2009 CFN Bowling Green Preview
Bowling Green WR Freddie Barnes
Bowling Green WR Freddie Barnes
Posted Jul 8, 2009

CollegeFootballNews.com 2009 Preview - Bowling Green Falcons

Bowling Green Falcons

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By Pete Fiutak

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- 2009 Bowling Green Preview | 2009 BGSU Offense
- 2009 BGSU Defense | 2009 BGSU Depth Chart
- 2008 BGSU Preview | 2007 BGSU Preview | 2006 BGSU Preview 

Head coach: Dave Clawson
1st year
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 16, Def. 20, ST 3
Lettermen Lost: 18
Ten Best Falcon Players
1. QB Tyler Sheehan, Sr.
2. SS P.J. Mahone, Sr.
3. WR Freddie Barnes, Sr.
4. FS Jahmal Brown, Sr.
5. RB Willie Geter, Jr.
6. RB Chris Bullock, Sr.
7. TE Jimmy Scheidler, Sr.
8. LB Jerett Sanderson, Sr.
9. OT Brady Minturn, Sr.
10. C Ben Bojicic, Soph.

2009 Schedule
CFN Prediction: COMING
2009 Record: 0-0

9/3 Troy
9/12 at Missouri
9/19 at Marshall
9/26 Boise State
10/3 Ohio
10/10 at Kent State
10/17 at Ball State
10/24 Central Michigan
11/3 at Buffalo
11/12 at Mismi
11/20 Akron
11/27 Toledo

2009 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 5-7
2009 Record: 6-6

8/30 at Pitt W 27-17
9/6 Minnesota L 42-17
9/13 at Boise State L 20-7
9/27 at Wyoming W 45-16
10/4 Eastern Michigan L 24-21
10/11 at Akron W 37-33
10/18 Miami Univ. L 27-20
10/25 at No Illinois L 16-13
11/1 Kent State W 45-30
11/8 at Ohio W 28-3
11/21 Buffalo L 40-34 2OT
11/28 at Toled0 W 38-10

You've got to give Bowling Green credit. At least it has its standard set extremely high.

Former head coach Gregg Brandon took what Urban Meyer had created and ran with it going 44-30 in six years with three bowl appearances, two bowl wins, and only one losing season . Several MAC programs would kill to have a six season run like Bowling Green just had, helped by high-profile wins over Minnesota, Pitt, and Purdue, and there was a good enough nucleus back, especially on offense, to be a front-runner to win the squishy-soft MAC East.

Fine, so the players didn't exactly light it up in the classroom, leading to a way-too-low APR score, and there were some phenomenal flame-out losses, like the 63-7 loss to Tulsa in the 2007 GMAC Bowl and the inexplicable home gacks to Eastern Michigan and Miami last year to kill chances for a winning season, but still, this wasn't a bad MAC program. But just being slightly above-average wasn't enough, and out went Brandon and in comes Dave Clawson, the leader of a strong Richmond team and a two-time D-IAA Coach of the year.

But here's the issue, at least at the start for a program that went 6-6 last season and four games by a touchdown or less, can Clawson take the team to another level while it needs to rebuild? After all, he didn't exactly work wonders as the offensive coordinator at Tennessee last season, and now he needs to show that it was a fluke.

The offense will be more than fine. Tyler Sheehan is one of the MAC's better passers, there's a nice veteran receiving corps to count on, and there's a good twosome in the backfield in Willie Geter and Chris Bullock to revolve the running game around. The line is solid, there's decent depth across the board, and there's enough overall experience to expect a strong year. The problem is the defense.

The D was fantastic at times last season as everything came together for a veteran group that was solid throughout the year. Now the entire defensive front has to be replaced, the linebackers are small, to be kind, and the corners have to be broken in without the benefit of the pass rush that last year's secondary was helped by. As far as depth, forget about it; the Falcons need to find starters.

Clawson is in the unenviable position of having to be a new head coach who has to produce right away. Anything less than a winning season, or not a losing one, will be a major disappointment after the decent success under Brandon. No, Clawson isn't in an unwinnable situation, trying to rebuild and improve at the same time, but he'll have as much pressure on his shoulders as any coach in the MAC.

What to watch for on offense: More running. The Bowling Green offense will have an interesting conflict of interests. The attack will revolve around QB Tyler Sheehan and the passing game, and will try to push the ball deeper, but the running game will be a bigger part of the equation. Chris Bullock is the power back while Willie Geter brings the speed, and they'll occasionally have a fullback to work behind. In a pinch, it'll be all Sheehan all the time, but in the flow of the normal attack, the plan will be to have a little more of a balance.

What to watch for on defense: The line. It's not all doom and gloom, but all four starters need to be replaced, hurt mostly by the loss of pass rushing terror Diyral Briggs. Beyond the starters, with the loss of tackle Michael Ream, who was booted for violating team rule, there's no depth whatsoever on the interior. Several true freshmen will get a chance to shine, and on the plus side, this is a relatively young line overall and it should grow into a positive for next year. But this could be the team's Achilles heel early on.

The team will be far better if … there are more close wins. The Falcons beat Akron in a fun 37-33 battle. That was the only close shave that went the team's way with losses to Eastern Michigan, Miami University, Northern Illinois, and Buffalo all by a touchdown or less. Those were four extremely winnable games over teams that weren't necessarily better than the Falcons. Had they won the games they were supposed to, they should've been at least 8-4 and should've been 10-2 and in the MAC championship. Normally it's not necessarily fair or right to do the "ifs and buts" look at the close calls, but those four games really should've been wins if the team had been sharper.

The Schedule:
It could be a rougher start than it appears on paper with an opener against a good Troy team with the type of defense that could give the Falcons problems. Follow that up by trips to Missouri and Marshall and a home game against Boise State, and Bowling Green should be ecstatic if it starts 2-2. The MAC schedule isn't awful with the toughest game, Central Michigan, at home, while the showdown against Buffalo is on the road. The biggest issue is a mid-season stretch with four road games wrapped around the CMU battle, but at least the year closes out nicely with Friday night home games against Akron and Toledo.

Best Offensive Player:
Senior QB Tyler Sheehan. After being pushed for the starting job last year, Sheehan responded with a 20 touchdown, nine interception season while regularly going over 200 yards per outing. While he's not on the radar with the pro scouts, and will likely be a free agent signing after next year's draft, he has the size, a nice arm, and good mobility. He's the type of quarterback who sticks on an NFL roster as a third teamer who's great at running the scout team, but for this year, he'll have to gear up his arm for some major shootouts.

Best Defensive Player: Senior SS P.J. Mahone. He's got the speed, the hitting ability, and the knack for finding his way to the football. The team's leading tackler plays like a free safety against the pass and doesn't miss a stop in the open field. A former linebacker, he's extremely physical and has the ability and the experience to all but carry the defensive back seven at times.

Key player to a successful season: Junior DT Nick Torresso. There's no size whatsoever in the middle of the Bowling Green defensive line now that Michael Ream is gone. Nose tackle Andrew Johnson is a good one, but he's only 257 pounds and makes things happen more with his quickness than his bulk. The 290-pound Torresso is the only defender with decent size on the inside, and with almost no tackle depth to count on, he'll have to hold up.

The season will be a success if ... the Falcons win the East. This isn't as good a Falcon team as last year's, and the East is better overall, but it's still the far, far weaker of the two MAC divisions and it should be up for grabs all season long. It's going to take some smoke and mirrors to come up with a winning season, much less a division title, but the bar is being set high after the firing of Brandon and the plan is for Clawson to take things to another level in season one.

Key game: Nov. 3 at Buffalo. If the Falcons can hold serve at home in MAC play, which isn't a given after some bad losses last year, they should have an honest shot at winning the MAC East if they can pull off a win against Buffalo. Last year's double-overtime loss to the Bulls was one of the key games in the MAC season, and this year's battle will likely be a key part of the title puzzle.

2008 Fun Stats: 
- Bowling Green 1st quarter scoring: 48 - Bowling Green 2nd quarter scoring: 110
- Penalties: Bowling Green 75 for 641 yards - Opponents 52 for 470 yards
- Touchdown passes: Bowling Green 24 - Opponents 13

- 2009 Bowling Green Preview | 2009 BGSU Offense
- 2009 BGSU Defense | 2009 BGSU Depth Chart
- 2008 BGSU Preview | 2007 BGSU Preview | 2006 BGSU Preview