2013 Bowling Green Preview – Offense

Posted Jul 20, 2013

CollegeFootballNews.com 2013 Preview - Bowling Green Offense

Bowling Green Falcons

Preview 2013 - Offense

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What You Need To Know:
  There's no excuse for the league's 11th-best offense to not be far, far better with ten starters returning and plenty of options to fill in the gaps for the one open spot at right tackle. Quarterback Matt Schilz is going into his fourth year as the starter, and while he knows what he's doing, he needs to be more efficient and has to cut down on the interceptions. The line should be among the best in the MAC, but the developed depth is a bit thin since all the returning starters started every game last season. The receiving corps has potential and upside, but now Chris Gallon and Shaun Joplin have to start doing more. The biggest key is the running game without Anthon Samuel, who had All-MAC potential but left school to be with his family in Florida.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Matt Schilz
228-413, 2,585 yds, 14 TD, 12 INT
Rushing: Jamel Martin
39 carries, 205 yds, 0 TD
Receiving: Chris Gallon
54 catches, 720 yds, 6 TD

Star of the offense: Senior QB Matt Schilz
Player who has to step up and be a star: Junior OT Darion Delaney
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore RB Andre Givens
Best pro prospect: Sophomore WR Chris Gallon
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Schilz, 2) OG Dominic Flewellyn, 3) TE Alex Bayer
Strength of the offense: Experience, Matt Schilz
Weakness of the offense: Passing Efficiency, Reserves


Going into his fourth year as the starter, senior Matt Schilz needs to become the type of passer who can carry the offense by himself at times. The 6-3, 220-pounder has good size and a nice arm, but more than anything else he has the experience with 7,832 career passing yards with 50 scores and 39 picks. He took a bit of a step back statistically last season after a breakthrough sophomore seasons – hitting on just 55% of his passes for 2,585 yards and 14 scores with 12 picks after throwing for 3,026 yards with 28 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 2011 – but that was partly because he worked within the entire system a bit more. He didn't need to bomb away, but he struggled too much late with three picks in back-to-back games against Kent State and Buffalo before completing just 16-of-35 passes in the bowl loss to San Jose State. While he's not going to run, he can move within the pocket a little bit.

It's going to take something special to knock Schilz out of the starting job, but sophomore Matt Johnson is a decent-looking prospect who got his feet wet last season. The 6-0, 210-pound sophomore saw a little time in the opener against Florida and got in some mop-up work, completing 10-of-28 passes for 119 yards with a score and a pick. The team's top recruit a few years ago offers up a bit more running ability, and he can throw, setting the Pennsylvania high school record with 7,944 yards with 85 touchdowns. Also in the equation is redshirt freshman James Knapke, a 6-2, 205-pound passer who'll likely be third in the mix.

Watch Out For … Schilz to cut down on his interceptions. He only threw six over the first ten games of the season before having problems late. He'll be more careful with the ball.
Strength: Schilz's experience. It's nice that Johnson won't be stepping in from Square One after seeing a little bit of time, but having a veteran like Schilz makes all the difference in the MAC.
Weakness: Interceptions. The defense should be the best in the league, so as long as Schilz isn't giving the ball away and putting the team in a bad spot, tight, close games aren't going to be a problem. He can't have multi-pick games. Over the last three seasons, BGSU is 3-8 when he throws two or more picks.
Outlook: It's not exactly a high-octane attack, mainly because it doesn't have to be, but it needs to be more efficient. Schilz didn't take nearly enough shots down the field and the passing numbers suffered. He knows what he's doing and he should be even better, while Johnson has the potential to step in and produce if he can get his completion percentage up.
Unit Rating: 7

Running Backs

With leading rusher Anthon Samuel leaving the program, the Falcons need more production among the reserves with Andre Givens the likely next man up. The 5-9, 190-pound sophomore only ran for 134 yards and a score in his limited work, but he has the talent to be the main man for the ground attack. Junior Jamel Martin was terrific when he got his chances, averaging 5.3 yards per carry, but he was lost for the year with a knee injury. Also trying to get back healthy is senior Jordan Hopgood, who was expected to do more last season but was hurt and only played in one game, running for 74 yards. A talent, he was wanted by Nebraska as a possible running quarterback or a receiver, but at 5-11 and 215 pounds, he needs to play a physical role.

Watch Out For … Givens. A star in-state recruit, he might not have the quickness or talent of Samuel, but he has the ability to handle the running game and be the featured back. At worst, he could be a solid No. 2 option.
Strength: Quickness. Givens can zip in and out of situations and also be used as a receiver. This is a slippery group of backs who can crank out yards in chunks.
Weakness: Bulk. Hopgood is a bigger back, but he's hardly a bruiser. Everything about the Falcon running game relies on speed and quickness – getting into space means everything.
Outlook: Even without Samuel, the Falcons have a terrific complement to Matt Schilz and the passing attack, but there could be problems and concerns with experience if Givens has to handle most of the workload.
Unit Rating: 5.5


6-4, 221-pound sophomore Chris Gallon became exactly what the Falcons needed in a No. 1 target. While he was a steady pass catcher good for around three grabs per game, he only scored in four games catching two touchdown passes against both Rhode Island and Kent State, making ten grabs for 213 yards against the Golden Flashes. Very big and with good deep speed, the Orlando native has the tools to do even more with a veteran quarterback in Matt Schilz getting him the ball.

Gallon may have turned into the main man for the passing game, but 6-2, 197-pound senior Shaun Joplin was a bit more dangerous averaging a team-leading 16 yards per catch while finishing second with 40 grabs for 639 yards and four touchdowns. He can leap out of the stadium, while the smallish Ryan Burbrink should be used more on the underneath plays. The 5-8, 181-pound sophomore didn't score, but he finished third on the team with 39 catches for 351 yards and turned into a decent punt returner.

Veteran tight end Alex Bayer is a strong 6-4, 253-pound senior who has become a reliable mid-range target making 36 catches for 410 yards and three touchdowns. The third-team All-MAC performer is going to be a four-year starter with good blocking to go along with his nice hands. Working in the rotation will be Tyler Beck, a 6-2, 259-pound senior who caught five passes for 60 yards, but is mostly used as a blocker, working both as a tight end and a fullback.

Watch Out For … the injured guys. Heath Jackson was supposed to become a factor as an inside target and Jermal Hosley was expected to become a big part of the rotation. Both got hurt early on, but they'll be back and ready to add more good options to the passing attack.
Strength: Experience. A massive problem going into last season after losing all the top producers, all three starters including Bayer are back. These guys will know what they're doing.
Weakness: Big plays. Gallon and Joplin each had a few nice moments, but for the most part the receiving corps and the passing game were inconsistent and inefficient. The receivers have to do more with the ball in their hands.
Outlook: The potential is there for this to be the team's biggest area of improvement. The experience should match the athleticism and size to give the Falcons a dangerous corps that starts to do far more.
Unit Rating: 5.5

Offensive Line

The offensive line came up with a terrific season in pass protection and did a nice job for the running game helped mostly by all-star left guard Dominic Flewellyn, a versatile interior blocker with 6-3, 293-pound size and good quickness. While the senior doesn't have run blasting bulk, he doesn't make mistakes and he's excellent at getting on the move.

Four starters are back up front, but there's a big loss at right tackle with veteran Jordan Roussos gone along with backup Scott Hodges. 6-3, 303-pound junior Darion Delaney will get the first shot at the spot after spending last year as the backup behind sophomore Fahn Cooper on the left side. The 6-4, 300-pound Cooper quickly grew into a rock in pass protection, starting all 13 games, as did sophomore Alex Huettel at right guard. The 6-3, 291-pounder was a bit of a surprise, but he took the job and never let it go. Anchoring the inside is senior center David Kekuewa. "Chief" came to Bowling Green from the JUCO ranks as a tackle, but owned the job in the middle from the start.

Watch Out For … the right tackle job. Delaney is the main option, but he'll have plenty of competition to be a part of the cohesive group of veterans.
Strength: Experience. All five starters started all 13 games last season. This was a good-looking group going into last year, and now it's truly a veteran line with the emergence of Huettel and Cooper. The Falcons allowed just 15 sacks on the season.
Weakness: Veteran backups. The only problem with full-season starters from all five spots is the lack of development among the backups. Coaching staffs will take that issue any day of the week, but it's asking for too much to be injury-free for another year.
Outlook: It took a few years, but Bowling Green found something up front a few seasons ago and started to improve after a few miserable seasons. This became one of the stronger O lines as the year went on, and while it didn't blast away for the ground game, it did the job in pass protection. Consider it a shock if this isn't one of the MAC's best offensive lines.
Unit Rating: 6

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