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2009 Bowling Green Preview - Offense
Bowling Green QB Tyler Sheehan
Bowling Green QB Tyler Sheehan
Posted Jul 8, 2009 2009 Preview - Bowling Green Falcon Offense

Bowling Green Falcons

Preview 2009 - Offense

- 2009 Bowling Green Preview | 2009 BGSU Offense
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- 2008 BGSU Preview | 2007 BGSU Preview | 2006 BGSU Preview 

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 overall production.

Returning Leaders
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 Tyler Donahue
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 Line
Weakness of the offense: Playmakers, Consistent Running


Projected Starter: 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.
: 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 for stretches.
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.

Running Backs

Projected Starters: 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 year.

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.
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 more. 
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.
Rating: 5.5


Projected Starters: 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 Pronty
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.

Jimmy Scheidler 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.

Senior 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 pounds.

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.
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.
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.
Rating: 6

Offensive Linemen

Projected Starters: 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.

Sophomore Ben 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 guard spot.

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.
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.
Weakness: Production. 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.
Rating: 5.5