|Falcon football faces a lot of hard work (5-3-14)|
|Written by JACK CARLE|
|Saturday, 03 May 2014 00:17|
To meet the standards of Dino Babers and to become ‘‘Falcon Fast’’ it’s going to take a lot of hard work for the Bowling Green Falcon football team.
With less than four months before the season-opener at Western Kentucky on Aug. 29, Babers is looking for improvement in all areas.
Babers was hired in December to replace Dave Clawson, who took a similar position at Wake Forest. The Falcons were 10-4 last season, capturing the Mid-American Conference championship with a victory over previously undefeated Northern Illinois.
‘‘We need to stay healthy throughout the year ... Our starting 22 is really good, but there are only a couple of positions where we can go past that and survive,’’ Babers said. ‘‘If we get the wrong injuries in the wrong places, we’ll be like any other football team.’’
Offensively, Babers is looking for improvement across the board.
Matt Johnson returns at quarterback after throwing for 3,467 yards and 25 touchdowns with seven interceptions last season.
‘‘This summer is going to be a big part of his development,’’ Babers said. ‘‘He’s ready to go, his mind is in the right spot and he is ready to attack this summer, and really grow within the system.’’
Travis Green (279 carries for a school-record 1,594 yards and 11 touchdowns), and William Houston (49 carries for 211 yards and 11 TDs) return at running back. A walk-on last season, Houston will get a scholarship as soon as one becomes available, Babers said.
Chris Pohlman will be used at both H-back and tight end.
At wide receiver, Babers liked the play of Gehrig Dieter, Teo Redding, Heath Jackson and Ryan Burbrink during spring drills. Ronnie Moore, Chris Gallon and Jared Cohen are coming off injuries.
‘‘That group needs to be trained. When you play wide receiver for us, you are being trained totally different from ever before,’’ Babers said. ‘‘No disrespect, but they have a long way to go as a group.
‘‘Those guys are nowhere near where they need to be,’’ he continued. ‘‘Those cats are my babies; they are being treated totally different. There is a standard, and if you don’t meet the standard, you don’t play.’’
On the offensive line, Babers is looking for the group to be more physical.
‘‘In our offense they need to be the outlaws, and I don’t mean playing dirty and doing things that are illegal,’’ Babers said. ‘‘They are the biggest things in the jungle; they are elephants ... We need our O-line to stampede people.
“There is a physical presence they have to bring into the game,’’ he continued. ‘‘They have to operate in a tough-guy fashion ... It’s all attitude.’’
Babers said none of the offensive linemen embraced the tough-guy attitude in the spring.
Among the returnees on the defensive line are ends Charlie Walker and Bryan Thomas and Zach Colvin inside. Walker is coming back from a late-season injury.
‘‘The defensive line is our deepest unit on this team, but this team lacks a lot of depth,’’ Babers said.
D.J. Lynch, BG’s leading tackler last season with 85, returns at linebacker.
‘‘D.J. has all the tools you are looking for in a linebacker; I just want him to be more physical,’’ Babers said. ‘‘When you have a 255-pound guy I want him to hit things and I want things to splatter ... I just don’t want them to go down, I want them to splatter.
‘‘He’s working hard at that. If we can get him to do that, he’ll be really something.’’
Gabe Martin, a first-team all-conference performer in 2012, was injured late last season, but is being counted on to play an outside linebacker spot.
‘‘I have never seen Gabe (play),’’ Babers said. ‘‘It will be fun to see how good this guy is.’’
Babers was impressed with the play of Nate Locke at linebacker during the spring.
‘‘He has a bright future in front of him. I’m looking forward to seeing him make mistakes and then correct those mistakes, so he can turn into a veteran player over the next three years,’’ Babers said.
In the secondary, Ryland Ward returns with the most experience. A safety, Ward was BG’s second-leading tackler last season with 81. Brian Sutton could be at the other safety.
With the loss of two starting cornerbacks, Jude Adjei-Barimah has moved to that position. Darrell Hunter, who was injured last season, Will Watson and possibly freshman Nick Johnson could play at corner.
‘‘It’s a position that we were unsure about,’’ Babers said. ‘‘Those guys have not played a lot,’’ Babers said.
Tyler Tate returns as the place-kicker after making 18-of-22 field goals and 59-of-61 on extra-points,
Joe Davidson is slated to replace Brian Schmiedebusch, a three-year starter, as the punter.
Clay Rolf, from Eastwood High School, is the short snapper.
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