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Published: Thursday, 3/15/2012

Keys BG may focus on this spring

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Spring football begins Thursday at Bowling Green State University with the first of 15 practices set to begin at 9 a.m.

Here is a list of five key story lines leading up to the Falcons' spring game on Friday, April 13.

HOLD THE LINE: An area of concern the past two seasons, the Falcons hope to improve play in this area despite the loss of All-MAC C Ben Bojicic. BG returns five players who started at least six games last season -- Dominic Flewellyn (12 games), Jordon Roussos (12), Chip Robinson (9), Dominique Wharton (9), and Kyle Bryant (6) -- but that group will be challenged for playing time by players such as Fahn Cooper, Alex Huettel, David Kekuewa, and others.

GOING WIDE: The Falcons return 43 lettermen, but one position that was ravaged by graduation was the wide receiver spot. Starters Kamar Jorden, a two-time All-MAC first team choice, and Eugene Cooper were lost to graduation along with four other lettermen. Southview graduate Shaun Joplin is the top returning receiver with 21 catches for 292 yards and one TD, with Michigan transfer Je'Ron Stokes competing with a number of younger players to see action here.

GET YOUR KICKS: There won't be much competition for All-MAC punter Brian Schmiedebusch, but the place-kicking job will be thrown open again. Central Catholic grad Kyle Burkhardt has left the team, but incumbent starter Stephen Stein will be challenged by redshirt freshman Tyler Tate this spring. Incoming freshman Anthony Farinella will get a shot at the job once fall drills start.

ON THE DEFENSE: The Falcons return all but one starter on defense and bring back the team's top eight tacklers from a year ago. With 22 lettermen back, though, there still will be competition for playing time. Also, BG will look to increase its versatility by giving veteran players more experience at a new position. For example, rover BooBoo Gates will learn to play safety this spring.

COACHING CHANGES: The Falcons have added one new assistant coach in Clark Lea, but a few position switches have been made. Lea will coach the inside linebackers, a job he held most recently at UCLA, while defensive coordinator Mike Elko will lead the defense and work with safeties and rovers. Nick Monroe will focus on the cornerbacks while working with the secondary.



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