With the new Football Season just days away, it’s time to renew our ol’ traditions. Our new buddy Tim Riordan over at the Bull Run Blog was kind enough to answer a few of our questions about the game this Saturday. Make sure to pay them a visit!
tBBC: Can the Bulls replace Defensive End Steven Means (5th round draft pick by Tampa Bay)? Who on the Bull’s defense is capable of taking offensive attention off Linebacker Khalil Mack?
UBBR: I’m not going to lie and say that Beau Bachtelle is the equal of Steven Means, but a lot of people overlook Colby Way on the other side of the defensive line. He is big, has a great reach, and good instincts. He is a great pass rusher who really knows when and how to get his hands up. Bachtelle does not need to be Means for Khalil Mack to prosper.
More telling on Mack’s success may be how well Adam Redden adjusts from the defensive backfield to the Linebacking Corps. Buffalo needs to know that if they pin Mack’s ears back and set him loose there is someone in the shallow defensive secondary capable of cleaning up.
tBBC: What are your thoughts on the re-branding of the team as a “New York” institution?
UBBR: Like most red blooded Buffalonians it felt a bit wrong when I first heard about it back in the late spring. As time has gone on, and I see it in action, the more I like it.
The folks of the Buffalo have a somewhat separate identity from the down state region, but no more so than someone in Athens, Ohio is different from someone in Toledo. That difference has been the source of trepidation in the fan base and community, but I believe the initial resistance to the idea is beginning to wane.
UB is the largest University in the NY system and draws more students from down state than from Buffalo. By pretty much every measure it’s New York’s Flagship school. By law, however, NY has no flagship, so there will be push back from the other SUNY centers (Albany, Stony Brook, and Binghamton) as White [ed - Danny White, Director of Athletics] walks UB further down this path.
It’s like White is leading the Charge of the Light Brigade; “Cannons to the Left of him (Buffalo Print Media), Cannons to the Right of them (Other SUNY Centers), Cannons in front of him (Lingering Alumni Resistance)”.
If he pulls it off to any large degree, and he gets his planned facilities improvements going then UB could be well positioned for the next round of realignment.
One thing to note is that this is not just a “re-branding”, White has just secured live UB sports broadcast for football and hoops on WBBR in the New York City metro area. It’s a long way from being “New York’s team” but every step gets us a little closer.
tBBC: Are you feeling good about where RB Brandon Oliver is after his rehab?
UBBR: Yes, Bo has looked good all summer and was even well enough to play towards the end of last season. I feel even better given the productivity UB got out of Devin Campbell last season.
tBBC: After a strong finish to 2012, what do you expect from QB Joe Licata this year?
UBBR: It’s hard to tell how a sophomore’s year is going to go. On one hand they have a year of experience to fall back on, and on the other opponents have more tape to study. Often a good looking freshman will have a rough go in their second season until they put it all together later on.
With Licata I’m hoping for a year about as good as last season, maybe a bit better. This team will win or lose with its running game, they just need a quarterback who can keep defenses honest so Oliver has room to work.
tBBC: You mention “game management” being a challenge for the coaches- what signs of adaptation have you seen from the Spring/Fall practices?
UBBR: I’ve seen no signs of improvement. Game management has been a constant pain in the Quinn regime, but Quinn and the staff have shown growth in other areas. Hope springs eternal.
tBBC: What do you believe would define a successful year for Jeff Quinn’s squad in his fourth season walking the sidelines?
UBBR: I would think with this team seven wins is the bare minimum for anything to be called success. A bowl win would be gravy. The real test of Quinn will be what this team looks like next season after losing Oliver, Mack, Alex Neutz [WR], and Najja Johnson [CB].
tBBC: How do you prefer your wings?
UBBR: In Buffalo we call them mild or medium but however you get them the thing that separates a great wing from the junk you get out side of Western New York is how crisp the skin is versus how tender the meat is. Soggy skin or dry meat is the bane of anyone who likes good wings.
And “Boneless” wings are a borderline crime.
Thanks again Tim! Now it’s time to wander off and find a nice bucket of properly prepared wings….