Five questions on Cincinnati

After some technical difficulties last week, this feature is back with Scott from Bearcats Blog.


On the Banks: What are your impressions of Butch Jones in his first year as coach?

Bearcats Blog: It's been a rocky first impression. The team has not played well (to say the least), and has been uncompetitive the past two games. I'm going to take the total homer stand here, but I think that next year he's going to have a better season. The defense was bad last year, and they lost most of the starters from that unit. The prognostication was a little too high, but being the worst team in the Big East is unacceptable.


On the Banks: Cincinnati ranks 114th nationally in sacks allowed, which isn't quite as bad as Rutgers, but still awful. Are those sacks attributable to personnel, scheme, or something else?

Bearcats Blog: I'm going to say both personnel and scheme. Obviously when lines have been as bad as the Rutgers and UC lines, there are a ton of factors to look at. The Bearcats gave up 8 sacks against Fresno, and made a line change. That change hasn't really helped a ton. UC doesn't use extra blockers in the pass game, and I think that has something to do with things. Plus, Zach Collaros is noted for hanging on to the ball too long.

On the Banks: The Bearcat defense has been torched so far in Big East play. What's wrong on that side of the ball?

Bearcats Blog: Everything outside the linebackers. The front four gets no pass rush. The secondary, outside of Reuben Johnson, doesn't cover very well. Teams have really taken advantage of safety Drew Frey. I don't like singling out a college kid for not being good at coverage, but he's really bad. He got torched in every single Big East game. No joke, every single game. The just don't have playmakers on that side of the ball. The middle star recruits that excel on offense have not excelled on defense as of yet. And, UC has seemingly changed defensive philosophy the last 3 seasons, which is never great. 

To give the unit some credit, they have played well at times, and just gotten burnt by the offense turning the ball over in short fields. The defense gave up 10 points on WVU drives, the rest came on a muffed punt, INT, INT, and a questionable roughing the passer to keep a drive alive.


On the Banks: Cincinnati's passing game still seems to be productive, although Zach Collaros threw a few interceptions last week. Are they capable of taking over games?

Bearcats Blog: They are definitely capable of taking over games. UC got in a little rhythm in the middle of the season with the offense being unstoppable. They put yards on Oklahoma, Miami and Louisville. The biggest part of that though, was running back Isaiah Pead. In those games, he's had monster running performances. In the losses to Fresno, USF, SU, and WVU, he's barely touched the ball, or been stuffed. Collaros is really good, DJ Woods is really good, Armon Binns has been great, but when you make a team 1 dimensional, you can beat them. 

On the Banks: What should the Big East conference do in terms of future expansion, if anything?

Bearcats Blog: It's looking like it's just a matter of time before TCU is going to join. I'm not sure of the second team. I would like to see Memphis, just because I want to watch Memphis and Cincinnati, and Memphis/Louisville and Memphis/Georgetown and so on in basketball.

Thanks again to Scott for helping out with these.

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