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Published: Thursday, 9/20/2012 - Updated: 1 year ago

Falcons don't plan to make major changes

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

BOWLING GREEN -- Saturday's loss at Toledo certainly was a painful one for the Bowling Green State University football team.

The 27-15 setback won't set off a chain of changes throughout the program as the Falcons prepare to face Virginia Tech Saturday.

Coach Dave Clawson believes that better execution, not wholesale changes, is the key to turning around his team's 1-2 start.

Offensively Clawson said his team's offense tailored its game plan to the defensive scheme it faced.

"Toledo was playing a lot of two-high safeties and soft corners," he said. "When teams do that, you can't call bombs and run by them -- you have to execute the short passing game, and you have to be able to run the football.

"We ran the football better against them than we have in three years, and our quarterback completed two-thirds of his passes. But when you're playing a team like that, at some point you're going to have to break a tackle and create a big play. And we're not doing that right now."

As for the defense, Clawson said wholesale personnel changes aren't really possible, since the Falcons already are using a large percentage of the defensive roster.

"We had 23 guys play for us Saturday," he said. "At this point of the year, our best players are playing -- and we're playing a lot of them.

"We're playing more players than we've ever played. We have a deeper team, and we want to keep guys fresh. We think that will help us in the fourth quarter of games, and we think that will help us in November."

One question that remains unanswered for the Falcons is who will be doing the placekicking against the Hokies.

The competition continues between senior Stephen Stein, who missed two field goals at Florida, and freshman Tyler Tate, who missed a field goal and an extra point against the Rockets.

Wednesday Clawson did not indicate a starter at that position.

"Since I've been here, we have not had two guys kick the ball more consistently in practice than Stein and Tate," Clawson said. "Those guys consistently hit 80 percent of their kicks in scrimmage situations. It's just not translating to the field.

"Those are the two most talented kickers we've had since we've been here. … Those two have to get better, and they have to carry over what they do in practice into the game."

Before practice Wednesday the two staged a field-goal kicking competition, and both made 19-of-20 kicks.

INJURY UPDATE: Junior WR Shaun Joplin did not practice with the team Wednesday and is listed as "questionable" for Saturday's game because of a sprained foot.

Joplin was held out of Tuesday's practice. He tried to go through drills at the start of practice Wednesday but wasn't able to complete drills and did not practice in pads. Clawson said Joplin will try to practice again today.

Also junior defensive tackle Jairus Campbell will not play because of a foot injury.

"We await further word on the injury, but it could potentially be season-ending," Clawson said.

Gates wins MAC golf honor

BOWLING GREEN -- BGSU's Wes Gates was named Mid-American Conference golfer of the week.

Gates, a senior, earned the award by winning the John Piper Intercollegiate with a 10-under 206 total score, 12 shots better than the next player. Gates, the only golfer under-par for the 54-hole event, fell just two shots shy of the school record.

The Novi, Mich., native shot rounds of 66-69-71 after finishing fourth at the tournament last year.

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



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