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Counter Intelligence: BG!

bowling-greenFrom time to time, OTP likes to touch base with bloggers who know our opponents best. Today’s guest is BJ from Falcon Blog, your one stop shop for anything BG related, at least from the perspective of the blogosphere. FalconBlog is a voting member of the CBSSports Blogpoll and also a member of the MAC Roundtable.

We exchanged questions and answers with them about this weekend’s contest between the Falcons and the Cardinals…. and this is their responses to our questions of them. You can check out our answers to their questions at the above link. Let’s get it on…

OTP: So.. Freddie Barnes. That dude catches more balls than Paris Hilton. Please tell me he’s due for an off game. Assuming he isn’t and BSU decides to actually cover him, how does the rest of the receiving unit look?

FB: Well, I guess it depends on what an off day qualifies as in your book. I don’t think he will get 22 catches every week, but he has shown the ability to produce catches almost every week. Frankly, I don’t understand how he can keep getting open. I keep figuring teams are going to start throwing their whole backfield over there just to keep him in check, but whatever they are doing isn’t having a huge impact. Coach Clawson has indicated that our offensive game plans place a high priority on moving Barnes around to get him the ball, and that effort appears to work. The good news for Ball State is that BG’s receiving corps behind Freddie has been decimated by injury. Calvin Wiley, Derek Brighton, and Ty Pronty were all lost for the season, and Ray Hutson missed the Kent game and has an uncertain status. So, our depth at WR is being tested. Chris Wright is experienced but sometimes get the drops, and Justus Jones has stepped up and made some grabs when pressed into service. Adrien Hodges has also made some nice plays. But, in general, our WR corps behind Barnes is stretched thin.

OTP: Tyler Sheehan seems to me to be quite underrated in the MAC. What are his strengths? His weaknesses? Why isn’t he getting the same sort of attention as Lefevour, Hiller or Harnish?

FB: Tyler Sheehan is an interesting case. He is certainly putting up impressive numbers, especially the last couple of weeks. He had an excellent game against Kent. At his best, he manages our offense very effectively, can make most of the throws, has added the long ball to his repertoire. He is a true competitor who even tried to become a running QB in the Brandon system. He is typically pretty accurate as well. His weaknesses are that he doesn’t always see the field real well, can lock onto receivers, and has a tendency to hold onto the ball too long, leading to sacks. These weaknesses become even more pronounced in the red zone where the defense has the ability to dial up the pressure. I think he is not as well known as Lefevour because Lefevour is a dual threat QB with a couple conference championships. Coach Clawson said we needed all-MAC play from Tyler for us to compete, and for a couple of games this season, we didn’t get that, even when he was good.

OTP: The Clawfense sucked balls at Tennessee, and now seems to be ripping up the MAC. Just how is the fanbase embracing Coach Clawson despite the 2-4 record? Am I stupid for thinking BG is a hell of a lot better than that record indicates?

FB: I think fans are happy with the progress with Coach Clawson. I think we see a proven winner who is going to bring the program back around again. Contrary to his reputation at Tennessee, he is not committed to a system 100%. He has, for example, adapted his approach to include much more passing than he would like, simply because we have failed to run the ball with any consistency at all. I think there were probably many other issues in Tennessee in addition to the Clawfense—or, he learned from the experience and is a better coach today. Either way, fans are giving him time. We fully support his motto, which is for every player to get a diploma in one hand and a championship ring on the other.

At halftime of Missouri, things were looking great. There was apparently some foul water in there, because from the second half of that game, through Marshall, OU and the first three quarters of the Kent game, we were decidedly average.

Now, as for you being stupid…..uh, no, I think we are better than 2-4. You gotta be careful, there is this trap you can fall into….you know, we’re only three plays from being 5-1 or something like that. I mean, we’re only one play from being 1-5 too. This is a team with flaws, though. If we get better, I think we have a chance to make this an interesting year.

OTP: Say I have a hotline to Coach Parrish. A Stan-Phone if you will. What would you say is the kyrptonite for BG? And more importantly, how in the hell do they play so damn good in Muncie!?

FB: I would call the hotline and let Stan know that the teams with the best success against BG this year have run the ball right down our throats. That’s how Missouri turned the game around, as well as Marshall. Our defensive line is inexperienced and small, and typically gives up 200 yards or more in each game. Second, we are terribly susceptible to the big play, so any chance to get our guys away from home and then reverse field….well, that’s kryptonite.

I was at the last win in Muncie and BG had to rally in the 4th to win the game. Honestly, my impression is that it is mostly based on us hitting you at the right times and missing the best of the Hoke years.

OTP: Normally we ask about predictions, but assuming you’re rational, you’re going to select a BG victory. What sort of things do you look for this weekend to judge it successful, aside from a winning margin on the scoreboard?

FB: Well, you’re right, I’d like to see BG win this game. We are happy for each win at this time. In looking for things we can build on, I’d mostly like to see us show some ability to stop the run and some ability to run the ball on offense. As one dimensional as we are, I can’t believe we can continue to score like we have. And, it is difficult to beat anyone when you can’t stop them from running.


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