By Rodney McKissic
How will UB replace Steven Means at defensive end? Apparently, it's going to take two players.
The likely starter will be senior Beau Bachtelle, whose strength is stopping the run, while newcomer Tedroy Lynch, a 6-foot-2, 249-pound junior college transfer from Shiremanstown, Pa., is a potent pass rusher.
The 6-5, 273-pound Bachtelle was part of the defensive line rotation a year ago appearing in 12 games and recording 11 tackles with three solos. At Lackawanna Junior College last season Lynch finished with 13 tackles for a loss and 9.5 sacks. Both took reps with the first team today
"He's more like Steven Means was when he first came here," UB DC Lou Tepper said of Lynch. "He may not understand the full gamut of our defense but he knows how to lay his ears back and and rush the passer. Those two will kind of combine to take Steven's place."
The Bulls’ offense is ready for a leap forward and here are two reasons why:
*The most recognizable one: The Bulls played the last four games of ’12 with Joe Licata at quarterback. Alex Zordich was resolute and to his credit showed great leadership but his stats tell the true saga. In eight starts, he completed 106 of 208 passes (51.0 percent) with nine touchdowns and seven interceptions.
If you take away the Morgan State game, UB’s offense scored 20 or more points three times in its first eight games. With the return of a seasoned Licata, who lead the Bulls to three wins in the final four games, prospects look much brighter.
*Think about how Branden Oliver performed last year under problematic conditions. The senior tailback missed five games because of injury and still rushed for 821 yards and five touchdowns despite playing against eight-man fronts geared to silence his production and a rickety passing game that couldn't take pressure off him. OC Alex Wood will find more ways to get him the ball in open space, including putting him in the slot.
The first play in 11 on 11 drills drew some oohs and aahs when Licata faked a handoff to Oliver, tucked the ball under his arm and ran for a 30-yard gain. Will UB - gasp - run more read option plays with Licata.
"Oh no it wasn't a read option," UB coach Jeff Quinn said, laughing. "That was just Joe Licata doing his thing man."
Friday will be the first day in full pads, and the way the defense was flying around the last two days, the players appear eager to hit somebody. ... Junior wide receiver Cordero Dixon went down with a minor injury during 7 on 7 drills but returned to practice. ... Senior linebacker Khalil Mack participated in all drills but sat out the 11 on 11 portion so younger players - like true freshmen Solomon Jackson - could receive some reps. ... The depth chart at QB according to the reps during 11 on 11 is Licata, Zordich, redshirt freshman Collin Michael and sophomore Tony Daniel.