The Falcons will begin the 2009 season with a new coach in Dave Clawson who has an impressive resume. He has been named DIAA Coach of the Year twice, and has helped develop his players into professional athletes such as Brian Westbrook (Eagles), Brian Finneran (Falcons) and Tim Hightower (Cardinals). Clawson will have some rebuilding to do at Bowling Green as they are losing a lot of veterans from last season.
Last year, the Falcons finished 6-6, but could have easily finshed with a winning record. Four of their losses were by a touchdown or less and one of those losses came in double overtime.
Look for senior QB Tyler Sheehan to have a huge season. Not only is he coming off an impressive season throwing for over 2,600 yards, 20 touchdowns and 7 rushing touchdowns, but he has Clawson as coach. Clawson is regarded as a top developer at the Quarterback position and could be very beneficial to Sheehan.
The Falcons rushing attack last season was standard, only averaging 150 yards on the ground per game. Chris Bullock and Willie Geter will be sharing the load, although Bullock should be getting a bulk of the carries. Half of the offensive line will be gone this season, which means there will be some inexperience upfront.
Freddie Barnes and Chris Wright will be receiving passes from Sheehan and hope to put up numbers of a couple of years ago when they were averaging almost 300 yards through the air per game. To compliment the receivers, Sheehan also has his tight end, Jimmy Scheidler, who provides a solid safety blanket for Tyler.
It has been a familiar pattern in this conference with players graduating and for Bowling Green it is the same story. Upfront will be totally new and there will not be a lot of experience. Jerett Sanderson will be returning at linebacker and he will have his work cut out for him with the pressure of having to stop the run with a lack luster defensive line.
The good news for the defense is that they are returning their spectacular secondary. Safeties Jahmal Brown and P. J. Mahone are part of a pass defense that allowed under 200 yards in the air per game last season, which ranked them, 21st in the nation.
Although the Falcons have a high powered offense that should be able to put up a lot of points, they will be as successful as their defense, which could be bad for Bowling Green.
’09 Prediction: 5-7