BOWLING GREEN - Bowling Green State University's football team opened its training camp yesterday, dodging the raindrops by practicing in Charles Perry field house.
The 104 players who reported on Sunday were broken into two groups, with the freshmen and newcomers practicing from 9:15 to 11:30 in the morning and the returnees taking the field from 3 to 5:30 in the afternoon.
But new coach Gregg Brandon said the separation of the squad may not last long.
“It was my intention to practice the freshmen by themselves for three days, just to give them a chance rather than throwing them all in there [while things are moving] at break-neck speed,” Brandon said after yesterday's afternoon practice. “But the way the freshmen practiced this morning ... well, I'm going to do that again [today], but I may drop that third day and practice them all together [tomorrow] just because the freshman class picked things up pretty well.”
Brandon said a number of newcomers stood out in their first day.
“I'm impressed with all six of our [new] linemen - all six can move, they have good feet,” Brandon said. “Our quarterbacks, Benjy Kennedy and Nick Thurman, are going to be good. Our defensive backs were all solid - Loren Hargrove, Deaudre Perry are two young safeties who were good, while Robbie Browning and Virgil Robinson on the corners were impressive.
“A couple of linebackers, Jenkins Reese and Danny Macon, looked good, and a couple of junior college players, Ryan Newble and Bryan Gardner, are going to be good. I named a lot, but I might have missed a few - it was encouraging.”
Only one player was missing as punter Josef Timchenko, a junior college transfer, remained home with his ill mother. Timchenko is expected to join the rest of the Falcons by the end of the week.
If Brandon does not combine the newcomers with the returnees tomorrow, he definitely will do so on Friday. On Saturday the Falcons will practice twice, followed by a single practice on Sunday, then continuing the pattern of two practices one day followed by one the next.
Yesterday the Falcons worked out without pads in a practice Brandon said combined some conditioning with some installation of the team's offense and defense.
“We do a little conditioning, and some testing, and then we install,” he said. “The thing now is to get them in football shape - running plays, getting used to the rhythm and tempo of the game, that's the main thing.”
Brandon, who was named to replace Urban Meyer as the team's coach last Dec. 19, said one of the key positions to watch in training camp is the battle for spots on the offensive line.
“We lost three starters, and we're going to have to fill that void,” Brandon said. “But it's different than it has been the last couple years in that we have guys; we have some depth at that position. We'll just have to bring them along during the early portion of the schedule.”
The Falcons' training camp ends on Friday, Aug. 22, as the team then readies itself for its season home opener against Eastern Kentucky at Perry Stadium on Thursday, Aug. 28.