Buffalo Bulls Preview 2022: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the Buffalo season with what you need to know and keys to the season.
Buffalo Bulls Preview
Head Coach: Maurice Linguist
2nd year at Buffalo, 4-8, 2021 Preview
2021 Record: Overall: 4-8, Conference: 2-6
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Buffalo Bulls Preview 2022
It wasn’t how things were supposed to go.
Buffalo was coming off a 6-1 2020 season with an appearance in the MAC Championship and a bowl win over Marshall. It was the third straight winning season and the fourth straight with at least six wins.
But just as the program was getting comfortable as one of the conference’s superpowers, head coach Lance Leipold left for Kansas, Maurice Linguist took over, and the team came up with a rough 4-8 season with four straight losses to close.
The offense still worked, the ground game was good, and the defense had a few positives even though it was a rough year without any consistency.
Linguist has a ton of work to do to build up the talent level – seven offensive starters are done – but there’s a good base on defense to work around and there are enough winnable games to expect a bounceback year.
Or, at least hope for an improvement.
Buffalo Bulls Preview 2022: Offense
The offense couldn’t impose its rushing will like it did in past seasons, but it wasn’t all that bad. The O averaged well over 400 yards per game with the ground game accounting for almost half of that.
The passing attack was hit-or-miss over the years when the team was winning – everything revolved around the ground game – but it needs to be more efficient. There has to be more happening down the field and the turnovers have to stop, but for all of the problems, UB led the MAC in third down conversions.
It all starts with the tackles. The interior of the offensive line should be fine, but the group that was among the best in the MAC in pass protection and keeping down the tackles for loss needs the transfer portal and some key backups to make a difference.
The ground game lost leading rusher Dylan McDuffie to Georgia Tech, and Kevin Marks was never able to break through with the big season expected. The attack will work around Ron Cook, a speedy kick returner who ran for 377 yards, but it needs more options and bulk.
Quarterback Kyle Vantrease is done, but the passing game isn’t starting from scratch. Senior Matt Myers adds more of a rushing element to the mix and he has the starting experience, but the offense needs more big things happening down the field. Myers just has to keep things moving.
The receiving corps gets back leading receiver Quian Williams, a former Eastern Michigan Eagle who made 63 grabs last year, and Jamari Gassett isn’t a bad No. 2 speed option.
Buffalo Bulls Preview 2022: Defense
The defense should be stronger. It didn’t come up with enough takeaways, it didn’t hold up in strange spots – it got ripped up by Bowling Green? – and running games did too much shoving around.
A nice base of six starters are back with a nice blend of MAC star power and options in the right spots, starting with …
The defensive front might be the team’s biggest strength. The line is one of the few areas on the team with plenty of depth and a good rotation. Yes, the run defense has to be better, but Daymond Williams is a good nose tackle to work everything around. He’s almost 300 pounds and should once again be among the MAC’s best interior pass rushers.
James Patterson might be the best player in the MAC. The veteran linebacker will take over everything in the 4-2-5 alignment, but the options and rotation has to fill in next to him. Shaun Dolac made plays in his first year, but the defense needs more parts to fight against the run.
The secondary got help from the transfer portal to boost up an already good situation. It’s going to take fall camp to get all five parts in place, and not having big-hitting safety Cory Gross hurts, but Marcus Fuqua should be one of the team’s leading tacklers. The safeties are fine, but the corners have to emerge.
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