Bowling Green Falcons
Bowling Green went from a high powered passing team in 2009 with the Tyler Sheehan to Freddie Barnes tandem eating up the yards and lighting up the scoreboard to a team that was in the bottom third of the country in just about everything. With just a pair of wins to their credit last season the Falcons and head coach Dave Clawson look to rebound knowing that despite their problems BGSU lost four games by a single score so the team wasn’t that far away. With seven starters back on each side of the ball there is reason to be optimistic.
Matt Schilz took over for Tyler Sheehan and threw for over 2,200 yards and completed 61% of his pass but only found the end zone eight times and was turnover prone with 14 interceptions. Much of the reason was that Schilz was under constant pressure and was sacked a whopping 34 times and it didn’t help there wasn’t a running game to lean on. BGSU rushing attack finished last in the nation with 754 yards (after yards were deducted for sacks) and a paltry 2.1 yard average which is almost comical but not all that surprising with most of the emphasis being on throwing the ball. Jordan Hopgood appears to be the main man but only ran for 167 yards a year ago with little room to operate. The receiving corps has a special player in Kamar Jorden (96-1,109) who has the potential to catch over 100 balls but needs to get in the end zone more with just four touchdowns. Adrian Hodges and Eugene Cooper combined for 37 catches and look for much better performances in 2011. The offensive line has the bodies back to be a much stronger group after injuries and poor play forced Clawson to constantly juggle the lineup.
The defense had issues of it’s own in 2010 with most revolving around a poor pass rush and an inability to stop the run. Defensive tackle Chris Jones will likely be the leader of this group after six sacks and 39 tackles last season but the line has to start getting to the quarterback after finishing in the bottom third nationally in sacks. The linebackers picked up the slack stopping the run with Dwayne Woods making 134 tackles to garner All MAC 2 nd Team honors. Paul Swan will get the starting nod after being primarily a backup a season ago but has plenty of experience but overall there isn’t an abundance of depth or size. The secondary suffered from the lack of a pass rush but didn’t really standout in any phase. Safety Jovan Leacock (91T) is solid against the run and pass while LB/S Keith Morgan (68 T) led the team with three interceptions. Adrien Spencer and Cameron Truss were generally reliable corners and the secondary as a whole are experienced but did get burned on too many long balls.
The special teams is a mixed bag with place kicker Kyle Burkhardt bringing in his 1 of 4 performance of a year ago. Inexperienced punter Jerry Phillips has a strong leg but is a guy that hasn’t played so he’s an unknown. Eugene Cooper averaged 11.5 per punt return and Boo Boo Gates 24.4 on kicks so the return game is in great hands. The key will be making field goals with games expected to be closer in 2011.
Bowling Green has the returning experience and the talent to improve but improvement might not be all that difficult considering where this team was a year ago. Better line play on both sides of the ball can’t be stressed enough. One roadblock to a better record is the schedule that has BGSU facing three of the better teams in the MAC East and they don’t play Akron in which the Falcons would be favored. Minus a few upsets I still see this team finishing in the bottom half of the MAC East.