Falcons hold annual spring game

The Bowling Green offense is in a better position than it was one year ago, the defense on the other hand is still learning.

But Saturday afternoon’s spring game was the best day of the spring for the defense said linebacker Austin Valdez.

“Installing the defense this spring was tough,” Valdez said. “I felt like we did a great job for the first 80 plays. The first half I thought we did an awesome job.”

With the addition of new defensive coordinator Brian Ward, the defense is in the process of learning their second defensive scheme in as many years.

Instead of looking lost in the new scheme, against an offense that has weapons all over the field, the defense kept the Falcon offense in check for most of the first half.

The teams were split up by offense’s, the first-team offense edged out the second-team offense 36-34.

Points weren’t easy to come by for either offense in the first half. In fact, they weren’t easy to come by for placekicker Tyler Tate either.

Tate, who holds the school record for career field goals, missed his first two attempts from 47 and 40 yards out, as well as a PAT attempt from the 25-yard line.

“We don’t work [Tate] like we normally work him in the fall, so the stuff he did out there I’m not concerned about at all,” said head coach Dino Babers. “Snap, kick, hold, as long as that stuff is good and the timing is right, the last person I worry about is Tate.”

After the two misses by Tate, Johnson connected with Ronnie Moore for a 40-yard touchdown and Tate redeemed himself with a 50-yarder to end the period.

Penalities and drops are two of the things that hampered the offense in the first half, but those are things they can fix, Johnson said.

“We had some explosive plays, but penalities hurt us, drops hurt us,” Johnson said. “Those are little things that we know we can clean up. But it’s frustrating when you’re getting big chunk plays and not putting the ball in the end zone.”

As both sides of the ball took the field for the second half they focused more on short field situations. The ball rarely went past the 35-yard line, as the offense exploded and executed well in this portion of the scrimmage.

The short field situations allowed for both offenses to expand on the 9-6 halftime score. Expand the score they did, as multiple receivers and running backs stood out.

Gehrig Dieter got the chance to shine, as he caught a 17-yard touchdown and then, right after, caught a 15-yard touchdown. Receivers Brandon Poncsak, Teo Redding and Moore caught one apiece as well.

For the running backs, Donovan Wilson stood out all game, but scored his touchdown in the second half. Patric Hannon scored two touchdowns as well, scoring on a three-yard run and followed that up with a 20-yard touchdown run.

“I thought we did a good job capitalizing on what the defense gave us, whether it was short passes that turned into big gains or the offensive line clearing room for the running backs,” Johnson said.

Babers liked what he saw from both sides of the ball Saturday afternoon.

“The whole scrimmage I thought was a give-and-take scrimmage,” he said. “I thought there were really good parts by the defense and really good parts by the offense. I thought the special teams came out slow, but they warmed up at the end.”

Clayton Nicholas

The Texas Tech transfer has decided to transfer from Bowling Green after the announcement that Matt Johnson would be the starting quarterback.

“His choices were to sit behind Matt and battle James Knapke for the backup job and if Matt got hurt one of them would go in, try to beat [Johnson] out clean, or to go somewhere else and play two years,” Babers said.

“I think it was a close call, but there are no ill feelings,” Babers said. “I’m okay with his decision. I think he is okay with it and we will have to move on.”

Nicholas has not confirmed where he will be transferring to.

Andre Givens

Givens decided in January that he wanted to step away from football and focus on academics, he will graduate this summer.

“[Givens is] a great guy. He came to speak to me man-to-man there are no issues whatsoever,” Babers said.