If there is anyone who wants the BGSU football team to succeed, it is junior defensive end Karl Brooks and senior long snapper James Carolan.
The Falcons (0-2) have not won since 2019 and will take on Murray State (1-1) Saturday at Doyt Perry Field, kickoff at 5 p.m. This is BGSU’s chance to win against an FCS school from the Ohio Valley Conference.
Brooks, a 6-foot-4, 295-pound defensive captain, and Carolan, a 5-11, 190-pound special teams captain, are trying to use their status as leaders to create excitement. They are leading a roster dominated by freshmen and sophomores.
“I feel like that role just helps my game, being more vocal out there and leading by example and doing the little things right,” said Brooks, a Phil Steele preseason fourth team All Mid-American Conference selection. “By paying attention to detail just proves to young guys that we are capable. I feel like I’ve got a lot of shoes to fill.”
Brooks has a combined eight tackles, including 1½ sacks in the Falcons’ 38-6 loss to Tennessee and 22-19 loss to South Alabama.
In 2018, Brooks posted nine tackles against Eastern Kentucky, but it seems as if his best games come against MAC opponent Akron.
In 2019, he returned an interception 33 yards and had two tackles for a loss against the Zips. Last year, he had two sacks against Akron.
Brooks has also forced three fumbles — at Central Michigan in 2018, at Miami in 2019 and against Toledo at Doyt Perry Field in 2019. He also had a pass breakup at Western Michigan in 2019.
Carolan has played in 40 games over four seasons for the Falcons, plus he already has his bachelor’s degree in hand.
What BGSU fans may know him best for is his long hair and moustache, which he tweaks a little every season.
“I have to mix it up each year. Years back I had a mullet and longer hair with a ‘stache and now above my head I’m a blonde, so you got to keep on your toes, right?” Carolan said.
Carolan said that being vocal comes naturally. He has been the team’s long snapper in every game since 2017.
“Being here for so long, I kind of like being part of a group that takes pride in doing things the right way. I feel like I’ve tried to be the vocal person, and obviously having a smaller role on the team, being the long snapper, being a specialist, I feel like having the self-awareness to know when to speak up,” Carolan said.
“I feel like I found that role where I can be the vocal leader at times in the locker room and through the offseason and stuff like that. It means the world to me,” Carolan continued. “I feel like, especially this year, we’ve gotten a lot closer as a team. I love to see that. I love that is something that we are building towards. To see that transition happening, that is a tremendous honor and I’m glad that I was chosen (captain).”
He said that he understands the importance of special teams, so when he got his chance to talk during a press conference, he made the best of it.
“Most of the time when a long snapper is talking into a mic, it is usually when something bad happens. So, I’m grateful I’m here in a positive situation,” Carolan said. “It’s a huge facet of the game and it is something that we take very seriously here. I think the core specialists are definitely a positive on this team.”