Friday, October 10, 2008

Cardinal Roundtable: Western Kentucky

In an effort to rally the troops of the blogosphere who share their affinity for the Ball State University Cardinals, OTP is proud to present the next installment of the Cardinal Roundtable. Each week, a different BSU blog will pose questions to the group about the upcoming game and the season in general. We here at OTP are up this week, and the links to our Blog Buddy counterparts can be found at the bottom. Go Cards!

1.) So... Western Kentucky. Are you remotely worried about this game?
Alan: On paper, no. Ball State has the advantage at nearly every position and unit, and this has the potential to go ugly early. The only thing that troubles me is that it's a road game as well as the fact that Western has been accused by more than one opponent of playing dirty. I want a large, impressive, win. But I'll settle for a win of any kind assuming no one gets hurt.

2.) The first half against Toledo was simply brutal to watch. Is that slow start cause for concern as we go forth to Bowling Green?
Alan: I think there were a lot of things contributing to the Toledo start, most noticeably the weather, the crowd, (Ed. Note: Apparently I was misinformed about the weather conditions and the fan atmosphere. Blame my source.) and a few things the Toledo defense did with their front seven stunts and their coverage packages that hadn't been seen before. After the half, when the Cardinals had a chance to adjust a bit, things got out of hand. So no, I'm not concerned. All things considered, that was the worst half of football BSU has played all year and they still had the lead going into the lockerroom.

3.) This game has the potential to be a stat padder for some of the Cardinals and a chance for some younger guys to showcase what they can do. Who would you like to see get more reps than normal?
Alan: The receiving corps has been strong after Dante Love's injury, but one player who has been in the spotlight more so than before and significantly underperforming is Darius Hill. He does have 19 catches this year for 297, but that's only a little more than 3 per game. That's a combination of a lot of things, most notably increased attention from defenses. But Darius has had his share of dropped passes as well. He's averaging a smidgeon under 50 yards per game, and that's not cutting the mustard. If Hill can pick it up then that opens up the downfield passing game and gets guys like Orsbon, Trempe, and Ifft increased looks, production, and throws.

4.) What's the best thing you took away from the Toledo game? Conversely, what's the one thing of concern you took away from the Toledo game?
Alan: The best thing was just the W. The Glass Bowl hasn't been exceptionally kind to us in the past, as the Rockets held a 10-5-1 record against Ball State before Saturday's game. A close second "best thing" was the improvement on the defensive side of the ball. Pitching a shutout, even against an overmatched team like Toledo, is a confidence booster and a building block to more impressive outings down the line. The issue of concern for me, aside from Darius Hill, is the ability of this team to jump on teams early and never let up. The Northeastern game they got a pass because it was the first game of the season. I'll even give them a pass for Toledo because of the crowd, weather, and such. But at some point, namely this weekend, this Cardinal team needs to put its collective boot on the opponent's throat, and never let up.

5.) The term "mid-major" and "BCS buster" gets thrown around a lot. Of the non-BCS teams ranked above the Cardinals, are there any you think the Cardinals couldn't beat?
Alan: BYU scares the crap out of me, just because if they and Ball State locked up, you're looking at an offensive shootout of the highest order. Ask Texas Tech how those games sometimes end up. The other mid majors (Utah, Boise, etc.) I give the Cardinals the advantage.

6.) Is there a player on Western Kentucky you'd like to snap up and switch shades of red and white?
Alan: I hear KJ Black needs a home now, since he got booted off the team asked for his release. Maybe the Cardinal equipment manager staff could use some more waterboys. With QB experience, he could at least throw the bottle to the guys. Of course, based on his career stats it would end up right in the breadbasket of an opposing defender. In all seriousness, I wouldn't take anyone from Western. In looking at Western Kentucky's season stats, it looks like a Ball State stat sheet through one game. Leading rusher this season at 183 yards? MiQuale Lewis chuckles in your general direction. And then drops a buck and a half on your defense.

7.) There's been quite the chatter this week about rankings and what they mean. Who is your Top 5 so far this season. More importantly, who do you have playing it out in the BCS Championship game?
Alan: The latest Top 5 for us was:
1.) Oklahoma
2.) Missouri
3.) LSU
4.) Texas
5.) Alabama

I think if the season so far is any indication, it's going to be a wild finish to the season. I think OU runs the table, and ends up with the team that lost the longest ago as their opponent in the BCS Championship. Unfortunately, the SEC and the Big 12 have a title game, and they beat the living hell out of each other each and every week. So I shall say it will come down to Oklahoma and Penn State. And the world will weep the morning after as once again a Big Ten team, the product of a soft schedule and a weak conference, gets embarrassed by a far superior opponent.

Roundtable Participants:

1 comment:

Phil Friend said...

Hey we didn't have nearly identical answers for once!