BOWLING GREEN — Late in 1998 Dave Clawson was named head football coach at Fordham University, which meant his friends in the coaching profession were offering names of potential assistants.
“A good friend of mine, Kevin Rogers, was the offensive coordinator at Syracuse,” Clawson said. “Kevin called me said, ‘I have a GA here at Syracuse that you need to hire.’”
Rogers raved about how bright and hard-working the young coach was, but Clawson eventually hired someone else.
Now that young coach, Dan Mullen, will be on the Mississippi State sideline as the Bulldogs host Clawson’s Bowling Green State University football team Saturday at Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville, Miss. Kickoff is set for 7:38 p.m.
Instead of coaching with Clawson at Fordham, Mullen became a graduate assistant at Notre Dame and met a young assistant named Urban Meyer.
In 2001 Mullen followed Meyer to Bowling Green and spent two years as the Falcons’ quarterbacks coach.
“I had a great time at Bowling Green,” Mullen said. “It was my first full-time coaching position, and I got to work with guys like Josh Harris, Andy Saum, and Omar Jacobs.”
When Meyer took the Utah job in 2003, Mullen followed him and was the Utes quarterbacks coach for two seasons.
Then Meyer moved to Florida, and Mullan joined him as the Gators’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Mullen said much of his offensive coaching philosophy was formed at BG.
“I think that coaching staff really cut our teeth there. We learned a lot, and I think we had a lot of fun,” Mullen said.
“The offense that we’re running today came from sitting in those rooms in Bowling Green.”
Mullen isn’t the only Mississippi State coach familiar with the Falcons.
Two of his assistants, receivers coach Billy Gonzales and running game coordinator/offensive line coach John Hevesy, also coached the Falcons, while Jon Clark, the Bulldogs’ director of football operations, is a 2002 BGSU grad.
Clawson said he doesn’t expect Mullen holds any hard feelings about not getting hired at Fordham.
“If you look at what Dan is making salary-wise [at Mississippi State], I’m sure he’s glad I didn’t hire him,” Clawson said.
FAMILIAR VOICES: The television announcers for Saturday’s game, which will be broadcast on SportsTime Ohio, should be familiar to local sports fans.
The play-by-play voice will be Bob Rathbun, who joined Rick Rizzs as the Detroit Tigers radio broadcaster team from 1992-94 when the pair replaced Hall of Fame broadcaster Ernie Harwell.
The color analyst will be Tim Couch, the former University of Kentucky and Cleveland Browns quarterback.
Sideline reporter Elizabeth Moreau began her career as a sideline report for the Big Ten network.
INJURY REPORT: The Falcons seem to be relatively healthy entering Saturday’s contest.
Senior defensive tackle Ted Ouellet, who has missed the past two games after suffering a leg injury on the first defensive play from scrimmage against Murray State, is probable for the game.
Ouellet was on the practice field this week, as was junior defensive end Charlie Walker, who is probable following a bruised heel, and sophomore wide receiver Ryan Burbrink, who missed the second half against UMass because of a knee bruise but is expected to be back against Mississippi State.
Junior linebacker Paul Senn, despite wearing a red “do not hit” jersey in practice, also is probable to face the Bulldogs.
Only senior safety Josh Pettus, who is trying to return from a knee injury that has caused him to miss the last three games, is questionable for Mississippi State.