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Lunch with the Enemy: Talking with UB Bull Run

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Tim Riordan of UB Bull Run had a brilliant idea to have a Q&A between us and him in advance of the game tomorrow (because really, he's going to know way more about Buffalo than we ever will). We went three deep apiece - my questions to him are below, and my answers to his questions (plus a bonus!) are over at his place.

RTT: The Tennessee receiving corps is likely the best that Buffalo's faced so far. How will Buffalo's pass defense look to cope with the threats that Da'Rick Rogers and DeAnthony Arnett provide?

UB: You know, its going to be interesting to see. The guys in our secondary are very young and have not been tested this season so I suspect that Rodgers and Arnett will have a pretty good go of it. Once Pitt got into their high paced offense the backs seemed really out of sorts but at that point in the season it was four new starters with about 15 minutes of playing time.

RTT: Chazz Anderson also arrived in Buffalo after the end of the Brian Kelly regime, along with HC Jeff Quinn. Has Anderson acclimated well to what Quinn wants him to do with the ball?

UB: Sometimes I don't know if Jeff Quinn even knows what Jeff Quinn wants to do with the ball. He is one of those coaches that outsmarts himself from time to time. The more important point is that Jeff Quinn has moved pretty far away from the Cincinnati system this season. Really, Buffalo is behaving like a run first team (except apparently on 1st and goal from the 5) so where the Cincinnati scheme required a QB to go out there and light up a defense Buffalo just needs solid game management.

Anderson's ability to make something out of a broken play with his feet is a huge help but nobody is asking him to be Tony Pike.

RTT: Branden Oliver is the offensive star for the Bulls - heck, he's nearly outrushing last year's team on his own. Can he handle the increased workload over the course of the season, and what kind of running style can we expect from him on Saturday?

UB: I am as surprised by anyone at the ascension of Oliver.  UB has a bunch of backs who are about equally skilled so for one guy to come on and just dominate, well it's caught UB Fans unaware. There are still some voices calling for Jeffvon Gill, if only to keep Oliver fresh. Oliver is a physical specimen, he makes Steve Tasker look tall but he is thick and the guy never seems to wear out. In fact he looks better after 15 carries than he does when the game starts. I am less worried about him getting burnt out than I am about him getting hurt, if only because with 30 reps a game there's that much more of a chance to take the wrong hit.
RTT: as a MAC follower, can you talk about the merits of Dave Clawsen's head coaching career at Bowling Green? Is he ready for bigger, better jobs?

UB: Why, is Tennessee looking ;) (ed. - we're asking for a friend.)

You never know with MAC coaches. Turner Gill got snatched up for one conference championship. The season he was taken ended with UB going 5-7. Mike Haywood won the MAC on a fluke play and he was hired after just two years. Meanwhile Brady Hoke had to make a stopover in San Diego and rebuild a second Moribund team before he got looked at by the power conferences.

Right now, if I had to bet, I would say Clawson and Tim Beckman (Toledo) are the guys who land on peoples radars this season. Bowling Green was awful last year but they made a bowl in year one and are off to a nice start this season. I have a lot of respect for what he is doing in Bowling Green and the faster UB does not have to play him the better.

But not this year. If he finishes with 7+ wins, which will be hard with their schedule, and pulls that off again next season youll see someone pick him off.