Saturday, July 25, 2020

BG Football Verbal: Diego Neri

Diego Neri has committed to BG.  Diego is a MLB from Cincinnati Northwest HS.  He has been highly-recruited.  247 says he has 9 MAC offers, plus Air Force, Navy and Liberty.  He committed to CMU in March but decommitted on the 4th of July.
Overall, he is listed as a 3-star recruit.  He plays at 6'2" and 230.

He was named all-conference and all-district and special mention all-state last year.  In fact, he was the only sophomore to be all-conference, and was all-district and special mention all-state as a sophomore.

You see plenty of references when you google him to the idea that people could see him developing as a "special" player.

Diego Neri, Sr, LB – Arguably the best player to come out of Northwest since former NFL stud, Preston Brown. Neri is a two-time Division III OPSWA First Team All-Southwest District selection who was also named Honorable Mention All-Ohio in 2019. He has 266 total tackles, four-and-a-half sacks, six forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries, a fumble recovery for a score and one interception return for a touchdown in his career. 

Welcome to the Falcons, Diego.

Decommit: Zach Barlev

So Zach Barlev was here...and then he was gone.  Here's the post I put up when Barlev committed on July 5.

Apparently, Illinois saw all this and got their stuff together and now Barlev is committed there.  He's from Illinois, it's two hours from his home and if his dream is to be in the Big Ten, he should go for it.  Best of luck to him.

A couple housekeeping matters.  

That's three decommits and two of them in rapid fashion, from BG to a home school in the blink of an eye.  DeQuan Stanley did something similar to USF.

I honestly don't know what that signifies.  Obviously, we are getting players other teams want, which is good.  Recruiting was craziness before the pandemic, right?

Coach says we are going to recruit five O-lineman.  We now currently have 2 committed.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Football Verbal: Jamal Johnson

BG has a new football veryanl.  This is Jamal Johnson, a RB/WR from Frankfort, IL (Lincoln Way East).  He's 5'10" and 185 pounds, and 247 shows him with 2-stars and reports he had an offer from Western Illinois.  Rivals notes offers from EMU and SEMO as well.

It was meant to be.

His coach also had good things to say about him.  This could be an under-the-radar guy that BG ran down, probably through, in Coach Loeffler's words, "maniacal" effort.

Welcome to the Falcons, Jamal.

Friday, July 10, 2020

The Loeffler Philosophy

So, without about an hour of the Big Ten Announcement, Scot Loeffler joined the season ticket holders for a virtual session.  It was excellent, much as the first one.  You didn't have the out-there Phil Villipiano but you did have the out-there Scot Loeffler.

Apparently, a lot of people had been asking about the Big Ten and scheduling issues.  Todd Walker absorbed the question, essentially saying there is no answer to the question so there was no point in asking it.

Which is silly, of course, but whatever.

Coach is into some serious stuff.  He says they are implementing Black Box ideology.  There is a book called Black Box thinking, which, based on reading the dust jacket, means that the aviation industry has such a stellar accident rate because they learn from their mistakes by listening to guessed it...the black box.

Not sure if that's what he is talking about.

He is also mixing in stuff from reading about NASA and the Navy Seals.  It's a high-performing soup.

He said we have to re-wire the brain and learn not to fear.

Then there was the toolbox.
  • Elite plan
  • Elite strength
  • 100% commitment, maniacal in training
  • Front sight focus, lock in, be in the moment
  • Habitual full-speed training
  • Execute with contingency plans when adversity strike
He gets a little more PJ Fleck every time I hear him talk. Says "elite" a lot. 
I can also remember PJ Fleck coaching in the Cotton Bowl.

Josh Harris and Javon Burks were on the call, with a pretty inspiring story of how they led the team back from the 2-9 record in the last Blackney year.  You should have been there to hear that.

And on we go.

Big Ten...Tip of the Iceberg

So, the Big 10 made their announcement that they will play only conference games.  That impacts the MAC.  Four teams had two games with Big 10 teams, including BG, whose schedule is now down to 10 games.

And the pocket is $2.2M lighter.  That's around 10% of the athletic department's budget.  Other tweets from NickP said that the contracts with OSU and Illinois both allowed the contract to be canceled without penalty in this situation.  And, reading behind the lines of Moos' comments, I'd guess they didn't offer partial payment to help us out.

As for the tip of the gotta know that's true.  The announcement cut off games with other P5 conferences who know are more or less forced to do the same thing.

Either way, it's clear there won't be a "normal" football season this year and the presence of fans wasn't the issue.

But, remember, the tip of the iceberg.

For example, an interesting idea I saw on twitter is that teams might move to conference games but reschedule them for September and try to be done in early October.  That's an interesting idea, built on the assumption that we get "out" before the virus takes over in a cold-weather spike.

Except of course, it's the hottest part of the summer and the cases keep increasing.  Wood County is now a "red" county and requires a face mask.  Tom Hanks caught corona in Australia in what was winter  summer there. (Thanks to the commenter who caught this).

Point is, there's no way to know if September will be better or worse than October.  Or next April.  The winter thing is something that happens with other viruses, but we don't know about this one.  Cases are going crazy in Latin America.  It is summer there for sure.

And then if it does get worse in October?  Worse than this?

The tip of the iceberg indeed.

I don't know any more than anyone else.  My guess is that this is the tip of the iceberg.  Everyone will move to the conference model.  My guess/fear is that we won't see any competitive collegiate sports for the 20-21 season.  Hope I'm wrong, but the only way so far to combat this virus without a vaccine or a cure was to shut the entire economy down and we're not likely to do that again.

This is a miserable situation.  Maybe I am wrong, but I can't see being able to send college students onto the field of play in 2020 at least.  And then the damages that causes?

We watch and wait.

Sunday, July 05, 2020

Football verbal Zachary Barlev

There's a new football verbal....his name is Zachary Barlev, and he's from Plainfield, IL.  Plainfield is west of Chicago.

Zach is 6'4" and 290 pounds and is listed as a guard.  He is listed as a 3-star on 247 and the #79 guard in the nation.

He made the all-area team and was all-state as a heavyweight wrestler, which I always think is great training for an offensive lineman.

He is the third offensive lineman among our verbals to date.  Coach says the plan is to bring in 5 last year and 5 this year in order to get our numbers up.  The plan would go to a lower number on a yearly basis.

The point is this.  Teams have won the MAC playing a variety of styles, but even the teams with more contemporary offenses had a quality offensive line.  You cannot win without controlling the line of scrimmage.

Welcome to the Falcons, Zachary.

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Brandon Watkins Joins BG's MBB Staff

So the assistant coach line up for BG MBB is set for whenever basketball starts again.  As you know, Anthony Stacey left to be the head coach at Whitmer leaving the top assistant job open.  It was a pretty important hire, because both of the other two are in the first D1 coaching jobs.

The man selected for the job is Brandon Watkins, who is currently an assistant at NIU.  He grew up in Chicago and attended St. Joseph (see: Hoop Dreams, see Isiah Thomas, see Evan Turner).  They won a state title and was named the "Fourth Quarter Kid."

He went to Penn State and led them to the Sweet Sixteen and was all-Big Ten (HM).  He then went to Europe and had a successful career for 10 years, something he shares with Huger and Stacey, in fact.  

He went to NIU as a grad assistant and video guy for a couple years and then for a couple years he was the head coach at Morton Community College (The Salties.)

He then went back to NIU for the past three seasons.

The release from BG mentions two things about him.  First, he is a defensive strategist and second he was strong in player development.  Here is that paragraph:

Over his time in DeKalb, Watkins established a reputation in player development. Eugene German (2016-20) scored over 2,000 points under the watch of Watkins. German ranks fifth all-time in scoring in the MAC. Watkins played instrumental roles in the development of big men Lacey James (2017-20) and Levi Bradley (2015-19). By his senior year, Bradley was one of the most versatile scoring forwards in mid-major basketball, as he was shooting over 36.0 percent from downtown while averaging 14.4 points and 5.2 rebounds. From his freshman to senior year, Bradley more than doubled his scoring and rebound averages, while nearly tripling his assist average.
Welcome to Bowling Green, Brandon.