Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Pre-Season Preview: Buffalo Bulls

2009 Record: 5-7 (3-5 in MAC)
2009 Bowl: N/A
Final 2009 AP Ranking: Not Ranked
Head Coach: Jeff Quinn (1st year at Buffalo, 1-1 All-Time)
Non-Conference Schedule: Rhode Island (9/2), at Baylor (9/11), UCF (9/18), at UConn (9/25)

2009 Offensive Statistics
Scoring: 24.1 points per game (8th in MAC)
Rushing Yards/Game: 163 (4th in MAC)
Passing Yards/Game: 241 (6th in MAC)
Total Yards/Game: 404 (3rd in MAC) 

2009 Defensive Statistics
Scoring: 23.8 points per game (6th in MAC)
Rushing Yards/Game: 131 (4th in MAC)
Passing Yards/Game: 210 (7th in MAC)
Total Yards/Game: 342 (3rd in MAC)

2009 Misc Stats
Turnover Margin: -0.58 per game (10th in MAC)
Penalties: 54 yards per game (10th in MAC)

Returning Starters
Offense: 5
Defense: 9
Kicker/Punter: 2

Top Returning Statistical Leaders
Passing: QB Jerry Davis, Soph (8 of 15 for 145 yds, 1 TD)
Rushing: RB Ike Nduka, Sr (96 carries for 598 yds, 6 TD, 6.2 ypc, 74 ypg)
Rushing: RB Brandon Thermilus, Sr (124 carries for 560 yds, 4 TD, 4.5 ypc, 50 ypg)
Receiving: WR Terrell Jackson, Jr (25 rec, 250 yds, 2.3 rec/game)
Tackles: DB Davonte Shannon, Sr (97)
Sacks: DL Steven Means, Soph; LB Justin Winters, Jr (5)
Interceptions: DB Davonte Shannon, Sr (2)

2010 Pre-Season Rankings
Lindy's: Not Ranked
Mark Schlabach: Not Ranked
Rivals: Not Ranked
Scout: Not Ranked
Sporting News: #95
Sports Illustrated: Not Ranked
Athlon Sports: #102

2010 Pre-Season MAC Prediction:
Athlon Sports: #4 in MAC East

About a month after Jeff Quinn took over the reigns of the Buffalo Bulls, starting QB Zach Maynard left the program. Buffalo is coming off of a 5-7 year. Will they be able to right the ship this year or will this be a longer rebuilding process? We turned to the Buffalo blog Bull Run to get their take on the 2010 Buffalo Bulls.

What are the major strengths and biggest weaknesses of the team?

The biggest strength is the defensive backfield, it's a veteran unit that is as good as any in the conference and better than most. Davonte Shannon leads six returning backs and linebackers. Last season Shannon was at or near the topin most defensive categories and the team will need him to perform at that level, or better, this season if they want to compete.

The Biggest weakness is offensive inexperience, especially among the skill positions. The talent is there but there are only a hand full of snaps behind whoever wins the quarterback battle and the bulk of our receptions and yards (80%) are gone with the departure of Roosevelt, Hamlin, and Rack.

Looking at the schedule who will be the first major test and why?

Baylor is going to be a big test for the team, road game against a Big 12 team that is on the upswing. They bring an absolute beast at QB (Robert Griffin) and a respectable defense. At this point in the season UB will have just one game under its belt and that's against FCS member Rhode Island. 

What team on the schedule do you fear the most?

Its going to be either Temple or Northern Illinois. The two teams are each the favorites to win their division this season and UB draws them both. Neither is exactly the best team we are going to play this year (UConn fits that role) but because they are conference games they mean that much more.

Who is the best player on your team that nobody talks about?

Josh Thomas does not get nearly the press that he should, Thomas is as good as any corner in the conference. He is experienced and a hard hitter. His physical approach to the game did not fit ideally under last years softer scheme but this season he should thrive with the new staff.

Who is the best offensive player on the team?
Right now I would have to say Offensive lineman Peter Bittner is the best offensive player we have. In addition to the experience and skill a solid leader.

Who is the most impactful defensive player on the team?

Davonte Shannon already held that role and that was before the team cut over to a more physical approach to covering receivers. 

What player(s) needs to step up this year in order for the team to reach it's full capability?

Whoever emerges as our starting quarterback (Dennison/Davis) and at least two of UB's receivers (Lee, Rivers, or Jackson) need to grow up, and quick, if UB is going to be competitive this season.

Who is the top offensive newcomer that can make an impact this year?

If he wins the job Dennison will easily be the biggest single factor in UB having any offensive success this season, and he is a red shirt freshman.

Who is the top defensive newcomer that can make an impact this year?

I am looking forward to seeing if Colby Way can make an immediate impact. There were rumors UB was going to try and go 3-4 this season but as evidenced by the spring game the Bulls still lack the personnel to make that move. Way is a good sized and fast linebacker who may fit the role of 'Elephant Back' during a transition.

Gut feeling on the teams final record at the end of the regular season and what makes this a successful season in your eyes?

My gut say 5-7, I would consider anything north of that to be a success. 

Next Up: New Mexico State Aggies

2010 Previews
Big East- Cincinnati Bearcats, Pittsburgh Panthers, West Virginia Mountaineers
Big Ten- Michigan WolverinesMinnesota Golden Gophers, Northwestern Wildcats, Purdue Boilermakers
Conference USA- Houston CougarsTulane Green Wave, UTEP Miners
MAC- Temple Owls
Mountain West- Utah Utes
Pac-10- Oregon Ducks, USC Trojans, Washington Huskies
Sun Belt- Troy Trojans


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