Friday, April 07, 2006
AN ABSURDLY PREMATURE ASSESSMENT OF: BOWLING GREEN
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SMQ spins the wheel for a hastily-rendered, too-soon look at a random school's prospects for the fall, sans inveitable academic and criminal suspensions, sudden tra nsfers, debilitating injuries and other miscellaneous misfortunes of the long summer
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Is a new quarterback ready to guide an inexperienced contingent past rebuilding mode? Like, totally, man.
PAST FIVE SEASONS: 43-17 (29-12 MAC) / 2 00 5: 6-5 (5-3 MAC)
STARTERS BACK, ROUGHLY: 11 (6 Offense, 5 Defense)
WHAT'S CHANGED: Everyone who touched the ball on offense the last two years, when BGSU tended to chock up points galore. Receivers Charles Sharon and Steve Sanders and minimally alliterative backfield mates P.J. Pope and B.J. Lane accounted, combined over their careers, for 13,626 all-purpose yards and 111 touchdowns. Omar Jacobs, in two years, threw for more than 6,900 yards and 71 touchdowns before his hasty decision to go pro. All gone.
Also gone: six defensive starters, including leaders Teddy Piepkow and Jelani Jordan.
WHAT'S THE SAME: The expectation that the system is the thing, and the spread will continue to exploit notoriously "varsity" level MAC defenses whatever the attrition of talent. Brandon has turned Urban Meyer's balanced spread into a much more passer-friendly version, in accordance with the ongoing incompetence of secondaries in the league, though he says Anthony Turner's athleticism may prompt a return to the Josh Harris-era running of the quarterback more often than with the less nimble Jacobs.
BUT WHAT ABOUT TURNER'S "LEGAL PROBLEMS"? The university has yet to weigh in, but the coaching staff will handle the situation "internally" - he's still listed on top of the BGSU media site's much appreciated Spring depth chart. Even if Brandon is eager to each his team "that they are going to be held to a higher standard regarding their actions," he is understandably not too eager to lose a fairly well-recruited athlete who got in two full starts and some change in between tokes last year over misdemeanor pettiness - though, it should be noted, his two most significant appearances (30-plus-attempt games against Western Michigan and Akron; he started the Kent State win, but threw only 16 times for 77 yards) both were losses in which the Falcons bottomed out at 14 points and Turner threw, altogether, three picks to just one touchdown.
OTHER FLEDGLING BALLHANDLERS... The only returning threat of any note is Corey Partridge, who had a spectacular debut at Wiconsin (8 catches, 160 yards, 1 touchdown) but didn't catch more than passes again over the remainder of his freshman season. The massive production hemhorrage leaves no other receiver with more than a dozen catches and threesome of inexperienced backs, the leader of which had no carries last season. Brandon is extolling the virtues of one Pete Winovich, a 250-pound "pseudo fullback," for "bringing a different dimension" to the tailback spot. Presumably, that dimension is "lack of agility," but for now he remains tellingly off the radar.
...AND THE FEW, THE VETERANS: Compared to the skill guys, the offensive line looks positively grizzled, bringing back three upperclassman starters with a senior and redshirt junior coming aboard. Guard Kory Lichtensteiger is rumored to be quite competent, though SMQ has no means for verifying his accolades.
Defensive end Devon Parks came on at the end of last season, when he had three sacks, three QB hurries and caused two fumbles in the final three games. He is also "excited" about all the new faces.
OVERLY OPTIMISTICAPPROPRIATELY UNEASY SPRING PRACTICE-BASED CHATTER Brandon, like all coaches in the Spring, is trying to remain upbeat, but Turner's bogus journey is dominating discussion. Brandon's first press conference led with an opening statement about the fate of his quarterback and featured another question about depth at the position.
Bowling Green bloggers, too, are wondering: so, who's this Freddie Barnes?
REASON(S) FOR HOPE: Half a decade of consistent scoreboard plundering, Mid-American defensive commitment to "swiss cheese" strategy.
REASON TO BE AFRAID, VERY AFRAID: Brandon jokes - really - about keeping Pampers around his office for all the new starters. Funny...but then, recall that humor is a Level Four defense mechanism by which the unconscious mind helps a person to cope with a situation which the conscious, rational part of the self is unable to resolve sufficiently on its own, too.
HONESTLY, WITHOUT LOOKING AT THE SCHEDULE, SMQ'S THINKING: 7-4. Could go either way here: the losses, on offense especially, make it hard to see the Falcons coming away with a better record, but this is also a good program that had five straight eight-win seasons under its belt entering last year and probably would have continued the streak had Jacobs not missed all or most of three games.
Previous absurdly premature assessments:
April 3: Central Michigan...April 4: Brigham Young...April 6: Kentucky
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