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Bearcats Breakfast 9.13.10

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Well, the Cincinnati sports scene has enjoyed better weekends. I'm not sure who I would rather be right now, Francisco Cordero or any member of the Bengals defensive line.

Probably Cordero, because at least he will get a chance to redeem himself soon whereas the lineman have to hear Mike Zimmer tell them how bad they are for six long days.

Of the big three locally, the Bearcats were the only team to grab a win. Although, at least for the first half, it felt like a loss. The question was how much did the Bearcats offense really figure out at the open of the second half against Indiana State?

We will learn much better where this team is at Thursday at N.C. State. It's a nice test for a team that endured some odd circumstances through the first two games with the trip to the West Coast and game against lowly ISU.

The Wolfpack are 2-0 for the first time in four years. They have a 48-7 win against Western Carolina and 28-21 victory at UCF under their belt.

UC wasted no time getting into preperations with a full helmets and shells practice on Sunday.

Butch Jones' staff has really been preparing for the Wolfpack for months, though.

"We started the preparation just like most teams do in the summer and spring," Jones said. "When you have a short week, you have an idea. It will change a little bit because when you do the game plans your team has a little bit of identity when you do them in the summer time. We will go back and revisit."

After the first two weeks, it's safe to say some things have changed in the identity of this team.

Moving on, plenty to get to...

--- First off, I wrote a column following the game Saturday about the attitude adjustment the team made at halftime. They believe they may have found what they were looking for this season.

--- It was nice to see the return of Dan Hoard to the UC broadcast booth this weekend. The guy has cool down to a science and makes me feel less self-conscious about my balding.

Plus, he does incredible work and had this bit of further insight into the halftime conversation Jones shared with his team.

--- Bill Koch penned this notebook with all kinds of lovely nuggets.

--- Bill also talked about the return of the running game to the Bearcats. UC decided to line up in the second half and enforce their physical will against the Sycamores. It was no secret if the Bearcats wanted to against the much smaller team, they could run the ball to their heart's content without much resistance.

So, after halftime, they did.

"We wanted to establish the line of scrimmage," Jones said. "A lot of times offensively you can become impatient. We wanted to establish the tempo, establish the line of scrimmage and we were being effective running the football. We are going to run the football when we can."

 

In the bigger picture, the Bearcats still couldn't find much in the passing game. Zach Collaros only threw 17 passes, completing 11. Outside of the second TD pass to Armon Binns, very few attempts were made to throw it longer than 10-15 yards. I'm not sure if that is a matter of scheme, philosphy, circumstances or chance, but it's much different from what we have seen here the last few years.

It's certainly the sign of a passing game that is a work in progress right now. That's part receivers, part o-line, part backs, and, of course, part QB. And Zach Collaros is still working through some things in this new scheme, according to Jones.

"Zach has to learn he just has to run the offense," Jones said. "He doesn't have to make the plays. He's got to let the plays come."

 --- While we are talking about the running game, it should be mentioned Isaiah Pead is expected to play vs. N.C. State. He was held out of Saturday's game because of swelling in his knee, but Jones essentially said he would have been a gametime decision had this been a bigger game.

--- John Goebel and Darrin Williams looked good filling in. And Goebel dominated the interview room after.

When I asked a question to JK Schaffer if any of what coach Jones said at halftime was repeatable here, twice JK wasn't understanding what I was getting at, so Goebel popped in from the other end of the table with, "he wants to know if he cussed us out." It takes little to make us media types laugh, but that one definitely did.

Goebel also was asked about when he carried Armon Binns off the field following Binns' second TD of the game and offered this jewel.

"When Armon scored, I scored twice before that," Goebel said. "And it is very tiring when everyone is jumping on you, you are trying to do chest bumps and stuff, so I kind of faked him out and carried him instead because I know it is very tiring to do all that.

"I carried him off the field because I felt like I wished somebody would have done that to me."

--- I meant to get to this last week, but I think what the Bearcats do with local youth teams on Thursdays are pretty cool.

--- It was another unimpressive weekend for the Big East. WVU needed overtime to win at Marshall on Friday. That means all of the top four BE teams have now either lost or been pushed to the brink of defeat in one of thier first two non-conference games.

Scoring a TD and two-point conversion against a mid-pack CUSA team in the final seconds as WVU did would not be considered confidence-enducing.

Brian Bennett's power rankings have become a lesser of evils list.

--- The good news as UC carries the dimming Big East torch on the road for another non-conference game, the ACC has been equally as uninspiring.

--- In the category of good news and bad news at the same time, Oklahoma beat the bejesus out of Florida State like they stole something. To be fair, they probably did (allegedly).

--- Mick Cronin continues to talk with optimism after the successful trip to Canada. He spoke with Andy Katz, who put this piece together on the Bearcats and their chances.

Cronin makes a point. The offense never let any of the Canadian teams in games and averaged 85 points a game. That's saying something considering the offensive issues they endured last year.

Though, I can say I have been to Canada a few times also, and always came back feeling much better about myself, too.

--- Did James Madison kill Boise State's national championship hopes?     

--- What do you call on first-and-97?

--- The Onion.   

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