Q&A with Over the Pylon
In addition to cribbing from his visiting fan’s guide, I also took the opportunity to grill Alan, of Over the Pylon, about what Ball State fans think of their new coach after one year and what they’ll be watching for tonight.
1. Thoughts on Pete Lembo? The record only improved by two games overall and one game in the MAC, the same year-over-year improvement that Parrish posted the year before, but as an outsider, the Cardinals’ football team just seemed different. What has Lembo done right, and, including the benefit of hindsight, what would you have liked for him to do differently?
My thoughts on Pete Lembo are overwhelmingly positive. He came into a situation that I think many people would have failed miserably at. I think at its most basic systemic level, Ball State University head football coach isn’t for everyone. But it may just be perfect for Pete.
I think he’s done everything right from recruiting, game planning, scheduling, marketing the program, and creating buy in from alums, the community, and the students. I have zero complaints with Lembo so far and hope we keep him for a long time.
2. Last year the Ball State defense seemed spotty at best, averaging something like 34 points per game allowed. What off-season adjustments have they made, and what should we expect from the 2012 defense? Who are the defensive play-makers to keep an eye on?
I think what most are looking forward to is the second year under the current staff and the stability that they have brought. The front seven is of significant concern. They are talented but unproven and that’s the big question mark for 2012. I would have said Newsome was someone to keep your eyes on but he has taken himself out of the lineup. Jason Pinkston will be the MAN on defense and the stronger he plays, the more one-dimensional EMU becomes.
3. On offense it seems like the key returning names are Keith Wenning, Willie Snead, Jamill Smith, and Jahwan Edwards. Who else has the potential to have big game for the Cardinals’ offense?
You’ve hit it right on the head. Snead and Smith provide a great target for Wenning and the running back corps will hopefully open up the passing game. If it turns out to be a big night for Wenning through the air and Edwards and company on the ground then it will be a very long lopsided night for EMU.
4. Your predictions for the game?
I think the game will be extremely close and tight if for no other reason than it’s the first game for both and both teams are in a similar position of needing this game to set the tone for this season. I think with the parity it comes down to special teams and intangibles and I think the crowd carries the Cardinals to a three point victory on a last minute field goal.
Well, at least we agree that it will probably be close.