Monday, April 29, 2019

Hargrove Portals

So Hargrove enters the transfer portal.  Best of luck to him, he should be able to attend college and play football where he wants, and I wish him nothing but the best.  It happens when things are transitioning...and BG is very deep at RB and Hargrove might have been more of an Air Raid guy than a pro-style guy.

He was active as a true FR.  He had 33 rushes, caught 10 passes along with returning kicks.  He scored twice and was third on the team in all-purpose yards.  He was a highly-productive HS player, runner-up for Mr. Football, etc.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Scotty Miller Drafted!

So, the good news out of yesterday's final day of the NFL draft is that Scotty Miller was drafted in the sixth round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

It's excellent news and we are very happy for him.  Warm your heart here.

By the way, that video was posted by James Morgan, who QB'd here, just to see what kind of guy he is.

Miller is an all-time great at BG.  He finished 3rd in all-time receptions and receiving yards.  He was all-MAC on the first team and should have been twice...his senior year he was 7th nationally in receiving yards and 18th in receptions and yet did not make first team.  He also holds a MAC Championship ring.

The Miller narrative is one of being under-appreciated.  He had one FBS offer.  And he wasn't invited to the combine or to any of the all-star games.  What I suspect moved him into the draftable range was that he ran a 4.3 on pro day at BGSU and when you combine that kind of speed with the production you saw at BGSU, and people started to take notice.

Again, incredibly happy for him.  As I said, he's an all-time great.  He's a Falcon forever and a champion forever...regardless of whether he plays a down in the NFL.  We're rooting for him like crazy, but he could quit now and never be forgotten here.

One reason why is because he stuck with this team through some of the worst years in the program's history.  He could have transferred or quit, but he kept battling and fighting even when there were precious few victories to savor.

A few notes as it relates to the draft and the NFL...

  • I saw somewhere that if Miller plays in the NFL, he will be one of three WRs on the 2015 championship team to play in the NFL, and Teo Redding is on the Packers practice squad.  (Thanks to the commenter who pointed this out to me).
  • It is BG's first draft pick since 2012 when Chris Jones was picked.
  • Since 1994, BG has had six players picked in the draft.
  • BG has had players make the NFL as UDFA coming out of the Clawson years...Adjei Barimah and Gabe Martin both played in the NFL, along with Gehrig Dieter and Ryan Hunter.
  • As far as I know, BG didn't have any UDFAs or camp invites this year.   Update Montre Gregory has a camp invite to KC.

The MAC had 9 players drafted into the NFL.

2nd round, 39th overall    DB Sean Bunting (Central Michigan) by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2nd round, 55th overall    OT Max Scharping (Northern Illinois) by the Houston Texans
3rd round, 66th overall    WR Diontae Johnson (Toledo) by the Pittsburgh Steelers
4th round, 106th overall   DE Maxx Crosby (Eastern Michigan) by the Oakland Raiders
6th round, 175th overall   DE Sutton Smith (Northern Illinois) by the Pittsburgh Steelers
6th round, 185th overall   DB Ka'dar Hollman (Toledo) by the Green Bay Packers
6th round, 195th overall   DB Xavier Crawford (Central Michigan) by the Houston Texans
6th round, 207th overall   LB Ulysees Gilbert (Akron) by the Pittsburgh Steelers
6th round, 208th overall   WR Scott Miller (Bowling Green) by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The surprise here is Tyree Jackson, who left Buffalo early and was projected to be a day 2 pick and fell completely out of the draft.  He was the conference offensive player of the year and I feel sort of fell in the Omar Jacobs trap.  He did sign with Buffalo.  The knock I heard on him was accuracy, which people are fond of saying know can't be taught to someone his age.

Also, Anthony Johnson wasn't picked, a bigger surprise for my money.  He's going to join Miller in Tampa Bay.

MAC Prospectus is tracking the UDFA/invite scene, which you can find here.

You look at the list, and you just see how you can be a really good player in the MAC and not be drafted.  It's just not easy.

I was glad to see Sutton Smith drafted.  I think he can play for the Steelers.

Friday, April 26, 2019

MBB Verbal is a very big person

So, this is interesting.  Dylan Swingle is a transfer from Duquesne....6'11 and 300 pounds.  He redshirted at Duquesne in his only year there, so there's no news about him related to his collegiate play.  He was, however, a highly-decorated player in HS.

He's from Chillicothe, so an Ohioan.  That is in D-III of OHSAA.  There are 4 divisions overall so this one would be the second-smallest.

Dropping some knowledge:

  • Ranked 35th nationally among centers and in the Top 11 in the state of Ohio by 247 Sports.
  • Two-time First Team Division III All-Ohio.
  • Rated as a 3-star recruit, and 10th-best overall player (No. 3 center) in Ohio, by
  • Averaged 23.1 points, 13.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 3.7 blocks per game as a senior in leading Paint Valley (17-8) to the Division III district semifinal.
  • Finished his career with a Paint Valley High School, Scioto Valley Conference and Ross County record 1,796 points. The Paint Valley scoring record stood for 43 years.
  • His 1,160 rebounds were the most in school history and second-most in conference and county history. Also had 267 career blocks.
  • Two-time District and Scioto Valley Conference Player of the Year.
  • Averaged 21.3 points and 13.0 rebounds per game as a junior.
  • 2016-17 Associated Press All-Southeast District Division III co-Player of the Year.
  • According to 247, offers from Akron, WVU, GW and Dayton.

I have no idea if there is some kind of hardship involved here.  If not, Dylan will have to sit next year per NCAA rules and then would have three eligible seasons moving forward.

So, you wanted a big man and you wanted to use all the scholarships, there you go.  Not expected to see him impact next season, but if he develops he has the looks of somebody who could be a very effective MAC player.  At his size, you'd expect big HS numbers--and they are there.  If he can play against guys his size, everything points to a formidable post presence.

Welcome to the Falcons, Dylan.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Happy Easter to the Falcon Nation

Happy Easter to the Falcon Nation.  Regardless of our religious faith, we can unite around the idea of committing ourselves to a new beginning built on love and forgiveness.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Spring Practice Wrap Up

So Coach Loeffler had a presser after the end of the Spring practice today.  I watched it.  You can, too.  It's on the internet, and embedded below.

A few things jumped out at me.

First, Coach thinks our running backs are going to be pretty good and we're going to use them.  Given his offensive track record, I'd envision a lot of 12 and 13 personnel and an attempt to run the ball.  If you think about it, that would take the pressure off a defense that is going to start undermanned.  Run blocking was an issue last year (understatement) but with a new coach on the o-line they have moved some guys around.  I felt like they had ability all along and they've certainly gotten time to play, so with effective coaching and a run-friendly personnel grouping, maybe more holes can open up.

Second, he talked about the opening days of practice when he had to teach the players to get into "basic football position."  He describes what he means by that in the clip, but what's interesting is that he positions it as the kind of thing that is just fundamental to know and says that our guys did not know how to do that.  That's kind of an artifact of where we were the last three years.  I suspect it was worse than we even thought, based on that.

Third, he says that the practice moved inside, which was OK because he wanted a short practice for "player safety."  BG has only one healthy scholarship RB, for example.  And shortages in other position groups.  So, we didn't want a 150=play scrimmage, though Loeffler thinks that would have been "AWESOME."

Fourth, and perhaps most significant, was that he said "the numbers aren't right."  I believe this is related to what I mentioned in my post on the roster....BG is short on guys at certain positions.  He went on to say that BG has scholarships available but they can't be filled due to "rules."  I don't know what "rules" he is referring to, but I believe you can only give 25 scholarships in any year.  You are allowed 85 total, so you can eventually catch up, just not right away.  Those PWOs are going to be really important.  Point is, that we are short on players at some positions and that is one of the challenges he is dealing with as we attempt to rebuild the program.

He said that he was happy with the spring but there's a long way to go.  Almost has to be true.  Pretty much four months and they'll get their first test at home against Morgan State.

Football Verbal

So far as we have heard, this is the first verbal commitment to the football program.  As noted in the tweet, Boyer will be a 4th generation Falcon, which is pretty cool.

He attends Anthony Wayne HS.  This is the golden age of AW athletics.  They were undefeated in football, made a deep run in the boy's basketball tournament and are a power in baseball as well.  Boyer has played football and basketball for the Generals.  He is listed at 6'4" and 215 and played TE/DE in HS. 

He was second-team all-NLL on offense.  There aren't a lot of stats on him, but he is cited in news stories as making big catches in key games.

I'll tell you this.  I think he's at BG because he loves our school.  And he's an athlete and a leading player on a great team.  Welcome to the Falcons, Bryce.

Spring Roster Review

So, the spring roster is out.  There are a few players who were expected back who are not listed and a few new guys who are in camp, based on the roster.  We're on a transition point between coaches and it's normal to see some turnover, especially as there are attempts made to improve the culture.  I'm told that these players include some players who left the program and some who had medical issues.

We have already written about losing Josh Croslen and Kyle Junior.  Junior grad transferred to Oklahoma State, by way of an update.


Wortham--mentioned just this week as one of only four returning CBs with playing experience who were returning, Wortham will now be added to the departing CBs.  He played as a true FR and then gained a medical redshirt and played 10 games last year.

Marble--was a walk on QB from Warren MI.

Hall--walk-on RB from Jeanette, PA

Judd--a LB who would have been a R-JR.  He played in 11 games last season, with a handful of tackles.

Antwuan Johnson--a LB who was a highly ranked 3-star recruit when he came to BG. Red-shirted last year.

Fitz-Henley--also a highly recruited LB with a lot of offers.  He actually moved to TE for a while last year.

Keije Brown--a walk-on WR who actually played in the UB game to end the year, which I am betting you didn't know.

James Lachey--a recruited TE and son of football announcer.  Played for a BG grad in HS.

So, what's the take away?  Honestly, this is not a surprising turnover. LB was hit hard as a position, but just as importantly, it shows that recruiting rankings are though to judge, as are young people in HS.

There are significant deficiencies on the defensive side of the ball in terms of manpower.  You're basically losing six more guys who would have been considered to be in the pipeline when they got here.

Nick P in The Blade talked about some position changes today.  Evan Brown, from Anthony Wayne and the baseball team, came as a CB and has been moved to LB and is listed as a starter, just to illustrate the manpower issues.  RB CJ Lamar also moved to LB.  Caleb Biggers is now a CB and Sotolongo is back at S.  For other updates, definitely read the article.

There are also five new players on the roster, three of which you have heard about before.

One is Joey Carroll, the St. Francis grad who is listed as starting at TE as a true FR.  Appears to be popular with Loeffler.

Another is Jake Rogers, Medina, who was a PWO and is now listed as the starting KR.

Austin Dorris, a grad transfer from Indiana who is a TE and should contribute.  (Remember: You spell Loeffler T-I-G-H-T-E-N-D.

Najee Freeman, Kissimee--walk on WR from FL who was productive in HS...not too much out there on him.

Corey Frank, is a d-lineman from Cincinnati Reading.  His school did a cool thing.  They had a signing cermony for their top 10 students.  Of which he was one.  Also a walk-on.

So, that's the update.  Remember, we're in a process here.  I do think the offense has a shot to be decent.  They are moving guys around on the o-line and they kept a lot of good players and you have Johnson-Mack coming into the fold after transferring.  Done right, I think we might be able to score a little.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Herrmann: Out

Tracing back the story here, the original idea was that Carl Pelini was going to stay as DC and Van Gorder was going to coach LBs.  Then, Pelini left, Van Gorder was made DC and Jim Hermann was brought in as Associate Head Coach and LBs coach.  He has a large amount of college and professional experience that was viewed as helpful in the AHC role to a first-time Head Coach.

Well, Herrmann is now leaving to take an unspecified position in the NFL, according to the school as reported in The Blade.

So, Loeffler goes back to the drawing board.  Herrmann will finish out the spring, which is good.  So far, Loeffler has hired seasoned and qualified coaches and I look forward to seeing who he gets with the next one.  Herrmann wasn't a token "seasoned" coach, he was one of many.  It would have been great to have him--quite probably only for a year anyway--but it's not the end of the world.  We're on a building process here.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Some football info from Spring practice

So Nick from The Blade is doing a nice job on the spring football coverage.  I'm not going to do something every time he writes.  You can read that for yourself.  Only when I'd like to comment or add something.

Today's article is about the lack of CBs on the BG roster.  Marcus Milton, Clint Stephens, and Montre Gregory all graduated and left a pretty thin CB corps for BG.

First, a nit to pick.  The article cites BG as being 6th nationally in passing yards allowed.  Which is true.  However, it's not a great measure, because teams didn't pass as much against BG due to the ease with which they could run against BG.  In fact, BG faced only 262 pass attempts, the lowest BY 18 in the entire FBS.

More accurately, BG was 10th in pass efficiency defense in the MAC.  They were 9th in conference games.  BG was 10th in interception/passing attempt, 9th in yards/completion allowed.  Etc.  I say that just to note that BG lost those guys off a below average pass defense, not a good one.  There's a way to go.

So, BG has four guys on the roster right now with some playing experience.  Only 1 has made a start.

Torrian Hampton
Darius Wortham
Ty Redding
Antonyo Sotolongo (missed entire season).

There's also one R-FR.

Five of the first signing class were d-backs.  They could get action right away.  Obviously, that was a big part of the struggle in Jinks I, but you have to hope that we have the staff to be a little more tactical and protect guys a little more.

There's a big issuer that I feel is important for Falcon fans to know and it can be seen throughout this story.  BG has big holes in the roster.  This is a rebuild.  The program is largely in tatters, especially in critical front-line positions.  Here's what coach says in the article.

“That’s the issue next year, even with recruiting,” Loeffler said. “Normally, you’re sitting [and saying], ‘OK, we’re going to take two offensive linemen, we’re going to take two this.’ We’re taking five D-linemen and five O-linemen, four tight ends. That’s a lot.

"I mean, it goes on and on and on.”
So, just a reminder to have careful expectations for the first year or two.  The roster and the culture are being re-built.  It might be a while before we see the mess cleaned up.  If not, all the better.  The hope is to see progress, in my opinion.  And be prepared for continued patience.

Friday, April 05, 2019

The Coming Year in BG MBB

Let's look ahead to what we have for the next year.

A couple things.  First, as noted in my state of the program post, Coach Huger will be back.  The Blade has reported that there are discussions around an extension for him.  One thing I forgot to note when I extolled the success of the WMU program is that perhaps as much as anything they also had stability at the top.  They were succeeding and not looking to get Hawkins out every time something didn't go well.  I believe that BG would be well-served with similar stability in the program.

I would support Coach getting a reasonable extension.  My thought is two is OK.  Anymore probably isn't a good idea.

So, what does next year look like?  First, of course, is the caveat that you have to wait and see who's still around November comes.  I have no knowledge of anyone looking to leave, but in a world where there are hundreds of transfers each year, the idea can't be ignored.  I know of no one leaving now and that's what we are basing this on.

BG lost 3 significant contributors off the team this year:  Wiggins, Lillard and Uju.  That's your 3rd and 4th leading scorers, your best rebounder and an important role player.   In the large scheme of things, that's not a crippling graduation loss, but in BG's case there is one issue, which is that Wiggins and Uju were really BG's only post players.  Replacing them will represent a challenge to the team in keeping its momentum moving forward.

BG has two current players on the roster who could be post players but have not seen much time.  Taylor Mattos, who will be a SO, played 67 minutes on the year and Joniya Gadson, who will be a Junior, played only 107 minutes over two years.  Not to say that either of these players can't play in the post, but we have yet to see them shoulder that burden in game play.  They may have shown it in practice, but we haven't seen it in a game.

All 3 of BG's incoming freshmen appear to be good players (more in a second) but none is a post player.

Which brings us to the most common complaint I hear about Coach Huger from Falcon fans...that he hasn't used all his scholarships.

BG played last year with one open scholarship and still have one open for next year.  For some, this is a pretty big issue.  You'd like to think you have an opportunity to bring in post players who could help right away--either Grad transfers or JUCO players.  It does seem to be the way the sport is going.  Certainly hasn't hurt Buffalo.

FWIW, while I haven't lost my mind on the issue, I do think that now that the program has some success and would be attractive to a player coming in, we really should be about the business of filling those slots, especially as there is an apparent hole in the roster at a pretty important position.

The two freshmen coming had very strong senior years in HS.

One of them is Davin Ziegler.   He's a 6'2 SG from Cleveland Benedictine.  He comes from a basketball family...his uncle is Ernie Ziegler, former UCLA assistant, and CMU Head Coach, and Trey Zeigler is his cousin and it goes deeper than that.  He won the Clark Kellogg award for boy's basketball player of the year in the Cleveland area and he finished all-state first team, Division II.

Zeigler scored 20.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game during the regular season.

The other FR coming in is Chandler Turner of Renaissance HS in Detroit.  He was named Mr. PSL (Public school league) this winter.  Also, he finished in the final 4 for Mr. Basketball in Michigan.  He was first-team all-state this year as well.

He's a 6'6" 2/3 who had offers from Kent, CSU, UB, NIU, Milwaukee, and IUPUI.

As a senior, he scored 24.7 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 7.3 APG and 41% 3FG shooting.

The last one committed yesterday.  That's Trey Diggs.  More on him here.

Adding all that up, you look to have Frye, Turner and Fields off the starting team.  Plowden really seemed to come on late, so you have him as a starter.  And then you have the open slot in the post.  Lillard was highly productive coming off the bench, but I'd like to think that Turner and possibly Diggs can fill his slot pretty nicely.  You've got Laster back, along with Marlon Sierra.  And then Mattos and Gadson and Kulakovics, which is all guys you don't know what you have.  You'd certainly think the Diggs can bring some points off the bench and I think Zeigler can contribute as well supporting Frye,

Which I hope adds up to some nice depth for BG, which was a strength this year.  I'd assume under this scenario that Mattos starts in the post.  I will say this:  BG did a great job bringing Wiggins along and maybe they have been doing the same thing with Marros.

Again, on a team that I think you have to feel pretty good about, the question mark is in the post.

I can't wait to see it start. The challenge is to string these years together and I'd love to see Coach Huger do that and get the program where it needs to be, year after year.

Thursday, April 04, 2019

MBB Commit

So big news for the "use all the scholarships" camp.  There's only one left.

Trey Diggs announced his commitment to BG today.  Diggs is a JUCO player who will be eligible immediately and have two seasons ahead of him.

He's a 6'5" G from Northwest Florida State College.  He didn't put up big numbers there...7.7 PPG and 42% overall shooting.  He's clearly a shooter.  He shot 39% from 3FG, which is good, and he had a significant number of attempts.  He averaged about 16 minutes a game.

He played on a good team.  They were a #1 seed in the national tourney and made the Elite Eight.

He started his college career at DII Florida Southern, where he scored 9.6 PPG as a FR and shot 41% from 3FG.  He went to NW Florida State because it is a high-level JUCO program that puts a lot of guys into D1 ball.  A teammate committed to Oregon before the season started--he is the #1 JUCO prospect.  They have 5 of the top 100 JUCO transfers, all guys who are not Diggs.  They had 5 last year, including Derek Funderburk, who went to NC State.

Diggs averaged 20 PPG and 8 RPG as a senior in HS in Niceville FL.

I'm only kind of kidding about using all the scholarships.  The only thing I would say is that I had expected BG to use both scholarships for some post help.  Will be interesting to see what happens with the one that's left.

Welcome to the Falcons, Trey.