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Published: Tuesday, 10/30/2012 - Updated: 1 year ago

Falcons’ improvement on ‘D’ begins at practice

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Bowling Green State University players Charlie Walker, 46, Gabe Martin, 11, and Paul Swan, 33, smother Eastern Michigan University player Bronson Hill, 30. Bowling Green State University players Charlie Walker, 46, Gabe Martin, 11, and Paul Swan, 33, smother Eastern Michigan University player Bronson Hill, 30.
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BOWLING GREEN – The defense for the Bowling Green State University football team has put together a string of impressive Saturdays.

In the Falcons’ last five games, all wins, the defense has allowed just 23 points. Those five opponents have averaged roughly 208 yards of total offense and combined for just three touchdowns, the same number of scores the BG defense has produced.

Bowling Green coach Dave Clawson admits his team’s defense has looked good on Saturdays. But he said one reason for that success is that the defense has started to look good on Tuesdays, too.

“The things people don’t see are their attention to detail and the effort that those guys practice with,” Clawson said of the defense. “We present them with preliminary scheme on Sunday and have Monday off.

“The past two years Tuesdays have been a mess. It goes to show how coach-able those guys are. They know the game-plan and they know the checks and they know the offensive formations.

“Those guys have grown up.”

Currently the Falcons lead the Mid-American Conference in total defense (290.0 yards per game), scoring defense (15.22 points per game) and both rushing (104.22 ypg) and passing defense (185.78 ypg). What’s more, BG ranks in the top 20 among FBS schools in all four categories, with a best of eighth in total defense.

Clawson cited two reasons for the defensive improvement, one of which was strong play from the front seven.

“There are fewer plays getting to the third level of our defense,” he explained. “We struggled with missed tackles in the back end, and when you miss tackles at safety and corner, it’s a big play – and a lot of times, it’s a touchdown.

“Second, our players in the secondary are doing a much better job of tackling. Ryland [Ward] and BooBoo [Gates] at safety and all three of our corners – Cam [Truss], Darrell [Hunter] and Von [McKoy] – have been much better at getting things on the ground.

“Instead of plays going for 60 yards, they only go for 16.”

WHAT’S AHEAD? The Falcons don’t play again until they travel to Ohio on Wednesday, Nov. 7, so the team’s weekly schedule has changed.

BG did not practice Monday and will not practice today but will still have an extra day to prepare for the Bobcats, who host Eastern Michigan Thursday.

“We’ll have more of a ‘fundamental’ practice, getting back to running our base offense and defense,” Clawson said of Wednesday’s practice. “Then we begin preparations for Ohio on Thursday.”

Clawson wasn’t certain if the extra time before the game against the Bobcats was good or bad for his team.

“Some times when you’re playing well, you want to keep playing,” he said. “Right now we’ve played well in October and we’re on a winning streak.

“But we’ve had nine straight games and our guys are a little banged up. We hope getting them some rest and giving them a chance to heal will give them some energy and some juice as we head into November.”

RB UPDATE: While the running back position was one of the deepest on the team at the start of the season, that depth has been challenged recently.

Starter Anthon Samuel didn’t play versus Eastern Michigan Saturday and Jamel Martin has been lost for the season because of injury. And freshman Andre Givens was injured severely enough to be taken off the field in an ambulance in the win over the Eagles.

“We’re hoping Anthon will be back practicing on Wednesday, and we would describe him as ‘probable’ for the [Ohio] game,” Clawson said. “Andre Givens was released from the hospital Saturday, and with him it will be day-to-day.

“Fortunately he is fine, but [his availability] depends on how he feels.”

BG's Burke honored

Freshman goaltender Tommy Burke was named Central Collegiate Hockey Association freshman of the week.

The native of Chaska, Minn., stopped a career-high 27 shots in a 1-0 loss to Ohio State on Friday, then made 21 saves against the Buckeyes Saturday. Burke stopped all four shots in the shootout Saturday that gave the Falcons a win and a split of the two-game series.

Contact John Wagner at jwagner@theblade.com, 419-724-6481



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