Done and done

Everette Benjamin's third score of the day puts Central up 41-24 with under five minutes left.
That SHOULD be it.
It wasn't pretty, but give Central credit for answering every Bryant challenge today, and for being balanced on offense. They'll need to be better, but it's a nice win for now.

Missed chance

Bryant missed a FG early in the fourth, which was unusual because it was the first time in a while that no one scored.
By the way, in the third, there were four touchdowns in less than four minutes. Crazy, crazy stuff. Just like two years ago.
Central now driving near midfield.

Well, it's not boring!

Newington's Nate Pagan goes 19 yards to cap a drive highlighted by Jespersen's 25-yard, leaping run. Central leads 34-24 with eight seconds left in the wildest third quarter in a long time.

I'm getting tired just watching this

Two long passes get Bryant right up the field, and the Bulldogs score quickly. They've cut the lead to 27-24. 4:27 left in the third. I fear now that I'll blow my prediction. I didn't give the teams nearly enough points, though I was right about a scary shootout.

Quick answer

On 2nd and goal, Gunnar runs in for the touchdown. 27-17 Central, midway through the third. This is getting crazy. 6:38 to go in the third to be exact.

Here's the shootout we expected

On the next play from scrimmage, Gunnar 67 yards up the right sideline to Richie Martin, first and goal.

Don't leave yet

Brown just went 60 yards on a reverse on the next play after the CCSU FG. It's 20-17.

Good start to half

Central gets a hold, then Joe Izzo kicks a career-long 40 yarder. 20-10 CCSU, 7:51 left in the 3rd.

Halfway home

Jordan Brown did have a long run, but Central got him before he could score.
The stats are remarkably even at the break, with Central holding a relatively small lead in passing yards.
Brown is at 97 yards at the break. Richie Martin has 62 yards receiving for Central.
Time to find me a root beer and do a little writing.
Back in a bit.

All for naught

Central ran a beautiful fake FG in which Everette Benjamin hit Dominic Giampietro for 22 yards, but eventually ended up kicking a FG anyway. 17-10 Central, which will be our halftime score barring a miracle runback here.

Good news and bad news

New Britain's Chris Linares got a pick deep in Bryant territory, but his former high school teammate Isaiah Boddie was called for a personal foul after the play, pushing Central back to about the 35 with less than 2 minutes to go in the half.
Penalties continue to be a problem.

Let's put it this way

Since the last score, Greg Migdal's 67-yard punt has been the most interesting thing to happen. Bryant is pinned in its own end with just over 2 minutes left in the half. 14-10 Devils.

Running men

After Jespersen's 21-yard run, Everette Benjamin goes 42 yards untouched up the middle for a score and Central's first lead of the day, 14-10, with just under 11 minutes left in the half.
Benjamin is up to 67 yards to Brown's 61. Both offenses are slowing somewhat. A pair of big plays have allowed Central to get up the field as opposed to sustained drives, but Bryant hasn't done much lately either. Central has stuffed Brown lately, making some adjustments.

A full stop

Lawton Arnold's viscous hit leads to a near pick by Dominique Rose and a stop for Central.
The Devils are deep in their own end (see what good special teams can do?) but they have the ball. Gunnar just ran for a long one as I wrote this. Central's ball near midfield, early 2nd, down 10-7.


Everette Benjamin leads Central on an eight-play, 69 yard drive going nearly four minutes. He scored on a 2-yard run. 13:44 left in the half and we have a ball game. 10-7 Bryant.
If the Devils can run the ball effectively, it will open up more passes like the 50-yard bomb from Gunnar Jespersen to Richie Martin that keyed the drive.

Half a stop

Considering the momentum lost by the fake punt and the fact that Bryant continues to run well, Central has to be pleased holding the Bulldogs to a field goal.
10-0 Bryant late first quarter.


With Jake White (a QB) punting, there's going to be temptation to fake punts. This one didn't work. Bryant Ball at the CCSU 38.

The woes continue

While Jordan Brown's 15-yard run came on a nice counter play where everyone went right leaving him alone to go left for a score, Central's rush defense continues to struggle. Bryant went 76 yards on that drive, with 51 coming on the ground, including 40 for Brown.
'7-0 bad guys.

Some answers

Everette Benjamin remains the featured back, running twice and catching a pass on the first drive, which was a 3-and-out. Jake White is the new permanent punter, Bryant ball.

Up and running

Greetings from a crowded press box at Arute Field on this warm, breezy morning.
Doesn't sound like there's any changes from earlier in the week. P.J. Borawski is in uniform, we'll see how much he plays.
Bryant wins the toss (shock) and defers.
Time to play the game.

What to think

Well, if you read my piece today (and when you read the preview tommorow) you know that I think it's time to worry in Blue Devil nation. The team's defense, which I considered a strength coming into the year, has been sieve-like at times, especially on the ground.
To be fair, the teams CCSU will see from now on are a different level from what Central played in the non-conference portion of the year, but there's still cause for alarm. If the Blue Devils don't play defense better, there won't be a winning season, never mind a championship, to celebrate in 2010.
If you had told me before the year that the defense would struggle and the offense would be working well together, I'd have scoffed at you. Looks like I'm the one who was wrong.
The good news for Central fans is this: Assuming the offense keeps steadily improving, a better defense could lead to a bunch of wins down the stretch of the year.
But the time for improvement is upon us. The dress rehearsals are over.
Sneak preview from my preview: Remember the game two years ago in New Britain? A 42-35 win that left people more worried than happy? This could be like that game. Wildly entertaining and quite scary at the same time.
Cue the roller coaster analogies. NEC play starts in 21 hours.

Injury update

One note to pass along for tomorrow. WR P.J. Borawski is questionable with a shoulder injury. He told me he's getting better and hopes to play, but I'd expect him to mostly do his holding duties and that's about it. We'll see though.

Cranky head coach

Ok, writing this for the second time, as I just lost my first attempt. So cranky beat writer too.
Anyway, read my story in Friday's paper about the football team's defense, or lack thereof.
Coach Jeff McInerney is livid about his team's inability to stop the run, and he should be. He went off a little bit after practice yesterday, and I'll have some of his quotes in Friday's paper. He was surprisingly candid, blaming himself as much as the players. I even asked him if part of it was playing two national powers in the first three games in an attempt to be fair and give both sides of the story, but he was adamant that the performance wasn't good enough regardless of the opposition. I think it's an interesting read, and I say that because of the subject matter, not tooting my own horn.
While I commend Mac for ripping himself too, the players also need to be held accountable. If you remember my preview, I pointed to the defense as a strength. I loved and still do love the linebackers, and was convinced that the front four had enough experience back to get the job done.
Seven rushing touchdowns in a game is unacceptable, I don't care if they were playing the Tennessee Titans. At some point, you have to tackle somebody.
Anyway, back to writing this, more to come later.


Ok, this is the second part to today's entries, so if you want to go in order, read the below post first. Though it's not terribly chronological, so you're fine either way.
Anyway, as I was saying, here's the jump into basketball stuff.
First, Paul was giving me the lowdown on some changes at Detrick next year.
I mentioned the new sign in front, which is nice. I'm a little surprised they're going for the modernization approach, but as long as they're not standing still with it, you cna't complain too much. I'd rather see them promote the heck out of the history of the building instead, but that's just me. I just tell you what goes on, I don't work there. Which, of course, is probably good for Central, since Paul Schlickmann is a lot smarter than I am.
They're getting new banners for the other teams in the NEC, so I believe the "plates" have been retired. I admit I liked those, they were kind of goofy. But the banners should be a nice touch to dress things up a little.
They're working on a trophy case for all the NEC titles that will be displayed in the lobby of Kaiser Hall, and perhaps some team photos.

Also talked to Howie Dickenman, actually a while ago now, but haven't gotten a chance to really write about the assistants.
Howie went young, tabbing Sean Ryan, who graduated from St. Anselm in 1996.
Here's a link to his bio.
Howie's quote: "He's well respected, a tireless recruiter, and a coach with character."
Also hired Steve Treffiletti, formerly of Florida State. who he says is very well connected on the east coach and is an enthusiastic guy. Stressed his skills with 1-on-1 drill work as well. Likes his work ethic a lot.
"When you work for Leonard Hamilton," Dickenman said, "you work."
Jamaal Wagner and Kevin Papacs remain with the program as well.

Catching up

I'll be at football practice tomorrow, so I'll have more to add about this week's game after that. I'll probably write late tomorrow or Thursday since I'm going to the soccer game tomorrow night as well.
Home opener for the guys, who will be playing over at Veterans Stadium. Interested to see what kind of draw they can get away from home but under the lights. It's a nice stadium with plenty of room.

I'll take this time to kind of clean out the notebook, and then I'm going to post something about the basketball assistant coaches as well, but I'll make that a separate deal.

First off, a football tidbit. Coach Jeff McInerney told me last week some interesting things about the practice schedule. Wednesdays, he said, are particularly hard on the kids because that's a heavy class day, but it's also a big football day as it's really the start of the ramping up process towards the next game. Throw in the fact that all the teams are using the football field right now (well, except volleyball) and it gets chaotic.
But there's a solution. He added that he plans on practicing more on Fridays. He's had the kids in full pads, and it is becoming a practice day more than a walkthrough day. It worked for the Bentley game (though let's be honest, most things would have that week) and he was going to do it again this week.
"We got more done and our focus was better," he said last week.
So we'll see how that starts affecting Saturday games, not to mention the Friday night in Albany.
All the fall teams seem to be working well together in terms of using the field. I know women's soccer coach Mick D'Arcy would rather the game be played on grass, but his team is making due with the field. At least they don't have to play home games off site like baseball did.
I asked AD Paul Schlickmann if he was concerned about the field holding up from all the use, and he said he thought it would be fine. We shall see.
Speaking of Paul, I spoke to him at the NB Chamber of Commerce breakfast. Nice of them to welcome him. A couple of notes. First, he's a big proponent of trying to get people to wear blue to the games. No fancy names for it yet, but blue t-shirts/sweatshirts/regular shirts are encouraged. Interested to see if it catches on. Would look really cool for basketball with the blue seats and the two sides to the bleachers.
That seems like a good place to break this up, since I don't want this post to get too long. News from hoops in the next post...which I guess will be the one you see first. Maybe I should work on that? What's easier for you guys?

Sitting down to write

I have to do one more thing for work this afternoon, then I'm going to sit down and blog tonight. I'll hit some football and some of the other sports, which I haven't had much time to get to, at least on here, lately.
See you in a couple of hours.

Too little, too late

A really nice drive by the offense, but it's a moot point now. Still, nice to see the offense get a little confidence going into NEC play.

One for the record books

I'm going to do some digging when I get a chance and see when the last time Central got beaten up on the ground like this. The numbers themselves aren't that big, YSU is around 250 yards rushing, but the Penguins are scoring at will on the ground.
This has to go down as a very disappointing performance by the defense, field position be darned. At some point, you have to get a stop, and that drive was 72 yards.

As Chris Farley would say....

Remember when this game was 14-14? That was awesome.
Seriously, rough stretch for the Devils there. Three drives where YSU didn't have to go far to score and CCSU's inability to tackle a running back have been the problems.
Stats of the half: 181 yards rushing for YSU, 49 combined points in 30 minutes, and YSU has yet to punt.

Field of nightmares

Much like the UNH game, Central's big problem is field position. The Penguins have more than 120 yards on kick/punt returns so far, giving them excellent field position. There's only so much you can ask a defense to do when the other team starts from your 30-yard line.

Are we having fun yet?

Sorry I haven't blogged about the game yet, I'm making the newspaper tonight and haven't had a lot of time.
Man, so much for my low scoring prediction, huh? Gunnar Jespersen has been spot on so far, and the short passing game is working wonders. Central is going to have to do something about stopping Jermaine Cook, but you have to love the way the Blue Devils keep responding to YSU scores.
A big penalty just killed a CCSU drive, but the fact that it got to midfield AGAIN is a great sign.
21-14 "Guins" as they like to call themselves from what I've read, early in the second quarter.
I'll pop in here as time allows, and I'll have a story in the paper in the morning.

Catching up

Sorry about being absent yesterday... I took cold medicine last night and the next thing I knew it was Friday afternoon.
I'll have a long preview in the paper in the morning.
First, your update: Everyone's healthy (except Fowler, but I'm going to consider him off the team from now on for purposes of the health update so I don't have to keep saying that if you guys don't mind). Only change is Everette Benjamin, as I mentioned earlier this week, is officially the No. 1 back against Youngstown State.
The Pens run a lot and have just one deep threat. I think Central hangs around. Think Georgia Southern. But I don't think the result will be quite as happy.
LOTS more to get to, I have tons for a monster notebook when I get a chance.

I've got mail, yay!

Thought since I had a few minutes I'd tackle a couple of the comments I've gotten lately in greater detail.
First off, thanks for the support. From what I've heard some people really liked the blogging during games. I'll try and keep doing it. Saturday I think I'll be in the office, so it won't be as easy, but I'll do as much as I can.

Going to hit practice Wednesday before the guys head off to Youngstown. I'll ask about the offensive questions you guys gave me then.
For now, I'll answer a couple, but remember this is ME talking, not the coaches.

Yes, I think Everette Benjamin has emerged as the lead back. I do think Nate Pagan will still be heavily involved, but I think Everette has the job for now. That could change with one fumble or one big run, so stay tuned.

Do I think Central will start passing a lot? No. The stuff to the flat worked well, and obviously the passes to the TEs were there, but I remain unconvinced that the pass will become Coach McInerney's main weapon of choice. If the right matchups are there it could become more of a factor than in years past, but it will always be to set up the run or set up by the run.

Mac did tell me that Anthony Julies is going to be good, so we'll see if he lets him have the ball.

I'm going to write a story about P.J. Borawski as soon as we have room. High school previews have taken over this week. Great kid, and could be quite helpful.

As for my takes on the special teams... I actually disagree with the commenter. Joe Izzo has been great, and gives Central an option on offense besides going for it on 4th down. I wouldn't worry too much that they haven't blocked a kick yet. It's week 2. The punting can improve, but again, if punting is your biggest problem your team is probably ok.

Was asked about Vince Rosario's health, and it came at a perfect time because I spoke to him at the football game. He told me his hip was much worse than anyone knew last year, and he feels much better after having it done in the offseason. He expects to have a much better year this year, and he's happy to have some more shooters in the fold to take some heat off.

Other than that, I'm going to hold off on hoops for now, as I have to go layout soccer previews. HS season starts tomorrow.

Much like I mentioned Lenny Jefferson coaching hoops down the shore last winter, good luck to former CCSU soccer player Megan Kavanaugh coaching her first game at Coginchaug and to the local teams we cover. The current CCSU women's team is full of local talent, and our kids are all over the place (Plainville's Alyssa Martino scored a goal for Providence against CCSU the other day). My point simply is go see some local kids play soccer, they could grow up to be college stars.

Book it

P.J. Borawski had the catch on Dezell Jones' first career TD pass. Only thing we missed. CCSU wins 45-14. Not pretty but it counts.

Special effort

London Lomax blocks a punt, Nate Pagan recovers on the Bentley 24. Benjamin takes a pass in the flat for a score on the first play. Assuming Joe Izzo hits this kick it will be 38-14 with 2:52 left in the third. I'm going to go write my story now. I'll keep the blog open, however, so I can post if anything important happens. But expect to just find some postgame thoughts later this afternoon.
I'll tell you this for now: Be happy with the win, but don't hurt yourself getting on the bandwagon yet. This was what Central was supposed to do.
He made the kick by the way.


Marino's pick led to an Everette Benjamin score and a 31-14 CCSU lead with under five to play in the third. Barring something crazy, this one should be in the bag.

A missed chance

Central was driving, looking for the kill, but Nate Pagan fumbled into the Bentley end zone, giving the Falcons the ball, and they are currently storming back.
Well, not so much. New Britain's Jeff Marino with a pick in CCSU territory gets the ball back midway through the third. Huge, huge play.

A huge finish to the half

New Britain's own Chris Linares with a big pick near midfield, and Central gets all the way down inside the Bentley 10. But a penalty negated a P.J. Borawski TD, and CCSU settles for a 30-yard FG with six seconds left in the half.
24-14 CCSU at the break.
Ugly but effective 1st half. That Central pullaway I predicted is coming a little sooner than I had thought.
I'm going to be on 1410 at the half.

All for naught

The teams trade long drives. Bentley's gets stopped in CCSU territory. On Central's, a huge roughing the passer call on 3rd down inside the Bentley 20, giving CCSU a new first down that it uses to get a Nate Pagan TD. 21-14 CC, under 2 left in the half.

The response

Central goes 72 yards on 13 plays in just under 5 minutes, tying the game at 14 with less than nine left in the 2nd. The Blue Devils convert twice on 4th down on the drive, which is keyed by passes to the flats that turn into longer runs after the catch. We'll see if that opens up the run even more.

Trouble at Arute

Bentley turns that fumble into seven and LEADS 14-7 early in the second. Wow. Just wow.

Uh oh

So much for an easy win. Bentley goes 72 yards on 12 plays, scoring on 4th and goal from the CCSU 3. 14:57 left in 2nd, 7-7.
And now CCSU fumbles in its own end!

Fact check

I've been told it's in the last 2 minutes when you have to recover your own fumble if it's forward, so the CCSU TD was correctly awarded.

I guess there's a new featured back

The whole first quarter has been Everette Benjamin carrying the ball. Nate Pagan was on special teams on Bentley's last punt. We'll see if they let him run later.


CCSU struggling against the run early, but Bentley can't complete a pass. Much like I predicted.
Central takes over on its own 35

Well that didn't seem legal!

After Central's Everette Benjamin marched Central down the field on the next drive, he fumbled into the end zone, where Richie Martin recovered for the score. I thought you couldn't fumble forward for a score, but the refs, who are all smarter than I, say it's good.
7-0 CCSU, 11:41 left 1st

Watch deep!

After a 16-yard run to start, Bentley goes 3-and-out on the next series. They had two chances to go deep, just missing what would have been a great catch on the first one and missing an open man on the next.
Not sure exactly what the heck happened on their punt try, but they end up running for no gain on some kind of bungled run. Snap didn't seem too bad.

Now, back to the game.

Bonus points to anyone who gets that reference.
CCSU wins the toss and elects to kick. Perfect day to play. Light breeze blowing towards the box side from what i can see.
Bentley takes the kick to its own 29. Time to play the game.

up and running

ok, after some technical difficulties, we are up and blogging!
First off, I want to take a minute on this day to remember those we lost nine years ago today, especially the 400 or so men and women who died trying to get INTO the buildings, and send some good thoughts to those serving us throughout the world. Thank you one and all.

Preview section

We are doing that four-page section in Saturday's paper, so bring it with you to the game or get it on the way home and read about some of the new guys you just saw.
Thanks as always for the support, and thanks as always to Brad Carroll for making me look good.

Injury update, plus a reminder about the blog

First, and I know I'll get ripped for being a "homer," but I have to thank Central for not being difficult about injuries, like what my friends on the UConn [and Big East as a whole] beat are going through. They don't break the privacy laws that are in place and they don't get into legal matters, which sometimes makes my job more difficult, but I understand both those points. But what they can tell me, they do, which I appreciate.
So I tell you that to tell you this. Senior DE Dominick Tomanelli is questionable for Saturday, though coach Jeff McInerney said yesterday he was "doing better". Everyone else that played last week is a go as of today.
If anything changes, I'll post it here before the game (or early into it, depending on when I can post things). Which leads to this shameless plug for the blog, which I'll be updating throughout the game. I probably won't post as much as I did for the UNH game since I expect Saturday's game to be ugly early, but I'll keep you updated.
The game is on ESPN Radio 1410 as well.

Energy drinks

At least, that's what Central hopes happens Saturday. I found the interviews I did for that story in today's paper quite interesting. I didn't go there expecting to write it, I was getting info for the preview that will be in Saturday morning's paper.
When coach Jeff McInerney mentioned to me about his team being "discombobulated", I planned on mentioning it, but it wasn't going to be a focus. But the players were so open and honest about it, I think it was insightful. Am I surprised that a team coming off a title isn't fired up for what is basically a preseason schedule? No. Does that make it OK? Not at all.
I think enough players are aware of the problem that it will be straightened out. I think this game, the home opener, will be the perfect energy booster that the team needs. The Devils should then be eager to play a big name at Youngstown before starting NEC play.
If that happens, we might look back at this week as the win that sparked, if not saved, the season. If the Devils sleepwalk through this one and barely win, as has been the case against other lower-level opponents in recent years, it could be a long year in New Britain.
Look, there's very little chance Central could actually lose this game. But a win isn't enough. The Devils need a good performance.
Time to find the energy.

No changes

A bit of non-news from yesterday. Jeff McInerney told me that there was to be no changes in the depth chart from last week as of last night. I'm taking that to mean Nate Pagan goes at RB again, but you'll see plenty of Everette Benjamin as well. Mac would like one of those guys to establish themselves as the No. 1. The same holds true at Free Safety, where Torin McCullough seems to be the head of that rotation, but the hope is that he or someone else wins the job.

One more for today

Below is a long, relevant post about the hoops schedule, and below that are some timely football thoughts. In this post I just thought I'd pass along something quirky.
If you know me, you know I'm a big uniform junkie. I love reading about teams getting new uniforms, alternates, etc. And I obsesses over little details. I've long been opposed, for instance, to Central adding too much black to their color scheme, since they are the Blue Devils and all.
Anyway, I'm a big reader of Paul Lukas' "Uni watch" blog. From that amazing site, I give you a nugget about a CCSU opponent.
These are Youngstown State's new threads. I assume the reds they'll be wearing next week against CCSU are similar, but I will fish for photos.

By the way, along those lines: Since I still feel bad about ripping Central for having the logo on the hoops floor facing the wrong way and then not mentioning that they fixed it, I want to get a jump on mentioning that I saw the remodeled front entrance of Detrick today, and it looks great. A little touch, but it adds a bit of a modern feel to the building, which is nice since no one seems to like my "pushing the history" idea.

Breaking down the hoops schedule

Well we knew all the teams but one (and I'll get to that team in a second), but now there's dates and an order.
The one addition is Army, which is on the road Nov. 15. Central had another game scheduled, but that team canceled at the last minute. But Central was able to pick up the game at Army.
Next, an apology. I have been reporting for some time that while it was out there that Central was the late game at the CT 6, I was certain it was the middle game. Well, Central is the late game.
It stands to reason the Devils will be the early game against Yale next year, but we'll see. My current plan is to go to the game, blog about it and put a game story on our web site that night/morning, but we'll see. As you guys know from following this blog, plans change with my schedule by the day, never mind between now and November.
Central has one early conference game this year, and it's home against Monmouth. The original plan was to open at Monmouth, but the games with the Hawks got reversed at Monmouth's request as I've heard it.
Eight of the first nine are away from home, though fans will be able to see the Devils at Mohegan and Providence fairly easily. Plus, the game at Penn St. is on the Big 10 Network, which I get, so I'll be able to give you a good recap.
You'll be rewarded for your patience come the holidays, when Central is home for six straight games. There's only one extended road swing during NEC play, and two of the three straight on the road during that stretch in mid-January are at Sacred Heart and at Quinnipiac, so the Devils can sleep in their own beds for those games.
The only home-and-home is against Bryant, unlike last year where it seemed like Central was playing the same teams within days of the previous meeting all the time.
If I'm reading it correctly, CCSU does NOT go to FDU or the Mount while the PA teams do not come here.
Obviously, the time to clean up is from Dec. 19 to Feb. 3. In that time, Central leaves the state once, for a Jan. 20 game at Monmouth.
One other little thing that could be key: in a rare occurrence, there isn't another road game thrown in with the PA trip. Usually Central goes to the Mount or somewhere like that during what becomes a 3 or 4 game sojourn, but that is not the case this season.
We're another couple months away from real preview type blogs, but for now I'll say this. Let the team grow during the brutal Nov. and Dec. schedule. I have a feeling this schedule, and the season, could play out very much like 2007. A slow start, then a ton of home games to get Central on track, then big but winnable road games before another 3-game homestand.
By then, the Devils could be rolling. Will they start 15-1 in the league like they did that year? God only knows. But I do like the way the schedule sets up. A lot.


That time I agree with everything you said.
I wasn't necessarily defending the coaching style, my only issue was with you saying they weren't prepared. They work hard to prepare a game plan. It's absolutely fair to say it might not be the best plan, however.
I was talking to someone in the know today who was basically saying everything you said. Central might have to start throwing the ball more, if for no other reason than to give the defense a break. It's hard to be a ball control/clock eating team when you can't run.
But we might not get a true sense of this team until NEC play starts. It's not fair to assume they'll stink because they couldn't run against the No. 9 team in the country, just like it won't be fair to jump back on the bandwagon this week if they romp a D II team.
I'll put some quotes in my game preview that will run Saturday morning, but basically coach McInerney was saying that he might have to open it up more if things don't improve. I'll have a couple of stories in Friday morning's paper then the preview for Sat. morning.

Backing up a bit, plus an answer

Hey guys. I had a family thing Sunday, was in the office Monday and was at the Red Sox game Tuesday, so I haven't had the chance to sit down and blog in a while.
First off, thanks to Andrew Lovell for helping me with the Brian Fowler news from Tuesday. I got a tip, passed it on to him from Fenway, and he did a nice job giving you the particulars.
I'm going to practice Thursday, so I'll talk to Mac then, but for now I think it's fair to assume Nate Pagan is the new No. 1 back, though Everette Benjamin will get the chance to earn some more playing time as well. Eric Richardson's fullback role just became a lot bigger, too.
Do I think this changes the offense? In effectiveness, yes. I think Fowler was on the verge of a breakout year, and obviously he won't get that chance now. Do I think the others can develop into good backs? Yes. Do I think that happens as quickly as Fowler would have? No.
Both backs are inexperienced. Maybe they can develop into a thunder and lightning type of combination. If there's any good news to come from this, it's that they have two weeks to get things in order before NEC play starts.
Do I think this changes the way Central plays? Not even a little. Coach Jeff McInerney will talk about opening it up more, especially now, but we all know that, at the start of the day, never mind the end of it, he will be a run-first coach. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, just telling it like it is.
Which leads me to Big Blue's comment here, which I was going to make a separate post but I think it fits nicely here.
I think your sentiment is correct, but you're using the wrong word, which in this case is a big deal. It's not accurate to say Central isn't prepared to play first halves. Quite the opposite is true. They know their plan long before the game starts. It's to run it first and often as Blue said, until the defense is worn down. Part of the reason they had so many comebacks last year is because they wore down the opposition with the "ground and pound" as the coach of my Jets likes to call it.
You may not agree with the plan, and that's perfectly understandable. It's not always pretty football and it leaves VERY little margin for error. But you have to look at it as a give and take. Mac's theory, as best as I've figured it out over the last five years, is this: For every game Central might have put away earlier with more passing, the Devils have stayed in one longer by keeping things close with the running game.
Again, I'm not saying I always agree with the plan, though I am a big believer in ball control myself. And I'm not trying to convince you that the coach is right. I've criticized him too often on here to say anything like that. But don't mistake what you may feel is an ill-advised plan for a lack of preparation.
Central is prepared to run the ball until the game ends. For better or worse.
As for those adjustments: Of course Central makes some at the half, every team does. But I think it's more a case of the other team getting worn out, or stuffing the box to the point where something else has to be open more than Central adjusting on offense. Defensively, I think, is another story.
But as for New Hampshire? I think the biggest adjustment in the second half was the Wildcats deciding to be polite hosts. I'm not saying Central didn't play much better after halftime, it did. But UNH didn't seem like it was trying to run it up, either.

I wasn't too far off

What'd I say, 38-10? Had UNH made its kicks it would have had 38. Had Central executed a little better, it could have had 10 easily.
The good news from this one is that it wasn't so bad that it would harm Central's psyche for the future. Even better if that many of the mistakes were correctable. The penalties were brutal, taking away some big plays and giving UNH good field position.
Let's be honest, Central wasn't going to win this one, but the Blue Devils could have been closer.
Bad news: Special teams. UNH ran too many kicks back for too many yards, including the big one that set the tone for the day. While the defense was put in a host of bad positions, it could have been better, too.
Offensively, the backs who were asked to fill in for Brian Fowler didn't do enough. But remember, this is the best team Cent
ral will play. Let's see what Nate Pagan and his cohorts can do when facing some other teams. What did you guys think?

Learning curve

Gunnar Jespersen's first pick (that counts anyway, another was killed by a penalty) leads to a UNH score early in the 4th and kills the momentum Central had gained with an even third quarter.
33-3 now.

A break? That's new!

After a costly penalty killed what was looking like Central's best drive of the day, UNH marched down to the CCSU 1 before fumbling. Central gets it back, having limited the damage. To make matters better, since it was fumbled forward into end endzone, CCSU takes over at the 20.
Still 26-3, but hey, a good second half here would be something to build on for next week.

Why stats don't matter, Vol. 206

You guys know I'm not big on stats, I'm more a vision and feel guy. Here's another example of why.
Central just punted, and the ball ended up inside the UNH 30. A 5-yard procedure penalty on the play made CCSU rekick, and the ball ended up near midfield on the next punt. So a 5-yard penalty in the stats cost the Devils some 20 yards in real life.
The Devils look like they have their feet under them here in the 2nd half, forcing UNH to punt again. It's likely too late, but we'll see if Central can make this at least competitive. I think it was 7 wins last year when trailing at the half, right?

Take what you can get

I'm a little shocked Central settled for three at the end of the half, but I understand the thinking: get some points and maybe a little momentum heading into the break, then get the ball and hope to build on it.

Well done

The runs on that last drive set up a big pass, which sets up another UNH score. Central's goal now is to keep this from getting ugly. Score here, or at lteast move the ball up field and get some momentum.

2 thoughts on the 2nd quarter

So far at least
1) That last drive was scary, as UNH did it all on the ground.
2) UNH might want to try another kicker. Two missed XP's.
19-0 UNH, early 2nd.

Time to do some coaching

If Jeff McInerney can convince Central that the stats are actually relative even if you don't include the one long run (from scrimmage I mean, the KO return is a different deal), then maybe the Devils can keep their poise.
As I say that, the first play of the second quarter nearly leads to the decapitation of Gunnar Jespersen. Central punts early in the second, down 13-0. UNH ball near midfield.

Big plays, big trouble

On a 4th and 1, Dontra Peters goes 47 yards for a score, 13-0 early.
The only good news is that Central's running game and its short passing game has been ok.

Well that's different

So UNH just ran the opening kickoff of the year back for a score. 6-0 UNH, 16 seconds in. Peachy.

The short of it

First, I will try and blog during the game tomorrow, but I'll obviously have a full story in the next day's paper.
But for now I'll give you a brief thought:
I don't think this is a 70-20 game. I think CCSU's running game and strong defense helps contain UNH for a time. The Wildcats, however, hit a couple of big plays late, embarrassed to find themselves in a game after halftime and win, say, 38-10.

Change of plans

We're actually holding the special section for the home opener, so you can bring it with you to the game.
We'll have a full game preview in the paper in the morning.

One more

I'm writing the stories for the preview section now, and I'll probably just intermittantly dump thoughts here.
Here's one clarification. It was earlier reported that Josue Paul will be eligible to return from suspension Oct. 9.
According to coach McInerney, that date is set in stone.
"There's a start date and an end date," he said. "He'll be back Oct. 9."
CCSU is home for Duquesne that day, and Paul would have two weeks to prepare for the Albany-Wagner-Robert Morris-Monmouth gauntlet that starts Oct. 22.
On a side note, I'd like to thank the football team for taking my birthday, the 16th, off. I'm sure that's why the date was picked for the bye week.

Answering your question

Ok, first off, I know, I know, bad blogger. But I have a good excuse. I've been at CCSU getting tons of info for a special section we're going to put out leading up to the game.
But I didn't want to delay a second longer in one of the questions I promised the answer to. Someone wanted to know how things would be different offensively under new OC Tim Stowers.
Here's coach Jeff McInerney's response.

“We really haven’t changed. We’re running everything we’ve done in the past. Philosophically nothing has changed."