BOWLING GREEN - After spending just over two hours watching players and footballs fly around inside Doyt Perry Stadium yesterday evening, Bowling Green State University coach Dave Clawson signaled for the team to meet him at midfield.
BGSU's first-year coach had witnessed enough and called an end to the Falcons' first official practice of the 2009 season.
Clawson informed the group of just over 100 players that he liked what he saw during a session limited to working out in shorts, jerseys and helmets.
"Again, it's one day, and I'm pleased with the effort and I'm pleased with the conditioning level our guys are in," he said. "Now we've got to get better every day."
The Falcons, who are not considered among the favorites to win the Mid-American Conference, have less than a month to prepare for their season-opener at home against Troy on Sept. 3.
Not surprisingly, the Falcons' first practice consisted of the basics with quarterbacks passing to receivers, offensive and defensive linemen working on their footwork, blocking and tackling techniques, defensive backs and linebackers going through coverage drills. And, of course, kickers and punters practicing their own form of footwork.
It was all things Clawson was quite familiar with to start a season at previous coaching stints prior to being named Gregg Brandon's replacement last December after Brandon was fired at the end of the '08 season.
"You learn something from your previous experiences, and as much as I'm excited to get out here, I also know when you're a first-year coach somewhere what the pitfalls are," Clawson said. "I think you have to create a clear expectation level of what you want and you try to establish that in your offseason program and you try to establish that in the spring and you hope the leadership carries through the summer and then the results have to show up in the fall."
Like his coach, P.J. Mahone, a returning starter at defensive back, considered the Falcons' first practice of the season a solid debut.
"I think we started out in a good way," Mahone said. "There were a few mistakes, but that's expected.
Overall, I think we had a good first day out here, especially for the defense. We got our hands on the ball."
The 5-foot-11, 195-pound senior, said the first practice of the season under Clawson was a little different from previous first practices during his time at BG.
"It's a little faster tempo and a little more reps for the ones and twos [on the depth chart] right now," Mahone said. "We were getting after it a little more than what we're used to."
SOUTHVIEW GRADS ABSENT: Southview graduates Alex Pidcock and Shaun Joplin, who led the Cougars to a 15-0 record and the Division II state championship last fall, were not among the 100-plus student-athletes who practiced yesterday.
Pidcock, who announced during the spring he would attend BG as a preferred walk-on, recently informed the coaching staff he was not interested in playing football.
Joplin, who also announced during the spring he would attend BGSU this fall, has spent part of the summer working on becoming academically eligible to participate in football this season.
No word has been announced on his academic status.
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