BOWLING GREEN — For the second week in a row, Larry McDaniel is going home.
Last Saturday the Bowling Green State University defensive line coach traveled with the Falcons to Kent State, where he had spent eight seasons as an assistant prior to coming to BG.
This Saturday the Falcons travel to Indiana, McDaniel’s alma mater. The native of St. Louis lettered four times (1989-92) and served as a team captain his senior year.
“Going back to a place where I have a lot of fond memories, and then to my alma mater, it has helped that they came back-to-back,” McDaniel said. “Any time you go back to your alma mater — whether you go back as an alumnus, or if you go back to do what we’re doing, playing a football game — it’s special.”
McDaniel said he has tried to keep things as normal as possible heading into Saturday’s noon kickoff against the Hoosiers at Memorial Stadium.
“I don’t want [the players] to see me or perceive me as being ‘higher’ this week than for other weeks,” McDaniel said. “From the standpoint of our preparation, I’m going about things just like I normally would.”
Under McDaniel’s tutelage, Bowling Green’s defensive line has not skipped a beat despite losing Mid-American Conference player of the year Chris Jones. Seniors Ronnie Goble and Ted Ouellet each have seven tackles in the first two games, while junior Bryan Thomas has added four.
“In our first game, I thought we played very well,” McDaniel said. “Last week, based on the way the game play evolved, I thought it was more a perimeter game … so we didn’t have the effect [the guys in] our room like to have.
“When people don’t think they can load up the box and run the ball down your throat, that shows you they think you have a pretty good group [of defensive linemen].”
INJURY UPDATE: The Falcons remain relatively healthy following their first two games.
Senior center David “Chief” Kekuewa, who suffered an ankle injury late in the Kent State win, is expected to play Saturday. He has taken part in drills this week, but his reps have been limited.
Senior running back Jordan Hopgood also has practiced this week and is expected to return after sitting out the game against the Golden Flashes.
Junior defensive end Charlie Walker is doubtful for the Indiana game; he suffered a knee sprain in the win over Tulsa and was not in uniform against KSU. Darrell Hunter will miss his third game because of a wrist injury, but is wearing a cast and working out in practice. Hunter’s status for the rest of the season is uncertain.
Freshman wide receiver Jermal Hosley has been ruled out for the season because of a knee injury. Hosley caught five passes in two games last year before suffering a season-ending knee injury.
SPREAD THE WEALTH: One thing BG coach Dave Clawson said he liked about his team’s big offensive performance at Kent State was that there were a number of players who made contributions.
Six different players ran the ball once, with three of the six scoring touchdowns as the Falcons collected 219 rushing yards. Matt Johnson’s 19 completions were spread around to seven different receivers, with two of the seven scoring.
“As the head coach, you love it when a lot of different guys get involved,” Clawson said. “When you see so many people touched the ball and contributed, I think that helps in the locker room with morale.
“We’ve had a lot of guys who worked hard in the summer, and to see them get rewarded like that [is good].”