|Expeience should help BGSU defense (8-22-12)|
|Written by By JACK CARLE Sentinel Sports Editor|
|Wednesday, 22 August 2012 07:04|
The defense was learning on the job last season for Bowling Green.
With as many as 10 first-year players on the field at the same time, the Falcons struggled. In six of its eight Mid-American Conference games last season, BG allowed 27 or more points. Overall in conference games, BG allowed an average of 29.4 points per game. On the season, the Falcons also allowed 203.4 yards rushing per game and generated only 15 turnovers.
Dave Clawson hopes the experience gained last season pays major dividends this fall.
“The numbers two years ago were awful. We went from an awful defense to a below-average defense (in 2011),” Clawson said. “I expect that group to be much, much improved.
“We finally have certain guys on defense who should be among the best at their position in the conference,” Clawson continued. “I expect Chris Jones to be the best defensive lineman in the league. Dwayne Woods, I expect him to be the best linebacker in the conference.”
Both Jones and Woods are seniors.
Jones (6-foot-1, 293 pounds) had 47 tackles, 81⁄2 sacks, 14 tackles for loss, and three forced fumbles last year as a force in the middle of the line. He is a team captain this season,
“To me, he’s a MAC defensive player of the year candidate,” Clawson said about Jones.
Woods (5-11, 225) led the MAC in tackles with 134 in 2010 and followed that up with 111 tackles, including 14 tackles for loss, last season as BG’s middle linebacker.
Joining Jones in the middle of the line are redshirt juniors Jarius Campbell (6-5, 310) and Ted Ouellet (6-3, 282).
At the defensive ends are redshirt sophomore Charlie Walker (6-2, 238), redshirt sophomore Bryan Thomas (6-2, 260), redshirt junior Ronnie Goble (6-2, 247), sophomore Zach Colvin (6-2, 268), and redshirt freshman Bryan Baird (6-3, 237).
“That position is a little like receiver for us. We’ve got numbers, we’ve got good players, but I can’t tell you that anybody has separated themselves there,” Clawson said about the defensive ends. “That’s a position were ‘let’s see what they can do in games.’’’
Walker had 27 tackles a year ago while Goble, Ouellet and Campbell each had 20.
Joining Woods at inside linebacker is redshirt junior Paul Swan (6-0, 230), who had 63 tackles a year ago. Swan is a team captain this season.
Redshirt sophomores D.J. Lynch (5-11, 242) and Gabe Martin (6-1, 224) saw extensive playing time last season at linebacker.
Sophomore Brian Sutton (6-0, 190) is moving to rover, a hybrid linebacker/defensive back position, this season as Jerry ‘BooBoo’ Gates goes to safety. Martin can also play at rover.
Gates, a 5-11, 213 junior, is an impact player, who made 73 tackles and had two interceptions a year ago. Returning at safety is redshirt sophomore Ryland Ward (5-9, 198) who has 69 tackles while starting every game in 2011.
“The nature of our defense is that we ask our safeties to be very involved in the run (defense) and we ask them to do things in coverage,” Clawson said.
Adding depth at safety are junior-college transfer Josh Pettus (5-9, 203), redshirt sophomore Jude Adjei-Barimah (5-10, 205) and junior Aaron Foster (5-10, 202), who made 69 tackles in 2011.
BG also returns its top three cornerbacks in redshirt junior Cameron Truss (5-10, 182), redshirt sophomore DeVon McKoy (5-10, 178) and sophomore Darrell Hunter (5-8, 177). Truss made 58 tackles last season.
“If each individual even makes incremental improvement that’s a unit that has a chance to take another (positive) step,” Clawson said about his defense. “We should be better. We have 10 starters back.
“If that group can be in the top half, top third of the MAC, that should result in more wins,” he added. “That should be a very expected improvement we have this year.”
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