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Published: Tuesday, 5/9/2006

Bowling Green's Turner will sit out Wisconsin game

BOWLING GREEN - Bowling Green quarterback Anthony Turner received a light slap on the wrist here last week in Municipal Court.

A charge of marijuana possession was reduced to disorderly conduct.

Turner isn't the first Division I football player that ever got off easy, nor will he be the last.

Names of athletes routinely show up on the police blotter.

Bowling Green's Anthony Turner will wait one game before taking over the Falcons' offense because of a suspension. Bowling Green's Anthony Turner will wait one game before taking over the Falcons' offense because of a suspension.
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The Turner incident - he and former teammate Ryan Patrick were cited for possession of marijuana while sitting inside a car on campus at 1:30 a.m. in late March - was a temporary black eye for the BG program.

Coach Gregg Brandon disciplined Turner "internally" shortly after charges were filed, but the news of Turner's punishment stayed in the locker room - until now.

Brandon told The Blade yesterday that Turner has been dealt a one-game suspension and that he will sit out the Falcons' Sept. 2 season-opener against Wisconsin at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

"When a kid screws up, in Anthony's case the possession charge, they have to serve a one-game suspension," Brandon said. "I have never said this publicly before, but the fact that the first game after the incident is Wisconsin means that will be the game Anthony sits out.

"I don't know how this got out - that upsets me. It's kind of one of those things I'd like to keep in-house and keep with the team."

Turner, a redshirt sophomore and the successor to record-setting quarterback Omar Jacobs, took part in spring drills, even after his initial arrest.

He never missed a snap.

But you have to wonder what Turner's teammates think about his poor decision-making off the field.

Although police found a bag of marijuana on Turner as he sat in Patrick's vehicle, city prosecutor Matt Reger agreed to amend the possession charge at the request of Turner's attorney and under the condition that Turner pass a urine test, which he did.

Reger said he didn't know that Turner and Patrick - a walk-on who has since been dismissed from the team - were football players.

Hold the laughter, please.

Turner was ordered to pay a $150 fine and $70 in court costs, but this wasn't his first brush with the law.

In the summer of 2005, he was warned by Bowling Green police for setting off illegal fireworks - eight days after the Fourth of July.

Brandon can only hope that Turner puts his troubles behind him.

"Anthony Turner will serve his time and then get back in the saddle," Brandon said. "Hopefully, he'll learn from this, and then we can move on."

Turner appeared in eight games last season, and he started two after Jacobs suffered a separated shoulder.

Turner went 1-1 as the starter, completing 52 of 85 passes for 492 yards and two touchdowns, with four interceptions. He also rushed for 170 yards on 53 carries and three TDs.

Nobody questions Turner's judgments on the field.

"Anthony's got a tremendous responsibility to be the next Bowling

Green quarterback," Brandon said. "His teammates don't talk about him by name, they talk about him being the next great Bowling Green quarterback. And that's a tall order, considering the previous success we've had at that position. The last two quarterbacks we've had here - Omar and Josh [Harris] - have both been drafted.

"There are some inherent expectations that come with playing the position, and some are unfair, but that's just the way it is. If you're going to be a quarterback here, you've got to be a leader and do the things we ask you to do. We just don't want him to turn around 50 times a game and hand the ball off.

"Anthony has been working hard. He had a great spring, and he will be our starting quarterback this fall - after the first game."

It turns out the Wisconsin game is probably the best one for Turner to serve his suspension. That's a nonconference game the Falcons have almost no chance of winning anyway.

Look for redshirt freshman Freddie Barnes to get the start in the opener against the Badgers, and then Turner will return under center the following week against Buffalo in the Falcons' Mid-American Conference home opener.

"The Wisconsin game is big for us," Brandon said, "but in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't have much to do with where we want to be in December. We want to win the MAC East and play in a bowl game."

For that to happen, Turner needs to keep his head on straight and stay out of trouble.

Otherwise, it will be his career going up in smoke.



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