Dear Ron: I went back and read my last two Sunday Morning QBs to see what I wrote about the offense. I thought I was fair, but I don’t think I was particularly complimentary. If you didn’t read those two reports, you are welcome to judge them for yourself.
Click here to read Sunday Morning QB following the UMass game, and click here to read Sunday Morning QB following the Eastern Michigan game.
But I wouldn’t call the offense “terrible” for a variety of reasons.
First, the most obvious reason: Compared to the offenses of the other teams those two days, BG had the BETTER offense both times. Isn’t netting 356 yards of total offense like the Falcons did Saturday way better than collecting just 178 yards, which was Eastern Michigan’s total?
UMass and EMU both had "terrible" offensive days, but is that entirely their fault? No. In fact, to quote a long-time football coaching friend of mine, the other teams give out scholarships, too.
Second, the Falcons have become a bit more conservative offensively because of their fine defensive play. The idea is to limit mistakes and turnovers that would allow an opponent to take advantage for easy scores. Coach Dave Clawson said he doesn’t think teams will be able to cover a long distance to score, so if there are no turnovers -– and if the offense can help turn around poor field position -– the team will be successful.
You may remember a few weeks back Clawson said one of the goals on offense was to just get two first downs each drive? The idea it to burn time off the clock, change field position and make the offense for the other team drive a long distance for a score. We all know how hard it is to put together a long drive when penalties, mistakes or one bad play can stop an offense.
And those are some of the things the offense has done. The turnovers have been down in recent games with just one in the last two contests -– one interception at UMass. BG had a fumble that it recovered versus Eastern Michigan.
And here's an example of good offensive play: the fourth quarter of the EMU game. The Eagles had just 11 yards of total offense in the final quarter, but the offense deserved as much (if not more) credit than the defense did. BG's offense ran two long drives that held the ball for a whopping 12:17 of the quarter. While the Falcons' final drive didn't net any points, it didn't need to: Instead it ate up NINE MINUTES of the clock (9:10, actually) and pushed out from BG's 7 all the way to EMU's 33 when time ran out.
Third, the offense can make contributions to help the team win besides scoring. The last paragraph was one example of that, and here’s another, from the victory over UMass: Bowling Green’s first touchdown came when the Falcons had to drive just 35 yards. Many people thought the defense deserved the credit for the short field, but the truth was the defense deserved only PART of the credit. The offense and the special teams also played a role in that short field.
BG’s first drive in the game began on its 12, if you remember, and if the Falcons have a three-and-out there the first TD doesn’t happen. Instead the offense “flipped the field” and got to midfield before punting. The punt cover unit also deserves credit for pinning the Minutemen on their 6. The defense got the three-and-out, and then the punt return unit was able to get a 16-yard return to set the ball on the 35. And while it did take seven plays to cover 35 yards, the offense did punch the ball into the end zone.
In short, the offense can help set up the defense and lead to victories, as can the special teams units.
And a final thought to fans that are afraid the offense won’t be up to the task if BG is involved in a high-scoring game: When have the Falcons played a high-scoring game this season? Virginia Tech scored 37 points, true, but in the other two losses –- to Florida and Toledo, both powerful offenses –- BG’s opponents notched just 27 points. In this day and age, that isn't a blowout. In fact, those 27 points are the second-lowest point total for the Rockets all season.
Does the offense need to be better in the final weeks of the season? Yes, it does. But has it been terrible recently? No, it has not.
Thanks for writing, John.
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