Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Sadness Accrues: One Direction from here.

It will be job one when the new coach gets here.

BG needs to execute better at key points in close games.  Yes, they have to execute better all the time, but more than once over the past three years they have executed well enough to win for 55 minutes and then made crucial mistakes on the home stretch that have cost them the game.

Coach Pelini called it "learning how to win."

This sequence happened with a time game in the last two minutes.  Solid defensive coverage on a 2nd and 6 left Kent with a 3rd and 6 from their own 48.  Barrett went back to pass and BG got pressure on him.  They missed a tackle in the backfield and then got out of their rushing lanes.  He escaped to the left and instantly they play went from being a forced punt and at worst over to a 34 yard gain for Barrett to the BG 18.  Kent ran through a matador defense for an 18-yard touchdown on the next play.

Kent up 35-28.

The issues continued.  Doege was sacked for a 9-yard loss.  BG converted a 3rd and 16 and then had another successful pass play but only was at their 38.  With :36, Doege fumbled under pressure.  BG recovered but lost 18 yards and then with :15 left Doege completed the run of mistakes by throwing a pick and Kent had the win.

That's what, four negative plays in the last two minutes of a tie game?  This is what the story has been.

And so BG falls to 1-8.  As mentioned before, they have not had a one-win season since 1953.

It was an ugly game, overall.  There were a combined 22 accepted penalties in the game, which you would expect from two of the least successful teams in the FBS.

BG did not run the ball effectively.  Frye had the majority of carries and was 17 for 36.  Denley was 5 for 23 and Hargrove 7-22.  BG did bring Grant Loy into the game in the second half to provide a spark and he did, running for 32 on 4 carries.  Loy had a 25-yard run, but BG's long except for that was 8.

Doege's day was not great.  He was 20 of 37 for only 54%, 10.4 per reception, which is not great, sacked 3 times and that fumble and a pick.  He did throw for 3 TDs.

Miller had 6 receptions but for 75 yards.  They got Hargrove involved in the passing game, which is good.

On defense, it was the same story.  Kent ran 50 runs and threw it 24 times.  They had 225 net yards on those 50 runs, which is 4.5 yards per carry.  Those stats include sacks.  Their lead rusher had 4.9 yards per carry and 3 TDs.

So, it wasn't BG's worst defensive game of the year and was probably among the better.  There was some decent tackling and they did a generally good job of keeping Barrett in the pocket, which led to four sacks.  But, in the end, KSU scored 35 points, which is something like the 12th straight game BG has allowed 34 or more.

And, of course, this was the easiest game on our schedule.

So, another game, another defeat.  I really wished we would have picked up that win.  It has to be very tough for the players.  During a late BG drive, I saw Lorenzo Taborn gesturing wildly at the sideline, it seemed to me in response to an up the middle run where there were numbers on the left.  Though that might not have been it.  It was something, though.

I hope we can get it done for them.  This has been a long season that was dominated by the "Mike Jinks question" and now is dominated by finishing the schedule, seeing who comes back and bringing a new coach in.

On a long night with an announced crowd of 13,000 that might have been 10% of that, it was apparent where things stand right now.  Only one direction from here.

Sadness Accrues

At the Doyt late last night.  It was, as expected, a closely-matched game between two football teams that are not very good.  Sadly, our guys were not able to get the win.  There will be some more followup later, but for now I just wish our players could have gotten this win after the work and stress they have gone through.

Coach said that BG plays hard when behind but then lets down when they catch up and that fixing that is part of "learning how to win."  No doubt, BG doesn't have that.  They just made crucial errors in crunch time (along with many proceeding it) and fell to 1-8.

Again, more later.  In the meantime, BG moves through one of the worst seasons in its history.  BG's last 1 win season was 1953, but that's what looms in the window now.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

BG Picked Dead Last in MAC Pre-Season poll

So, the MAC pre-season basketball poll came out today and it does confirm one thing...I do have orange colored glasses on.  BG is picked last in the EAST and with the lowest amount of votes among any team.  See below.

East Division -- Points (first place votes)
1. Buffalo – 210 (35)
2. Miami – 127
3. Kent State – 122
4. Ohio – 121
5. Akron – 97
6. Bowling Green – 58

West Division – Points (first place votes)
1. Eastern Michigan – 183  (17)
2. Ball State – 175 (11)
3. Toledo – 156 (5)
4. Western Michigan – 81 (1)
5. Northern Illinois – 73
6. Central Michigan -- 67 (1)

Wow.  So, anything BG does--period--will help be a surprise.  I don't think it is impossible, but the expectations could not be lower.

Demajeo Wiggins is All-East in the pre-season, so congrats to him for that.  If his games gets better--as it has each year--he can certainly help BG reverse that trend.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Past and Future Opponent Land

Oregon  (5-3)  Big surprise loss to Arizona.
Maryland (5-3) Stomped Illinois
EKU (4-4) Beat Eastern Illinois
Miami (3-5) Idle
Georgia Tech (4-4) Ran wild over Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.
Toledo (4-4)  Huge win @WMU.
Ohio (4-3) Stomped Ball State
Kent (1-7) Off
CMU (1-8) Lost to Akron
Akron (4-3) Beat CMU
Buffalo (7-1) Off

MAC vs. P5:  3-20
MAC vs.  FCS:  10-0
MAC vs Group of 5:  5-8
East vs. West:  5-5

James Morgan was 19-28 for 171 and 3 TD.  FIU is 6-2.  He is 9th in the country in passing efficiency.

25 Questions that Flash

What is their body of work?

Kent takes field in Refrigerator Bowl
Kent is a tough gig.  In 2012 they had an 11 win season and in the five-plus seasons since then they have won 15 games.  In the 43 years since Don James left, they've had 5 winning seasons.  They've gone winless four times.  They had a rough off-season and were turned down by numerous coaching candidates.  They ended up with Sean Lewis, the Dino Babers OC who coached at BG.  It has been a tough year.  Like BG, Kent has no FBS wins.  They only lost to Illinois by a touchdown and they lost to OU and Akron by 1 point.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

They have 26 which is a pretty typical number.

Who are their statistical leaders?

They have no players ranked in the top 20 in a national category.

What is their turnover ratio?

They are +1.  (Unless otherwise noted, all stats are MAC-only.)


How is their QB play?

He is better than they have had for years.  You'll recall a couple years ago they were running a Holley out there due to lack of players.  His name is Woody Barrett and he is a 6'2" 236 pound dual threat QB.  He was a highly touted QB (4-star) in HS, went to Auburn, red-shirted and then transferred to a JUCO and then to Kent.  He's 9th in pass efficiency.  He has 64% completions but only 10.4 yards per completion and 4 TDs over 4 picks.  He's thrown a lot---one more attempt than Doege--as they play FLASHfast.  He is also their second best rusher and has 5 rushing TDs.

What is their scoring and yards per play?

They are not good.  They are #10 in scoring offense and 7th in yards per play.

Can they run the ball?

They aren't great.  They are 8th in the MAC in yards per rush.  Their lead back is Justin Rankin, and he's a good one, averaging 4.6 yards per carry in MAC play.

Do they pass the ball?

Play mix has Barrett #3 in yards per play but they are 7th in passing efficiency.  BG is 4th, FWIW.

How is their run/pass balance?

They run on 52% of their plays, which is run heavy in today's game.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

They are 9th in the MAC.

Did they score in the red zone?

They are not good.  First, they have only 11 red zone trips in four games.  Yes, they have scored on 10 of them, but it is 6 TDs and 4 FGs for 4.9 point per trip.  That's not good and (along with third downs) explains the difference between the yardage and scoring numbers above.  Red zone difficulties are not uncommon in the Baylor system, if I recall correctly.

Did they protect the quarterback?

They do.  2.8% of their passing attempts end in sacks.  Barrett is mobile and hard to bring down and remember that the offense is designed to get the ball out fast.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

They are 11th in points per game and 10th in yards per play.  The only worse defensive team in the MAC is BG.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They are pretty good.  They are 5th in yards per rush allowed.  They are rushed against a lot, so their yardage ranking is not as good.

Can they be passed on?

They are 11th in pass efficiency defense.  (BG is 12th).  They allow 64% completions at an eye-popping 13.6 per reception.  That's a toxic mix.  They have only 3 picks and have allowed 7 TDs.

Did they get off the field on 3rd down?

They are last, allowing over 50%.  So no.  Even BG is not this bad.

Do they defend in the red zone?

They are really good.  They have six outright stops and allow 4.5 points per trip.

Did they pressure the QB?

They do, getting sacks on 5.7% of attempts.

Special Teams:


They are pretty good, #3 in net punting.  (BG #8).  They have not been blocked all season.

Punt Return?

They are last in the MAC in punt returns.  They do have one block, season-long.


They are good, having made 6 of 7.  Long is 49.


11th in the MAC.  Opponents start on the 25.

Kickoff Return?

They start on the 23, all games, which is not good.

Miscellaneous, Intangibles?

This is one of those games.  This is the most winnable game left on both team's schedule.  Both teams are winless in FBS games.  BG looks at Kent as a chance to get a W.  Kent sees us the same way.  Kent has played two 1-point MAC games and BG has not been that close in MAC play.  One of them was against a common opponent, which is OU.

If BG doesn't get the win, a 1-11 season is a probability.  What we don't know is where the team is mentally.  It has been a tough year for those guys and they've been resilient, but they're only human.  I expect a somnolent Doyt on Tuesday, so the game day atmosphere does not promise to be motivating.  I hope we can do it.  The young men on the team have worked really hard and been in some very tough situations this year.  I hope they get rewarded with a win.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Men's Basketball Preview

So, with the football team on a little break this week, I thought it would be a good time to pop in on the Men's Basketball team as the season comes our way.

When last we left the Falcon hoopsters, things were looking poorly.  After having a decent season and facing the loss of only one player to graduation (Matt Fox), the Falcons lost their last 6 games and then, shortly after the season ended had 3 players transfer, including both PGs and a highly promising big man.

No secret here, that was a pretty disappointing way to end the year, one that had started with some promise and an indication that BG might finally be assembling the critical mass of talent to become at least consistently competitive.

And then, we seemed to be back at square one.

Here's the thing.  No one denies the dumpster fire that Coach Huger walked into.  Most fans, me included, think he did a notable job just keeping a team on the court for that transition period after Jans was let go.

Having said that, as time moves on you want to see things turn around.  Especially when Jack Owens shows up and Miami gets better right'd just like to see the team be competitive, play at home in the tourney make it to Cleveland, win a game there, etc.  Last year it at least seemed like a .500 season, until the collapse came at the end.

I know, as it relates to the transfers, that at least one and maybe two of them might be listed as "addition by subtraction," which is fine.  Winning programs win with "addition by addition" and losing programs talk about addition by subtraction.

Since 2002, BG has had 3 winning seasons.  That's just a very disappointing run.  It also disabuses us of the notion that Anderson Arena was why BG was losing because it clearly wasn't the only issue.

BG did what you have to do when those three transfers left...they went out and got themselves some JUCO players to fill those roles.  Increasingly, there's no time in college basketball for player development and you can see why.  Develop a player and he graduate-transfers up.  Tell a player he isn't good enough and he doesn't work to get better, he transfers to DII.  In fact, 32 players transferred out of the MAC last year.  At the same time, MAC teams added 25 players via some kind of transfer INTO the MAC.

In particular, UT and Kent have been using transfers effectively, as has Buffalo and Groce is using them at Akron.  As an extreme example, you can look at Nevada, which made a run with an all-transfer starting line up.

So, BG went and got 2 JUCOs and maybe that's just the way of the world now.

Here's how the lineup looks for BG.

First, the returning players.


These four are probably locked in to start.  We're pretty familiar with what we have.  Frye will play the point.  Turner is BG's most consistent scorer and best defender who we hope only gets better in year 2 (and year 3 in the program).  Lillard adds a strong dimension on the wing to score and defend and Wiggins was 2nd-team ALL-MAC and could continue to improve.

There are 3 other returnees.

Probably the key is Plowden.  He had an up and down year.  He played quite a bit early and then played on and off in the MAC decent minutes or almost none.  He averaged 4.9 PPG and 2.8 RPG in 15 minutes and seemed to me to have upside in terms of athleticism and basketball chops.  Up and down isn't unusual for a freshman.  If he shoots better and plays better D, he's like a very solid 6-7 man on this team.

Uju is a big guy who can play inside and showed himself to be a role player.  He's also All-MAC Academic and is going to be a doctor, so be nice, he might operate on you someday.

Gadson is the other returnee.  He's 6'10" and played only 83 minutes.  When you have a guy with that size who doesn't get into games at this level, you're probably looking at a developmental opportunity. This (and Mattos below) both represent chances for our coaches to develop big men.  Wiggins, for example, has drastically improved during his time at BG and the same thing here would be a game changer.

Then the "new" players

There are two players here that I believe are key.

The first is Kulackovskis, who was on the squad last year but injured for the year.  He's a 6'9" stretch Euro type who is said to have a killer 3FG shot.  If so, he gives BG a matchup disruptor as well as an outside threat, something the Falcons have struggled with.  BG was #209 in 3FG% last season.  Coach said he was going to move him in slowly, but you'd like to think he'd be in the rotation.  He has put on significan weight over the off-season, according to Coach.

The other is Michael Laster.  I'd expect Laster to be a starter at 2.  A Manhattan native, Laster had a highly decorated JUCO career.  You have to watch JUCO numbers because they play up-tempo, typically, but he was a second-team All-American and all-region.  This guy is key as well.  He was a top assist man in JUCO and if he can create opportunities and take the pressure off Turner--and defend--than he can make a big difference for BG.

One thing is that we've had other JUCO guys come in and I think you have to manage your expectations on a guy like this in terms of exactly how full he stuffs the stat sheet until you see him do it.  It's a pretty big jump.

There are three other newcomers.

Marlon Sierra is the team's other JUCO transfer.  He's 6'7" and 225 and is intended to provide BG with some beef on the inside.  He is from Miami but went to JC in Nebraska.  In his 2nd year he scored 12 with 6.8 RPG.  He shot the 3 effectively, too.  This is one of the guys you're going to need to see to know what we have, but BG needs guys on the inside.

There are two freshmen.  One is Caleb Fields, from New Jersey.  He was a very successful HS player, third-team All-State, etc.  I'd think you'd see minutes from him at G and on paper I think he looks like someone who could be a contributor on a winning MAC team.  Will be interesting to see him develop.

The last new player is Tayler Mattos.  He's 6'11" and I would guess probably will need to develop a little bit.  He was ranked as the #15 recruit in New Hampshire.  But, you can't teach tall and he can be like Gadson in terms of getting bigger and developing skill on the inside.  He is barely 18.  With no inside info, I wouldn't be surprised to see a redshirt here.

So, if you're looking at an 8-man rotation, I'd say you go Frye, Turner, Lillard, Wiggins, Laster, Sierra, Plowden, Kulackovskis. 

Blue Ribbon picks BG to finish 5th in the East, ahead of only Akron.  The interesting thing that Coach said in his pre-season presser is that he isn't worried about BG scoring.  If so, that would be a first and a welcome one at that.  Since Dakich left, BG has only been in the top half of the nation in offensive efficiency 3 times and has not finished better than 231 under Huger.  I'd like to think that BG has the ability to score based on what I see on paper, but you'd need to see it to be sure.

A lot of BG's issues were on the other side of the ball.  BG has also not finished in the top 200 in defensive efficiency under Huger.  The team was pretty good defensively coming out of the Orr years and including Jans.  Huger would desperately like to get more stops.

They always say defense is an effort thing.  So, you knowm, maybe there were some issues with the holdover guys in the first couple years. 

Just like everything though, I think we're looking to see BG start to improve as the Jans debacle fades into the past.  I haven't lost faith in Coach Huger, but after last year there is some doubt.  It may be my orange-colored glasses, but I think this team has the ability to be better than expected, with some consistency out of the returnees and the production from Laster that it looks like you might get.

I hope so.  The program needs to stability and we'd definitely love to see some success.  I doubt if we're buying out any more coaches, so we need Huger to be the one. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

MBB Commit

BG has a new MBB Commit, but from familiar territory.

His name is Chandler Turner, and he's from Detroit Renaissance.  He was a teammate of Justin Turner there.  If the two are related, I can't find any evidence of it.

Chandler is much in demand.  He had 10 reported D1 offers, including from Buffalo and Kent.  He's a 6'6" Wing player who is ranked as the #4 Wing in the Michigan recruiting class and was 3rd team All-PSL.

Note that there has been some serious upheaval at Renaissance due to the firing of the coach.  Learn more here.

I'm not finding much on his stats except for game results, which show him consistently hitting double doubles right into the state tourney.  He has the size that BG is looking for from a wing and remember that the All-PSL and those double doubles came as a junior.

Welcome to the Falcons, Chandler.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Pelini Presser

Not much in the way of news.  Coach Pelini talked about the team needing to do better responding to adversity.  He said they played hard and practiced hard, but just weren't ready to handle adversity and that's how the game went so far south.

One note:  He said the Clair, Labus, Milton and Junior are all in an evaluation mode.  He is hopeful but not certain the extra time will get them ready to play Tuesday.

Bright played in Athens and will continue to be brought back into the offense as he is able.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Past and Future Opponent Land

Oregon  (5-2)  Lost to Washington State
Maryland (4-3) Shut out @Iowa
EKU (3-4) Lost 34-6 at home to Murray State
Miami (3-5) Lost in OT to Army.
Georgia Tech (3-4) Idle
Toledo (3-4)  Lost to Buffalo at Glass Bowl
Ohio (3-3) NA
Kent (1-7) Lost in OT to Akron in rivalry
CMU (1-7) Lost to WMU in rivalry
Akron (3-3) Beat Kent
Buffalo (7-1) Beat Toledo

MAC vs. P5:  3-20
MAC vs.  FCS:  10-0
MAC vs Group of 5:  4-7
East vs. West:  5-3 West

James Morgan was 20-29 for 229 and 2 TD.  FIU is 5-2.

Really happy for James.  Was a class act and BG and deserve the success he is having down there.

Two National Statistical Leaders

In the midst of another disastrous season, there are a couple Falcons having big years by any standard.  I think we all expect to see Scott Miller up there on the national lists, but I think we are underappreciating the load Doege is carrying. 

Remember, BG is last in the MAC in rushing yards and yards per attempt.


#15 in completions per game
#8 in passing TDs
#9 in passing yards
#7 in points responsible for

With all that, he's #6 in MAC in passing efficiency.  All the leaders are low-attempt, high productivity QBs.  Only Woody Barrett in the top 10 has tried more passes.  So, Doege's 8 INT look like a lot, but it is 2.8% of passing attempts, about the same percentage as Rourke, who has only 4 INT on fewer attempts.

I looked into this and found a couple interesting things.  First, the formula does take INT RATE into account, not just the base number.  That works two ways, though, because it helps on the INT but dilutes the impact of Doege's 20 TDS, which is also done by a rate. 

The other thing that is keeping his efficiency ranking down is a lack of yards per attempt, which is how the NCAA scores it.  To me, I don't understand that because that's mostly a measure of completion percentage, which is already included in the formula.  Anyway, as noted above, Doege is up there in passing yards, but that's partly because of the large number of overall attempts he has made.  BG is #1 in passing yardage in the MAC but #6 in yards per completion.

Here's a little web app where you can play around with this if you like.

Scott Miller is having a great year.  He is #5 yards per game, #10 in receiving TDs, #12 in receptions per game.  No doubt, these numbers benefit from BG's focus on the pass game, but they also benefit from the focus on him in the pass game.  Teams know he's the guy and he continues to produce.  He's been a great Falcon, in the top 10 on the reception list and moving up and is a guy we're going to remember for a long time.  A true Falcon.

Sadness Accrues: Another Losing Season

There is not a lot to say about this one.  As Coach said after the game, BG was flat.  In retrospect, they might have practiced well during the week, but it was too much to expect the team to come out of the gate and play emotionally after such a tumultuous week.  Ohio U did exactly what would you expect, which is run over the Falcons with relentless focus and it was a 49-14 victory.

The Falcons came out looking OK.  They started on their own 8 and then scored 4 plays later and then on their third drive they went 9 plays for a sustained drive for another TD.  At that point, it was 14-14 in the early second.  From that point on, BG had only 7 first downs and didn't score again, turned the ball over twice, etc.

BG finished with 6.3 yards per play, which is a decent result, as far as that does.  They struggled to run the ball, with 3.8 yards per carry.  Doege was effective at 19 of 24 and 11.3 yards per completion, which is good but not "passing game carries BG to victory" territory.  The Falcons were committed to running the ball and ran it 26 times. 

Denley, Frye and Hargrove carried most of the load, with the first two being fairly effective in spots.  Andrew Clair did play, but carried the ball only once.

Scott Miller continued to be a great one.  He had 6 for 145 and scored once. Quinton Morris also had 4 catches.

Meanwhile, Ohio U just rolled over the Falcon D.  They had 7 TDs on 8 drives, which is the kind of thing we have gotten used to seeing.  They ran 50 running plays and 13 passes.  With 392 net yards, that's 7.8 yards per rush, a staggering number.  Of their 7 ball carriers, AJ Oulette had the lowest yards per carry at 5.8.

Rourke was 8 of 12 passing...but of those 8 completions, 4 were for TDs.  OU had 8 passing first downs with 9 total completions.  (Maxwell had 1).

Anyway, there's not a lot of say.  It was a one-sided game.  BG was playing a good team on the road in the week after the coach was fired, and we're not good to start with. 

So, one thing to note.  BG has a long way back.  A coaching change was needed, but it isn't like that's going to make it all better.  We saw that yesterday and I think we needed to.

This program has a long road back.  You face the prospect of losing a recruiting class and you could see some transfers.  We had a program that was humming and we turned it into a turnaround that didn't happen and now you have to do it again. It's going to take a while.

As much as I admire how Coach Pelini has taken on this difficult role, I'm 100% supportive of a comprehensive search.  If that yields Pelini, then fine.  But we need to get someone who can build a program and who has done it before.  See Lance Leipold as an example.

In the meantime, this season is unfolding on the worst case scenario.  BG has zero FBS wins and has their best chance on October 30.  Kent feels the same way about us.

Friday, October 19, 2018

25 Questions that go Here, Kitty, Kitty, Kitty

What is their body of work?

So OU was set to be one of the better teams in the MAC, if not a competitor to win the conference.  They have underachieved.  They struggled to beat Howard, beat Kent by 1 and lost to @NIU by 3.  At 3-3/1-1, they haven't had a terrible year, just not the one they were expecting. And they can't afford another loss as they try and chase Buffalo.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

They have 26 which is a pretty typical number.

Who are their statistical leaders?

Louie Zervos #10 in FG%.
Nathan Rourke #11 in passing yards per completion, #13 in yards per pass attempt and #17 in rushing per carry.
Michael Farkas #11 in punting.

What is their turnover ratio?

They are even.


How is their QB play?

So Nathan Rourke is their QB.  He's considered one of the best, if not the best, in the MAC.  And he is #3 in passing efficiency in the MAC.  He's a classic Frank Solich duel threat guy, so he's also the #9 rusher in the MAC.  He's at the helm of a very powerful offense.

What is their scoring and yards per play?

They are strong.  They are #3 in scoring in the MAC (still using all games) and #1 in yards per play at 6.6.  The second is #18 in the nation.

Can they run the ball?

Long the Solich calling card, they are only #5 in rushing yards per game, though tied for second in yards per rush at 4.6.  They struggled to run against Kent (3.4) and NIU (1.6), though NIU leads the MAC in run defense.  BG remains last and will face essentially the same issue they faced against WMU, which is lack of depth and fatigue.  AJ Oulette is still at OU, but isn't have a great year.

Do they pass the ball?

As a team, OU leads the MAC in passing efficiency, but Rourke is #3.  He's completing 61% of his passes at 15.3 per completion, which is highly efficient.  He has 9 TDs over 4 INT.  Papi White is the #3 WR in the MAC.

How is their run/pass balance?

They run on 55% of their plays, which is run heavy in today's game.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

They are at 42% which is #3 in the MAC.

Did they score in the red zone?

They are very good at 5.2 points per trip.

Did they protect the quarterback?

Not that well, given that Rourke is so mobile.  They give up sacks on 6.8% of pass plays.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

Normally, OU is very solid on D.  This year, not so much.  They give up 34 per game and 6.8 per play, neither of which is a great number.  BG gives up 7 a play, for comparison.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They are 9th, allowing 4.7 per carry.  (Just for comparison, BG allows 6.4 per rush and the next worst is 4.9)

Can they be passed on?

They can.  They are 11th in pass efficiency defense, allowing 64% completions, 13.5 per completion and 15 TDs over 6 picks.  That's rough.

Did they get off the field on 3rd down?

Noooo.  They allow 52%.  It's the worst in the MAC and the 3rd worst in the country.

Do they defend in the red zone?

Not bad, at 4.9 per trip.

Did they pressure the QB?

They are OK at 4.7% per trip.

Special Teams:


2nd in MAC at 40.3 per attempt, net.  No blocks.

Punt Return?

They are 4-22, which is not bad. Papi White is the returner and he's very good.


So, Zervos continues to kick here, well into his second decade. 


Opponents start on the 25.

Kickoff Return?

They start on their 28 which is decent.  They have 1 return TD.

Miscellaneous, Intangibles?

I suspect this is the last thing OU hoped to be facing this week.  The reports from practice are that BG is pumped and practicing with high energy.  Rather than waiting to see if the Coach would be fired, they have instead been liberated and, in a sense, might be playing a little freer than they were before.  This will be very much like the WMU game in that BG is playing a team they can score against but who they can probably not stop consistently for the entire game.  BG nearly tied that game against WMU. 

Now, that was at home and this is on the road.  And OU needs a win.  BG has struggled with running QBs, which certainly is a factor.

Anyway, if BG can continue to pop some big plays and score points, I don't think they are out of this one.  I would definitely take the 17 points, if I liked to gamble.  Which I don't.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

On new coaches....

Just a few personal thoughts...

At some point in time, it was a natural move for a coordinator at OSU to coach in the MAC.  Today, they earn double what they would make in BG.  So many of the names being tossed out are just not even feasible.  (Elko, for example, makes 5x what Jinks made this year).

People tend to reach for coaches with BG ties, but honestly, I think that's a bad direction as well.  BG's best recent coaches (Meyer, Clawson, Babers, even Blackney) had no BG ties at all.  The one who did was Moe Ankney.

Also, Doyt Perry.

There was a good point on twitter, which is that we might be able to get ourselves out of the new coach cycle with someone who had BG ties, but I think the most probable route will be always being able to promote from within, as UT and NIU did.   (See Toledo Tom Amstutz, also).

I strongly favor someone with collegiate head coaching experience, which by definition means non-FBS experience.  I point you to Leipold, Martin and Creighton as good examples.  All three had huge winning records at DII or DIII.

Even more, we need a collegiate head coach with experience building a program, or preferably more.

I don't care if they run or pass.  I think there should be a commitment to a balanced team that plays well on both sides of the ball.

And a proven, show-stopping recruiter.

Obviously, that's a lot to ask for.  At the same time, this is a big job and BG needs to get the right person, who will be rewarded with eventual success.

One last point.  You'll see a lot of names brought forward.  The last 3 times BG hired a coach from outside the school, they picked someone that I hadn't see on any rumor boards.  I would suspect the same will be true here.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Be a river, not a flood

Well, Moos and Coach Pelini took over the reins for the weekly presser this week, something around 24 hours after Coach Jinks was relieved of his duties.  I watched it all, so you don't have to.  Though you might want to in this case.  It was something else.

There are a few big stories.

First, Coach Jinks did not take the news quietly.  In fact, Moosbrugger said he was "emotional" and the meeting did not go how he would have liked.  That must have been something else.  It was apparently Moos and Kit Hughes in the room.  The tenor was such that Moos said he called Jinks back later in the evening to make some points that he couldn't make because of how the meeting went.

That's a wow, to me.  I mean, they're prone to understatement, so if it was "emotional" enough to comment on, it could have been quite a show.

Coach probably feels like he finally got the team in the right direction and that just when he did, he had the rug yanked out from under him.  All we have seen from Coach Jinks is a very mild-mannered and cool demeanor, so you don't expect the kind of reaction that would have elicited that description.

As Moos said, "he thought I was wrong and he probably still thinks I'm wrong."

No donors stepped up to buy Jinks out.  He will be paid by Athletic Department funds and not general fee funds.  He gets paid every month as long as his contract would have run, so no lump sum was needed.  If he gets another job--and he will--that will be used to mitigate the amount BG has to pay him.  Root for him to do well.

David Briggs asked about donors and Moosbrugger gave him a stare that could have dropped an elk at 200 yards.  "I would have thought you would have brought some checks with you."  WOW.  It was hostile.

Moos was careful, of course, to say that the move was not spurred by The Blade column and that it had been "contemplated" for a while.  Also, he said the Caleb Bright situation didn't have anything to do with it...and in fact presented a minor defense of the athletic department's actions that day.

He also said that the issues in the summer didn't impact the decision.  He said Coach handles them well and that things will happen with young people.

As for the future, he's committed to having a new coach by signing day.  He says that the University is prepared to pay more for a new coach than they paid Jinks, and his hiring record suggests he will hire someone with head coaching experience but that isn't an absolute requirement.

At that point, he introduced Carl Pelini, who looks like a character from Andy Capp and talks like Ty Webb.  He said that he tells his players that water is a powerful force....but they should be a river, with a single focus, and not a flood, which washes over the banks and dissipates off in the distance.

He said when his "initial shock" wore off he "immediately" accepted the role of interim coach "for the players."

He understands how difficult this is.  He was at Nebraska when Frank Solich was fired (two notes, the Solich firing was not mid-season and Solich was the first person to hire Carl Pelini at the college level and also is Saturday's opponent.  OK, three).

He said he is going to keep things pretty much the same routine wise, but that he has some ideas for microchanges he can make to adjust the culture, which is the most important thing.

He will call the defenses, which he acknowledges will be difficult while also being head coach. 

He also said that it has been harder to fix the BG defense than he expected.  He said he has never worked harder than he has the six months and that the defensive players are "on the verge of true understanding."  He feels some responsibility for what happened to Coach Jinks, FWIW.

He says the team keeps getting close and that if they can break through once it might "snowball."

He said they talked to the commits--and there was talk of there being 11 of them--and "most" of the feedback was good.  He's going to be working the recruiting hard, though I can't imagine getting a bunch of commits until a permanent coach is named.

It was revealed that he was an English Literature major in college...and that was at Columbia.  He made allusion to his time at FAU, which ended badly with very serious allegations of drug abuse, and said that he learned a lot about himself.  He is very introspective.  He talked numerous times about his passion for self-evaluation and growth.

He also talked in glowing terms about Bowling Green and what a great school and community it is.  He said it would be easy to recruit, too, that players loved to be students here.  He said he has noticed that in just a short period of time at BG.

Anyway, that was pretty much the show.  More to come on our new Coach....but in the meantime, one last thought.

Pelini is a candidate for the job and he was all about winning his first day today, and I'd say it played out pretty well for him.  He showed a clear ability to get the blood pumping.  If he can turn a couple wins out, he might have a shot.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

And that's it...Jinks is fired

Two years and seven games into the Jinks era, it is over.  Mike Jinks has coached his last game at Bowling Green, just one game past the half-way point of his contract.

It is one of the most disappointing periods in our football program.

So let's go back.

When Chris Kingston was filling this vacancy, BG had made millionaires out of Dave Clawson and Dino Babers in three years.  This would have been a very attractive opening for aspiring coaches.  We would have had a lot of guys who would have climbed over themselves to take this job.

Let's just say that Kingston took that in another direction.  He went deep into the well for a Coach whose success had come in high school football, with three years as a position coach at Texas Tech.  I don't have any way of knowing what he was thinking when he did this.  The track record of high school coaches moving into the FBS is poor, almost to a man and more proven coaches would have been thrilled to come here.

Commenters came onto this blog from Texas and told me that coaching in high school was as hard or even harder than coaching college.  That Mike Jinks was a legend in high school coaching in Texas.

My only idea was that Kingston wanted to show how smart he was by finding the unknown coach who could succeed.  He wanted Jinks to be his Urban Meyer.  Remember the quaint moments of Jinks and Kingston arguing about whether BG or Tech had run more plays the year before?  Or Kingston saying the "best predictor of future success is past success?"  Or Kingston smugly saying that he looked forward to the day when people would stop saying "who's he?" in reference to Mike Jinks and realize the "kind of man" that was coaching the program.

And then, to compound the error, Jinks was given a contract with a buy-out befitting a proven commodity and someone who had other options as coach, neither of which fits this situation.  You didn't need to give Jinks the kind of buyout he was given.  You didn't even have to give him a five-year deal.  But he did, and it will cost the University a significant amount of money.

I feel like this blog was on it from the beginning, which was that this was a dubious hire that took unnecessary risks, especially when much higher percentage options were available.

It went wrong right away.  You might have expected him to bring in experienced assistants to help compliment his own lack of experience, but he did not.  He brought in coaches with even less experience than he had.  Most of them had been graduate assistants or quality control assistants.  At the time, I said it was the least distinguished group of assistants we had ever had.

Further, Jinks himself had never been to Ohio.  You would think you might get some assistants who knew the territory.  We did not.

Here's the thing.  From the beginning, I think he underestimated what you have to do to win at this level.  I think he believed it wasn't any harder than winning at Steele and it is.  I think he sealed his fate right from the beginning with the assistants he hired.  It was just not going to happen.  (As a comparison, when Nate Oats was hired at Buffalo with a similar background, he had two assistants who had been in college coaching for multiple decades).

So we have the most underprepared Coach in our history and he hired an even less experienced group of assistants.

And then he went back to coach Texas Tech in their bowl game, something that he has admitted was a mistake.  And then he and the staff didn't evaluate the returning talent well and tried to force feed the Air Raid on them, something he has admitted.

Then, he gave up 70 in two of his first four games.  That's the two worst defeats in our history, right out of the box.  One was to OSU.  One was to Memphis.  He said that he told his staff that they were lucky to still be working, and they were.  At a larger school, he would have been gone after year one.

Meanwhile, he's talking about making BG the next Boise...that that was his vision, just like he had told his young men at Steele, when the school was being formed, that they would be on the cover of some high school football magazine.

There were a lot of visions and a lot of changes to our "identity," each of which actually showed that he didn't have a real idea of what we could do.

At no point did it look like it was going to succeed.  There was a little winning streak against some badly beat up teams at the end of year one, then a 2-10 season in year 2 and then the 1-6 start this year.  But, never did he provide any reason to think he was going to turn it around.  He talked about the team making progress, but we just didn't beat anybody we weren't supposed to beat and we didn't beat all of the ones we were supposed to beat.

Plus, there were the arrests over the summer and you are losing and doing it without dignity.

OK.  So there's been plenty of debate about how empty Babers left the cupboard.  There's no doubt, Dino Babers did not expect to be here long.  My contention has always been that a better coach maybe goes 6-6 that first year and wins some of those games in the second year and makes in-game adjustments and develops players and you might struggle but you're not bottoming out in the first month.  Babers left a bad situation and Jinks made it worse.

Yes, Jinks had two good recruiting classes, at least on paper.  This year's class was shaping up to be less good, to be sure.  But as important as recruiting is, you can't recruit into our level of failure because even if players like the Coach, it's hard to imagine playing for him your entire career.

You wanted to see some progress.  Four wins in year 1.  Then six.  Then 7 or 8.  But it was moving in the other direction.

Ultimately, today falls on the shoulders of Chris Kingston, who isn't here to face the music.  It shows how much damage you can do with one wrong decision, and he made one of the worst decisions in the history of our athletic department.

I'm a little surprised at the mid-season move.  Having said that, it does allow BG to begin to look for the next Coach right now and hit the ground running when the season ends.  That December signing day looms big in the front window.

It is not a time to celebrate or be happy.  First, a lot of families are impacted by this.  Second, Jinks is a decent man who is a stand-up guy and put the institution first in everything he did.  Letting him go was the right thing to do but these are people involved, and their lives have been upended and it's not something to enjoy.

Also, as a program we are in deep trouble.  This team is not good.  A rebuild still looms.  This is not the job it was when Jinks was picked.  It is now a long slog to get back to respectability.  We will probably have player retention issues and commit retention issues, possibly including the QB.

A lot of pressure falls onto Bob Moosbrugger.  He's got to get this one right.  Coach Pelini will serve in an interim role and then I would expect a wholesale new staff when the season starts next year.

We can only hope that this decision is the beginning of a relatively quick resurgence.  Both Miami and Ball State suffered (or are suffering) long years in the wilderness following a bad coaching hire.

This had to happen, and I think everyone knew it.  Now, the next steps can begin.

Past and Future Opponent Land

Oregon  (5-1)  Big win over Washington.
Maryland (4-2) Beat Rutgers 34-7
EKU (3-3) Beat TN-Martin 35-34
Miami (3-4) Beat Kent 31-6
Georgia Tech (3-4) Lost 28-14 to Duke
Toledo (3-3) Surprise upset by EMU
WMU (5-2) NA
Ohio (3-3) Gave up 15 points in 4th Q to lose to NIU.
Kent (1-6) Lost to Miami
CMU (1-6) Lost to Ball State
Akron (2-3) Lost to Buffalo
Buffalo (6-1) Beat Akron

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

James Morgan was 27 of 36 for 311 and 2 TDs for FIU as they moved to 4-2.

And some other news from a former BG player....

Sadness Accrues: The Defense

Now, let's look at the defense from Saturday.

It continues to not be pretty.  Those guys are battling and giving it all they have, but they just aren't able to sustain their play on the D line for a full 60 minutes in a game where the other team runs 91 plays and 54 rushing attempts.  We just gassed out in the 4th Quarter--as often happens and I suspect will continue to happen.

Our best chance to win would be to get a big enough lead that the other team has to give up the run, which we had a shot to do on Saturday until an ill-timed turnover.

The defense actually did the job in the first half.  It was definite bend but don't break territory.  They drove to the BG 26 and the Falcons held on 4th down.  They drove to the 11 and gave it up on downs.  They got to the BG 22 and then Clint Stephens took it away with an OBJ-style INT.  And then they got to the BG 30 and the Marcus Milton had a pick.  That's 4 potential scoring drives when the Falcon defense was good enough to get them off the field.

Then, however, WMU scored a TD on 6 of its next 7, two of them as double-digit play drives on their way to dominating time of possession and eventually winning the game.

In total, WMU averaged 6 yards per play.  Coming in BG was allowing 7.2.  WMU averaged 5.2 yards per carry and coming into the game BG was allowing 6.6. 

WMU was 22 of 37 passing (59%) with 12 yards per completion and those 2 INTs.  Their long completion was 40 yards.

Anyway, it was a better defensive game against a good offensive team.  It was still a long way from being a strong defense.  WMU was 7 of 16 on 3rd down, something they had been struggling with and they made 3 of 5 on 4th down, making them 10 of 16 at moving the chains in total.  They were 4 of 5 in the red zone.

Some individual notes.  Clint Stephens had a game.  Not only did he have the circus pick, but he also broke up 3 other passes. 

Brandon Harris had a monster game as well.  Every time we had a big stop in space, I would be like, who made THAT stop, and when they untangled it was #1 getting up.  He was in on 20 freaking tackles.  Remember, WMU ran 91 plays, so that's a pretty good proportion.  By that, you mean really good.  One was a TFL.  He's an absolute warrior and he's bringing it every week, even in the face of this adversity.  He's one you don't forget about.

Jerry McBride is also turning into a really good player, with 13 tackles and forcing that fumble on the run that ended up in a fluke TD.  He's very solid in run support.  And Khole Coleman had 11 tackles and a hurry.

Last couple notes.

First, on special teams BG made a change at punter.  Matt Naranjo was uneven, though his last two punts were boomers and he didn't outright shank any of them.  Kickoff returns are killing BG.  Our long was 12 and we had a penalty on a key one in the 4th quarter.  In every situation yesterday, BG would have gained field position with a fair catch.

Second, we look forward.  BG is @OU, Kent, @CMU, @AK and UB.  So, what we had was not enough yesterday.  The question now is whether it could be enough moving forward.  In particular, the Kent, @CMU and @AK stretch presents three games against struggling teams, albeit with 2 of them on the road.  Honestly, BG has a good shot to break into the W category a couple times in the second half of the season.

Bigger picture, we've gone from MAC Champs to looking forward to playing Kent and CMU for a shot to win.  But our players are playing hard in every game with next to no results to show for it.  Would love to see us pick up some wins on the home stretch just for the sake of the program and the young men who play for us.  Also, it has a tendency to make me happy.

Sadness Accrues: The Offense

From the beginning of the year, BG's value proposition was that the Falcons would be able to move the ball very effectively and do it well enough to give their undermanned defense a chance to develop and BG would at least be competitive.

A codicil was added later that we would actually see more of that once BG got into MAC play.

We saw some of the promised success against Toledo and then we really saw it against Western Michigan.  Problem is that the offense seems to eventually find itself in situations where it has to score every time it has the ball, and that's a tough assignment for anyone.

BG's offense is showing itself to be an explosive force.  BG ran 56 plays and 7 of them were for 30 or more.  That's pretty good.  BG scored on two plays of 70 yards plus and also had a long TD drive at the end of the first half.

Those big plays really stuffed the stat sheet.  BG had a huge game.  BG had 511 yards on 56 plays, which is 9.1 yards per play and their most proficient attack in a long time.  BG ran for 6.3 yards per carry and Doege was 21 of 34 for 62% and 18 yards per completion.  The only two picks were by Doege on the big 4th down play and then on the Hail Mary.  BG was a big play offensive engine out there on Saturday.

The other side of that coin is that BG wasn't on the field that much, and that put pressure on the BG defense.  BG had 21:49 time of possession and scored 35 points.

The problem is that BG is not really set up to be a long drive team right now.  Yes, we did it the one time in the 2nd quarter, but BG doesn't have the consistent run game you need to have long drives.

For example, BG had 132 net rushing yards and 127 of those came on three plays.  On 20 non-sack rushes, BG lost yardage on 7 of them and gained between 0 and 3 yards 9 times.  I love big plays and who doesn't, but there's still room for the run offense to be more consistent and allow for longer drives.  A lot of that is on the line.  I think our backs are pretty good.

Beyond Doege, the biggest day was enjoyed by Scott Miller.  This guy is a stud.  He had 8 catches for 206 yards and 2 TDs.  He's just a great player.  He is playing back on the outside most of the time now and he's a deep threat even without tremendous height.  WMU had no answer for him in single coverage.

Doege also found Quinton Morris for a huge TD catch in the 2nd quarter and RB Marlow caught 5, including one for 50 yards.  Even after the issues with WRs in the off-season and the Phoutavong injury, BG is getting productivity out of its WRs. 

One other note, Andrew Clair did leave with an injury on the play when he fumbled.  Coach said it didn't appear to be "season-ending" in his words. 

So, the offense put points on the board and that's what they need to do.  They have huge big play ability and still have room to get better, particularly depending on the play up front, mostly.  But the key is that this team needs points on the board and I think we can get it against all of our opponents coming home.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Sadness Accrues: That was a tough one.

There is no joy in the nation tonight.  The Falcons appeared for almost all of the homecoming game today to be finally putting it together.  For 55 minutes, BG led, and you could start to think that the program was making progress, with a quick strike offense and a defense that made some plays in the first half and created a chance to win.  You could almost see this team winning its first conference game at home since the end of the first year of the Jinks reign and maybe even a team ready to compete in the second half of the year.

But there is no joy in the nation tonight.  In the end, it was the same result we have seen over the past 3 years.  Just a loss in a string of losses, where the team simply wasn't good enough to close the deal and bring home the win. 

Coach said afterwards that it was a tough one.  And it was.  These guys are putting their hearts and souls into this and not getting any results.

The key sequence of the game game in the middle of the 3rd quarter.  BG was up 28-14 and the defense had forced a three and out.  The offense is humming, picks up 18 yards at first down and is in WMU territory.  The real chance is to go up 3 scores and determine the course of the final minutes. Instead, on 2nd and 7 Doege went back to pass and it was a strip sack and WMU recovered.

Western took the turnover and scored a touchdown.  Instead of what could have been a three score lead, the game was now down to 7.  Coach said after the game that if it was a three-score game, the Broncos would have had to abandon the run--clearly to BG's advantage--but down 7 they had the chance to run the ball and wear down the BG defense, which is what happened.

BG got the ball back with 3 minutes left to play, took a delay of game and ended up going three and out.

With 2 left in the 3rd, WMU started at their own 48.  A few plays later, WMU fumbled way up field on a pass play but recovered it and ran it the rest of the way into the end zone for the tying touchdown.

That's a rough five minutes.

BG's offense did respond, using a 50 yard completion to RB Marlow to get into the red zone and then Miller scored from 9 yards out and BG had the lead 35-28.

WMU then went on a 10 play, 75 yard drive to tie the game up again.

With 11 minutes left, BG took over on the 35.  BG completely fizzed when they were playing tag (in Orrspeak) with the Broncos.  WMU started on their own 16 with 9:51 left.  WMU went on an 11-play, 84 yard drive that featured 9 runs and 2 passes, as they continued to press a tiring BG defense. 

They scored with 5 minutes left to take the lead for the first time, 42-35.

After a penalty on the kickoff return, BG started at the 8.  Doege hit Scotty Miller for 34 yards on the first play of the drive, and the game was afoot.  Two plays later, he hit Miller again for 36.  On third and ten, they hooked up again for 7 and BG had a 4th and 3 on the 15.

You're in a position to get it done.  WMU was bringing the house, and therefore a lot of single-coverage out on the edge.  What happened was BG ran a fake pitch to the right, with Doege heading left on a kind of bootleg.  Unfortuantely, he pivoted right into an oncoming rusher.  It was 4th down, so he flung the ball forward, but it was picked.

At that point, it was more or less over.  BG ended up with a hail mary but the fate was sealed.

Coach felt like BG had things lined up with a good playcall on that 4th down play.  It seems odd.  Here's how we came out of the huddle.  You can see Hendrix is in the backfield, WMU is primed on the line and they have single coverage on all 3 WRs.  Scotty Miller is there in the left slot and the right side WR is also being softly covered.

So, following that, Hendrix went in motion to the right and you can see that the linebacker followed him.  Now, you have the two WRs on the top.  They are pressing on the WR but the slot continues to have a lot of space and BG needs 3 yards.  I would guess that the movement of Hendrix to the right was supposed to sell the pitch fake, but that didn't work.  I don't know why you don't run a hot route to Miller or a fade on the outside.  Rotating right into unblocked coverage doesn't seem like it was a perfect play call.

As it was, Miller ran a slant and was open the entire time.

Anyway, we did what we did.  It was a very tough loss to take and certainly didn't come down to one play.  Ultimately, BG doesn't have the depth to defend teams committed to the run for 60 minutes.  Even the quick-strike offense is a double-edged sword (as Coach mentioned) because it puts the defense back out there.

This one was close and would have been great for the young men in our program.  As it is, it is another loss--at home--and one where BG carried the play most of the way.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Excellent Story on Caleb Bright

The Blade has a really good follow-up story on the Caleb Bright situation.  This was incredibly frightening, in fact.  Caleb's Father believes that if it wasn't for the immediate response of the medical and training staff, that Caleb's life was in danger.  (See Jordan McNair).

Medically, he was 100% satisfied with the care given to Caleb.  He was less satisfied that no full-time staff member stayed with Caleb while he was in the hospital in Atlanta overnight, and he raised that concern to the University.  BG has accepted responsibility for the decision, apologized (at the Presidential level) to the family, and has created new procedures to ensure that the situation is handled appropriately in the future.

Obviously, you'd like to see everything handled the way it should be all the time, but we also know life doesn't work that way.

With that in mind...

Good for Mr. Bright for speaking up
Good for the University for taking action medically
Good for the University for accepting responsibility and taking steps for the future

And thank heavens Caleb is OK.  So frightening.  It is a reminder that these young men take risks to play football for BG...something we should never forget.  Everyone involved is a human being.

25 Questions that go Whinny

What is their body of work?

They are only a couple years away from Rowing the Boat into New Year's Day.  This year, they are 4-2 and 2-0 in the MAC.  They beat Miami--which BG did not--and then EMU.  Margin of victory in the two games is a total of 4 points.  They also beat Georgia State, in FBS, and their losses are to Syracuse and Michigan.  They are in the running for the West title.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

They have 25 which is a pretty typical number.

Who are their statistical leaders?

Jon Wassink is #16 in passing TDs, #18 in passing yards per game
Jayden Reed is #10 in passing TDs.
Levante Bellamy is #16 in rushing yards per carry.

What is their turnover ratio?

They are even.


How is their QB play?

It has been good.  Jon Wassink is #3 in the MAC in passing efficiency.  He was the starter last year until he was injured.  He's completed 63% of his passes at 13.7 per completion, a pretty deadly combination.  He has 14 TD over 4 INT.  He can run a little bit.

What is their scoring and yards per play?

They are scoring 35.7 PPG and getting 6.6 yards per play.  Those are good numbers--the second is #25 in the country.

Can they run the ball?

They are good.  They are averaging 5.1 yards per rush which is pretty good.  They have 3 effective backs.  BG's going to need to show some real progress in the Pelini system.

Do they pass the ball?

See info on the QB.  Also, they have Jaylen Reed, a highly ranked WR and D'Wayne Eskridge, a SO with 4.3 speed who is averaging 24 per catch on 19 receptions.  This will also be a pressure point for the BG defense.

How is their run/pass balance?

They run on 53% of their plays, which is run heavy in today's game.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

They are poor on third down at 36%

Did they score in the red zone?

They are not good at 4.2 points per trip.

Did they protect the quarterback?

Very well.  They give up sacks on only 2% of passing attempts.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

They give up 30 per game and 5.7 per play, neither of which is a great number.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They are pretty good at 4.4 yards per carry.  That's about the top third in the country.

Can they be passed on?

They can.  They are 10th in the MAC in pass efficiency defense.  They allow 59% completions against 13.3 yards per reception and 11 TDs over only 1 INT.

Did they get off the field on 3rd down?

They are pretty good at 33%

Do they defend in the red zone?

They are pretty bad, at 5.5 points per trip.

Did they pressure the QB?

They are strong, getting sacks on 8% of their passing attempts.

Special Teams:


They are not good.  #10 in net punting in MAC.  They do have 7 inside the 20, which limits your yards.  Blocked once.

Punt Return?

They've scored twice and average 28 yards per return.  No really.  Area of maximum danger here.  BG puts any low punts down there and it is going to be trouble.


Gavin Peddie is a true freshman K.  He's 4-5 with a long of 38.


Opponents start on the 27.  WMU has only 2 touchbacks.

Kickoff Return?

They start on their 23 which is not good.

Miscellaneous, Intangibles?

Clearly, this is a tough matchup for us.  They all are when you are in our spot.  WMU has a big offense and will put pressure on both the BG defense and, by extension, the offense.  They do give points up, though, and BG's offense will need to consistently produce to give us a chance to win.  It's homecoming, which could help.  Hopefully, there's some kind of decent crowd there, but who knows.  BG is a 10 point underdog, probably partly a reaction to the UT loss.  BG did come back after losing to UT and play well (before losing) to EMU last year.  We keep hearing that the team is getting better and sooner or later that has to come through on the field if it is true.

Monday, October 08, 2018

Jinks Presser

A few interesting things....

First, Deric Phoutavong has a knee injury and will not return this year.  It's a shame.  Coach says he had really worked hard to get himself to being a top-flight WR, and then this happens just as he gets there.  Best to Deric as he rehabs.

Second, Coach did take a bigger hand in calling plays.  He said that he felt we needed a spark back in the Miami game (4th Quarter) and he feels like you can speed up the tempo better when you are on the sideline.

He talked about how UT came out in a three-man front, which surprised him, so even though we were down 17-0 as Coach he could decide we would run the ball six times to give the defense some rest.  Anyway, you'll see him with a play card moving forward.  (Currently, we have co-offensive coordinators, one for the run game and one for the pass game.)

The oline will be the same as it was for the UT game but only due to injury.

He was asked about special teams and he nodded in agreement.  First, the punt game.  He said he wasn't going to get into any of that.  He said that it remains an open competition.  The block was the fault of the shield, though, not Timmerman, but BG needs more consistency at punter.  Overall, this was an odd answer.  He finished saying he didn't want to talk too much about it "if that's ok" which kind of an unusual way to go with a question like that.

He also said that we haven't popped a return.  He said that all the injuries have forced him to choose between putting newer players out on special teams and tiring the starters out.

As usual, he says that we are getting better and looks forward to the sweet, soft landing of "parity" in MAC play.

It was noted that BG usually gets more up for UT than other games and how he would combat that this year.  I think that's a fair question.  He said it was a good question.  He said the team talked about "what winning looks like" and then described a lot of people hyped up for the rivalry game and they need to do it every game and "who knows what could happen."

He was asked if the misdirection runs were an identity for the team and he was smart enough not to go there again.

Finally, when he was asked by Jordan Strack to respond to the Briggs opinion column that anonymously quoted boosters and their very negative feelings about Coach Jinks, he said it was "unfair" not to him but to the players and the university.  He said that it would hurt recruiting and was unfair to players.

I initially tweeted about this but then read a couple other tweets and I saw the point he was talking about was donors taking anonymous cheap shots at the program.  I guess I understand what he was talking about.

Not entirely sure I agree, but I do see the point. 

I understand that when another MAC school sits down with a recruit and he is considering BG and that they will show him that article and tell them Jinks won't be at BG much longer. 

But it isn't like they can't see what's happening anyway.

It also isn't like you can go to the Athletic Department and ask them...all you're going to get is the same old stuff they have to say.  (If the Athletic Department truly believes this is on the right track they should extend Jinks and take ownership of the situation.)

Ultimately, there's no article if you aren't 7-23.  Losing is hurting recruiting.  Hiring a coach with no track record is hurting recruiting.  Not one article in The Blade that reflected the opinions of many people.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Past and Future Opponent Land

Oregon  (4-1)  Idle
Maryland (3-2) Lost to Michigan
EKU (2-3) Lost 56-7 to #8 Jacksonville State
Miami (2-4) Thumped Akron 41-17 in Akron.
Georgia Tech (3-3) Ouch, didn't see this until now.  Beat Louisville 66-21!
Toledo (3-2) NA
WMU (4-2) Beat EMU 27-24 in Kzoo
Ohio (3-2) Rallied to beat Kent 27-26 after being down 20-7 in third.
Kent (1-5) Blew 20-7 lead to OU.
CMU (1-5) Lost to Buffalo, 34-24
Akron (2-2) Lost badly to Miami
Buffalo (5-1) Won 24-24 at WMU

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

One note--that Ohio-Akron section of the schedule is shaping up to be much softer than expected.  OU is disappointing, as is Akron and even CMU to an extent. 

James Morgan was at the BG-UT game, according to Twitter.

Jinks Post-game Presser

One last note from the Jinks presser.

Coach noted that BG had made some adjustments on offense, especially in the run game.  Specifically, he said that BG had brought in a second tight end to help the run game and then was going to stay in that until the WRs started to get some single coverage.  He said "I decided" when he talked about it.

Someone (I assume Nick P from the Blade) asked him if he was calling plays.  He said that it was a "collective effort" but he was involved in it.  When asked if he thought that would continue, he said "Yes."

I did notice after a late BG possession that he handed a playsheet to someone on the sideline.  I guess I didn't know who called the plays but I am assuming from the fact that the question was asked that Jinks did not call plays previously and has now inserted himself into that process.

Just another chance to note that the offensive assistants are the last coaches left from the original Jinks staff.

He was also asked if BG would stay with this set up moving forward, and he said that he could have to look at the film but that it "sure was nice" to get some consistency out of the run game.  Actually, it's the same adjustment he made at the end of season 1 when BG "found its identity" to be a running team and he brought some TEs in and went more old-school.

Note also that BG's line was intact with the exception of Caleb Bright, our C, who was on the bench due to his heat exhaustion in Atlanta.  Jack Kramer moved from G to C and Matt Tanner started at G.

Problem is that BG is not long on TEs.  Dorian Hendrix was in and actually was involved in the passing game as well.  Traylor was listed as having played as well.

Sadness Accrues: Nine Straight, Part II

So, let's look a little deeper.

I mentioned in the previous post that the defense did a credible job.  When the 4th quarter started, UT had 31 points, but UT had benefitted from two very short fields on a blocked punt and a fumble.  So, beyond those, UT had only 17 points at that point.  If you had started the game and told me UT would have 17 points five minutes or so into the 4th quarter, I would take it any day.  The offense and special teams dug the hole.

As mentioned, UT was playing without its starting QB.  UT has struggled to run the ball, and they did run the ball against BG.  UT had 6.5 yards per carry, well above their season average.  BG's season average is 6.6 yards per carry, 4th worst in the nation, so the game was right on their average.  Also, those numbers were jacked up a bit in the final parts of the 4th quarter when the game was decided.

The passing was a little different.  As noted in the preview, UT has great WRs and they had a hard time getting unshackled.  Peters was 17 of 35 for only 184 yards.  Their long completion was 29 yards.  Also, because Peters is not a runner, BG was able to do some blitzing and get some pressure on him. 

Ultimately, however, you play who is on the field and we could have all envisioned a scenario where Peters comes in against our defense and looks like Aaron Rogers.  In this case the defense was dealt a difficult hand by the offense and special teams and held their own on the scoreboard.  Note;  UT started 6 drives in BG territory.

The offense put up reasonable numbers overall.  One thing we saw that we have not seen much of is the big play.  Honestly, it's badly needed.  Elko's strategy was to make the opposition execute a bunch of plays to get down the field because they will eventually make a mistake and stall the drive.  With BG's issues, especially up front, the same is true here. 

Andrew Clair scored on two plays that were over 60 yards.  BG had two other pass plays over 40 yards.  That's 200 of the 480 yards on four plays, but were critical because they kept BG in the game. 

Just as an example, in the 3rd Quarter, down 10, BG took over on its own 16 and took a delay of game before the drive began.  The Falcons then went on a 14 play drive to score a TD.  There were only 2 3rd downs on the whole drive until the end when BG did catch a break and had a Doege pick called back on a personal foul.

Point is, on the four drives after that...when the game was decided, BG ran 12 plays for 6 yards.  They did rebound for a touchdown on their last drive.

There were lots of positives for the offense, though.  Playing without Phoutavong and Bright but with Taborn back on the field, BG rushed for 6.6 yards per carry.  Doege was not sacked.  The Rockets were credited with only 2 quarterback hurries.

So, all that was good.  There was one costly fumble and then an inability to move the ball in the 4th quarter that had to be better. I think we all felt the offense had to be close to perfect for BG to win.

As far as special teams, there were two punting plays which changed the game, which is what special teams can do.  BG did a decent job with the UT return game, though one big return was called back for a penalty.  Timmerman did have a 55-yard punt, as well.  BG also had a FG blocked that would have sent the game into the locker room tied at the half.

I've said this before, BG needs to fair catch all the kickoffs.  We're starting out inside the 20 a lot.

So, that's the story.  BG made it a better game than we feared, but in the end was not good enough to win the game in the 4th Quarter and it was a 9th straight loss. 

We have seen this before.  BG has usually showed up to play against UT in the Jinks era.  What hasn't happened is for it to be something that can be built on.

Having said that, we were told that the defense would need time to adapt to the Pelini system.  Maybe that's what is happening.  Maybe we are finally seeing the o-line come around and the offense will be what we thought we were going to have.  They'll both get a chance to show that next week, at home, for homecoming.

The one thing BG has never done in the Jinks era is exceed expectations with a win.  They've lost games we'd expect to win, but never once has a Jinks team beat someone where we punched above our weight.

We'll get a chance next week.

The Falcons are 1-5 and 0-2.  In theory, you could still make a bowl game and still win the East, but you're talking a turnaround like Miami had a couple years ago.  Maybe that's where we are.  I doubt it, but maybe.  Coach says he sees us getting better in practice every day, but has said that every week for three years and the opposite trends are seen on the field.  Honestly, you could also lose out. 

I've said this before (for 3 years)...for as much doubt as there is and always has been for Jinks, the last thing we want to do is start over again.  The best case is he surprises us all and succeeds.  My feeling is that he needs to either be extended this year or be out.  You can already see the hit that recruiting is taking. 

But remember, if you get a new coach with the December signing day you are really putting a new coach (and the program) behind the 8-ball and risk introducing another lost class into the mix. 

We shall see.  You cannot hide from the results.