|Carle's Corner: Falcons need to clean up penalties (10-26-12)|
|Written by By JACK CARLE Sentinel Sports Editor|
|Friday, 26 October 2012 09:26|
How in the wide, wide world of sports can the Bowling Green Falcon football team be committing so many penalties?
It’s probably the biggest head-scratcher involving the Falcons this season.
I do know that if the Falcons don’t get the penalties cleaned up, there’s a good chance it’s going to cost them a game.
Last season, Bowling Green was hit with 58 penalties for 505 yards. Already this fall, the Falcons have been penalized 65 times for 535 yards, more penalties and more yardage than 2011 in four fewer games.
The school record for penalties in a season is 75, set in 2008.
The latest infraction fest was last Saturday in a 24-0 win over the University of Massachusetts. The Falcons were flagged 17 times in the game, with UMass accepting 15 of them for 130 yards.
‘‘I went back and watched all 17 that were called and we watched every single one of them with our entire football team (Sunday) night,” BG head coach Dave Clawson said about the UMass game.
The biggest concern from the UMass game was three blocking in the back penalties on punt returns, costing the Falcons over 80 yards of field position.
‘‘On special teams we were trying to get some freshmen involved to take (repetitions) off some of the guys who start on defense,’’ Clawson said. ‘‘These guys are taking pride that their guy doesn’t make a play. But they are going about it the wrong way; they are not using proper technique.
‘‘At times they are blocking guys in the back that aren’t even in position to make a play. There is a fine line between playing hard and playing smart. We have guys who are playing hard, but not playing smart in those situations,’’ Clawson added. ‘‘It’s not a problem that we have had in practice, but it doesn’t matter. If we do it in a game, we’re obviously not getting it fixed.’’
Also against UMass, Bowling Green was also hit with two offensive pass interference penalties, one of which was declined, two false starts on offense, two offsides on defense, two offensive holding penalties, and a personal foul on an interception return.
‘‘A handful were maybe kind of touchy calls, but most of them were good calls and mistakes we made that we can’t continue to make,” Clawson said, adding the lack of discipline from his team is disappointing.
Clawson hopes to have the penalty situation under control for the Eastern Michigan game on Saturday. Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. in Perry Stadium.
Here are three things to watch for on Saturday:
• Obviously (which is currently the most over-used word in daily conversations), BG needs to cut down on the penalties. Penalties are going to happen, but it’s the needless, stupid ones that hurt the most.
• Bowling Green has been running the ball well during its current four-game winning streak, but Clawson is looking for more explosive plays in the passing game.
Of BG’s 46 plays this season of 20-or-more yards, 21 have come in the passing game. However, only one of those 21 plays have resulted in a touchdown — a screen pass that Alex Bayer turned into a 60-yard TD against Akron. All told, the Falcons have thrown for 10 touchdowns this fall.
The questions are — can Matt Schilz throw a deep ball and if it’s on target can someone catch it?
Sadly, I don’t have that answer.
• The Falcons’ defense has been playing well of late, but Eastern Michigan is going to provide a different look.
The Eagles have shown they can move the ball through the air with quarterback Tyler Benz.
And EMU has been running it as well with Bronson Hill, and it’s Hill and EMU’s two-back set that concerns Clawson.
‘‘It’s going to be a challenge to tackle this guy for four quarters,” Clawson said about Hill. ‘‘We’ve played very good defense for the last three or four weeks, but it’s been more against passing, spread-type offenses.
‘‘The mark of a good defense is to play well against all different styles of offenses,’’ he added. ‘‘This is a style we haven’t really played against this year except for game one (against Florida).’’
So can BG’s defense make the plays to stop EMU? My answer is yes.
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