1. Does the fan base have confidence in Creighton to recruit, motivate, and scheme EMU back to winning ways? What are your thoughts on Creighton so far? What does he have to do (beyond the obvious) to be a winner in the MAC?
Personally, I think Creighton is probably the best man for the job that EMU had any real chance of getting. Unfortunately, the Ron English era crushed the hopes of many EMU fans.
Let's be honest, coaching football at EMU isn't exactly a sought-after position. As much as MAC fans bemoan the coach poaching conducted by bigger programs, it is a sign of success; EMU's last head football coach to be hired away left Ypsilanti 20 years ago. The stadium, the fan base, and the media coverage all leave quite a bit to be desired.
With that said, I think Creighton offers a great fit for EMU football. There are reasons that I identified him as a strong candidate for the job the day after Ron English was fired and those reasons hold true today. Creighton has experienced success as a head coach at multiple schools, at multiple levels.
Some EMU fans have also been quick to forget the disarray in which Ron English left this program. Certainly, I had hoped to see some significant improvement by this point in the season but on top of everything else, Creighton is dealing with the aftermath of Demarius Reed's murder in a very real sense. On the field, the team has lost not only Reed, who probably would have been a starting wide receiver, but also now lost senior DB Darius Scott, junior WR Quincy Jones, and junior WR Jay Jones. Those are four former players who might have been key contributors in facets of the game that the Eagles have struggled in this year.
Opinions are mixed right now, but I for one do have some confidence in Creighton's ability to turn this program around. There's a learning curve to FBS football, but I think it's less steep than the learning curve for a first-time head coach, which is why I argued so stridently that EMU needed to have someone with prior head coaching experience. In Creighton we have that, for the first time since Jim Harkema was hired in 1983.
2. Rob Bolden’s suitcase is littered with stickers. From Penn State, LSU, and EMU. Buffalo had a miserable experience with Chazz Anderson that backfired. Is it better to have Bell or Roback given playing time for the future?
Yes, I think probably so.
For such a key position, Creighton's handling of the quarterback situation has been one of the biggest issues causing alarm in the fan base. Past starter Tyler Benz disappeared from the team with no explanation. "I've never met him," was Creighton's comment. Benz wasn't a great quarterback, but he was better than anything we've seen in games so far this year. Then Brandon Bossard, a strong three-star recruit, was moved from quarterback to defensive back.
That left the team with three quarterbacks (Brogan Roback, Reggie Bell, and Rob Bolden), and through the first four games of the season, each of them got a chance to start. So far this year none of them have looked terribly impressive.
Already at 1-4, I think we can agree that the chances of the Eagles attaining bowl eligibility, much less competing for a title this year, are somewhere between slim and none. With that in mind, I think the team would probably be better in the long term if Creighton made sure to get the returning players (Roback and Bell) more experience.
3. Defense has some players in O’Connor, Ibe, and the Johnson team in the secondary. UB must score 35 plus to beat a team. Can you see EMU slowing down the Bulls enough and keep this matchup a lower scoring affair?
EMU's defenders have the physical ability to compete, but the secondary are playing poorly, lining up and playing much too far off the receivers. This allowed Kyle Pohl to just cruise down the field repeatedly. They didn't give up many big gains, which I suppose is progress, but they did give up easy completion after completion. If the secondary play improves, this could turn into a solid defense in the MAC.
4. The diamond plate helmet looks great but talk about the press received over the time it took to knock down the block wall? Fan of the gray turf?
The diamond plate helmet is the first "Factory" themed item I really like.
The gray turf has really grown on me; it makes the green in the block "E" at midfield really stand out nicely. As for the entry through the cinder-block wall, I was indifferent to it, but thought the media reaction to it was just plain wrong . In the close-up video, which is what the media who can't be bothered to actually show up at EMU saw, sure, it looks a little silly, but viewed from the stands, the way most people at the game saw it, it was kind of cool.
The questions I answered for the EMU faithful:
1. It seems like Buffalo has mostly lost to the good teams (Baylor, Bowling Green) and comfortably beat the lesser teams (Duquesne, Norfolk State, Miami). Then there's that Army game...what happened there?
The linebackers and secondary started the season terribly. The Bulls could not stop Army at all. Always difficult to stop the option but Army throws with success (Army standards) and pulled out a win. Army was the dominant team all day. It was a very disappointing game for the Bulls fans and many called it a season after that loss. Army is a team with a new coach and a streak of having losing seasons. To compound the damage, Army lost to Yale. Well I guess misery loves company with Ball State last week. It really goes to show you how down the MAC is this year and the past couple of years.
2. The Bulls are 3-3 halfway through Jeff Quinn's fifth season. What's the feeling among the fans about him...is he doing enough so far, or were the Bulls' faithful looking for more, sooner?
Of course the faithful are looking for more. Gone is the excuse that Gill left the cupboard bare (which I find useless because in the NFL is Mack and Oliver! I would say the team was more talented last year.) Almost halfway through Quinn’s fifth season and the defense is terrible year after year. I will give credit on the offensive side of the ball reloading running backs like Anthone Taylor and wide receivers Willoughby, Hughes, and Martinez. The problem is the Bulls have to score 35 points to beat a team. The Bulls with continuity at the helm should be competing for a MAC championship. So far under Quinn’s leadership the team has beaten two teams with a winning record. Here is an article I wrote asking the question if Quinn and his staff can coach this team to victories over evenly matched teams: Can Quinn manufacture victories
3. You mentioned Buffalo's experience with Chazz Anderson. To what extent is Joe Licata responsible for the Bulls' recent success (last year and so far this year), and to what extent are there other factors at play (and what other factors)?
Much of the credit has to be given to Joe. He is a great MAC QB who can pick apart your defense. Licata will find six plus receivers every game. The offensive line is not getting the credit it deserves. Opening great holes for the running backs and giving Joe more than enough time to find an open receiver. Joe is only a Junior. You will be very frustrated with the time Joe will have and find the open receivers. Every week a new receiver steps up. A great QB makes an offense look really good. You will be very impressed with the waves of playmakers the Bulls have on the offensive side of the ball.
4. Statistically, Buffalo has one of the worst pass defenses in the country, allowing 9.3 yards per attempt, and the defense overall is allowing nearly 35 points per game. What's working defensively, and what's going wrong right now?
First off the defense is getting very little pressure on the QB. With no pressure up front the linebackers and DB’s are getting torched. The defense in the secondary is getting better. The Bulls have converted who many believed to be the next great receiver at UB, Boise Ross, to DB and is starting to make plays. Here is a great article on the Bulls defense that was recently on Bull Run UB: Let's Talk About the Defense