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Ball State looking for answers as season closes

Published On November 25, 2014 | By JamesD | News

New coordinators on offense and defense, and loss of talent on both sides of the ball to the NFL leads to a disappointing season for the Cardinals.  From 10-3 in 2013 to being below .500 in 2014 there is probably not many bright spots but there are glimmers of hope looking ahead to next year.  There are a couple players that might get a shot at the next level but 2015 looks to be a better year for BSU.  NFLDraftGM was lucky enough to get some words from Alan of Over the Plyon to discuss some of the hits and misses of Ball State. (Please note this was written late last week and only put up now)

 

J: What has this first half of the season shown you both offensively and defensively?  Has it lived up to expectations?A: I can’t say for sure what I expected this season to be honest. Both defensive coordinator Kevin Kelly and offensive coordinator Joey Lynch are brand new to their positions. Let’s go ahead and throw in the loss of defensive end Jonathan Newsome (current Colt) and the loss of QB Keith Wenning and WR Willie Snead to NFL practice squads (Snead as a junior) and I think most expected it to be a little worse than 2013’s 10-3. What we did not expect was the 3-7 season we are currently waddling through with two games to go at the time of this writing. So yes, it’s been tough. The offense has shown glimmers of hope but far more inconsistency and inability and changed QBs three games into the season. The lone bright spot has been Jahwan Edwards but the ability of a running back is reliant on the offensive line, which hasn’t been exceptional either. Defensively, the Cardinals have had flashes of quality, but for the most part, opposing offenses have run roughshod over the Cardinals. The two mid-season wins came when each opponent had five turnovers, so the ability for that strategy to persist wasn’t possible.J: Could you name 3 or more players on each side of the ball that have really blossomed this year?

A: Honestly, no. Defensively, DB Eric Patterson was probably the most talented and most likely to play on Sunday, until a broken arm. LB Ben Ingle was the straw that stirred the drink defensively and that was marred by injuries as well. On the offensive side of the ball, Jahwan “Quake” Edwards has been the consistent thing, and did manage to set the school-record for rushing yards, TDs, and points scored and he still has two games left. But on the whole, the offense is exceptionally young and in need of development.

J:  Building on question 2, do you see players who could potentially play at the next level? Why?

A: Quake Edwards and Eric Patterson are the most likely, and they are also the oldest and most experienced. Both possess a nose for the ball and a hustle that you’d expect from the MAC players. There is a possibility that young players could blossom in to NFL prospects, but that’s going to take a ton of coaching, more than a little work, and some luck.

J: What about the system in place offensively and defensively prepares these players to possibly make the transition to the next level?  What are some changes you feel that they could make?

A: From what I’ve seen this season, it doesn’t. Both coordinators are brand new to BSU and in Joey Lynch’s case, brand new to being an offensive coordinator. Is it possible their system will advance as they get more experience? Of course. Lord, I hope so. This year, offensively was a disaster playcalling and execution and defensively it was like watching a game of Madden where the deep middle seam was nearly open every time. That’s bad.

J: Biggest surprise at the mid point of the season from players and teams around the league both positive or negative.

A: This has been an odd year in the MAC in that many of the “big name” players aren’t pulling away. Jarvion Franklin from WMU is putting up 135 a game, but it’s not all that exceptional and not all that different from Anthone Taylor from Buffalo and Quake Edwards. The MAC is known for QBs, and the biggest surprise is also probably the best performer in Blake Frohnapfel from UMass. Kid has a canon and I think he sticks somewhere in the NFL. Biggest team surprise for me has been the NIU Huskies and their seeming inability to ever have an off year. Year in and year out it’s the same contending for a division title and it’s something that is both infuriating and tremendously awesome.

J: Does Ball State finish the season strong?

At this writing, we have two games remaining. One extremely winnable at home against EMU, one much less so on the road to close the season at MAC East champion Bowling Green on Black Friday. Part of me wants to be an unapologetic homer and call a 2-0 closeout, but at this point, I’d take 1-1 and be thrilled about it.

 

Thanks again to Alan from Over The Pylon for taking the time to write a little on the Ball State program.  If you want to stay up on the Cardinals you can follow Over The Pylon on twitter @OverThePylon or at overthepylon.net.

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