Dan Rubin: You know, I sat down to start going back and forth with you, AJ, and I was wondering how we wanted to kick this thing off. Then it occurred to me.
We have REAL, LIVE football this week. REAL pads. REAL hitting. REAL plays against a team that's not your own. I don't even know what to do with myself right now.
AJ Black: I am ready to run through a brick wall right now. Figuratively of course. I know there is a lot of melancholy about the first two games, but honestly I don't really care. Football is football. Tailgating, seeing friends, watching a whole new team. This is going to be fun. From a football stance I want to see what BC is capable of doing, and how Todd Fitch's game will differ from Ryan Day's.
Dan as we start off the season, other than the cheerleaders (I kid) what are you going to be looking at most closely on Saturday?
Dan: I'm honestly looking for schemes and team play. I came to the realization that we have no way of knowing how BC will run their offense until we actually see it. I based that on the very different styles run in Year 1 to Year 2. I tried to predict it but then I realized we really can't.
So I'm looking for a baseline understanding of what BC's way of thinking is. I want to see formations, personnel groupings, and play calls so we can start analyzing it during the year. That's goes for both offense and defense.
I'm also looking to see some of the game presentation stuff - music, video boards, etc. After all, it's Year Two of the BaldwinTron 5000 in the end zone.
AJ Black: Dan, this is Maine, so there isn't going to be a lot that we can take from the game. What will BC need to do in order for this game to be considered successful?
Dan: It's two-fold. They obviously need to win but I feel it needs to be convincing. They need to salt away the second half and dominate the third quarter. I wouldn't be shocked to see BC drop 40 behind three third quarter scores. I'm not predicting a 56-0 blowout, and I don't think the score will accurately reflect how close it may be at one point. But I think this game especially needs to be over by halfway through the fourth.
Later on in the week I'll talk about basic progressions and what to look for over the course of the game.
Okay, some questions for you. First off, what are you expecting from the defense against Maine, especially the secondary and the passing game?
AJ Black: I want them to honestly use their strength to wear down Maine, but I don't want Don Brown to show all his cards at this point. If he has some exotic blitzes he wants to use, save them if possible for FSU. We want a full deck against the Seminoles, and the element of surprise is something that'll be important. On top of that I want to see what the secondary can do. The front seven should be able to push around the front line of Maine, but I want to see what the younger corners can do. An interception or two would be a good sign. A big fat zero or 7 points would also be gravy.
Dan since we are on the subject of success, what do you want to see out of quarterback Darius Wade on Saturday?
Dan: Good things. After talking with Jon Meterparel during the radio show on Tuesday, I'm looking to see what the kid is made of as a start. I'm looking for him to protect the football, but what Jon told us caused me to backpedal a little bit. For the last couple of weeks, I've changed my tune from solely adjusting last year's offense to more of a "Well let's see what the combination of players and coaches can do." So that's what I'm really looking for - good things.
We know tailgating is a touchy subject. What would be an encouraging sign for you on Saturday outside of the stadium?
AJ: The FCS games at the beginning of the year is going to result in some brutal attendance numbers. At this point I just hope the hardcore nuts like myself will be out there and tailgating. As long as the Eagles can still grab people to go out and enjoy the campus, grill and be with friends that should be a decent sign. On the other hand, attendance is going to be miserable. With the game happening during Labor Day weekend, I expect ticket scans at the gate to be really low and for the upper deck to be close to empty.
What would be the most concerning thing BC could do on Saturday, short of losing the game?
Dan: If Maine torches the defense, that's going to be a big time concern. It looks like Jack Cosgrove could roll two different quarterbacks at BC in a set rotation or he could be going with one or the other; if either moves the ball effectively, that's a big time worry. For whatever reason, I'm a little excited to see Drew Belcher at QB for the Black Bears.
I'm not as worried about the offense, but we've spent a ton of time talking up the defense. They can't just give up chunks of yards to start the season without causing some worries and fears to cross our minds.
Two Minute Huddle
AJ: It's a big weekend for college football, what marquee matchup are you looking forward to the most?
Dan: Ohio State is heading to Lane Stadium to take on Virginia Tech, and I'm just as pumped up about it as anyone else. The end of last season saw Lane lose what made it one of the worst places in the country to play. With a defense that's supposed to be one of the nation's best, this is a chance for the Hokies to reclaim some of the pride they lost towards the end of last season.
I know you're a tailgate aficionado - what's on the menu for the first game? Any family secret recipes we can give up? I know I'm just going to be crushing Kane's Donuts from over in Saugus along with delicious, tasty Busch Light.
AJ: Well last time I gave out my buffalo chicken dip recipe I got chewed out by my wife, so I am going to decline. However, simple yet awesome idea for those 1 o'clock game. They sell egg tins for grills. Buy a dozen eggs, dozen english muffins, cheese and meat. Grease the tins throw them on grill and then boom, best egg sandwiches ever.
Finally, which BC player scores the most touchdowns on Saturday?
Dan: All preseason and summer I've been touting Shake and Chestnut, so I'm saying either Jon Hilliman or Marcus Outlow (or both) find the end zone to do some dirty work for the Eagles.
AJ: I'm going to go the same position, but I'll say Myles Willis. Maybe a special teams and rushing TD for the upper classman.