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CFF Targets - Sieh "Bang" Bangura set for VOLUME PIG status in 2023?
Sieh Bangura could be set to dominate the MAC once again in 2023, but where does returning RB Allison factor in?
There are some players in college football that are just straight up fucking cool. I’d put the Bang Man squarely in that category as he broke out in 2022 to the tune of 1304 yards from scrimmage and 15 total TDs on 249 total touches. As with all MAC players the true story of their CFF value lies within their MAC play, and this is where Bangura’s numbers pop off the page. In 8 games of MAC play (7 regular season and the MAC championship) Bangura averaged just over 22 touches a game and scored a total of 13 TDs. Simply put, he was a monster in MAC play.
Being the CFB degenerate that I am, I always keep a close eye on the MAC for potential CFF superstars. Some people are turned off by the small school feel and low quality of play, others like myself embrace it. I like that there’s a feeling of desperation in the air of MAC stadiums, the coaches and the players alike are all trying to get the **** out of there as soon as possible. Indeed, the MAC is probably the worst level of play amongst Division 1 FBS leagues, and every offseason there is a mass exodus of high-end MAC players transferring to a P5, or a better G5 league; which makes cases like Bangura increasingly unique. He is by any definition a MAC superstar at this point, and I’m sure he had opportunities to upgrade this offseason. As of writing this article he hasn’t though, and that means I am interested in investing in the Bang Man once again this season.
Full disclosure, I watched a lot of Ohio Bobcat football last season, as I acquired Bangura in literally every single league I was in off of the wire. It proved fruitful as he was a menace in MAC play despite the fact that he was dealing with a (largely unreported) lingering lower leg injury.
I still remember the first game I started Bangura in my fantasy leagues—October 8th vs. Akron. Good god almighty, Bangura rinsed the Zips something special that day as he scored four total TDs, and dashed for 90 yards on the ground.
There’s a little more to the story though. It was a pivotal week for me in many of my leagues, make or break some would say, and I needed a big performance from Bangura. In the first quarter of the game vs. Akron—before he had scored any TDs, he went down holding his ankle. The numbskull commentators didn’t even mention it (the product on the field is not the only thing that’s poor with the MAC). He was taken off the field and was not seen again for the rest of the quarter. What ensued… well, immense frustration from Mr. VolumePigs. What was going to be a wonderful day of college football was spoiled right at the beginning of the afternoon. I turned the game off and closed the Fantrax app, figuring that if the day was lost, I might as well do something else.
Later that afternoon I was in the middle of a Harry Potter movie when curiosity got the best of me. I figured, shoot, why not check the scores? I mean, I knew I’d be taking an ‘L’ that week, but things couldn’t get any worse.
The feeling that came over me as I opened the Fantrax app cannot really be described in words, rather I would liken it to the opening sounds of ‘Clear Blue Skies’ by Juggaknots.
This tough son-of-a-gun returned to the game and absolutely torched it. I turned off that Harry Potter bullshit and got back into the CFB groove for the remainder of the afternoon. I might have even ordered a celebratory pizza too, I’m not sure. Anyway, I became a Bangura fan for life that day and decided I’d be watching a lot of Bobcat football going forward.
I won’t bore you with anymore personal anecdotes, let’s examine the situation at hand for 2023. Where should we start? You guessed it…
The architects of the system that had Bangura firing on all cylinders in 2022 are returning in 2023. Head Coach Tim Albin (2021-present) returns to the helm and he is joined by his OC Scott Isphording and Co-OC Allen Rudolph. For all the turnover seen in the MAC recently, remarkably Albin has been with the Bobcats in some capacity since 2005! He effectively served as OC from 2005-2020, before taking over as CEO in 2021. He’s a Bobcat man, and I like the turnaround he facilitated last season.
These coaches definitely fed the rock to Bangura in 2022. What is interesting is their track record is pretty inconsistent with respect to RB workloads. In 2021, the leading rusher De’Montre Tuggle saw only 138 carries in his 12 games with the Cats. Puzzling after the staff fed him 53 carries in the three games they played in 2020. The 2020 campaign led to a lot of off season buzz for Tuggle heading into 2021. The buzz obviously didn’t translate but one thing to point out is that in 2021 the second leading rusher for the Cats was dual threat QB Armani Rogers, which probably had something to do with the reduction in volume Tuggle saw.
In fact, you have to go back to 2018 to find the last stud CFF RB for the Cats: A.J. Oullette ran 213 times for 1306 yards and 12 TDs while catching 21 passes for 212 yards and 2 TDs. Those numbers probably could have been A LOT better had he not been playing with QB Nathan Rourke.
Rourke decimated Oullette’s output the year prior to a level that I’m not sure is legal for me to screenshot here without the authorities coming after me. Now that scoundrel’s brother, Kurtis Rourke, mans the helm at QB for the Cats. Luckily for us, Kurtis is not as athletic as his older brother and does not present the same threat as a runner.
Coming back to the system, due to the above facts I can’t say that this staff has a history of feeding volume pigs at RB. However they did for Bangura, and it sounds like this staff really likes his ability.
When asked about Bangura winning the starting job, coach Albin had this to say:
It was really not surprising . . . behind the scenes, I was very comfortable with what he was going to do from what we saw last year and the kind of offseason he had.
He also said this following Bangura’s monster performance vs. Akron:
I’m very happy for him … he’s a tough young man and he’s got a bright future.
So we have conflicting forces here, the staff really likes Bangura and gave him a large workload in 2022, but they do not have a strong track record of facilitating elite RB production from a CFF perspective. Making matters worse, another obstacle in Bangura’s way returns in 2023.
RB O’Shaun Allison
Someone out there who’s a Bobcats diehard can correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe it was Allison who was thought to be the lead dog coming into the 2022 season prior to his season ending shoulder injury.
Where will Allison align in this RB hierarchy upon his return? Hmmm… yes that is the question. It is not just a question of who wins the starting role, I’m pretty confident Bangura’s got that locked down. The concern is more so will Allison’s role be significant enough to eat into Bangura’s production and by extension weaken his CFF stock considerably.
As we can see from the above image this staff has actually given a decent workload to Allison in the past (2019), though lately he has been used pretty lightly. Their history suggests that this staff wants to give two RBs over 100+ carries, and the fact that Allison should be as fresh as he’s ever been at Ohio University has me slightly concerned about Bangura. At the same time, who knows how Allison will return. His injury is a shoulder injury, so I would imagine he should be able to return to his former self, but we don’t know.
Another thing to keep in mind is 2022 RB2 Nolan McCormick also returns for 2023. Unless someone is planning on transferring this will be a crowded room. At least in McCormick’s case, he was healthy and played throughout 2022 whilst Bangura did his damage, so his availability in 2023 doesn’t necessarily change the calculus.
One last thing to note is the Bobcats return several veteran offensive lineman to the squad this year, this bodes well for their ability to run the football. They are also an elite outfit in the MAC (several pieces return from the 2022 team that made the championship) and so this team should be scoring plenty once more in 2023.
Summary of conflicting forces for Bangura going into 2023
He is an elite level talent for the MAC
He already has a history of elite production with the current staff
He is one of the best players on one of the best teams in the MAC
This staff does not have a track record of elite RB production and volume
Allison was injured last season and returns this season, changing the equation somewhat for this RB room
Final verdict. I still like Bangura a lot, I think there’s still a lot going for him headed into 2023. He can definitely be a volume pig once again. However, there is enough with this situation to concern me, and I will be thinking twice about how high I want to draft Bangura this summer.
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