Monday, 9 January 2012

BUAFL Breakdown: The MAC

With so many teams in the MAC we decided to split it in half and release our breakdown over two days. Keep a look out on our Facebook page tomorrow for part deux.

Loughborough Aces
A by-product of the best sporting university in the UK it’s not hard to imagine that Loughborough University will be strong at American Football. Lead by powerhouse running back Adam Hope Loughborough run a triple option pistol offense that is effective against inexperienced defences. They are effective on the dive down the middle with a tall and wide offensive line making large running lanes for Adam Hope to run through. 

The offence sometimes struggles when the ball is put into QB Nick Jacquets hands. He has an unusual arm with a nice spiral, but tends to throw the ball very high in hope that his receivers will out jump DBs. 

The Aces defence are reknowned as one of the best defences in the country. Linebackers Anssi Saari from the Helsinki Wolverines in Finland and Jonathan Varney from Tamworth Phoenix are the core of it and thanks to their two big linebackers they have proved so far they are nearly impossible to run against, conceding no rushing touchdowns. 

During the game with Derby, Loughborough’s pass coverage was a little shaky and this may be the difference between them and the Birmingham Lions in the big battle which is yet to come.

Birmingham Lions
Tristan who?  If anyone thought that the Lions would be tamed by the loss of one of BUAFL's few truly stellar players, they have been firmly put in their place by Brum’s relentless scoring.

The bright lights and big occasion may have slightly slowed Varney's replacements Jonny Glover and Sope Dirisu in the XpLosION clash with NTU, but since then the Blue Crush (yes, I just made that nickname up) have swept aside their opponents like flotsam and jetsam, putting up a gaudy 207 points in their four games so far.

Only the two Nottingham sides have scored on the Lions, with poor old Coventry Jets not even mustering a first down against a simply dominant defence.  There are big names wherever you look on this Lions team – Conroy, Burrows, Brown (I really could go on all day) – and trust me, they haven’t got to that stage just on hype.

Having not had their supremacy challenged thus far, the 18th February clash with Loughborough will have the eyes of the BUAFL nation upon it, with the winner likely to take over as favourites to at least make the bowl game.

Northampton Nemesis
What can we say about Northampton that hasn't already been said?  Nothing.  End of breakdown.

In all seriousness, they can't do anything about the soft schedule that they have received, and I'm sure nobody will really be that bothered about their unbeaten start should they lose one or more of their post-Christmas games and fall out of play-off contention.  What we will do is something that not many have done so far - compliment Northampton on staying grounded throughout all the kerfuffle and not listening to the furore that has engulfed them.

Despite a start that has seen them face two other rookie sides and two poor veteran teams, Nemesis have not put up huge numbers, and will probably struggle if and when they face a team that have the potent mix of quality and experience, but will that happen in their remaining four games?  It certainly won't happen against Surrey, who ranked second in our Powerless Rankings last week, but Lincoln and Warwick will test the Nemesis.  A defeat in either or both of those games may well leave a last day plate battle with the Outlaws.  And where would your money be on that one?

Lincoln Colonials
Struggling at the bottom of the table, the worst for Lincoln is yet to come, with games against NTU, Derby, and Birmingham still to play.  Alex Robson is the youngest head coach in the UK who’s playing experience consists of 3 years at Lincoln. They also have little or no positional coaches and because of this the Colonials struggle. 

One of their main problems is their offensive line. they are unable to hold their blocks for more than a second. Their quarterback is known for throwing grenade-like passes, but on the rare occasion they do pass they go to wide receiver Alex Preece who is one of the only players to have previous playing experience, 2 seasons with the Coventry Jets Juniors. 

Preece has 2 receptions / 96 receiving yards / 2 receiving TDs, not bad in a team that rarely passes. Their defence is filled with ex-rugby players, but yet again their lack of coaching does its damage.

Derby Braves
This season the Derby Braves have evolved from a run heavy team with GB Youth running back Marcus Francis, to a more balanced offense that has amassed over 1000 passing yards before the Christmas break this season. This may be due to the arrival of experienced first year quarterback Joe Brammer and his link up with previous QB turned Wide Receiver Tom Singleton-Wells. 

Derby are known as a  hard hitting team, which can be seen in their big rivalries with NTU and Loughborough. This year they were able to beat NTU, but fell short at Loughborough after an impressive game from both offenses. 

Derby’s defense is made up of strong linebackers and a big defensive line and they will be a real team to watch for the rest of the season to see how they will evolve. Will they stick to their success in their run game or will they show more of their spread offense that they showed against Loughborough?

Nottingham Outlaws
The Outlaws have had a very mixed start to the season, as their .500 record would suggest.  After a surprisingly close opening day win against the returning LJMU Fury, they were played off the park by Loughborough and Birmingham, only to defeat the heavily-favoured Derby Braves in what will go down as one of the most controversial results in BUAFL's recent history.

Coming off that back of narrowly missing out on the plate in 2010/11 and with a tough pre-Christmas schedule, Nottingham have done well to go into the term break at 2-2.  While the margins of defeat against the two top sides in the division suggest that they are still some way off play-off standard, their schedule gets progressively easier during 2012.

The equation is simple for the Outlaws; win out and they will be in the post-season plate mix once again.  However, they have traditionally struggled under the big game pressure of the Varsity clash with Nottingham Trent (their first game of 2012), and Northampton look set to continue to play the jokers in the pack.

If they can get their Spread offence, which has only provided two touchdowns so far, working as it can the Outlaws may be a decent outside bet for a spot in the plate.

Make sure you check out our other articles breaking down the Northern (Part one and Part two), the SEC and the TVC conferences.


  1. Don't forget about Craig Harris for the lions, their left tackle. Guy is a machine 6'3 320lbs. Huge bench, huge squat and runs a 4.7 40-yard.

  2. lincoln aren't at the bottom of the table. Really need to get your facts right if you're trying to make yourself a respectable voice in the buafl community. Also no word on the other MAC teams. If there's a part 2 coming then i retract the comment however it doesnt look like there is going to be so the comment stands

  3. 12:39 - I think that reading the introduction will answer your question, namely the bit which says "With so many teams in the MAC we decided to split it in half and release our breakdown over two days. Keep a look out on our Facebook page tomorrow for part deux." (i.e. all of it)

    I get what you are saying about the Lincoln point, but I read it as meaning they are at the bottom end of the table as opposed to actually being placed last. If that's what he had meant, he would have probably said last placed.

  4. I think that implying that they aren't a respectable voice in the BUAFL community is unfair to their efforts.

    I actually think that this blog has really filled a gap in terms of a full insight into the BUAFL. These guys are only part-timers and if they incorrectly write a tiny piece of a statement then you can bring it up without being rude.

    P.S. You should learn that the word I should be a capital letter if you want to be a respectable voice in the comment section...

  5. Harris is faster than any NFL draftee OL since 2006?


  6. I think the Outlaws deserve a little more credit than they're getting. They were soundly outplaying Derby when the game was abandoned, having shut down the Braves much vaunted offense, the only TD coming on a busted coverage I believe. (On a side note, I'm not sure how the game is THAT controversial, I mean the league rules clearly say that if a game is abandoned in the second half, the result stands. It's not like Andy Fuller pulled that one out of his ass) If their D plays like that against NTU then they stand a very good chance of winning varsity then a run through the plate beckons.

  7. DONT GET OFFENDED IF YOUR TEAM ARE'NT RANKED #1!!! Lincoln are shit at the moment, their coach needs to actually get some experience before trying to run a team..

  8. I think you'll find the high pass is not Nick Jacquet's normal action, it is so the receivers might catch the ball. If he threw it properly they do struggle to catch it.

  9. I love how nearly every BUAFL post gets a "Stop ignoring the Outlaws / What about the Outlaws?" response.

    You guys feeling unloved or something?

  10. "Outlaws outplaying the Braves when the game was abandoned" what a joke that statement is. Derby started poorly, underestimated the Outlaws. But the tide had turned, Braves came out fired up in 2nd half. 2 Outlaws possessions 2 - 3 and outs. Braves fumbled 1st possesion at the half way, then were driving on 2nd possession, knocking the Outlaws over and getting first downs. It was a Braves first down on the Outlaws 32 when their LB went down like a sack of s*** only to walk out of A&E 100% ok. Derby would have won that game, Outlaws are cowards for refusing to replay it. Both teams have rain weeks when it could be replayed. If the Outlaws believe there are good enough to win the game then replay it. But you wont as you know you will be beaten, Cowards.

  11. Wow, Derby had got a couple of first downs in a row for the first time in the game, that means they would have definitely won! Give me a break.

    I'm not sure how the Outlaws are cowards either. By the rules, any score after the half stands if the game is abandoned. End of. What's the point in risking injuries at the end of the season when they might be shaping up for a plate run? To prove to some hack on the internet that they're the better team? They proved that already over 3 quarters, just look at the scoreboard. If the roles were reversed, Derby would be doing exactly the same.

  12. Craig Harris actually runs a 4.3 in heels.

  13. I doubt the outlaws 32 actually wanted to go to hospital particularly if, as you suggest, he wasnt badly hurt. if it is a head or neck injury then it will have been the paramedics call to take him away. why wasnt there a second ambulance, was that the outlaws fault to? and I guess the outlaws overruled the refs and said they weren't continuing? no?

    typical classless derby respons I'm afraid, lost a game you thought you would walk and blame everyone but yourselves. nothing more cowardly than not taking responsibly for your failures.

    PS. I wasnt at the game (dont even watch this conference much) so if I have any of the above facts wrong then I apologise.

  14. Loughborough HAVE conceded a rushing touchdown this season, against the Stallions


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