Bowling Green's Keith Morgan has moved from safety to outside linebacker during spring ball.
BOWLING GREEN -- Senior Keith Morgan started 10 games at safety for the Bowling Green State University football team last fall.
But Morgan, who made 67 tackles in 11 games for the Falcons, said he wasn't surprised when the coaches suggested he switch positions.
"I kind of expected it," he said. "We didn't recruit any rovers, and Cal Marshall graduated from last year. I was the biggest DB we had, so I expected it."
So Morgan switched from safety to the rover, or wide-side linebacker, position this spring. That's the position he will take Friday night when he and his Falcon teammates play in the football team's annual spring game.
That contest will kick off at 7 p.m. at Perry Stadium. When it does, Morgan said he will continue the development process that has helped him become more comfortable at rover.
"I learned I was switching in January, so when we had captain's practices then I was getting reps there," Morgan said. "Now the only difference is that I'm getting coached by the coaches so I can learn what I'm doing wrong.
"Next fall, when it comes to camp and to games, I'll know what I'm doing. I won't have to think -- I can just react."
BG football coach Dave Clawson said he and the coaches thought the move to rover would better suit Morgan's talents.
"As we watched film, he was most effective when he was closer to the ball," Clawson said of Morgan. "We graduated Calvin Marshall, the starter at that position. And with the young safeties that we have, we thought Keith fit the 'rover' position while some of the young safeties fit the 'high' safety position better.
"We thought we would practice [Keith] there for a week to see how he and the safeties were developing, knowing that we could always move him back if we needed to. But he has picked the position up so well, and the guys behind him are developing well, too."
Morgan said the rover position isn't very different from the safety spot.
"In a lot of ways, it's no different than it was last year," Morgan said. "I'm just always in the box now. Instead of being deep some times, I'm always in the box.
"I'm a lot closer to the ball, so I can make plays in the backfield. I can blitz a lot more -- and I like that a lot. In terms of coverage, I do a lot of the same things. I'm just on the wide side of the field now."
Friday night's spring game will feature an Orange team and a White team. One of those team will be a combination of the first-string offense and the second-string defense, the other will be first defense and second offense.
Clawson said he does not want to mix first- and second-team players up to form the teams.
"I think that it is important, especially in the offensive line, that we develop cohesion," he said. "We want guys playing with other guys they are going to play with next season.
"Sometimes, when you have those drafts, you get mismatches where the rest of the team can't function."
Clawson said the amount of time on the clock will be different in each half.
"We'll have 30 minutes of 'normal' time and about 30 minutes of running time, so we'll play close to three-quarters of a game," said Clawson, who also said the game will use conventional scoring rules.
"We'll have a certain amount of kicks we want to get in, and after that we'll just swing [possession] back and forth."
-- John Wagner