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UB's Clarke: Confidence Unshaken

By Bob DiCesare

UB kicker Patrick Clarke already has missed more field goals through five games than all of last season. But he equates his situation to the mentality of a golfer who hits a shot that doesn't come off quite right: Forget about that one and hit the next.

"Just taking it one kick at a time," Clarke said after practice Tuesday. "We've had a lot of 40-plus-yard field goals this season. So I just have to take it a kick at a time. Obviously I'm not happy with myself. I feel that's inexcusable. I have to do my job but it's just taking it a kick at a time."

Clarke has made four of nine attempts on the season, with four of the misses coming between 40 and 49 yards. He made four of five from that range last year while going 11 of 15 overall. On the plus side, none of his misses have ended up costing the Bulls and his makes include a 49- and career-best 50-yarder against UConn.

"Most of them have been really close," said Clarke of the misses. "I think a lot of it's just a matter of taking the right line because in this stadium sometimes the winds kind of swirl a little bit. Even if there doesn't seem like there's much wind there's still a little bit to push it so I just got to make sure my line's right every time and just take a deep breath and take it a kick at a time. I know if I do that I can make every single kick."

UB Connection

By Bob DiCesare

Paul Dietzel, coach of LSU's undefeated 1958 national championship team, died Tuesday at 89. He is the second cousin of UB safeties coach Mike Dietzel.

Talk about a storied football journey. As reported by the Associated Press, Paul Dietzel played under Sid Gillman at Miami (Ohio) and was an assistant under Gillman at Miami, West Point and Cincinnati. He became Bear Bryant's offensive line coach at Kentucky in 1951. The turning point of his head coaching days at LSU came when he recruited the great Billy Cannon.

Cannon won the Heisman Trophy in 1959. Who finished second?

That would be Penn St. quarterback Richie Lucas, the first player ever drafted by the Buffalo Bills.

And No. 3? SMU QB "Dandy" Don Meredith.

UB Renews Emphasis on Run

By Bob DiCesare

UB finally got its running game going in the second half against Stony Brook Sept. 14, and the Bulls are looking to build off that improvement with running back Branden Oliver a go for this Saturday's game against visiting UConn. 

"Absolutely," coach Jeff Quinn said on this morning MAC coaches teleconference. "We talked about it again this past week in terms of controlling the line of scrimmage with our big guys up front along with our tight ends and fullbacks. The things that I saw out of them this week, there was a concerted effort to get in and watch more film, understand the little detail things that make an effective run-blocking offense."

UConn (0-3) has been overpowered at the line by all three opponents -- Towson, Maryland and Michigan. The Huskies have yielded 598 yards on the ground while managing just 156 themselves.

UB (1-2) got 118 yards from backup Anthone Taylor and another 30 from James Potts after Oliver sat out against Stony Brook with a sore knee. 

"I think the approach this week has been about running the ball and that's what we're going to continue to do," Quinn said. "Our guys are excited about that part of the game plan. But there's going to be some times we're going to have to throw the ball. They're a big Cover 1 team. They're going to press, get up in your face, so there's going to be some tight-window throws in addition."

The 3:30 kickoff will follow a pregame concert featuring country music recording artist Randy Houser. 


A New Game Day at UB

By Bob DiCesare

A new era of sorts begins Saturday as UB athletics launches a game-day initiative aimed at drawing the community to UB football games and, just as importantly, cultivating dedicated fans who'll return for more.

The tailgate experience begins at 12:30 p.m. -- three hours before kickoff against Stony Brook -- when Stampede Square adjacent to the stadium opens to the public. At 1:15 p.m., UB players will stage the "Walk to Victory," and a pep rally begins.

The first concert of the season-long series commences at 1:30 with a performance by Blues Travelers. On-site activities include a miniature golf course, a climbing wall, and an autograph booth. Buffalo Sabres goaltender Jonas Enroth will appear.

Regular readers know I'm not a big fan of all the intiatives launched by UB athletics. But this one is right on target. In covering UB away games I've witnessed first hand the enthusiasm generated by the game-day experience at other institutions. It's quite a sight.

UB athletics has made a relatively sizable financial commitment in an effort to bring that kind of feel to Buffalo. I'm interested to see if it makes an impact, boosts attendance and  takes WNY's affinity for UB football somewhere beyond lukewarm.

Video: Trevor Sales, rap MC

UB Putting Baylor Out of Mind

By Bob DiCesare

UB won't spend a lot of time today reviewing the tape from Saturday's 70-13 thrashing at the hands of Baylor. And that makes a lot of sense because, seriously, what good would it do? The Bulls will encounter dangerous athletes at the skill positions as they move on with the season but they won't see anything remotely close to the collection that Baylor threw at them Saturday in Waco.

Here's what head coach Jeff Quinn had to say on this morning's MAC coaches conference call:

"The only thing that I want is anything that allows our coaches, our staff, to try and make a point in terms of teaching moments, whether it's structural, whether it's effort, a technique, an assignment," Quinn said. "It's got to be positive. It has to be something that we utilize so our players can learn from it. But to sit down and watch every single play is not going to be the mindset today. That's not what we're going to do. We're going to focus a little bit on what we have to accomplish in terms of looking at things that happened Saturday, isolated situations, and then move on."

UB plays its home opener against FCS Stony Brook at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. Stony Brook has been off since a 24-0 victory over Rhode Island in Week One. The Seawolves were picked seventh and Rhode Island last in the Colonial Athletic Association preseason poll.


UB's Baylor Connection

By Bob DiCesare

The emergence of the Baylor football program in recent years hits home with UB secondary coach Maurice Linguist, an all-conference safety with the Bears before graduating in 2006. Baylor was an afterthought in the Big 12 until the arrival of quarterback sensation Robert Griffin III. Now the Bears have gone to bowl games each of the last three years, saw RGIII win the Heisman and have a new $250 million home in Baylor Stadium set to open next season.

"The Baylor family down there is committed to trying to build that program up, the same thing we're trying to get done here in terms of financial support," Linguist said. "They got a big project with the stadium going up and I think they got some big donations going on with that and obviously the football team winning a lot of games has helped. Coach Briles has done a great job bringing that program up to a premier national program.

"It all starts with us, it all starts with wins, and it starts with people on the outside just really being committed the way guys on the inside are committed as well."

Linguist said it's been a couple of years since he paid a visit to his alma mater.

"It's always good to get back whenever you get a chance but Buffalo's home right now and we're trying to get this thing done and go win some games."

Baylor Well Aware of K-Mack

By Bob DiCesare

Here's what Baylor coach Art Briles had to say about UB LB Khalil Mack on today's Big 12 coaches teleconference. The Bears entertain Bulls at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in Waco:

"He's definitely different. He's a guy that you certainly have to account for from an offensive standpoint. He's very dynamic. I've seen where he's been rated as the No. 2 linebacker in America this year so he sticks out. As soon as you put the film on -- we started watching yesterday -- it takes about one play to figure out who their guy is. I mean, he's it. He's good. He's earned his reputation and plays extremely well."

The Bears opened the season walloping FCS Wofford, 69-3, and have scored at least 41 points in five straight games. Quarterback Bryce Petty was 19 of 24 for 312 yards and two TDs in his first career start andjunior RB Lache Seastrunk went for 111 yards and two scores on 11 carries. Nine Baylor players had receptions and six of them averaged at last 10 yards per catch.

Meyer: Mack could start for Buckeyes

Rodney McKissic

Count Urban Meyer among the growing list of admirers of UB linebacker Khalil Mack.

Meyer said during the Big Ten conference call on Tuesday that Mack could start for the nation's No. 2 ranked team. Asked about jumping to a quick start in Saturday's game against the Bulls, Meyer quickly turned his attention to Mack, the Butkus Award candidate, who already holds school records for tackles for loss (56) and forced fumbles (11).

"They have a linebacker who could certainly start for Ohio State," Meyer said. "He will be a great NFL player. The more I watch him - I watched him during the summer but not with the same intensity as I've watched the last few days. Excellent player."

Ailing Bulls on Schedule for Return

By Bob DiCesare

Center Trevor Sales, guard Dillon Guy, wideout Fred Lee and safety Derek Brim practiced on a limited basis Friday but should be available when UB opens the football seasob Aug. 31 at Ohio State. The only player out for the opener is running back Jordan Johnsobn, who's expecting to miss the season after undergoing elbow surgery.

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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 |

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 |