Schilz, Johnson in QB battle for Falcons (8-5-13)
Written by By JACK CARLE, Sentinel Sports Editor
Monday, 05 August 2013 08:00
The microscope is on the two tackle spots and the running back position as the Bowling Green State University football team prepares to start the season.
|BGSU quarterback Matt Johnson (left) and assistant athletics director for communications Jason Knavel walk away after the team photo Saturday afternoon during media day. (Photo: Shane Hughes/Sentinel-Tribune)
Another major question mark is at quarterback.
BG head coach Dave Clawson has said there is a competition for the starting quarterback position between fifth-year senior Matt Schilz and redshirt-sophomore Matt Johnson.
On Saturday, Clawson said he hopes to have the quarterback position set two weeks before the start of the season. The Falcons host Tulsa in the season-opener at Perry Stadium on Aug. 29. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
‘‘We’re going to let them play it out,’’ Clawson said. ‘‘If it cleans up before then, we’ll make this decision before then.
‘‘We’re looking for a guy who is going to move the football team and that’s going to execute the position the way we needed it executed,’’ Clawson continued, adding he and the coaches are looking for someone who makes plays and can take care of the football.
Schilz is the incumbent, having started 35 games over the last three years. Johnson appeared in eight games last season.
Both players are ready for the challenge.
‘‘We both want the same thing and that’s to win,’’ Schilz said. ‘‘Whoever it is, we are just trying to get better and to help out. It’s positive and it’s fun, real fun.’’
Johnson said the two have been getting equal repetitions with both the first- and second-team offenses.
The 2011 season was Schilz’s best with the Falcons, as he threw for 3,024 yards (sixth-best in school history) and 28 touchdowns (second-best in school history).
Last season, Schilz’s numbers dropped to 2,585 yards and 14 touchdowns, but the Falcons did improve to eight wins in 2012 from five victories in 2011.
‘‘I just have to work better pocket presence. That’s a huge thing, if we’re talking technically,’’ Schilz said about an area he needed to improve on from 2012. ‘‘Another thing is my leadership, not getting too frustrated with myself, and just being positive and enjoying this. The guys respect you more and work harder when they respect you.
‘‘Last year really helped me out because you have to have some failures to have success.’’
Seeing limited duty late in games, Johnson threw only 28 passes last season.
‘‘If you are trying to win the job, you have to show the offensive players that they can believe in you,’’ Johnson said. ‘‘You have to have to confidence to be able to lead the team. That’s a huge part of it. In the huddle, you can’t show your nerves, you can’t stumble on any words.’’
Schilz and Johnson have respect for each other.
‘‘We’re both unselfish,’’ Schilz said. ‘‘Everything works together; we make each other better and it makes your team better.
‘‘We’re really good friends and we’re both trying to get better and pushing each other.’’
Johnson agreed that the two work together to get better.
‘‘We help each other out every day on the field and off the field,’’ Johnson said. ‘‘If we’re seeing something the guy up (taking snaps) didn’t see we share it. We are always encouraging each other.’’
To retain the starting job, Schilz said he’ll do whatever it takes to win.
‘‘I’m a competitor and I hate losing,’’ Schilz said. ‘‘I want to be on the field, I want to play.
‘‘I have a competitive nature, just in everything, even in jogging off the field ... The great thing about me is just my competitive nature.’’
Johnson said in order for him to win the starting spot, he has to stay within himself, not turn the ball over, and earn the coach’s trust.
‘‘I bring good leadership to the table. I can make plays with my feet and I don’t turn the ball over too much,’’ Johnson said. ‘‘This is my third year and I have a good relationship with Coach ‘R’ (Warren Ruggiero, BG’s offensive coordinator). I know why he’s calling plays and when he’s calling plays. I have a good understanding of the playbook.
‘‘Whether I’m the starter or the backup, I’ll be ready.’’
SCRIMMAGES: The Falcons have scrimmages set for Sunday from 5-8 p.m. and Aug. 18 from 1-3:30 p.m.
105: Under NCAA rules, 105 players can take part in fall camp, including 85 scholarship players.
The Falcons started drills at the limit with both numbers, but freshman walk-on Spencer Schnell and redshirt freshman James White have left camp. Both were wide receivers.
Last Updated on Monday, 05 August 2013 15:13