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Falcons try to tame Broncos

Even though Bowling Green football coach Gregg Brandon won’t make any excuses for his team’s lackluster performance against Buffalo last week, which the Falcons won 27-7, his next opponent doesn’t mind.

When Western Michigan’s coach Bill Cubit was asked recently if he thought the Falcons game against the Bulls showed any weaknesses Cubit quickly dismissed the idea.

“Nah, I don’t think so,” he said. “Playing in front of a smaller crowed, they go up to Buffalo, you can only get up so many times during the year. I’m sure they went up there, did what they had to do and got out of there.”

Saturday, however, it will be hard for the Falcons not to get up for the game as they are playing at home during Family Weekend, which promises to bring a plentiful and raucous crowd, if the weather doesn’t scare them away.

Although the Falcons had a less than stellar offensive output against Buffalo, the receiving corps can look forward to going against a very young Western Michigan secondary.

The Broncos have two true freshman at the starting cornerback spots in Louis Delmas and Kennard Banks.

They also have freshmen starting at defensive tackle, defensive end, two linebacker spots and at free safety.

Collectively they have nine years of experience in their starting secondary, or one less than the Falcons star receiving duo of Steve Sanders and Charles Sharon.

“They have four freshman corners, and being a ffith-year guy, you have experience and just want to go out there and show it,” he said. “We can take advantage of their inexperience through Charles Sharon and myself who are fifth-year guys and we just want to exploit that.”

However, Sanders doesn’t believe the young players will just lay down without a fight.

“We don’t underestimate them, because they are D-I athletes just like we are, so they are here for a reason. We just want to go out and play our best game.”

Mike Thaler, a team captain and leader of the defensive line knows not to take the Broncos lightly.

“You never know when Saturday they are going to put together that talent and they are all going to come together and play as a team,” he said. “You have to take them for what they are, not the reflection of their record, but what you see on film.”

The defense will be facing off against a true freshman at quarterback in Tim Hiller who is replacing Robert Haas, who took over after Ryan Cubit broke his leg.

“He’s a big strong kid who has a nice arm,” Brandon said of Hiller.

Cubit plans on having Hiller work within the system and not try and put too much of the offensive load on his shoulders. To succeed he will have to make sure not to make mistakes and get the ball to starting tailback Trovon Riley and big-time receiver Gregg Jennings.

Riley is averaging over 118 rushing yards per game and a 4.5 yards per carry average in four games this season. Jennings leads the MAC in receptions with 61, yards with 735 and receptions per game with 10.17.

“He can catch the ball, but he’s very effective after the catch,” Brandon said. “He runs good routes. He uses his quickness and he’s good at separating from defenders.”

So although conventional wisdom would be to rush an inexperienced freshman quarterback, Brandon said they must make sure not to give Jennings an opportunity to get into the endzone – or in his words it will be a long afternoon.

“You’ve got to be careful with that, because they’ve got some weapons. Jennings is a very explosive receiver and they score 30 points a game,” he said. “We’ll have a plan to get after the quarterback, we’ll have a plan to try to contain Jennings – I don’t know if you can stop him.”

“He caught a lot of balls against us last year, but we kept him out of the endzone.”

For Cubit the game plan is to eliminate at least one facet of the Falcons high powered offense.

“The passing game always scares you but if we let them have both then we’re in for a really long night.

The problem, Cubit said, was if you guard too much against the pass then it leaves the field wide open for B.J. Lane to eat up yards and control the clock.

It is a problem the Broncos are willing to face said cornerback Jimmie Vincent, a junior and one of the few veterans on Western Michigan’s two deep secondary.

“Instead of going for the interception every time (we have to) play good solid football,” Vincent said.

One thing Vincent noticed of Jacobs is that his delivery can fool defenders used to a more traditional release.

“If you watch him he has a really awkward release,” Vincent said. “You’ve got to play the technique… break on the high arm instead of the shoulder.”

Vincent and his young crew in the secondary is especially looking forward to facing off against one of the best quarterbacks in the nation because they are looking for bragging rights in their home town.

“I’m a little bit more excited to play against Omar,” he said. “I found out Omar is from south Florida, where I am from – we have a lot of south Florida DBs.”

Jacobs is from Delray Beach while Vincent is from South Bay. Both of Western Michigan’s starting corners are from south Florida as well – Louis Delmas resides in North Miami Beach while Kennard Banks calls Boynton Beach home. Reserve corner E.J. Biggers is also from North Miami Beach.

“It’s going to be a heck of a challenge,” Cubit said of playing against the high powered Falcons. “Probably the best overall football team in the league. We’ve got a big big challenge on our hands.”


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