Monday, March 29, 2021

Plowden Back! Washington in Portal, along with 33 other MAC players

Some personnel news out of the MBB good piece and one less good.  

The good news is that Daeqwon Plowden has decided to return for his "extra" season.  This is good news is that BG will now not be losing its top 3 scorers, but 2 of its first 3.  (That's assuming Diggs doesn't come back, which I have heard nothing about).

Plowden has been a 2nd and 3rd team All-MAC player and it's great to have him back in the fold.

Jacob Washington, meanwhile, has entered the portal.  Washington was a JUCO transfer who played one year at BG.  He was playing double-digit minutes pretty much every game until the second Toledo game, when he hit a streak of 21 minutes total over the season's last 6 meaningful games.  (He did play some against Stetson with the injuries.)

BG finished the season with 11 scholarship players (the one left empty intentionally and Ziegler's spot).  You can do the match...Turner, Washington, Matiss and Diggs not back, for example) leaves BG with 6 open scholarships and only one FR signed and one transfer coming in, and his eligibility subject to waiver.  So, 4 open and that's if no one else leaves.  Though maybe someone else stays.  There have been some reports online of us offering some transfers.  It seems like that's an increasingly necessary option.

Jacob Washington F/C In Portal
Justin Turner G Leaving
Josiah Fulcher G
Caleb Fields G
Kaden Metheny G
Cam Young G/F
Trey Diggs G/F   Was in Senior night
Chandler Turner G/F
Matiss Kulackovskis F Potential career-ending injury
Daeqwon Plowden G/F 6-6
Dylan Swingle C 6-10

Literally, as I wrote this the news came out that Marreon Jackson (MAC Player of Year) was entering the portal.  This are currently 1,008 players in the portal, according to  34 players from the MAC are listed as being in the portal.  Most of them were getting no PT, but you have Jermaine Marshall (broke BG's heart), 2nd-team All-MAC El-Amin, BSU's 3rd leading scorer Jarron Coleman, 3rd team all-MAC Michael Nuga, Ty Groce, EMU leading scorer, Bryce McBride, EMU 2nd leading scorer, Titus Wright, WMU 3rd leading scorer and Boyer-Richard, WMU 4th leading scorer.

Jermaine Marshall, Akron
Camron Reece, Akron
Ishmael El-Amin, Ball State
Jarron Coleman, Ball State
Ra'Shad Weekly-McDaniels, CMU
DeSchon Winston, CMU
PJ Mitchell, CMU
Miles Gibson, EMU
Ty Groce, EMU
Bryce McBride, EMU
Evan Bainbridge, KSU
Kallin Bennett, KSU (To Morehouse)
James Jordan, KSU
Michael Nuga, KSU
Tekorian Smith, KSU (to Troy)
Josh Brewer, Miami
Keenon Cole, NIU 
Daniel Fillipone, NIU
Chanse Robinson, UB
Patrick Emilien, WMU to St. Francis
Chase Barrs, WMU
William Boyer-Richard, WMU
Rafael Cruz, WMU
Kawinise Williams, WMU
Titus Wright, WMU
Marreon Jackson, UT
Charles Jones, UT
Jonathan Kornugum, UT
Luke Maranka, UT
Matti Acunza, UT
Mason McMurray, Ohio
Rifen Miguel, Ohio

Sincere Carry, Kent from Duquesne
Maceo Jack, Buffalo from GW
Markeese Hastings, WMU from Butler
Lamar Norman, WMU from Duquesne
Chris James, EMU from College of Sourthern Idaho

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Bench moved to TE--QB Injuries Continue

 Quick roster note on football....

So, I was looking at the "Spring Breakdown" for the TEs on the BGSU website, and I'm seeing that Andrew Bench on Genoa is now moved from DL to TE.  Given the shortages on the DL, I think it says something.  He was on those high-performing Genoa teams and did start at TE in high school.  For a team committed to playing personnel groups that end in "2" and "3", BG lost Morris and Motes and the lineup is Christian Sims, Griffen Little, Levi Gazarek and Bench.  They have a new position coach as well.

Secondly, The Blade reported that BG's struggles with health at QB have continued.  The plan was for Guenther, Melton, Keller and Davis to split reps, looking for two of them to emerge in a kind of Quarterback Hunger games.  (Each region shall send one dropback and one dual-purpose QB).  Anyway, Guenther and Melton are unable to go, leaving Keller and Davis getting the reps.  McDonald is recovering from surgery.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Change Continues on Football Staff

So, BG is continuing to adapt it's football staff.  You saw a couple weeks ago that Brian VanGorder had "retired from college football" and Jacob Shoonover had left to go to Kansas, leaving BG with some spots to fill.

I continue to think that Loeffler is doing a good job getting coaches to come here.  Time will tell and the whole package has to deliver, but it just seems to me that he is bringing good people here to coach.

For DC, he promoted Eric Lewis from CB coach to DC to replace VanGorder.  I'm sure there are people out there who wanted to see BG go get more of a marquee name, but Lewis has been a DC before, including in the MAC.  I think he might bring some youth and enthusiasm and a fresh approach to a defense that never was talent-challenged but also never seemed to punch above its weight either.  The key now is player development.  We must get these young guys into being top players.  (His Father is Sherm Lewis, if you didn't know, which I did not).

Now coaching special teams and safeties is Bob Ligashesky.  A familiar name to BG football fans, he coached at BG from 91-99, all but one year of the Blackney era.  That's a back-back MAC Championship era--28-2-2 over the first four years--followed by some disappointment.

He left BG to head to the NFL, where he coached for 16 years, much of the time coaching special teams.  He went to Illinois with Lovie Smith, obviously was available now and is going to be at BG.  You know that this blog values special teams and if BG's going to win they are going to need good special teams.

He won a Super Bowl with the Steelers.

The other new assistant is Cato June, a standout performer at UM.  He was a sixth-round draft pick, was second-team All-Pro and won a Super Bowl with the Colts.  He is going to Coach OLB and be run-game coordinator.

Honestly, the turnover has continued but I think BG has found a combination of youth and experience and people who should be able to recruit.

It's tough without any real visible signs of progress--and 2021 has the potential to be another really tough year.  I certainly hope we're moving things in the right direction.  We do seem to be softening our stand on transfers, which could just be the new reality in college sports, like it or not.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

MBB Crashes to End

 One time I heard a speaker and he said "one more question" and somebody asked him a really tough question and he said...

"That'll teach me to take one more question."

Seems a little apropos.

I covered Stetson in the preview, this was a team that is just not very good.  But Turner couldn't play and Plowden missed the second half and lost 53-52, their lowest point total since the last season of the Orr Era (a 46-36 win).

It was a 62 possession game.  A fitting end to a disappointing season in a very tough year.

And, depending on what happens with transfers, a look into what things might be like next year without Turner and Plowden.

Stetson lost to Coastal Carolina today.  Pepperdine is playing tonight against Bellarmine, which I think is based out of that secret hotel up in Perrysburg.  

Anyway, season review coming.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

CBI Preview


So, as it turns out, the BG players did want to keep playing and they have certainly earned that right.  

To start with, I have no idea on Turner's health.  

Above is the bracket with the kenpom rankings for each team next to them.  Suffice it to say that this is a tournament BG could win, if healthy.  For reference, Stetson's 246 would have left them out of the MAC tourney, but ahead of the four teams that didn't make it.  (Between 8th and 9th ranked teams).

There was actually a huge jump in the MAC.  Miami with the lowest kenpom at in the tourney at 150 and Western Michigan was first out at 270.  Every team other than BG and Pepperdine in this tournament would fit in that slot...between Miami and WMU. 

Which is kind of weird.

Stetson has one of the great nicknames in history:  The Hatters!  The social media hub is the Hat Rack.  Their "About" section is "Under the Hat." Stetson is is DeLand, FL, which is a little piece northeast of Orlando.  They have 3,000 undergraduate students, give or take.

They moved to D1 in 1972.  They are mostly known as a baseball school, having appeared in the NCAA Tournament 18 times and were the college home of Jacob DeGrom and Corey Kluber.  (Rathole:  DeGrom was exclusive a shortstop his first two seasons at Stetson and actually refused an assignment to a summer league because they were going to have him pitch).

We are used to a lot of these Florida schools being new, but Stetson was founded in 1883.  It is indeed named after John B. Stetson,  the hat manufacturer. Their alumni include Senator Max Cleland, current Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, six members of Congress, Rich McKay, GM of the Atlanta Falcons and Ted Cassidy, who played Lurch on The Addams Family.

This is Stetson's first D1 post-season appearance and probably one they would not be making under normal circumstances, seeing as they are 11-14.  They played in the DII tourney three times (making the Elite Eight once) and the NAIA tourney five times.

BG has played them three times (52, 73, 77) and never beaten them.  Two of them were part of the Tangerine Bowl Classic, which presumably designed to augment the Tangerine Bowl football game, which was the MAC's sole bowl tie-in for many years.

They play in the Atlantic Sun, which is the 27th ranked conference out of 32.  They were 7th this year.

They play the 246th ranked schedule in D1, out of 350-something.  They played the U, Florida, and Liberty three times, winning one of those--against Liberty. They also played 6 games against teams with Kenpoms above 300, going 3-3.

Keeping their schedule in mind, their offensive efficiency is 1.02 and defensively it is 1.06.  The D1 average is 1.02 points per possession, so they are good on offense and not so good on defense.  (BG was 1.07 and 1.04, so better on both fronts against the #134 schedule.

Stetson plays slow.  They are #224 in tempo and BG is #53.  That will be a key flashpoint.  If BG gets some missed shots, it is game on.

They are also very young--the 3rd youngest team that played games this year.  Their entire roster is freshman and sophomore except for one player.

Stetson is a 3FG focused team.  They try 43% of their FGAs from 3FG (#46) and make 37% (#46).  They are #23 in % of points coming from 3FG.  That equals out to just goodish offense because they make 48% from 2FG, turn the ball over too much and are poor at getting to the line.  They are average on the offensive boards.

On defense, they struggle to defend the shot.  They allow 54% on 2FG and 35% on 3FG, both sub-par.  They also don't force turnovers.  They are good on the defensive boards and at keeping opponents off the line.

They are led by Rob Perry, a SO who scores 14PPG on 40% 2FG shooting and 35% 3FG shooting.  Chase Johnston, a Floridian who transferred from IPFW also scores 14 PPG on 52% and 38% shooting, actually making him the more efficient player.

Christiaan Jones--the only senior on the team--scores 12.9 on 50% and 39% shooting, making him one of the 300 most efficient players in the country.  Mahamadou Diawara, 6'10" from Mali, scores 10 PPG on 57% shooting and leads the team with 6.2 RPG.  Stephen Swenson leads them with 96 assists, one of the 100-best assist rates in the country.

BG hasn't played in the post-season since the Chris Jans year.  That year, BG won its first post-season game in 40 years.  They lost out to Canisius in what turned out to be a bad night for Chris Jans, 6 years ago today.

So, we start again.  Look, no one begins the season hoping to play in the CBI.  On the other hand, you have some guys playing together for the last time and if they're into it so am I.

More Transfer News on Football

So, yet another portal update, now with Joe Ware hitting the wire.  He was a redshirt senior who was a Babers recruit coming in the 2016 class and played in 14 games over his Falcon career.  It looks like he made 4 starts.

Best to Joe on his future.

This portal thing is going to change everything when added to not having to sit out.  MAC MBB is littered with transfers already, some of them significant and others being potential role players you still need on a team. As that happens, it opens up slots suddenly which you look to fill guessed it...dissatisfied role players from other schools.

Things are not going to be the same.  I think players should have the same right to change schools as Coaches and Administrators, but it is going to yield a different fan experience and a different recruiting experience.

One last football note...I'm hearing some rumors on some interesting coaching moves.  One is widely in circulation and that would be Cato June coming to the Falcons.  I'd think an overall announcement is coming soon.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

BG has a transfer coming for Football

BG has landed a transfer for its football program at a position of extreme need.  Which actually might include all of them.

The young man is Davon Ferguson, who is a DB coming over from Kansas.  He's from Baltimore, MD.  He played his first season at Hartnell College (a California JUCO).  He transferred to Kansas and played three seasons there.  I believe he would have one season at BG, but who can keep track?

He played in 20 games, making 16 starts.  He started the first four games last season and then not, which may have led to the transfer.  To be clear, he announced he was leaving the team in November, before the coaching turmoil at Kansas.  He cited personal reasons.\

He had 20 tackles in his last two games with the Jayhawks.

He was listed as a 5'10 and 197 pounds and a safety.

He was also all-academic Big-12.

Welcome to the Falcons, Davon.

VanGorder Retires from "College" Football

 The picture became a little clearer.  VanGorder is going to be a defensive coordinator in high school.  And is retired from "college" football.

He is going to Gulf Shores, AL.  The new head coach there is Mark Hudspeth, whose name you might know from head coaching jobs at Louisiana, North Alabama and Austin Peay.  He left the Governors in 2019 (to spend more time with his familyl and seems to have actually meant it) and coached youth football in 2019 in Gulf Shores and then moved up to Coach the high school team.

This story on has more about VanGorder heading down there.  Based on this, VanGorder reached out to Hudspeth through an intermediary.

“We had not coached together, but we had a mutual acquaintance and that person let me know that Brian might be interested in talking to us,” Hudspeth said. “Obviously, when I found out he might be interested, we connected and had a lot of great conversations and the same goals.


Thinking about what was going on when VanGorder left, this quote from Hudspeth is also interesting.

"At this level, you are not dealing with a lot of the things you are dealing with in college football right now with opt outs and transfers and things like that.”

Things like that.

It's a critical hire for Loeffler.  He's got to make a good hire.  It won't be easy, given what's going on at BG, but he's been given a bit of a mulligan and if he can find the right person he can start to re-write the story.  If he just promotes Steve Morrison, then it's a different look.

Oh last note:  BG's last 2 defensive coordinators are now coaching HS ball.

Monday, March 15, 2021

BG Basketball Verbal/CBI Update

So, BG has their second recruit for the 2021-2 season...this one very interesting and different from previous recruits.

He's a transfer.  His name is Samari Curtis and he's from Xenia.  He was Ohio's Mr. Basketball his senior year, averaging a 34.4 PPG and being labelled a 3-star recruit.  

From there he went on a bit of a journey.  He committed to Xavier.  There was a coaching change so he switched to UC.  The same thing happened there so he enrolled at Nebraska, where he played in 8 games.  He transferred to Evansville, where he made the "all-bench" team in the MVC, averaging 10.1 points and 2.4 rebounds in 22 minutes per game.

He sat out a year (January-January) prior to Evansville and I would assume would bring sophomore eligibility to BG.

We need shooters, and he shot 56% and 38%, both of which are really solid.  He is a 6'4" SG.

Welcome to the Falcons, Samari.

You've also seen by now that BG will play in the CBI and open against Stetson, a team with a losing record in the Atlantic Sun.  BG had a chance to play in a tourney like this after the end of the 2019 campaign, but has apparently decided it's the right thing to do.

For me, this is up to the players and coaches.  I'm happy for them to play more, but I get it if they don't.  The 2019 was a much longer season.  They've played fewer games and are apparently up for it.  They are headed to Daytona Beach, which might be nice if you could ever get out of the hotel room.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Now 53 Years


Now 53 elapsed years since BG has been in the NCAA tournament.  Here is the company we live with now.  Sadly, this list remains static this year...after our best shot in years two years ago, a cancelled tourney and a disappointing quarter-final exit.

Columbia: Last appeared in 1968
Tennessee Tech: Last appeared in 1963
Maine: Division I since 1962
New Hampshire: Division I since 1962
Dartmouth: Last appeared in 1959
Army: Division I since 1948
Citadel: Division I since 1948
St. Francis (N.Y.): Division I since 1948
William & Mary: Division I since 1948

Saturday, March 13, 2021

VanGorder Retires

 BG announced today that Brian VanGorder has retired from college football.  Those are the exact words.

It's a big surprise. He's 61. We're in the middle of spring practice.  There was plenty of time to retire before now.  Or in a month.  

The timing is odd and leads you to think about what might be behind the story, because it just doesn't seem to be what it appears to be.

A couple things are out in the open.  First, if he isn't the most openly mocked coach on the internet, then it's Loeffler.  Second, our defense has been horrible.  Yes, they have been undermanned, especially on the line and in the backfield.  On the other hand, we now know we had one player who could play at Arizona and one at Boise.  So maybe there was more talent than we thought or were told.  The team was still predominantly young, any way you slice it.

So, VanGorder didn't make the defense awful.  There's also no reason to think he had them overachieving either.

We can be ready for a change, I totally get that.  Here's the problem.  You can think BVG was a bad choice.  BVG was picked by the head coach, who, when he talked about BVG put on his "if you knew anything about football" voice and said he was the best schematic defensive coach he had ever known.

That guy is going to pick the next one.

Maybe he has learned.

It's strange.  Our last 3 coaches have hired DCs who failed.  In the case of McCloud and Eliano, they were the coach's best friend.  Not sure about that here, but for all the talk about Dave Clawson, the only coach who hired an outstanding DC was Clawson.

I have been in the "trust the process" camp.  I'm moving a notch or two in the other direction.  I continue to think we will not be very good next year and it's going to get rough.

And to the fans who are outraged...thank you...for not walking away completely.  At least you still care enough to be pissed.

Friday, March 12, 2021

And there is much sadness....

Well, there is goes.  Again.  Just a very sad morning in our program.  One of the points I have always made is that winning this tournament is really hard and not just because of the competitive level.  You also need good timing and then everything to break your way.  There's no time to make up for an injury or other bad break.  Remember the year UT seemed to have it won and Fletcher was injured in the semi-final.

BG certainly saw that last night.  Make no doubt, even at full-strength the Akron game is 50/50 on a neutral floor.  They're a very good team.  Take Justin Turner, essentially, out of the mix and it's a lot worse.  BG gave themselves a chance, but in the end Akron made the plays, especially in a very short but decisive segment in the late second half.  Compare that with how Kent did without Pippen.

We all remembered that Turner was injured at the end of the Miami game.  We hadn't heard anything since then, obviously.  Coach said after the game that the coaches were going to have him not dress, but Turner insisted on playing and they felt he had earned it.  But, you could see he couldn't move the way he needed to.  

We had guys step up...Plowden, Chandler Turner.  Akron had a guy do that too (more later) and made the plays down the stretch to win the game.

So disappointing.  I feel so bad for the entire team...Justin and Daeqwon in particular.  They have sweated blood for this program and it ended like that.  (Quick caveat:  no one loses a year of eligibility for this season, so anyone could be back.  Just making a guess.)  We had three really good years and the tumblers just didn't fall into place.

After a slow start, the game was very competitive most of the way.  BG took the lead with just under 6 minutes left to play in the game.  With 4 left, it was tied.  BG missed a 3FG and then LCJ came down and put AK ahead by 2.  BG missed a layup and Akron came down and Jermaine Marshall canned a 3FG, Akron up 5.  Turner hit a jumper and then Marshall hit ANOTHER 3FG to put Akron up 6 with 2:36 left.

And that was it.  Akron made 3-4 from the line coming home and the game was over.  Win probability goes from 59% to 86% in that span.

It was a high leverage moment and Akron did what they have historically done...made the plays.

We can stop and look at Jermaine Marshall, a JUCO transfer who had played 10 minutes or less in the last 10 games.  He made 2 3FGs against Cedarville in the opener and hadn't made one since.  Hehad missed 9 straight.  And then he drained two in this game at the game's most decisive moment.

What a thing sports are.  Give the young man credit, he wasn't afraid and when his chance came he came through for his team.  And the kind of thing tournament runs seem to be built on.  BG never seems to catch that little bolt of lightning and seems to usually be struck by it.

Daeqwon Plowden did his part to rally the team.  He took 18 shots, 16 of them from 2FG.  He was 10 of 16 from 3FG and 1 of 2 from 3FG.  That's 26 points.  That's his season-high.  If that's the last time we see him in orange and brown, it will be with the team on his back.

BG had only one other double figure scorer--Chandler Turner, who had 12 on 3 of 4 and 1 of 3 shooting and all 3 FTs to go with 8 rebounds.  That's a Jermaine Marshall like moment.  He played 26 minutes, his most by 8 this year.

BG had a rough night offensively.  They ended up at 1.03 points per possession, which is just below the MAC average.  They shot 53% from 2FG and made only 2 turnovers, which allowed them to mostly salvage a 3-23 night from 3FG.  That's the worst since the Kent game at the beginning of last year.  BG has not won a game under 15% from 3FG since that New Year's Day win over St. Louis with Majerus in the house.  BG was 0-4 that day.

And Akron won their shares of battles on offense, with 1.14 points per possession.  That's pretty good....they followed the usual BG formula of OK shooting and they only turned the ball over 6 times.  They also ended up +7 at the FT, 3 of which came in the last minute.

So, that's how it ends.  So disappointing.  You just feel like a window is closing.  The program is still in decent shape, but you finally had a critical mass of players and you saw the results except where we all really want to see it happen.

More on the state of the program coming.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

To the Q we go

So, it's off to the Q.  As we know, because we say it every year, everything in the regular-season is rendered meaningless by these next 3 days.  You have to win 3 games in a row against the best teams in the MAC.  With all 8 teams making the Q, the regular season even means less.  Yeah, seeding matters but not that much.  BG has to beat Akron in the quarters, which isn't great but we'd have had to beat them anyway.  Basically, land in the top 8 and go to work.

BG split with Akron this year.  Akron won by 12 at the Stroh and BG won by 12 at the JAR, breaking a long-standing curse in that venue for BG.  The difference between the games isn't hard to tease out. BG shot 39% in the first game and 52% in the second game.  Akron shot 44% in the first game and 40% in the second game.

In fact, BG has played decent defense against the Zips in both games and made the difference with the shooting in the second game.

Akron is a very well-rounded team. They were 12-6 in MAC play and lost their last 3, one of which was the BG game.  They are 4th in the MAC in offense and defense.  BG is 7th and 5th.

The first thing about the Zips is they are a 3FG focused team.  They lead the MAC and are #15 in the nation in % of 3s taken.  They are only 5th at making them and overall are the #4 shooting team in the MAC.  They are 5th in turnovers, 5th in offensive rebounds and 2nd in getting to the line.  They are 7th in FT shooting.

On defense, they don't force turnovers, but they are #4 defending the shot, 4th on the defensive boards and #5 at preventing FTs.  

As we know, BG's offense is built on low turnovers.  Since Akron doesn't force turnovers, you'd think that looks good.  BG is not a good shooting team...#10 in the MAC and #11 from 3FG.

So, things to look for starts with BG making some shots, as they did at the JAR.

If Akron is making 3s, that's a bad sign.  They were at 25% in each game in their 3-game losing streak.  In fact, they have shot 32% or below in each loss this year.

Their top player is first-team All-MAC and last year's POY Loren Cristian Jackson.  He scored 21 PPG this year, top in the MAC.  Last year he shot 49% on 2FG and 46% on 3FG--which is really good--but this year it was 45% and 34%, which is less efficient.  He was 2nd in assists and #7 in A/T ratio.  He's also #6 in FT%.

He's the only Akron player on the All-MAC teams.  (Enrique Freeman made all-defense.)  

Their only other double-figure scorer was Bryan Trimble, who scored 13 PPG shooting mostly 3FGs at 43%.  Freeman averaged 8.7 RPG which is the #3 total in the MAC.

The first one will be tough.  But all 3 will be.

Last note.  Justin Turner actually left the Miami game at the end with an injury.  We haven't heard anything about his status (no surprise there) but obviously if he can't go or is limited, the odds get much longer for the Falcons.

BGSU MBB Players Honored, Turner first-team All-MAC for third straight year

 The Men's All-MAC teams are out today.  Some very strong honors for BG MBB today.

First, Justin Turner was named first-team All-MAC for the third time.  He joins Howard Komives, Nate Thurmond, Cornelius Cash and Jim Darrow as the only Falcons to be first-team All-MAC three years in a row.

Congrats to Justin, it was well earned.  What an incredible career at BG for him.  It has been a blessing to watch him play.

Marreon Jackson was the MAC Player of the Year.  It's hard to argue with that choice.  He had a great season, especially in MAC play.  He scored big points at a highly efficient rate and led the MAC in assists and steals.  Turner had a POY quality year, just not as good as Jackson's.

In other news, Trey Diggs was named the 6th Man of the Year.  This is also well deserved.  I think we had the idea he was mostly a shooter, but he was a key part of BG's rotation in a variety of different facets of the game, which he is being recognized for.

Daeqwon Plowden was third-team All-MAC.  He was second-team last year and for my money he was this year as well.  Still a huge honor for him.  Watching him development has been great--and a part of college basketball that I fear we are about to lose (watching a player develop over 4 years).

BG had two players on the All-Freshman team as well.  You'd certainly have expected Matheny to be on the team and I was pleasantly surprised to see Josiah Fulcher recognized.  He certainly earned it.  Also, I feel like this shows we have a foundation for the program for the future.

Congrats to all these young men for their great seasons and for Turner, Diggs and Plowden, for great Falcon careers.  Onward to the Q.

Tuesday, March 09, 2021

Loeffler Spring Presser

Scot Loeffler did his presser yesterday for the start of spring practice.  Wearing a suit coat and a very open collar shirt, he looked a little bit like a guy running a disco in Paris.

Here's what he had to say:

The big news--though I swear he mentioned it on a podcast during the winter--was that Matt McDonald had surgery on his shoulder in January.  Loeffler says it "probably" should have been done before the season but he gutted it out.

Loeffler said he has had "candid" conversations with McDonald that he has to play better.  Yes, there were issues--like the supporting cast, the injury--but he has to play better.

Just to illustrate, McDonald's QB rating was 85.  Grant Loy, the year before, was 104.  Doege the year before that was 139.  Knapke in 2014 was 114.

McDonald won't be in spring practice.  So Loeffler saw this coming...Keller, Melton, Guenther and Davis will get the reps this spring.  The top of those would battle McDonald over the summer for the starting job.  Coach envisions a competition.

Other news.

We did have some training interruptions with COVID.  Even so, Coach says our strength and size gains were "exceptional."  He said they were very tough on the players this winter, but the team stuck together and made it through.

He predicts a healthy roster by 2022

There was a little talk about the portal.  Loeffler reiterated his concern that there are thousands of players in the portal but only about 150 open scholarships.  Also, if a young man transfers it shouldn't count against your initial counters.

Coach said that if a young man transfers for a lateral move, he doesn't think that makes sense, but if there's an opportunity to play at a bigger football school, he can support that.  Most of the BG players who have left (he said) have graduated and been here through some tough years.

In other news, Caleb Biggers has landed at Boise, Jerry Roberts at Arizona and Andrew Clair at Northwestern.  Wishing them all well.  Who knew we had P5 guys on last year's team?  (OK, Boise isn't P5).

If a kid wants to transfer to a same type of school, he disagrees.  If he can play at a larger school, that's a different subject.

Sunday, March 07, 2021

Football Verbal

 BG has an interesting 2021 commit...his name is Denver Warren.  He certainly is bringing some credentials with him.  He is a 6'3" and 310 pound DT...filling a role BG is desperately in need of.  Warren is also a year older, having gone to a prep school in Connecticut last year.

He is originally from Chicago, where he attended West Aurora HS (with Wayne and Garth) and then Brother Rice.  He had all kinds of Big 10 offers and ended up accepting an offer to Michigan.  At this point, he was a 4-star recruit.

He didn't go to Michigan and instead went to CT for prep school.  Based on this post, he was a welcome addition.  The article makes reference to "bumps" in the road.  At the time, he said that UM didn't have room on the D-line for him.

His defensive coach said he was a multi-position player on the line, which BG could certainly use.  He's physical and has great "get off."

Denver says he matured a lot at prep school.

Welcome to the Falcons, Denver.

Thursday, March 04, 2021

BG MBB Regular Season Finale Cancelled

So, that's how the regular seasons ends.  BG's game with OU was cancelled due to COVID, which I assume was on the OU end, because they were already having issues.  We expected to have 20 MAC games and ended up playing 18.  EMU played 13, that's the lowest number.  Anyway, a very different year, hopefully never to be repeated.  Next up is a trip to Cleveland.  Win 3 games and we will have done something we haven't done since 1968 in the very oddest of years.  Wouldn't that just figure.  The conference tournament is still in flux, with at least two teams with COVID issues.  If they can't go, everything will get scrambled.

Time will tell.  In the meantime, the regular season ends at 14-10 and 10-8.  Disappointing, but can still be redeemed. 

Wednesday, March 03, 2021

Crazy Night Yields OT Defeat for MBB

So, last night was one for the books, unless you are factoring in that the opponent was Miami and you have a life time of star-crossed, bizarre, full moon events, almost all of which resulting in heartbreak for the Falcon fans.  It's never been good--the game my senior year with the two recovered onside kicks (by us) is one of the few positive examples.

BG was down 5 with 1:15 left.  They scored the next 7 points, including Daeqwon Plowden hitting both ends of a 1-1 and BG led by 2 with :15 left.  A defensive stand wins the game but instead Miami drives right down the court and hits a layup.

Game tied again, BG has :05 left.  They have their normal play set up with Turner isolated up high.  He went to find a screen and slipped.  The ball spilled to Trey Diggs who fired up a wild 3FG that was not close.  However, Caleb Fields was in position and he quick-tapped the ball into the basket before the buzzer and it appeared BG had a thrilling win.

The refs went to the replay...which at first seemed weird because it was clearly before the buzzer.  Than it became clear that the clock actually stopped briefly at .7 seconds, before Fields tipped it.  The more I watched it, the more it was clear that if clock had kept running there was no way Fields got the tip off in time.

Then, the refs appeared to indicate the basket would count.  Much excitement and then the refs went back and looked again at the exact same thing and made the opposite conclusion and it was off to overtime.

Terry Wymer told the announcers that had the clock kept running, it would have expired before the tip, which is how it looked.  

Why was the clock stopped?  Hard to know because the shot clock was off--no need to reset to 20--and it didn't go in.  And no way to know why they changed their ruling twice.

Anyway, it doesn't matter.  It was off to OT.

Miami was up 5 with 2:30 left in OT.  Miami turned it over and Matheny converted with a basketball to cut it to 3.  Then another Miami turnover and Plowden cut the lead to 1.  Then, BG forced a shot clock violation and had a chance to re-steal the win, but Diggs missed a 3FG and that was the game.

And BG lost.  It wasn't really consequential.  The 8 in Cleveland are decided and you're going to need to win 3 there against good teams, it doesn't really matter if you end up 6th or 7th.  Yeah, if you are 6th you avoid UT and Akron, but we also lost to Kent twice.  We're going to need to hit a peak to win those three and what happens in this game and the next one (if it is played) will not be important.

Still.  That's a season sweep for the the team picked to win the MAC.

When you look at this, it is surprising the game got to overtime at all.  BG was badly outshot.  It was tough to watch.  BG spent most of the night jacking up 3 FGs.  They shot 48% of the FGAs from 3FG which is the second-highest of the season.  Unfortunately, unlike the last similar game (EMU) where BG shot 48% from 3FG...the Falcons shot 25%.  That's going to be tough and then when you only make 44% of your 2FGs, you're going to have a long night.  Meanwhile, Miami shot 50% from 2FG and 40% from 3FG.  It's hard to think of a game like that going to OT.  Miami was also 16 of 18 at the line and BG was 11 of 16.  However, turnovers and offensive rebounds were enough to make this one close.

Daeqwon Plowden had quite a night.  He had 19 points, 18 rebounds and 2 assists.  Like everyone else, the shooting was rough, at 3 of 10 and 2 of 7.  Diggs also had 19, but it took him 16 shots--14 3FGs--to get there.  Turner had 16, 6 of 12 from 2FG, which is not bad, but 1-7 from 3FG.  Metheny had a rough 10.

It was disappointing.  BG has formerly been next to impossible to beat at the Stroh.  Hasn't been that was in COVID times.  Anyway, it will all be forgotten in a week.  As always, you either win it at the Q or it's all for naught.

Monday, March 01, 2021

Redhawk Redux

The Falcons had two particularly low points in the six-game losing streak.  One was losing to Toledo--they've had a chance to even that one out.  The other was a 19-point drubbing at the hands of Miami.  That one they get the chance to even out tomorrow.

BG played what Coach Huger referred to as "horrendous."  Miami scored 1.4 points per possession, their best in 18 years.  They made 65% of their 2FG and 48% from 3FG.  It was BG's worst defensive game of the season and for a couple years going back.  It was a night to be forgotten.

Overall, they are 11-10 and 8-8.  In a COVID-oddity, six of their wins are NIU (twice), WMU (twice), EMU and CMU, a romp through the MAC's worst teams.

If you don't adjust for their games, they aren't terrible.  They are 6th in offense and 8th in defense in the MAC.

On offense, they aren't great or terrible at anything.  They are the 6th best shooting team and 4th in turnovers.  They are also 4th in making FTs.  On the defensive side, they are very good on the defensive boards and pretty much average at nothing else...but again, they are a middle-of-the-road defensive team.

They have 3 double-figure scorers.  Dae Dae Grant, who is scoring 14.3 on 41% 2FG shooting and 44% 3FG.  He's the 6th best 3FG shooter in the MAC and the #1 FT shooter (92%).  He had 27 against BG, on 5 of 9 3FGS and 5 assists.

Mekhi Lairy is scoring 13.4 PPG on 49% and 40% shooting.  He had a very efficient 16 in the first game.  Dalonte Brown is scoring 13 PPG and had 17 in the first game.

Beyond righting the wrong of the first game, BG is looking to re-establish some street cred at home.  BG has been much better on the road than at home.  Riding a four-game winning streak, they have the chance to pick up two home wins and go to Cleveland on a six-game winning streak.

This is a game they should win this time as they should have last time.  Let's hope the Falcons end up on the right side.