College Football Preview: The 2015 Buffalo Bulls
Buffalo Bulls Preview
2014 Record: 5-6
The Buffalo Bulls have a new head coach and high expectations heading in to the 2015 season.
Overview: The Buffalo Bulls fired Jeff Quinn and hired Lance Leipold of Division III Wisconsin-Whitewater fame where his defensive minded club went 109-6 and won the National Championship six times and Bulls fans are hoping he can bring that magic to UB.
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Offense: Quarterback Joe Licata was productive with 2,647 yards on 65% and he avoided mistakes with 29 touchdowns and eleven INT’s. Licata gets almost his entire receiving corps back (minus Devon Hughes 43-515) including leading receiver Ron Willougby who grabbed 50 balls for 771 yards. The backfield gets back every player that touched the ball in 2014 with leading rusher Anthone Taylor totaling over 1,400 yards on 282 totes and a nice five yard average. Jordan Johnson was more then adequate for an occasional carry (74-361) so the rushing attack also has potential. The one worry and it’s a big one is O-Line lost three starters including All MAC LT Jake Silas.
Defense: The defense in 2014 made a lot of plays and were burned by a lot of big gainers so where that leaves a group that lost a ton of starters remains to be seen. The defensive line lost five of their top six with DE Brandon Crawford leading the returning players with 13 tackles in ten games. The linebacking unit lost it’s top two including leading tackler Lee Skinner with eight back with game experience so most will once again see time as the unit will be called on for run support and a pass rush if an inexperienced line falters. The secondary lost both safeties and two of their top three corners so some new faces will be thrust in to the limelight early.
Special Teams: Tyler Grassman averaged 40.7 yards on 50 punts but Buffalo needs a kicker which isn’t a bad thing considering Patrick Clarke was just 6-14 on field goals. Devin Campbell was a solid kick returner at over 23 yards on 28 returns while Jacob Martinez and Marcus McGill will bring back punts.
Outlook: Leipold certainly has the pedigree to make something out of nothing on the defensive side of the football and that combined with a doable schedule and Buffalo could see immediate improvement in the win column. Enough to break .500 or beyond? It’s possible but I’ll take a wait and see approach.