret here, they've owned BG for the past six years, even as BG had two of the program's most successful teams.  This year, they are 4-1 with only one loss---a very close loss @BYU.  They are 3 TD favorites in this game and should be.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

They have 29, which is hardly a pretty veteran team.

Who are their statistical leaders?

Logan Woodside is #5 in completion percentage, #2 in passing efficiency, #3 in passing TDs, #7 in passing yards per game, #3 in passing yards per completion, #11 in total offense and #1 in passing yards per attempt.  He is #5 in points responsible for.

Jon'vea Johnson and Michael Roberts are tied for #9 in receiving TDs.

Cody Thompson is #4 in receiving yards per game.

Kareen Hunt is #18 in rushing yards per game.

What is their turnover ratio?

They are -4 for the year.


 How is their QB play?

Hard for it to be much better.  Logan Woodside is one of the most productive QBs in the nation and the most productive in the MAC.

What is their scoring and yards per play?

They are 2nd in the MAC in scoring and #1 in yards per play with 7.5 per play.  That second figure is third in the country.

Can they run the ball?

They are 3rd in the MAC in yards per carry at 4.9.  Feature back Kareem Hunt averages 5.2 yards per carry and leads the MAC at 110 yards per game.

Do they pass the ball?

They are very good.  This is a point of maximum concern, given the issue in BG's secondary this year.  These guys are probably better than Memphis.  They are completing 70% of their passes with 15.9 yards per completion, which is just astounding.  Add in 20 TDs and 3 INT.

How is their run/pass balance?

They run on 59% of their plays, which is a strong committment to the run.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

They lead the nation at 57%.

Do they score in the red zone?

Yes.  They score at 5.8 points per trip, which is huge.  Also, they have scored 29 TDs and have 22 red zone trips.

Did they protect the quarterback?

How does 3 sacks in 158 attempts (1.9%) grab you?


There's some idea that UT is a poor defensive team.  It is true that their offense is better than their defense, but they are a solid defensive team so far.

Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

They are #2 in scoring defense and #6 in yards per play...we'll see if there is anything in the numbers about that discrepancy.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They are average.  They allow 4.4 yards per play which is 9th in the MAC.

Can they be passed on?

They lead the MAC in pass efficiency defense.  They allow only 47% completions and have only 4 TD passes against and 1 INT.  They allow 13.9 yards per completion, which is high.  Teams do more running than passing against them...56%.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

Here's one explanation for why they allow fewer points than their yards per play would suggest.  They are ridiculously effective on 3rd down.  They allow only 19% conversions, which is #3 in the country.

Do they defend in the red zone?

They are good.  They allow 4.7 per trip, which is 13 out of 15 overall attempts, but only 8 TDs.

Do they pressure the QB?

They are pretty good.  When you look at their bulk number, remember that run-heavy play mix.  They get sacks on 8.8% of passing attempts.

Special Teams:


They are 10th in net punting.  They are 11th in allowing return yards.

Punt Return?

They are the middle of the MAC pack.  They do have one score and one block.


He's average.  He's 4 of 8, and 1 of 5 from 40-49.  Long 42, blocked once.


They are really good.  Opponents start at their 21.  He has only 6 touchbacks in 32 KOs, so we are looking at a team that kicks it in play and covers.  Potentially big issue for BG.

Kickoff Return?

They start on the 21, which is well below average.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

Not great, Bob.  Coach dragged out the old "throw out the record book" trope this week.  BG needs to throw it WAY out.  No other way to put it...nothing we have seen from either team this year suggests BG has a chance to win this game and...well...I think UT is at least as good as Memphis is.  In order for this dreadful streak to turn around, BG is going to need to play in a way that they haven't even gotten halfway to all season.  Could happen.  But it is going to be a serious shock, maybe the biggest shock in the history of this rivalry.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

ICSTR: Special Teams Improvement??

If you read this blog, you know that I started in 2009 using my own system for evaluating special teams play for Bowling Green.   You can read the full introduction and see the scoring system here, should such a thing interest you.  The basic idea is that you get positive points for good plays outside the middle area of the bell curve on the right and negative points on the left.  The system doesn't care if you get to the 26 or 28 on a kickoff or if you make a short FG...make a long FG or miss an easy one, now we're talking.

It was actually BG's best game in a while.  BG tied OU....both teams were +5.  BG only had one negative play, which means KO returns at least got to the 25 and we didn't miss any makeable FGs.  Meanwhile, BG had three touchbacks on KOs and two points on punts.  Now, OU ended up +5...they had six points alone from their punter sticking BG inside the 10 and their negatives mostly came from a missed FG and a missed XP.

Here is how it broke out.

BG Positive (+6)

Punt inside 20 (+1)
Kickoff touchback (+1)
79 yd net punt (+1)
Kickoff touchback (+1)
KOR to 37 (+1)
Kickoff touchback (+1)

BG Negative (-1)

Penalty on PR puts ball on 10 (-1)

OU Positive (+9)

Kickoff touchback (+1)
45 FG (+1)
Kickoff touchback (+1)
Punt inside 10 (+2)
Punt inside 10 (+2)
Punt inside 10 (+2)

OU Negative (-4)

PR penalty leads to 60 yard net (-1)
Missed xp (-1)
BG KOR to 37 (-1)
Missed 38 FG (-1)

Monday, October 10, 2016

Jinks Presser: It isn't a rivalry until the other team wins

Coach Jinks came out for his presser. His demeanor hasn't changed on Mondays...he's calm, in control, trying to work through the issues facing the team.

He had some interesting things to say about rivalries.  First, he says he hasn't really been a part of one.  He said Texas Tech is so far in West Texas that they don't have any natural rivalries.  Apparently (he did not mention this) Steele didn't either...or San Angelo State.  Anyway, he says he hasn't been a part of games like this and he is looking forward to it.

Toledo is all anyone has talked to him about since he got off the plane.  He noted that in his view it isn't a rivalry until BG wins a game...which it hasn't in a very long time.

Also, he notes, correctly, that we need this.

Here's the word he used to describe the first half of the season:  debacle.

Which is a good one.

He says we aren't that far away.  We shall see.  I hope he's right.

Looking back at OU, he said we were on the road in a hostile environment.  (Wait until Saturday....).  You cannot turn the ball over 3 times and expect to win.  Morgan had one bad pick, and then one where Marquis Zimmerman was tackled and the ball was intercepted.  (Jinks called it "questionable.")  Josh Cleveland fumbled on his first carry in 3 weeks.

He was asked about what you do about the turnovers.   He said that you can do turnover drills, but it comes down to execution.  He likened it to tackle drills.  He says we tackle more than any team in the country.  (Clawson used to say this, too).  The guys know how to tackle, they just have to do it.

He said he was proud of the defense and the staff and that they kept us in the game at OU, and I would agree.  He also said they have simplified the defense and our guys are playing faster and they are protecting the younger players in the back end better and they are keeping plays in front of them.  (Is this evidence they might know what they are doing as coaches?  Asking for a friend).

He said he was very hard on Morgan after the game, but after looking at the tape he thinks Morgan kept the team in the game.  Said he might have avoided six sacks with his feet and then made nice pays when he was outside the pocket.

He mentioned a couple times that he was a QB and therefore is harder on the QB.  He says it is "always the quarterback's fault, period."  But, Morgan has a big arm, can take a shot, is durable.

Other player news.

Robert Jackson has played well over the last couple of weeks

Donovan Wilson is not in the mix right now.  He said  Coppet has separated himself a little bit and will get goal line carries.  Also, they have to get Josh Cleveland on the field for the change of pace, when he is healthy.

Hunter Folkerstema is having a good season in the "20" sets, blocking and pass protection.

Falcon MBB: Nelly Cummings

Bowling Green has a new men's basketball is Nelly Cummings from Lincoln Park High School, Pittsburgh, PA.  He is 6'0", and is reported to be a combo guard who can play the 1 spot or the 2 spot.  He is one of the top players in Western Pennsylvania, and was named to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Fabulous Five last year.  

Averaged 23.3 points, 4 assists and 2 steals this season for WPIAL Class AA finalist and PIAA semifinalist. An excellent shooter, Cummings had 64 3-pointers this season.
He is apparently a good student, with offers from Brown and Dartmouth, along with Temple and Bucknell.  He also visited Indiana and West Virginia.

He said BG gave him his first offer, recruited him all along, and he is excited about playing closer to home.

Welcome to the Falcons, Nelly.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Past and Future Opponent Land

Ohio State (5-0)  Defeated Indiana
North Dakota (4-2) Beat Sacramento State 40-7
Middle TN (4-1) Idle
Memphis (4-1) Beat Temple 34-27
EMU (4-2) Lost to Toledo
UT  (4-1)  Beat EMU
Miami (0-6) Lost to Akron
NIU (1-5) Lost to WMU
Akron  (4-2) Beat Miami
Kent (2-4) Beat Buffalo
Buffalo (1-4) Lost to Kent


FBS:  13-21
P5:  4-10
FCS:  9-4

Jinks Post-Gamer

So, I watched the Jinks post-gamer.  A few general notes...

He was clearly agitated.  He was moving around, his eyes were darting around.  Losing is really, really tough on these guys, and it has to be wearing on him.  You wouldn't want a coach that it didn't wear on.  I imagine he isn't sleeping well, and every week he's faced with going into a game with limited assets, some of which is on him and some of which is not.

A lot of talk about James Morgan.  The consensus seemed to be that Morgan played a poor game.  I guess I didn't think it was that bad.  He did throw picks, force throws, run into pressure.  Coach says he needs to keep his eyes upfield when he runs.  What surprised me was people asking about whether he thought about putting Knapke back in.  Nothing Morgan did gave me the idea we needed to do that, but that was me.  Coach also says he needs to get rid of the ball sooner, which is hard to argue with.  Anyway, the thing is he's playing his second game and he might be able to correct those things.  Knapke was in his 16th start or something and wasn't really any better.

Coach was clear they are going to ride with Morgan from here on out.

Basically, we had issues with penalties on offense and we turned the ball over four times, which we cannot do and win.  (OU is living on their turnover margin, I don't believe they win either of their last 2 games on an even turnover ratio).  Also, we had a bad game with punt returns, which he did.

His reaction...those things cannot happen and we will get them corrected.

We will see.

He noted that BG has continued to struggle on the defensive side of the ball, especially up front.  He said that "we won't ask these guys to do things they cannot do," and said Coach Eliano has done a good job getting performance out of the defense.  You might agree or me the offense is the unit that is costing this team chances to win.  The defense is not great or even good, but the offense is the unit that is killing this team right now.

Finally, he is certainly looking forward to getting Will Watson back.

Falcon Football. The Beat Goes on.

A few things ended yesterday.

A 4-game winning streak over OU
A 17-game winning streak against the MAC East
Probably a three-year MAC East winning streak.

The only thing that isn't likely to end?  That streak with the Rockets.

BG is just a poor football team.  They lost 30-24 yesterday @OU...but a hail mary miracle made that look closer than it actually was.  The Bobcats were up two scores most of the second half...the stats ended up pretty even, but BG was beaten because of four turnovers and two times they got inside the 5 yard line and ended up with a total of 3 points.

I didn't see a great Bobcat team.  They don't have a great QB or a stellar offense and the defense is good but not great.  This is a team BG clobbered last year but this year they were clearly better than the Falcons.

OU did a nice job with BG's running game. They held Coppet--who had the bulk of the carries--to 3.5 yards per carry.  Josh Cleveland broke a long one, but in general they had control of the running game...and that was especially true inside the 5-yard line.  (Whatever happened to using Donovan Wilson down there?)

Morgan had the kind of day you might expect.  He completed 57% of his passes at 11.5 yards per completion.  However, he threw 3 picks.  He was also plagued by at least 2 drops on well-thrown balls and he was pressured and sacked 4 times.  I do think he's going to be good QB, and you can see where he can improve as he plays more.  The team definitely has a better chance to win with him in the game.

BG finished with 4.8 yards per play, which, despite what the announcer on ESPN said, is not good.  Even so, there were three possessions where BG lost the game on offense.

The first came after Brandon Harris intercepted a pass with BG down 23-7.  He returned it to the 6-yard line.   Moore wildcatted to the 1.  You just gotta score here.  A TD is a potential momentum changer.  Instead, Morgan fumbled the snap, and then BG threw an incomplete pass on third, doubting their ability (apparently) to move the OU defensive line.  Then, on 4th, they opted for a FG after going for it other times on 4th and I think OU has to feel like they dodged a bullet.

And, in fact, they marched down the field and scored a TD to make it 30-10 and essentially take control of the football game.

At 30-17, BG had another shot.  In the 4th now, BG started on their own 6 and drove to the OU 12.  They were pushed back by a holding call, and then got back to the 4 for a 4th down play.  Morgan tried to go to Redding again in the red zone, and OU defended and BG turned the ball over.

OU had success running the ball against BG.  They ran for 4.9 yards per carry as a team, and their top two backs had 5.2 and 6.4 yards per carry.  BG did a good job with Windham, who averaged only 4.8, but the price might have been paid with the yards by the RBs.

Windham was effective passing for what they asked him to do, with 20 of 27 but only 190 yards to show for it.  BG's defense got no sacks, even on a week where they were challenged to get pressure.  The problem for BG is that with our secondary, we can't afford to blitz much to get pressure and the line is unable to get it on their own.

So the season is half over.  BG is 1-5 with its two biggest defeats ever on its card.  They are 0-2 in the MAC and a bowl game is now virtually impossible.  In fact, Kent appears to be an improved team...there may only be 1 more win for us this year, and that will be in a cold, surely empty Doyt on the day after Thanksgiving against Buffalo.  Problem there is that they will come on the field thinking the same thing.  (Miami is improved but certainly winnable as well). 

Friday, October 07, 2016

25 Questions...Here Kitty, kitty, kitty

What is their body of work?

I'm no one to judge
OU is a consistently strong MAC team that seems to get a key injury every November and lose the East, lately to BG.  They are 2-2 this year.  On the plus side is a win @Kansas, There was also a competitive loss to Tennessee and a 3-OT lost to Texas State, surely the game they would want to get back if they could. I'd say they are the East favorites at this point.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

They have 29, which is hardly a pretty veteran team.

Who are their statistical leaders?

Louie Zervos is #1 in FG/game.
Blake Banham is #15 in Kickoff returns
Austin Barnes is #7 in punting
Ian Eriksen is #17 in rushing TDs

What is their turnover ratio?

They are +7 for the year, which is really good.


 How is their QB play?

They had some uncertainty about QB, with Vick graduating and Ed Sprague leaving the program during Fall camp.  Their QB is Greg Windham, a SR from Tampa.  OU has never been a team that comples only 54% at 10.8 yards per recepetion, neither of which is great.  He has 7 TDs over 2 INT, which is much better.
1906 OU Football Team.
has relied on a true DB passing QB, and he is consistent with the tradition.  He is #8 in the MAC in passing efficiency but is their leading rusher.  He

What is their scoring and yards per play?

They are 6th in the MAC in scoring and 9th in yards per play--all those turnovers are a great way to maximize your yardage.  Not a great offensive team but almost doubling BG's per game output for the season.

Can they run the ball?

They are 5th in yards per game, but they run a lot.  Yards per carry, they are 7th...and actually a tick less than EMU, who ran the ball on BG.

Do they pass the ball?

As noted, they are in low aveage in the MAC in pass efficiency.  They have two strong WRs, one of whom--Sebastia Smith--averages 16 yards per reception.

How is their run/pass balance?

They run on 54% of their plays, which is a little above average.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

They are at 37%, which is in the middle of the MAC.

Do they score in the red zone?

They are very poor in the red zone, which is why Zervos leads the nation in FGs.  They get only 4.3 yards per trip, which is 13 TDs in 30 red zone trips.

1968 Peden Stadium...Hocking over its banks
Did they protect the quarterback?

Very much.  Probably mostly protected due to play selection, but they allow sacks on only 3% of their passing attempts.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

They are a much better defensive team and very dangerous on this front.  They are 4th in points allowed and tied for 3rd in yards per play allowed.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They are very, very good.  They are first in the MAC in yards per carry allowed.  EMU had a good run defense as well, and BG ran on them and they will need to Saturday.

Can they be passed on?

This is their weaker link.  They are 9th in passing defense efficiency.  They allow 66% completions (same as BG, last in the MAC), at 11 yards per catch.  They are tied for the MAC lead with 6 INT.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

They are 6th in the MAC, so pretty average.

Do they defend in the red zone?

They do not, they are at 5.9 points per trip.

Do they pressure the QB?

Yes.   Yes they do.  They get a sack on 11% of their passing attempts, which is just sick.  BG is going to have that line tuned up big time.  It is an issue on its own, plus you don't want your FR QB getting hit.
Special Teams:


They are good--4th in the MAC in net punting.  They have allowed -5 return yards.

Punt Return?

They are 10th, about 3 yards per return.


He's 14 of 17, with 12 of 14 inside 40 and 2 of 3 outside 40.  Long of 46.


Opponents start on the 29, which is not good.

Kickoff Return?

They start on the 25, which is pretty average.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

Not great, Bob.  BG has won 17 straight East games.  It is looking like they're going to need to run the table again to get anything done and I'd say it isn't looking like there's a very good chance of that happening. A big question isn't stats...where is BG's head?  Are the Falcons still grinding, or are they starting to question things.  Is there dissension on the team?  Meanwhile, OU has to be feeling like they're usually one step short.  I'm worried they come out and are ready to go.

They aren't a great offensive team, which works in our favor, since we are not a great defensive team.  They key will be the offense, as it has been all year.  BG's only shot to win is to get first downs and score some points...avoiding sacks and picks, which they specialize in.  If BG's defense is left to save it as they were against EMU, they might hold out for a while but they can't do it for a whole game.