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Published: Thursday, 10/25/2007

BGSU's Turner a playmaker, just not at quarterback

BY RYAN AUTULLO
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Turner Turner
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BOWLING GREEN - It was ironic. It was odd. It was sort of like being instructed to hand over the office keys to your replacement upon being terminated.

But there was no animosity when Anthony Turner threw a pass to Tyler Sheehan on Saturday at Kent State. Turned out Bowling Green State University's quarterbacks - past and present - have some synergy.

Sheehan caught the ball from Turner in the flat, hesitated, and threw the ball across the field to an open receiver.

It was Turner.

BG's former quarterback proceeded to sprint for a 31-yard touchdown in the Falcons' 31-20 win.

"He does some special stuff when he gets the ball in his hands," Sheehan said. "I think he kind of took a step back and became a role player for us and he's not trying to fight that role. He's accepting it and he's a big reason for the success we've been having."

Turner, a junior, admittedly has not completely warmed up to his new role, which is being defined weekly. He considers himself "a quarterback at heart" and would rather be throwing touchdown passes than catching them. But Turner also realizes his speed and mobility are major assets in various ways in the Falcons' offensive schemes.

"It's definitely rough, but you have to be used to not having the ball in your hands," Turner said. "Every play when you do get it you have to make it count."

Turner did just that Saturday, scoring two touchdowns on just three touches. Included was a four-yard touchdown run in the first half when he spun 180 degrees to avoid a defender in the backfield.

"For the four snaps he got he scored two touchdowns, so that's a pretty productive guy," BG coach Gregg Brandon said.

Turner has mostly been called upon when the Falcons (4-3, 2-1) are inside their or their opponents' 10-yard line, where the ability to run the ball is vital. His three rushing touchdowns are most on the team and his 117 yards are third.

Turner was a marquee prospect coming out of Dayton, leading Chaminade-Julienne to a state championship in his junior season. He justified the hype as a freshman when he threw four touchdown passes in the spring game.

Turner, though, was inconsistent in his first season as a starter last year when he was dealt the difficult task of leading an offense filled with new faces.

Turner struggled to complete passes early on and the coaching staff responded by calling basic running plays, a digression from the aerial attack synonymous with BG football.

"I didn't make the plays that I needed to make," Turner said. "It was a young team. It was pretty much everybody's first time on the collegiate level."

Turner still occasionally lines up at quarterback, a move that is almost always followed by him taking the snap and running up the middle. He has attempted just one pass this year.

Freshman Anthony Glaud has emerged as the backup to Sheehan, a sign that Turner's days at quarterback are likely over. But Turner is certainly not finished contributing, regardless of where he lines up on offense.

"He's a competitor and he's talented," Brandon said. "For this stretch run I think we're going to see more of AT."

Contact Ryan Autullo at:

rautullo@theblade.com.



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