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The State of the Program: 2011

Coach Lembo signs his first FBS recruiting class next Wednesday

No, your faithful OTP team didn’t commit mass suicide amidst the closing of the college football season, but sometimes our real life jobs do get in the way of being smarmy and cynical about the BSU football Cardinals. However, National Signing Day is one week away, and unlike the usual line of “The state of our Union is strong” that gets delivered to the joint session of Congress every January, I’m not so sure where this BSU program is. There is no Earthly idea or inclination as to what the status of the program is under new coach Pete Lembo, where we’re headed, and what the future holds. On one hand you have optimism and hope about a new staff. You have guarded belief and positivity that some of the not so good things that plagued the program the last few years have been tossed out with most of Stan Parrish’s belongings. You have hope that the darkest days are behind us and what we have endured over the two seasons will make the inevitable rebound success that much more enjoyable. While those things are all well and good, they’re largely intangible touchy-feely type of emotions without one single solitary shred of tangible evidence, borderline proof, or even firm examples that the tide is changing in Muncie. However, that isn’t to say there isn’t proof of something. The “proof” that we do have certainly isn’t much, but it definitely doesn’t point to the happy fun rainbow success time that many of us are clamoring for.

“Proof” about Coach Lembo to date has been somewhat limited and a net neutral outlook… at best. For example, in just a few short weeks on the job, and despite having a recruiting class that isn’t loaded with blue chip talent with bigger more impressive offers to choose from, Lembo and staff have managed to lose 5 of the incoming recruits. It’s normal in a high profile program to have some decommitments and reopening of recruitment when a head coaching change is made. In a non-BCS program it’s significantly more rare. Despite the fact that Lembo has picked up commitments from new players it is somewhat disappointing to see potential Cardinals go, but even more disappointing to see them go to the likes of Central Michigan, Western Kentucky, Toledo, Northern Illinois, and Bowling Green. If a recruit takes a bigger and better offer, no hard feelings. Lateral offers raise eyebrows, but when players are passing us by for the likes of WKU, it does make me worry just a bit. Let’s hope that Lembo and staff have a clear cut plan of action that these folks didn’t fit in to. So there’s that. National Signing Day, who comes, who doesn’t, and Lembo’s reaction to the class will tell me quite a bit about the future of the lifeblood of athletics… recruiting. Everyone was nervous about Lembo’s midwest recruiting ability, so here’s the first test.

Aside from salvaging a recruiting class and filling the holes left by those who want out, Lembo’s other priority was filling out the staff. The coaching staff, which we’ll be profiling before National Signing Day certainly doesn’t light the heart aflutter with excitement and giddiness, but they do have significant chemistry which will hopefully go a long way in building some sort of top-down togetherness and cohesion. It strikes me as no coincidence that the most successful teams on the field and off are the ones who feel closest to each other and their staff. So perhaps that’s an oasis of positivity in the desert of suck from the last two years.

The one positive thing that Pete Lembo has been able to bring that I’ve actually been able to nail down without some sort of qualifying statement or an equally valid concern or piece of bad news is the reaction of players. Everyone I’ve talked to has been remarkably positive and happy about the hire after meeting with Coach Lembo and going through the first few team meetings. Said one player, “Our meetings have been great so far. Coach Lembo seems less strict and more focused on us as players. Success should definitely be here next year.”  Let’s hope so… Your thoughts on the state of the program? Comment section. Go.

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7 Responses

  1. I know players within the program, some who left & others who decommited…..u must have only spoken to 1current player who is happy…others I’m not sure they what they have to say would fill you with confidence

  2. From personal experience and first hand knowledge, this program is in a nose dive. When you have several of your best recruits jumping ship and going to your rival schools, your in deep doo doo.

    The new staff has NO idea what they are losing. To tell the best D line recruits that they won’t fit into your new scheme, without even visiting their coaches or watching their film. That is assinine,

    Coach Lint tells the recruit, I run a slant front line, and you dont fit that mold.REALLY. The kid was 2nd Team All Ohio, led team in sacks 3 years running, playing in the All Ohio North South AllStar game, and had offers from 5 other FBS schools in bigger conferences.AND YES , HIIS TEAM RUNS A SLANT FRONT DLINE!!! The coach never even watched the film or talked to the coaching staff!! GOOD LUCK with that style of coaching.

    Within 2 days the 3 dline recruits called and spoke to each other , and ALL had the same opinion. Get the hell out of Muncie!

    If you think bringing in kids that have NO FBS offers, and only offers from Elon and other FCS schools, are the same caliber, your in deep shi!!!!!!!!

    There is a reason they had NO FBS offers, they aren’t that caliber of a player.

    Now 2 are at the same school with another Dlineman recruit BSU was after and oneat Toledo,and they can not wait until they see BSU on the field.

    Jack is a class act and was very instrumental in getting my sons committment to BSU to begin with. If they lose him, they lose a great young man who bleeds BSU.

    The loss of Burnett, Boechter, and Hood were all big losses to BSU. If any of the three were still there, all 3 dline recruits would be at BSU next year.

    A sad time to be a BSU fan , as I see rough days ahead.

  3. And, as per usual, we have the “sour grapes” crowd bashing the new coaching staff before they even get in the door. Same as when Brady came in.

    Of course, never mind that one of the Ohio players left because a conference rival was willing to waste a schollie on his kid brother, too. Never mind that one of the Elon recruits had an offer from an ACC school. Never mind that Lembo landed an OL who was an IU commit and had offers from Mizzou and Wisc. and is probably better than ANY of the kids that decomitted. Never mind that he just landed a stud RB from Chicago who had offers from Memphis and NIU (which is the MAC’s version of Running Back U.).

    Just bash away with some one-sided crap.

    Lembo has won and won consistently over ten years at two different, non-football-power schools. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt that he and his staff know what the hell they are doing.

  4. I think Lembo and staff deserve the benefit of the doubt right now. If he and the staff are as incompetent and incapable as some would have everyone believe, then they’ll be find out soon enough.

  5. What Papa Lou said !

  6. I think it is just too early to see how Lembo will turn out. But from the outside, it certainly appears that the staff made the decision that the current D-line recruits are not the best fit for their scheme and “encouraged” them to look elsewhere, while never formally pulling their offer. At least from the outside, it appears that the decision was made to rely on the D-line talent on the roster and focus on next year to bring in depth on the line.

    Is this a good move? Has the Lembo staff properly evaluated the talent committed to BSU and the talent currently on the roster? I have no earthly idea. Frankly, the only way to find out is to wait three years to see how strong we are on the D-line.

  7. After reading some of the comments from certain so called BSU fans, I would run as fast as I could from any offer from Ball U! If Ball State had been so good the past two years maybe they would have ended up rated ahead of Elon -we weren’t, we were 50 positions behind them! The Southern Conference has been rated higher than the Mighty MAC ther past few years, SO give me and Ball State a break and give the new coach a chance. I am sick of hearing high schoolish complaints – grow up!

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