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2011 College Football Preview: Bowling Green Falcons

2010 Record: (2-10, 1-7 in MAC)

Head Coach: Dave Clawson (67-65, 9-16 at BGSU)

Last Bowl Game: 2009 Humanitarian Bowl: Lost to Idaho 43-42


9/1: at Idaho (2009 Result: lost 43-42)

9/10: Morgan State

9/17: Wyoming

9/24: at Miami (Oh) (2010 Result: lost 24-21)

10/1: at West Virginia

10/8: at Western Michigan (2010 Result: lost 41-7)

10/15: Toledo (2010 Result: lost 33-14)

10/22: Temple (2010 Result: lost 28-27)

10/29: at Kent State (2010 Result: lost 30-6)

11/8: Northern Illinois

11/16: Ohio (2010 Result: lost 49-25)

11/25: at Buffalo (2010 Result: lost 28-26)

2010 Offensive Statistics:

Scoring: 21.3 ppg (9th in MAC, 99th in Nation)

Rushing Yds/Game: 62.67 yds/game (last in MAC, last in Nation)

Passing Yds/Game: 231.6 yds/game (4th in MAC, 51st in Nation)

Total Yds/Game: 294.3 yds/game (12th in MAC, 115th in Nation)

2010 Defensive Statistics:

Scoring: 33.6 ppg (11th in MAC, 100th in Nation)

Rushing Yds/Game: 207.7 yds/game (12th in MAC, 112th in Nation)

Passing Yds/Game: 224.3 yds/game (10th in MAC, 69th in Nation)

Total Yds/Game: 432.0 yds/game (12th in MAC, 102nd in Nation)

2010 Misc Stats:

Turnover Margin: -0.17 per game (6th in MAC, 67th in Nation)

Penalties: 53.3 yds/game (10th in MAC, 69th in Nation)

Returning Starters:

Offense: 6

Defense: 7

Kicker/Punter: 0

Top Returning Statistical Leaders:

Passing: Matt Schilz, Soph (229 of 377 for 2223 yds, 8 TD, 14 INT)

Rushing: RB Jordan Hopgood, Jr (76 for 167, 6 TD)

Receiving: WR Kamar Jorden, Sr (96 rec for 1109 yds, 4 TD)

Tackles: LB Dwayne Woods, Jr (134)

Sacks: DT Chris Jones, Jr (6)

Interceptions: DB Keith Morgan, Sr (3)

In his debut season at BGSU, Dave Clawson went 7-6 (6-2 in the MAC) and took the team bowling to close the season. Last season, the Falcons took a big step backwards as they finished 2-10 and won just one conference game. Statistically the Falcons were among the worst at giving up yardage and points and also among the worst offensively in those categories. That does not make for a good mix. One thing Clawson has in his favor is that he has statistical leaders back in a lot of categories from last years team. How will Clawson and BGSU perform this year? We caught up with the Falcon Blog to get a local take on the 2011 version of the Bowling Green Falcons.

Last year Bowling Green finished a disappointing 2-10. What were the biggest issues with last years team that need to be addressed in order for them to be successful this year?

Well, there were a lot.  As you would expect, no unit was strong on a 2-10 team.  There were a number of very close games, BG could have finished a little better, but in a sense that might have hidden the problems. It started up front...BG simply must get better play from both lines in order to compete.  The defensive secondary was very thin and got beat deep a lot of times.  The special teams were poor, and it was hard to tell how good the offensive skill players were given the play of the O-line.

The offense really struggled last year finishing 99th in the Nation in points scored and dead last in rushing offense with only 62 yards per game. What has been done this off-season to address these areas of concern?

Well, the primary work has been on the O-line.  At times last year, the team was playing two converted D-lineman and a true freshman on the line.  As expected, they were normally overmatched.  This year, some injured players are returning, everyone has a little more experience, and two JUCO lineman have been added.  Even so, in the spring game, the passing game could not get going until they worked out of their max protect package, something which is not sustainable in a conference season.

The defense gave up 207 yards per game on the ground last year (which placed them second to last in the MAC). Who are the guys that need to step up this year to help the Falcons fix this area of their team?

This team has not succeeded in stopping the run since Urban Meyer was here.  It has grown to be very frustrating for our program.  The good news is that the D-line appears to be rounding into shape.  There is quality and depth, allowing for rotations.  With a stronger up front presence, the linebackers can do their job better and hopefully the Falcons can stop a running game.

Who are some guys that have to have big seasons for Bowling Green to turn their team around this year?

Well, if the team is going to turn around, it is going to require some big years from people you don't notice. For example, whether Matt Schilz or Trent Hurley starts at QB, the team needs a big year from the QB.  For that to happen, the guys up front need to have  a big year.  Similarly, BG plans a 4-RB rotation, but they are dependent on the line opening up holes for them.

Head Coach Dave Clawson went 7-6 in his debut season but obviously took a big step back last year. What are the overall thoughts on him and is he on the hot seat?

I think Coach Clawson is a coach who knows how to win and will win at Bowling Green.  Everyone in the program knew that there was a hole in talent last season and to an extent this season, so I don't believe Clawson is on the hot seat at all.  The program is undergoing transition pains, as it often does when there is regime change, but I think it will result in a very good football team.

What is your gut feeling on the final record for the 2011 season and what makes the season successful in your eyes?

Remembering that last year Miami was expected to be one of the 5 worst D1 teams and won the conference, you have to think in the MAC there is always a shot, especially in the East.  Having said that, we don't play Akron, we have pretty tough cross over games with the West.  I'm going to say that my gut says this team can go 6-6.

Next Preview: Troy

2011 Team Previews

C-USA- Houston

MAC- Buffalo, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Temple

MWC- UNLV, Wyoming

Sun Belt- FAU, North Texas

WAC- Idaho


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