Falcon football concludes spring drills (4-12-14)

Bowling Green’s Ryland
Ward (left) tackles teammate Andre Givens. (Photo: Shane Hughes/Sentinel-Tribune)

Spring football is an opportunity for veterans to solidify things, and for backups and newcomers to make
an impression.
In the case of the Bowling Green Falcons, under first-year head coach Dino Babers, it’s also a matter of
learning a new system, and maybe even a change in roles.
The Falcons concluded spring drills with a 78-minute scrimmage Saturday that pitted the offense against
the defense.
The offense had 434 yards in 137 plays, 370 yards passing and 164 yards rushing. Approximately 110 plays
came in a traditional fashion, and the remainder were plays that started at the 20-yard line.
‘‘The thing that I wanted to get out of it, I wanted a hard fought contest with no injuries,’’ Babers
said. ‘‘We have one young man headed to the hospital. I’m not going to mention his name right now.
Hopefully that will come out negative.
‘‘For us to run 130-something plays and only have one guy go down, with the smacking and the speed that
we were operating at, I’m really proud of the conditioning of this football team and where we are
headed.’’
Still the BG offense was not fast enough for Babers.
‘‘We were not fast out there today. We will never be this slow in a spring game again. We’ll get the
officials faster, and we’ll move along,’’ Babers said. ‘‘We could have finished this thing in 45 minutes
if we were moving at the right tempo.
‘‘I thought the young men really, really tried to give us what we were asking for,’’ he continued. ‘‘With
the training they (will) do in the summer, and what we’ll do in two-a-days, I think we’ll come out and
really have a nice product to put on the field.’’
For wide receiver Gehrig Dieter, the scrimmage was an opportunity to showcase his talents. Dieter, a
transfer from SMU who sat out last season at Bowling Green, had seven catches for 99 yards, with
touchdown receptions for 39-, and 21-yards from Matt Johnson.
‘‘Getting back on the field this year has been a great feeling. Knowing that I am, there is no better
feeling than knowing I can play this year,’’ Dieter said. ‘‘Every practice means something now.
‘‘It’s definitely a fast offense. Everybody is going to be touching the ball this year,’’ he continued.
‘‘I’m just going to keep working in the summer to make sure I’m out there in the fall.’’
Dieter said learning his third different offense in three years, has not been a problem.
‘‘All the coaches have helped me so much to understand every offense I have been in. I’m just lucky that
I have coaches teach me everything, teach me all the techniques, and teach me every single play, and
teammates that help me too,’’’ Dieter said.
Freshman Roger Lewis also made an impression with three receptions for 92 yards.
Johnson, who started the final 13 games of the 2013 season for the Falcons, had a good day going 20-of-29
for 221 yards and the two scores to Dieter. Johnson also scored on a 15-yard run.
Defensively, the No. 1 unit was solid and is a major part of Falcon Fast.
‘‘I think Falcon Fast speaks to our defense. Not only are we going to have the fastest offense, we are
going to have the fastest defense. We are going to make things happen very quickly; either good or bad,
it will happen quickly,’’ Babers said.
‘‘That defense is going to give us an opportunity to grow up a little bit as we break open this new
offense during the season,’’ Babers added. ‘‘Hopefully they can keep us in some games, until the offense
can catch up with the defense.’’
Freshman Nick Johnson, a high school teammate of Lewis, finished with seven unassisted tackles with the
first unit in the secondary.
Victor Osborne (nine total tackles) and Will Watson (eight tackles and a fumble recovery), both backups a
year ago in the secondary, made their presence felt as did redshirt senior defensive end Kendall
Montgomery, who was credited with three sacks.
‘‘It’s a pride thing. You all are worried about the offense, we (the defense) feel like we got left in
the past. We have to let them know that BG defense isn’t going anywhere in 2014,’’ Watson said.
In a position change, Austin Valdez, who was recruited as a quarterback, saw extensive time at linebacker
on the No. 2 defense and had four tackles, including two sacks.
The Falcons will now prepare for the season-opener on Aug. 29 at Western Kentucky.