Bull Run Stampede is a feature in which Buffalo fans who have been there for the bad to good to bad times give their take on aspects of the program, the last game, and games to come. Participants include BullsFanInChiTown, UB2010, BRJACR, and BC Bull.
Just two days to go! A long off season of coaching changes, quarterbacks falling out of the sky, and a Canadian invasion end this weekend. So how do the best Bulls fans arouns see things panning out? I asked them..
1) Ok, we have a named starter for Pitt. In your best "deep thoughts with Jack Handey" Tell me what you think
Bulls 2010: "Anybody who has an identity problem had better wise up and get with the program!"
The O line has to play better or it does not matter against Pitt. Are we a spread O line or Smash Mouth O line? I am not a fan of the Chazz band aide approach. Does this make UB a better program. Great, we may go from 2 to 3 wins! If we really want to get better for years to come, play the Big Z and see what he can do!
BC Bull: I'm glad that Chazz is the starter. It should have been expected given his time in Quinn's offense, and it would have been a reason for pause if Zordich, even with significant offseason improvement beat him out. I still don't know what to expect out of the transfer, but anything's an improvement really.
Sometimes I wonder if they are looking for a Quarterback, the "guy", to lead the team year in and year out.
I mean CMU had Dan LeFevour for 15 years, Miami has Zack Dysert as their guy, even UB had Drew Willy during his time.
UB has Chazz to look forward to, but thats just for a year.
Maybe, just maybe, it isnt important.
But with 348 QB's on the roster and more on the way, should it be this hard to find just one?
Bull Run: Two geniuses have an IQ of 300, then again so do six imbeciles! UB had, at one point six or seven quarterbacks but that's no guarantee of quality. Anderson comes in an is instantly the best Quarterback on the roster. I don't think for a second there was a question he would start. Hopefully Zordich and the other QB's on the roster are learning from him.
CHI-Town: I think that Anderson is the right choice for the job. Any time there is a QB debate, I have always thought that going with the most experienced QB is the way to go. I really like Zordich and think he has a promising future with UB, but this is Chazz's team right now.
2) Has anything you've seen or read this summer give you hope for a winning season? If so what has you feeling so "Bullish"
Bulls 2010: "If a QB asks where rain comes from, I think a cute thing to tell him is "God is crying." And if he asks why God is crying, another cute thing to tell him is "Probably because of something the QB did."Especially if he is wearing the wrist card from last season
I feel pretty good about our Defense. Think about what the D lost (especially the best secondary the MAC has seen in decades!) I am making a large assumption and dreading watching the futility of the offence. I really wish that the O line will create some holes, we can keep D honest and have them respect the run, QB who can hit quick passes, and go for the long ball when the time is right. I see major struggles again putting up points. I sure hope that I am pleasantly surprised by the offense this year! The secondary is going to make mistakes. You will see some really long TD’s. Is UB strong enough to make other secondary’s make mistakes?
BC Bull: I'm not expecting a winning season. As I said in the last roundtable, I think 4-5 wins would be a good season. Moreso than wins, though, I'm looking to see if the young talent on both sides of the ball improves. Next year this time I want to be able to point to a bunch of players' upward trends as reason for hope.
BRJACR: I think I read something, somewhere that most, if not all the team has been in town working out and practicing on their own. That really develops a strong bond with the rest of your teammates. Now, when they take the field, they arent only playing for themselves, but for the guy next to you, and the guy at the end of the bench. When you get to that point, good things happen.
CHI-Town: The thing I loved hearing was all of the added bulk this team added. As a team we are bigger and stronger then we were last year, and that is something that we needed because we got beat up in the trenches every game. Steve Means looks to be a complete beast right now, and our OLine seems to be much improved and happier, with an added focus on the running game. Adding more running formations is also encouraging, as I think our RBs will do much better in IForm, then in shotgun. If our secondary plays beyond its years, we could push for at least a .500 record.
3) Which game is the pivot for UB's season? when will you know if real progress has been made since last season or if its as bad or worse than 2010?
Bulls 2010: "I have to laugh when I think of the first cigar, because it was probably just a bunch of rolled-up tobacco leaves."
My make or break with be Sept 8 Ohio. If we come to this game 1 – 4 and leave 1 -5 with Temple the next week, uggh! I hope Coach is smoking a winning cigar on Sept. 8th.
BC Bull:I want to say Ball State, because it's the first MAC game, but I think the pivot for the season is the home game against the Ohio Bobcats. After two tough games against Tennessee and UConn, and before tough games against Temple and Northern Illinois, I think October 8th will be a big Saturday to look back on when this season is all said and done.
BRJACR: Ill go with the Ball State game. UB's first shot at a conference opponent. I guess if Im writing anything close to this , after it, well, I dont want to think about it.
CHI-Town: I think week 3, at Ball State is a pivotal game for this team. We will have a tough opener vs PITT, and we will be able to learn a lot from that game. After a week of adjustments and learing, we get a weak Stony Brook team. If all goes well there, we should be a 1-1 team heading in to our first MAC game, with things figured out. Ball State is not a great team, and we should be able to go in to Muncie and get a win. If we lose by a large margin, then I don't know how much progress was made, if any. It can't get worse then last year.... can it?
Bull Run: Why, oh why do people say that
4) With Camp out off the way which off season Coaching move do you feel made the biggest difference
Bulls 2010: "He was the kind of man who was not ashamed to show affection. I guess that's what I hated about him."
I hope Coach Wood is the type of man who can take the talent that UB has in its stable and make it work. First thing he has to do is figure out a way to get yards on the ground. It was tough to see a front four all alone shutting down the running game last year. I have faith (or praying) that Coach can make this happen.
BC Bull: Living out of town for the summer I haven't been able to pay quite enough attention to camp so I'm just going to answer who I hope will make the biggest difference and that's easy for me: Matt Simon. He's worked with some big-time running games and I'm really hoping he can help make an improvement over last year.
BRJACR: Bringing in all three new coaches, would be my thought, Patterson, Wood, Simon. Having that kind of experience, and that kind of experience in different systems is a very good thing. It will allow them to pull ideas from a wealth of experience for any situation they'll face offensively. At the very least, hopefully we'll see UB being able to convert a 4th and 1 instead of whatever they were trying to do last year.
CHI-Town: I think the addition of Alex Wood is proving to be the biggest acquisition. He brings several years of experience, both in the NFL and college. He knows what it takes to win, and he knows there has to be an even balance of running and passing. I think that our offense will look much better this year under Wood, and we will see our running game pick up because of it.
5) Give a run down on any one unit aside from the Quarterbacks (Line, Receivers, Runningbacks). What are your thoughts as to the challenges that unit faces, how they will respond, and who will stand out.
Bulls 2010: "Marta was watching the football game with me when she said, "You know, most of these sports are based on the idea of one group protecting its territory from invasion by another group". "Yeah," I said, trying not to laugh. Girls are funny."
It all comes down to the O line. Last year this unit was terrible. Was not helped by terrible QB play and running backs looking clueless.. I want to see a line go out and dominate. Win the battle. I did not see it last year.
BC Bull: I'm going with Running Backs. Here's hoping everybody else doesn't pick them too. Injuries to the O-Line aside, last years running game was as bad as it gets. This year a more experienced quarterback who (hopefully) won't be tossing balls over everyone's head (Davis), or barely ever looking to throw and abandoning to a scramble almost immediately (Zordich) will be able to help the running game, but the OL situation looks like it's going to be another tough year. I'd like to see the backs just hit the hole they're given and not dance around looking for a better opportunity, because I think they're only going to get so much time. Branden Oliver has made comments about trying to run more north-south this year, so that's encouraging. I'd really like to see Jeffvon Gill get more snaps. He's a personal favorite of mine, and was the only RB to be effective at all last year, averaging 4.3 YPC, but somehow only saw 64 carries.
Lest I sound too harsh, the RBs last year did a great job in the passing game, whether it was making catches out of the backfield or out in the slot. Oliver and Gill combined for 10 catches for 142yds last season. Hopefully their receiving skills can bring some juice and variety to the offense too.
BRJACR: OLine. I think after last year, they face the biggest challenge. The OLine needs to be functioning to get the rest of the offense off the ground. We didnt see quite enough of that last year. They were at a real disadvantage with the injuries, the new system, and being asked to be lean and mean and quick, and it just didnt work. This year, thankfully, they will be more familiar with the system, and now they went in a different direction and bulked up. I really think they are going to enter the season with a chip on their shoulder, trying to prove they are better than last season. It may not be real noticable during the OOC games with PITT, UCONN, and Tennessee, but once they reach some conference games, its going to be fun watching them start to realize they can matchup or beat physically some of the MAC DLines, that the mean and nasty edge will creep in to their play, and it will snowball from there.
CHI-Town: I look at out receivers, and I think it could be a very special year. Marcus Rivers has proven to be a legit number 1 receiver in the MAC. He is big, he is tall, he is fast, and he showed last year that he can catch the ball. He is a quarterbacks best friend. Next to Rivers are speedster Terrell Jackson, and rising sophomore Alex Neutz. Jackson has been a very reliable reciever here, all four years. Neutz made some outstanding catches last year as a freshman, and he is going to be even better this year. Outside of those three, there is Saron Hood, Freed Lee and a mix of younger guys who will be pushing to earn playing time this year. Our WR core is an exciting unit, with a lot of promise.
6) Basketball Question: Any strong opinions on the new MACC format?
Bulls 2010: "Too bad you can't buy a voodoo globe so that you could make the earth spin real fast and freak everybody out." I am not a basketball fan. My winter passion of crocheting takes up to much time. So I don’t get why everyone is freaking out about this.
Here ya’ go. Tim, I am scared s^&*less that this is a repeat of last year. I will not be able to handle another year like last year. Please help me off the ledge over here.
BC Bull: Basketball... MAC tournament... for the conference, I think it's a good move. It's been a while since the MAC threatened 2 bids in the NCAAs, but we saw when Ohio bested Georgetown that this conference can still be a threat to high-major teams, and Ohio was the 9 seed in the MAC that year and drew the 13 seed in the tournament. Kent State or Akron (I confess I don't remember who was the MAC 1 seed) might have gotten a 12 seed. The new conference tournament format is less favorable to those teams who don't perform well from wire-to-wire and hope to catch some magic at the beginning of March, but it is better for the conference overall and it's national image, which, with the days of the best team threatening an at-large bid, will be bolstered by getting the better teams into March Madness and giving the league a better chance to make some noise.
BRJACR: I would think any MAC West team would be the most upset at this. Considering, they changed the seeding to include the whole conference, not just the two division winners as 1 and 2. I guess if this change stays, the regular season MAC games got a whole lot more important.
CHI-Town: I'll admit, I am not the biggest MAC basketball follower as I attend a basketball school, but I will say that I am a believer that regardless of the format, the best team usually comes out of the conference championship. I look at it as somewhat of a disadvantage for the top 2 seeds, as they have to sit out and wait to play, where as the bottom seeds have games to play, stay warm and not rusty. I look at UConn last year in the conference tourney. They won 5 straight games, beating the 1 seed who had to sit out a round. I don't think the new format will have much of an impact on who comes out of the tourney.