Here's an update on the Falcons as they begin this week's preparations for the Mid-American Conference opening Saturday against TSUN ...
First, if you haven't heard the news, senior DT Chris Jones was named MAC East Division defensive player of the week for his efforts against Idaho Saturday. Click here to read the details on that.
Second, the two-deep for Saturday's game didn't change as the week begins. Here are a few items worth noting, however ...
- The offensive line did not change following Saturday's game. As you probably noticed at the contest, redshirt freshman Fahn Cooper was taken out of the lineup after a personal foul penalty in the third quarter. The Falcons moved junior Dominic Flewellyn to left tackle to replace Cooper and inserted senior Chip Robinson at left guard. According to the depth chart, Cooper will start at LT and Flewellyn at LG.
- The running back position remains as it was last week. Sophomore Anthon Samuel is listed as the starter followed by senior John Pettigrew, sophomore Jamel Martin, redshirt freshman Andre Givens and junior Jordan Hopgood. Hopgood did see action against Idaho and Givens did not, so I would suspect Hopgood is at least fourth on the chart and perhaps third, in front of Martin. Nice to have some depth at tailback, eh?
- The place-kicker position is listed as it was last week. The position is listed as an "OR" between senior Stephen Stein and freshman Tyler Tate. Tate attempted all three extra points (and made them) but did not attempt a field goal. I'm guessing here, but I would suspect things would remain that way Saturday, at least at the start.
Here's a little more from the Mid-American Conference's Monday teleconference ...
I asked coach Dave Clawson how much trouble Idaho's QB gave the Falcons, especially since they essentially came into the game "blind" about his ability.
"Idaho ran what they have run the past four years," Clawson said. "They tried to run early, but our guys did a really nice job of defending that. Then they went to the air, and they really didn't have a reason to go back to the run. Their quarterback had a lot of yardage and a huge completion percentage, but they only scored one touchdown. ... It was kind of a "bend-but-don't-break" mentality. The disappointment was that we didn't break up more throws -- I would have liked to have seen our safeties and cornerbacks and linebackers break up more throws. But for the most part we got things on the ground and didn't let them become big plays."
I asked coach Clawson if he anticipated any changes on the offensive line this week.
"We have six guys who have taken the bulk of the snaps on the offensive line, and Dominique Wharton has been dealing with injuries but could play himself into a role," Clawson said. "We didn't have a lot of problems with procedure penalties in fall camp, and even though we had two freshmen going into The Swamp [at Florida], we didn't have a problem with procedure penalties there, either.
"Then we came home and had six procedure penalties. I've heard a lot of reasons for [the penalties], but they are just bad excuses. That's the advantage of playing offense: You know when the ball is going to be snapped. We put ourselves into some big yardage situations, and we just can't have that."
For those wondering: Cooper had three penalties (two procedures, one personal foul) that cost 24 yards (one was a "half-the-distance-to-the-goal" call); Alex Huettel had two penalties (both procedure) for 10 yards; Jordon Roussos had two penalties (one hold, one procedure) for 15 yards; and TE Kendall Montgomery had two penalties (one hold, one procedure) for 15 yards. The tenth offensive penalty was a hold on Shaun Joplin that cost the team 10 yards.
A reporter asked a question about Chris Jones, namely his movement around the line (he has started some plays at end, some at nose tackle, and some at defensive tackle).
"Any time Chris Jones is on the field, that's good for us," Clawson said. "There have been times we have put him on the 'edge' to work against a tackles, times we have put at nose tackle to work against centers, and times he plays at tackle to take on guards. He can work against anyone.
"We look for him to play in the neighborhood of 55-to-60 snaps per game, but he is so strong and in such good shape that he could play 65-to-70 snaps effectively. We ask every one of our defensive players to play hard on every play and run to the football on every plays, so we try to give them a little rest so they can always play at their best."
When talking about special teams, Clawson said ...
"I thought we improved from Week 1, but we went from very poor to average. That is a bunch of units that need to continue to improve."
Here is a great on-liner from Saturday's post-game press conference, when Clawson was talking about his team's third-quarter interception ...
"I thought our guys did a nice job of undercutting the route," Clawson said. "I thought those guys all showed why they play on defense instead of offense. It was like the ball was greased up or something."
If you remember the third-quarter pass, it was originally tipped by Jude Adjei-Barimah and went to Darrell Hunter, who tipped it back to Adjei-Barimah, who then tipped it again before it was caught by Josh Pettus.
In Tuesday's Blade I'll have a story on the offensive line, and other notes from Saturday's game.
ONE NOTE: Virginia Tech announced Monday that the Sept. 22 contest between the Hokies and BGSU will kick off at noon and will be televised by ESPNU.