2009 Bowling Green Preview |
2009 BGSU Offense
2009 BGSU Defense |
2009 BGSU Depth
2008 BGSU Preview |
2007 BGSU Preview |
What you need to know:
The defense came up with a whale of a
season finishing second in the MAC while doing a great job of
keeping the team in games throughout the season. The pass
defense was solid, the run defense was good enough to get by,
and the secondary was fantastic. Now there needs to be some
major retooling, especially up front. The line needs to be
completely overhauled with four new starters entering the mix,
while the smallish linebacking corps will have to pick up even
more of the slack. The strength of the D, and the team, is at
safety with P.J. Mahone and Jahmal Brown forming a sure-hitting
duo. There's almost no depth anywhere across the board, so the
plan is for several true freshmen, especially on the line, to
see time early on.
P.J. Mahone, 95
Andrew Johnson, 3
Interceptions: P.J. Mahone, 3
Star of the defense:
Senior SS P.J. Mahone
Player who has to step up and become a star: Junior DE
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore NT Andrew Johnson
Best pro prospect: Mahone
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Mahone, 2) FS Jahmel
Brown, 3) LB Jerett Sanderson
Strength of the defense: Safeties, Quickness
Weakness of the defense: Line, Depth
Step one will be to try to find a pass
rusher to replace Diyral Briggs, who came up with 9.5 sacks in an
All-MAC campaign. In steps Darius Smith after seeing a
little time in six games making just two tackles on the season, but he's
a speedster who might turn out to be a specialist. Only 6-3 and 223
pounds, he's a linebacker-sized end who'll have problems against the
run, but he can move.
Back on the other side is
Angelo Magnone after serving the last few years as a spot
starter and a key backup. The 6-3, 235-pound junior came up with 27
tackles with a sack and two tackles for loss, and while he's not a
speedster, he's quick off the ball and is good at generating pressure.
He has enough experience to grow into a key factor for a line that
desperately needs playmakers.
6-3, 257-pound sophomore
Andrew Johnson is an undersized nose tackle, but he'll have to
hold up after starter Michael Ream got booted off the team. He got a
start last year against Ohio and finished with 15 tackles, but his game
is all about being quick on the snap. Not only does he have good
instincts and the smarts to time his burst, he has the athleticism to
make things happen behind the line with three sacks and four tackles for
loss in his limited time. He'll get beaten on, but he'll make his share
of big plays.
Bringing some desperately needed size to the
smallish line is Nick Torresso, a 6-3, 290-pound tackle
who could play on the nose if needed. He was supposed to be a starter
going into last year, but he only made nine tackles as a reserve and
didn't do anything to get into the backfield. Stats don't really matter
with him; his job will be to clog things up and to serve as an anchor
for everyone else to work around.
Projected Top Reserves:
Upgrading the talent level
is Dylan Farrington, one of the team's top recruits.
The 6-5, 220-pounder could've gone to a much bigger school, but he'll be
used as an ultra-athletic pass rusher right away on the outside. He has
room on his frame to beef up, but with his speed and quickness he should
be able to be an instant factor.
Along with Farrington, the jewel
of the 2009 recruiting class, 6-5, 246-pound pass rusher Jairus
Campbell will see time right away on the outside. An all-state
performer last year in Ohio, he has a good combination of skills and
needs to be a playmaker from day one.
Also being thrown into the
mix will be Chris Jones, a 6-2, 275-pound tackle who
has the strength to play right away and the quickness to eventually be a
good interior pass rusher. The true freshman is a leader and the type of
player who could eventually be the anchor, but for now, the coaching
staff would be happy if he's able to produce when he gets on campus.
Sophomore Kevin Alvarado is a promising tackle
who'll become a key defender on the inside at both tackle and on the
nose. The 6-2, 263-pounder isn't all that big, but he's very smart, very
quick, and he has a little bit of experience making 16 tackles as a
freshman. He'll start out the year working behind Torresso.
Watch Out For ... the freshmen. The line desperately
needs bodies, and the recruiting class will bring in a few with
Farrington certain to be a part of the end rotation along with Campbell.
The interior desperately needs help, and Jones could provide it.
Desperation. This actually might not be a bad thing. The line is such a
concern that there's no pressure on anyone up front to produce; no one's
expecting much. The chances will be there for the freshmen to grow into
the roles, while the returning veterans have a chance to go all out to
show what they can do.
Weakness: Depth. Forget about it. All four starters have to be
replaced, and with the loss of Michael Ream, the line doesn't have any
sure-things to work around. As far as the depth, it's all up to the
Outlook: Last year's line was supposed to be a
major strength, and while it was fine, it was hardly special outside of
Briggs. This year's front four simple has to survive. A pass rush has to
be manufactured from somewhere, while there isn't enough size to hold up
against power running teams. This could be the team's biggest weakness
by far, but the growing pains and the lumps taken should pay off next
year when everyone is back.
As the only returning starter on the
defensive front seven, Jerett Sanderson has to be
fantastic. The former safety ended up starting every game last year on
the outside and made 68 tackles with two interceptions. While he was
fine, he didn't use his speed enough to become a disruptive force. At
6-0 and 189 pounds on the strongside, he's not all that big, but he's
plenty tough. He's a fantastic athlete who should be doing a lot more.
Taking over in the middle for John Haneline, the team's
second-leading tackler, is Cody Basler, a nice veteran
who made 42 tackles with two tackles for loss and a pick as a reserve.
While the 6-2, 238-pound senior is best in the middle, he could move to
the strongside if needed. A tough tackler, he has good range and doesn't
miss many stops. He might not be Haneline, but he should put up nice
6-0, 221-pound senior James Schneider is
back on the weakside after suffering a broken hand last year. He only
made six tackles in his limited time, but the former JUCO transfer has
the speed and the ability to do far more and become one of the team's
leading tacklers. He has the potential to be the team's breakout
Projected Top Reserves: On the way is
Dwayne Woods, the team's top linebacker recruit who made 132
tackles last year for his high school in Cincinnati. The 6-1,
220-pounder is a huge hitter who doesn't miss stops and could be used as
a pass rusher on the outside. He'll end up being a disruptive force.
The team's most experienced backup linebacker is Eugene
Fells, a 6-1, 215-pound junior who made eight tackles in
limited action. While he's not all that big, he's tough and should be
able to hold his own in the middle. His game is about his range, but he
hasn't been able to show it off yet.
While redshirt freshman
Anthony Stover is built like a safety, the 6-2,
200-pounder is a big hitter in practices and showed nice range in
practices. While he's not going to push Schneider out of the weakside
job, he'll see plenty of action in the rotation and will be groomed for
the starting job next year.
Watch Out For ... Basler in the middle. He has been a
nice reserve over the last few years and has shown enough to be a
starter. Now he'll get his chance in the middle where he should be one
of the team's top three tacklers. He's a good pass rusher and great
instincts against the pass.
the front four is all but starting from scratch, the three senior
starters at linebacker should provide a steadying force. There might not
be any all-stars, but Sanderson, Basler, and Schneider have been around
Weakness: Size. The idea has been to get athletic, quick
linebackers who can get all over the field. However, it comes at a
price. Basler is 238 pounds, but the rest of the linebacker prospects
are safety-sized, at best.
Outlook: This group won't overpower anyone and
it's not going to hold up well against the better running teams, but
it's an athletic bunch that gets around the ball in a hurry. There needs
to be more big plays and this has to be a more disruptive group, but it
should be fine as is.
Senior P.J. Mahone started out
his career at linebacker, but he flourished once he moved to the
defensive backfield. He followed up a 90-tackle sophomore season by
leading the team with 95 stops with three interceptions and seven broken
up passes in what should've been an All-MAC season. A huge hitter at
strong safety, the 5-11, 201 pounder plays even bigger than his size and
is a tone-setter for the secondary.
Also returning is
Jahmal Brown at free safety after he finished third on the team
with 83 tackles with 3.5 tackles for loss. The 5-10, 192-pound senior
has been a tough, reliable veteran for the last few seasons, but he's
not enough of a big-play performer against the pass. He's good in
coverage and he's a great open field tackler, but he doesn't take the
Taking over and potentially being the team's shut-down
corner is senior Roger Williams after making 11 tackles
with a tackle for loss as a reserve. The 5-9, 184-pound former running
back is tremendously quick, and now it appears the light has gone on
after a strong offseason. He still might not be consistent, but he'll
have his moments.
5-8, 165-pound junior Robert Lorenzi
is trying to get healthy after suffering a broken leg. The
former JUCO transfer isn't all that big and he isn't going to hit
anyone, but he's extremely quick and he can turn and fire with nice deep
speed. He'll be picked on by the bigger targets and will have to prove
he can make a big play here and there to not get picked on.
Projected Top Reserves: Sophomore Keith
Morgan got his feet wet as a true freshman making 12 tackles as
a backup safety. The 6-0, 195-pounder is versatile enough to play either
safety spot, but he's a good hitter and is better at strong safety. He
needs to do something against the pass to earn more playing time.
5-11, 190-pound junior Calvin Marshall has the
speed and quickness of a corner, and just enough toughness to be a free
safety. He made 12 tackles in his first two seasons, and now the Florida
native will see time in nickel and dime packages when he's not working
behind Brown at free safety.
Watch Out For ... the corners to rise up and be fine.
Losing both starters isn't a plus, but Williams is a nice veteran and
Lorenzi has good potential and excellent quickness. There won't be a
strong pass rush to help them out, and the numbers might not be anything
great, but they'll be fine with a little bit of time.
The safeties. Mahone
and Brown might be the strength of the team with their tone-setting
hitting ability and the range. They'll combine for close to 200 tackles
and they'll each be in the mix for all-star honors.
Weakness: Corner size. This wasn't a huge problem last year, but
there could be problems against the bigger, more physical MAC receivers.
Lorenzi is a wisp, while Williams isn't all that big at 5-9. Run support
isn't going to be vital from these two, but they'll have to hold their
own when the ball is in the air.
Outlook: The pass defense numbers look solid
because everyone spent so much time pounding away on the awful run
defense over the last few years, but there will be a drop-off overall
after losing both starting corners and without much in the way of
developed depth. The pass rush isn't going to be consistent, but the
secondary will have to be.
Taking over the placekicking duties
from Sinisa Vrvillo will likely be Jerry Phillips, a
6-1, 195-pound redshirt freshman with a decent leg. He's not Vrvillo and
he'll have to prove himself early on from inside the 40, but he'll also
get a few chances from deep.
Senior Nick Iovinelli
came over from the JUCO ranks and struggled in 2007. He bounced
back to average 40.4 yards per kick last year with a 79-yarder, but he
only put 12 inside the 20 and didn't do enough to hang the ball up in
the air. He improved enough to earn third-team All-MAC honors and should
be a plus this year.
The return game improved, but now it'll be
an open casting call for the jobs. Roger Williams
struggled averaging a horrible 14.3 yards per kickoff return on nine
attempts, while it'll take until the final fall practice to find a punt
returner to replace Corey Partridge and his 9.1 yards per try.
Watch Out For ... a battle for the kicking job.
Philips is fine, but he's not an elite prospect. He has to be great
early on to hang on to the gig, but he'll be pushed hard considering the
kicker should be the difference between a bowl season and another year
of being an also-ran.
Iovinelli. After struggling mightily when he first
showed up, he bailed the team out time and again last year and should be
in for a nice senior season. He needs to average around 41 yards per
punt, and he should.
Placekicking. Bowling Green lost two games last
year by three points each and lost another close one to Buffalo in
overtime. It Phillips isn't a sure-thing, forget about a winning season.
Outlook: The special teams improved by leaps and
bounds after a disastrous few seasons. This isn't going to be a major
plus with big questions in the kicking game and among the returners, but
the coverage teams should be strong and Iovinelli is a good one.