This week, the Tigers face a pretty impressive MAC team, the Bowling Green Falcons. They kicked off their season with an impressive 31-14 win over a Troy team that won 8 games last year. We searched for and found an impressive Bowling Green fan website, www.ay-ziggy-zoomba.com, to answer some questions about this week's match-up between the Falcons and Tigers. Their administrator, Grant Cummings (a '93 BGSU alumn), will be our expert this week.
Grant Cummings: Tyler is obviously where it all starts, but one of the things that our offense relies upon is balance. Geter is the quick back, who can break one if he turns the corner, while Bullock is the guy who likes to take a pile of 7 or 8 defenders with him. Also, don't be too surprised to see Sheehan keep it a time or two on a draw play... he's certainly not fast, but he has been known to pick up some yards on the ground.
One of the big surprises against Troy was the play of our TE Jimmy Scheidler, who was basically open running a couple of post patterns?! Nothing like taking your big tight end deep!!
IM: Do you think the switch from the spread offense to a West Coast offense is a big help for this team?
GC: I'm not sure the team HAS switched from spread to West Coast... I think what coach Clawson has done has come in and evaluated the talent he has on hand and tailored an offense for the team. I'm not sure it can be pigeon holed into any "type" of offense. We saw our QB under center against Troy with a full backfield for the first time in YEARS!
IM: Was Freddie Barnes 15-catch performance in the opener against Troy a flash in the pan, or will he be a big threat in the passing game all season long?
GC: Barnes is a do-anything kind of guy! He'll take snaps at QB, take direct snaps as a running back, will burn guys as a WR and might even return a kick if needed. He does whatever is needed... last week what we needed was 15 catches from him. I wouldn't look for that from him again, but I WOULD look out for him whenever a big play is needed.
IM: What type of approach will Bowling Green take on defense? Attacking? Bend but don't break? How about a combo of both?
GC: I think you'll probably see a lot of bend but don't break. I'm not sure we're going to be big enough or quick enough to blitz much, but I was surprised how strong our defense, probably the biggest question mark coming into this season, looked against Troy. We gave up 2 quick scores and then shut them out for a 31-0 run. Something I'm really sensing from Coach Clawson and his staff is the ability to make adjustments. So, the gameplan we start out with might not be the one we end the game with.
IM: Will the front 7 be able to get pressure on new starting quarterback Blaine Gabbert, or will he have a lot of time to sit back in the pocket and make an easy throw?
GC: See the above answer. Against Troy, we covered their receivers very well, but didn't put a whole lot of pressure on the QB. Gabbert might have time to throw, but to whom??? At least that's the hope!
IM: This series has been mostly dominated by Bowling Green in the past. Why do you think that is the case?
GC: Once a Toledo Rocket, always a Toledo Rocket. ;-) Seriously, I'm not sure why, but it's turned into a great series for us, and we're looking forward to this one as well!
IM: What has the new coaching staff done for the program? Have the kids bought into Dave Clawson's coaching style more than they did with Gregg Brandon?
GC: To a man, one of the things we heard out of fall camp was how much conditioning the kids had done over the summer. Our guys are in the best shape they've ever been in. And with our OOC schedule, with teams like Troy, yourselves, Boise State and Marshall, it's exactly what we need. They're not going to get run down in the 4th quarter like might have happened against some bigger/faster opponents in the past.
And as I said earlier, I think we're really seeing an ability to read what's happening on the field and make the appropriate adjustments. It's only one game into the season, but this is something that BGSU has really struggled with in the past. We'd keep doing the same thing no matter whether it was working or not. This year, at least in the first game, if an adjustment needs made, it gets made!
IM: What do you think the final score of the game will be and why?
GC: I really don't have a strong feel for this one. We looked great against a very good Troy team... I was expecting a longer adjustment period and hope it doesn't hit us in game 2 instead of game 1. You guys deserve your #25 ranking and I think it's going to be a struggle. But if I don't pick the Falcons, I might as well just shut my website down now and pack it in. ;-) I see a lot of points put up and a really tight game. My prediction: