Turner to sit out opener in Cleveland

When the BG football team opens its season September 2 against Wisconsin, they’ll have to do it without redshirt sophomore quarterback Anthony Turner.

Coach Gregg Brandon handed Turner the suspension “internally” after charges were filed, but word leaked out of the locker room nearly one month later. The charges stemmed from an incident in late March in which Turner – along with teammate Ryan Patrick – were found in possession of marijuana while sitting inside Patrick’s GMC SUV at about 1:30 a.m.

“Per our team policy, Anthony will have to serve a one-game suspension,” Brandon said. “This is an opportunity to educate and teach, and part of that is discipline.”

Charges of marijuana possession were reduced to a charge of disorderly conduct when Turner went before the Bowling Green Municipal Court last week. City prosecutor Matt Reger agreed to amend the original charge – at the request of Turner’s attorney – so long as Turner passed his urine test, which he did.

As a monetary penalty for his indiscretion, Turner was ordered to pay a $150 fine and $70 in court costs.

Patrick – who has since been dismissed from the team – faced similar charges and fines.

Turner is the front-runner to fill the void left at quarterback following the premature departure of Omar Jacobs for the NFL. As a starter, Turner finished 1-1, completing 52 of 85 passes for 492 yards and two touchdowns in all. He also caused trouble for opposing defenses with his legs, rushing for 170 yards on 53 carries with three TDs.

Brandon recognizes a talent when he sees it, but knows that earning responsibility and respect come first.

“Anthony’s got a tremendous responsibility to be the next Bowling Green quarterback,” Brandon said. “His teammates don’t talk about him by name, they talk about him being the next great Bowling Green quarterback.”

Although things on the field look promising, off the field Turner already has two strikes against him. In the summer of 2005, Turner had to be warned by police after setting off illegal fireworks over one week after the Fourth of July.

“There are some inherent expectations that come with playing the position [quarterback], and some are unfair, but that’s just the way it is,” Brandon said. “If you’re going to be a quarterback here, you’ve got to be a leader and do the things we ask you to do. We just don’t want him to turn around 50 times a game and hand the ball off.”

Redshirt freshman Freddie Barnes will likely get the nod under center for the season opener at the Cleveland Browns Stadium. Barnes is yet to throw a collegiate pass, but saw action in the spring game, splitting reps with Turner. The team will be relying on him heavily in game as they take on Wisconsin out of the Big 10.

Turner will return to the line-up the following week in the Mid-American Conference opener against Buffalo. Brandon remains optimistic that Turner can move forward and become the team’s primary option on offense.

“Anthony Turner will serve his time and then get back in the saddle,” Brandon said. “Hopefully, he’ll learn from this, and then we can move on.”