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April 18, 2024

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Spring Housing Guide

Football reflects after Boise’s blow

It is hard to imagine that anyone on the Falcons’ football team could look at the Boise State blowout – where the Falcons were outplayed in every facet of the game and lost 48-20 – as a positive thing, but that was the case with middle linebacker Ted “Teddy” Piepkow.

“I think if we came up with a win, 42-41, we wouldn’t have realized all of the problems we were having as a team,” the senior and team captain said. “I think we kind of lost that little chip on our shoulder that we played with the last couple years.”

Apparently, that little chip on the team’s shoulder contained a lot of things: the team’s intensity, emotion and passion.

Coach Brandon has re-emphasized playing with a renewed sense of those elements.

“When we go into any place, especially on national TV, we need to be the hitters, not the hittees,” Brandon said.

As an experienced leader of the defense, Piepkow knows the buck stops with him.

He recalled last year, when that chip was firmly planted on the Falcons’ shoulders and Jovon Burkes lead the defense with both a vocal and physical presence.

“Jovon was a great leader- a very inspirational leader. We need a guy to step up,” Piepkow said, and then quickly caught himself. “I need to step up and be that leader.”

The 6-foot, 200 pound Piepkow is on the Butkus Award watch list – an award given to the top linebacker in the nation. Last season, he was second on the team in tackles with 81, trailing only Burkes, and also had two interceptions. In 2002, he had 77 tackles.

Piepkow has been slowed by nagging injuries throughout the season that have limited his playing time and effectiveness, but he seems healthy and ready to reassert himself and the defense against Temple.

“Teddy was pretty banged up, but I think he’s over that,” said Brandon.

Even though he has been hurt, Piepkow doesn’t make excuses and he doesn’t sugarcoat the play of the defense so far this year.

“The intensity of our defense has not been at a level that we can be successful with,” Piepkow said. “We need to get the fire back, the work ethic.”

Getting the defense where it needs to be will require an energy the Falcons haven’t displayed yet, said Piepkow, and he knows it is up to him to lead by example, both on and off the field.

The best way to lead the defense is to eliminate the negativity and just have fun again.

“Having fun out there, it spreads by example,” he said. “Everybody has to feed off each other. If I can be a guy who makes a play and gets excited, there is going to be a guy next to me that gets excited and then the next guy.”

Piepkow has already seen results in the past few practices.

“Over the weekend we had two really spirited practices. A lot of hitting going on, a lot of guys getting excited,” he said.

Brandon has also liked what he has seen out of his defense over the weekend, “We got after it pretty aggressively on the weekend,” Brandon said. “We did a three-on-three ‘hamburger’ drill where we just blocked and tackled; basically [we] pounded on each other for an hour.”

Piepkow admitted he is not over the loss at Boise State, and said he looks forward to finally getting rid of all the frustration on Saturday at the homecoming game against Temple.

“It’s definitely not out of my system yet,” he said. “I don’t think it’s out of our coaches’ system. I think everyone has a bad taste in their mouth.”

He is confident, and hungry to win, but he said while a win is important, its not the only important thing for the Falcons to accomplish on Saturday.

“A win is a win, but we need to come out and perform at a level of intensity that we haven’t yet this season. We need to come out and play BG Falcon football that we’re used to and that the fans are used to.”

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