ATN Podcast: How we got back here

Keith McMillan was in Alliance, Ohio, and Pat Coleman was in Whitewater, Wis., and while surely there are fans who probably are less interested in a Stagg Bowl with Mount Union and UW-Whitewater, those who are are in for a treat.

As we get ready for Stagg Bowl XXXVII (aka 37, since this particular set of Roman numerals is getting pretty long) Keith and Pat review how our two purple powerhouses got back to this point, with more challenging games in the semifinals than usual. They’ll talk about what they saw, what strengths and weaknesses were displayed on each side and get us started on the final Road to Salem.

Click the play button below to listen.

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45 thoughts on “ATN Podcast: How we got back here

  1. I don’t get it,why doesn’t ESPN hire you three to do the Stagg Bowl….must be they don’t want a bigger raiting….maybe someday…thanks for the podcast

  2. Was Wesley that weak of a team that MU was able to easily beat them without a actual quaterback? Is there anyone in the East that can even come close to the manpower MU puts on the field? UWW had its hands full the last two weeks with really powerful, skilled teams. But MU isn’t even challenged once throughout the playoffs, then loses its QB, and still cruises to an easy victory. The press releases just don’t seem to fill in the blanks for me, or am I just stating the obvious here?

  3. Agree with Neil. I just hate hearing Pam Ward… what else does some of the ESPN “talent” have to do on the 3rd Saturday in December.

    I’m trying like hell to get down to Salem this year and hang with some of my MUC buddies, but if I don’t make it… I will listen as I always do to the D3 pregame and game calls (with the TV on mute).

  4. “How we got back here” was very good, gentlemen. Hopefully, your final analysis will be as well done.

    This should be a week of intrique and speculation, hopefully, followed by what could be one of the very great Stagg Bowl games. even w/o Pam.

    Coach bambord will run a “real” Wildcat offense with III and Seaman. Seaman’s problem was not Seaman but the plays selected for him by the OC. I wish LK would call plays for Seaman/III and Rocco.

  5. According to, Pam Ward will not be doing the game this year for ESPN2.

    Broadcast Information:
    Play-by-play: Clay Matvick
    Analyst: David Diaz-Infante

  6. It’s a broken record but, great podcast!

    Wesley College came to play on Saturday and certainly acquitted themselves well. They put themselves in a position to win in Alliance but didn’t have enough gas in the tank.

    Mount Union’s defense deserves all the praise in this one. I will admit to not seeing Wesley play before this game but, I had heard and read of the talent of Shane McSweeney, being a strong mobile quarterback that was a dual threat with his arm AND legs. Like a DIII Elway.

    Once Rocco went out with that bone jarring hit, I myself was concerned that Mount was in trouble because it gave Wesley confidence AND McSweeney could then exploit the situation. However, as Neal Seaman experienced, I believe the game went too fast for McSweeney. He was certainly mobile but that was to escape the Mount Union rush.

    Because they could not establish the run, Mount’s D did not respect it and focused on McSweeney. This made it hard for him to check his progressions and forced either bad throws or just a scramble to avoid a sack. I watched him on the sidelines after their offense left the field on several possessions and he had his head down with negative body language. So, as much as Wesley’s defense played with confidence (especially no.s 7,11, and 26), there wasn’t the same confidence displayed by their offense and that was the difference in the game.

    Neal Seaman’s problems were similar in that he is used to playing in a more relaxed atmosphere (which is good for a freshman) against the second or third team defense. Saturday, he played against the first string with the game in doubt and couldn’t “speed” his game up. It’s certainly no knock against him as (Keith commented) he is the future quarterback of this team for several years but, Saturday he didn’t answer the bell.

    Good luck to both teams this Saturday in Purple Bowl V. There are certainly many story lines to explore and, I know I am looking forward to a great game!

    To both Wesley and Linfield, both your teams earned alot of respect Saturday and I have no doubt you will both be back in the thick of it in 2010.

  7. Warhawkguard:

    Your characterization of Wesley’s team is very misguided, in my opinion. While a 24-7 score is fairly decisive, it was 10-7 going into the fourth quarter, hardly “easy”.

    To suggest that Wesley lost to a team without an “actual quarterback” is to underestimate the importance of a stout defense. The defensive performace and the confusion created by a quick, strong front 6 made Wesley “one dimensional”. It does not make them a bad team, it just means that Mount was a better team.

    UWW did have it’s hands full with two difficult teams but Mount played the number 3 team in the nation Saturday and, prior to that, played the teams that were on the schedule. With unlimited funds, maybe the NCAA could be more creative in the bracketing but the 500 mile rule limits the choices. I have no doubt that Mount would have been challenged in the North bracket but they play in that region all year. It’s not all easy wins.

    Every year is different but, Wittenberg has played OAC teams (Mount Union, Ohio Northern, and Capital) fairly frequently and has had a difficult time with them. I realize they did not play any OAC teams in 2009 but it has a history with Mount Union. Not speaking poorly of Wittenberg except to say your comment of a “soft” schedule as contributing to Mount’s success is not valid.

    I have no doubt that this Saturday’s game will be a dog fight but, Mount had no appreciable advantage due to the regional bracketing.

  8. I haven’t listened to the podcast yet, but know the story is the same.

    I am thankful for both squads, but there is no love lost for them. It hurts to be so close yet so far away. It seems all the pieces are there for UMHB, Linfield, Central, Wesley, or some other squad to take the lead, but it just hasn’t happened.

    I hate seeing these two teams at it again, but, that is why they are who they are, and we can all hope to attain such success! Congrats to both teams and good luck. I hope it’s a good one.

  9. Hey Raider,
    My point is that MUC is so powerful that even after pulling the backup QB and running Wildcat, they still had more than enough manpower to pull away. If the two teams were relatively even except for a few skill positions and some schemes, even the better squad can rarely pull that off. Look at Oklahoma this year, they have studs throughout the team, but when Bradford fell they were just above average and barely made it to a bowl. The MUC D manhandled Wesley like they do to everyone else in their paths. It just seems that once they leave the OAC, the path gets easier judging by the scores put up. You do NOT have a soft schedule. I don’t want to put down anyone, but the scores don’t lie. Had Rocco stayed healthy all day it probably would have been more like 42 to 7 ya think?

    Will Rocco be back this Saturday or is his injury substantial? Is this a Tim Tebow type injury?

  10. Kirasdad: People who listened to the podcast already knew there was no Pam Ward. 🙂

    I don’t know if Mount Union was more powerful, but they clearly had the best player on the field on Saturday and they had a way to get the ball into his hands. Game over.

  11. The point about 4th quarter adjustments goes right into what I was saying as to the confusion I had about why Coach Fred was not in on the decisions about the second half against Linfield. He is the man. Yes, No, Right, Wrong, This way or That, HE is the man who makes the desicisions, not the D Coach, not the O Coach, no one. If he is not in on the decision to go away from the power run which had churned out 14 points in the first quarter, then whoever made that decision needs to be held responsible, and when it is seen that that decision is not working, then a change needed to be made, and obviously we were not capable of seeing that and making that change. That is the difference! Like it or hate it, that is the diference, and I know many Cru fans don’t like what I am saying. I love the team and will follow them till the day I die, but the truth is we did not make the right choices for the sixth straight year and that is why we have yet to win the Stagg. Perhaps it is unfair to make that call, but when you put your self in that group, that situation, that atmosphere, then you put yourself up for that discussion. If we are going to take the next step, better decisions in crunch time need to be made and clearly they haven’t been made yet as we have no championship ring.

  12. Sorry Pat, didn’t have time to listen to it till this afternoon. I was just replying to “SaintsFan” who said:

    “I just hate hearing Pam Ward… what else does some of the ESPN “talent” have to do on the 3rd Saturday in December. “

  13. Great recap and setup as usual, although did Keith really say “”Mr. Watson, come here! I want to see you!” ?

  14. Might as well have. I am working through a laptop issue and didn’t have the ability to do any audio editing whatsoever, so that was 47 minutes of one take. Usually Keith records his audio on his end and emails it to me, then I piece the two recordings together into one.


    My two Nephews Keith & Rodney UWW in the 80’s “Keith was huge..R0dney was fast”

    Uncle Neil “bet the farm on UWW it’s there year”

  16. Most that watched MU Wesley game simply understand what a great athlete Cecil Shorts is. MU defense should be applauded for shutting down Wesley. Wesley defense was impressive until the end. (10-7 in the 4th.) Key turning point was where the MU down lineman could extend their blocks. Look at the film the turning point was the MU offensive line play late. I saw Wesley play a few times; they did seem tight in the beginning. Finally, Johns Hopkins is clearly a top 10 team base on the MU-Wesley. I only saw them once at Wesley but was impressed, especially with the Hopkins defense.

  17. Warhawkguard –

    Of course there is enough talent in Southern/Eastern Region to compete with Mount Union. The biggest difference between Whitewater and say, Wesley or Washington and Jefferson, is that the kids going to Whitewater would be Division II or Division I-AA players if they were on the East Coast.

    Take a look at the map of Wisconsin. No D2 football teams. No D1-AA football teams. It’s either U of Wisconsin, or D3. Then look at the huge amount of D2, D1-AA, and even D3 teams in the PA/MD/VA area. The talent is there, but it is divided among too many schools.

    I don’t buy the idea that the only good football is being played West of PA, NY and VA. Divide up the talent by doubling the amount of teams in Ohio and Wisconsin, and you’d see a lot of this dominance come to an end. Really, if it were all about where the best football was being played, Texas would dominate D3. But they too have a ton of team choices.

    I’m not diminishing the incredible accomplishments at MUC and Whitewater. I’m just trying to put some perspective on why there is so much talent concentrated with so few teams.

  18. umhb2001,

    I haven’t followed the CRU as closely as you, but I do know they have earned GREAT national respect in only 11 years of college football. Undoubtedly it gets disappointing when a team breaks through to the quarter finals and semi finals regularly and even to the Stagg, yet remain without a ring. But I tend to think the final barrier (winning a championship) is an even greater challenge than “arriving” on the national stage. I’m sure throughout a playoff run that doesn’t end with a championship, every coach could be questioned on certain decisions that didn’t work out. But I would be VERY RELUCTANT to point a finger at decision making as the sole reason UMHB does not have a ring. Although very good year after year, it is quite likely they weren’t the BEST team in the nation in any of those years. Not yet.

  19. DanPadavona,

    You couldn’t be more correct about the lack of schools in Wisconsin, but don’t be fooled. Teams from the upper midwest come into Wisconsin and try raiding all of the talent. I know a bunch of people from Wisconsin who went D2 in Minnesota or Michigan. I know a few players who were recruited very heavily and went to North Dakota, South Dakota and South Dakota State. Players in Wisconsin don’t just play for D1 or D3 schools in state though. I understand your point, but don’t forget that a bunch of schools outside of Wisconsin understand the lack of scholarship schools and take advantage of it. However, a lot of the Minnesota and Michigan schools offer scholarships only enough to make the tuition equal to that of the D3 schools. But other schools are out there and they realize the potential and have seen the success of Wisconsin players in D3 and realize its there to be had.

  20. Good point T Unit. I checked out the rosters of Winona and Mankato, both DII schools in MN near WI border, and they are loaded with WI players. Additionally, you have some 18 WI DIII schools also pulling from the talent in the state. I think much of the success of UWW is based on coaching, the facilities and success breeding success. Long before UWW began its run, it had one of the best stadiums in all DIII, which is attractive to a kid that may be weighing options between other DIII teams and/or waiting for a shot at DII. Throw the recent success in, and the program has a great story to sell to prospective student athletes.
    Lastly, the number of schools in a state/region is reflective of the population of the area.

  21. Keith and Pat,
    Excellent podcast again. You identified UWW’s area of concern, which is pass coverage against good passing teams and it showed against Wittenberg and Linfield. That said, and given UWW’s success in limiting MUC’s running game the last couple of years, I have to believe Coach K will have schemes to get the ball to his receivers. Maybe Shorts is good enough to win the game from the QB spot, but he will be trying to run against a fast, hard hitting defense. It seems to me this is one of the best matchups between these two teams in their Stagg Bowl battles. An injury of note is UWW’s D End Anthony White. I think his absence was felt in the pass rush against Linfield.

  22. d3football:

    The formulas to success are well identified. When a star athlete from a local high school is making choices, he wants to attend a school where 1) He will experience success, 2) He will play, and 3) Will have great coaches, facilities, etc.

    While D1 is the most likely platform for eventual move to the pros (Pierre Garcon, London Fletcher, and Ken Anderson excepted), it provides limited access. Thus, these otherwise outstanding players who just didn’t make the cut, are left with a choice.

    Ohio has many DI-AA, D2, and D3 schools but, in those categories, Mount Union is high on a players list due to the factors listed above. To tell your friends, family, kids, etc. that you were part of 1, 2, 3, or 4 championship teams in college is a story treasured for life.

    It takes patience, humility, and a great sense of team (and of course talent) to wear the purple, white, and black of Mount Union. That aura, history, coaching staff, etc. lifts these players to be better than they are individually which makes Mount Union the power it is on a year in, year out basis. They are not superhuman by any stretch and can be beaten but it takes the opponents best effort to do so.

    This Saturday’s game should be a classic! Saturday can’t come soon enough.

  23. Derrick Stanley from UWW also played in the NFL. The sampling I provided was just that, although we know that DIII players are not prevalent in the eneffell.

  24. DanPadavona: You’re selling the competition in Ohio for HS talent way short. There are LOTS of other colleges with football programs in Ohio who are competing for the local talent with Mount Union:

    1. Ohio State University
    2. Akron
    3. Bowling Green
    4. Kent State
    5. Miami
    6. Ohio U.
    7. Toledo
    8. Cincinnatti

    9. Dayton
    10. Youngstown State

    11. Ashland
    12. Findlay
    13. Tiffin
    14. Central State U.
    15. Lake Erie College


    16. Bluffton
    17. Capital
    18. Case Westeren
    19. Defiance
    20. Dennison
    21. Heidelberg
    22. Hiram
    23. John Carroll
    24. Kenyon
    25. Marietta
    26. Mt. St. Joseph
    27. Mount Union
    28. Muskingham
    29. Oberlin
    30. Ohio Northern
    31. Ohio Wesleyan
    32. Otterbein
    33. Wilmington
    34. Wittenberg
    35. Wooster
    36. Baldwin Wallace

    37. Ohio Domincan
    38. Malone
    39. Walsh
    40. Notre Dame College

  25. Great recap and setup as usual, although did Keith really say ““Mr. Watson, come here! I want to see you!” ?

    I have no idea what you’re talking about.

  26. Keith, that’s a humorous reference to the sketchy quality of your audio portion of the podcast. Sounded at times like the string on your tin can was frayed!! repete is a regular Lisa Lampanelli. 😉

  27. T_Unit,

    Thanks for the response. Yes, I was assuming a lot of neighboring state D2/1-AA schools raid Wisconsin talent. That’s a good point. I think however the majority of the kids who aren’t in line for a scholarship are going to stay in their home state to benefit from typical in-state tuition advantages.

  28. Raiderdude –

    Actually Ohio only has 4 D2 football schools and 2 D1-AA football schools, according to the linked Wiki map. Again, I’m not trying to diminish what has been accomplished by Kehres and his staff. Just pointing out that there are decided advantages in limiting the potential school choices.

    Mount Union, I would assume from the map, competes most directly with the plethora of D3 schools in the region. To which they can tell any kid, “Come here and potentially play in 4 National Championship games.” Nice recruiting pitch!

  29. HSCoach/TUnit –

    I lost count after 40 counting the PA teams. Do you have a convenient link to a list of teams by division by state, rather than having to do it by looking at the maps?

  30. DanPadavona,

    There are 5 DII schools. Lake Erie College is just starting football.

    Don’t always trust what you see on a user-editable internet site (wiki). Must not be updated yet or edited incorrectly.

    MUC recruiting opponents can also say “You’ll have to wait 3-4 years to play at MUC, come start here and enjoy playing 4 years in college.”

  31. kirasdad- a good point-and eventually that is the pitch that will vault other schools into and ahead of the current powers. As a matter of fact, that’s the thinking that helps me justify putting out the cash to take the trip to Salem to see UWW play- you really never know when you’ll ever get a chance to see it again becuase things do change. I’ll be loading up the truck and heading west with the kids come Thursday night- hoping that the adventure and experience is equally good as the game.

  32. d3football,

    enjoy the drive…last year was TERRIBLE with the storm that rolled through thursday night and driving friday afternoon…of course I was the one who had to drive the whole way from Wisconsin to Salem while my friends enjoyed their naps…it was well worth the trip though even though WW lost…hopefully theres a different outcome for the Hawks this year!!!

  33. T_Unit14 I am right with you when it comes to the drive and not knowing what the weather will be coming or going. And as far as naps, my carload does the same there and back and I only have a six hour drive (of course I am the driver). How long of a drive is it from Wisconsin?

    Good Luck to your Warhawks.

    Does anyone know who the home team is for this game?

  34. can we get Faith Hill instead of James Otto to perform in the parking lot this year……..?????????????/

  35. James Otto sang the National Anthem at the ACC Championship game this year. I’m sure he thinks he’s “Better” than the Stagg Bowl this year.

  36. hey maybe we should start a thread on the weather, there calling for up to over a foot of snow in salem for the game. how will this affect both teams., etc……………..

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