Running behind today, but wanted to post a few updates on the BG football team as the Falcons prepare for their opener at Florida Sept. 1 ...
1. I asked coach Dave Clawson for an update on injuries, and he listed two players who are OUT for the contest against the Gators.
One is sophomore DT Hunter Maynard, who we knew would miss the season because of a knee injury. The other is senior WR Bart Tanski, who suffered a broken collarbone in Saturday's scrimmage. Earlier this week Tanski had a surgery to repair the injury, but Clawson said he expects Tanski to miss at least six weeks of the season.
2. Saturday's scrimmage was the end of fall "camp" per se, but the team doesn't formally switch its focus to Florida until later this week. I asked Clawson how BG is spending this week in preparation for the season.
"We're at a point where we're still focusing on Bowling Green, but we've started to introduce some Florida concepts," he said. "We're introducing their base defense and their base offense, and some of the dilemmas they create. We've done some scout team, but really very limited. We'll pick that up on Friday and Saturday."
What kinds of things are the Falcons working on when they "focus on BG?"
"There are some fronts and schemes that we will face many times during the year that our offense or our defense don't run," Clawson said. "So we take this 'middle week' -- camp is over, but we're not in game-prep yet -- and try to introduce some of those concepts. That way, when we fact those during the season, we're not trying to get ready for them in just one week."
3. I wondered if the Falcons had shown any signs of "letting up" after a strong performance in Saturday's scrimmage?
"I think this team's capacity to work is as good as it's been since the '09 team," Clawson said. "Some of that is [a function of] depth. There's still competition going on, and there are some positions that haven't been settled year. And even at positions where we know the starter and the back-up, we don't know if [the split of playing time] is going to be 60-20 [snaps] or 50-30 or 45-35.
"I've talked about this all year: We're finally at a point where we have competitive practices. Every rep is important. The running back position is a good example, because we have five 'play-able' backs. That all do different things and have different strengths, but we have five guys we feel good taking snaps for us.
"This football team hasn't won a game yet, and I think our players understand that. We have a team with a lot of guys who have been through some tough losses, and our seniors went through that bowl-game season, so they know what a fine line there is [between winning and losing]. This isn't a sport where you can rest on your laurels."
4. For those of you wondering about the depth chart, it will be released next Monday, Aug. 27. Here are a few of the position battles that still look to be resolved:
RUNNING BACK: This has nothing to do with who will start, because that probably will be Anthon Samuel. This has everything to do with how playing time will be split between Samuel, Jordan Hopgood, Andre Givens, Jamel Martin and a resurgent John Pettigrew.
WIDE RECEIVER: This has everything to do with who will start, because there hasn't been a break-out performer so far. The most talented receivers (in terms or raw ability) are Shaun Joplin, Je'Ron Stokes and Chris Gallon, but Heath Jackson and Herve Coby are viable options. And it wouldn't surprise me if someone like Travis Greene earned playing time at the position. A player to watch is walk-on Ryan Burbrink, who has shown sure hands along the lines of Cole Magner.
CENTER: The offensive line is basically set, but there's an interesting battle brewing between Chip Robinson and David Kekuewa. This probably won't be decided until Monday ... but don't be surprised if both see extensive action at Florida and over the course of the season.
DEFENSIVE TACKLE: The Falcons have arguably the best defensive tackle in the Mid-American Conference in Chris Jones. But the depth at this position will be tested early because of the injury to Maynard and the dismissal of Darius Gilbert after spring drills. Ted Ouellet and Jairus Campbell will need to continue to play well, and it would help if another young lineman would step forward.
ROVER: Last season this position was one of the more solid spots on the defense thanks to the experience of Keith Morgan and the development of BooBoo Gates. But Morgan has graduated and Gates has moved to safety, and there is a battle for the spot featuring Brian Sutton and Gabe Martin.
CORNERBACK: There certainly are choices at this position, including Cameron Truss, DeVon McKoy and Darrell Hunter. It wouldn't surprise me if true freshman Will Watson earned playing time at this position. But this is a young group behind Truss, a two-year starter, as McKoy and Hunter each have just one year's experience.
PLACEKICKER: The choice between Stephen Stein and Tyler Tate isn't clear cut, as of yet. The choice comes down to choosing Stein's steady work but lack of distance or Tate's greater range on field goals but greater inconsistency.