Thursday, May 30, 2019

Falcons Land Four Football Verbals

So, a flurry of recruiting activity for the football programs.  BG has had four young men commit in the last couple of days.

Torrance Farmer is a RB from Fayetteville AR.  He's 6'1" and 210 pounds.  Not a ton of information on him, but this Arkansas blog says that he was more explosive as a RB in the spring.  Also, they gave him an additional ATH tag and say he doesn't have top end speed but passes the eye ball test. He does not have a 247 profile.

Griffin Little is a TE from Ft. Wayne.  He's 6'3" and 230.  He had a lot of offers, including Air Force, Ball State, CMU, NIU and Tulane, along with some other FCS offers, including Cornell.  He was honorable-mention all-state as a WR but tore his ACL in January, presumably playing basketball, but was able to get back to recruiting and accept a BG commit.  He was also second-team all-district.  This story in his local paper says he led his team 53 receptions for 926 yards and 10 touchdown.

Jay Burns is also from Arkansas, playing at Har-ber High School, which is right outside Fayetteville, which is where Farmer is from.  He plays at Har-ber HS and had some eye-popping success.  On October 12, he had not had an offensive touch--he had been playing CB--and then he went on a proper tear with the ball in his hands.  He had 323 yards and 4 TDs in that first game.  In his second game, he went for 350 and 2 TDs.  There were other examples. 

The fourth is Levi Gazarek from North Baltimore.  He's highly recruited and is a good example of keeping the local players home.  He has offers from Ball State, CMU, Charlotte, UConn, EMU, Fordham, Kent and Yale.  He's 6'5" and 230 pounds and is the QB at NB, but you'd expect him to play TE in college.  He is also a top-flight baseball player and his twitter announcement would seem to indicate that he's playing both sports at BG as would this article. He was also state honorable mention in basketball.

Welcome to the Falcons, gentlemen. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Turner Returns to BG

No big surprise here...Justin Turner has withdrawn his name from the NBA draft and will return to BG, having benefitted from an evaluation from the scouts that the NBA provides to players.  He was expected to return...and I think any player in his position should take advantage of the evaluation.

As Nick from The Blade points out, BG returns 10 players...something you rarely see in today's college basketball world.  I would expect BG to be picked to finish near the top of the MAC next year and they have expectations to meet for the first time in decades.  More on that in another post.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Falcon Get QB Transfer

So, most of the mystery is resolved as it relates to the QB position, as BG has Matt McDonald transferring from Boston College.  Just to review, BG's starting QB Jarrett Doege transferred to WVU after spring practice, leaving the Falcons with two essentially untested scholarship QBs left.  BG talked immediately about going out and getting a QB transfer to fill the gap.  They did...but I think it is safe to say that everyone thought it would be a grad transfer who would be eligible immediately.

Now, as noted above, McDonald might be eligible right away.  I'll be the first to admit I don't understand how this hardship stuff works.  I didn't understand how Martell or Doege was a hardship so I guess I can't explain why this one would be.  Usually, you see a young man returning home for some reason.

Unless BG has another guy on the way, you'd have to think they have a decent hunch the hardship will be approved....or taking this chance was their best shot with the players still available.

Anyway, this transfer is one thing if McDonald is eligible immediately and another if he is not.

He was a 3-star prospect out of Mission Viejo, CA.  That's a huge HS program.  He's listed as 6'3" and 210 pounds. He had great numbers in his one year at Mission Viejo...before that he was at Mater Dei. Even with this high ranking, he was late to sign to Boston College which had some people scratching their head.  He was injured for his junior season.

Here's what the article said about him:
All of the what ifs and second-guessing were put to rest during McDonald’s 2016 season when the senior nailed 136-of-211 pass attempts for 2,764 yards with 39 touchdowns against just eight picks. His completion percentage remained high at an average of 64 percent per try putting in a first team All-League kind of season. His dual-threat abilities really started to take hold carrying the rock 39 times for 235 yards with four more scores posted. All of the activity on the field helped the Diablos to an 11-1 mark ripping through the South Coast during the regular season. 

He red-shirted at BC and then he played late in two blow-outs last year as a R-FR.  The BC Blog says he left spring practice at least on the third string.

So, I guess time will tell as it relates to his eligibility.  He certainly was more recruited than the QBs BG has right now, but he's just as untested, though he obviously knows Loeffler.  Welcome to the Falcons, Matt.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Huger Gets Extension

Last week, BGSU announced that it had given an extension and raise to Coach Huger, meaning that he is under contract until the 23-24 season.

People said what they usually say.  Moos said he wanted to continue the athletic and academic performance of the men's basketball team.  Huger said he wants to stay here, that he is "haunted" by the ghosts of 1968.

A few thoughts.

I'm glad they did it.  After the year, I did a little look at the WMU program--one whose success we would take in a minute--and I think stability was one of the keys they have.  They weren't looking to replace Hawkins every time he had an OK year, and they were rewarded with consistently competitive basketball and two Big Dance trips.

So, I think it was an appropriate thing to do.  Right for the program and earned.

But let's not go overboard on what it means.  Phrases like "Huger will coach here until 23-24" are not really what this contract means.  (I point you to the extension Coach Oats signed at Buffalo).

All a contract like this does is establish conditions of pay,  bonuses and then (most importantly) the costs of getting out of the contract should either side desire to.  Anyone saying that a recruit signing today knows that Coach Huger will be here his entire time does not follow college athletics.

So, let's say BG has a big year and makes it to the Big Dance next year and Coach Huger gets the big offer.  Under this scenario, BG would receive $500,000 and off he would go.  (I never understand why this isn't higher.  If he's going to a p5 school it's pocket change, and you could restrict his options to go to more lateral moves).

Now, to focus on the element that makes BG fans most concerned...the buyout if BG wants to terminate the contract without cause.  For reference, without cause means for losing.  If Coach Huger breaks an NCAA rule, school policy, etc, he doesn't get a buy-out.

Buy-outs get the attention of BG fans because of situations related to Louis Orr and Mike Jinks.  In the former case, BG let Orr finish his contract even as it was clear he was going to go, leaving the program twisting in the wind for a year.  In that case, I understood that the University felt it was bad optics to pay a man not to coach basketball when other budget cuts were going on at the school.  Right or wrong, keeping him that last year was a significant setback for the program.

The other is Mike Jinks, where it was clear from literally the beginning that he was not going to be able to coach D1 football but who BG could not get rid of due to what we were led to believe was a choking buy-out.

Coach Huger has the same buy-out.  The remainder of the contract, with a duty to mitigate damages with earnings from another job.  So, if BG terminates Huger, BG pays the difference between his BG salary and whatever he might make coaching basketball elsewhere.

Middle of year three with Jinks, we learned a little more about those buy-outs.  During years one and two, I had the impression that had BG let him to, BG would have had to stroke him a check for his remaining salary on day 1...a seven-figure nut that would be impossible for BG to swallow. 

But, when Jinks did go, we learned that it wasn't like that at all.  BG only had to pay him every month--as if he were on the payroll and not in one big check.  And, you figure he gets a job as an assistant and earns back most of it--in fact, if the job was at a big school, maybe all of it.  The actual amount BG would pay him was considerably less than it would first appear and not in one check.

Now, BG is a cash-strapped department, so every dollar counts.  But the magnitude of the problem was worse than we were led to believe, mostly by the media.  Obviously, BG never said publicly they were keeping Jinks because of the buy-out.  (Not to dwell on this, but in retrospect, it's hard to believe Jinks returned for a second season).

BG has the same deal with Huger.  On one hand, I can see where this is hard to buy for people.  In my mind, honestly, all any Coach in this situation is due a year's pay.  That's more than anyone else in the stands at any game at the Stroh would get after failing to succeed at their job.

I do see the other side.  BG gets a new athletic director, re-directs budgets, whatever.  New President who went to Duke.  There's risk for the Coach because he could be earning elsewhere right now as well.

I also understand that this is the industry standard.  I don't see why that should be, but fine. 

Here's the thing:  I have always said that almost all coaches in the MAC either succeed and leave or fail and leave.  You prefer the former.  If Coach gets us to the Dance and there's a better opportunity for this family, I'd wish him only the best.  I want him to succeed.  I also don't want us to have to suffer through two lost years at the end of a contract because we can't.

Having said that, let's look at the actual risk BG is taking. Worst-case.  Say that last year's success proves to be elusive, maybe there are some injuries, and you get a bunch of transfers and you're in single-digit wins in year two of the extension.  BG would owe Huger a monthly check equal to his current pay, less what he would make elsewhere, and you have to figure he'd probably be able to get at least an assistant's job elsewhere.

Would that prevent BG making a move?  I feel like it would.  But, one year later, probably not.  In other words, I don't feel like the buy-out terms constrict BG in a way that others might. History might argue against me.

Of course, those first two years I'm talking about were already under contract.  BG had the opportunity to see how things went next year before extending Coach Huger--they could even have given him a raise--without risking a 22-23 buy out (for example).  They chose not to do that.  I think the extension is the right thing to do, but I can see why some might disagree.

Let's hope we continue the upward trajectory.  If Coach Huger can continue to build the program to where the next guy isn't a re-build guy, and if we can get to the NCAAs, this deal will have been well worth it

Friday, May 17, 2019

Riley Keller Commits to BG

So, after a long recruitment that started back at BC, Scott Loeffler has landed Riley Keller as a verbal commit.  Riley is a 3-star player who plays at Whitmer and has a wide range of offers and visits from top programs.  According to 247, Iowa State (Matt Campbell) had offered, along with Ole Miss, NIU, UT, WMU and WVU.  He would be in the 2020 class and provide BG with an immediate impact recruit at the key position.

He was second-team Division I All-State after his junior year and was first-team all-district.  He was co-first-team all-TRAC with Brady Lichtenberg.  He's a three-sport athlete whose Father is the Whitmer OC.  He's listed as a dual-threat QB, though I would suspect he spends more time in drop back with the pro-style offense.

This is a big one.  Coach Loeffler said he likes to spend a year recruiting a QB because he is the here's the first product of that process.

Welcome to the Falcons, Riley!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

BG Gets Kicker Commit

So BG has a new commit for football....another Lucas County prospect.  It is Kyle Rhonehouse, a Springfield HS product who is a kicker.  And a very good one.

He was all-state at some level three times and first-team all-state as a senior.  He had been heading to Miami, but wasn't listed on their recruiting class, at which point you assume walk-on...which isn't unusual for a kicker.  Anyway, you can see above that he's heading to BG now.

All these eligibility rules confuse the crap out of me, but I'm assuming if he didn't sign a NLI or enroll, he is eligible, but that's a guess.

Here's the best recap on him from The Blade.  He's a highly effective kicker, even from distance, having hit from over 50.  Also, he fits the old Clawson rule of being a football player who happens to be a kicker.  Springfield used him on offense and defense.

He's also a 4.0 student.

Good kicking is important.  Seems like these pro-style offenses end up with a lot of FGs (see Michigan), so we can use a guy who both can get the job done but also grew up kicking in the cold and the wind.

Welcome to the Falcons, Kyle.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

BG Football Verbal

So, BG has its third 2020 verbal...this one with a familiar name.

Shawn Simms is Trent's father.  Shawn Simms was an All-MAC performer who graduated in 1986...which is the same year I did.  He was an assistant at Illinois, OSU, Pitt, Iowa State, Miami, Toledo, Colorado, Heidelberg, Oberlin, and possibly others before entering positions in private business.  He is from Fremont and his half-brother is Charles Woodson.

Trent attends Sylvania Northview, which makes him our third verbal from Lucas County and our second who is a multi-generational player.

He's 6'0" and 190 pounds.  247 said he had offers from Ball State, WMU and EKU.  They list him as an athlete.  At Northview, he plays QB and DB.  I would suspect we project him on defense, but I don't know.  He was second-team all-district as a DB and was a very dangerous QB as well.

This review on 419 Football says that he has natural football instincts and a high football IQ, which are things you often get with the children of coaches.

He was also a three-sport star, playing basketball and running track as well.

Welcome to the Falcons, Trent.

NickP With Loeffler

So NickP caught up with Scott Loeffler to talk about the roster issues facing the Falcons.  You should read the article--there are rules involved in how many guys you can bring in every year, which is why losing guys is such a serious problem.  Definitely worth a read.

Having said that, one piece of news worth commenting on.  Coach says that he is looking to bring a QB in to help with Doege's departure, which took him by surprise.  That would mean a grad transfer or possibly a JUCO (I guess) because you would need immediate eligibility.

So, I'm sure we will keep an eye on that.  With grad transfers you don't usually get spring practice anyway, so it will be a busy summer.  It's a little strange in that the pro-offense, which used to be everyone's base, is now almost an odd-ball offense.  It'd be easier to find someone versed in spread.  Anyway, we'll watch what lies ahead.

Here's a link to guys who are still available.

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to the Falcon Nation.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

The Blade: Rico Frye's Career Likely Finished

So, terribly disappointing news for Rico Frye.  I have no idea about what happened, but here's a person who gets the chance to do something he had dreamed his whole life of doing and then gets to play for one year and he's seemingly on the path to success and this happens and it is over.  Big disappointment to have so early in your life.  Best to him.  There's a whole life to live.

From a football perspective, Nick sums it up well here.
Which is right, it does explain the transfer at RB.  Makes Hargrove's transfer harder to understand, but that's his call.  Coming in, you thought RB was a strength and you had a QB who had played and a couple WRs and a dozen TEs and you might be able to move the ball and keep the defense off the field.  That's looking less likely right now.

A tall mountain keeps growing for the 2019 Falcons. The key is to put the pieces in place so we don't stay here.  My negative example is Ball State, who had the Hoke years but have 2 winning seasons in the 10 seasons since Hoke left.  Six of the 10 years were 4 wins or under.  Their "Neu" coach won 4 games last year in his third year.

It's not about 2019, but suffering this year doesn't guarantee success in the future.  That's the challenge facing the program.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Report: Jarrett Doege in Transfer Portal

Well, that's unexpected and going to make things a little more difficult.  I mean, it wouldn't have always been unexpected.  I kind of expected it at the beginning, when Jinks left, but then there was a story about how closely he and the new coach were bonding and then spring practice happened, so I started to think that he'd be back.

Here's what he said in the story linked above:

“It’s a complex offense with a lot to learn,” Doege said. “I’m getting it down, but I can’t wait to learn more.”

"Basically, I’m trying to portray him, but he’s just a crazy dude,” said Doege of Loeffler. “I’m kinda laid back, but being around him more I’m starting to turn into Coach Loeffler.”

But, if this is true, then not.

Obviously, he came here as an Air Raid guy from the town where Jinks coached.  His brother was an assistant who was let go.  Was he comfortable in the pro-style offense?  Seemed like it, but then it wasn't.  He's got every right to leave and he's doing what most college players seem to do under these circumstances.  We wish him nothing but the best.

The QBs on the roster include:

Grant Loy
Bryce Veasley
Grant Strock

There were no QBs in the signing class.

There is the possibility of a graduate transfer with the position opening up.  If not, I'd expect Loy to be the starter when the season kicks off.  I think he's better than people would expect, and with a power offense he might fit in ok.

Additional Transfer for Football

BG has a new transfer coming to the football program.  No idea what the plan is...and what the deal is with sitting out...but the young man is named Declan Burt.  He played (wait for it) TE at Bryant University, which is an FCS school in Rhode Island.

He played there two years and apparently did not redshirt.  He missed the last 3 games last year with injury.  He's a good-sized young man, at 6'4" and 210 pounds.  He hasn't been a pass catcher, with 13 receptions in 14 games.  He was an all-state player in Massachusetts in high school.

His father played water polo for Canada.

Welcome to the Falcons, Declan.

Monday, May 06, 2019

Graduate Transfer and New Assistant for Football

So, a little Monday news from the football program.

First, Davon Jones is a graduate transfer on his way here from Boston College.  He was a combo RB/LB at BC, and you might think that he'd play LB here at BG, a position of need, but NickP at The Blade has indicated that BG plans to use him at RB, where he joins Andrew Clair, Rico Frye and Bryson Denley on the depth chart.

He's 5'10 and 235 pounds and from that you might infer that he's more of a power back than a speed back, like the other three young men we have returning.  He carried the ball 91 times for 4 yards per carry as a freshman, and then carried the ball 16 times over the next two years as he also played on defense.  He has 5 TDs.

He will be eligible immediately.

The new coach is interesting as well.  One non-surprising thing is his Michigan pedigree.  His name is Steve Morrison, who will coach LB and be the Associate Head Coach.

Morrison was an all-Big Ten LB at UM and played for the Colts and the Lions, making 31 NFL starts.

He was a graduate assistant at UM after leaving the NFL, and then coached at WMU, EMU and Syracuse.

Up until then, it is a pretty typical resume.  Then, he put out this statement.

And then he left football and spent several years on a couple sales jobs.

And now he's back in football after quite a lot of time out of the game in medical device sales.  I suspect we'll get some more info on him as we move along, but it certainly raises some in, why get out and why get back in?  You don't see that very often.  I will say that this is the first of the assistant coach choices that has made me wonder...and I'm not sure why he's the Associate Coach.

Anyway, welcome to the Falcons, Davon and Steve.

Sunday, May 05, 2019

New Football Verbal, May 5

So, BG has notched another football verbal.  His name is Alex Wollschlaeger, and he is a rising senior at Oswego East High School, which is a suburb of Chicago.

He plays OL and DE in HS.  His twitter profile says offensive lineman.  He's got the right height, which is 6'6" and he weights 252, which would obviously need some work (and may be outdated, too).

He broke his collarbone and did not play his junior season.  BG offered a while ago and he was down for the spring game. He visited EMU and said he had been talking with Harvard, Western Michigan and South Dakota State.

He's the second OL out of 3 so far.  Coach has talked quite a bit about the need for depth and numbers at most positions.  Of the 13 OL on the BG roster, six of them are in their last two seasons.  There were 3 in this signing class...and the 7 who are returning haven't really been game tested yet.  Could also be some PWOs.  Point is, I think I have heard you need 10 playable OL and when BG takes the field in 2021 that's going to be a project.

Welcome to the Falcons, Alex.

Saturday, May 04, 2019

New Football Verbal

So, BG has its second verbal (to my knowledge) for the 20 football class.  This young man is Matt Fortner of Sylvania Northview High School.  He's a lineman who has played both ways and been recognized all-district and special mention all-state as a d-lineman.  However, his profile pic on twitter says "offensive line."

He's listed as 6'3" and 280 pounds.  He doesn't have a 247 profile. so there's no information on stars or any other offers.  Here's an evaluation from the McCallister Report on him.

Matt's brother plays for Kentucky.

That's BG's second verbal, and good to Coach's word, they are both local boys.  ln fact, they are both in Lucas County.

Welcome to the Falcons, Matt.