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Bearcats Breakfast 8.24.12

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We are 13 days from UC-Pitt at Nippert. The countdown continues.

If you haven't seen the Are You Ready video yet, click the link and check your blood pressure.

Let's eat...

--- Spoke with Walter Stewart the other day as his final Higher Ground wrapped. Butch Jones called Stewart one of the most dynamic leaders he's been around and Stewart continued that role the last three weeks.

The man who made Get The Dub the rap sensation of last Fall says he's yet to crank out the second song for his senior season, but he still owns two weeks to put together a new jam.

He says it's tough to pull out the new hotness. Indeed, now he knows what Lil' Wayne feels like.

"I got a newfound respect for that work," he said.

He may be lagging in the music game, but that's probably because he's spending so much time honing his football game.

Here's a portion of the Q/A with a player the Bearcats are pegging to be the face of the program this year.

PDJ: Being a leader and face of this team a harder process than you envisioned when coming out here?

WS:
It was tough just because getting the younger guys going and constantly being that consistent person every day is tough, but we also got other guys on teh team, the player staff and all our leaders on defense with Dan (Giordano), Cheat, (Maalik) Bomar, we got through it the best we could.

PDJ: What did you learn about this team?

WS:
I learned we got a lot of players, lot of bodies. Since I've been here we never really had a stable of players you could just keep rolling them in. I feel like this year we got a lot of players that have been here for a while, that have sat out, I feel like we got a really, really deep team across the board.

PDJ: What have you found in your game that is coming together?

WS:
Every day I wrote it down, but it was just violent hands, winning the junction point and getting to the ball. Just ry to keep it simple. If you can master those three things, especially as a defensive lineman you can be a good player.

PDJ: Notice a difference in it working?

WS:
Definitely, I've been getting off blocks a lot better, I've been getting a lot more separation. In teh pass rush I've been using my hands a lot better. I'm running to the ball a lot better, that used to be my biggest problem in years past was just completely selling out to the ball every play, I've gotten better than that.

PDJ: Hard to believe how close that opening of your senior season is now?

WS:
With this being my last camp it's crazy because the season is coming, I'm a senior, it's everything you think about when you are a young player. You say, I can't wait, I can't wait. Now, it is just like, whoa, where am I right now. I am definitely enjoying the process.

--- The Bearcats return three of four starters in the secondary, so they expect to be better. Bill Koch writes about the pressure on a group that finished last season 105th in pass defense.

First off, let me say this, Bill's points are all valid. If there was a weakness in last year's defense it was stopping the pass. They allowed the opponent to complete at least 60 percent of their passes in 8 of 13 games.

Four times an opponent passed for more than 345 yards. Two of those were losses.

That said, the concept that UC's pass defense was among the 15 worst in the country last year bends the numbers. That number is derived from passing yards allowed. If you look at yards/game they ranked 99. No difference really, but worth noting.

Beyond that, their rush defense ranked sixth nationally in rushing yards per game with Derek Wolfe and John Hughes plugging the middle. That was a bigger reason for the bloated passing numbers than secondary malfunction.

When only allowing 2.71 yards per rush and playing from behind as many were against the 10-3 Bearcats, other teams are going toss it around quite a bit.

How much? Well, UC ranked 111th in the country in passes thrown against them last year (483). More passes=more yards=misleading numbers.

A better indication on how the passing  defense did would be by looking at the opponents passer rating and UC didn't fare badly there at all. They finished 44th in country in that category.

Moral of the story: The pass defense last year wasn't great, but they weren't that far off.

(All stats according to cfbstats.com)

--- News worth monitoring:
Pitt RB Ray Graham is unlikely for the opener against Youngstown State. He's being held out according to the ESPN story because of his recovery from last year's ACL injury.

All eyes are on him, according to Andrea Adelson.

If he's not good healthy enough to play at all in the opener, would anybody expect him to be his normal self if he plays five days later at UC?

--- While we are poking around the archives at ESPN's BE blog, they ask who will carry the flag of the conference? Does the conference need someone to carry the flag? Can it be UC?

Good quotes from new commish Mike Aresco and CBJ in the piece which serves as a great overview of the state of the conference.
 
--- Who is the better looking Bujnoch? Isn't it questions like this that started Facebook? Tommy G talks Nippert, O-line and long locks with Austen.

--- Seniors discuss leaving Higher Ground one final time over at CoachButchJones.com.

--- D.J. Woods with a 51-yard kickoff return last night for the Titans. Unfortunately, he also lost a fumble.

--- Armon Binns started opposite A.J. Green last night and made a diving catch to put the Bengals at first-and-goal on the 1-yard line. His role has become more defined and it appears he'll be in a rotation with Brandon Tate at the No. 2 spot, but get the starts.

--- Three tackles for JK Schaffer whose Jags had a tough time stopping Joe Flacco and the Ravens, who ran up 48 points. Flacco threw 36 passes in a preseason game? Apparently the Ravens think Flacco can be the next Drew Brees.

Randomness...

--- People attending Baltimore Ravens games may have contracted rabies from bats. As opposed to people who attend Cleveland Browns games, who may contract rabies from humans.

--- Even hoarders wouldn't touch this one
. This dude is keeping three million bees in his house. Only reminds me of Arrested Development. I wonder how this is going to affect his honey business?

--- While we are on the topic, Arrested Development returns this spring.

--- If you are 6-11 and 500 pounds, I suppose you could play football, though, the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest would play more to your skill set.

--- As a sports nerd, I am a complete sucker for these things. This is six minutes of the greatest moments in sports. Enjoy this and your weekend folks.



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