2007 Buffalo Preview

Posted Jul 15, 2007

Preview 2007 Buffalo Bulls

Buffalo Bulls

Preview 2007

By Pete Fiutak

- 2007 UB Offense Preview | 2007 UB Defense Preview
2007 UB Depth Chart | 2006 CFN Buffalo Preview 

It’s not going to happen overnight.  

Stretched thin by a small budget, little revenue and all the problems that 12 wins in eight years brings, Buffalo started from scratch after hiring Turner Gill to take over the program last season. He went with a youth movement that led to yet another year of several blowout losses, but also saw an occasionally more competitive team that put up good efforts throughout the season.

Head coach: Turner Gill
2nd season: 2-10
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 25, Def. 31, ST 2
Lettermen Lost: 14
Ten Best Bull Players
1. DE Trevor Scott, Sr.
2. RB James Starks, Soph.
3. QB/WR/KR Naaman Roosevelt, Soph.
4. LB Ollice Ervin, Sr.
5. QB Drew Willy, Jr.
6. FS Kareem Byrom, Sr.
7. CB Kendric Hawkins, Soph.
8. C Jamey Richard, Sr.
9. SS Mike Newton, Soph.
10. OG Jeff Niedermier, Jr.

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 1-11

Aug. 30

at Rutgers

Sept. 8

at Temple

Sept. 15

at Penn State

Sept. 22


Sept. 29

at Ball State

Oct. 6


Oct. 13


Oct. 20

at Syracuse

Oct. 27


Nov. 3

at Miami

Nov. 17

Bowling Green

Nov. 24

at Kent State

2006 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2005 Results:
Preview 2005 predicted wins

8/31 Temple W 9-3 OT
9/9 at B Green L 48-40 3 OT
9/16 at No Illinois L 31-13
9/23 at Auburn L 38-7
10/7 Ball State L 55-25
10/14 Miami Univ. L 38-31
10/21 at Ohio L 42-7
10/28 at Boston College L 41-0
11/4 Kent State W 41-14
11/9 at Akron L 31-16
11/18 at Wisconsin L 35-3
11/24 Central Michigan L 55-28

Of course, now all that matters is that Gill comes up with wins, but for a program that hasn’t won more than three games in a season since making the move to D-I, it’s not like it’ll take a quantum leap to generate a little excitement.

Step one was to finally field an offense that could put some points on the board, and Gill did that with his West Coast style proving to be slightly effective against the mediocre to lousy teams. No, it didn’t do much of anything against the Wisconsins and Auburns on the schedule, but the Bulls will never compete among the nation’s elite. They just have to start moving the ball on the MAC’s better teams.

While the offense should come around and be better, the defense still might take a while even though it’ll have its moments against teams that can’t protect the passer. Gill and his staff are slowly building around speed and athleticism with several freshmen playing key roles in the building process. 17 starters and almost all the reserves return, so it’s possible a few improvements can be made on both sides of the ball in the long process.

Buffalo might be an impossible program to put together, but Gill has time. Winning the close games is a must, catching teams by surprise is a necessity, and improving from week to week is a hope. If Gill is as good as many think he’ll be, UB will eventually stop being the MAC’s doormat. Eventually.

What to watch for on offense: More pop. The team’s top quarterback, Drew Willy, had injury problems including a banged up thumb which hurt the overall offensive production, but now he’s back along with promising back James Starks and game-breaking return man/receiver/quarterback Naaman Roosevelt. The biggest improvement has to come up front with four starters returning to a huge line that did next to nothing last year. If the front five gives Willy and the others time to work, they’ll produce.

What to watch for on defense: More pressure, more attacking, more speed. While the UB defense might not have stopped too many offenses, it made its presence felt in the backfield. The D brought the pressure from all angles and sold out to dictate the action. While that worked well on passing plays, the front seven got ripped apart by anyone who could run. There’s just enough size up front to hope for an overall improvement against the power teams.   

The team will be far better if … the line can pass protect. The Bulls gave up a whopping 42 sacks and countless hurries. There’s not enough quickness at tackle, while the interior struggled against the blitz. Jordan Jerrold has the potential to be a rock at tackle, but he’s only a true sophomore and will still need time before he’s the team’s anchor. Center Jamey Richard is a good one to revolve the line around.

The Schedule: The opening day slaughter-to-be at Rutgers is a key tune-up before a must-win at Temple. A loss to the Owls will likely mean a really, really tough start with four road games in the first five, and the one home game against Baylor, before facing Ohio and an improved Toledo. Follow that up with a trip to Syracuse, and even if UB is improved, 1-7 is roughly the best to hope for before facing Akron. If that wasn’t bad enough, the Bulls close out with two road games in the final three.

Best Offensive Player: Sophomore RB James Starks. He can do it all as the team’s best runner and a top receiver out of the backfield. The former wide receiver can become a workhorse, but he’ll need more room to move behind a line that didn’t provide much help.

Best Defensive Player: Senior DE Trevor Scott. One of the MAC’s premier pass rushers, Scott made nine sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss. With nice size and a great motor, he’ll be the one player opposing offensive coordinators worry about every game. The rest of the line should see plenty of single blocking with all the attention paid to Scott.

Key player to a successful season: The entire offensive line. There’s potential there to be far better. Richard is an All-MAC caliber center, Jerrold, a 6-8, 306-pound sophomore, has all the tools to be great, and the rest of the line is experienced and large. Now they have to produce and do at least one thing well. 

The season will be a success if ... Buffalo wins three games. The program has only won three games in the last two years and hasn’t won three games since 2001, so getting to the three-win mark is a bigger deal than it might seem. Considering the Bulls will likely only be favored against Temple, it’ll likely take a few upsets for the Gill’s group to take a step forward.

Key game: Oct. 6 vs. Ohio. UB might be coming off a tough stretch to start the season, but a win, or at least a great performance, over the defending East champion might do wonders for the program. With only four home games, the Bulls can’t afford to give away any opportunities.

2006 Fun Stats: 
- First half scoring: Opponents 252 – Buffalo 57
- Average yards per carry: Opponents 4.7 – Buffalo 2.8
- Average yards per play: Opponents 6.3 – Buffalo 4.4


Related Stories
2007 Buffalo Preview - Offense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 15, 2007
2007 Buffalo Preview - Defense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 15, 2007
2007 Buffalo Preview - Depth Chart
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 15, 2007

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