|Veteran secondary working hard for Falcons; BG adds player (8-9-13)|
|Written by By JACK CARLE, Sentinel Sports Editor|
|Friday, 09 August 2013 18:00|
The veterans in Bowling Green’s defensive secondary are taking nothing for granted.
The group, led by first-team all-conference performer Jerry ‘BooBoo’ Gates, is constantly working to get better.
Gates said some of the things being worked on in fall drills are — ‘‘no deep balls over our heads. Getting the ball down when the receivers catch it and getting it out of their hands. And run fits. And trying to be in synch with each other, so we all won’t be on different pages.’’
Of the nine players listed on the two-deep for the four positions in the secondary, eight have at least two years experience. There are one redshirt senior, three seniors and three redshirt juniors in the group.
Of the nine, seven have started at some point for the Falcons, and the group has 122 combined starts.
‘‘It’s great to have veterans starting and veterans who can come in the game, because if somebody goes down we won’t miss a beat,’’ Gates said. ‘‘It’s always good to have veterans in your arsenal.’’
BG head coach Dave Clawson likes the depth in the secondary as it also helps the Falcons’ special teams.
‘‘Those guys are some of our best special teams players,’’ Clawson said. ‘‘That’s the challenge, making sure we keep those guys fresh because of how much we do with them on special teams.’’
Gates is one of the top kickoff return men in the conference in addition to his other special teams duties.
‘‘‘BooBoo’ is an outstanding safety and I think he is even a better special teams player,’’ Clawson said. ‘‘You go through a game and you never want him off the field on defense and you like him on every special team. That’s where the development of Josh Pettus, the development of Jude Adjei-Barimah, the development of James Sanford is critical.
‘‘Once every four or five series, we can spell ‘BooBoo’ on a first and a second down.’’
Gates and Ryland Ward are the returning starters at safety and Cameron Truss is back at the boundary corner.
Clawson was worried about the other cornerback position before camp started, but he has been pleased with the play of Darrell Hunter, Aaron Foster, DeVon McKoy and Will Watson. One of the four will earn the starting spot.
‘‘In my mind it’s really gone from a position of concern to probably a position of strength,’’ Clawson said about the field corner. ‘‘We’re going to have a hard time deciding who starts and how much guys play.’’
There’s also experience returning on the line and at linebacker as nine total starters are back from 2012 when the Falcons had the top defense in the Mid-American Conference.
‘‘It makes us want to be better,’’ Gates said about the veteran group. ‘‘If we don’t get better then most people will look at us and say ‘these guys are older and nothing simple should be missed.’
‘‘We’re trying to get all the little things together and all the big things will come together,’’ he continued. ‘‘Some days everything goes well. Some days it might get a little shaky as we get tired. But we come out the next day and attack it as hard as we can.’’
HOUSTON: William Houston, who is listed as 6-foot-0, 262 pounds, has been added to the 105-man roster for fall drills.
He is a preferred walk-on for the Falcons.
Houston played at Scioto High School in Dublin, a Columbus suburb. Dublin Scioto was 8-3 in 2012 as Houston rushed for 1,158 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Houston was a preferred walk-on at Ohio State and went to classes in the 2013 spring semester, He has since transferred to Bowling Green.
‘‘We recruited him heavily out of high school,’’ Clawson said. ‘‘He’s been accepted at Bowling Green and wanted to come out.
‘‘We’re excited. It’s a great opportunity for him and potentially it could give us a big back,’’ he added.
Houston’s eligibility status for this season is still being determined by the NCAA.
‘‘He was recently admitted and he just got to camp,’’ Clawson said. ‘‘He doesn’t know the offense and he is not in very good shape.
‘‘Right now we’re assuming he’s not eligible,’’ he continued. ‘‘If he does become eligible, we’ll mid-stream adjust. With the depth we have at tailback, it’s hard to give him reps (repetitions).’’
Houston’s father, also William, was a three-year letterman at Ohio State in the 1980s.
SCRIMMAGE: The first of two fall scrimmages is Sunday from 5-8 p.m. and Clawson is planning on running a lot of plays.
‘‘This is really the big scrimmage in terms of letting the guys play ... and setting the depth,’’ Clawson said.
Clawson said the second and third groups have improved over last season and he wants to give them the opportunity to play.
The second scrimmage is Aug. 18 from 1-3:30 p.m.
‘‘The second one is much more situational oriented,’’ Clawson said.
The scrimmages are open to the public.
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