I’ve had a number of people Tweet and e-mail me some questions over the past couple of weeks. With everyone off the roads because of the snowfall and bitter cold, that has given me the time to try and answer some of those questions. Here we go. …
- Many of you have e-mailed me a form of these two questions: How will the BG football staff take shape? And what will happen to last year’s staff?
Dear Everyone: Two good questions. To answer the first part, I have a feeling that a large percentage of new coach Dino Babers staff at Eastern Illinois will be following him to Bowling Green. In fact, the EIU football staff page shows only two coaches, which means eight other coaches have “left” -- and I am guessing they have left that school to join the staff at BG. At this point, only two BG coaches from last season will return next season in defensive line coach Larry McDaniel and secondary coach Nick Monroe. As soon as I learn more, I promise to pass that along.
As for the staff of former coach Dave Clawson, two former BG coaches have been announced as additions to Clawson’s new staff at Wake Forest: defensive coordinator Mike Elko and offensive coordinator Warren Ruggiero. I know special teams coach Adam Scheier will be added to the WF staff (he has not been announced yet), as will strength and conditioning coach Brandon Hourigan (he also has not been announced). It’s worth noting that Clawson has named four other coaches to his staff, so not every member of last year’s BG staff will move to Winston-Salem, N.C. That also bears watching.
- “Dave” was among those who followed my twitter feed from the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. In particular he caught a mistake I made regarding horse-collar tackles, and his question centered on me “ignoring” the punches thrown by D.J. Lynch on BooBoo Gates' kickoff return for a touchdown. His question: "Why wasn't Lynch ejected?"
Dear Dave: First, credit to you for knowing the rules better than I do/did. When I complained about a horse-collar tackle of BG quarterback Matt Johnson in the pocket, you correctly pointed out that such tackles are legal while the quarterback is in the pocket.
I hope, though, that you understand that I feel that is a completely ridiculous rule. In short, horse-collars are illegal because they are dangerous. They suddenly are NOT illegal when they happen in the pocket? That’s preposterous, and that’s why such a rule is ridiculous. In fact, hearing that rule makes me question every time I hear about the NCAA’s focus on player safety, because a horse-collar just isn’t safe.
As for the punches, they were hard to ignore on the ESPN broadcast, weren’t they? As I watched the game on tape, though, I noticed a first-quarter punch thrown by Pitt’s Aaron Donald that also was flagged as a personal foul. Dave’s point was that punches are supposed to be automatic ejections; My feeling is that a “punch” is different from a “fight,” and the latter is the cause for ejection. And frankly, punches don’t bother me much: Have you ever punched someone wearing a helmet? It’s more of a danger to the person THROWING the punch (and breaking a hand on a helmet) than to the person taking the punch.
- Turning to basketball, many of you e-mail me with questions about Craig Sealey, Zack Denny and Shaun Joplin on the men’s side, and Kennedy Kirkpatrick and Leah Bolton on the women’s side. In short, the question is when will these players return to the court?
Dear Everyone: Let’s deal with the injuries to Denny, Kirkpatrick and Bolton first, since all three players are roughly in the same boat. All three freshmen were injured during the pre-season, and Denny has only begun practicing recently. Meanwhile the two ladies played briefly early in the season despite missing some practice, and they have not played recently. In short, it will be tough for all three to be factors this season, primarily because they missed so much pre-season practice. If they were returning players, they would have experience in BG’s systems; as freshmen, they don’t have that experience. All three could help if/when they return, but they can’t be viewed as huge difference-makers.
The situation with Sealey is a little more serious. The differences include the fact that Sealey is a senior, which means the clock on his eligibility has almost run out. Also, his experience means he can be a bigger contributor, if healthy, when he returns. BG coach Louis Orr said Sealey will miss the EMU game Wednesday, but his “status” is day-to-day. Hopefully, for both Sealey and the Falcons, he will be able to return to the floor soon.
As for Joplin, some things to remember: He hasn’t played basketball since high school, which was five years ago. He has been focused on football, so he will be rusty. Joplin is a talented athlete, but at this point he basically is a basketball walk-on.
- Back to football, Denny e-mailed me to ask if I had seen that former Falcon Fahn Cooper had committed to Ole Miss and asked, “How is that possible?”
Dear Denny: Cooper was released from his BG scholarship over the summer and signed with the College of DuPage, a junior college in Illinois. From there Cooper had a good enough season to attract attention from schools such as Oklahoma and Texas A&M before committing to Mississippi in mid-December.
Cooper isn’t the only former Falcon footballer who had a successful season in 2013. Former offensive lineman Kyle Bryant, who was at BG from 2009-11, accepted an invitation to play in the East-West Shrine Game after starting the past two seasons at Youngstown State.
And one of Bryant’s teammates at YSU is junior cornerback DeVon McKoy, who finished with 20 tackles and three passes broken up in 10 games with the Penguins this past season.
Thanks for writing, John.
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