Bullock staying in starting lineup for Bowling Green
BOWLING GREEN - Willie Geter is expected to return from a suspension in time for Bowling Green State University's home opener Saturday against Minnesota.
But don't expect Geter to reclaim his starting job at running back just yet.
"I think Chris Bullock deserves to start," BG coach Gregg Brandon said yesterday at the team's weekly press conference. "He played his butt off [Saturday in a win over Pittsburgh]. He was probably our most effective offensive player overall."
Bullock has worked his butt off as well - literally. Brandon said Bullock, a junior, took it to heart when the coaching staff impressed upon him that "he needed to get some junk out of the trunk."
Down five pounds from last season, Bullock says he feels lighter on his feet and has more endurance. In Saturday's 27-17 win at Heinz Field, Bullock accounted for 93 total yards and helped set up a Falcon touchdown with a 36-yard run from Pitt's 41-yard line. More impressive was Bullock's ability to catch passes. His seven receptions for 49 yards were both tops on the team. Not bad for a guy whom quarterback Tyler Sheehan used to call "stone hands, because he couldn't catch a cold."
"He came up to me after the game and said, 'My hands got better, huh?'•" Sheehan said.
With stickier hands and a reduced midsection, Bullock (223 pounds) is hoping to regain the form from his freshman year when he led the team in rushing and was named a Freshman All-American by the Sporting News.
Bullock played sporadically last year and had issues holding onto the football, which Brandon attributed to poor conditioning. At the end of the recent spring, Bullock was probably fourth on the depth chart, but because of attrition at running back - Eric Ransom's torn ACL; Geter's suspension; and Anthony Turner moving to receiver - Bullock is again an integral part of the offense.
"I can't imagine anybody thinking they'd lose their starting job, but things happen, and you have to learn from it," Bullock said. "It makes you stronger."
SUSPENSIONS: Brandon said "barring any unforeseen university discipline" Geter and receiver Adrian Hodges will be available to play Saturday. Geter, Hodges, and Robert Lorenzi (out for the season with a broken leg) are accused of allegedly misusing a credit card. Asked whether he considered handing down multiple-game suspensions to the accused, Brandon said: "We talked about it. It's not black and white. We have rules that if you do this, this happens, if you do that, that happens. But you have to work through the gray areas. I think the suspension was warranted."
ACCOLADES: BG's Jimmy Scheidler (offense) and Kenny Lewis (defense) have been named Mid-American Conference players of the week. Scheidler caught two touchdown passes in the Falcons' 27-17 win over Pitt. Lewis, a native of Pittsburgh, recovered his own forced fumble and intercepted a pass on the Panthers' final drive. Scheidler shared the offensive honor with Buffalo quarterback Drew Willy.
NEW GUY: Brandon confirmed that freshman offensive tackle Blaine Schafer has joined the team. Schafer (6-foot-6, 300 pounds) of Plymouth, Ind., signed with Ball State in February but never arrived for fall camp. Brandon said a ruling on Schafer's eligibility for this season is still in question.
"We recruited him hard," Brandon said. "I think it came down to us and Ball State."
Schafer becomes the fifth offensive linemen in this year's freshman class.
NO LETDOWN: Brandon said he is not concerned that his team will have a letdown following an emotional victory. The Gophers, under second-year coach Tim Brewster, are expected to be vastly improved from last year when they won just one game. Minnesota scored a late touchdown Saturday to top Northern Illinois 31-27.
"Minnesota is a much improved team," Brandon said. "They're playing a lot better on defense, and they seem to have a better feel of what they're doing on offense."
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