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Published: Tuesday, 10/7/2008

Brandon changes tune about Falcons' attitude about Eastern Michigan

BY RYAN AUTULLO
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

BOWLING GREEN - Gregg Brandon's team isn't consistent, and neither is he.

In the moments following an egregious loss to Eastern Michigan on Saturday, Brandon discredited the possibility that Bowling Green State University took the lowly Eagles lightly.

Two days later, Brandon withdrew that theory. In a brutally honest assessment of BG's 24-21 homecoming loss, Brandon said what many coaches would never admit to.

His team thought a win would come easy.

"Whether it's a lack of respect for Eastern Michigan or not thinking they were any good, that can't happen in college football," Brandon said at yesterday's weekly press conference. "That's the hardest thing, to convince our players that they're not just going to show up and roll it out. They're college football players too. They have pride. They want to win."

Brandon made his players unavailable to the media yesterday, citing upcoming midterms as the reason.

EMU was crushed in four straight games before Saturday, which is not out of the norm considering the program's futility over the years. At no time were the Falcons supposed to feel the least bit uncomfortable. Instead, they may have gotten a little too comfortable.

"Our guys need to understand that it doesn't matter, we have to show up with the same intensity as if we were playing Pitt or

Boise, or whoever," Brandon said.

The Falcons visit Akron (3-3, 1-1) on Saturday, and unlike Eastern Michigan, the Zips should have BG's attention.

Akron defeated Kent State 30-27 in double overtime Saturday and appears to be one of the more improved teams in the Mid-American Conference.

Brandon suggested Saturday that some changes could be imminent as a result of the rash of penalties and poor decisions that have been an issue all season. But, once again, he changed his mind.

"That was probably a knee-jerk reaction to the game," Brandon said. "You lose a tough one like that at home and you want to start blaming people."

Brandon said some of the blame needs to be directed at the coaching staff. Adjustments were not made to provide pressure on EMU quarterback Andy Schmitt during the Eagles' final drive. Schmitt went 5-for-5 passing on the possession, including a 16-yard touchdown to Tyler Jones with 36 seconds remaining.

"Maybe we didn't do a good job from a coaching standpoint in that we wanted to get home on the four-man rush," Brandon said. "We didn't get to them on the four-man rush and we need to re-evaluate that and do a better job of mixing up pressures."

BURNING MAD: Brandon declined to comment on a report that EMU players set to fire a Falcon jersey that belonged to Eagles coach Jeff Genyk, a BG alum. Brandon said he spoke with Genyk after the game but said the torching incident was not a topic of discussion.

"I wasn't in a real talkative mood," Brandon said.

SEEKING AN ANSWER: Brandon expressed frustration at Saturday's officiating, citing a play in the fourth quarter when BG's Antonio Smith was called for interference on a punt return. Smith recovered a muffed catch by EMU's DenAnthony White but was penalized, and thus possession was awarded to the Eagles.

"I don't understand what was called," Brandon said. "He didn't touch the guy and the kid put the ball on the ground."

EMU punted on the drive.

Contact Ryan Autullo at:

rautullo@theblade.com.



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