A star has emerged on the scene in upstate New York…

Those of you who were around VolumePigs back in early March will recall that I published a “These are not your grandfather’s (Lance Leipold’s) Buffalo Bulls” part one. In it, I provided little-to-no actionable insights, and the overall purpose of the article was perplexing, at best. There was a fantastic pun about 80s workout warrior Dolph Lundgren, though:

Excerpt from part one of the UB series

However, a couple of things that I did mention in part one was that 1) this UB outfit is very different from the one before (it’s way more pass-heavy) and 2) I wanted to wait and see what happened this spring and hoped that a name would emerge in the WR room.

My prayers have been answered as the Bulls have what appears to be a young up-and-coming star in Nik McMillan.


UB welcomes in new OC DJ Mangas

Here is what I wrote in part one about the Bulls’ new OC:

My impression of the hiring of Mangas is that it is part of a continued effort from head coach Maurice Linguist to turn UB into a more pass-oriented program, something that was already in motion with the previous OC. In 2022, QB Cole Snyder attempted 461 passes, and two separate receivers saw 100 or more targets (okay, one was 99). Both of those WRs, Quian Williams (99 targets) and Justin Marshall (104 targets), departed the roster this offseason, and the third leading WR, Jamari Gasset, transferred late in 2022. Marshall averaged 15.5 FPG (1PPR), and Williams averaged 12.63 FPG. With their departures, we have 200+ targets vacating the offense, and with Snyder returning at QB, I think it’s worthwhile to keep an eye on the WR room this offseason.

New OC Mangas served on the defensive side of the ball last season for UCF after operating as LSU’s pass game coordinator in 2021, and as Marchese’s article points out, the numbers are not pretty for Mangas.

That being said, in 2021, starting LSU WR Kayshon Boutte was having an incredible season before the injury. Mangas was also an offensive analyst on LSU’s 2019 offense that saw WR Ja’Marr Chase win the Biletnikoff award and WR Justin Jefferson catch over 110 passes. Though, as only an analyst at the time, it’s hard to know how much credit Mangas deserves for that. Nonetheless, the offenses Mangas has been around are no stranger to high-level CFF WR play, and one has to wonder if there will be a player on the Buffs in 2023 that will benefit from Mangas’ approach. I plan to revisit this program in the summer in a follow-up article where (hopefully) more information will be at our disposal.


WR Nik McMillan — 6’1″, 224 lbs.

My first impression of McMillan when I saw his dimensions was: this is a big dude. Having not actually watched him play yet, I’m going to do what NFL draft analysts do and make a player comp, Anquan Boldin perhaps? If he plays anywhere near as physically as AB did, this kid will rip the MAC in half in 2023.

When I say McMillan emerged this spring, I mean he exploded onto the scene in an undeniable fashion. Here are some tweets on the upcoming star:

McMillan finished the spring game with over 130 yards receiving and a pair of TDs on four catches. This is a team that is going to be passing the ball a lot, and with last year’s WR1 and WR2 leaving (vacating 203 targets, 125 receptions, 1580 yards, and 14 TDs), McMillan has a massive opportunity to make himself a household name by the end of next season.

The Bulls open the season with Wisconsin, which will be rough (probably), but then get FCS programs Fordham, Liberty, and Louisiana Lafayette to round out their out-of-conference schedule. That’s not too bad, in my opinion. And then, of course, we reach MACtion, where McMillan could potentially singlehandedly win games for CFF managers in late October and November.

I’m also hoping that returning starter QB Cole Snyder will take a step forward in year two. Still, he supported Quian Williams and Justin Marshall to 12.64 and 15.52 FPG in 2022, respectively.


Concerns

  • The QB play at UB does worry me. Cole Snyder wasn’t very efficient last season. 
  • McMillan is a relatively unknown commodity, so his profile is a major projection. That’s the name of the game in CFF, though.
  • UB brings in a pretty unproven OC, so we don’t really know what to expect on offense and whether they’ll be successful this season.

Like this type of content? I’ve got good news for you; there’s an ungodly amount of it over here: VolumePigs.

You can also find me occasionally tweeting about CFF and CFB over here.


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