This feature on Dino Babers by SI's Martin Rickman does a great job of giving you a glimpse into the new Bowling Green football coach's mind. Babers is a self-described movie buff, and it shows. He's a loyal man, who believes in building lasting relationships with his players, even after they're gone from his teams. Most importantly though, he may be a wizard.
Babers has spent his 30+ seasons in college football learning from some of the most innovative offensive wonderkids in the history of the game: Homer Smith, the creator of the 2-minute offense; June Jones, part of the old guard of the Run-and-Shoot; Mike Martz, the man behind the greatest show on turf; and Art Briles, the mad scientist behind Baylor's breakneck offense that's been known to give viewers whiplash.
If you could build a college offense savant, you would do it similar to how Babers has built his career: Getting a smidgen of this, a nibble of that. Constantly moving, constantly evolving. He's never spent more than four seasons in a spot, including at Baylor, where he developed his most potent offensive theories under Briles for four years as a wide receivers coach.
Now Babers brings his offensive system to Bowling Green, the 2013 MAC champs, after two seasons at EIU that were full of video game numbers. In 2013 his QB threw for 5,000+ yards and 53 touchdowns. His running back had over 1,500 yards, another back was just shy of 1,000. Two receivers were well over 1,000 yards, with another that just missed the mark.
I'll wait for you to pick your jaw up off the floor.
Now he takes over a Bowling Green team that brings back a large chunk of its MAC championship team, including a quarterback in Matt Johnson who threw for nearly 3,500 yards in a more traditional offensive system, and a running back in Travis Greene who finished 11th in the nation in rushing in his first season as a running back. Both of these guys still have two seasons of eligibility remaining.
Under Babers, the potential for BG's offense is boundless. Johnson and Greene are just two pieces of an offensive roster that's full of guys with playmaking ability. But the true sign that Babers has done his magic will be when he leaves after just a few seasons.
I can't guarantee this will happen, but considering his past, and how intriguing of a coaching prospect he is is with that potent offense that only one other team runs, which by the way is a pretty damn good team, it's unlikely he stays in BG for more than a few seasons with any level of success. After all, part of any good magicians act is not staying around long enough for someone to figure out how it works. But that's OK, because in the meantime he'll have upped the ante for MACtion, which is never a bad thing.
Our friend Martin Rickman caught up with another new face in the MAC, this time it's first-year Miami head coach Chuck Martin. Whereas by all appearances Babers seems to be the type of coach who is going to be here for a short while before moving on (not a bad thing at all), Martin took over a situation the requires a much longer investment.
He actually took a paycut to leave his OC position at Notre Dame, and take over as head coach of the worst FBS team from a season ago. But for Martin, who feels like a throwback to the older coaches who wanted to build a program from the ground up, it's not a bad thing.
Martin wants to build a culture. He wants to restore Miami to its proud state, and he knows it is going to be a rough road to get there. Take this quote from Martin in the Q&A with Rickman:
"We want to be like that kid who likes to fight. He may not even be the strongest or the meanest, but if you beat him up on Monday and Tuesday, he wants to fight you again. That kid you never want to get in a fight with because you know it's never ending. You get sick of beating him up and by Thursday, it's getting old and he's still coming at you. We want to have that mentality of somebody who's going to come to work every day and compete every day and love to play the game."
That may not be as sexy as Babers talk of running 80+ plays a game, and multiple receivers notching 1,000 yard seasons, but for a school dealing with the identity issues Miami is, Martin is the perfect guy. I don't really have much else to add to this, other than go read the Q&A. Martin is interesting, and has a refreshing take on what college football should be about.
- Akron's Spring game ends in a 3-3 tie, roll damn MACtion.
- Remember Garrett Wolfe, the former NIU great, buried in this piece about him and fellow Huskies returning for the opening of an athletic facility, is some interesting facts about Wolfe, such as he's currently a student at NIU again
- Cody Kater is back and healthy for CMU, and looked good in the Chips' Spring game
- The NIU quarterbacks regressed in NIU's Spring "Huskie Bowl"
- Western Michigan's Zach Terrell looked good in WMU's Spring 'Wooden Oar War'
- Ball State's QB battle is stall a battle after Spring practices conclude
That does it for Belt Loops this week. See a story you'd like us to share in next weeks edition, drop us a line on Twitter (@HustleBelt), or an email at HustleBeltBlog (AT) gmail dot com.