BOWLING GREEN - Changes already have been made in the Bowling Green State University football program, which is what you would expect from a team that fell to 1-5 following a lopsided 49-25 loss at Ohio last weekend.
"That was a really bad day for our football program," coach Dave Clawson said. "It was a really uninspired effort. My staff and I have been here for 19 games, and that was our most disappointing effort.
"We played with little emotion; our energy level was terrible. You have to play with emotion, with energy, to be able to compete in a game like that, much less win a game like that."
One of the first changes made by Clawson and his staff was to pull out practice video from last week and show his team how its lack of effort in practice resulted in a lackluster effort in the game.
"It was an eye-opener for a lot of people," senior defensive lineman Angelo Magnone said. "We heard a lot more people saying, 'We have to go hard' and 'We have to do more.'
"I heard there was some fighting between the offense and the defensive scout team in practice. I heard some of the guys on offense telling the scout defensive players, 'We can fight all we want and still love each other - keep playing hard.'•"
Another change was a switch in the practice program for the week as the Falcons search for a way to make practices more physical as well as more high-tempo.
"For example, typically we practice on Thursday in 'uppers,' Clawson said.
"Uppers" means players wear a helmet and shoulder pads but do not wear protective pants, instead wearing shorts or sweatpants; this allows for blocking practice but prevents tackling.
"Our practice on Thursday last week was terrible. … So we're going to go full pads [today].
"If our team cannot push itself to practice at the right tempo, we're going to go full pads and make it physical."
One issue that won't change for the Falcons is the problems caused by a lack of depth and by inexperience.
"Right now, in our program, we do not have a lot of internal competition," Clawson said. "When you show a performance like [the Ohio game] to your team, you'd love to go in and say every job is open, nobody's job is guaranteed. The reality is that we don't have that option.
"We're playing the players that we have. That's where we are at in terms of numbers in our program."
The second issue, which is exacerbated by the lack of competition, is the heightened need for high-level effort - which was lacking against the Bobcats.
"Players have to show up each week, play with a lot of effort, and play for Bowling Green and for each other," Clawson said. "And that has nothing to do with talent. A great player should play that way, and a [player with less talent] should play that way. Those are things every player can control, and that was the most disappointing thing about the [Ohio] game: we had some players play hard, but not across the board."
Clawson said some good can come from an ugly loss like the Ohio setback.
"One of the good things was that there are certain guys on our team that are playing with such outstanding effort, you can put on the film and show everybody," he said. "If everybody played as hard as those guys, we're going to be fine."
The players Clawson singled out for praise in that area included freshman Cameron Truss and sophomores Dwayne Woods and Chris Jones on defense as well as senior Willie Geter and freshman Matt Schilz on offense.
"If everyone played at the level of effort [those guys gave], we'll win football games," Clawson said. "If they don't, we won't."
BRING IT ON: Clawson said he was motivated, not disheartened, by the adversity his team faces.
"I love this part of coaching right now - it's a great challenge," he said. "As a coach, this motivates you; it excites you. You have a chance to make your team better and rise up.
"Your best work as a coach is a year like this: It's not going well, and you have to turn the tide, and you've got to work harder, put more into it to create a momentum shift."
GOOD NEWS: Clawson had positive news regarding offensive lineman Scott Lewis, who has not played since an injury in fall drills.
"We're optimistic we're going to get Scott Lewis back in the next two weeks, which will be a huge boost," Clawson said.
The Northview grad was slated to start at guard before a broken foot sent him to the sidelines.
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