I'm going to put the ugliness of the officiating at Oakland behind me. Rather than rant about the CIT nabbing guys who apparently usually ref knitting matches Ill just say UB made their share of mistakes (It's called a timeout, use it before you lose the lead) and Oakland made them pay with some big shots. Congratulations are in order to Oakland who now will hopefully make a strong run.
Now with that out of the way...
So Spring ball opens up this week. Practices are going to be held on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Buffalo coach Jeff Quinn had won a verbal vote on confidence from then Athletics Director Warde manual after a 3-9 season but the patience of Bulls fans, and perhaps whoever comes in as the new director, is starting to wear a little thin.
The Big Questions that need to be answered this spring?
Buffalo found a bit of production last season out of Chazz Anderson but Anderson was a senior transfer and at best a band aide. Who is going to be the starting Quarterback? The only signal caller on the roster with game experience is Alex Zordich. Zordich was a last minute Recruit that Quinn pulled in when he took over at UB but there are now several other quarterbacks who were brought in after Quinn had become head coach.
|2011 - Alex Zordich||4||40.0||5||12||41.7||41||10.3||3.4||0||0||3||3||.800||1||0||-||-|
If it's not Zordich look out for Joe Licata, or perhaps even incoming freshman Collin Michael. UB has not had the feeling of stability at Quarterback since Turner Gills last season and I doubt this year anything feels too settled until at least October.
How much of Lou Teppers textbook defense is he going to try and implement with Buffalo? and how fast? Many LSU fans feel like Tepper knows the game but was still hell bent on his scheme despite the fat the Tigers, at the time, were ill equipped to run it.
That might not be such a big issue with UB's linebackers. The Bulls, in terms of their conference mates, have a pretty good set of linebackers. In Coach Teppers defense those line backers are the linchpin. One, or both, outside linebackers also plays the role of "Dropback Safety". UB's outside guys have decent speed and their presence as enforcers could help a still young and struggling secondary.
Or it could turn our very effective linebackers in to Swiss Army defenders. Jacks of all trades and masters of none which could make our run defense even worse. Worst case the line backers, by trying to do too much, are worse at every aspect of the game.
Who's Number Two?
|ALEX NEUTZ : Receiving (2011)
No receiver has shown the consistency we need for a secondary threat. It would be great to see Fred Lee Step up. When Neutz went dowl last year the offense regressed and that was with two seniors still trying to do their part.
On the half backs side: I loved watching Bo smash records last season but we need a second option just in case he can't sustain that workload for a second straight year.
|2011 - Branden Oliver||12||306||1395||116.3||4.6||13||38||365||30.4||9.6||0|
Odds are Jeffvon Gill will get a big long look but will James Potts? Potts has really struggled to get on the field due to off the field issues. Potts was sidelined by financial issues his freshman year and then bad grades last season. By all accounts he is a beast, and could not only step in to back up Oliver but even challenge for the job.
Needed... Kickers, Punters, and Returners..
Kickers just might be taken care of, at least if Patrick Clarke can return in the form that we saw last year. Fardon is a great guy and a good punter but going with him as the place kicker was a mistake that Coach Quinn waited far too long to rectify.
|2011 - Patrick Clarke||3||0 - 0||2 - 2||1 - 1||3 - 3||0 - 0||6||6||100||10||10||100||28|
In the last three weeks Clarke went six for six hitting at least one longer than 40 in each contest. His longest was a 49 yard shot against Eastern Michigan.
Punters is another issue, we lost both Fardon and Schum. Tyler Grassman was brought in in this years class specifically for his punting. He played Quarterback, and was half way decent, but most schools that gave him a look were scouting him for his kicking and punting.
There have also been unconfirmed murmurings of another player coming in to fight for the job but UB Athletics ahs not yet released it's roster.
Returning could be where Potts makes a huge mark, if he does not win out as a halfback. He has the size and speed to be good, if not great, in the role.