2013 Bowling Green Preview – Defense

Posted Jul 20, 2013

CollegeFootballNews.com 2013 Preview - Bowling Green Defense

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Preview 2013 - Defense

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What You Need To Know: The bad news is that MAC Defensive Player of the Year Chris Jones is gone at defensive tackle, and heart-and-soul linebacker Dwayne Woods is done after a fantastic career. The good news is that everyone else on the MAC's No. 1 defense returns with great depth, lots of options and enough youth to expect growth for 2014 as well. Gabe Martin and Paul Swan lead a great group of athletic linebackers that can get all over the field while BooBoo Gates and all the defensive backs return including more than enough options to play around with nickel and dime packages. There's no replacing Jones, but Bryan Thomas and Charlie Walker should be able to generate pressure from the ends. However, size is a major factor up front – there will be problems with the more physical lines.

Returning Leaders
Tackles: Gabe Martin, 70
Sacks: Gabe Martin, 4.5
Interceptions: Jude Adjei-Barimah, 4

Star of the defense: Junior LB Gabe Martin
Player who has to step up and be a star: Junior DT Zach Colvin
Unsung star on the rise: Junior S Jude Adjei-Barimah
Best pro prospect: Senior S Jerry "BooBoo" Gates
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Martin, 2) Gates, 3) LB Paul Swan
Strength of the defense: Experience, Pass Rush
Weakness of the defense: Corner Interceptions, Power Running Teams

Defensive Line

With MAC Defensive Player of the Year, Chris Jones gone from the interior, it'll be up to 6-3, 282-pound senior nose tackle Ted Ouellet to become the star of the line after making 34 tackles with three sacks and six tackles for loss on his way to all-star honors. While he's not going to be the playmaker behind the line that Jones was, he's good at holding up against the run and can get to the quarterback from time to time when needed. If nothing else, he's now the leader.

Junior Bryan Thomas took over the starting left end job early on in the season and showed he could handle the work with 33 tackles, 3.5 sacks and eight tackles for loss. The 6-2, 260-pounder bulked up but didn't lose his quickness. 6-2, 238-pound junior Charlie Walker returns to the other side after starting every game making 34 tackles with 2.5 sacks and six tackles for loss, but he has to be more consistent and has to use his speed to make more big plays. The big key will be replacing the irreplaceable Jones, with 6-2, 268-pound junior Zach Colvin an undersized option who spent last year as the main backup in the interior with 15 tackles, while the way-too-small Taylor Royster has to used his tremendous interior quickness to make up for his 5-9, 252-pound size. Senior Ronnie Goble is an experienced veteran backup with nine games of starting experience under his belt. He can play either end.

Watch Out For … Bryan Baird. The 6-2, 237-pound sophomore has tremendous upside on the outside as a pass rushing specialist in the rotation. He made 12 tackles with two sacks in his limited time – he makes things happen.
Strength: Experience. The defensive front that helped the Falcons lead the MAC in sacks and finish 12th in the nation against the run gets three starters back and enough experience to do it all over again. The line finds ways to generate pressure from all four spots, however, it'll be hard to get by without ...
Weakness: Chris Jones. All he did was come up with 42 tackles, 12.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss. He was a wrecking machine on the interior who dominated on the inside over the last few years. Everything worked around him taking the attention away from everyone else.
Outlook: The line won't be as good without Jones – it can't be – but with three returning starters and a slew of decent young options, the pass rush should continue from all sides while the run defense should be fine against the lines that don't blast away. However, with a lack of size, there could be problems against the stronger ground games.
Unit Rating: 5.5


With Dwayne Woods gone, now it'll be up to junior Gabe Martin to become the best player in a good linebacking corps. While Woods was the all-star playmaker, Martin made his own name earning first-team All-MAC honors with a team-leading 70 tackles with 4.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss with a pick and five broken up passes. At 6-1 and 224 pounds, he's used in a variety of ways on the outside with the quickness to make things happen against the pass while also flying into the backfield on a regular basis. Tough for his size, there's a chance he could be move to the middle to replace Woods.

Senior Paul Swan started half the season on the outside but moved inside for two games against Miami and UMass when Woods was hurt. The 6-0, 230-pounder followed up his 63-tackle sophomore season by finishing third on the team with 65 tackles with a sack and 6.5 tackles for loss. A terrific recruit and a high school track star, he'll be one of the defensive stars, while the hope will be for either junior D.J. Lynch or sophomore Coy Brown III to either step up in the middle or take over on the outside with Martin moving in. The 5-11, 242-pound Lynch has the size for the middle and the experience making 63 tackles with two sacks, but the 5-11, 214-pound Brown has the wheels. JUCO transfer Paul Senn is a 215-pounder who's built to become an all-around playmaker on the outside.

Watch Out For … Lynch. He started twice at the Buck position but spent the year as a key part of the rotation tying for fourth on the team in tackles despite his lack of starting time. He could quickly flourish as a statistical superstar with a bigger role.
Strength: Options. The team did just fine when Woods was out for a brief stretch, and while he'll be missed, there are plenty of good linebackers ready to fill in the gaps. The experience and talent of Martin and Swan should allow the coaching staff to play juggle the options.
Weakness: Power running teams. Yeah, the defense was fine without Woods, but that was against Miami and UMass. Florida and Virginia Tech ran at the linebackers without a problem, and Kent State tore the group to shreds. There will be times when the crew destroys running games, but once in a while it'll get powered over.
Outlook: There's enough athleticism and talent to come up with another big season, even without an all-star leader like Woods. The experience and depth should make this one of the league's better linebacking corps, but coming up with a plan for the middle right away is a must. With so many options and a good front four to work behind, expect more big things.
Unit Rating: 5.5

Defensive Backs

All four starters return to the secondary led by first-team All-MAC star Jerry "BooBoo" Gates at the Stud safety position. The 5-11, 213-pound senior made 47 tackles with two picks getting all over the field making big plays time and again against the run. While his overall numbers slipped after making 73 stops two years ago, he still did a little bit of everything for the defense being used at times like a fourth linebacker while also doing a terrific job in pass coverage.

Also earning all-star honors was third-teamer Cameron Truss at corner. The 5-10, 182-pound senior was outstanding against the run making 63 tackles to go along with five broken up passes. The team's top cover-corner didn't come up with any picks, but he still did his job locking down on No. 1 targets while helping against the run.

Also back on the other side is 5-8, 177-pound junior Darrell Hunter, who went from being a key backup to a good starter making 24 tackles with a pick. He's not all that bid, but he's feisty and can move, while 5-10, 198-pound junior safety Ryland Ward started all 13 games showing off his good hitting ability making 57 tackles. Now he has to start doing more against the pass. Junior Jude Adjei-Barimah was a spot starter getting the call against Akron and finishing the season with a team-leading four picks with seven broken up passes. He's a perfect for dime packages and can play just about anywhere in the secondary.

Watch Out For … Aaron Foster, a 5-10, 202-pound senior with plenty of starting experience. He made 16 tackles with 2.5 sacks and six broken up passes as a reserve, but he might be used even more in nickel packages.
Strength: Experience and options. All four starters are back along with all the key backups. There are more than enough talented veterans to expect the production to continue after such a dominant statistical season.
Weakness: Interceptions. It's nitpicking, but two of the ten picks came from linebackers, and Adjei-Barimah came up with most of the interceptions in the secondary. Considering the secondary came up with just five picks two years ago, big plays from the corners is a must.
Outlook: The pass defense has been among the team's biggest areas of improvement over the last few seasons. Last year it was terrific, partly because of the competition and partly because of the pass rush, but the production should continue with everyone back. Be shocked if this isn't one of the MAC's leaders in all the key stats.
Unit Rating: 6

Special Teams

The kicking situation started out bad and finished up fine with sophomore Tyler Tate taking over the duties and finishing hitting 7-of-10 field goals. While he doesn't have tremendous range, he showed he could handle the work and should be steady for the next few seasons.

The overall punting numbers might not have been strong, but senior Brian Schmiedebusch ended up earning second-team All-MAC honors averaging close to 41 yards per kick. With great size and a huge leg, he has NFL potential with good blast on the ball and decent touch.

Safety BooBoo Gates was the main kick returner, but he averaged just 19.4 yards per try. However, he came up with an 80-yard punt return for a score. Receiver Ryan Burbrink averaged a not-that-bad 8.9 yards as the team's No. 1 punt return option. Watch Out For … Tate to get more work. Stephen Stein was supposed to be the team's reliable kicker, but he sputtered and Tate saved the day. He should be better with more work.
Strength: Forget about the net punting numbers. Schmiedebusch is one of the nation's top kickers and the coverage team allowed an average of just 5.6 yards per try. He was great at putting it inside the 20. The kickoff coverage team allowed just 19.6 yards per return.
Weakness: Tate needs to be even better. He was good, but it would be nice if he became great. The kickoff return game could use some more pop.
Outlook: With everyone back and in place, the special teams should turn into a positive. Outside of Schmiedebusch there isn't anything special about this group, but this definitely won't be a liability. Considering what a disaster the special teams were at times under Dave Clawson, above average is good.
Unit Rating: 6.5

- 2013 Bowling Green Preview | 2013 Bowling Green Offense
- 2013 Bowling Green Defense | 2013 Bowling Green Depth Chart