Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Buffalo 2010 Review

Buffalo Bulls
2010 Record: 2-10 (1-7), Tied 5th MAC East
2010 Bowl Game: None

     The Bulls have plummeted since an unlikely MAC title run 3 seasons ago, and now, they are as bad as they have ever been under Jeff Quinn. It's not all Quinn's fault. It's hard to recruit to Buffalo. Turner Gill didn't exactly set this thing up for long term success before he bolted to Kansas for greener pastures, and Jeff Quinn does not exactly have the pedigree to get people fired up.
     Jerry Davis was the signal caller last fall, and the job was not exactly stable under his watch. Davis played in 10 games, and passed for 1753 yards and 16 TDs, but he also tossed 16 picks, which did not exactly make him a top tier passer in the MAC. Davis was, you guessed it, yet another sophomore QB in the MAC, so there is room for growth, but the rest of the team has to get better around him. Alex Zordich played in 5 games, but his 1/6 ratio killed him.
     When your top RB only averages 2.92 yards per carry, you may as well just quit trying to run the football, as that was the situation with Branden Oliver, who rushed for a miserable 298 yards on 102 carries. What's worse is that he never once saw the endzone. The Bulls (I have to laugh at the nickname when it comes to these guys) only rushed for 3 TDs all season long. Think on that for a bit. 3...all year.
     One thing that the Bulls can build on for 2011 is that work that they got out of their top 4 receivers in 2010. Marcus Rivers was the leading receiver as he posted 50-690-5. He was followed by Alex Neutz (26-414-4), Terrell Jackson (43-397-3), and Ed Young (20-194-5). All 4 receivers return next fall, giving young Jerry Davis something to work with. Both TEs were freshmen last fall, but only combined for 10 grabs between them. Buffalo only lost one receiver (TE Mike Marr) from the entire group of receivers.
     Here is a shocker. As bad as the Bulls were on offense, they were actually not terrible on defense. The offense actually left the D hanging out to dry for most of the season, and the D just simply wore out most weeks from carrying the load. The defense actually had 7 players that all broke 50 tackles for the season, led by Davonte Shannon, who collected 120 tackles. LB Justin Winters added another 91 on the year. Here's the really bad news. 5 of those 7 players ran out of eligibility when the season ended. Time to rebuild...again.
     Kahlil Mack, a freshman LB, is a guy on the level of Roosevelt Nix at Kent State, who looks to be a future leader in the MAC on the defensive side of the football., Mack was stellar at times last season, and collected 14.5 TFLs in his first season, the only defender to have broken the double figure mark. Sophomore DE Steven Means came close with 8.5. Where the Bulls need work is in getting to the QB. Mack and Means both collected 4.5 sacks to lead the team, but nobody else was actively functional here. The Bulls only collected 16 sacks as a team.
     The Bulls were actually not bad against the pass in 2010, as they only allowed 181.4 yards per game through the air. Four defenders had at least 5 passes defended last fall, giving the Bulls one of the better collective secondaries in the MAC. Mack, our local all-star, was the leader, as he knocked away 10 passes last fall to go with his other heroics. Josh Thomas defended 8 passes, Domonic Cook had 6, while Sherrod Lott had 5. Thomas, Cook, and Lott are all gone now, leaving a huge void in the secondary for 2011. That could be devastating.
     The kicking game was nothing to write home about, but PK AJ Principe had very few opportunities last fall. In all, Principe collected on 7 of his 11 FG attempts, while hitting 20 of 21 PATs. The Bulls have to start over again here as well, as Principe moves on. They get Jacob Schum and Peter Fardon back at punter, but that's not great news either. Neither punter got into the 40 yard per punt range, and Fardon only averaged 34 yards on 22 punts. Schum was marginally better, only having averaged 38 yards. Terrell Jackson was quite good returning punts, as he averaged over 16 yards per return on 22 returns. The kick return game was a joke, as everyone failed individually to even average 20 yards per return, meaning the entire special teams attack needs to be completely revamped other than on punt returns.
Final Notes
    Turner Gill had everyone fooled three years ago when Buffalo finished second in the MAC and played in the International Bowl. The team slid backwards immediately the year after, he bolted while the bolting was good, and Jeff Quinn was left holding the collective bag of crap. This team is a mess, and should be designated as a national emergency, and the kicker is that it won't be much better in 2011. Too many losses, but are the losses addition by subtraction?

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