Sunday, July 2, 2017
Bilo's 2017 College Football Previews: Buffalo Bulls
Lance Leipold has had a very difficult run as head coach as Buffalo head coach. He has already lost more games at Buffalo than he ever did in a long run at Wisconsin-Whitewater. He had a two win season last fall, and the heat is starting to turn on him now, and one has to wonder if he is in over his head at this job. Recruiting has not jumped through the roof, and the overall talent level seems stagnant. Something has to give this season.
What To Be Excited About: Offense
One major strength is on the line where four starters return in the form of LG Brandon Manosalvas, C James O'Kegan, RG Tomas Jack-Kurdyla, and RT David Goldsby. Jacquis Webb, a junior, has the first shot at taking over at LT after transferring from Rutgers.
That's where the excitement ends.
What To Be Concerned About: Offense
Tyree Jackson is back at QB, but hardly blew the roof off of any buildings last fall. He tossed nine TDs and was picked nine times as well. He completed just 53.1% of his passes as well. There is no telling whether or not we can expect any development.
Jonathon Hawkins is slated to be the starting RB, but he rushed for just 74 times for 338 yards and one score. He is a decent receiver as well, but he is pretty much all the Bulls have.
Kamathi Holsey is the lone returning starting WR this fall. He caught just 19 catches last fall. Jacob Martinez and Jamarl Eiland are slated to start beside him, but they have limited experience at best.
Adam Mitcheson is back at PK, and he, too, struggled. He hit just 11/18 FG attempts.
What To Be Excited About: Defense
Three starters return at LB, including Khalil Hodge, who finished with 123 tackles last season, and is a legitimate NFL draft prospect. He also added seven TFLs. He will be joined by Jarrett Franklin and Ishmael Hargrove. Hargrove finished with 103 tackles, while Franklin finished with 75. This may very well be one of the most active LB units in the nation.
Three members of the secondary return this fall as well, with CB Cameron Lewis, SS Ryan Williamson, and FS Tim Roberts. Lewis finished with seven PBUs last season. Williamson finished with 74 tackles last fall, and Roberts finished with 64 tackles. Williamson has 157 tackles over the last two seasons, and is another legit NFL draft prospect.
What To Be Concerned About: Defense
The line is a major area of concern, as only two starters return from a team that allowed 253 yards rushing per game last fall. Damone Harris (DE) and Chris Ford (DT) are the only returnees, but this unit needs some help. Justin Brandon (DT) and Charles Harris (DE) are expected to hold the starting spots heading into fall camp.
Kyle DeWeen is back as Punter, but averaged just 39.79 yards per punt.
2017 Schedule: 8/31 at Minnesota, 9/9 at Army, 9/16 Colgate, 9/23 FAU, 9/30 at Kent State, 10/7 Western Michigan, 10/14 Northern Illinois, 10/21 at Miami (Ohio), 10/28 at Akron, 11/7 Bowling Green, 11/16 at Ball State, 11/24 Ohio
Leipold was an interesting hire when it was made, but the heat is definitely starting to get turned up. The Bulls may very well be the worst team in the MAC once again, despite some serious talent in the back seven on defense. The way I see it, the Bulls should be a dog in all games but one, and that is the Colgate game. It could be yet another long season in 2017.