BG defense seeks next level (08-15-13)
Written by JACK CARLE Sentinel Sports Editor
Thursday, 15 August 2013 08:30
Defense was the stalwart of the Bowling Green Falcons' football team last season.
|BGSU's Paul Swan puts on his cleats for team photos Saturday afternoon during media day. (Photo: Shane Hughes/Sentinel-Tribune)
The Falcons led the Mid-American Conference in total defense (296.6 yards per game) and scoring defense (allowing 16.8 points per game).
With nine returning starters, the current group wants to be even better this year.
''We're a veteran group, so we should be solid with everything. We should be out here flying around,'' said Paul Swan, a fifth-year senior linebacker for the Falcons. ''We have great leaders on defense, and we're a very confident group right now.
''We want to take it to the next level. We don't want teams doing anything on us,'' Swan continued. ''We want to be that force that this team can rely on all the time and that we can be trusted with anything.''
Even with veterans back, Swan said there is good competition for playing time at all positions.
''We want to keep getting better, keep growing,'' said Swan, who is a team captain for the second straight season. ''We do more film studies and put in extra work.''
MCKOY: DeVon McKoy who had played in 18 games, with eight starts, has left the team. Seven of the starts were in 2011.
A redshirt junior, McKoy was a cornerback.
''DeVon McKoy asked for his release, and we granted it to him,'' BG head coach Dave Clawson said Wednesday.
There has been an intense competition for playing time at cornerback and McKoy had dropped to the third team and was the fifth corner overall.
Cameron Truss is the starter at the boundary corner while Darrell Hunter and Aaron Foster are competing for the field corner spot. Will Watson is the fourth corner.
''DeVon was a guy who started two years ago for us and wants to start,'' Clawson said. ''We surely wish we could have kept him here. We didn't want him to leave because he gave us depth and he also did a great job on special teams for us.
''He wants to go somewhere that he can start and he has two years left to play,'' he continued. ''We're disappointed that he's leaving, but we understand and wish him the best.''
McKoy twice earned All-Mid-American Conference academic honorable mention honors at BG.
SECURITY: Clawson has been preaching ball security and avoiding turnovers.
Last season, the Falcons fumbled nine times, losing only five. The defense forced 21 fumbles, recovering 12.
Clawson said tailback Travis Greene and wide receiver Shaun Joplin have both protected the ball well during drills.
''Those two guys have stuck out in terms of truly buying in and embracing what we teach for ball security,'' Clawson said.
''(In) our four years here, if we're a plus turnover margin we're a bowl team. If we're minus turnover margin, we're watching bowls at home.''
Overall, the Falcons were a plus-4 in turnover margin last season.
INJURIES: The Falcons have not had any major injuries this month.
''Right now, we're fairly healthy,'' Clawson said. ''Darrell Hunter had a wrist (injury) the other day that we're a little concerned about. We'll see what happens.''
Clawson added that veteran players who have had surgery in the offseason are participating in only one of the sessions when there are two practices in a day.
SCRIMMAGES: Last Sunday's scrimmage was all about being physical and running as many plays as possible.
''A lot of times after a scrimmage I tell the team this is what I saw, then I watch the film and I was dead wrong,'' Clawson said. ''I nailed it (on Sunday); it was exactly what I thought. Our offensive line played extremely well ... to the point that afterwards we even got on the defensive line a little bit. The 'D' line did not play up to the standard that we had last year.''
This Sunday, BG's scrimmage will be situational play, with the main focus on the mental part of the game.
''We'll get a goal-line. We'll get an overtime,'' Clawson said. ''We'll surprise them with maybe a sudden change situation that we'll just switch the ball and put it in the red zone.
''Last scrimmage we just wanted to evaluate our base stuff and let them play,'' he said. ''The next scrimmage, we want to see who can apply what we do in situations that they fit into.''
The scrimmage is from 1-3:30 p.m. at Perry Stadium.