|Falcons' defense moves forward without Jones (07-03-13)|
|Written by JACK CARLE Sentinel Sports Editor|
|Wednesday, 03 July 2013 08:37|
When Chris Jones completed his eligibility, the Bowling Green State University football team took a big hit in many different areas.
The heart and soul of the Falcons for the last three years, Jones is hoping to earn a spot with the NFL's Houston Texas. An All-American as a defensive tackle last season, Jones was a sixth round draft choice.
"A lot of Chris Jones' impact can't be measured just in stats,'' BGSU head coach Dave Clawson said. ''He was an impact player at a position that it's very hard to be an impact player at.
''He just impacted our whole program, weight room, practice; the kid was the best.''
The Falcons return nine starters from the 2012 unit that was one of the best defenses in the country. Bowling Green was 8-5 a year ago, going 6-2 in the Mid-American Conference, and earning a berth in the Military Bowl.
''A year ago I was saying our defense has to get better,'' Clawson said. ''All those guys got better and now all of a sudden we have nine starters back from the No. 6 defense in the country.
''Football is a game of matchups and we won more of our matchups ... The battle of the line of scrimmage last year, we won way more times than we didn't,'' Clawson added.
Even with the loss of Jones, Clawson said there are difference-makers on the defensive unit, including rover Gabe Martin, safety Jerry 'BooBoo' Gates, linebackers Paul Swan and D.J. Lynch and defensive end Bryan Thomas. Both Martin and Gates were first-team All-MAC selections last season.
On the line, Clawson is hoping that a number of players can fill the void left by Jones.
''I don't think one guy is going to replace Chris Jones,'' Clawson said. ''(Ted) Ouellet, (Jairus) Campbell, one of the ends, they collectively can make up for what Chris gave you.''
Ouellet, Campbell, both fifth-year seniors, and junior Zach Colvin are the top three defensive tackles.
''We will be really, really good at defensive tackle,'' Clawson said. "(All three) we think can all be high-level players.''
The battle for the fourth spot is between Mike Minns, Taylor Royster and redshirt freshman Izaah Lunsford.
Clawson said the defensive end position, is the deepest on the team.
In addition to Thomas, Charlie Walker, Kendall Montgomery, Bryan Baird, Ronnie Goble and Jhalil-Nashid Croley are in the mix. Only Goble is a fifth-year senior.
''You are talking, potentially, having six playable guys there,'' Clawson said.
Montgomery who split time between offense and defense last season, will play only defense this fall.
Defensive linemen Hunter Maynard and Shaq Hall are no longer with the team.
Swan and Lynch return at inside linebacker and Martin is back at rover. Martin led the team with 70 tackles last season while Swan was third with 65 and Lynch tied for fourth with 63.
Clawson is concerned with depth at inside linebacker as the plan at that position is to play with a pair and a spare.
''To me, one of the real critical things of fall camp is - can Coy Brown get himself playable, can Paul Seen get himself playable?'' Clawson said. ''If they don't and something happens to one of those two guys (Swan or Lynch), then we have to move Gabe Martin inside. We don't want to move Gabe Martin inside. Gabe Martin is a difference-maker at that rover position.''
The backups at rover are Brian Sutton, Justin Ford and Jude Adjei-Barimah, who played there when the Falcons used five defensive backs. Adjei-Barimah had a team-high four interceptions in 2012.
Gates returns as a starter at safety and fellow senior Josh Pettus moves into the other starting spot. Gates was seventh on the team with 47 tackles along with two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
Ryland Ward and Adjei-Barimah are the backups at safety.
''In terms of the amount of good football players we have at that position (safety and rover), we feel very good about it,'' Clawson said. ''The biggest concern is that they are all juniors and seniors.''
Cameron Truss, a fifth-year senior, is a three-year starter at cornerback.
Clawson's major defensive concern is filling the other cornerback spot.
Aaron Foster, a senior, has moved to cornerback and is battling with veterans DeVon McKoy, Darrell Hunter and Will Watson for the starting spot.
Johnny Joseph has left the program.
|Last Updated on Monday, 05 August 2013 09:40|
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