Today is the day, folks. The Brohm era begins on the Hill, and WKU kicks off their reign in Conference USA by welcoming in that other school from Bowing Green (Ohio, of course), Bowling Green State. BJ Fischer, editor of FalconBlog, and I have swapped blogs for a segment, and he was gracious enough to answer some questions for me.
Wave the Red Towel: Games three and four of the Falcons’ year are against Big 10 teams. Next week, BGSU faces VMI. How are fans, players and coaches viewing the opening game against WKU? Is there anything about the Tops that is striking fear in the Falcons?
BJ Fischer: BG certainly respects WKU, and this opener has us nervous for a couple reasons. First, we don’t know what to expect because you have so many new players in positions. Second, Coach (first year head man Dino Barbers) is concerned about playing the opening game on the road. You have a strong QB and a number of high quality athletes. BG will be happy to head back to Bowling Green (Ohio) with a win Friday.
BGSU is returning last year’s QB, Matt Johnson, and last year’s leading rusher, Travis Greene, but lost leading receiver Shaun Joplin. Like the Tops are seeing with the transition out of Antonio Andrews in the backfield, hows the leading-receiver transition going?
BG will almost certainly have much stronger receivers than last season. It will be needed, as BG implements the Baylor spread attack. They are being led by SMU transfer Gehrig Dieter
and Roger Lewis
, a freshman who has signed at Ohio State and was a highly rated recruit. Add to that Ronnie Moore
, who was a true freshman last year and was probably the hardest receiver for opponents to defend by the end of the year. Losing Chris Gallon
to injury did hurt, but BG has Heath Jackson
and Ryan Burbrink
, both of whom have started in the past.
What are the Falcons season long expectations this year after a 10-4 year, and a victory over a top 25 team?
We have very high expectations. A lot of talent returns from last year’s team–especially on offense. The new coach has brought a tremendous amount of energy to the program. BG suffered through a number of average or worse years, and the championship last season was beautiful. I think our expectations are to play for a championship again and to win 10 games again.
How much of that defense that ranked 5th in the nation in points against (15.9 ppg) is left? And, probably most importantly, how in the world did they do it?
BG lost five starters from that defense, which was truly outstanding. That included two D-tackles, the MLB and safety. They do have a lot of quality and seasoned players back, and while the defense may not be as
good, it should still be very good. In addition, LB Gabe Martin
was injured for the last third of the season and is back. He was one of the two best players we had on defense.
How did they do it? BG’s defense last year was focused on preventing first downs and getting off the field. They didn’t force a lot of turnovers, but were very difficult to move the ball on. This year, the Kim McCloud defense is purported to be interested in becoming more turnover-oriented.
You know, the higher ups at WKU considered moving to the MAC. How welcome would WKU have been to arguably the most recognized mid-major conference?
I think we’d love to have had WKU in the MAC–if you had brought all of your sports. We have been burned by football-only members like UCF, Temple and UMass, all of whom were just passing through. WKU would fit in the MAC in all ways, and we’d love to have had your basketball program and history, too.
What are, lets say, three things WKU fans should watch on Friday from the BGSU side?
1. How BG transitions to the Baylor offense. This is the first game where it is being used, so it will be interesting how smoothly it runs.
2. BG ‘s QB Matt Johnson. Matt might be the best returning player in the MAC and is an excellent for BG’s new scheme.
3. How BG defends the middle of the field. With new and untested players at DT and MLB, this is an area BG will need to protect.
Founded in 2004, FalconBlog
is one of the eldest MAC blogs, and has even been referred to as “the Grandfather of all MAC blogs.” For the BGSU perspective today, follow @orangeandbrown on twitter.