1: PJ Fleck. He came in, young and brash. They were walking on coals and getting highly ranked recruits. Now a rough season...Fleck says the year has been "100% success." Is Fleck going to succeed or flame out spectacularly?
To be completely fair to PJ "The Human Meme Machine" Fleck that quote has been taken wildly out of context. Fleck was talking about what is happening off the field. The recruiting, donations, and facilities work is, in his opinion, 100% in line with where he wants it to be.
I don't know enough about Western Michigan football to know if even in context it's crap.
The Biggest thing in PJ Fleck's way is PJ Fleck. The guy has been nothing but a position coach and only that for a half dozen years. You could count the one day he was NIU's offensive coordinator but taking your job at your Alma mater on February second and leaving for Tampa Bay February 3rd is not exactly a character endorsement. But jumping to the NFL after one day on the jobs was a Fleck thing to do.
Flecks success or failure at WMU is going to hinge on how fast gets out of his own way and on his willingness to he learn, because he still needs to learn to be a head coach.
Learning at WMU will be difficult. Even though his coordinators, Ciarrocca and Pinkham, bring 50 years of coaching experience not one of those years is as a head coach. Quinn brought in a similar staff at Buffalo in 2010 and he had bravado in spades. Look what that got Buffalo.
After an awful season the Quinn fired his offensive coordinator and brought in Alex Wood. Wood brought with him head coaching experience from his stint at JMU. When UB's Defensive coordinator was hired away by the Bills Quinn tapped ex Illinois coach Lou Tepper. The experience from both coaches appears to have aided Quinn.
On the field Buffalo stopped trying to be something they were not. The "Cincinnati Spread" was replaced with a version that uses a fullback and tight ends. It's a different offense, not something Quinn tried to do when he was just starting out.
I would guess that unless WMU wins four of their remaining five games Fleck will have to replace some of his staff. He would do well to go find someone who has been a head coach to help mentor him along.
And for Pete's sake Stop rowing the boat and keep your damn shirt on, nobody is shooting a calendar.
2. .NIU had a close call with Akron. Is this just something that happens or do you think it exposed weakness for the Huskies?
Coming into this game Akron had nearly beaten Michigan (now 5-1), Lousiana-Lafayette (now 4-2), and held their own against Bowling green for two and a half quarters. The Zips are a bit better than their record indicates so I am chalking their effort against NIU as "something that just happens".
3. I have been proposing for some time that first downs be added as an individual stat. What do you think? Any other things you think could be added?
I'm working on something for capturing the number of plays a pass rusher occupies two or three linemen. Call it a "Mack" ratio. Khalil Mack
spends more play's facing multiple blockers than he does in one on one matchups. Tossing around Ohio states tackle like a rag doll in week on set the tone for his season. Against Western Michigan he was double teamed almost every down and triple teamed quite often.
That kind of attention has slowed down his assent up the NCAA all time TFL charts but it has also made Colby Way
and Adam Redden
that much more dangerous as pass rushers.
A great Linebacker or lineman will take the attention in stride. It can get frustrating for them personally but it's great for the team.