BOWLING GREEN - A bright and sunny morning greeted Bowling Green State University's football team at the outset of the intra-squad scrimmage pitting the offensive unit against the defensive unit yesterday at Perry Stadium.
But brisk winds and an overcast sky overtook the surroundings by the end of the practice that allowed coach Dave Clawson to view a young group in game-like situations.
The Falcons, like the weather, offered some mixed results.
Yet, BG's coach is encouraged about what he saw during practice.
"I'm excited and I think we're getting better," Clawson said. "I think we're becoming a more physical team. The program has been in place for over a year, so I think the players have a better idea of what the expectations are and we're not trying to figure out who these guys are and what they can do.
"We have a much better working knowledge of our personnel and I think that's going to help us. I think it has to help us just because of how young we're going to be."
The Falcons, coming off a 7-6 campaign in Clawson's first season, are facing
a 2010 season in which
more than half of their scholarship players saw little or no game experience a year ago.
The quarterback spot left empty by the graduation of Tyler Sheehan is the most notable vacancy on the roster. Aaron Pankratz, Matt Schilz, Kellen Pagel, and Caleb Watkins are vying for the job.
After a couple weeks of spring practice, including one scrimmage, no one has gained a clear edge.
"Right now we're still in evaluation mode and I think they're all making progress," Clawson said. "But we're in no rush to settle it. The whole offense isn't in yet and this is the first scrimmage and we'll evaluate it.
"That decision will probably clear up some time this summer in camp."
Nonetheless, all saw action yesterday.
Schilz led the offense on its first scoring drive against the defense, which also must fill several areas. Schilz, a 6-foot-2, 184-pound freshman, connected on a crossing route to tight end Alex Bayer that went for 50 yards and put the Falcons in scoring position in the red zone.
He finished off the series with a 1-yard touchdown run behind center.
"I have a lot of room for improvement, but I thought I did OK," said Schilz, an Arcadia, Calif., native.
It's an assessment the coaching staff could make for each one of the inexperienced QBs.
"Right now with all these guys, they're still processing things," Clawson said. "They need reps and they need work."
The signal-callers weren't alone in showing there's room for improvement before the Falcons kick off the 2010 season at Troy on Sept. 4. Receivers and ballcarriers committed their share of dropped passes and fumbles.
Defensively, there were some assignment breakdowns that allowed running backs Willie Geter, Erique Geiger, and John Pettigrew to occasionally find some running room.
However, the defensive line, anchored by Angelo Magnone and Chris Jones, pressured the pocket and stuffed the run to dictate play in the early part of the scrimmage.
NOTES: Roughly a hundred spectators attended the practice, which is the first of two scheduled Saturday morning scrimmages during the team's spring workouts. Several of the onlookers were Falcon
recruits, including Springfield High junior Kevin Williams.
Williams, a 6-3, 275-pound defensive lineman, reportedly has received scholarship offers from a dozen notable schools such as Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, and Stanford. BG and Toledo also have shown interest in Williams, who may announce his college plans at some point this month. He's considered one of the top prospects in Ohio.
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