2009 Bowling Green Preview - Offense
Bowling Green QB Tyler Sheehan
CollegeFootballNews.com 2009 Preview - Bowling Green Falcon Offense
Preview 2009 - Offense
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What you need to know:
New head coach Dave
Clawson and offensive coordinator Warren Ruggiero will try to
get more deep passes out of QB Tyler Sheehan and the veteran
receiving corps, but the running game will hardly be ignored.
Veteran backs Willie Geter and Chris Bullock are good enough to
do more for a ground attack that should pound away more, but the
offense will work mostly around Sheehan. The veteran passer has
been accurate and is great at dinking and dunking, and now he'll
try to push the ball deeper. He needs Freddie Barnes to be
healthy and be the star of the receiving corps again after an
off year, and a No. 2 target has to emerge. The line is fine,
but it's nothing special even with three decent starters
returning. The left side, with tackle Brady Minturn moving over
from the right side and with the return of guard Shane Steffy,
will be the strength of the line, but there needs to be more
Passing: Tyler Sheehan
267-400, 2,610 yds, 20 TD, 9 INT
Rushing: Chris Bullock
92 carries, 384 yds, 2 TD
Receiving: Freddie Barnes
40 catches, 355 yds, 0 TTD
Star of the offense:
Senior QB Tyler Sheehan
Player who has to step up and become a star: Junior OT
Unsung star on the rise: Redshirt freshman OG Tim German
Best pro prospect: Senior WR Freddie Barnes
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Sheehan, 2) Barnes, 3)
RB Willie Geter
Strength of the offense: Quarterback, Left Side Of The
Weakness of the offense: Playmakers, Consistent Running
Senior Tyler Sheehan had a steadier
season than 2007, throwing for over 200 yards nine times and
finishing with 2,610 yards and 20 touchdowns with nine picks,
completing 67% of his passes. However, he struggled in a key
loss at Northern Illinois and had problems the week after in the
win over Kent State. Even so, he's going into his third year as
the starter and will have more pressure and more work heaped on
his shoulders. He can handle it. At 6-3 and 225 pounds he has
the size with a big, accurate arm and nice mobility rushing for
237 yards and seven scores last season.
Projected Top Reserves:
Senior Andrew Beam came
over from the JUCO ranks with the hopes of competing right away
for a starting job. He ended up seeing a little bit of mop-up
time and completed his only pass for a 22-yard touchdown to
Sheehan. The 6-4, 230-pounder is an excellent passer who has the
arm to step in and push the ball deep, but he'll be the backup,
unlike last year when he was given a shot at the starting job.
Coming in and looking to be groomed for the starting job in 2010
is Matthew Schilz, a 6-2, 190-pound bomber out
of California who threw for 3,200 yards and 31 scores last
season. While he's not huge and he doesn't have the biggest arm,
he had offers from several BCS schools and had his pick of
non-BCS teams. He'll be the franchise in the near future.
Watch Out For
... Sheehan to push the ball deeper. Ultra-accurate, Sheehan was
great at the short to midrange passes over the first two years
of his career, and now he'll get the change to push the ball
with more deep throws. The coaching staff will put the offense
in his hands.
Strength: Passers. Beam is a big, strong passer who can
step in and wing it all over the field. Sheehan is a proven
leader and playmaker who can carry the offense by getting hot
Weakness: 2010. How much will the coaching staff look to next
year and try to force Schilz, or another option, on the field so
there won't be such a steep learning curve? Beam is the No. 2
and will immediately step in if Sheehan gets hurt, but it'll be
interesting to see how the coaching staff handles mop-up time.
Outlook: With all the attention paid to other
quarterbacks in the MAC like Dan LeFevour and Tim Hiller,
Sheehan might belong in the discussion. He can keep up the pace
with any of them and can get the offense moving with his sharp
decision making and accuracy. Now he has to prove he can win the
tight games. Bean is a solid No. 2 who can lead the team to wins
if he has to.
The Falcons are going to use a rotation of
backs with junior Willie Geter getting the
first look. The 5-8, 170-pound speedster finished third on the
team with 301 yards and a touchdown, and while he didn't do much
over the second half of the season, he made the most of his
final game ripping off 160 yards on just 12 carries, highlighted
by a 70-yard touchdown dash, against Toledo. The coaching staff
will do whatever possible to get him in space to see if he can
bust off big plays and use his 10.6, 100-meter-dash speed as a
runner and a receiver. He caught ten passes for 96 yards last
Projected Top Reserves:
Bringing more power to the mix is
Chris Bullock, a 5-11, 220-pound senior who ran for 384
yards and two scores while catching 19 passes for 199 yards. He
can do far more, and he should with more of an emphasis on the
ground game. He ran for 769 yards and four scores as a freshman,
but he hasn't been able to build on the numbers. Now he'll be
used partly as a fullback and as a workhorse when needed.
Redshirt freshman Steve Dunlap is a quick back
who'll be featured from time to time. He's only 5-8 and 168
pounds, but he can cut on a dime and has the hands to be used as
a receiver as well as a speed option on the outside. While he's
tough, he won't do much up the middle.
The former walk-on is a tough back with good quickness
when he gets through the hole, and he's always moving forward.
Watch Out For ... far more from the ground game.
The coaching staff has made it a point that the offense will
push the ball deeper with the passing game and use the running
game more to set things up. While the attack will be put on the
shoulders of QB Tyler Sheehan, the backs will be more involved.
Strength: Options. There might not be a ton of production, with
1,608 yards and 19 touchdowns last year, but there was a nice
rotation of runners who stepped up when needed. Anthony Turner,
the leading rusher, might be gone, but Bullock and Geter form a
nice thunder and lightning tandem and Dunlap and Beam should do
Weakness: A true number one. The backs haven't exactly been able
to light it up this offseason. This is a decent group of backs,
but it's hardly special and no one has been able to step up and
shine as a runner who needs to be used on a regular basis.
Outlook: The Falcons led the MAC in rushing three
seasons ago because of the running quarterbacks. While Tyler
Sheehan is mobile, the ground game will be left to the backs in
an attempt to kickstart the production. There will be more power
sets with fullbacks involved, but for the most part, the backs
will end up being along for the ride unless they can prove they
can produce early on.
Never quite healthy last year, senior Freddie Barnes
didn't have the big season expected. The 6-0,
210-pounder started off his career as a quarterback, highlighted
by a 158-yard, two touchdown rushing day in his debut against
Wisconsin in 2006, and he has 143 career grabs for 1,529 yards
and 11 scores. He only made 41 catches last season for 364
yards, but he didn't get into the end zone and he wasn't able to
do as much as expected with 86 rushing yards. With tremendous
speed and quickness, he'll be used in a variety of ways on the
outside X position.
6-0, 181-pound senior Tyrone
has hade problems staying healthy over the course of his career,
but he was able to get through last season and finished third on
the team with 29 catches for 197 yards and a score. A
slippery-quick receiver at the H, he hasn't been able to do too
much with the ball in his hands. He has to start doing far more
to make big things happen.
Senior Chris Wright
became a top playmaker two years ago with a phenomenal
second half, but he didn't do too much last year with 22 catches
for 249 yards and a score with seven of the grabs coming against
Kent State. At 5-10 and 189 pounds he has decent size and the
speed to be a deep threat at the Z, and he could end up being a
No. 1 target at times.
can be used both as a fullback and a tight end, and he has grown
into a tremendous producer around the goal line. He only caught
17 passes for 150 yards, but he made seven touchdown grabs with
two coming in the opener against Pitt. A decent blocker, the
6-4, 255-pounder is physical and is good and creating space for
himself as a receiver.
Projected Top Reserves:
When the passing game goes to four wide
sets, junior Derek Brighton will come in at the
E position. The quick 5-10, 180-pounder got two starts in 2007
and made ten catches for 97 yards with seven grabs for 67 yards
against Michigan State. He didn't make any catches last year but
he served as a holder on kicks.
Bringing more speed to
the equation if Ray Hutson, a 6-2, 180-pound
sophomore who was a Michigan all-state 400-meter sprinter in
high school, but he only made four catches for 16 yards in his
first year. He's smart, has great upside at the outside X, and
has the wheels to stretch the field.
Calvin Wiley has only been a special teamer so far and
didn't do anything last year, but he showed enough to the new
coaching staff to potentially get a long look at the Z behind
Wright. He has problems with a knee injury, but he's been great
in practices and is a bigger option than Wright at 5-11 and 207
6-4, 270-pound junior Nick Reike
isn't going to come up with any catches, but he has the
athleticism to potentially be a part of the passing game and is
a big blocker. He'll see time in two tight end sets and on
running plays working behind Scheidler.
Watch Out For ... a return to form for Barnes. He
has the talent to be a star MAC receiver, and if he can stay
healthy, he should be a weapon and the type of No. 1 target who
can put up huge numbers as a deep threat.
Strength: Veterans. Last year's leading receiver Corey Partridge
might be gone, but Barnes, Pronty, and Wright have been around
forever. Throw in a scoring tight end in Scheidler into the mix,
and the Falcons have a ton of experience to work with.
Weakness: A killer No. 2. When he's right, Barnes can be as good
as any receiver in the MAC. However, Wright and Pronty have been
merely average. The Falcons need some young receivers to step up
and become major factors, and they could use an early breakout
game from someone other than Barnes to offer another option.
Outlook: A disappointment, albeit a mild one, last
year, the Falcon receivers have decent speed, a ton of
experience, and the potential to do far more in an offense
that's going to try to come up with more big plays. Keeping the
chains moving is job one, but more scoring is needed from the
returning wide receivers.
After starting every game last year at right tackle, 6-4, 288-pound
senior Brady Minturn will move to the left side. He
looks like a big tight end rather than a bulky blocker, and he's good on
the move and in pass protection. While the former defensive lineman
isn't going to flatten too many defenders, he'll keep them at bay and is
physical enough to get by.
With Minturn moving spots, it'll be
up to 6-6, 281-pound junior Tyler Donohue to take over
at right tackle. A quick, athletic blocker, he was supposed to play
right tackle last year but ended up serving as a key backup. He's good
enough to step in and be steady from the start.
The other big
replacement will be at right guard where Brandon Curtis is gone after
starting every game. Redshirt freshman Tim German is a
promising young blocker with 6-5, 300-pound bulk who showed this
offseason that he's ready to become a key part of the front five for the
next four years. He'll have to grow into the gig, but he has veterans
around him to help pick up the slack.
Bojicic had the near-impossible task of replacing Kory
Lichtensteiger at center, but he did a good job of quarterbacking the
front five. At 6-4 and 273 pounds he's not all that big, but he's a good
technician and he's physical for his size. He has all-star potential.
Also returning to a starting spot is Shane Steffy,
a 6-3, 302-pound senior who is the team's most experienced blocker
having started every game but one over the last two seasons. At 6-3 and
302 pounds he's one of the team's biggest blockers and is strong in pass
protection against the quicker interior linemen. He'll be the one the
offense works behind for the key rushing yards.
Projected Top Reserves:
6-2, 305-pound sophomore Scott Lewis
got work last year but could use some meaningful playing time.
The understudy behind Steffy at left guard, he'll be a key reserve who
could end up seeing time as a run blocker in the rotation at either
Senior Scott Albert hasn't done much
over the course of his career, but he's still one of the team's most
experienced backups. At 6-7 and 300 pounds he's built more like a
tackle, but he's a a guard who'll work behind German at right guard.
The team's biggest lineman, and one of the team's most promising, is
Blaec Walker, a 6-5, 315-pound redshirt freshman who'll
be groomed to take over the left tackle job next year. Very strong and a
mauler of a run blocking prospect, he could move to guard if absolutely
needed, but he's a tackle.
Watch Out For ... German. There are several big,
strong guard prospects working to take over on the right side, but
German, just a redshirt freshman, has the biggest upside. It's a stretch
to call him and the position a potential weak link, but if he's good,
the line could be great.
Strength: A combination of size and athleticism. This is a big
group that has all the basics needed to look the part, but this isn't a
bunch of sticks in the mud. There's enough athleticism, especially at
tackle, to get on the move and be stronger in pass protection.
This has been a problem for the last few years. The line has hardly been
awful, but it didn't do nearly enough for the ground game, especially
considering the size in the interior, and the pass protection was no big
deal allowing 21 sacks.
Outlook: A major disappointment two years ago, the
line was far better than expected last season. It might not have been
fantastic, but it wasn't bad. Now there's enough experience to hope for
more for the ground game, and there has to be big-time production from a
left side with seniors Minturn and Steffy needing to shine. There's no
developed depth, so a rash of injuries could be devastating.