2010 Bowling Green Preview – Offense

Posted Jun 5, 2010

CollegeFootballNews.com 2010 Preview - Bowling Green Falcon Offense

Bowling Green Falcons

Preview 2010 - Offense

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What You Need To Know: Offensive coordinator Warren Ruggiero and head coach Dave Clawson know how to crank out big numbers. However, last year's record-setting passing attack had veterans to run the show. This year's attack has a battle at quarterback with four possible options for the starting job, no one ready to step up and become another Freddie Barnes at receiver, and a line that has no depth and might be shaky for the first part of the season. The running game that took a backseat to the air show last year needs be great early on, and that means Willie Geter needs to come up with a big year behind the beefy line. The offense and the coaches might be better than the players, but it's not like the offense is going to fall flat; it's just going to take a while for the attack to be consistent.

Returning Leaders
Rushing: Willie Geter
176 carries, 705 yds, 9 TD
Receiving: Adrian Hodges
46 catches, 417 yds, 2 TD

Star of the offense: Senior RB Willie Geter
Player who has to step up and be a star: Redshirt freshman QB Matt Schilz
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore OT Blaec Walker
Best pro prospect: Junior C Ben Bojicic
Top three all-star candidates: 1) WR Tyrone Pronty, 2) Bojicic, 3) OT Tyler Donohue
Strength of the offense: The Coaches, Receivers
Weakness of the offense: Quarterback, Line Depth


Projected Starter: Good luck trying to figure out the Bowling Green quarterback situation with four viable starters. Redshirt freshman Matt Schilz got the bulk of the work with the ones this spring and even started the spring game, but he sputtered and struggled with his accuracy and consistency. At 6-2 and 184 pounds he doesn't look all that imposing, but he has a live arm and the moxie to take the starting job by the horns. The Californian had several offers from BCS schools and had his pick of the non-BCS teams, and he has the potential to be the face of the program if the coaching staff is willing to live through the rookie mistakes.

Projected Top Reserves: Sophomore Aaron Pankratz is the only quarterback on the roster with a lick of experience, and that amounts to completing 5-of-13 passes for 52 yards in the blowout loss to Boise State. At 6-6 and 221 pounds he has the size and he has the ability to be a nice passer who pushes the ball down the field, but he doesn't have the accuracy or the upside of Matt Schilz.

6-2, 192-pound Kellen Pagel is a bit of a wild card in the quarterback chase. The true freshman got to school early after a great high school career. Courted by all the top MAC programs, he's a great athlete with the ability to throw a big-time fastball. More of a spread quarterback than the other top options, he could be thrown into the equation as a change of pace to add a running element to the mix. While he needs time and seasoning, he has the passing skills to step in and produce right away.

Watch Out For … a fight for the starting job up until the last second. The coaching staff isn't going to rush the decision and will let everyone have a shot. True freshman Trent Hurley and big bomber Kellen Pagel can take over the job by standing out.
Strength: Big options. Everyone's big, everyone can throw, and everyone has a great high school résumé to work from. Bowling Green recruits a type of passer and it has several different good prospects to choose from.
Weakness: Experience. There isn't any. The Falcons are not only going to have to rely on a totally green starter, but they're going to have to show confidence early on. The last thing the offense needs is for the quarterback to play scared with five other players pushing for the job.
Outlook: Tyler Sheehan might have been a bit inconsistent and he might not have shown up in every big game, but it's not easy to quickly replace an ultra-productive starter who threw for 10,117 yards and 70 scores. There young prospects are great, the coaching is top-shelf, and the offense is tailor-made to let the quarterbacks shine. There will be an adjustment period, but the numbers will be solid.
Unit Rating: 5

Running Backs

Projected Starters: While the offense centered around the passing game, senior Willie Geter was solid on the ground running for 705 yards and nine scores including a 114-yard, three score day against Toledo. Tremendous in the bowl loss to Idaho he ran for 96 yards and two scores averaging 6.9 yards per carry and tearing off yards in chunks. At 5-8 and 170 pounds, he's not all that big but he can fly with 10.6 100-meter-dash speed. With great hands and good experience, he could even more dangerous for the passing game after catching 37 passes for 342 yards and a score.

Projected Top Reserves: Sophomore John Pettigrew got a few chances to handle the ball on kickoffs and ran seven times for 24 yards in a limited role in blowouts, and now he'll get the first look at the No. 2 job behind Willie Geter. A slippery 5-10 and 183 pounds, he was a workhorse in high school cranking out 2,158 yards and 23 scores as a senior after tearing off 1,948 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior. He can be used as a receiver out of the backfield as well as a speed back for the ground game. A star this offseason, he's ready to explode.

While he's only 5-9 and 203 pounds, redshirt freshman Erique Geiger is a tough runner with shifty speed through the hole. A nice prospect who was considered a possible safety as well as a running back, he's not afraid of contact and he has a burst to make him a dangerous playmaker when he gets into the open.

Watch Out For … Geter to do more. A solid runner when he got the chance, he'll be a bigger part of the attack as the offense tries to get the quarterback situation settled. He won't just be a dangerous receiver out of the backfield.
Strength: Extreme quickness. Geter can cut on a dime, Pettigrew moves well enough to make big things happen in the open field, and Geiger can fly. All three can be deadly in the short passing game and can crank out big runs with a little bit of room to move.
Weakness: Power. There isn't any. On third and short, the offense will probably throw the ball. The ground game might have been an afterthought last year, and now it has to go from occasionally non-existent to a big part of the attack.
Outlook: The passing game was so good that the ground game wasn't needed, finishing 114th in the nation averaging a mere 87 yards per try. That doesn't mean it can't work. Geter is a solid veteran and Pettigrew was terrific this offseason. The running attack isn't going to be special, but it'll balance things out a bit.
Unit Rating: 5.5


Projected Starters: Trying to replace Freddie Barnes at the X will be junior Adrian Hodges , an ultra-productive under-the radar playmaker who finished second on the team with 46 catches for 417 yards and two scores. While the 6-1, 191-pound veteran might not be Barnes and he didn't come up with any big plays, he's a good athlete who knows the system and can quickly grow into a No. 1 receiver who can stretch the field.

Senior Tyrone Pronty has always had problems staying healthy, but on the plus side his foot injury suffered last year came early enough to give him another year of eligibility. At 6-0 and 189 pounds, he has decent size and is slippery-quick able to take short passes a long way. He caught 29 passes for 197 yards and a score two years ago, and he made six grabs for 30 yards last year before getting hurt.

After coming in from the JUCO ranks, 6-3, 189-pound Kamar Jorden ended up redshirting with so many other good receiving options. Now the junior has the potential to be one of the team's breakout stars after an excellent spring taking over one of the starting role. While he'll combine with Ray Hutson and will have to fight for the spot all year long, with size and good hands, he'll find a role somewhere.

An afterthought last year, sophomore Alex Bayer appears to be ready to become the team's top receiving tight end. A thin 6-4 and 228 pounds, he's a good athlete who'll function more like a big wide receiver than a blocker. Just good enough this offseason to prove he could be a dangerous part of the offense.

Projected Top Reserves: While he's a bit banged up with a leg problem, junior Ray Hutson should be a bigger part of the passing game this year from the Z position. The 6-2, 190-pounder was a Michigan all-star 400 meter sprinter, but he only averaged 8.5 yards per catch with 27 grabs for 239 yards and two scores. Able to play any of the receiver spots, he'll be moved around where needed to get his speed where it can be best utilized.

6-0, 195-pound Jordan Hopgood came up with a great offseason and appears to be ready to be one of the team's next strong weapons. Wanted by Nebraska after working at several spots in high school including quarterback, he's a great route runner who's tough to bring down with just one defensive back. He'll be tough in one-on-one situations.

After spending last year as the No. 2 tight end, 6-4, 257-pound Nick Rieke made two catches for 23 yards while mostly serving as a blocker. A good athlete for his size, he's best at making big blocks down the field for the ground game, and now he'll see more time in two tight end sets while also seeing more time in place of Jimmy Scheidler.

Watch Out For … Hodges. He might not be the team's biggest receiver and he might have been in the shadow of Freddie Barnes, but he had a nice year as a short to midrange target. He has too much speed to not do more deep.
Strength: The offense. Yeah, Barnes was good, but he wasn't that good as far as being a special talent; he just happened to be a perfect fit for the offense and he always, always, always produced. That doesn't mean that others can't shine in his place. The Dave Clawson attack knows how to make good receivers look great.
Weakness: Freddie Barnes. Yeah, there are several good prospects and the offense should find targets to work with, but it's asking a lot to replace a guy who turned in the single greatest statistical receiving season in college football history.
Outlook: There isn't any one player who can come close to catching the 155 passes and scoring 19 times like Barnes did, but the offense will spread the ball around and will use several receivers to pick up the slack. The receiving corps has size, speed, and upside, but the bigger problem could be the quarterbacking. There isn't a steady veteran like Tyler Sheehan who can make everyone look good. The receivers are going to have to help out the new quarterback, and it's not going to be vice versa.
Unit Rating: 5.5

Offensive Line

Projected Starters: The line has to be more physical for the ground game and has to give the new starting quarterback more time. The main man for the front five will be veteran center Ben Bojicic , a 6-5, 294-pound junior who started ten times last year as he did a good job of replacing all-star Kory Lichtensteiger. He got bigger over the last year and now the quarterback of the front five should be even stronger for the ground game.

6-6, 300-pound senior Tyler Donohue started in every game last year and turned in a nice year as a quick, athletic blocker at right tackle. With a good frame and a year of experience, he'll be one of the team's key blockers in pass protection. While he'll give up a few sacks, he'll win more than his share of battles.

Replacing 13-game starter Scott Albert at right guard is Scott Lewis , a solid spot starter throughout last year who served as a key reserve most of the time and god the starting nod for a three-game stretch at left guard. At 6-2 and 294 pounds, the junior has decent size and is a better run blocker than a pass protector, but that might not be a bad thing for what the attack needs at right guard.

Taking over for all-star Shane Steffy at left guard is Chip Robinson, a massive 6-6, 327-pound sophomore who'll be a road grater. A solid backup last year, he got just enough time to be able to hit the ground running and potentially be an anchor for the front five. With his size, he's tough to get around.

One of the team's biggest linemen, 6-5, 300-pound sophomore Blaec Walker will be a large presence at left tackle. He stepped in for a few games last year starting against Central Michigan and Buffalo, and while he was fine, he needs to be more consistent in pass protection. Very strong and a mauler of a run blocker, he has a guard style of blocking ability for the ground game in the body of a tackle.

Projected Top Reserves: With the line desperately needing bodies, senior Nick Torresso moved over from the defensive line to push for time at right guard. While he's not all that huge at 6-2 and 283 pounds, he's a physical player who should be able to do some pushing around, even if he's not a natural for the offensive side. An eight-game starter on the defensive interior, he made 13 tackles and a sack last year.

6-5, 287-pound senior Casey McHugh only saw time in one game last year, but the key JUCO transfer from City College of San Francisco has just enough experience at the lower level, and just enough athleticism, to be a decent option at right tackle. Versatile enough to be used as a backup anywhere on the line, he'll be used in a variety of ways.

Watch Out For … Walker. The line needs him to shine at left tackle, and he's going to grow into the job over the next three years. With good size and great upside, he could be an All-MAC blocker in the near future.
Strength: Size. For being a big line, this is a surprisingly mobile group that isn't going to be all that bad in pass protection. The line averages over 300 pounds per man and should have the bulk to do more for the ground game after struggling last year.
Weakness: Experience, especially among the reserves. While the holes in the starting five will be patched with just enough experience to get by, there's nothing among the reserves to count on. How thin is the depth? Torresso was a nice defensive lineman who had to be moved over.
Outlook: The line was fine last year, but it wasn't special. The starting five will turn out to be fine as long as injuries don't strike, but cohesion was a major issue last year with bumps and bruises killing the consistency. If the backups are needed right away, it'll be uh-oh time.
Unit Rating: 5

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