Falcons hope to solve fourth-quarter woes with strength, conditioning

DETROIT – Fourth-quarter failures in 2008 were the downfall of Bowling Green’s football team.
The Falcons couldn’t finish games when it really and it cost them a chance at the Mid-American Conference
East championship and a possible bowl game. BG finished 6-6 overall and 4-4 in the MAC East. The
inability to finish games on a positive note was one of the reasons head coach Gregg Brandon lost his
job after six years, even though there were three years remaining on his contract.
Dave Clawson, a successful head coach in what used to be Division I-AA was hired to replace Brandon.
Clawson was the offensive coordinator at Tennessee last season.
"We were probably a total of 10 minutes away from playing for
a MAC championship last year and everybody realized that," BG senior quarterback Tyler Sheehan said
Friday at the preseason MAC football meetings at Ford Field. "I think we used it as motivation in
the off-season, but now we’ve moved on from it and learned from it. We’re really focused on not letting
those fourth quarter blunders happen again."
With an increased emphasis on strength and conditioning, the coaching staff and players hope to put the
fourth quarter woes behind them.
"You look at our off-season training you can tell that everybody has made such great improvements in
strength and speed and everything," said BG senior safety Jahmal Brown. "The mind-set that we
have right now is the right one and it’s working.
"Last year was a disappointment, but we really trying not to think about that," Brown added.
"We really want to think about focusing on this season, take it week by week and go about our
business that way. We don’t want to think about the past, we want to think about the present."
Clawson said every player on the team was given goals for strength and conditioning levels and he is
pleased with their efforts to reach those goals.
"We’ve put a lot greater emphasis on conditioning levels, strength levels, testing. I believe we’re
a stronger team right now from the numbers I looked at from a year ago," Clawson said. "We
need that to show up in the fourth quarter.
"I think the ability to win games in the fourth quarter comes down to discipline and your strength
and conditioning level," he added.
Another aspect of increased conditioning in the fourth quarter, is the ability to develop some depth and
give the regulars a break at times during the game.
As an example, Clawson said Brown had games where he was in on over 100 snaps, including his work on
defense and on the special teams. No matter the level of strength and conditioning that many plays can
wear a player down and lead to inefficiency at the end of the game.
Clawson hopes by finding quality depth, the key players will be better rested for the fourth quarter.