2010 was unforgettably bad, believe me I've tried. No tonic on earth can clear away the memory of a team which produced just one rushing touchdown by a half back, which failed to score a first quarter touchdown all season, and which lost to EMU and Ball State. This is not what UB Fans thought they were getting when Jeff Quinn Named his coaching staff last year.
Last years performance meant the quick dismissal of two coaches. Offensive coordinator Greg Forest and Passing Coordinator Juan Taylor. Then, earlier this month, Coach Mike Daniels left the team to relocate with his wife. If you do the match that a 60% turnover rate on offensive coaches.
In an effort to help out the casual fan coming out of his spring slumber here is what you missed while you were away
Fair or not it was Coach Greg Forest who caught the brunt of the blame for last years woeful performance. The moved ended at 20 year coaching relationship between he and coach Quinn.
Even though he was tagged as the offensive coordinator his was not the voice calling out most of the plays. He was, however,responsible for bringing up UB's young Quarterbacks, something which never really seemed to happen.
Jerry Davis started the first six games and was so bad that he was replaced true freshman Alex Zordich. During that six weeks Dennison got his shots but was equally ineffective. After Zordich suffered a season-ending rib injury Davis started the last two games. In 2010 Bulls passed for just 2,211 yards with 17 TDs and 23 interceptions.
The offense crawled across the finish line finishing 120th out of 120 FBS teams in scoring (14.1 ppg). The Bulls among the nation's worst in total offense (111th) and rushing (102nd).
In: Don Patterson
Patterson was on the market after being forced out at Western Illinois. Exactly why he was forced out is a matter of disagreement between Patterson and the Athletics Director at WIU.
Patterson had battled back from cancer, and was free, but the university released a press statement saying that he was stepping down for health reasons.
Patterson claims their was a discussion with the AD about his health but that it was more a matter of the AD looking for an excuse.
Among the AD's claims was that players had approached him about changing coaches something that Patterson, and many of the players who have since graduated deny.
"From a player perspective you always have your coach's back, No matter if you go 10-1 or 1-10, whatever your record is, you always have your coaches back, we loved Coach P." -- Former WIU Fullback Sam Dancer
What Buffalo Lost:
A coach who knows Jeff Quinn better than most, all the way back to Grand Valley State. But like Quinn himself Forest has no real record outside of Brian Kelly's sphere of influence. He did have a hand in molding some NFL talent and had real coaching experience at just about every position on the offense.
What Buffalo Gained:
There is no way that Patterson should have been on the market. We may never know for sure exactly why the AD wanted him out of the way but he did a fine job as a head coach. He can take credit for winning two conference championships, holding a #1 FCS ranking, and making the playoffs multiple times.
Before Coaching the Leathernecks Patterson spent 20 years coaching at Iowa State.. During his time at Iowa, the Hawkeyes appeared in 14 bowl games (3 three Rose Bowls). The 1985 Iowa team was ranked No. 1 in the nation for five weeks, en route to a school-record 10 wins.
Patterson's offense was explosive, leading the Big Ten in rushing (217.0 yards/game) and scoring (34.3 points/game) while finishing second in pass efficiency in 1997. Iowa finished the 1997 campaign ranked eighth in the nation in rushing offense and ninth in scoring, and had its highest pass efficiency ranking of any Iowa team since 1985.
During his run the Hawkeyes one of only three Big Ten teams (also Ohio State and Michigan) to play in 14 bowl games.
Big upgrade! I especially like the fact that Patterson is not serving as the offensive coordinator so he gets to focus all of his energies on a set of Quarterbacks that can really use the help.
Taylor was the last of the holdouts from the Gill Era. Under Coach Gill Taylor was tabbed with developing the receivers and during his tenure he built up the best one-two combination that the Bulls had ever known (Roosevelt, Hamlin).
Under Taylor Naaman Roosevelt, a two-time All-MAC First Team selection, became the Bulls' career leader in receptions (268), receiving yards (3,551), receiving touchdowns (28) and all-purpose yardage (5,341). Brett Hamlin who was selected All-MAC his senior year, finished his career in the top 10 in both receptions and yards in UB's record book.
After coach Quinn took over Taylor maintained his role as the wide receivers coach but was tabbed with a new title "Passing Coordinator". Having that title in an offense where Forest was the OC / Quarterbacks Coach and where Quinn called 85% of the plays really puts you in a position where you can't control your own fate.
Like Forest, fair or not, Taylor caught the blame for UB's worst offense in years. Despite the promising performance by a receiving corps that was one year removed from the Roosevelt / Hamlin duo UB's passing game was hideous.
Wood has more than 30 years of experience at the Division one level (plus some time in the NFL). He spent the past season as wide receivers coach for the Redhawks, who did a worst to first last season and claimed a Mid-American Conference championship.
From 1989-93 he coached for Dennis Erickson's Miami Hurricanes, coaching the running backs, while helping the Canes to a pair of National Championships (1989 and 1991) and a perfect 12-0 season in 1991.
Wood has also been a wide receiver coach in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals, a quarterback coach for the Minnesota Vikings and the offensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals.
But what makes him most interesting is that he was part of the Miami miracle last season. The turnaround should have landed Wood at Pitt, coaching their receivers, but Haywood's off the field problems scuttled his entire staff.
What Buffalo Lost:
It's senior most positions coach and the one who's units showed the most offensive promise last season. Taylor was both effective and well loved by the players, one player even credits Taylor with helping him decide to stay in school.
What Buffalo Gained:
Someone with quality NFL experience to take over the offense. As with Patterson it was a fluke that Wood was available when UB was looking for a coordinator.
After a head coaching stint at JMU he was hired by Dennis Green as the quarterbacks coach of the Minnesota Vikings where he spent four seasons. In his first year with the team, the Vikings selected Daunte Culpepper in the first round of the 1999 NFL Draft. By Culpepper’s second season, the young star not only took over the starting quarterback job but earned a start for the National Football Conference (NFC) in the Pro Bowl.
Wood was later named wide receivers coach by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2003. In his one year in Cincinnati, Wood coached two players in the top 10 of receiving yards in the AFC (Chad Johnson and Peter Warrick). Johnson led the AFC with 1,355 yards on 90 receptions. He also had 10 touchdown receptions.
In 2004, Wood rejoined Green on the staff of the Arizona Cardinals. Wood served one season as the offensive coordinator for the Cardinals, overseeing the offensive staff and handling play-calling responsibilities.
As much as I liked Coach Taylor its hard to argue that the Bulls did a very solid job filling the hole that was left after his departure. This is a good step in Coach Quinn building his own coaching staff rather than just taking guys from either Brian Kelly or Turner Gill.
Daniels survived the coaching staff culling but departed Buffalo to join his wife who does not live in the area.
That's not to say the running backs performed any better than the Quarterbacks and certainly no better than the receivers. On the season there was just one rushing touchdown by a running back (Ike Nduka against Bowling Green).
On the flip side fumbling seemed to be a right of passage with a total of ten on the season, though several of those can be chalked up to the Quarterbacks.
So Daniels being gone is rather unremarkable, that he was not asked to leave is somewhat surprising. He had promise as a coach, particularly the relationships he engendered with players, but his players performed no better than those of Forrest or Taylor.
This completes the summer trifecta of eminently experienced coaches joining the Buffalo Staff. Simon brings in three decades of coaching experience and he he some impressive hardware to his name.
The list of players he had a hand in coaching reads like an all decade fantasy team wish list. Jamal Lewis and LaDainian Tomlinson top the list among the pros and Greg Lewis and Napoleon Kaufman are two collegiate All Americans that called him coach.
He had 'slowed down' recently by taking up a position as a professional football consultant and head coach at Gilmour Academy in Ohio. He has spent time preparing players to prepare them for the Senior Bowl, NFL combine and NFL draft.
What Buffalo Lost:
One of the most inexperienced coaches on the staff. If he decides to stay in football Daniels will catch on somewhere else but he was a Cincinnati tag along (talented player who transitioned to an assistant then a coach).
What Buffalo Gained:
If you were a running back wondering which school to go to how much more impact would having a guy who coached LaDainian Tomlinson in your living room than someone who was a solid player at Cincinnati but had a pretty thin coaching resume?
Simon also has some head coaching experience with North Texas. Simon guided North Texas to the Southland Conference Championship in his forst season. He was named Southland Conference Coach of the Year, Black Coaches Association National Football Coach of the Year and AFCA Region 4 Coach of the Year. However, the Mean Green football success was not sustained caucing the Mean Green and Simon to part ways.
Nice pickup for Buffalo Simon has the name, the history, and the experience to both impress recruits and hopefully develop them once they are here.
There is a lot to like about the off season chaos, even if I look at it through my blue tinted shades. Quinn went with experience over familiarity and grabbed some coaches who, perhaps, should not have been on the market. This is a 180 from the way he assembled his staff last season.
There is also a seeming departure from the spread offense given the coaches being brought in. When you also consider the off season bulk put on by the offensive line it's not a huge leap to see a UB team with a wide open passing game but one that keys off a competent ground attack.