Sunday, September 30, 2018

Past and Future Opponent Land

Oregon  (4-1)  Won 42-24 at Cal
Maryland (3-1) Way off
EKU (2-2) Also off
Miami (2-3) Lost to WMU 40-39 in Oxford
Georgia Tech (2-3) NA
Toledo (2-2) Lost at Fresno State
WMU (3-2) Beat Miami
Ohio (2-2) Won 58-42 agains UMass
Kent (1-4) lost 52-24 to Ball State
CMU (1-4) Lost to MSU
Akron (2-1) BYE
Buffalo (4-1) Lost tough one to Army in Buffalo

MAC vs. P5:  3-20
MAC vs.  FCS:  10-0
MAC vs Group of 5:  4-6
East vs. West:  2-1 West

Sadness Accrues: Guarantee Games

Here's a really interesting story about how BG ended up playing Georgia Tech at all.  Interestingly, this is how we got that Notre Dame game.

Moosbrugger was resistant.  He thought we could get to Notre Dame anyway and we don't want to prepare for the Tech attack.

Here's the key quote:

“But we needed Bowling Green to save the college football world and let Notre Dame and Michigan have their series,” Moosbrugger said, tongue-in-cheek, “and Georgia Tech and Bowling Green, we made it happen.”

There's an old African saying that when elephants fight, the grass suffers.  Well, when Michigan and Notre Dame need dates, Bowling Green suffers and in this case suffers a lot.

I will say this. Maybe the hardest thing about mid-major programs, and ours in particular, is the need to play these guarantee games.  Earlier this year in a Blade story, David Briggs made the point that BG has to play these games "to keep the lights on" in the athletic department.  Moos said this:

“Am I comfortable with it?” BG athletic director Bob Moosbrugger said. “I’m very uneasy about it. ... We put a lot on the shoulders of our football program.”

So, just for a moment, think about the physical beatings our young men take in these games, something we send them out to do because we need the money to keep the whole department afloat.  It makes me uneasy too.

And then you start to think about spending $800K to buy a coach out in a time when you're playing games like this just to make your nut?  Just making a point...the decisions being made here are a lot more complicated than they might seem.  In many cases, we are choosing among the best of all bad options.

For comparison, every team except for NIU and Miami played one non-FBS opponent.  Here are the number of P5 opponents played by each school.  Note:  BYU is counted as not P5 for this purpose.

P5 Opponents
Akron 3
BG 3
Kent 3
Ball State 2
Buffalo 1
Miami 1
Ohio 1
UT 1

Five teams played all their non-FCS non-conference games against P5 teams.  Five played only 1.  That's a pretty big difference.  Among the five playing 1 game, they include four of the richer teams in the MAC.  EMU is the clear outlier here, not sure how that happened, although they are currently embroiled in a Title IX lawsuit over sports being dropped.

Anyway, this is a tough time to be where we are.  The only long-term solution is to better develop our donor base, which we are counting on Moos to do.  Even that probably has a ceiling.  Anyway, I just think this provides some perspective on what the administration is facing.  On the football side of it, there's no question in my mind what needs to happen, but decisions aren't made in a vacuum.

People are pointing at Gary Anderson at Oregon State, who resigned and canceled his contract, forgoing any buy-out.  That's wishful thinking in my mind.  We made a deal--and not a good one--and Jinks has lived up to his end and he has a right to ask us to live up to our end.  If he gets fired for losing, he gets paid.

Last thought.  People talk about going to FCS.  But if we did that, the rest of the athletic department would suffer because we would no longer have access to this revenue source.  In a way, we're trapped in FBS.

Sadness Accrues: Wrecked

Everything in Atlanta went pretty much how you would expect.  Which is the saddest thing about it, really.  We had very low expectations and we met them, losing 63-17 to Georgia Tech.

As Coach said in the post-game, Georgia Tech did exactly what we expected them to do and the Falcons were unable to find any kind of response.  Georgia Tech scored a touchdown on every possession until their final one, moving flawlessly through the BG defense, which has trouble stopping a typical running attack and had no shot against the Yellow Jackets.

Georgia Tech ran the ball 49 times for 372 yards, an average of 7.6 yards per rush.  For good measure, they completed 5 of 7 passes for 160 yards.  That all totals out to an astounding 9.5 yards per offensive play. 

Simple as this.  We expected not to be able to stop them and we were 100% right.  Coach said it was a combination of poor tackling and sometimes having two guys in the space (which is the key) but both of them covering the same man.

BG played o-lineman Tim Blair on the defensive side of the ball to try and get some size in the middle of the line to help block the dive part of the triple option.  Depending on how the film looks, that could continue.

The offense again showed some promise, but was nowhere near good enough to turn the game into a shootout, which was really the only chance and is the only chance right now.  That's going to become really important in the @Toledo, WMU and @OU stretch upcoming.  All three teams are showing big attacks but some liabilities on defense.  If the Falcons lose all three, they have no shot at finishing 6-6.

The key issue is and was the line.  Doege was only sacked twice and once on a bad snap that he mishandled.   However, they were playing with a limited playbook.  They were working the short passing game with short drops to try and get Doege time.  Also, it didn't seem like Tech brought a lot of pressure in the first half, but maybe I mis-saw that.

The running game was another matter.  Even if you add the sacks back in, BG had 2.4 yards per carry on the ground.  Neither Denley or Clair was able to get anything going at all.  Rico Frye and Hargrove did better, but in general BG had no success running the ball.  The team's long run was 14 yards.

BG's starting line appeared the same, with the exception of Derek Downs starting at LT.  Lorenzo Taborn was a DNP.

BG had three turnovers.  Doege threw a pick in the end zone, and then was picked and fumbled on plays where he was under siege.  Both of those last two ended up in the end zone.

When he was throwing, Doege had a good day.  He completed 61% of his passes for 11 yards per completion, which is a pretty good place to be. 

He found Scotty Miller 10 times for 117, which is what needs to happen.  Wayne-Prather also had 7 catches for 70--he had only 2 coming in.  He spread the rest of the catches around pretty effectively.

Doege is a guy who can succeed in the MAC.  Right now, he's getting no support from the run game and no time to throw and he's still getting some production.

In the post-game, John Gibson said that he thought BG would abandon the run in the future and attempt to live by the pass.  It would be hard to argue with that idea, that's for sure.  Coach has intimated the same thing as well. 

Here's the thing with that.  It points to an ongoing issue for Coach Jinks that has not seemed to get better, and that's his ability to evaluate his players.

After Year One, he conceded that he didn't evaluate players effectively and set the team up for dramatic failure in the early games.  Thing is, same thing is happening now.  Coming in to the year, we expected to have a good line and a strong running game, which was going to be our identity.  Now, four games in, he's talking about being a passing team...and that we aren't getting the line play we need right now, or close.

Gibson mentioned that Doege isn't a game manager.  I think that was a really good point.  He seems to get into a rhythm and can be very effective but might be less effective when the run is setting up the pass.

Making things more difficult, Deric Phoutavong left the game with what looked like a serious injury and Quinton Morris took what looked to be a shot in the head but the TV reporter said it was a rib injury.  Lastly, Andrew Clair was having leg issues and didn't play much of the game.

Coach was asked about Phoutavong and said "we'll see."

Anyway, conference play begins in earnest with the rivalry game on Saturday.  It has hardly been a rivalry over the past few years, with the Rockets on a long winning streak.  I'll say this....for job security, this would be a great week for BG to exceed expectations and pull off what would be one of the bigger upsets in the series history. 

The next three are really tough and, as noted, against teams that are moving the ball.  However, they can also be scored against.  Conference play is ruthless.  Teams will put pressure on our line and on Doege.  We need to at least force them to blitz so that there's some open field for the short patterns.  The Falcons simply must find a way to protect Doege to have even a shot in the next three weeks.  If they do, we can move the ball and I think even open up some running lanes.  If not, it will be tough to score enough to win.

Friday, September 28, 2018

25 Questions that Wreck

What is their body of work?

The Ramblin Wreck
Paul Johnson has coached there for 12 years.  They have won 11 games twice and had a losing record only twice.  This year could be the third.  They are 1-3, with a win over Alcorn State and losses to South Florida, Pitt and Clemson. 

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

They have 26 which is a pretty good number.

Who are their statistical leaders?

TaQuon Marshall is #12 in rushing TDs.
Malik Rivera is #10 in INT.

What is their turnover ratio?

They are -2 with 9 turnovers to date.


Quick overview.  This is a triple-option, run-oriented team.  We haven't played anyone like this since Georgia Southern.

How is their QB play?

Well, I think he's really good at doing what they want him to do.  He's their leading rusher.  However, he throws only about 14 passes a game, but when he goes complete them they go for 15 yards per completion. Last season, he set the school record for rushing yards by a QB and had the 12th best rushing season in school history.

What was their scoring and yards per play?

They are not getting what they want on offense, that's for sure.  They are averaging 6.1 yards per play, which is 51st in the country, but only 29.8 PPG in terms of scoring.

Can they run the ball?

At 5.9 per rush, they are #14 in the nation.  They are ahead of the other option teams (the service academies, for example) on this measure.

Do they pass the ball?

Not very much.  However, they will throw it when they get you rushing to the ball.  As mentioned, they throw about 14 passes per game and complete 43% of them.  However, they are #16 in the nation in yards per completion.

How is their run/pass balance?

They run on 77% of their plays.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

They are poor on third down at 37%

Did they score in the red zone?

They are also poor in the redzone at 4.8 points per trip.  They have five whiffs in 18 trips.

Did they protect the quarterback?

No.  They give up sacks on 10.6% of their passing attempts.

Ironic.  A forward pass.

Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

So.  That's the bad part.  Now, they have struggled on defense.  They allow 31 PPG which is 93rd and 5.6 yards per play, which is the 80s somewhere.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They do not.  They are 103rd in the nation with 4.9 yards per carry.

Can they be passed on?

Well, its better.  They are 73rd in the nation in pass efficiency defense.  They allow 66% completions at 9.9 yards per completion...which shows passes completed but hear the line of scrimmage.

Did they get off the field on 3rd down?

They are not great, at 42%.

Do they defend in the red zone?

No.  They allow 6.1 points per trip.

Did they pressure the QB?

No.  They get sacks on 3.6% of their pass defenses.

Special Teams:

Bobby Dodd

Their net punting is 51st in the nation.  He gets good distance, but gives up 11 yards per return.

Punt Return?

They average 9 a return for 7 returns, which is pretty good.


He's 1-3 with two misses over 50.  He was 5-6 last year.  Career long of 42.  They have 10 4th down attempts as a team


They are awful...opponents start on their 32.  They give up the 2nd highest return yards in the nation.

Kickoff Return?

They start on their 25 like civilized people.

Nattily-attired alum
Bobby Jones
So, honestly.  If you had one team you would not want to play with our team right now, it would be Georgia Tech.  They play a style that on paper appears to be the worst matchup possible for the Falcons, one of the 3 worst rush defenses in the country.  It just has the potential to be really bad.

Coach sounded confident about defending the option, but I think that was more for his guys.  BG is tackling poorly and those missed tackles are often 5 yards upfield anyway.  If they don't play sound football, Georgia Tech will run wild.  In particular, GT features a running QB, which has been deadly to BG.

Every week we say that BG can help that by keeping the offense on the field.  Georgia Tech is not a great defense, but BG will need to run and pass the ball effectively.  This week Coach says we're going to be a passing team to set up the run...but none of it will work if the offensive line doesn't win more battles up front.

This is a tough one.  You have a team that is having no success making a trip like this into humid, 85 degree weather.  We'll keep our fingers crossed that maybe we get a couple breaks and can actually move the ball enough to stay in the game.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Jinks Presser 2

There was a little bit of actual news in the Jinks presser.  He was asked about the offensive line and he said that there would be a couple changes on the offensive line.  It will be interesting to see which it is.  He said that BG had trouble with Miami having a different defensive front than we had been seeing and noted specifically that the issues were with the guards, so if I had to guess that's where you will see the changes.

There was no discussion of Lorenzo Taborn's injury.

I'm not sure I understand why we can't prepare our offensive line--which is supposed to be pretty good--for a different front.

Also, while there was considerable talk about difficulty with pass protection, Coach Jinks said he was drawing the conclusion that BG was going to need to be a pass-first team without anyone wondering if the offensive line was also poor at run blocking.

He said that BG has good scheme fits on defense, so he isn't as worried about the Georgia Tech run offense as you might think.

Anyway, that's pretty much it.  So it goes.

Jinks Presser: The Right Guy

So, in today's presser, Coach was asked the above for the very last question by Jordan Strack.  It was a very fair question and Coach answered how you would expect.  For my money, I didn't feel like he brought the swagger that he usually does...see his response last year to whether the fans should be frustrated...but maybe that's just me.  He seemed to be reacting to the pressure more than he did before.  And frankly, he seemed to focus on why it could be done and not why we should think he could do it.

Still, he can't say anything else.  And I do think he believes it.  That's not all it takes, however.  There are people who believe the earth is flat, too.

I had a whole post on this.  I decided not to go through the thing line by line.  You can't compare his track record to Leipold's, for example.  Leipold was also 6-6 in year 3.  Recruiting this year looks not so good right now.  Etc.

Ultimately, it comes down to this.  I don't think most of the fanbase was ever convinced that Jinks was prepared for the job and he's provided no reason to think otherwise.  We understand it can be done, but whether he can do it is the question.

Recruiting rankings are nice, but they don't count as an actual result.  The results on the field have shown no improvement at all and even have taken a step back, by Jinks' own words.

The university has been patient with Jinks.  Actual progress needs to be logged before you can believe he's the right guy.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Past and Future Opponent Land

Oregon  (3-1)  Lost heartbreaker to Stanford
Maryland (3-1) Smoked Minnesota
EKU (2-2) Beat Southeast Missouri State
Miami (1-3) NA
Georgia Tech (1-3) Lost 49-21 to Clemson
Toledo (2-1) Beat Nevada
WMU (2-2) Destroyed Georgia State
Ohio (1-2) Lost heartbreaker to UC.  Ended game on Bearcat 1
Kent (1-3) lost to Mississippi
CMU (1-3) Beat Maine 17-5
Akron (2-1) List to Iowa State played tough before losing
Buffalo (4-0) Beat Rutgers 42-13 on the road

MAC vs. P5:  3-18
MAC vs.  FCS:  10-0
MAC vs Group of 5:  3-4
East vs. West:  1-0, East

Sadness Accrues: Final

Not much more to say, just one thing really.

Last year, in the midst of the team's struggles, Coach Jinks gave a pretty good speech about how we expected the fans to be upset because the opposite side of the coin is apathy, and that's a program killer.

We struggle with keeping our fan base engaged on a good day.  I'm afraid we are going to see some real apathy in the weeks coming up.  And then I think about what happens if we end up living through the end of this contract.

The photo above was at the BEGINNING of the game.  The announced crowd was 14K but I'd be surprised if bodies in the seats was anywhere near 10,000.  The upper right of the frame is the student section.

Here's how it looked at the end.

I stayed until the end of the game, mostly to make a point.  We may not have a large number of steadfast fans, but we are the only permanent presence of the program.  Coaches come and go. ADs come and go.  We're the ones who stay.

BG did their senior day on Saturday, which is unusual.  Normally, it is the last game of the know, their actual last game.  My understanding is that it was moved up because it is hard for some of the parents to make the weeknight game that will be the last game and that doing senior day in the dark in front of almost completely empty stands isn't the best way to honor your seniors.

Some of us have been saying exactly that about the night games for a long time.  I thought they could just face the east side but apparently not.

Sadness Accrues: The Defense

I think most people are talking about the offense today because they had some expectations for the offense.  The defense has played as advertised on the tin:  ineffectively.

Miami scored 31 points in its first three games and scored 38 Saturday.  Miami came into the game with the 126th ranked rushing attack (out of 129) in FBS.  And BG had the worst rushing defense.  So when the unmovable force meets the moveable object, what happens?

Yesterday, the force moved.  Miami entered the game with 237 rushing yards over three games.  Their season high was 91.  Against BG, they had 289 yards, at 5.6 per carry.   They had 2 runs over 30.  Miami entered the game as a team unable to run the ball and they ran the ball at will against BG.

They completed only 10 passes for 119 yards.  But six of those were for first downs and 2 were for touchdowns (they double count).  Five of their 10 completions turned into 3rd down conversions.  Overall, Miami had 6.1 yards per play.

It's tough to even comment much more on it.  BG's d-line simply cannot hold up and the tackling is terrible.  Coach said the poor tackling was a "want to" problem, which is equally discouraging if not surprising.  Our next four opponents are way better on offense than this one was and they are all willing to run the ball the whole way.

BG is 115th in total defense, 118th in 3rd down defense, 129th in rushing defense, 128th in scoring defense and 106th in pass efficiency defense.  We are 127th in yards per carry allowed. (The Miami game actually brought our average down).  We are 123rd in yards per play allowed.  Those are all out of 129.

We hope to see progress because we have some confidence in who is doing the coaching.  It's not going to be easy because people get confidence from success and the defense is just not having any. 

BG Verbal Mike Love Re-Opens Recruiting

Back in June, Michael Love, a Chicago-area RB announced his commitment to BG.  A few days ago he announced that he would be re-opening that commitment, though BG remains an option.

I respect his decision.  This is one of the most important decisions he will make in his life and he has to be sure he got it right.  Best of luck to him.

Sadness Accrues: The offense

So, to review the awful day yesterday at the Doyt, starting with the offense.

This is where the biggest issue is in most people's view.  We expected to stink on defense, but the thought was that the offense was going to be ready to go and would at least open the possibility of winning some shoot out games.

With 9 minutes left in the game yesterday, BG was down 31-3.

The offense was completely ineffective.  Don't let those late drives against the Miami reserves fool you...Coach Jinks wasn't...the BG offense did not get it done.  It's incredibly disappointing.

The problems are starting right where they have a tendency to start, which is on the line.  BG's offensive line was simply dominated by the RedHawks as they were by Eastern Kentucky.  Lorenzo Taborn did not play due to an injury and was replaced by Derek Downs, but Coach said after the game that the problems were up and down the line.

One result of that was that BG had little to no room to run.  For the second straight week, BG has failed to develop a running game against competition where they should be able to make it happen.  Andrew Clair had 16 carries for 37 yards net....but he gained 51 and lost 14.  BG's rushing stats were magnified by the 4th Q a little bit, but BG does not have the running game they expected to have when the season started.  BG's long run was 12 yards.

The other result was that Doege was "under siege" the entire night.  He was sacked five times and hurried 6 times, which is 11 times in 50 dropbacks.  And it doesn't count being chased from the pocket, etc and the ratio would have been higher over the first three quarters.  The offensive line gave Doege no time to throw.  I also think he has a tendency to hold onto the ball too long, but there was a lot of pressure and he took some shots and eventually ended up looking pretty disoriented.

So, what's going on?

Coach was very frustrated after the game in his o-line.  This was supposed to be a position of strength and before the year Coach said it was the deepest position on the team.  He intimated on Saturday that they are going to have to examine the personnel being used before heading into the next stretch of schedule, which is considerably tougher.

He also acknowledged that BG would need to look at what they were doing from a scheme standpoint.  “We’ve got to look at what we’re doing from a scheme standpoint, because we have too much talent from an offensive standpoint to have a performance like that.”

I might just jump in here and indicate that to date that parts of that "talent" have been measured in recruiting ratings, but let's grant the point...because we certainly have more talent than to have 3 against Miami.

Here's the thing.  Jinks is supposed to be an offensive guru.  That was the calling card.  He's got the QB he wanted and has recruited almost all the playmakers.  And we're addressing scheme now, after going 1-3?  Shouldn't we be able to have a good scheme going into this?

Also...BG ran off all the Jinks assistants on the defensive side of the ball, but his assistants are still here on the offensive side of the ball.  That includes the line coach, the receivers coach and the co-offensive coordinators, only one of whom (Padron) had been a college assistant before coming to BG.  The RB coach was moved over from defense.  I think you have to wonder up and down the line whether we are getting the schematic and player development coaching that we need on offense.

Coach said that one of the things we could have done was upped the pace against Miami, force them to keep the d-lineman in there and maybe take the starch out of their rush.  Which is how we were playing when Coach got here. 

Anyway, it's hard to get your arms around making adjustments like these so early in the year and you also have to wonder about the player evaluations that were done over the spring and fall...which was an issue in year 1 too.

A couple good things.  Rico Frye is an effective RB and shows promise.  Also, Deric Phoutavong has developed into a reliable WR in his last season.

Scotty Miller was absent most of the game until the garbage time drives.  I assume that's Miami working to take him away but he might not have been at 100% either.

The problem is that BG now goes @Georgia Tech, @Toledo, WMU and @Ohio.  The opportunity to have yourself set and rolling came about 3 pm yesterday.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Sadness Accrues: Overview

Well, there's really nowhere to hide now.

You could say that Oregon and Maryland were full of first round draft picks.  You could say that Eastern Kentucky was better than thought and full of FBS transfers and that the Falcons did eventually win.

After today, there's nowhere left to go.  What BG has right now is a really bad football team.

This was a team in our conference.   A team we are supposed to compete with.  A team we beat last year.  A winless team who couldn't run the ball in its opening games.  A team without its best player.

This was a true test, if not a favorable test.  And, when you look at the schedule, a game you had to have.

So, it was all set up for the team to show what they had--that they are "close" to turning the corner, in Coach's word.

What we saw was the opposite.  What we saw was what we feared.

Miami owned the Falcons at the Doyt.  There's no other word for it.  They ran for more yards than they had in their three previous games.  They dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.  It was 31-3 with 9 minutes left to play.

Even Coach was saying in the post-game that you shouldn't be deceived by the last scoring flurry that got the score to 38-23 at the end.  BG's #1 offense was going against Miami's #2 defense.  The last score was a hail mary underthrown by 10 yards and literally tipped it backwards for a BG TD.  Anyway, don't be fooled.  BG was destroyed in this one.

Coach was asked if we were going to practice tackling.  He said that it is a "want to" problem.  And that we have to "get out of our own way."

Those are not great things to be saying in the third year of your program when you are 7-21. 

A lot of people wanted Coach gone in year 1.  A generous contract ensured he was kept around.  So you hope to see improvement, and that is something you are not getting.  In fact, the program continues to slide.

I don't know what is going to happen with that.  I expect Jinks to finish the season, but nothing would shock me right now.

When we have "want to" issues and continue to make mistakes, you have to look at the program leadership.

Anyway, the results now speak for themselves without ambiguity.  BG is a really bad football team right now.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

25 Whammy questions

Remember the 70's
What is their body of work?

So, in historic terms, Miami is one of the traditional powers in the MAC.  Over the last 10 years, they were in the bottom three for record.  Two years ago, they started 0-6 and things looked really bad, but then they won their last 6 and made a bowl game.  Things were looked up for last year, but Ragland was injured and they fell backwards.  This year was really supposed to be the year--they were on Phil Steele's Most Improved Team list.  And this year is not off to a good start, at 0-3, massive injuries and only 3 points in the last 2 games. 

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

They are very experienced.  Phil Steele had them ranked #7 in terms of experience.  They have 30 upperclassmen on the two-deep, based on their published two-deep.

Who are their statistical leaders?

De'Andre Montgomery is #20 in the nation in tackles.

What is their turnover ratio?

They are -2.


How is their QB play expected to be?

Well, it was supposed to be pretty good.  Gus Ragland is a 5th-year senior who is among the top QBs in the MAC.  He's struggling this year, at #9 in the MAC and #106 in the country in efficiency.  He's completed only 54% with 3 TD over 2 INT and 10.4 yards per reception.  He's mostly a passing QB.

What was their scoring and yards per play?

They are really struggling.  They are scoring 10 PPG and 4.5 yards per play.  That's last in scoring and 123rd in yards per play.  (BG is actually even lower).

Can they run the ball?

They are really struggling, at 3.1 yards per carry.  That's 126th in the nation.  They've rotated a bunch of guys through, and no one has carried very much.

Do they pass the ball?

Well, as noted, their QB play has not been as expected.  Further, their All-MAC 1st team WR Andrew Gardner is out for the season.

How is their run/pass balance?

No, they have run on only 40% of their overall plays.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

Not good at 35%. 

Did they score in the red zone?

They average 5.2 points per trip, which is good, but they have only 6 redzone trips in 3 games.

Did they protect the quarterback?

Yes, they do.  They've only given up sacks on 2.7% of their pass attempts.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

They are allowing 27 PPG and only 4.7 yards per play.  The scoring is just average but the yards per play is #34 in FBS.

Do they defend the run effectively?

That's a very good question.  They do.  This is going to be the game's key confrontation.  They allow only 3.6 yards per carry and BG has struggled to run the ball.  The o-line is going to need to win some battles to open some space.

Can they be passed on?

Yes, they are #94 in passing efficiency defense.  They allow almost 60% completions at 11.2 per completion and 6 TDs and 1 INT.

Did they get off the field on 3rd down?

They are not great, at 42%.

Do they defend in the red zone?

No.  They allow 5.8 points per trip.

Did they pressure the QB?

Not bad.  They get sacks on 6.3% of their pass defenses.

Special Teams:


Their net is 38 per punt, which is pretty average.  They are getting excellent yardage, but have given up 7 returns for 11 yards per.  Also his name is Kyle Kramer and BG used to have a d-back named Kyle Kramer.

Punt Return?

They have a good player back there, but he only has 5 returns for 22 yards.


He made his only FG at 37 yards this year.  Overall, he is 14 of 20 with a 45 long.


Not bad.  Teams start on the 24.

Kickoff Return?

They start on their 24.

First, this Miami is the craziest thing going.  From the game where Don Nehlen forgot what down it was to the mud bowl to the fog game to the fumble last year....this series just brings crazy shit and its usually bad for BG.  In fact, Miami has won 6 of the last 7 games at the Doyt.

Both teams need a win badly.  That's going to make for a spirited contest, I suspect. 

Things to watch for include whether BG's defense can stop Miami's weak running attack and whether BG can move the ball against Miami's defense, which is not bad.

Last year's game was crazy.  BG had all but lost the game when Miami tried a trick play near the goal line and fumbled.  BG then did the only thing that could have kept Miami in the game by returning the fumble for a score and then Miami almost came down and tied the game anyway.

With the injury issues at Miami--along with their offensive struggles--you'd like to think BG will get the win and get to 2-2.  Somewhere in Oxford someone is having the same exact thought.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Final Thoughts

One or two last things.'

First, I wonder how about the heat yesterday impacted the game.  We sit on the west side, in the same shade as the EKU players.  When we went down for halftime, it was 20 degrees hotter in the sun--where our bench was.  Also, as always, the east side looks directly into the sun.  Has to have been an issue, don't know how much.

Nice crowd, announced at more than for the Indiana  Maryland game.  Beautiful day...too bad it wasn't that way the week before.  As always, there's a slow attrition as the game goes on, starting after the band show and continuing through the game, even for a close game.  You just don't have a lot of fans truly engaged in the result.  I don't know how to change that.

I will say this.  The crowd was hungry for a win and reacted with excitement, regardless of who we were playing.

One issue is that the game proceeds at a glacial pace inside the stadium.  That's nobody's fault, but the TV and the replays just grind the game along.  It isn't as bad on TV, but it makes for a long day at the stadium and I'm sure has something to do with the attrition.

Last thing.  Special teams were a big question mark coming into the year--kicking in particular.  BG's punting hasn't been great but has been generally acceptable, and the placekicking has been as good as it needs to be.  Needham made his only FG attempt and all his XPs and I don't think we've been forcing fourth downs like we did in Jinks I.

We gave up a big KOR and had one OB against EKU, but the kickoff and punt coverage has been good and there was a turnover netted.  Teams average starting from kickoffs on the 22.  That part of the team has been better than expected.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Past and Future Opponent Land

Oregon  (3-0)  Beat San Jose State 35-22
Maryland (2-1) Lost 35-14 to Temple
EKU (1-2) NA
Miami (0-3)  Lost 26-3 to Minnesota.  Have scored 3 points in last 2 weeks.
Georgia Tech (1-2) Lost 24-19 to Pitt
Toledo (1-1) Lost to University of Miami
WMU (1-2) Destroyed Delaware State
Ohio (1-1) Lost 41-35 to Virginia
Kent (1-2) lost 63-10 to Penn State
CMU (0-3) Lost to NIU 24-16
Akron (2-0) Beat Northwestern in Evanston
Buffalo (3-0) Beat EMU 35-28

MAC vs. P5:  2-15
MAC vs.  FCS:  9-0
MAC vs Group of 5:  1-2
East vs. West:  1-0, East

James Morgan threw 2 TD passes to lead FIU over UMass.

Sweet Victory: The Offense

Now, to take a look at the offense.  Much like the defense, this was our first opportunity to look at the offense against someone they should be able to handle.

They did well, but I would submit that they are not at the level advertised.  We were kind of expecting a high-flying offense, mixing run and pass and darting down the field, putting pressure on the other team's offenses, forcing them out of the run, etc.  We haven't had that offense yet.

Yes, they scored 42 points.  However, that benefitted from two short fields on turnovers.  Against EKU, BG averaged 4.8 yards per play, a full yard less than they averaged in MAC games last year.  That's not where it needs to be if the plan is to outscore the opponent.

The biggest issue is that BG is not running the ball effectively.  BG had 4.2 yards per carry, sacks adjusted.  Last year in MAC play BG averaged nearly 5 per carry.  Coach said in the presser before the EKU game that he expected more out of the line, and from the way I saw it the line did not win enough battles at the line Saturday.  BG often had very little room to run, the line of scrimmage was often not moved at all, etc. 

Again, this was a line BG should have been able to handle.  The o-line play is going to have to open up more holes for BG's rush offense to get going and then open up matchups for the pass game.

Speaking of which.  Scotty Miller didn't play at all, first of all.  Here's the thing.  Doege had pretty good numbers.  He completed 72% of his passes and had 4 TDs over 1 pick.  However, BG had only 9 yards per completion, which is sort of a ball-control passing attack, but not the shock and awe stuff we thought we were going to get.

I guess I would just say this.  If you thought SO Jarett Doege was going to be SO Matt Johnson...he's not there yet.  First, Matt Johnson was a redshirt sophomore.  But, Doege still has a lot of room to improve.  He threw a pick where he tried to be Brett Farve and actually got away with something similar two other times.  He didn't see a WR receiver on a perfectly-executed flea flicker.  He tends to hold onto the ball too long.

I don't mean to be critical.  He's clearly effective.  But he can be better and BG will need him to be.

One last note.  With Hargrove out in the concussion protocol, BG brought true FR Rico Frye up and he was effective.  He carried 7 times for 37 yards and was getting carries while BG was trying to run the clock out.  He certainly looked good.  What's exciting is that with the new rules, BG can use him in 3 other games and still redshirt him.

Sweet Victory: The Defense

EKU ran the ball 56 times and passed it 21.  They were in the game until the last play while completing only six passes.


BG cannot stop the run.  Until they do, there's no reason for anyone to pass the ball against them.  When a reporter asked Coach if team would take that exact strategy, his answer was "wouldn't you?"

Yes, you would.  No exaggeration.  If BG doesn't figure out how to stop the run, they could lose them all from here on in.  All these midwestern MAC boys would like to buckle it up and plow a team over, maybe except Kent.  I'm not saying that will happen or I expect it to happen, but until BG figures out how to stop the run, they are at risk of not being anybody. (More on the offense in another post, but we're also not in win-the-shootout territory, either).

Also, just for our own mental health we can forget that we play Georgia Tech for the moment.

Coach said that BG's issue is tackling.  His claim is that the players are getting into the right position and filling the right gaps and just not executing the tackles.  I don't know which way I would prefer it.  Coaches have said it is hard to adjust tackling during the season.  (Clawson used to testily say "they know how to tackle" when asked this question.)

For my money, it did seem to me on a couple of their long runs we did have them hemmed in until someone took a bad angle and McCleskey was good enough to make one miss into big yardage.  Anyway, it will need to get fixed.  Prior to this game, we were able to talk about all the NFL players on the other side of the ball from us.  Not so with EKU.  Most, if not all, of the offenses we face from here on in will be better.

If you reverse out the sacks, EKU had 7.2 yards per rush.  They had 7 guys run the ball and only one averaged less than 5 yards per carry.  They had precisely zero negative yard rushes, sacks excluded.  They made 18 rushing first downs.  It was no contest.

From the start, the defense was going to be a struggle and injuries have made it worse.  As tough as it is, for the program to advance this year they are going to need to improve and be good enough to win, at least, by Saturday.

The defense does have promising players.  Karl Brooks is playing as a true FR and was a late signee and even missed part of fall camp.  He had 9 tackles, a sack and two hurries.  Jerry McBride is a junior and seemed to be in the Belton spot and led the team in tackles.  He's a junior.  Khole Abrams-Coleman had 10 tackles, forced a fumble and recovered it.  He's a true SO.  Kyle Junior is a stalwart.  Roland Walder seems to have some upside, too.

There is promise and we have proven defensive coaches.  Now they have to do something very difficult, which is turn around a floundering ship in stormy seas.

Sweet Victory: The Overview

And there it is.

Sweet Victory.

Flawed, perhaps.  Not encouraging perhaps.  But, nonetheless, the 600+-day home losing dought and the five-game losing streak overall are now over.  BG has won a football game.

Like all of the FCS games of the Jinks era, it came down to the final play.

The game certainly did not start off like it was going to end this way.  In fact, BG started the game like you would have expected them to start playing Oregon.  EKU

BG got the opening kickoff and made a couple first downs before they got behind the chains and then sacked and had to punt.  EKU started on their own 31 following a 25-yard BG punt and proceeded to unload an 11-play drive to get the opening TD.  They converted a 3rd and 6 and a 3rd and 7 on the drive and were up 7-0.

BG's offense responded with a 3 and out and then EKU went on a 7-play, all running drive for 59 yards to take a 14-0 lead.

Coach seemed to dismiss these drives in the post-game presser, saying, "they went on a couple long drives,"  but at this point the Colonels were in control of the game and BG was bending and breaking.

To their credit, BG did not stop playing.  The offense got its mojo back and scored early in the 2nd to make it 14-7.

The Falcon defense responded next, getting EKU off the field with one first down.  The offense went three and out but this time Timmerman nailed a 52-yard punt and the Colonel receiver muffed it while backing up, possibly in the sun, and BG recovered at the 19.

Two plays later Doege hit Morris to tie the game at 14.

On EKU's next drive they made a couple first downs and then fumbled and McBride picked the ball up and ran it to the EKU 22 and a couple plays later Andrew Clair scored and BG had a 21-14 lead.

The Falcons were unable to stand success however, and let EKU rip off a 68 yard run on the very first play from scrimmage.  21-21.

There were about five minutes left in the half.  BG had the ball on what was shaping up to be an important drive.  Aided by a key third-down DPI penalty, BG was able to score on a Doege-Phoutavong connection with less than a minute to play to go up 28-21.

EKU had the last possession of the half and actually drove to the BG 25 before missing a FG.

EKU got the ball and the defense forced them to a 3 and out.  BG had the ball, and Doege was under pressure and tried a Brett-Farve-flick-pass and it was picked.  (He's still a sophomore and not even through a full season).  EKU converted that into the trying touchdown.

The teams traded a couple three and outs until EKU fumbled again late in the 3rd and BG converted Doege to Phoutavong again to take a 34-28 lead (extra point was missed on a poor snap).

EKU took the ball with about 3 minutes left in the 3rd near midfield after a big KOR.  They scored 6 plays later to take a 35-34 lead into the 3rd quarter.

BG took the ball and appeared to be down to the EKU 13, before offensive pass interference stalled the drive and Doege pooched the ball deep in EKU territory. 

EKU stalled on a penalty of their own and BG got the ball on its 35 with 9:11 to go.  BG got to the 49 and then the key play of the game occurred.  Phoutavong made a sideline tiptoe catch for 18 yards and there was roughing the passer on top of it and BG was on the 18 and then Morris caught the TD pass that gave BG the lead.  BG went for 2 to go out 42-35.

EKU started its drive with 6:47 left.  BG stuffed a 2nd down run to force the Colonels into a passing down and they had to punt.

BG took the ball with 4:37 left.  Clearly, here, you'd like to run the game out, but that didn't happen.  EKU used all three time outs, but BG failed to convert on 3rd and 2, had a penalty and then was sacked on 3rd and 13.  BG got a 48 yard punt and EKU started on its 32 with 3:00 left.

They were forced to throw the ball--about 33% of the Colonel's passing attempts happened on the last drive.  EKU converted a 4th and 4 in the first series, but BG seemed to have them under control with a sack back to the BG 44 with less than :30 left.  But on the very next play EKU hit a 29-yard pass to the 15 with :11 left.  They got two shots at the end zone.  The second was was in the corner to their big TE and Brandon Harris was on the coverage.  There was a lot of contact, but the officials let them play for the last play and the incomplete pass gave BG the victory.

Never easy.  Down to the last play.  But a win, nonetheless.

More to come.

Friday, September 14, 2018

25 Questions for The Colonel

 What is their body of work?

Eastern Kentucky has a proud football tradition.  They have been struggling for a couple years, but have solid recruiting and would appear to be on the upswing.  They have won I-AA titles.  They beat Morehead State 49-23 and lost @Marshall 32-16 in a game that had about that deficit for the whole time.  Morehead State is picked 8th in their conference and Marshall beat Miami by 7 in Oxford, for comparison purposes.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

They are a very young team, with 20.

Who were their statistical leaders?

LJ Scott was #2 in KOR last year.  He's #11 so far this year.  He's also #5 in rushing TDs.
Aaron Patrick is #14 in sacks.

What was their turnover ratio?

They were -5 last year and even this year..


 How is their QB play expected to be?

They have played 2 QBs in both of their games so far.  They have rFR Dakota Allen and rSo Austin Scott.  They have alternated through the game.  Allen is the better passer and I assume Scott is more of a runner.  They are a run-focused team.

What was their scoring and yards per play?

Overall, they are scoring 32 points per game on 5 yards per play.  No surprise...much better against Morehead than against Marshall.

Can they run the ball?

They can run the ball.  They average 5 yards per rush...only 3.1 against Marshall.  This will be a key test for BG.  The Falcons have to stop the run.

Do they pass the ball?

They are not very good.  They have 48 passing yards against Marshall.  Allen is decent, with 58% completions but less than 10 per completion. Scott is 6 of 14 for 23 yards.  TE Dan Paul has both of their TD catches.

How was their run/pass balance?

They have run on 66% of their plays.

Did they convert on 3rd Down?

They are good at 45%.

Did they score in the red zone?

They average 5 yards per trip, which is pretty good.

Did they protect the quarterback?

No.  They give up sacks on 14% of their passes.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

They are allowing 27.5 PPG and 5.2 yards per play.  Marshall scored 32 on 5.5 per play.

Did they defend the run effectively?

Yes.  They have only allowed 3.2 yards per carry.  Marshall had 3.2 yards per carry as well.  This will also be a key battleground for the game.

Can they be passed on?

They are OK.  They allow 60% completions of 11.3 YPC. 

Did they get off the field on 3rd down?

They are very good, allowing 31%. 

Do they defend in the red zone?

They allow 5.6 points per trip, which is not good.

Did they pressure the QB?

Not bad.  They get sacks on 7.4% of their pass defenses.

Special Teams:


They have a new punter averaging 38 yards per punt net, which is decent.

Punt Return?

Good.  They have a block and 11 yard per return.


Also new.  He's 3 of 4 with a long of 38.


Not bad.  Teams start on the 26.

Kickoff Return?

They started on the 28.  Their KOR is averaging a 28 yards return.

A couple things.

First, our program is in a place where you are nowhere near sure we will win this game, and you should be.  Last year, BG lost their FCS game to South Dakota, a ranked FCS team.  These guys are not ranked, are young and should be someone BG can beat.   (BG also barely beat their first FCS opponent during the first season for Jinks).

Second, this is a huge game for the program.  They can't afford to lose this game---their 7th in a row at home.  The fact that THIS is a huge game is not a good look, but that's what it is.

Third, I wouldn't expect much in the way of a crowd Saturday and it still remains a potential let down game for BG.  Shouldn't be, but it wouldn't surprise me.

BG badly needs a win.  I suspect they get it and I hope it is a comfortable win.  

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Blade: Hassan Belton, out for year

So, from The Blade, as feared, Hassan Belton will miss the season with a knee injury.  Wish him well on his rehab and hope he gets back to full health.  A good time to remember that these young men put their bodies at risk to play this sport.

He is able to take a medical redshirt and will have two years of eligibility.

Belton was brought in as a JUCO to try and shore up BG's LB corps, which was hit by graduation and unexpected attrition.  He was here in the Spring and looked like he might be a contributor.

On the two-deep, he was backed up by Eldrige Salguero, a JUCO who was added in June.  It would not surprise me to have Jerry Judd or Jerry Roberts, the other backup LBs, get reps or start at that position.  All three have played this year, but have not generated any stats.

This makes a tough job even tougher.  Since Fall camp, BG has lost Konowalski and Belton, both of who were expected to be seasoned players and contributors.  As Coach says, next man up.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Meet EKU

So, I think it is fair to say that BG fans don't know too much about Eastern Kentucky.  So let's learn a little more (as opposed to being "I-don't-even-know-where-that-is guy")

It is in Richmond, Kentucky,  which is a little south-east of Lexington.  Both Daniel Boone and Kit Carson were born in this area and it was the sight of the Battle of Richmond, a big Confederate victory in the Civil War.

The school has about 14,000 undergraduates.

They are the Colonels.

Notable Alumni
Rex Ryan
Lee Majors (real name Harvey Yeary)
Earle Combs (Yankee great)
Thaksin Shinawatra – former Prime Minister of Thailand

The school has a strong football heritage.

22 OVC conference titles and two Division I-AA National Championships in 1979 and 1982.

All-time, they are 3-1 vs. BG

1940 EKU won 48-0
1949 EKU won 21-13
1950 EKU won 34-7
2003 BG won 63-13

Their Coach is Mark Elder

  • 3rd season
  • Coached at Tennessee, UC, CMU.
  • Known as a great recruiter and has ranked FCS classes in all of his 3 years.  Last was #11
  • Off to a 7-15 start at EKU

Monday, September 10, 2018

Jinks Presser

So, Coach had his weekly presser.

The biggest takeaway is that BG was physically beat up by Maryland and that the ramifications of that will extend at least into the EKU game.  There sound like there are a number of injuries, but Coach only dealt with them when specifically asked.  With that in mind:

Scott Miller is DTD and is not expected to practice "anytime soon"
Dorian Hendrix was injured and it appears to be serious
Hargrove is seeing a Dr and his concussion status was unknown.

Also, after the presser The Blade tweeted that FR WR Julian Ortega-Jones will miss the season with a knee injury and that Hassan Belton "didn't look good."

Again, there were other references to injuries, but those were the specifics I've seen.  It will be a test of our depth this Saturday and possibly beyond that.

Overall, Coach is earnestly promising that the team is on the right track.  He says the offense is playing clean and the defense was in the right place most of the time Saturday and just needs to execute better.  We all earnestly hope he's right.

Three other things.

Jamari Bozeman is not injured/did not have a setback.  They felt Garth was able to get himself in the right place better for that game so he got the start.

With Motes and Hendrix down, Brian Sanders is going to train to be a TE.  Coach says defensive ends are just tight ends who can't catch, so should be no problem.  We don't really need him to catch the ball anyway. (That part Coach didn't say).

He expects more out of the o-line.  This is something I had wondered about.  Certainly, they were overmatched in the first two games, but I had wondered if they still might have been making mental errors.  At least a couple times rushers were turned completely loose on the edge.  Coach promises--promises--we will be able to run the ball this year.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

MBB Verbal: Davin Zeigler--UPDATED

So a men's basketball interlude as BG has a verbal commit from Davin Zeigler, a 6'1" or 6'2" PG from Cleveland Benedictine HS.

Reports are that he was offered by Wright State, Cleveland State and Youngstown State.  He's a good player on a good team that was ranked in the top parts of the state last year.  Reports are that he is a score-first PG....who had 18.1 PPG last season and was second team all-district.

Welcome to the Falcons, Davin.

Update:  Davin's uncle is former CMU coach Ernie Ziegler and therefore Trey Zeigler is his cousin.  His father is Derrick Zeigler who played at Cleveland State.

Past and Future Opponent Land

Oregon  (2-0)  Beat Portland State 62-14
Maryland (2-0) NA
EKU (1-1) Lost @Marshall 32-16.
Miami (0-2)  Lost 21-0 to UC.
Georgia Tech (1-1) Lost 49-38 to USF
Toledo (1-0) Idle Rockets are the devil's work
WMU (0-2) Destroyed by Michigan
Ohio (1-0) Idle
Kent (1-1) Beat Howard 54-14---same Howard team OU barely beat.  Howard is now in last place in the MAC East.
CMU (0-2) Provided Kansas their first road win in 9 years.
Akron (1-0) Beat Morgan State 41-7.
Buffalo (2-0) Beat Temple 36-29

MAC vs. P5:  1-10
MAC vs.  FCS:  7-0
MAC vs Group of 5:  1-2
East vs. West:  0-0

James Morgan threw 3 TD passes to lead FIU over ODU.

Soggy Maryland Notes

Matt Canada quotes:

“Obviously we were down 14-10 at half for a multitude of reasons.  We’re shooting ourselves in the foot with some penalties and just some things we can’t do. Those are disappointing and we’re going to talk about them tomorrow."
“We didn’t throw it. We probably could have at times,” Canada said. “It’s hard to call a pass when you’re gaining what we were gaining a carry. It’s hard to throw and see what’s going to happen when you feel pretty good that you know what’s going to happen when you hand it off.”

  • Maryland had only 16 sacks last year.
  • BG had 33 yards in the second half.  That's 2 first downs.
  • Brandon Harris had 11 tackles and forced a fumble.
  • I thought Jerry McBride III played well and Fred Garth had a couple big tackles.
  • Grant Tinnerman had a good game, with 39 yards per kick and only 3 return yards.  He had one over 50 and one inside the 20.  Indicators pointing up.
  • Coverage units were outstanding again.  Even the OB kick was almost a big play and mostly bad luck

Maryland: Soggy Defeat

Sometimes, you just can't win for losing.

BG had used all its promotional muscle on getting a crowd out for this game.  Everything, tweets, elementary school visits, signs...every lever was pulled trying to create a huge gameday atmosphere for what will quite likely be the last visit by a Big Ten team to the Doyt.  There was reason to think it would have succeeded....the Minnesota and Indiana games had huge crowds. 

Unfortunately, a tropical storm decided to sit over the stadium starting in the morning and continuing through the game.  BG had a very typical 16K in the seats and a typical halftime diaspora and by the time I left, it was the normal no traffic at the exit. 

I feel really bad for everyone involved.  It has to be very disappointing.  We just don't have a fan base that will sit in a rainstorm to watch us play. Hope there were at least some advance ticket sales.

On the field, it was less of a surprise.  What you saw on the field was a fundamental of the game of football:  if you control the line of scrimmage, you control the game.  Coach Jinks said that Maryland "physically kicked our tails" up front on both sides of the ball, and he's 100% correct.  You don't need any stats, you could see it.  BG could not run the ball at all...there was just nowhere to run.  And Maryland ran the ball at will.  (You don't need stats, but here are a couple anyway.  Clair had 2.8 yards per carry and Maryland averaged 8.4 as a team).

BG also had trouble protecting Doege, who was sacked five times, leading BG to throw mostly safe passes or max-protect fades in other to have a shot at getting the play off.

We've seen this before.  I remember in East Lansing, BG was doing well at half-time and MSU came out and stopped trying to throw the ball and went into a 13 formation and just ran the ball down our throats to get the win.  Those guys are bigger and stronger than our guys on a good day, and our personnel issues on the dline are well known.

Even with that, BG was ahead deep into the 3rd quarter.  As Coach mentioned after the game, BG had played "clean" without turnovers or stupid penalties and was leading 14-10 well into the 3rd quarter. 

That's true, it's a slightly misleading way to look at it.  The reason the game was close at that point was that Maryland had not played clean football (which reinforces Coach's point).  Maryland finished the game with 14 penalties for 139 yards and had 13 of those prior to finally taking the lead.  In fact, they seized the lead by scoring on a 3rd and goal from the 22 that was penalty-induced.  But there was no doubt that they were dominating the game well into the 3rdQ, score notwithstanding.

Anyway, Maryland kept the game close with those penalties but ultimately the one-sided nature of the play on the field was too much to hold back and when it broke it broke big.  Maryland scored 5 touchdowns in the last 19 minutes of the game....35 unanswered points to get a 45-14 final.

Coach gave the BG defense credit for staying in it, and I would as well.  They were getting punched in the mouth on every play and they seemed to punch back.  Over time, they just wore out from the beating and the tackling started to deteriorate and when it was done, it was done.

They were not helped by the offense, a point Coach made.  BG had two nice drives in the first 89 yard, 14 play, 6:41 drive for one TD and a 5 play, 1:13 drive at the end of the first half that culminated with Doege scrambling and finding Morris wide open on a blown coverage for another TD.  He showed great QB instincts by keeping his eyes downfield on a very tough night where he appeared by the end to be as disoriented as everyone else did.

Beyond those drives, though, BG's offense won very few of its battles.  BG had 158 yards of total offense (UMD had 138 in penalties).  BG made only 13 first downs and 3 of those were given to them by Terrapin penalties.  Doege was 17 of 27 passing...for only 143 yards, which is 8 yards per calling forced on BG due to the protection issues.  If you deduct sacks, BG had 81 net yards on its passing attack.  Lastly, Maryland worked hard to take Scotty Miller away and it seems like Doege might be locked onto him a little.  At least a couple of the sacks were plays where he held onto the ball too long.

The last part of the tale of woe is injuries.  Scotty Miller appeared to injure his hamstring and that has to have the staff worried.  Hargrove left the game after a brutal shot on a KOR.  And Coach alluded ominously to defensive injuries and a "next man up" philosophy in his presser.

Coach made one last very odd comment.  He said "we're not satisfied by any means."  The context was having the lead into the 3rd Quarter, which is normally how he talks about the program's progress.

But, that's an odd thing for a man in his position to think he had to say.  I would certainly hope he isn't satisfied, at 6-20, with a six-game home losing streak that appears to be the longest in school history.  BG hasn't won at home in over 600 days.  Also, overall BG is on a five-game losing streak.  And while these last two games were certainly difficult assignments, they have both proceeded according to what you would have expected.  Until BG starts doing better than expected, the team is on track for a pretty long year.

So I would hope he isn't satisfied.

Friday, September 07, 2018

25 Turtle Questions

What is their body of work?

Maryland has never been great in football.  They brought DJ Durkin in to try and turn that around and it hasn't gone terribly.  As for 2018, they have had a pretty rough summer, as you know, but were extremely well-prepared to play and beat Texas in their opener.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

They have 30, which is a lot.  Big sophomore class sprinkled throughout the depth chart.

Who were their statistical leaders?

Last year, Ty Johnson was #15 in yards per carry. 

What was their turnover ratio?

They were +2 last year.


 How is their QB play expected to be?

Well, that's interesting.  They used 2 QBs against Texas and say they will do the same in BG.  Kasim Hill played most of the snaps and Tyrell Pigrome also was in.  They were effective in both sets.  Hill completed 59% of his passes at over 13 yards a completion.

What was their scoring and yards per play?

They scored 34 points against Texas on 5.1 yards per play.  They definitely started out hot and then Texas adjusted over the rest of the game.  They were 100th in scoring offense and 119th in offensive yardage last year, so what we saw last week was a huge improvement.

Can they run the ball?

They struggled to run the ball against Texas.  They averaged 3.1 yards per carry.  Last year, they averaged 4.5 yards per rush.

Do they pass the ball?

As noted, they had good success with their passing game against Texas.  Also, note that their true FR Jeshaun Jones threw for a TD, ran for one and received one on his first three collegiate touches.

How was their run/pass balance?

Despite their struggles, they were committed to the run.  They had 58% running attempts against Texas and that was their percentage last season as well.  Remember, Durkin is a  Harbaugh discipline and Matt Canada coached at NIU with their rushing offenses.

Did they convert on 3rd Down?

Last year, they were one of the worst teams in the country on 3rd down and they were only 33% against Texas.

Did they score in the red zone?

They had 5 points per trip last week and were 3 points per trip last year, which is awful.

Did they protect the quarterback?

Gave up only one sack on 36 attempts against Texas.  Last year was terrible, they allowed sacks on almost 10% of passing attempts.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

They were not good on defense.  They were #119 in the nation in scoring offense and in total defense. They allowed Texas 29 points and 5.4 yards per play, which would be considered an improvement, I would think.

Did they defend the run effectively?

No.  They allowed 4.7 YPC which was #92 in the nation.  They held Texas to 3.9 YPC.

Can they be passed on?

They were decent last year, ranked #62.  They allowed 59% completions for 11.4 per completion, both of which are pretty good.  23 TDS over 10 INT won't help your case.  Texas completed 54% but 12.5 per completion.

Did they get off the field on 3rd down?

They were bad last year, allowing almost 50%.  Held Longhorns to 3 of 15.

Do they defend in the red zone?

They allowed 5 points per attempt, which isn't great.  Texas scored TDs on both of their attempts.

Did they pressure the QB?

Not very good.  They had sacks on 3.8% of their pass defenses and had 1 against Texas.

Special Teams:


Their punting game is not great.  Lees was #97 last year.  His average against Texas was only 38, but it included four inside the 20, which can impact your yardage.

Punt Return?

Their PR from last year is gone and they had one for 9 yards against Texas.


After struggling last year, they have a new kicker.  He was 2-2 against Texas.


Their coverage was not great.  They started the game against Texas on the 29.

Kickoff Return?

They started on the 24 against Texas.

All right.  There's a lot here this time.

First, we're all aware of the turmoil at Maryland.  That said, they appeared very ready to play against Texas and much improved over last year's 4-8 team. 

Second, though, is that this is a classicly difficult situation for them.  They win week 1 in the Jerrydome and then the next week they are running onto the field at the Doyt.  This will be a test of Coach Canada's ability to get his team mentally ready.

Third, BG has put a lot of eggs into this basket.  The school has worked every angle possible to get people into the stands Saturday.  I hope it is successful.  The weather is all right, if not idea. A big crowd really helps our guys, many of whom have never played to a big home crowd. 

Fourth is that the game represents a huge opportunity for the program.  If they notch the big win in front of the big crowd, maybe some momentum turns around.  If they don't, then the opposite happens.

Fifth..beyond crowd issues, BG has a lot of pressure on it for this game. There has been a lot of hype and in front of your's a different kind of pressure.  A win builds confidence.  Even a close loss helps, if you're talking about a real close loss not a Mike Jinks we were two missed opportunities from being in the game at halftime close game.

Sixth, BG beat Maryland in Maryland the last time these two teams played and one year before Jinks was our coach.