Here is the injury report, as well as quotes and notes for the Falcons as they prepare for Saturday's contest against Eastern Michigan at the Doyt.
- First is a bit of bad news regarding sophomore running back Anthon Samuel, who did not participate in practice Wednesday. Coach Dave Clawson said Samuel suffered a neck injury in the win at UMass during the first half, but did return to the game. Clawson hopes to have Samuel at practice Thursday and lists him as "questionable" for the game Saturday.
All three remaining running backs on the depth chart -- senior John Pettigrew, junior Jordan Hopgood and freshman Andre Givens -- were available and practicing with the offensive starters Wednesday.
- Among the players who wore yellow "do not hit" jerseys on Wednesday were junior tight end Alex Bayer, senior tackle Jordon Roussos, freshman guard Alex Huettel and freshman defensive end Bryan Baird.
Clawson said Bayer took "almost every snap" at tight end Wednesday, while Roussos and Huettel took reps with the offensive line, as did Baird with the defensive line.
Clawson said he expects all four to play against Eastern Michigan, cautioning that some times the yellow jersey is a reminder that a player WAS hurt, not that he IS hurt. "Jordon Roussos is feeling better than he has the past few weeks, and he still is wearing yellow," Clawson explained as an example.
- Senior Bart Tanski injured his shoulder in the UMass contest and will not play receiver for the Falcons this weekend. Tanski did hold on field goal attempts Wednesday and is available for that duty.
- Clawson admitted that he has made the BG offense "conservative" the past few weeks. "We were playing so well on defense -- especially when we were up 21 points -- I felt, if we could just run the football and take time off the clock, with the way our defense was playing, we would win the game," Clawson said.
- Both Clawson and the players at Wednesday's press conference were asked about becoming "bowl-eligible" with a win. "We don't talk about that at all," Clawson said. "We talk about wanting to win the MAC East [Division] and being in Detroit [for the MAC Championship game]. That is our primary goal. And right now our primary goal is alive and well, so we're focusing on that -- and the importance of this game [in reaching this goal].
"We talk all the time about 'extending our season.' I really enjoy this football team; we have a lot of fun. We have a bunch of guys who have 'bought in,' and we have a very positive lockerroom. We have a group of guys who have been a lot of fun to coach."
Sophomore Jude Adjei-Barimah said, "Bowl eligibility is one of our goals, but we have other goals before that. One of those goals is going to the MAC Championship. It's definitely an honor to reach a point where you're bowl-eligible, but we know that's not everything for us. There are things ahead of that we still need to focus on."
- Clawson talked a little bit about what makes the Eastern Michigan offense successful, at least in terms of scheme. "They do a great job of creating 'edges,' " Clawson said. "They will line up with two and three tight-end sets and double-wing sets, and it's very challenging because they create extra gaps. It really stretches your defense, and you have some real decisions on how you are going to be gap-sound. They run a lot of gap schemes, and by the nature of the scheme the gaps move. It's very easy to get out of position, and we you have a back that is fast and has vision -- if you don't play the gaps the right way -- that back will make you pay with an 80-yard run. ... We're going to have to tackle really well this week."
- Clawson was asked about the difference in his team a month ago, when the Falcons were 1-3, and now, a point where the team has won four in a row. "I thought the key to this season was surviving September," he said. "You could look at our schedule and see that September was going to be tough. I certainly had concerns after the Virginia Tech game -- that team in the lockerroom I had some concerns about.
"It's easy to say that five weeks later. But we have really good leadership, seniors who have 'bought in' and junior who have worked extremely hard. We have a team that had made a real investment in this season during the off-season. They knew who we had played, but they also knew we weren't playing as well as we should have been. And the only way to fix it was to work hard and try to correct it.
"Teams that win championships keep getting better. ... In a lot of ways we obviously have improved -- our defense is playing better, our offensive line is playing better and our running game has improved. There are thing we need to work on: we need to make more explosive plays in the passing game and we need to be more disciplined in terms of penalties. If we improve them, I think this team has the potential to win a championship."
Sophomore Jude Adjei-Barimah also talked about the 1-3 start: "When we got off to that 1-3 start, we were disappointed, but we knew that all of our goals were ahead of us -- and we needed to come out every day and work hard to achieve them. There was still a lot of believe that we could reach our goals, and I think that has played a big part in our winning."
Check back later for more notes and quotes from BG football availability Wednesday.