CLOSER LOOK: Bowling Green's Spread Offense

"We have to have the ability to throw the football well to be able to beat supposedly superior opponents and to do that I think you have to work on that and emphasize that as a philosophy and that's what we do." -- Bowling Green Head Coach Gregg Brandon on the Falcon's spread offense.

EAST LANSING – In seven games against a Big Ten foe, fifth year Bowling Green Head Coach Gregg Brandon has an impressive 3-4 record. His offensive philosophy, which revolves around spread formations, is one reason for the success.

"(Passing) is more our philosophy, it gives us the best chance to win," Brandon says. "Particularly . . . with the schedule we play. We have to have the ability to throw the football well to be able to beat supposedly superior opponents and to do that I think you have to work on that and emphasize that as a philosophy and that's what we do."

For Michigan State, overlooking what appears to be an overmatched opponent would be a huge mistake. Looking to focus the team after an impressive blowout against UAB, Mark Dantonio has been crystal clear about the challenge his Spartans face.

"They need to bring their game this week . . . because Bowling Green is a very formidable opponent," he said.

The Falcon's spread offense will challenge the strength of Michigan State's defense – the secondary. Led by sophomore QB Tyler Sheehan – who was recruited by Dantonio when he coached at Cincinnati – Bowling Green appeared to be in midseason form against the Golden Gophers. When asked how Sheehan has improved so rapidly, Brandon pointed to the quarterback's maturation with a second year of college under his belt.

"He's just had a year in the system which is huge for him," says Brandon. "He got coached up in the spring and took it to heart in the summer and got his receivers out and threw on their own in the summer and had a great camp, came in determined that he was going to be the guy. It's amazing what a year can do for not only your quarterback but for your team."

Aside from penalties – nine for 85 yards –the Falcons looked sharp against Minnesota. The offense clicked to the tune of 512 yards, Sheehan threw 35 completions on 53 attempts for 412 yards and they registered plays of 20 yards or more nine times, six of which were passes from Sheehan.

Aside from Sheehan, though, what makes the Bowling Green offense so potent?

"An experienced offensive line, an array of receivers, Ransom, Partridge . . . they got about five or six receiver that they go to," Dantonio said.

The spread will test the depth of Michigan State's secondary and the talent of a young linebacking corps which includes redshirt freshmen Eric Gordon and Jon Misch. However, against UAB last week, senior linebacker SirDarean Adams, listed as the number two SAM backer, entered the game on the second play and logged some time with the first squad. With Adams back in the mix, Dantonio will have the luxury of an experienced player with good instincts for pass coverage.

The Spartans will need as much good play on defense from as many positions as possible against Bowling Green, who will enter the game with confidence in their spread offense and the personnel they have to run it.

"Saturday night up there in Minnesota . . . We had some guys breaking tackles, making guys miss, getting long runs," Brandon said. "Across the board they're probably faster . . . but I think we have enough speed to give us a chance to win."

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