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2013 Fierce-40 Previews: #39-Bowling Green

by DJ Boyer on Jul. 6, 2013

2013 Fierce 40 Previews

 

#39 Bowling Green Falcons

 

2012 Recap:

Bowling Green exceeded expectations with 8 victories and an appearance in the Military Bowl (which they lost 29-20 to San Jose State). Bowling Green found success in a very unconventional way for a team from the MAC…it was defense.  This team has hands down the best defense in the conference and they are easily a national top 20 unit, despite the lack of standout players at the national level. Bowling Green lost at home late last year to Kent State, otherwise this team would have been playing in the conference title game.

 

Coaching:

Dave Clawson has had some tough years as his four year 22-28 career record would indicate. Clawson seems to have turned the corner though and reaching double digits in wins is a possibility for 2013.

 

Offense

Quarterbacks/Running Backs:

Matt Schilz is an enigma and fans have to wonder which quarterback they will be getting. He enjoyed a breakout sophomore season that saw him throw for over 3,000 yards and 28 touchdowns. Yet last season as a junior Schilz saw those numbers dip to 2,585 and his touchdowns were exactly half (14). 12 interceptions and a completion percentage that dropped to just above 55% are also a cause for alarm. Schilz has some targets though and if the running game remains a threat I expect Schilz to have numbers closer to 2011. Anthon Samuel was the MAC Freshman of the year in 2011 and had a solid 2012 campaign but the starting running back has left the program and his return is in doubt. Junior Jamel Martin will take over and will highlight the area of the football field on offense that seems to have the most questions heading into the season.

Best Draft Prospect: N/A.

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends:

Bowling Green has immense depth to throw the football to, including a few who could be draft prospects. Chris Gallon is only a sophomore but the wide receiver stands 6'4" 225 pounds and by the end of the year he was the focal point for opposing defenses. Gallon had a breakout game against Kent State and nearly willed them to victory himself with a 10 catch 213 yard performance highlighted by a pair of touchdowns. Ryan Burbrink and Shaun Joplin start with Gallon in the three-receiver offense and both have vast experience. Alex Bayer was a third-team all-MAC selection a season ago at tight end and the senior is a better blocker than many give him credit for. The receivers are the strength of the offense and I don’t see this unit struggling unless opposing teams key on the passing game heavily if the running attack struggles with consistency.

Best Draft Prospect: Chris Gallon 3rd round 2016 (With a big year we could see Gallon starting to think about entering early in 2015).

 

Offensive Line:

This is a solid unit where the starters average 309 pounds, the largest unit in the MAC. There are no blue-chip recruits but four starters with 69 combined career starts along the line are back. This is the one area of the football field where Bowling Green really needs to stay healthy because there is an immediate lack of depth and experience on the second string. Darion Delancy at right tackle and center Chief Kekuewa are the leaders and are players that should contend for all conference honors.

Best Draft Prospect: Darion Delancy OT UFA 2015.

 

Defense

Defensive Line:

Ted Ouellet is a 280-pound defensive tackle that projects as a free agent defensive end at the pro level but he leads a very talented group. The Falcons are the best team stopping the run in the MAC and their prowess is evident on both sides of the line of scrimmage. The Falcons do not have a player that will threaten with consistent quarterback pressure or have double digit sack totals, which is perhaps the only thing missing up front as they try to replace the departed Chris Jones and his 12.5 sacks from 2012.

Best Draft Prospect: Ted Ouellet DE UFA 2014.

 

Linebackers:

Juniors Gabe Martin and D.J. Lynch on the outside may be the best outside starting duo in the MAC. Martin is an underrated defender who is very natural in pass coverage and his play recognition skills are enough to warrant consideration as a draft prospect in 2015. Bowling Green will employ a number of different packages and looks in order to increase pressure from the linebackers since the defensive line may not provide that pressure on a consistent basis. Senior Paul Swan is penciled in as the starter in the middle but we may see some younger players there as the Falcons are very deep and will rotate often. I expect Martin to be the star of the defense and could even contend for Defensive Player of the Year honors when the campaign is complete.

Best Draft Prospect: Gabe Martin DE 5th-6th Round 2015.

 

Secondary:

Bowling Green has experience here as all four starters are back and the only thing they seem to lack is height, as strong safety Jerry “BooBoo” Gates is listed at 5'11" and is the tallest in stature. Gates is a 7th round prospect for the 2014 Draft and was an all-MAC performer in 2012. Fellow senior cornerback Cameron Truss looks like a player that will get a free agent invite to a camp and may see the practice squad for a year or so. Overall the Falcons need to ensure the quarterback pressure is there and they need to force more turnovers. The Falcons lost the turnover battle in a number of games in 2012, the offense needs to avoid putting pressure on the secondary and the line by not giving them a short field to work with.

Best Draft Prospect: Jerry “BooBoo” Gates at SS 7th Round 2014.

 

Special Teams:

I added special teams on this preview because punter Brian Schmiedebush is a serious Ray Guy Award candidate and he is as talented as his name is fun to say. We usually see 2-3 punters drafted every year and Schmiedebush is currently the #3 punter on my board for the entire 2014 Draft class. If Schmiedebush is not drafted he will most certainly be in a camp competing for a starting job somewhere. Schmiedebush also looks more like a linebacker with his 6'3" and nearly 230-pound build, a great weapon for a club to have as Bowling Green should win the battle of field position more often than they lose it.

Best Draft Prospect: P Brian Schmiedebush 7th Round 2014.

 

Schedule:

The Falcons have a couple of stiff tests on the road in weeks 2-3 with Kent State and Big 10 foe Indiana. If Bowling Green wins both contests we could see the wins coming in waves and we may see Bowling Green ranked before the year is through. October 12th the Falcons have their toughest game of the year when they head to the SEC to take on Mississippi State.

 

Draft Outlook:

We only have one season to work with for Chris Gallon but he performed well and his 6'4" frame is enticing. Gallon will need to show top notch speed as he projects as a 4.55-4.6 40-time guy at this moment and his work last year came after injuries forced him into a starting role. Jerry “BooBoo” Gates and Brian Schmiedebush are both names we could be hearing in the upcoming draft so there are some late round possibilities for next season. We will continue to keep our eyes on Gallon and defensive leader Gabe Martin who should not be a threat to declare in 2014 but will be on many boards for 2015.

 

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