I was able to spend some time with James Jimenez to ask about CMU. James will also join us on Last Bull In. Find the questions and answers on CMU as well as on the Bulls.
1. What was Thomas Rawls doing? An offense that is dependent heavily on the Michigan transfer and WR Titus Davis, is anyone else stepping up? Rawls playing this weekend?
Here we go again... the sentencing that came down yesterday for Thomas Rawls was part of a plea bargain and was expected. Basically, he is to serve probation and some community service in order to expunge his record. It shouldn't affect his playing staus this week. He and Titus Davis have combined for a ridiculous amount of yards this season, so it's hard to name another player that has stepped up on offense. The one olayer that received a lot of attention in Davis's absence was Jesse Kroll, who finally seems to be healthy. Look for him to be the #2 option, especially with Courtney Williams having another down year.
2. Sitting at 4 - 4 coming off a close tough loss to Ball State. Ball State? How has this season stacked up to expectations coming into 2014 after being voted to come in 4th place?
Ball State always plays us hard. It's never an easy win... or loss. Thus far, the season is about what I expected. A lot of Chippewa fans are deservedly confused about their team's up and down nature, but 4-4 is a pretty accurate record given their schedule and performance. This year, I tabbed 7-5 with a bowl, and the next four games don't look to be too hard, so there's still a chance.
3. Is the loss to Ball State turning some heat on Enos?
Let's be real: Coach Enos was on the hot seat well before Ball State. I think the Ball State game just showed how much of a hot seat it was. I have never seen Coach so heated and emotional during a game before; he even drew a sideline interference penalty during the game and had to be restrained by officials multiple times. HE WENT FOR TWO. AND WENT FOR IT ON FOURTH DOWN. AND SQUIBBED A KICK. HE NEVER DOES THAT. EVER.
4. The Bulls struggle to get pressure on the QB and secondary has struggled but getting better, what game do you see Cooper Rush having this Saturday?
I think we see good Cooper Rush this time around. He has been getting better in his development as a quarterback, and has been very efficient with the ball... when he has options. The Cooper Rush we see will be dependent on whether Titus and Thomas open up the UB defense enough to be exploited
I like the idea of them, but we need more monochrome. Gold and gold, white and white, maroon and maroon. Actually, you know what? Scrap that and make three variations of the Pizza Bowl 2013 jerseys and I would be happy.
The Bulls questions I answered.
1. The Bulls survived their match-up against the infamous BYE Week, who beat Michigan earlier this year. What sort of performance are you expecting from the Bulls at home and with a new coach against Central Michigan?
Let's see if the Bulls survived the bye week. My honest answer, I have no idea how the team responds. We have been told that Quinn was a very in your face petulant coach who rubbed many the wrong way. Unfortunately, that is how many players believe what a football coach does. I hope the players have not decompressed and rallied together to play better than ever. I fear that the team will have a temporary lost in translation game and not seeing a win this week for the Bulls.
2. Why was Coach Quinn let go just half a season into a new contract? Did the school not want to wait til the end of the season? The timing seems extremely odd to me.
The contract had an yearly decrease and will not cost UB that much in the grand scheme of things. I did understand the extension after an initial fit I threw. UB under Licata wins the final three games in 2012 and had high hopes for last year. Many at UB believe the contract extension was for recruiting purposes. Others believe that if Quinn has a monster year he gets brought up to the big leads and Buffalo gets a cool m illion in cash as part of his extension. It did not work as UB planned. I am one of the negative ones on Quinn at Bull Run who did not like the hire minutes after Quinn came to Buffalo. A Next Bull In mantra that alienated many of the existing players and fans who for the first time saw success in Buffalo. The timing could not have been any better in my opinion to make the move. This team has been mediocre for all of last year and every game of the 2014 season. This team was sinking and a change had to be made. With the talent that Quinn had last year and how weak the MAC has been, it was not a successful season even though the Bulls made it to a Bowl Game. I applaud the AD Danny White for creating a very high standard, which is really working in other sports, and not wavering from it. Quinn could be an excellent OC or line coach. He was not ready or had the bandwidth to lead the Bulls. Get a jump before other programs for the next coach and hopefully create a spark for the team to perform.
3. Tell me how UB arrived at their current record 3-4. Are the Bulls matching up to your (or the media's) preseason expectations?
Meeting expectations? (Mentally I just said that in the Mora Playoff's high pitched whine.) Not at all. The Bulls squeak past FCS Duquesne and lost to Army (who then lost to Yale and also to Kent!) Then two games that told us very little on this team with Baylor and Norfolk State. The Bulls are taken thethe final whistle against Miami and then two MAC losses to BGSU and Eastern Michigan. On one of our boards, someone posted that White was disgusted with the first two drives by the Bulls versus EMU and realized that the coaching staff was not putting this team in a position to succeed. No disrespect your team, Army, or EMU but you have a coach with 4 ½ year tenure and the talent this team has on offense, you should expect more than 3 - 4. I really believed that Buffalo could lose only two games, BGSU and Army. I was wrong in assuming the secondary would improve. Right now this team is a hot mess.
4. Joe Licata has been tossing the ball around like a madman this season, leading a passing offense that is 27th in the nation. He faces one of the best pass defenses in the MAC and also the nation in Central Michigan. Do you think he will to be able to pull off his typical offensive fireworks against the Chips D?
Licata the past two games has regressed tremendously. I have concerns with Joe. The offensive line may be the best in the MAC and Anthone Taylor is running the ball like James Starks and Bo Oliver never existed. Partner that with two solid blocking and receiving tight ends and four solid wide receivers. Joe looked lost and tentative against EMU. I hope with two weeks to prepare, Joe gets back to his distributing ways. Joe can carve you up when he is on. Being a Bulls fan, I hope Joe gets his swagger back.
5. Are there any other players besides Licata and Antoine Taylor that we should look out for in this match-up?
I have really been impressed this year with WR #88 Jacob Martinez. A sophomore out of South Port, FL, Jacob can get open and make plays after he catches the ball. One receiver will have a big day. Watch out for # 86 Ron Willoughby who will remind you of Alex Neutz, #7 Marcus McGill who every fourth game is lights out, and #13 Devon Hughes who can burn. Tough to cover four solid receivers. When Buffalo was playing well, Joe would be able to find the weak match up and exploit it. On the defensive side of the ball, Buffalo has a stud at nose tackle, Kristjan Sokoli, at 6-5, 300 lbs. is a force. It is tough to run the ball up the middle on the Bulls.
BONUS: 6. If you could make one adjustment to the uniform, what would it be and why?
I am not a fan of the black pants. I would like to see a more traditional white pants with the blue jersey and helmet. (School colors) I know the craze is to have all these different jersey's. I would like to see ala Penn State a look that screams Buffalo.