BOWLING GREEN - Kellen Pagel arrived at Bowling Green State University from northeast Ohio in August looking for an opportunity to continue his football career.
Pagel, a 6-foot-3, 201-pounder, was limited to scout team duty as a quarterback during the 2009 campaign.
He entered spring practices a few weeks ago looking to position himself to play on Saturdays next fall during the Falcons' 2010 campaign.
Pagel is one of four quarterbacks competing for the No. 1 quarterback spot left open with the graduation of three-year record-setting starter Tyler Sheehan. Yet, his talent and competitiveness isn't being limited to his quarterbacking skills.
Pagel is also battling for the punting job left vacant by the graduation of three-year starting punter Nick Iovinelli.
"He's also a punter for us, and he's pretty good," BG coach Dave Clawson said of Pagel.
The former Strongsville High football standout is the son of former Cleveland Browns quarterback Mike Pagel (1986-90). He's a good athlete with an outstanding arm, Clawson said. He's competing with Aaron Pankratz, Matt Schilz, and Caleb Watkins for the starting quarterback position, which isn't expected to be filled by anyone until the summer.
Clawson said no one had separated himself from the rest of the quarterbacks after BG held a scrimmage only three days ago.
Nonetheless, the BG coach has liked what he has seen out of Pagel ever since he arrived at BG as a preferred walk-on last August.
"He's just learning the offense," Clawson said of Pagel. "He ran the scout team a year ago and did some really good things against our starting defense."
The freshman signal-caller received his share of snaps during the scrimmage. Besides showing a strong arm, he also displayed good mobility when he was forced to scramble out of the pocket.
"I thought I did all right," Pagel said. "I'm kind of hard on myself. I always think I can do better, but I'm excited.
"I think there's room for improvement, which is always good."
Whenever there's down time for the quarterbacks during practice that's when Pagel has time to practice his punting along with kickers/punters Jerry Phillips and Matt Oczypok, who represent his competition for the starting punter duties next season.
His kicking competition? Freshman Jerry Phillips shared BG's place-kicking duties with senior Matt Norsic last season. Phillips kicked in 12 games and made good on 17 of 17 extra points and eight of 13 field goal tries, including a career-long 44-yarder.
However, Clawson said the kicking duties are wide open and Phillips is contending with fellow freshmen Oczypok and Stephen Stein.
Similar to the quarterback position, no decision is expected to be made this spring on who will assume the No. 1 spot in the fall.
"We're spreading the kicks evenly and we're trying to say everything this spring is about competition," Clawson said. "We're not in a rush to pick the wrong guy. We want to make sure we pick the right guy...
"It's not a decision we're in a rush to make."
BG SPRING GAME: The Falcons will hold their annual spring game at 7:30 p.m. April 16 at Doyt Perry Stadium. Admission is free.
A tailgate tent offering a plate of Shorty's BBQ, potato chips and a soft drink for $10 will be set up outside the east side of the stadium from 5:30 to 7:30. Call 877-BGSU-TICKET for information.
Contact Donald Emmons at:
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