Tag Archives: Butch Jones

Florida WR Picks Bearcats

Chris Moore a 6’0″ 170 WR from Jefferson High School in Tampa Florida has pledged to UC. He becomes the 10th member of this class and the third and most likely final WR in this class. Moore had over a dozen offers and was reported to settle on a final two of Michigan State and UC a few weeks before casting his lot with the Bearcats. With Moore in the fold UC has addressed their need at WR with a couple of guys who play in the slot with Shaq Washington and now Moore, and a bigger vertical threat with Alex Chisum. Jones and Co still have some work to do in the 2011 class. There are between 8-10 spots left in this class and there are still some positions of major need. Jones needs at least two RB’s, two LB’s and probably another defensive end and then a safety to meet the need for this class.

Season Long Sellout Of Nippert?

UC announced recently that they have sold 20,000 season tickets for the coming Football Season. That means that the already high probability of the entire season selling out, just nudged a little bit closer to fruition. Its not official, but is getting very, very close. Unsurprisingly there are quite a few miserable little shits out there trying to piss in everyone’s cornflakes about this. The argument that has the most traction with the “I hate the world and and to make everyone as miserable as I am” crowd is that tickets aren’t selling fast enough, which is of course utterly ridiculous. This is a quote from the discussion on this topic on the Bearcat Banter board that succinctly sums up the “miserable little shit” crowd for lack of a better term.

I’m happy with the 20,000. I just don’t feel that given our recent successes, not to mention the attractiveness of our high scoring offense and the great players we have been producing (Connor Barwin, Mike Mickens, Kevin Huber, Tony Pike, Mardy Gilyard, Isaiah Pead, Zach Collaros, Dominick Goodman, Terrell Byrd, Armon Binns, Trent Cole, et al) that 20,000 merely demonstrates that we still have a long way to go to get this program where we all want it to be. What would Louisville’s season ticket base be if they had won back-to-back Big East championships? What about Syracuse? What about Pittsburgh? Yes we are making progress, but there is no excuse, in my opinion, why this season is not already sold out and there will be no excuse if the Oklahoma game is not sold out. Yet I’d guess that the Oklahoma game will have only 45-50,000 in attendance. Hope I’m wrong.

That is an industrial strength concentration of stupidity and twatishness. For a start, in any given game at Nippert there roughly 23,000 seats available to season ticket holders and the general public. The rest are presumed sold by the athletic department, tickets to the opposing team, visiting recruits, players and coaches families and the student section comprise the other 12,000 seats in the stadium and a presumed taken by the athletic department until those tickets are returned to UC. So, before the athletic department puts single game tickets on sale in a little more than a week they have less than 3,000 to work with for each game.

As for Louisville, Pitt or Syracuse and how many season tickets they would have after back to back Big East Titles and BCS games. The truthful answer to the question would be that they would in all likelihood have more season ticket holders, but that isn’t really the point not to me anyway. They have larger stadiums, more season ticket spots available and most importantly large and long established season ticket base. By the simple rules of math and economics yeah, they would, and with the possible exception of Syracuse probably do have larger season ticket bases right now.

The main point is that UC now has a sizable, vibrant and passionate season ticket base for Football. For Football, when in 2005 purchasing Basketball season tickets meant buying Football season tickets. In 2006 the effective season ticket base for Football was essentially naught. Then to go from a season ticket base of essentially zero to 20,000 in just 5 years is a phenomenal rate of growth, that is a growth rate that would make Beijing blush, and possibly put their leading economic minds to the sword. The people who maintain the view that the athletic department isn’t doing a good enough job in terms of growing the program are, in no uncertain terms, idiots.

It is very easy to look at the results on the field, three straight 10 win seasons, three straight finishes in the top 17 of the AP poll, back to back Big East championships all these accomplishments the past few years and then to hear the season ticket totals and think “well this isn’t enough.” UC has proven it is one of the top programs in the country,” “the results speak for themselves,” UC has a large and dedicated following that has proven itself on the biggest stage.” On the field UC has staked and validated its claim as one of the top Football programs in the country. But the honest truth is that UC has vastly exceeded expectations on the field by overcoming many of the limitations off it. UC doesn’t have many built in advantages, outside of being located in the heart of one of the deepest talent pools in the country and being in a BCS conference it is hard to think of any. But building up the season ticket base UC is in a position to solidify, and enhance the position, currently held, which has been so hard won. Thats the point that most UC fans are missing in the midst of this announcement. There were real, genuine fears in the wake of Brian Kelly’s exit that he was larger than the program, and that the Football program would go back from whence it came sans Kelly. I think it is pretty safe to put most of those fears to bed, the program off the field is as strong now under Jones as it was under Kelly. On the field? Who really knows at this point, but UC fans have made a pretty damned impressive statement so far.

Shedding Light on the Regime Change

One of the foremost questions on the minds of most UC fans these days is the Football program going to be different under Butch Jones relative to Brian Kelly, or even Mark Dantonio. To this point there isn’t much to go on. I have the impression that Jones is less businesslike than Brian Kelly was, he constantly refers to building his football family in interviews of the published and broadcast variety. The players have responded well to Butch Jones and his change in philosophy which is a very positive development considering the nature of Brian Kelly’s departure which was contentious at best. There aren’t many ways to discern how the change is working behind the scenes. Brian Bennett over at ESPN’s Big East Blog posted a two part interview last Thursday with Kerry Coombs, the only person who can speak with any sophistication on the differences between Brian Kelly and Butch Jones.

What are the differences between working for Kelly and working for Jones?

KC: What’s really interesting for me to watch is two guys who I think are really good coaches go about their business in different ways, and I’m learning from that. Brian had a certain style, personality, methodology about how he was going to be a head coach. He was very confident in it and he believed in it and you never questioned it.

And here comes Butch Jones, and he has the same confidence and aura about what he’s doing, but it’s different. They’re two different guys. They have a different way of approaching recruiting, of approaching practice, of approaching that season, And they’re both successful. So for me, it’s further evidence that there’s more than one way to do things; it’s that you believe in what you’re doing that makes the difference. I can’t tell you which one’s better. I can just tell you that both are successful.

A popular meme the 7 months or so has been that Jones is a basically the same a Kelly. As the time has gone on that theme has lost a great deal of momentum because they are very different people and coaches. The other thing that I have noticed, and written about, is the difference in approaching recruiting, how Jones is much more aggressive than Kelly ever was in recruiting.

Kelly had a reputation of letting his coaches coach. Is Jones the same way?
KC: Brian was very much a get-your-job-done kind of guy. He wasn’t really going to tell you how to do it. Now, he’d let you know when he didn’t like the way you were doing something, and in no uncertain terms. You knew if he didn’t approve of the way you were doing something, and you’d have to go fix that. You weren’t walking around thinking and wondering if this is the right way or the wrong way of doing this. He was very results-oriented.

Butch is more process-oriented. He wants to know how we’re doing it, why we’re doing it. He doesn’t necessarily want to tell you how to do it, but he wants to know about it. So both are results driven, but one is a little bit more concerned about the nuts and bolts of the process.

This the most interesting bit of the interview for me. Coombs stopped just short of saying that Brian Kelly was the Football Coach equivalent of James Lionel Price from the excellent movie Layer Cake, but only just. Kelly always struck me as someone who was more concerned with the end result than the manner in which the win was achieved.

Its not much to go on, but its something to think about going into the season.

Football Picks Up Another

Butch Jones and staff picked up another commitment, but it came out of left field. Way out of left field, from the left coast actually. Daniel Murray from Torrey Pines High School in the San Diego area committed to UC on Friday. Murray was part of a bus tour that criss crossed the country and made a stop at UC where he picked up an offer. He also picked up a Kentucky offer on the same trip. I will be brutally honest, I know next to nothing about Murray, he isn’t in the rivals database and scout has not gotten round to evaluating him. This video has made the rounds among the various UC sites and he looks promising in it.

Welcome to UC Daniel

A Look at Indiana State

Being completely upfront, this is going to be much, much shorter than the other posts in this series. This is for a couple of reasons, first and foremost amongst them is that this game is set up to be a lambs to the slaughter situation. Indiana State is not a good Football program, among the worst in the country at the 1-AA level. They have won 2 of their last 50 games so they suck, thats the baseline. Second there isn’t a great deal of information out there about the Football team. No easily searchable blogs, no quickly accessible information on depth charts, recruits. The provided Football prospectus is, uh, brief. Very brief. I could get information from one of the more obscure pre season publications, but as they all pail in comparison to the mighty Phil Steele I will save the 7 bucks and not put much effort into this game. All you really need to know is that 90 per cent of UC’s current roster could start comfortably for the Sycamores.  There I said this would be a shorter post than the Fresno State one, and it is. Roughly 900 words less.

Just as a heads up there are some interesting things happening right now with UC’s Football program behind the scenes. I can’t give much detail because there isn’t enough definitive information out there at this point in time.  A lot of the rumors that are currently being generated by people around the program seem to stem from a rather cryptic tweet from Vidal Hazelton on Saturday. I have some ideas as to what this entails, but I am not a big fan a spawning bogus rumors so I will hold off on them until there is something more concrete.

A Look At Fresno State

The first kickoff of the 2010 Football season is just nine weeks away. With that in mind it is time to start looking into what UC will be up against this season starting with the season opening game against Fresno State.

Background:

Last year was the first and only time that the Bulldogs and the Bearcats have met on a Football Field. From a UC perspective this game was certainly a little bit more nerve inducing than it probably should have been due to the limited number of possessions UC had on offense and a complete inability to get off the field on 3rd downs on defense. The final score ended up being 28-20 UC. The defense really set the template it would follow for the rest of the season, concede time of possession and yardage for large chunks of the game, but somehow find a way to come up with timely stops in crucial moments. The two biggest such plays for UC in this game came in the 4th Quarter. Craig Carey’s interception at the start of the fourth quarter facing 4th and 1 on the UC 5 yard line.

The play that sealed the game was Aaron Webster breaking up a 4th and 7 pass from Ryan Colburn intended for Chastin West.

This game was the start of the bend but don’t break mentality of the defense.

Something that I find interesting, that I am pretty sure no one else will find interesting, but its my blog so you are going to read it, and like it. Anyway, back on point. UC and FSU signed the contract for this game it wasn’t intended to be a back to back home and home deal. Fresno was due to venture out from the Valley to Cincinnati in 2007 with the 2010 game scheduled as the return trip. But the initial game was pushed back when ESPN approached Oregon State and UC about a setting up a Thursday night game in early September if both parties could manage to open up their schedules for that weekend.  When UC approached Fresno State agreed to push back the series in exchange for compensation (read: Cash Money) and UC welcomed the Beavers to Nippert, beat them down and announced that UC was going to be a slightly different bird under Brain Kelly.

Sidebar over, here are highlights from a Fresno State and UC perspective from last years game.

 

Fresno State Offense:

The Bulldogs offense on the face of it won’t be anywhere near as good or balanced as the 2009 version was. Gone from the lineup is Ryan Mathews, the top rusher in the nation last year, and secondary stretching receivers Seyi Ajirotutu and Chastin West. What is coming back however is the offensive line, all of it. So while Mathews is gone they are bringing back that dominating offensive line, hands down the best in the WAC. As a general rule of thumb if you have a deep experienced offensive line you can replace a franchise stud like Mathews with another back and still produce at a pretty high level. Not that Robbie Rouse is just another back. He somehow managed to put up 479 yards backing up Mathews.

One of the more interesting developments with Fresno State over the course of last season was the improvement of Ryan Colburn from the start of the season to the end. At the start of the year he looked very, very average. Against Wisconsin, Boise State and UC in a three game stretch he completed just 56 per cent of his passes for 629 yards and 6 TDs to go with 6 INTs. After that stretch of games he really turned it on over the back half of the year, admittedly against lesser competition. I don’t think Colburn is quite as good has his second half performance last year would indicate because he had the benefit of throwing against 8 man boxes with two deep threats at wide out. He will not get the benefit of that this season barring a completely incendiary performance by Rouse, which is a long shot. His primary weapons at receivers have departed. The offense will be completely in his hands this season which should be interesting.

Fresno State Defense:

Last years defense for the Bulldogs was, to put it mildly, not good. They gave up 28 points per game and were a member of a very small, not very elite group of 15 schools who gave up 200 yards or more per game both running the football and passing it. So by the raw numbers they weren’t very good. The passing defense was more average than bad. They only allowed teams to complete 55.2 per cent of their passes which was actually quite good. One thing that wasn’t good with the pass defense was the TD to INT ratio which was 24 to 8. But it was the rush defense which set some pretty low standards. 214 yards per game with 22 TD’s allowed on the season with a pathetic 6.01 yards per carry. So in summation, they couldn’t stop the pass, they couldn’t stop the run, they couldn’t rush the passer ,just 11 sacks on the year, 118th in the country, they couldn’t turn the ball over, only 15 takeaways good for 111th in the country. They couldn’t do anything to impact the way opposing offenses tried to play the game.

Fresno State should have a better defense this coming season. They return 10 of the 14 players from last years front seven two deep. Barring a great attrition of players up front the front 7 should be vastly improved over last years. Where the problems are is in the secondary. They return two starters, but their best player from last year AJ Jefferson and don’t have anyone on the roster capable of delivering a similar impact in the secondary. The improved from seven should help the numbers improve, but they won’t actually be as good as last years secondary was. The defense for the Bulldogs is going to improve, but it was so bad last year that even a sizable improvement is only likely to take them from dreadful to bad.

Fresno State Against UC:

This is actually a very good game for UC to initiate the Butch Jones era with. It will provide a baseline reading on what UC fans can expect from this team in 2010. It is a very late kickoff, 10 PM eastern, on the road against a good, but not great team in a stadium that has been fairly hostile to BCS teams over the last decade. Fresno is 2-2 over the last decade when hosting BCS conference foes. The two losses came by a combined 10 points to Oregon and Wisconsin respectively. There are a number of similarities between this game with Fresno State and game in 2007 with San Diego State. Long road trip, capable opponent, very late kickoff time. The main difference? Fresno State is a much better team than San Diego State, and UC is a much better program in 2010 than it was in 2007. On paper this should be a win, maybe not an easy one, but a win for UC.

That Makes Two

UC picked up another commitment, at least thats the indication as of 10:46 on Thursday. There is a link on the front page of bearcatlair.com about a commitment from a 2011 WR. But because I don’t have a account with bearcatlair I can’t be sure who it is. Scout has the commitment being Alex Chisum a three star wide receiver from Sandy Creek High School in Tyrone Georgia, an exurb of Atlanta. But until the commitment is updated in the rivals database I can’t be too sure with scouts history of falsely reported commitments. Anyway that is the same high school that produced Calvin Johnson aka Megatron back in 2004. Chisum isn’t quite the athletic freak that Johnson was and is, but he is a very good prospect. He seems to be a bit like Armon Binns, he isn’t the biggest or fastest but is a very smooth guy in and out of his breaks and he sets up defenders with his route running. He also has fantastic ball skills and a good understanding of how to clear space to make catches. You can tell that he is very well coached, that point is corroborated by the AAAA state title that they won last fall. All in all this is another very good get from coach Jones.

Welcome to the Bearcat program Mr. Chisum

update 6:30 AM rivals has indeed updated their database with Chisum listed as a UC recruit.