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HomeSportsBGSU
Published: Saturday, 8/1/2009

New BGSU coach upbeat; Sheehan good fit

BY DONALD EMMONS
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

DETROIT - Tyler Sheehan is considered one of the top returning quarterbacks in the Mid-American Conference.

He has thrown for more than 6,000 yards and completed a school-best 64.5 percent of his pass attempts during his career at Bowling Green State University.

Yet, after 25 starts in an offensive system that spread the football around generously through the air, Sheehan will enter his senior season under circumstances a little different from previous years. A new head coach and a tweaked offensive scheme make this year potentially more of an unknown in regard to Sheehan performing up to expectations, if not past standards.

BGSU's first-year head coach Dave Clawson is optimistic Sheehan can flourish in the Falcons' new offense, which is expected to include more running plays in the playbook than in past seasons under former head coach Gregg Brandon.

"Our expectations for Tyler is for him to have his best year ever," said Clawson, during MAC Football Media Day yesterday at Ford Field. "He needs to have the best season he's ever had if we want to be playing here [at Ford Field] in four months."

The MAC championship game and the Motor City Bowl are held in December at Ford Field.

Sheehan admits he had concerns about his senior season when Brandon was fired shortly after last season. However, any initial concerns about having to adapt to playing in an unfamiliar offensive system were put to rest for Sheehan not long after Clawson was named the Falcons new coach.

"When talking to him for the first time [the offensive system] was one of the first things we talked about," Sheehan recalled. "He told me we would be throwing the ball and running the spread [offense], and we would mix in some run plays to help out the spread. So, that was encouraging from that standpoint."

Sheehan spent much of the spring focusing on making himself an even better quarterback than he was a season ago when he passed for more than 2,600 yards, including 20 touchdowns compared to nine interceptions, while completing 66.8 percent of his pass attempts (267 of 400 passes). He studied the new offensive playbook to the point he knows it as well as the previous playbook. He also spent the spring improving his overall fitness by eliminating the "dollar menu" from his diet to build a stronger and leaner, 6-foot-3, 225-pound frame.

And even though the wide-open Falcons attack of the Brandon era is over, Clawson doesn't exactly subscribe to the three-yards and a cloud of dust offensive strategy.

Clawson still intends to make the most of Sheehan's ability to throw the football all over the field.

"We watched almost every offensive game before we put the offense in," Clawson said. "We wanted to see what Tyler did well. He's been here for four years, and I don't want to ask him to completely do new things and start from square one. Some of the terminology is different and some of the play-calling the way we do it is different, but there are a lot of similar concepts in the passing game that we run.

"I think he's worked really hard and has done a good job of grasping it."

And Sheehan's looking forward to displaying that work on Sept. 3 when the Falcons open the season at home against Troy.

"I expect real big things from our offense this year," Sheehan said.

Contact Donald Emmons at:

demmons@theblade.com

or 419-724-6302



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