BOWLING GREEN -- Yes, the Bowling Green State University football team lost its top two pass-catchers from last season. And yes, the Falcons return only one receiver with game experience, that being junior Shaun Joplin.
But Bowling Green does return another pass-catching option in junior tight end Alex Bayer.
In fact, when it comes to experience at catching passes, no one on the BG roster can match the 6-foot, 4-inch, 253-pound tight end. Bayer's career totals of 42 receptions for 540 yards and three touchdowns are more than any other Falcon.
Bayer said he doesn't expect the tight ends -- a talented group that also includes junior Tyler Beck as well as sophomores Kendall Montgomery and Eastwood High School product Clay Rolf -- to suddenly become the focal point of the offense.
"We're not going to change the offense around just because that's a young group [of wide receivers]," he said. "We need guys to step up.
"Whether it's a tight end getting the ball or a running back or a receiver, we just need guys to step up and make plays that lead to a win."
Bowling Green coach Dave Clawson said Bayer was a quality receiver when he came to BG from Pickerington North High School, but Bayer also has improved in other areas since joining the Falcons.
"When he came here, he was much more refined as a pass-catcher than he was as a blocker," Clawson said of Bayer. "The advances that he made to the weight room are being translated onto the field. He used to be a good receiver who was a liability blocking. Now he's not a liability blocking -- it's a strength of his."
Last season Bayer started all 12 games and caught 20 passes, fourth on the team and just one behind Joplin, for 242 and two touchdowns. The year before he finished with 22 receptions, fifth-best on the team, good for 298 yards and a score, setting career bests with five catches against Temple and 88 receiving yards against Western Michigan.
INJURY UPDATE: The Falcons have sustained a pair of injuries on the defensive line in recent days.
Sophomore defensive tackle Hunter Maynard suffered a knee injury and was not on the practice field Thursday.
"We are waiting to hear back from the doctor, but there's a chance we might have lost him for the year," Clawson said of Maynard.
Junior defensive end Ronnie Goble was in a walking boot at practice after suffering a high right ankle sprain.
"We're hoping to get him back for the preparation for Florida, which begins next week," Clawson said of Goble. "We're being more precautionary with him."
PRACTICE SCHEDULE: The Falcons will practice today starting at 1:30 p.m. in preparation for Saturday's scrimmage, which starts at 5.
BG will practice on Sunday and take Monday off, since Monday is the first day of the fall semester at Bowling Green.
Starting Tuesday the Falcons will begin a morning practice schedule that will continue throughout the season.
Contact John Wagner at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6481 or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.
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