|BGSU hoping for more potent offense (8-22-12)|
|Written by By JACK CARLE Sentinel Sports Editor|
|Wednesday, 22 August 2012 08:06|
Heading into his third season as Bowling Green’s starting quarterback, Matt Schilz has gotten bigger and stronger and has a much better grasp on the offensive playbook.
Now BG head coach Dave Clawson, in his fourth season with the Falcons, hopes that knowledge along with much better depth on offense can translate into points on the scoreboard.
Last season, Schilz (6-foot-3, 220 pounds) was 245-of-412 for 3,024 yards with 28 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, starting all 12 games. His numbers improved greatly from 2010 when in 10 games he threw for 2,223 yards with eight touchdowns.
“We certainly believe that we will be able to protect him better than we have the last two years,” Clawson said about Schilz, one of BG’s captains this season. “He knows the offense and he just continues to have better command.
“With his strength gains and his weight gains, he plays with more of a stature than he did before,” Clawson added. “He can make every throw ... We’re not limited with what we can call or do with him. His arm strength has improved. His touch on short balls has improved.”
Redshirt freshman Matt Johnson (6-0, 210) and freshman James Knapke (6-2, 205) are the recruited quarterbacks behind Schilz. Clawson said he would like to redshirt Knapke this season.
Schilz will be throwing to a group of inexperienced receivers. In Clawson’s first three years at Bowling Green, Freddie Barnes was the featured receiver in 2009 and Kamar Jorden filled that role in 2010 and 2011. In those three seasons, Barnes and Jordan combined for 329 receptions for 3,968 yards and 35 touchdowns.
Now the mantel has fallen to redshirt junior Shaun Joplin (6-2, 197), redshirt freshman walk-on Ryan Burbrink (5-8, 181), redshirt sophomore Heath Jackson (5-11, 180), redshirt freshman Herve Colby (5-11, 177), redshirt freshman Chris Gallon (6-4, 221), and redshirt junior Je’Ron Stokes (6-1, 198), who is a transfer from Michigan.
“I feel we have a top six,” Clawson said about the receivers. “All those guys will play. It’s pretty much getting them game ready. We’re trying to create more situations in practice.
“They don’t lack for ability, but that is the one position where we are very young.”
Joplin has the most experience with 21 receptions for 292 yards and a touchdown last fall.
Redshirt freshman Travis Greene (5-10, 176), and junior college transfer Jared Cohen (6-1, 189) could also be a factor at wide receiver.
At running back, Anthon Samuel, the Mid-American Conference freshman of the year in 2011, returns. Despite playing in only nine games because of injuries, Samuel (5-11, 188) rushed for 844 yards and five touchdowns on 144 carries and had 15 receptions last season.
Samuel missed most of spring practice because of a broken wrist, but he is ready to go for the season.
Redshirt junior Jordan Hopgood (5-11, 215) was BG’s short yardage back last season. Redshirt sophomore Jamel Martin (5-10, 194) and senior John Pettigrew 5-8, 178) also return.
Redshirt freshman Andre Givens (5-9, 190) is eligible this season. Givens originally signed a letter of intent with Pittsburgh. Instead of going to Pitt, Givens enrolled at Milford Academy in New Berlin, N.Y. where he saw limited playing time in 2010. He was enrolled at Bowling Green for the 2011-12 academic year to gain his eligibility.
“That’s a position where you can’t have too many (players),” Clawson said. “Certainly, we want Anthon to take the next step, but the others are right there, too.”
There is experience in the top seven on the offensive line with senior Jordon Roussos (6-4, 303) back at right tackle, junior Dominic Flewellyn (6-3, 293) returning at left guard and fifth-year senior Chip Robinson (6-5, 335) and senior Dominique Wharton (6-3, 302) in a four-player mix at right guard and center.
Roussos started his BG career as a defensive tackle, but was moved to offense midway through the 2010 season.
“The first year we just threw him in there. We were telling him before every series what he had to do on a play,” Clawson said. “Last year, he was improved and now this year he is playing with much more confidence. He’s playing faster because he knows what to do. He understands the techniques now.
“I think he’ll have his best year.”
Flewellyn will be in his third year as a starter. He was elected one of Bowling Green’s captains this season.
“He’s a much better player (now) with just the experience, strength, the knowledge of the offense,” Clawson said. “He’s become a very solid, a very good player for us ... He’s a very mature young man.”
Junior-college transfer David Kekuewa (6-2, 308) and redshirt freshman Alex Huettel (6-3, 291) are in the right guard-center mix and redshirt freshman Fahn Cooper (6-4, 300) is expected to start at left tackle.
“I would anticipate all those guys would play,” Clawson said about the top seven linemen.
Behind the first seven are redshirt junior Scott Hodges (6-7, 297), redshirt freshman Christian Piazza (6-7, 281), redshirt sophomore Darion Delaney (6-3, 303) and redshirt freshman Spencer Cairo (6-2, 289).
“Those guys are getting better,” Clawson said about the other linemen.
There is also depth at tight end/fullback with redshirt junior Alex Bayer (6-4, 253) leading the returnees. Bayer had 20 receptions for 242 yards and two touchdowns last season.
Junior Tyler Beck (6-2, 259) played in an H-back/fullback role last year.
Redshirt sophomores Kendall Montgomery (6-5, 258) and Clay Rolf (6-6, 278) and sophomore Chris Pohlman (6-3, 253) are also competing for playing time. Rolf is from Eastwood High School.
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