1. Fleck’s sounds worn out and at this point throwing his hands in the air. Is the fan base if the season keeps heading south understand that 15 starters were lost coming into this season, best WR coming into camp is out, and now the QB may not play?
All season there has been two sides: One that sees the future and has been very patient with Fleck and one that has seen through the gimmicks and is already sick of the P.J. Fleck Show. Recently (more importantly after the Nicholls State game and the continuation of no improvement) a couple fans have moved from the patient side to the sick side. Count me as a season-long latter.
The main thing that fans are seeing is no progress. Last season, you saw an offense that could move the ball at times despite an inexperienced wide-receiver corps, but a defense that couldn't stop the run ever, and then would allow big pass plays. This season, you see an offense that can't move the ball, with a young line and inexperienced wide-receiver corps that is decimated with injuries and that same defense.
Tyler Van Tubbergen showed so much promise after the 2011 Akron game, and then down the stretch of the season last year. This year, he has been awful. I'm not sure if it's the system, the line, the wide-outs, him, or all of the above. You also see a lot of Cubit leftovers that just seem to be in the doghouse. Dareyon Chance is a monster running-back, but has rarely seen the field (granted Brian Fields is good, but Chance has more flash). This doesn't help with chemistry for this season.
In all, even the players seem to be beginning to lose faith in Fleck. I don't see the effort, and one of the top recruits in Flecks "monster" 2014 class Tim Cason just de-committed to Purdue. Cason was a highly touted, top-50 CB recruit, and the 2nd most important player in that class (my 1st, but everyone else had Chance Stewart ahead of him). If the losses continue to pile up (and I think they will until that UMass game), I expect to see more and more cracks in the "foundation".
2. On an exciting note, how excited is it to watch true freshman WR Corey Davis? Caught five passes for 77 yards last game and has 28 catches averaging 14.7 yards
Davis is a nice athletic body. He isn't the prototypical slot man that Western Michigan is known to produce (Jordan White, Jaime Wilson), but he is a nice target to throw to. If all goes as planned, we will have Wilson back in the slot, Davis as the "Greg Jennings, go deep and get it or be athletic and fight for it" guy, and maybe Timmy Keith as the other WR. With Stewart, Zach Terrell (the current back-up), and Cam Thomas (red-shirted this season) all expected to battle for the starting job next season, they should all be set-up to succeed with a more experienced line.
In short: Davis excites, but only because of the future tandem WMU will have.
3. Sorry to rehash what had to be a very difficult game and week, what the hell happened against Nicholls state after a strong showing against Michigan State?
/goes through repressed memories
/recalls September 7, 2013
I honestly don't know. The zone-read happened. I actually dug through the stack of stats that I have yet to throw away just to see what the hell happened.
3rd-string QB Kalen Henderson starts the game for the Colonels, goes 8-for-11 for 159 and an INT, but runs for 87 yards on just 6 carries and a touchdown. Gets hurt late in the 2nd quarter, and his back-up (who they had to burn a red-shirt on) comes in, struggles in the 3rd quarter, but goes 2-for-7 for 66 yards including a deep 55 yard pass late in the 4th to force a field goal. Western Michigan needs a touchdown, is picked at the goal line on a 20-some yard pass, and loses.
The Colonels dropped passes, were out-sized, and couldn't stop the run. However, Western Michigan couldn't stop the run, didn't set-up their run until the 3rd quarter, and couldn't pick up a blitz all night. It was pathetic.
Here was my initial reaction to that game. Much better since it was fresh in my mind: http://www.hustlebelt.com/2013/9/8/4708774/titanicd-nicholls-sinks-western-michigan-in-flecks-waldo-debut
4. Besides Corey Davis, who should Buffalo fans keep an eye on? Also, do you have any players who have chance to possibly keep playing on Sundays?
Oof......uhhhhhhh...........Fields and Chance are a nice 1-2 duo when they get holes. But they aren't great. Defensively, I expect Donald Celiscar to man-up Neutz all game. Johnny Simon is a converted safety-rover-linebacker now, and had led the team the past two seasons in tackles. Mike Jones occasionally makes an appearance too. I mean, this team has talent, but I'm not sure anyone will be playing on Sundays. Good, but not good enough.
5. Lastly, your prediction for this game?
This is going to be U-G-L-WHY? Because of Branden Oliver. He will run, and run, and run, and then Neutz will catch a pair for touchdowns, and Khalil Mack will kill everyone in sight because that's what he does. (I saw that Ohio State game). Luckily, I'll be out of town to avoid this monstrosity (yet, miss the home-and-home hockey series against Notre Dame :'(. ) The march to UMass continues on. Buffalo 48, WMU 27 (garbage time scores)
David responding the WMU’s questions:
1. After a slow start to the season (albeit to some decent opponents), the Bulls have seemingly hit their stride. What has been the key to success to this turnaround?
Not playing Ohio State and Baylor. Next! The real answer is that UB has some stud athletes that are taking it to it to opponents on par or lower. UB started Licata last year after Zordich was hurt and he has an amazing connection with Neutz. Neutz you just have to try to limit him, you will not shut him down. Secondly, Mack is getting triple teams and other players are stepping up and making plays. It has been fun to watch the last three games and there is a buzz for this weekend’s game.
2. Last season, Bill Cubit replaced the red-hot TVT with a rusty Alex Carder, who threw 4 INTs against the Bulls and cost the Broncos a probable bowl bid. Also, Oliver and Devin Campbell had monster games while Neutz had 140 yards. Do you expect something similar to happen this weekend?
I do. And listen I am not trying to be cocky; I am talking from a Buffalo perspective who would to have loved the run you had pre-Fleck. We have been terrible except for two years under Turner Gill. That being said, UB has some amazing talents that Gill’s staff brought in who can just beat you down. As we talked about Nuetz at wide receiver, Mack at LB who is projected to be a top ten draft choice, Bo Oliver who as you saw last year can punish you and next play make you miss. Licata is getting comfortable in the pocket. Sorry WMU fans, this will not be a close game.
3. We all know about Khalil Mack. Who else is on that UB defense that will give the Broncos fits?
Johnson in the secondary is being considered to be a later round pick in the NFL. Struggled against OSU and Baylor but who didn’t. Got better against Stony Brook and has been great the past two games. Great DB who makes plays. Also the D line and linebackers especially Bean are playing great. This team is very balanced right now. Expect the QB to be sacked four plus times on Saturday.
4. Buffalo has a very realistic shot of going 6-6 or better. Do you see them making a bowl game?
I see UB winning 6 to 7 wins. I still remember Temple winning 8 in the MAC and not making a bowl game. The experts are predicting UB at the Pin Stripe Bowl against Rutgers! It will be great for UB because of the ton of alumni in the New York City metro area.
5. So, uh, Jeff Quinn. I know a lot of fans don't like him up there, but even with an easy schedule, he seems to be producing with it. Can he turn Buffalo back into the Turner Gill days?
No and No! Let’s see what Quinn does next year when his top three defenders (Especially All World Mack), top RB, top two WR’s leave. This is the window for Buffalo to make a bowl game. Please do not make me think about next year. La La La this is me not thinking about next year.
6. Alright, prediction time. Who ya got and score?
The New York Bulls 42 and WMU 10. Row Row Row that Boat! Hey good luck guys, I hope your coach can install a winning program and brings some top plays to you. Hopefully he learns that what is taped stays on the internet forever. Hopefully he never does that dance again. Here is to your first win of the season, just not this weekend.