Potential Opponent Watch 2018: Cincinnati

(Patrick) #1

Trail, a fourth-year junior from Wynne, Arkansas, has been a backup player for most of his UC career. With senior Hayden Moore essentially established as the 2018 starter and redshirt freshman Desmond Ridder making a push for the No. 2 job, Trail became concerned about his chances to play.

Trail also missed UC’s spring workout Tuesday with an excused absence from Fickell.

“He’s got to get a release,” Fickell said. “He’s got to sign papers or else he can’t talk to anybody else. He’s got to find out his academic situation, and so forth.”

With Moore sitting out last Saturday’s scrimmage with a slightly sore throwing arm, Ridder was the first quarterback to take snaps with the No. 1 offensive unit. Moore has returned to practice this week without complications.

(Cristian) #2

“Four-and-eight seasons are, I think, not very representative of the work we put in,” said Campbell, a senior and starter at left offensive guard. “Obviously, that keeps you up at night. I’m restless about it, as I’m sure a lot of the coaching staff and players are.”

It was not a traditional spring game, with Fickell opting for just a practice because of a lack of depth at positions including the offensive line. There were some live passing and kicking drills as, with rain approaching, Fickell had moved the practice up to an earlier (7:30 a.m.) start.

Practice originally was to begin at 11:30 a.m. but, owing to the earlier start and threatening weather, spectator attendance was sparse.

(Patrick) #3

Cincinnati Bearcats
Head coach: Fickell (4-8, second year)

2017 record and S&P+ ranking: 4-8 (102nd)

Projected 2018 record and S&P+ ranking: 6-6 (88th)

Five key points:

Fickell was hired to stockpile talent, and he’s doing so: Cincy has the best two-year recruiting in the Group of 5.

He inherited a two-deep with pretty significant class imbalance, having to replace quite a few seniors on offense this year and on defense next year. Barring an extreme youth movement, it’ll take a while to balance that out.

The offense improved late in 2017 and returns senior QB Hayden Moore and a pair of high-upside sophomore RBs in Gerrid Doaks and Michael Warren II. But the line is rebuilding.

The linebacking corps will be a strong anchor for the run defense, but a poor pass rush, iffy safety play, and extreme youth at cornerback will probably lead to lots of passing yards.

Even with only marginal improvement, a bowl bid is a realistic goal.

(User was banned for sending threatening/abusive messages.) #4

(Patrick) #5

Really interested to watch Cincy. Fickell can recruit, but can he coach.

(sarkcoog) #6

I agree about Fickell. Really when you look at things:

UCF - Heupfel - I am not a fan of this hire for UCF
USF - Strong - Good not great coach
Temple - Collins - Team greatly improved over the season and I predict will win the East this year
Cinn - Fickell - Looks to have been a great hire
Conn - Edsall - Good coach can he turn them around again
ECU - Scott - Should start their coaching search now

Looking at the East, several team with good coaches and will be interesting how the season will go this year.

Memphis - Norvell - Good coach - Let’s see how he did with his new assistant hires this year
Navy - Niumatalolo - Great coach - Does a lot with little
Tulane - Fritz - Great coach - Does a lot with little
SMU - Dykes - Good coach - Great offense but can he play defense
Tulsa - Montgomery - Leaning - Seems to be having trouble recruiting and playing defense as well
UH - Applewhite - Learning - Has done a job getting transfers this year, made some great changes in the staff, looking to see the results on the field

If you look at our conference one thing is very clear. We have definitely separated ourselves from the other G5 schools. I believe, despite the huge gap in revenue, our conference is much closer to the P5 than the other G5 and it is reflected in the ability of our schools to replace coaches that leave with high guality replacements.

This conference is going to be a fun one to watch this year. Not just to watch our Coogs but to see how things develop across the conference.

(Patrick) #7

If you ask Fickell about his goal for the 2018 season, he will tell you in no uncertain terms it’s an AAC championship. He also knows that’s probably too ambitious. If the Bearcats can nab a bowl bid, show improvement in all three phases and get production out of younger players — maybe even at quarterback — it will be a successful season for a program on the mend and one that should leave fans happy. Expectations remain modest for the Bearcats, but optimism and patience are the prevailing sentiments. And that in itself is an improvement.

(Paul Marlow) #8

We would be pulling out pitchforks if our goal was a bowl bid.

I agree with the above post that we have some really good coaches in the league.

(WRB) #9

Agreed but it’s all about perspective. If we had their record over the last 2-3 years, a bowl bid would be a positive step forward and look pretty nice.

(Patrick) #10

As UC continues summer practice here at Camp Higher Ground, the Bearcats (4-8 last year) vow to push the pace after tying for 121st nationally last year with only 1.0 sack per game. The first challenge comes Sept. 1 at UCLA (7 p.m., ESPN) at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.

(Patrick) #11

Can Cincinnati get back to a bowl in 2018 in Luke Fickell’s second year at the helm?

Here is your Bearcats’ summer football preview!

(Patrick) #12

Overall glance: UC allowed at least 31 points in eight different games last year, and lost each time in a 4-8 season. The Bearcats also tied for 121st nationally in sacks (1.0 per game) and made just five interceptions as a team (tied for 119th nationally).

UC also ranked 100th nationally in third-down conversion defense, allowing opponents to convert 43.3 percent of their attempts.

(Paul Marlow) #13

Interesting that Cinci is playing a home and home with UCLA.

(Patrick) #14

Moore seems like he’s been at Cincy forever.

On top of that, even with all those passing yards and touchdowns, Moore actually set a career-low in completion percentage (56.4), yards per attempt (6.0) and adjusted yards per attempt (6.0). Taking special notice of that last number, Moore really struggled with throwing the ball deeper down field. With Moore making all the throws, the Bearcats ranked last in the American Athletic Conference in passes of 30 or more yards. It’s too bad because guys like Khalil Lewis and Thomas Geddis have big-play potential but were utilized more in shorter passing situations.

(Patrick) #15

But let’s back up before we get caught diving into granular breakdown of all 12 games on the schedule. If we’re really trying to answer the question posed in the headline, the simple answer is that there needs to be improvement that is not only visible during games but in the box score and standings. That means producing more on offense than last year. If the Bearcats can even make themselves a league average offensive team, both in yards gained and points scored, that will be a major win. On defense, Fickell’s area of strength, the Bearcats need to find a pass rush. They can’t hope to dominate and win games with their defense otherwise. UC was right in the middle of the AAC in yards allowed last year, but tied for second-to-last in sacks. If they can accumulate more than 20 sacks or so, that should indicate a superior defensive presence.

(Patrick) #16

(Patrick) #17


Cincy up 14-10 on UCLA with 4 mins left in the 1st half. I would have thought they’d be down by 3 TDs by now.

(Nathan) #19

Cincy just got a safety and leads by 2 with 9:45 left

(Paul Marlow) #20

Just scored. Cincy has 2 possession lead now.