Friday, August 31, 2018

25 Questions that go Duck, Duck, Goose

What is their body of work?

Oregon spent much of the last 10 years as one of the top programs in D1.  They sustained the Chip Kelly success for a couple years and then had a 4-8 year.  Willie Taggert came in and got them to 7-6 and then he left.  This is their third coach in three years.  They are 58-10 over the last 10 years at home.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

They have 20...which is on the young side.  They are the 60th most experienced team according to Phil Steele.

Who were their statistical leaders?

They return no players who were top-20 in any national category.

What was their turnover ratio?

They were even-steven last year.  In their last great year, they were +23.


 How is their QB play expected to be?

It's going to be good.  Justin Herbert is their QB.  He was injured last year, but they were 6-2 when he played.  He's 6'6" and 238, completed 67% of his passes, was 15/5 and had a QBR of 167.  He can also take off and run.  He's a beast to handle and ranked #2 in the PAC-12.

What was their scoring and yards per play?

Last year, they scored 36 points a game, but significantly more with Herbert in.   With 6.1 yards per play, they were #30 in the country.

Can they run the ball?

They averaged 5.2 YPC last year, their lowest since at least 2011.  Their top two backs are gone from last year.  Having said that, they have the Phil Steele #4 RBs in the conference and the 12th best offensive line in the country--and clear match up problem for BG.  Note that their depth chart lists five players as backup RB, so there is competition for positons.

Do they pass the ball?

As noted, Herbert is good and they return 3 of their top 4 WRs from last year.  They were 32nd in passing efficiency last year and certainly hope to imrpove that with Herbert back for the whole year.

How was their run/pass balance?

They ran the ball on 63% of their plays last year.  Should be lower this season.

Did they convert on 3rd Down?

They converted 41%, which was #60 in the country.

Did they score in the red zone?

They were brutally effective in the redzone,, at 5.8 points per trip.  In 56 attempts they had 44 TDs and 6 FGs.

Did they protect the quarterback?

They gave up a lot of sacks...7% of their attempts.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

They were good on defense, allowing 29 PPG and only 5.1 ypp.  That latter figure was #32 in the nation and they return 8 starters.

Did they defend the run effectively?

Yes, they did.  They allowed only 3.5 yards per carry last year.  That's in the top 30 or so.  They play a 3-4 and return 5 of their top 7.  BG simply has to run effectively to be in this game, even if the pass sets it up.

Can they be passed on?

They were 48th in pass defense.  Steele has their DBs #4 ranked.  They allowed 55% completions with 12.2 yards per completion and gave up 25 passings TDs over 15 INT.  BG will need to exceed expectations here.

Did they get off the field on 3rd down?

They were #24 in the nation last year at 33%.

Do they defend in the red zone?

They are pretty good.  4.7 points per trip.  In 46 attempts they had 12 outright stops and 9 FGs.

Did they pressure the QB?

It was pretty good at 6.7% per attempt.

Special Teams:


This is an issue for them.  They were among the worst punting teams in the nation last year.  Adam Stack was the punter--and he was highly recruited as a K and P.  He's no longer punting though, replaced by RJr Blake Maimone, who has kicked once.

Punt Return?

Their returner is slated to be All-PAC 12 WR Dillon Mitchell.  He had 12 returns last year for about 8 per, which is OK.  He's guaranteed to be an athlete though and BG needs to watch this carefully.


So, as above, Adam Stack is now the K.  He has not kicked in college.


New kicker, so hard to judge.  I'm going to guess he can get it out of the back of the end zone.

Kickoff Return?

Oregon puts their top players out there for returns.  Tony Brooks-James had a TD last year on a KOR.  Also something BG needs to watch.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

A few thoughts.  Oregon's first game against a MAC team.  Long trip for BG.  All the atmospherics are bad here.  Oregon is hungry, new coach, mismatch on the offensive line, strong QB.  If BG competes in this one--and by that I mean is in the game in the 4th Q, not just two missed opportunities from being in the game at halftime--things are looking good.  The Falcons need to move the ball very effectively.  My fear here is a OSU style result.  Oregon could easily break 60.  Anyway, it will be good to have the boys on the field.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Football Preview: Special Teams

This is probably the most unsettled part of the team, and that does not bode well, especially in our early games against P5 athletes.

Last year, BG had excellent special teams.  Jake Suder really improved and we had the best punter in the MAC and we had Matt Wilcox on returns.  By and large, BG really played well on special teams.

That's all gone and what's left are question marks.

The most important positions are the kickers.  You can always fair catch a punt and down a kickoff.

Having said that, we knew we were losing Davidson, but the JUCO punter who was brought in is gone already.  The #1 on the depth chart was Grant Timmerman, a RSo who was a punter/kicker in HS at Centerville.  He came here as a kicker, but averaged 38.6 in HS.  If replicated that would be 11th in the MAC, but he might well have improved and gotten stronger while at BG.

Kicking is another story.  BG exepcted Jake Suder to be back, but miscalculated his eligibility and he is gone.  There was no plan B.  The place kicker is slate to be Nate Needham.  He will do place kicks and kickoffs, based on the  depth chart.  Needham kicked at Youngstown State and missed all his FGS (3) and made 6-7 XPs.  This is worrisome, but again, he would appear to be the best we have and hopefully he has perfected his craft.

On KOR, BG will use its RB depth with Hargrove and Denley deep.  Hargrove could be very dangerous on returns if he can get in the free.

On PR, Milton will be back again.  Honestly, the most important thing on that job is judgment and consistency.  The biggest play you might get is someone with the instincts to run up and fair catch a punt before it bounces and costs up 30 yards.  

Anyway, it feels like a rough ride for the special teams.  Let's hope for the best.  If these guys were MAC-average, that would be a huge success.

Or, we never punt or kick a FG and just score TDs.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Football Preview: The Offense

So, to preview the offense...

Last year, BG was 7th in the MAC in scoring offense.  BG was 4th in total yards, however, and that's not something that is too normal.  BG was 3rd in the red zone and 3rd on 3rd downs, so those were both good.  However, BG lost 20 turnovers in MAC play and led the conference in penalties, both things Coach has acknowledged should get cleaned up with a more effective attack.  If they do, you'd expect your rank in scoring to be closer to your rank in yards.

Make no mistake.  This is where the game lies for BG.  BG's offense must produce this year.  An additional touchdown would put BG at the top of the MAC and 5 points would be in the top 3, and that's where it needs to be.

Coach has put a lot of stock in the sophomores--Clair, Doege and Morris--who are bigger and more ready for FBS football.

Doege was effective when he played last year and has the opportunity to settle the QB position down for the first time since Matt Johnson was holding the MAC Trophy aloft.  He seems to be a natural, make quick decisions and has a good arm.  With a second year in college ball, he's going to be key.  Note, also, that the backups are very unproven in the full offense, though I thought Loy looked good in the scrimmage.

BG was #7 in passing offense last year in the MAC, though much of that was without Doege.  With solid protection and if a full complement of playmakers develops, BG should do much better than that.

BG's running game should also be strong.  The Falcons were 3rd in the MAC in yards per carry last year.  Andrew Clair is back, listed on the depth chart with Ra'veion Hargrove and Bryson Denley #2. CJ Lamar, who entered camp at #2, is off the chart.  If this depth develops as expected, BG can spread carries around, keep everyone fresh and still feature a running game that the opponent has to focus on.

That's especially because the O-line is back mostly from last year and has matured and added bulk.  The starters are Taborn, Kramer, Bright, Kurtz and Labus.  Matt Tanner is the only backup who is above a SO, though Joe Ware and Tim Blair are both in their third year at BG.  Coach has said he feels good about the starters and the depth here.

The WR position is a little bit of question mark.  You have Scotty Miller, a proven all-MAC player, and you have Quinton Morris, who everyone is very high on.  You usually look for a third threat...the third starter is Phoutavong, who is 6'5" and has played on and now a JR.  Backups include true FR Noah Massey and Julian-Ortega Jones, along with RSR walk-on Justin Sawmiller, RFR Colin DeBord and JUCOs RB Marlow and Jordan Wayne-Prather.  My guess is that snaps are available for anyone in that last group who can break free.  Note that Pough started camp on the depth chart and he is not currently listed for whatever reason.

BG badly needs a killer offense this year to get the program moving forward while Coach Pelini does his turnaround.  Let's hope they stay healthy and execute at a very high level.

(Update:  A  couple of alert commenters have informed me that Pough left school.)

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Football: Defensive Preview

So, as the season previews roll out in advance of the opener Saturday, we'll start with the one that presents the most challenges....the defensive side of the ball.  BG's defense has been dreadful the last two dreadful that Coach Jinks had to remove his friend from the position of DC and bring in Carl Pelini, who in turn ended up with a whole new set of defensive assistants.

I've already passed on reporting that says that BG is heading to Oregon without the full defense installed, which is something that is repeated in The Blade's preview.  In fact, the hope is to have the defense fully functioning by the middle of the season.

Here's what Pelini told The Blade

“Every time, it’s been a season-long process,” Pelini said. “Some teams responded more quickly than others, but in all four instances, it’s been a season-long process.

“I think our improvement from week one to week 12 is going to be vast. We’re going to show vast improvement.”

Note:  Pelini is talking about his three other defensive turnarounds, which give him an impressive record.

So, a couple points.  If that happens, it would be a significant step forward for a defense that did not improve (or got worse) from game 1 to game 24 of the previous regime.  I think people understood that the defense was undermanned, but I think you expect to see your team play better as the season goes on and that just didn't happen either year.  Coach said as much when he talked about the changes.

The other issue is the one mentioned in David Briggs' column, which makes the point that everyone is thinking about, which is what things have to happen for Coach Jinks to be back next year.  If the defense isn't matured until game six and the team is (say) 1-5 at that time, it is hard to imagine that the Pelini experiment will have time to mature.

As an aside, every year Coach has claimed we would be ready for conference play.

The best news was announced at Monday's presser, which is that Jamari Bozeman will start in Eugene.  He fills a position of need:  defensive playmaker.  He had a very serious injury and was questionable to start the year on the field, so all the credit to him for the hard work and perseverance to get back onto the field.

The shortage of proven playmakers is mostly because the defense had some issues in the off-season, losing Cam Jefferies, Armani Posey, and David Konowalski unexpectedly.  There were a couple of other plays lost who could have provided depth.

Here's the deal.  BG's defense allowed 38 a game in conference play last year, which was 11th.  The average in the MAC was about 25 points a game.  Getting there would require a 34% improvement over the year before, which is going to be tough.  Even getting teams under 30 would help--although that would still be 9th in the MAC, based on last season.  If the Pelini defense continues to improve though, that's not completely impossible, unless the Toledo and Miami games have put BG in too big a hole.  Anyway, you're going to need an average that starts with a 2 to have a shot, in my opinion.

That has to come everywhere, but especially on the run D.  BG was last in yards allowed per game in total and on the ground.  BG allowed 258 yards per game, and the next worst team in the MAC allowed 210.  (MAC Games only).   BG allowed 5.7 yards per rush, which was last in the MAC and 126th in the nation.

Obviously, that has to improve up front, with Schweiterman and Konowalski gone from last year.  Beyond the rushing issues, BG was also last in the MAC in sacks.

So, if you're trying to get under 30, that's the place to start.  Actually vital.  If BG (or any team) can't stop the run, they have no shot, giving up points and not getting the ball enough.

As for pass defense, BG was actually not too bad last year, even given the lack of pocket pressure. BG was 9th in pass efficiency in defense.  Teams completed on 54% of their passes (4th), and BG was 6th in INT/ATT.  The biggest issue for BG was yardage....BG allowed 13.8 per completion, which was 11th in the MAC and something you should be able to improve on right away with better communication.

The first depth chart is now out, and certainly reflects what we have been hearing.

On the d-line, the starters are Roland Walder at DE, he's a Kentucky transfer who was his region's DIII defensive player of the year in HS.  He was a LB on the roster and weighs 243.  Behind him is true FR Karl Brooks.

The tackles are Kyle Junior, probably our best defensive lineman, and Josh Croslen, who I believe is one of they key players to make or break the defense this year.  They are backed up by Nico Lautenen and DeMontage Haigler, one of last fall's JUCO transfers.

The other end is Jonah Harper, a R-SR who started in DII.  He's backed up by RFR Jordan Murphy, who has not played as of yet.

Overall, I think the line looks very light and I worry about how deep the rotation is. One note is that Brian Sanders is a Redshirt Senior who has played in the past, but does not show up on the depth chart, for whatever reason.

At LB, Brandon Harris and Kholbe Coleman are not surprises on the 1 line.  The other starter is Hassan Belton, another of the guys I think is key to having us succeed.  Belton was a highly productive JUCO LB.  Backups are RFR Jerry Roberts, RSO Jerry Judd and JUCO Eldridge Salguero.

Overall, that's not bad and actually pretty good if Belton plays the way we expect him to.  Depth isn't proven....

The backfield is interesting.  BG starts 4 RSrs and 1 JR on a backfield that, as noted above, was good against the pass last year.  (The depth chart has 5 DBS.)

As mentioned, the biggest is that Jamari Bozeman is back starting and Fred Garth is his backup.

Also newsworthy is that Clint Stephens is back starting at CB, across from Montre Gregory.  Not sure either is an all-MAC player, but they are experienced and not true FR.  Their backups are Troy transfer Jai Nunn-Liddell and Ty Redding.

The nickel back is Marcus Milton, backed up by Robert Jackson, Jr. both of who have some snaps under their belts.

The safeties are Bozeman/Garth, as mentioned, and Jerry McBride with Torrian Hampton back of him.

The back lines have the potential to be decent, if the line can hold its ground.  Tomorrow, the offense.

Monday, August 27, 2018

JInks Presser: Bozeman will Start

So Coach did his first weekly presser today as the team buckles down before the long trip to Eugene. 

Much of it was Coachspeak, but a few observations.

First, the breaking news is that Jamari Bozeman playing and will start.  This is excellent news for the defense.  More of that tomorrow in the defensive preview, but you have to admire the hard work that young man put in to get back.

Coach says we are "immensely" more talented this year.  He is placing a lot on the maturing of the players who got in last year as FR when they probably were not physically ready.  He goes through and ticks off the weight improvements of our sophomores.  And, indeed, these two recruiting classes will be the ones that pull us out if it happens.

In terms of the early season games, he wants to "show progress."  For example, BG played a good half against MSU but didn't play a good second half and ended up losing.  You'd like to see that continue to the point where BG has a chance to win in the 4th.  He put most of the pressure on the offense, saying that BG missed chances at MSU (and cited four MAC games with the same issue) and that there will need to be offensive production for BG.  (I think this is accurate.  The defense is a "work in progress" and the offense is going to need to excel for BG to have a shot at a bowl).

We have all heard that we are installing our defense even as we speak and go to Oregon with a limited playbook.  He says Pellini plays a "bend but don't break" style, which is unlike the bend and break of last year.  Actually, though, it is similar to the way Elko's defense played.  Keep guys in front of you and make them execute a bunch of plays to score, because they usually can't do that.

He expects to play FR under the new 4-game redshirt rule.  Other FR will be in more than that.  He mentioned Hargrove, Frye and Brooks...noting that they won't have to start (unlike previous years) and can be used in the right situation.

Anyway, that's about the news from the presser.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Falcon v. Duck

Heard the comment at the season ticket holder event that from a strictly aviary standpoint, you'd take a Falcon over a Duck any day.  Here's the proof.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Falcons in the NFL Camps

So, there are five (I think) Falcons in NFL camps right now.  I'd say that all of them are on the bubble, but let's review.

Teo Redding is with the Lions.  He has turned some heads with circus catches--as he did at BG--but has only 2 game catches in 2 pre-season games.  He has played 53 offensive snaps in the two games.

Roger Lewis is with the Giants and from reading various things is not a lock to make the club.  He is for 56 in pre-season.

Izaah Lunsford, Giants--hasn't generated any statistics and I can see anywhere that shows if he is getting any snaps.

For some better news....

Gehrig Dieter, 3 for 42 and 1 TD (see above)

And Ryan Hunter is getting a chance to show what he can do.  The Chiefs are having huge injury issues on the o-line and Ryan has had 98 snaps in the two games so far.  That's second on their o-line.  This not only gives him a shot in KC, but puts something on film for other teams, and he can always go to the CFL, where he was picked in the first round.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Blade: BG goes to Oregon with "Scaled Down" Defensive Playbook

Here's the story from Nick P. in the Blade about the end of camp and the start of game prep for a trip to Oregon.

Two notes.  First, the first units scrimmaged against each other on Friday, which is why the practice on Saturday was mostly the backups. 

Second, BG does not have its defense completely installed and will go to Oregon with a scaled-down playbook. 

Some thoughts on that.

This has been an ongoing refrain for the entirety of the Jinks tenure, something he has acknowledged.  When Jinks arrived, they implemented a defense that the players were not capable of executing and the result was giving up 70 twice, including one of those to Memphis.  It took them to about mid-season to recognize it, and then Coach began to talk about simplifying the scheme.

Then, a couple weeks ago Pelini talked about making us less predictable, which is a problem you would expect to have if you were running a simplified scheme.  This week's story describes the Pelini system as "complex."

I suspect that has to make you nervous.

Three things.  First, I think it shows how little the defense progressed under the previous coaching.  In two years, they are still not capable of handling more complex schemes. 

Second, I don't know if the program has the leeway to go through a process where it takes the defense 8 games to get on its feet.  I remember Clawson talking about going to Tennessee and trying to put his system in and saying something like "we would have done things differently if we knew we only had one year."  If the defense is bad, the first six games have the potential to be as ugly as the first games of the 2016 season.

Third, it has to make you concerned about the opener.  Very concerned.  According to Phil Steele, Oregon has the #12 QB in the country, the #18 RBs, and the #12 offensive line.  He projects they will average almost 40, and you have to worry where BG falls on the curve.

Last note.  We don't want to project the past onto the future.  The hope is that even with a scaled-down defense that Pelini has a game plan that can be executed and can hold the Ducks somewhat in somewhere near that projected average.  I am particularly worried about the d-line, which had question marks before and now is without its senior leader.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Scrimmage/Season Ticket Event

So, this time I was at the scrimmage and can provide some first-hand observations, such as they are.

First, though, from the part where Coach Jinks spoke after lunch.  He spoke directly about the awful summer the program had with the off-the-field issues.  You have to give him credit.  He took the issue on, accepted responsibility, said that players would be held accountable and then made a pitch that the program is headed in the right direction.

That last bit will be tested by events (or lack of events) in the future.  But, I have often said, if Coach Jinks could win some games, he's the kind of guy a fan base could really get behind.  Compare, for example, the reactions from Coach with those of, say, Art Briles, Phil get the idea.

The most important thing is that he acknowledged that the fan base doesn't accept this from our program.  We understand how difficult it is on a team, but we expect to have good representatives of our university.  And Coach said something I think is very important and often forgotten among our transient coaches...and that is that his first responsibility is to the University.  It's not about a coach or a program or a's about a University and a place we love (probably 75% of the room raised there hand when asked if they were BG alums).

OK.  Onto the field.

My wife asked me who was winning, and I said "everyone on our schedule," which is 100% just a joke because I love.

It was limited. I don't think Doege played, unless I missed him, and it was a lot of 2s and 3s for the day.

The defense had some moments, but then again they were often playing against the offensives 2s or 3s.  Brandon Harris made some big hits in the backfield.  BG really could use the help at LB and he seemed to be dominating, as you would expect in a scrimmage.

I thought Grant Loy made some nice throws and seemed to be more complete than what we saw previously.  Veasley also seemed to make some good throws, those he was hampered by the fact that our ability to protect the QB apparently does not extend to his level of the depth chart.

There was only one TD, and that was Hargroves on a long TD run.  He is definitely a dynamic player, but I don't think he was running against 1s either.

There was a lot of special teams work.  Both the punting and the placekicking were better than I expected, but the expectations were pretty low.  There were a couple of really nice punts and a couple of really low ones with terrible coverage.  BG made its XP and the only FG they tried (which was about 40 yards I think and done on a hurry-up drill).  The kickoffs were mixed, too, a couple good ones and then one or two low, short ones that would have been returned.  BG muffed a short kickoff attempt, too.

One last thing.  Before the scrimmage actually started, BG was running through a defensive drill of sorts where the LBs were in position and there were some guys acting like offensive players.  And the LBs were just walking through what their first two steps were based on certain movements of the offense.  It was super slow and repetitive.  I never saw anything like it in this kind of practice or this close to the start of the season.  It will be really interesting to see how Pelini's defense develops over the course of the year.  Nowhere to go but up.

Anyway, it was great to be back at the Doyt.  The University put on a nice event for the fans and I'm counting the days for the two weeks to go by.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

DB Sy Dabney out for season

More injury news, this one from Sy Dabney, a redshirt-FR DB from Orchard Lake, MI. You can check out his bio here.  24/7 had him as a 2-star player and he had 3 additional MAC offers.

Most importantly, best wishes to Sy for a speedy recovery.  These young men put their bodies at risk for this sport and their education, and I wish him the best as he recovers.

From a football standpoint, he wasn't on the 2-deep but BG is always looking for depth, even if it was a chance for him to get some reps for development. Best of luck to him.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Tough Job Gets Tougher for BG Defense

Tough news today from BG Football camp.  David Konowalkski will miss the entire season, based on the report from The Blade (Nick P). Really tough for him, first. He came here as a walk-on and has made himself into a real contributor on the D-line.  Best wishes to him for a total recovery.

At the same time, the news for the d-line is tough.  He was the only career senior from BG on the two-deep...the other is Jonah Harper, who is a transfer from Notre Dame College.  He made 24 starts, tied for the most on the defense.  In fact, without him the team has only two players remaining on the entire unit who have made 20+ career starts.

Anyway, a tough job gets tougher.

Turmoil at BG's Week 2 Opponent

So there's turmoil at Maryland, who BG plays at the Doyt on September 8.  DJ Durkin and the team's head trainer (Rick Court) are both on administrative leave and my guess is that Durkin won't be on the sideline when they come to BG, almost certainly from a firing if not suspension.

It's bad down there.  First, you have a dead player.  And then you have this ESPN report on the culture within the Terrapin program.   I'd read it if I were you, it's pretty chilling.  There's just a complete disregard for the safety of players.  More on that in a second.

Right now, Matt Canada is filling in as Coach.  (He once coached at NIU as OC).  So, from a competitive standpoint, Maryland might come in a little less prepared than the might have been otherwise.

There are a couple other angles to look at.  First, we all know Durkin played and coached at BG.  He was a GA for Meyer and then came back as an assistant under coach Brandon.  During the GA period, he would have crossed paths with Tim Beckman, who endured similar allegations in Illinois and is now untouchable.  He also met Rick Court at BG during the second stint at BG, based on the ESPN story.

Which brings up a rather uncomfortable truth.  All four of the people currently involved in college football scandal--Meyer, Zach Smith, Durkin and Court--all were at BG and three of them at the same time.  And then add in Beckman...

Two last things.  Note that Maryland did not take any action against Durkin and Court until ESPN exposed the toxic culture.  The player died months ago.  The administration cannot claim no responsibility for not acting sooner.  They had to know.

The other is this.  I can buy the argument that a college education is an adequate compensation for playing sports, even though the coaches are making millions.  It isn't my first choice of arguments, but I do agree that college athletes aren't being financially exploited, per se.

However, when coaches are acting with callous, reckless disregard for a player's health so those coaches can earn huge bonuses and become rich, that's something that bothers me a lot.  That is exploitation.  I understand why players aren't paid.  But they should be treated with unyielding regard for their health and safety.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Falcons Scrimmage

So, BG scrimmaged yesterday.  I wasn't there, but the media was.  Working here with Nick Piotrowickz, who may be known on this blog as "Nick P." for spelling reasons.  Anyway, he had a couple impressions worth noting.  His story is here.

The first, as noted in the headline, the offense won the day.  It is difficult to describe how important that is for BG this year.  The line seems to be stable and ready, though still young.  You have strong but young starters at QB, RB, and an all-MAC WR.  But beyond that, the skill position players are not proven. 

So when you see Quinton Morris showing something, that's pretty important.  He was injured last year or he probably would have been playing then.  As noted by The Blade, he's potential trouble in the red zone at 6'4".

Also, Nick P was impressed by Ra’veion Hargrove, who was a huge recruit for BG last year.  Coach says in the story that they don't know how they will use him, but they will need to be.

Because the defense is still developing, this offensive production is going to be important.  We're going to need to score to stay in games and if we can get leads, we can help the defense out by forcing the offense to limit their strategy. 

So all those guys, along with CJ Lamar, Denson, Pough, Phoutavong, and the transfers are going to be really important.

In MAC play last year, BG scored 31 PPG and was 7th in the MAC.  They allowed 39, which was 11th.  To have the kind of season we frankly need, it needs to reverse and then some.  Ohio, for example, was +12.  UT was +17.  NIU was +11.  Buffalo was +4.  (Those are per game numbers).

So, BG gets to 39 on offense and 35 on're at least getting near to .500. 

The defense?  Well, Nick P noted that the defense is still learning the schemes.  We are trying to be less predictable this year, which means more sets and more options.  Those of you who have been around here a while know that the previous defensive regime started that way and then was forced to continually "simplify" the schemes so they players could execute them. 

Nick P also mentioned that Jinks didn't seem worried about the defense.  I will note that he didn't seem worried before we gave up 39 a game either.

And that brings us to the last issue with yesterday's scrimmage.  The offensive did look productive, I believe that.  You just have to remember they were playing against a defense that hasn't learned its schemes yet and has a lot of new and untested players.  Honestly, they might not play against an easier opponent this year. 

On the other hand, last year the defense was winning some scrimmages.

I do expect the offense to be better, but we're going to need to see them score in a more projectible situation before we're sure what we have.

Friday, August 03, 2018

Roster and Depth Chart Are Out

Nothing like seeing something in black and white.  The BG roster and depth chart are out and I think it points up why it is rational to think this team is going to be 5th in the East.  On paper, I'm not sure we aren't worse than in 2016, but that's going to play itself out on the field.

First, I looked at the roster and a couple of the expected players are not listed, which doesn't always mean anything.  We can let that play out for a while and see who hits the field at Oregon.  (Update: two players from the December class--Onyx Smith and Devin Ruffin--are not here for camp).

Second, though...the depth chart.  Man, I'll tell you something, on paper it looks pretty rough.  I don't see the team practice so I don't know what's going on out there, but I will say that the two-deep is peppered with guys who have never performed at the level they are being placed in.  Maybe they can, but there are a lot of unknowns.

Looking at it, you can see why Coach was calling out the O-line, because it is the most proven of probably any position group on the field.

Just to run through it:

Obviously, the staff likes Doege and there appeared to be a lot to like last year in his short trial.  However, it is thin behind him.

Similarly, Andrew Clair is a quality player, but the #2 RB has been here three years and never stepped onto the field.

And at WR, where Coach said last year you need 8 playable guys, BG has one proven performer, one guy with 7 starts...but also a True FR, a JUCO and a transfer from UC who DNP last year.  (Quintin Morris will be a key.  He had injuries last year but is considered to have high upside).

The TE is a converted defensive player and then a JUCO QB.

Overall, the offense has only 2 players with 10+ starts.

On defense, the story is very similar.  Pelini has an excellent opportunity to show the difference he can make here.

For example, on the DL, where deep rotations are common, you have Roland Walder at DE who was supposed to be a LB, a late JUCO player, a starting DE who started his career at Notre Dame College, etc.  Beyond Konowalski, the D-L has 7 starts in the remainder of the rotation.  Brian Sanders--who has played--is not listed.

At LB, we have a Rhode Island transfer backing up, a JUCO starter and only five unique players listed period--Brandon Harris is listed as a starter and a backup.

The DBs are all familiar names, but collectively show no proven big playmakers.  Jamari Bozeman is still recovering from his injury and is not listed.

Finally, the K and P are both question marks.

Well, as the Coaches always say, this is who we have.  Again, I don't see them practice, so maybe they aren't as big unknowns as I fear.  The early part of BG's schedule is tough.  Going to be interesting...we'll hope the turnaround is in the cards.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Men's Basketball Schedule Released

Ok, so the men's basketball schedule is out.

Brief basketball interlude.

Let's take a look.

First, we have two non-D1 games.  I'd prefer we play only one, but this is the way they way things seem to roll now and, in fact, I think teams in the MAC are playing that many or more.  Plus, both of BG's non-D1 opponents are D2, as in not D3 or not NAIA.  Also, BG nearly lost to D2 Lake Erie College last year.  Tiffin was 7-21 last year.  Findlay was 28-5, nearly beat Toledo last year, made the NCAA Midwest Regional final...and frankly could easily beat BG, though I have no idea what they lost or have back.

Moving on.

So, the first two games are tough.  You start @St. John's, who finished with a #74 kenpom and they are obviously one of the classic programs in CBB history.  Then, @VCU, a very tough place to win, though they were 18-15 last year. 

Next, BG has two MEAC games in a row.  Back at the Stroh for BG's D1 home opener against North Carolina Central, which you certainly hope is one you can win.  Hampton is at Calihan Hall, neutral court and also one you'd like to win, though they finished with a 250 Kenpom.

BG's next game would be against Detroit or Loyola MD (no, not that Loyola), both of which were among the 300 lowest ranked teams in D1 last year.

BG returns home to play Drexel, who was #251 last year.  Then, it is back on the road to play Hartford (215) and Cleveland State (300).

Then, the non-conference season ends with a four-game homestand.  You start with Green Bay, who beat BG in OT at the Stroh, then you have Findlay, then Western Carolina (302) and Tennessee-Martin at 294.

In the MAC, BG's double-crossover games are CMU and WMU, which could be worse.  Toledo game is at BG.

Overall, I suspect this schedule is just about as easy as our previous schedules.  As always, there are no P5 teams and St. John's is the only team from a major conference.  It might be easier.