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Published: Tuesday, 8/28/2012

Falcons remain flexible with opening depth chart

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

BOWLING GREEN -- The Bowling Green State University football team on Monday announced its two-deep for the season opener at No. 23 Florida.

Well, sort of.

The two-deep has six positions that include an "or," meaning the starter or backup at that particular position is still being determined.

Falcons coach Dave Clawson embraces that uncertainty.

"Every 'or' is a good thing," he said. "That means we have a group of players who are capable of playing for us. It's not necessarily important who takes the first snap, because both players will see action."

One "or" of interest is on the offensive line, where the center position will be manned by either senior Chip Robinson or junior-college transfer David Kekuewa.

At running back there are four players listed. On the two-deep behind starter Anthon Samuel are John Pettigrew, or Jamel Martin, or Andre Givens.

On defense the nose tackle starter is listed as Jairus Campbell or Ted Ouellet, while the starter at cornerback opposite Cameron Truss will be either DeVon McKoy or Darrell Hunter.

And the kicker for extra points and field goals will be either Stephen Stein or Tyler Tate.

One of the most-anticipated announcements was the starting wide receivers. Walk-on freshman Ryan Burbrink will start at the slot position, while Southview grad Shaun Joplin will start at the "X" position and redshirt freshman Chris Gallon is listed as the starter at the "Z."

"Burbrink, Joplin, and Gallon really came out of camp as the leaders at their positions based on their body of work," Clawson said. "But Je'Ron Stokes is in the mix, and Heath Jackson had a good camp.

"We feel we have six or seven play-able guys there."

The only two "true" freshmen on the two-deep are Coy Brown, the backup to Dwayne Woods at linebacker who enrolled at BG in the spring, and Will Watson, one of the backups at cornerback.

"When you judge a true freshman, you watch to see who can sustain [their performance] through camp," Clawson said. "Watson competed, and he never blinked.

"After a good play or a bad play, he always fought for the next rep."

BY THE NUMBERS: Of the 27 players listed on the offensive two-deep, only four are seniors and eight are freshmen. The 13 starters (three wide receivers and a fullback are included, along with the two centers) show two seniors, six juniors, one sophomore, and four freshmen.

The defensive two-deep includes 25 players, but just two seniors and three freshman. The 11 potential starters include two seniors, four juniors, and five sophomores.

SOUND CHECK: One Florida media member asked Clawson if he was concerned about the noise level at the Gators' home field, which is known as "The Swamp."

"We haven't been able to simulate the crowd noise during practice," Clawson said. "We haven't been able to have 100,000 people come to see us practice."

Contact John Wagner at: jwagner@theblade.com, 419-724-6481 or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.



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