|BG football coach Dave Clawson watches as the team does sprints across the field. (Photo: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)|
While the decision has been made about the starting quarterback, the battle for playing time at tailback is still playing out for the Bowling Green Falcons.
Five players are in the mix, according to third-year head coach Dave Clawson.
"They bring different things to the table," Clawson said. "For two years, it was Willie Geter or bust."
Jordan Hopgood, a redshirt sophomore, is listed at the top of the depth chart at tailback for the season opener at Idaho on Thursday.
Hopgood, 5-foot-11, 212 pounds, got 76 carries for 218 yards and six touchdowns last season, mainly from the Wildcat formation. Hopgood also had 10 receptions for 60 yards in 2010.
Freshman Anthon Samuel, from Monsignor Pace High School in Florida, is No. 2 on the depth chart. Samuel, 6-0, 180, rushed for 1,441 yards and 23 touchdowns as a high school senior.
The other tailback candidates: are John Pettigrew, a 5-8, 180, junior; Jamel Martin, a 5-10, 191, redshirt freshman; and Erique Geiger, a 5-8, 214, redshirt sophomore.
"You could see any number of five guys out there," Clawson said. "If one of them gets the hot hand, we may roll with them.
"But I think anyone of those guys can play meaningful snaps for you."
Starting quarterback Matt Schilz said the competition at running back is a positive.
"We have a couple of guys with different styles of running. that's going to help," Schilz said. "If we run the ball well, we are going to be able to pass the ball well."
KICKING: Brian Schmiedbusch, a transfer from the University of Findlay, is listed as the No. 1 punter. He averaged 42.1 yards per punt with Findlay in 2009.
Kyle Burkhardt, a former walk-on from Toledo Central Catholic, is listed as the top place-kicker. He was 1-of-4 on field goals and 7-of-8 on PATs last season.
LINEBACKERS: Clawson likes his depth at linebacker.
Dwayne Woods Jr., a 6-1, 227, junior, led the Falcons with 134 tackles last season and returns in the middle.
Paul Swan, a 6-0, 228, redshirt sophomore, is listed as the starter on the other linebacker spot.
Redshirt freshmen D.J. Lynch, 5-1, 238, and Gabe Martin, 6-1, 220, are the backups.
"All four of those guys will play and in our mind we have four starting linebackers," Clawson said.
SECONDARY: Cameron Truss, a 5-10, 189, redshirt sophomore, has retained the starting spot at cornerback.
Truss finished with 49 tackles with seven pass break-ups and two interceptions in 2010.
Jerry "Boo Boo" Gates, a 5-10, 209, sophomore, is listed No. 1 at rover and Devon McKoy, a 5-10, 189, redshirt freshman is No. 1 at the other corner spot.
At safety, Ryland Ward, a 5-9, 204, redshirt freshman, and Jovan Leacock, a 5-10, 193, senior, are in a battle for one starting spot. Leacock, a junior college transfer who came to BG as a wide receiver, was second on the team with 91 tackles in 2010. He also had two interceptions and two forced fumbles.
Aaron Foster, a 5-10, 202, sophomore, is listed first at the other safety spot.
LONG TRIP: Having the longest trip of the season as the season-opener is most ideal, Clawson said.
"We have a little bit more time to prepare for the game. We have a little bit more time on the back-end because it's a Thursday game," Clawson said. "When you don't like trips like this is when you have a Saturday game with a trip like this and then a game the following Saturday."
CAPTAINS: The Falcons do not have season captains for 2011. There will be game captains selected each week.
INJURIES: Scott Lewis, a fifth-year senior offensive lineman, is out indefinitely after knee surgery.
A projected starter in 2010, he missed the first nine games of the season with a foot injury, but returned to start two of the final three games. He was working his way into the 2011 rotation up front, but suffered another setback with the knee injury.
GAME TIME: Kickoff for the Wyoming at BG game on Sept. 17 has been set for noon.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's a Campbell's soup can, cut in half," Clawson said about the Kibbie Dome, Idaho's domed stadium.
Clawson coached against Idaho in the Kibbie Dome in 1993 as an assistant coach for Leigh.