|Clawson on departure of Samuel, Cooper (8-3-12)|
|Written by By JACK CARLE, Sentinel Sports Editor|
|Friday, 02 August 2013 16:05|
Attrition is part of sports.
And while it was not a surprise, the Bowling Green State University football team has lost two players from key positions who had eligibility remaining.
Tailback Anthon Samuel, a two-year starter for the Falcons, and Fahn Cooper, the starting left offensive tackle last season, decided not to return this season.
‘‘We really knew since the spring that this could happen with both of those players, and we’ve been preparing for it,’’ BG head coach Dave Clawson said. ‘‘We have recruited other good players and now they get a chance to step up and play.’’
Samuel was the Mid-American Conference freshman of the year in 2011. For his career Samuel rushed for 1,842 yards, including 10 games of 100 yards or more, and 16 touchdowns.
‘‘I met with Anthon and never got the feeling he was coming back,’’ Clawson said. ‘‘At one point he indicated he wanted to come back. The only thing that we could tell him was that the next scholarship that became available would be his.
‘‘We wish him nothing but the best,’’ Clawson added. ‘‘He gave us great effort and he was just a good student-athlete for us for two years.’’
Samuel left BGSU after the Military Bowl game in late December to be closer to his wife and his son.
‘‘It’s important that he’s with his wife. It’s important that he’s with his son ... I didn’t think it was right to value Bowling Green football over his family,’’ Clawson said. ‘‘I think he’s happy and feels good on all fronts with what he’s doing.’’
A native of Opa Locka, Fla., Samuel is expected to continue his career at Florida International University, located in Miami.
‘‘All along we said whatever decision he made we would support,’’ Clawson said. ‘‘We would love to have him back and we wanted to have him back, but not at the expense of his marriage and his child.’’
There are numerous players in the mix to replace Samuel.
Andre Givens got the majority of work during spring drills and is the frontrunner heading into fall camp.
Travis Greene was moved from wide receiver to running back in the spring and is No. 2 on the depth chart.
Veterans Jordan Hopgood and Jamel Martin also return after battling injuries.
In addition there are three freshmen recruits in camp — Fred Coppet, Eric Harrell and Marcus Levy — all hoping to make an impression.
‘‘We were very aggressive in December and January signing running backs,’’ Clawson said. ‘‘It was certainly a position of concern and right now our numbers are good.’’
With the departure of Cooper, the Falcons will be playing with a different left tackle for the third time in the last three years.
Kyle Bryant, now at Youngstown State, started six games for the Falcons in 2011, but was dismissed from the team for an undisclosed violation of team rules on May 1, 2012.
Cooper, from Crystal Lake, Ill., won the starting job for the 2012 season as a redshirt freshman and started all 13 games there.
‘‘In terms of Fahn, it was not a discipline issue,’’ Clawson said. ‘‘He wasn’t kicked off the team and he wasn’t told he couldn’t come back.
‘‘Like a lot of young men between the ages of 18 and 22, they have other things going on in their lives and personal situations,’’ Clawson continued. ‘‘He and his family decided it was in his best interest to be home right now.’’
With the graduation of Jordon Roussos and the departure of Cooper, the Falcons are looking for tackles on both ends of the line.
Christian Piazza, a 6-feet-7, 281 redshirt sophomore, and Logan Dietz, a 6-5, 288 redshirt freshman, are currently the top two on the depth chart at right tackle.
At left tackle, Jacob Bennett, a 6-4, 324 redshirt freshman, and Clay Rolf, a 6-6, 287 redshirt junior, are the top two on the depth chart to replace Cooper.
There is also the possibility of moving Dominic Flewellyn, a three-year starter at left guard, to tackle.
A graduate of Eastwood High School, Rolf has moved to tackle from tight end where he has seen limited action in his college career.
‘‘He’s in his fourth year and he’s close to 300 pounds, and he’s never been stronger,’’ Clawson said.
Clawson stressed that no matter who starts at the tackle spots, they will be surrounded by veterans, including Flewellyn, David ‘Chief’ Kekuewa and Alex Huettel on the interior of the line and tight ends Alex Bayer and Tyler Beck.
‘‘You are fitting in two guys around people who have played a lot,’’ Clawson said. ‘‘You hope that those other players help with their development.’’
GA: Aaron Mershman, a former standout at Bowling Green High School, is a graduate assistant with the Falcons this season.
Mershman played quarterback and tight end at Ball State before concussion problems ended his career after spring drills in 2012.
|Last Updated on Friday, 02 August 2013 16:57|
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