BOWLING GREEN — Even on a veteran football team, a “newcomer” like Kendall Montgomery can stand out.
Technically, Montgomery isn’t a newcomer, because he’s a redshirt junior in the Bowling Green State University football program. But this spring the 6-foot-5, 268-pound Miami native has switched from tight end to defensive end — and at times he stands out.
Montgomery knocked down one pass at the line of scrimmage, then had a quarterback sack as part of a 100-play scrimmage that Falcons coach Dave Clawson termed “even.”
And yes, Montgomery certainly has the attention of the BG coaches.
“He’s way too talented a athlete to not be playing more football for us,” Clawson said of Montgomery. “We’re good at tight end — Alex Bayer and Tyler Beck are good players who know the offense well. …
“Kendall’s wing-span and his ability to knock down throws, his ability to get a fast rush off the edge, his ability to ‘rip’ and ‘swim’ because of his arms give him a chance to be a very good player for us.”
Montgomery said he was excited when the coaches approached him about the position switch.
“I didn’t feel I contributed a lot to the team last year,” he said. “I feel I can contribute a lot more on defense.”
Montgomery said he’s getting plenty of help in making the transition from offense to defense.
“Bryan Thomas and Ronnie Goble are helping me a lot, bringing me along,” he said. “Charlie Walker, coach [Larry] McDaniel, and everybody is helping me out.
“There’s a lot more technique on defense [than I realized], using my hands a lot more. I did more running around on offense; now I have to pay attention to what the tackle is doing.”
The offense managed three touchdowns, all coming on the ground. Travis Greene, who has switched from wide receiver to running back, scored on a four-yard run; Andre Givens bulled in from a yard out, and Jared Cohen scored on an 11-yard jet sweep.
Tyler Tate also was perfect on field goals of 27, 34, and 35 yards.
But what caught the eye of Clawson was how “clean” the scrimmage was.
“We ran over 100 plays and we didn’t have a turnover,” he said. “I think it was the cleanest first scrimmage we’ve had — and it should be.
“This is the most experienced, most veteran team we’ve had. We feel we have a long way to go, but if you measure it by first scrimmages it was a good day.”
The offense wasn’t perfect, though, as it seemed to struggle when it was able to push the ball inside the 20.
“I didn’t like that we would get into the red zone and then have a procedure [penalty] and move backward,” Clawson said. “But we had some offensive guys make tacklers miss.
“I liked the way Givens played. He made some great cuts and made people miss, and Travis Greene made people miss.”
Bowling Green also gave all three quarterbacks — senior Matt Schilz, sophomore Matt Johnson, and freshman James Knapke — an opportunity to run the first-team offense.
“We are completely evenly splitting the reps,” Clawson said. “We’ll watch the tape, but I’m sure it’s like every scrimmage: There are good things they did, and there are things they have to work on. But that will be a long-term battle.”