2009 Bowling Green Falcons Football Preview
2008 Record: (6-6, 4-4)
2008 Bowl: none
Coach: Dave Clawson (First year at Bowling Green, 0-0 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Warren Ruggiero
Defensive Coordinator: Mike Elko and Shannon Morrison
Other Key Returnees: C Ben Bojicic, S Jahmal Brown, OT Brady Minturn, DT Michael Ream, LB Jerett Sanderson, G Shane Steffy, WR Chris Wright
Key Losses: DE Diyral Briggs, G Brandon Curtis, LB Erique Dozier, OT Jeff Fink, LB John Haneline, WR Jermiah Kelley, CB Kenny Lewis, WR Corey Partridge, DE Joe Schaefer, CB Antonio Smith, RB Anthony Turner
Bowling Green had some close losses in conference play. That 4-4 mark in the Mid-American Conference could have been 8-0 pretty easily. The Falcons lost to Eastern Michigan by three, Miami by seven, Northern Illinois by three and Buffalo by six in double overtime. That is how close this team was to being really, really good. Instead, there is a coaching change and Coach Dave Clawson has to do a little rebuilding.
Bowling Green's Strengths:
Despite the turnover, the offense should be in great shape due to the return of senior quarterback Tyler Sheehan. The signal caller threw for 2,610 yards and 20 touchdowns last year and is also a dangerous scrambler. He added seven touchdowns on the ground. With Freddie Barnes and Chris Wright back to catch Sheehan’s passes, the passing offense should be much better than it was a year ago, more like what it was two years ago when the Falcons passed for nearly 300 yards per game. The rushing offense was pretty bad in 2008 and now Anthony Turner is gone. Chris Bullock and Willie Geter are capable backs. Bullock should take over the majority of the carries, but Geter has big play potential and could turn the ground game into something half way decent.
Bowling Green's Weaknesses:
The Bowling Green defense was good last year thanks to the front four. The team tallied two sacks per game and that helped out the rest of the defense. Now three of the front four are gone. Defensive tackle Andrew Johnson tallied three sacks a year ago and the new staff will have to find some new faces who can consistently get into the backfield. Linebackers Erique Dozier and John Haneline are also gone and the rush defense will suffer from their loss. That puts a lot of pressure on linebacker Jerett Sanderson to emerge as the senior leader of the linebacker corps. Even both corners are gone and Kenny Lewis and Antonio Smith will not be easily replaced.
The Bottom Line for the Falcons:
The good news is safeties P.J. Mahone and Jahmal Brown are experienced seniors. Mahone led the team in tackles and interceptions last year. Brown was third on the team in tackles and the safeties will have to lead this defense. If they do not, Bowling Green will give up a ton of points. Yet, the offense should be good enough to win a few games even if the defense struggles. And if the defense can find some new faces on the front line that can get into the backfield, the Falcons could be bowling.
By Joel Welser
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