|Lynch emerges as Falcons' top tackler (12-23-13)|
|Written by JACK CARLE Sentinel Sports Editor|
|Monday, 23 December 2013 09:32|
Lynch, a 5-foot-11, 244-pound redshirt junior, is the Falcons' leading tackler this season. A linebacker, Lynch has 78 tackles, including a team-high 7.5 tackles for loss.
He was a second-team All-Mid-American Conference selection this fall.
After making three starts in the past two years when he was battling Paul Swan for playing time, Lynch is a full-time starter this season.
''I been playing behind him for two years,'' Lynch said about Swan. ''I've been learning from him for two years, and now this was a chance for me to show what I can do as a starter. I just go out there and play my best.''
The competition was intense.
''We kept it very professional. I think that just shows what kind of a person that D.J. is,'' said Swan, a fifth-year senior and team captain. ''We had respect for each other. We knew it was a competition, but we knew at the end of the day the best players were going to play. He found his way on the field, and we both played a ton. Now we're starting together.''
With the two pushing each other, they both improved.
''We started helping each other out,'' Lynch said. ''The stuff that he was good at and stuff I was good at, we helped improve each other's game. That turned out to be a good relationship. Now we're playing side-by-side, and now we're making plays together.''
Swan knew from the start that Lynch would be his competition.
''He was always someone who continuingly pushed me,'' Swan said. ''It made me a better football player because of the competition, and because of his work ethic and the way he played. He always pushed me to get to my next level.
''He's a tremendous player, a great leader. He's got a motor that doesn't stop,'' Swan added. ''I love playing next to him. I feel so comfortable out on the field next to him. I know when he's out there next to me, I have nothing to worry about.''
Adam Scheier, BG's interim head coach, likes the attitude Lynch brings to the field.
''He brings toughness. He brings some of that BG swagger,'' Scheier said. ''He's a physical specimen out there. He's an explosive player.''
Lynch said he plays with confidence.
''I think I've got good instinct, playmaking ability, and I'm versatile,'' Lynch said. ''I can play the pass; I can play the run; I can pass rush; I'm good out in space.''
The Falcons have had a top 10 defense for each of the last two seasons, but Lynch said the players didn't take anything for granted before the start of this season.
''This off-season we just had the mind set that nothing is guaranteed. We had a good defense last year, and this year just because we have a lot of people back, doesn't mean the same thing is going to happen,'' Lynch said. ''You can't cheat the process; you have to put the work in every day and strive to get better. We met our expectations again.''
One of the top 30 players in Michigan as a senior at Avondale High School, Lynch wasn't a heavily recruited player.
''This (Bowling Green) was my only offer. I had other school's looking at me, but I guess I was under-sized. I don't know,'' Lynch said. ''I'm here now. I won't go back and change it for anything.''
Lynch and his teammates have one game remaining. The Falcons, 10-3, face Pittsburgh, 6-6, in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl Thursday. Kickoff is at 6 p.m. at Detroit's Ford Field.
''This is a great game for us. I didn't really care where we went to a bowl game, I just wanted to play a BCS team. That's all I wanted, and we got that,'' Lynch said.
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