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Wilson out long term for Bulls

UB's depth on the offensive line has grown leaner with the news that sophomore Pat Wilson (East Aurora) could miss the entire season with a rotator cuff injury. The Bulls already had prepared for Wilson's absence in the opener by sliding true freshman Gabriel Barbe into the left tackle position. But Barbe has been limited in practice the last few days by a hamstring and sophomore Gokham Ozkan has been taking first-team reps at tackle.

On a positive note, injured centers Jasen Carlson and Josh Violanti are back practicing and will make the trip to Pitt for Saturday evening's season opener. If Carlson can start that would enable the Bulls to slide junior Graham Whinery back to his guard spot and reduce the inexperience on the offensive line. The week began with true freshman Barbe and Dillon Guy and redshirted freshman Andre Davis among the line starters.

The line injuries rekindle haunting memories of last year, when a injury-riddled line struggled throughout a 2-10 season. The Bulls like their depth up front, but the challenge of Saturday's test against the Panthers, typically one of the Big East's top defensive teams, has heightened.

Bob DiCesare

UB Game Week

Left tackle Pat Wilson will be sidelined for this week's game at Pitt. True freshman Gabriel Barbe, a 6-7, 310-pounder from Montreal, will start in his place. Centers Jasen Carlson and Josh Violanti are both questionable after missing much of camp with injuries. Graham Whinery, the center most of camp, will start. Coach Jeff Quinn said Carlson is closer to returning than Violanti and will be assessed in practice this week. Quinn was accompanied at today's press conference by guard Matt Ostrowski, a Pennsylvania native.

UB Game Week

Line Shuffle for Bulls

Left tackle Pat Wilson was replaced by Gabriel Barbe in Monday morning's workout. Coach Jeff Quinn said Wilson had tweaked his shoulder. The Bulls remain without centers Jasen Carlson and Josh Violanti. But the line has looked respectable throughout camp.
-- Bob DiCesare

Anderson named Bulls starter

The only real formal announcement was to the srum of local media waiting to hear who would be the starting QB for the Univeristy at Buffalo when the Bulls open the season Sept. 3 at Pitt. Head coach Jeff Quinn said that fifth-year senior transfer Chazz Anderson would be the starter to open the season, but noted that competition has been good among a host of QB candidates and the development of all players will be key to the Bulls success.

Quinn said there was no formal annoucement to the players but in Saturday's scrimmage at UB Stadium, it was clear who was taking first-team snaps (Anderson) and who was taking seconde-team snaps (sophomore Alex Zordich).

The team practiced specific situations on Saturday, including a few game-winning field goal attempts. Senior Pete Fardon, the punter who is vying for placekicking duties, hit one of those and was promptly mobbed on the field by his teammates as if they had just won the game.

"We practice all good things," Quinn joked.

For more, see Sunday's edition of The Buffalo News.

--- Amy Moritz

Change in MAC hoop playoffs

The chances of a team coming out of nowhere to win the MAC men's basketball tourney - as Ohio did two years ago -- have dropped precipitously. In fact, teams that finish out of the top four in the regular season will have to scale Everest to make off with the league's automatic NCAA berth.

In a format change announced today, the top two seeds regardless of division will advance straight to the semifinals. The third- and fourth-place seeds go straight to the quarters. For a men's team outside the top four to take the title it would have to win games Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Good luck.

The change received widespread support from the conference's AD's, including Warde Manuel at UB. It'll be interesting to see if it now becomes impossible to win on the road in a conference where it's been just about next to impossible.

The women will follow the same format except their first-round games will be Saturday, A big break over Monday for those that advance.

-Bob DiCesare

Don't Write off Zordich

Don't be surprised if it takes another week for Jeff Quinn to name his starting QB. Sophomore Alex Zordich is making the battle more interesting than might have been expected.

Experience weighed in favor of incoming QB Chazz Anderson when the University at Buffalo opened training camp. Anderson played for Quinn at Cincinnati and, as a fifth-year senior, scores high in the maturity department.

But Zordich was no less than Anderson's equal in Saturday's scrimmage and continued to get major reps in practice Monday. I'm guessing the Bulls will wait until after their second scrimmage this Saturday before making a firm commitment. I'm sure Quinn will lend more insight at Tuesday's media day.

Meanwhile, centers Jasen Carlson and Josh Violanti remain out along with linebacker John Syty. Graham Whinery remains at center.

-- Bob DiCesare

Musings off UB Scrimmage

To this point UB's looking much, much better in practice than it did at this point last year. Have to think it was quite a shock last fall going from the low-key Turner Gill to the high-octane Jeff Quinn and his no-huddle spread attack. With familiarity comes continuity. . . . Branden Oliver went from first gear to third in a flash on two long scoring plays, one a run and the other a flip screen. . . . None of the QBs had a "wow" day. Chazz Anderson was picked when his quick slant throw to Marcus Rivers was deflected. It's never been my favorite play in the book. Too many hands and bodies in the way, too great a risk. . . . It's going to be hard to keep RB Brandon Murie (Iroquois) off the field. He's quick and a gamer. At the least he'll be playing an important role on special teams. . . . True freshman kicker Patrick Clarke has leg and them some. He was three-stepping kickoffs to the 5 consistently during pre-practice drills. . . . Judging from the reps Saturday it'll be Anderson at QB with Alex Zordich the No. 2 and Jerry Davis No. 3. But that's unofficial. Expect Quinn to announce the order sometime in the coming week.

-- Bob DiCesare

 

Canisius High grad Gaines a starting LB for UMiami

Neat item on Canisius High School grad Jimmy Gaines -- he's right now slated as a starting linebacker for the University at Miami.

Check out a Miami Herald blog from Wednesday. Gaines is mentioned in the lead item and there's quotes from Miami defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio about the Western New Yorker.  

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

Murie back at RB for UB

Sophomore Brandon Murie has been seeing reps at running back in training camp and could emerge as a change-of-pace option behind Branden Oliver and Jeffvon Gill. Murie goes 5-foot-10, 183 pounds and brings exceptional quickness and escapability. He had been listed as a defensive back heading into camp.

""Really what helped is we added some very talented freshman (DBs)," coach Jeff Quinn told me Thursday. "So as we went through the first week of fall camp here we really liked where our development was and we needed another running back in all actuality.

"We told Brandon that this is an opportunity to settle in. Don't worry about making another move. Your a special teams player for us and you're going to be a running back and that's where you're going to finish your career at UB."

Camp notes: Center Jasen Carlson was on the limp after practice but it's not foreseen as anything serious . . . True freshman QB Joe Licata from Williamsville South has thrown some nice long balls in camp and is showing a pretty good grasp of the offense. Wouldn't be a surprise to see the Bulls redshirt him at the end of this season and have him compete for the job next year upon the departure of Chazz Anderson. . . . The Bulls go to full-equipment workouts Friday and scrimmage Saturday afternoon.

-- Bob DiCesare

 

 

UB Football: Just add shoulder pads

And welcome to Day 3 of camp for the University at Buffalo football team. Today's practice featured sunny skies and a gusty wind that is classic UB Stadium. The team is still in the acclimation phase and today wore shoulder pads for the first time.

As the level of euqipment increases, so too does the intensity of pratice.

"With the shoulder pads on, guys were able to domse of the striking and positioning we need when we're blocking and tackling," UB head coach Jeff Quinn said. "It's a little bit tougher to simuluate when we're not in shoulder pads, but today we made another step towards those 24 days [of camp].

"These guys are hungry to get out there and play. They've been through 21 weeks of just conditioning. Their chomping at the bit. When they put those shoulder pads on, you can see the heightened level of intensity and aggressiveness that we look for in young men playing this great game of football."

Bulls fans will recall last year when offensive tackle Matt Ostrowski broke his leg near the end of the first half of a 24-10 loss to Central Florida. Read how Ostrowski is ready to return to the field in Thursday's edition of The Buffalo News.

--- Amy Moritz

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About Campus Watch

Bob Dicesare

Bob DiCesare

Western New York native Bob DiCesare covers UB football, Big 4 basketball and writes an occasional column. He still holds a grudge against Chris Ford who, he's convinced, cost St. Bonaventure the 1970 NCAA basketball championship.

@TBNDicesare | bdicesare@buffnews.com


Rodney McKissic

Rodney McKissic

Rodney McKissic began his journalism career in 1989 after graduating from the University of Cincinnati and has worked for The Buffalo News since 2001. A proud father of four children, he enjoys reading in his spare time.

@RodneyMcKissic | rmckissic@buffnews.com


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has covered colleges for The Buffalo News since 1999. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | amoritz@buffnews.com

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