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Bowling Green: Beyond the Box Score Preseason Preview - The Defense

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Confused?  Catch up with the BTBS Primer.

Offensive Preview

Today we continue epic Bowling Green Week with a look at the Falcon defense.

Defense

Overall Stats

S&P+: 101.72 (#62)
Success Rate+: 99.40 (#61)
PPP+: 104.90 (#55)

Standard Downs S&P+: 95.28 (#79)
Passing Downs S&P+: 106.64 (#48)

Redzone S&P+: 77.86 (#116)

Q1 S&P+: 102.78 (#55)
Q2 S&P+: 114.26 (#31)
Q3 S&P+: 96.89 (#67)
Q4 S&P+: 88.33 (#102)

1st Down S&P+: 98.95 (#66)
2nd Down S&P+: 96.38 (#78)
3rd Down S&P+: 93.31 (#78)

Rushing Stats

Rushing S&P+: 96.80 (#73)
Rushing SR+: 95.73 (#75)
Rushing PPP+: 98.44 (#67)

Standard Downs: 91.40 (#88)
Passing Downs: 101.43 (#61)

Redzone: 74.57 (#120)

Line Yards+: 89.10 (#102)

Passing Stats

Passing S&P+: 104.06 (#46)
Passing SR+: 101.62 (#50)
Passing PPP+: 107.20 (#49)

Standard Downs: 98.95 (#59)
Passing Downs: 106.86 (#50)

Redzone: 85.93 (#93)

Adj. Sack Rate: 5.9% (#59)

So the Falcons were decent against the pass, and...less than decent against the run.  They were rather sieve-like on Standard Downs, but if they forced Passing Downs, they were decent at making plays and forcing punts.  They were pretty equal on 1st-3rd downs, but their per-quarter stats are absolutely crazy.  Usually you see teams that are good in Q1 and Q3, or Q2 and Q4...something like that.  It's a good way to see if teams are good at gameplanning but not adjusting...things like that.  All one can gather from the per-quarter stats is, they had okay gameplans, they were great as the first half progressed...and then they absolutely ran out of gas in the second half.  Sounds like they could have used Charlie Bradshaw as their coach (am reading that book right now--great stuff)...or maybe Herb Brooks.

Defensive Line

2008 Unit Ranking: #82 in the nation (#4 in the MAC)

Projected Depth Chart
DE Angelo Magnone (6'3, 241, Jr.)
DT Kevin Alvarado (6'2, 263, So.)
DT Nick Torresso (6'2, 294, Jr.)
DE Carlos Tipton (6'3, 246, Jr.)
DE Brandon Jackson (6'2, 243, Sr.)
DE Darius Smith (6'3, 223, Jr.)
DT Andrew Johnson (6'3, 257, So.)
DT Preston Burrell (6'5, 278, So.)

In every unit, BGSU was 4th in the MAC.  Unfortunately, they're probably due a finish lower than 4th in 2009, as they have to replace all four starters on the defensive line, including all-MAC DE Diyral Briggs.  There's a little bit of potential here--Brandon Jackson was a relatively highly-touted recruit a few years ago, Angelo Magnone has some starting experience, and Kevin Alvarado was able to make some plays in limited play as a redshirt freshman...but that's not a lot to work with.  In theory, this unit has decent depth--"depth" in that the second string probably isn't much worse than the first--but still...this will be potentially the weakest (non-Furman) defensive line Missouri faces in 2009.

Linebackers

2008 Unit Ranking: #71 in the nation (#4 in the MAC)

Cody Basler

Projected Depth Chart
Jerett Sanderson (6'0, 195, Sr.)
Cody Basler (6'3, 236, Sr.)
Aaron Davis (6'2, 203, Sr.)
James Schneider (6'0, 221, Sr.)
Anthony Stover (6'2, 200, RSFr.)
Eugene Fells (6'1, 233, Jr.)

Jerrett Sanderson is solid in pass coverage (8 passes broken up in 2008), and he's probably the leader of experienced (but rather light on career starts) LB corps...but 195 pounds?  Seriously?  Lighter than half of our secondary?  Cody Basler seems like your typical mid-major middle linebacker--reasonably big, capable of making a lot of tackles...and really not going to make any big plays against good offenses (1.5 TFL in his 42 tackles in 2008).  If I'm a Bowling Green fan, I'm hoping Anthony Stover or maybe a true freshman like Dwayne Woods or Eric Jordan is ready for PT early on...this unit might be okay, but new blood would be a lovely thing.

Secondary

2008 Unit Ranking: #56 in the nation (#4 in the MAC)

Projected Depth Chart
SS PJ Mahone (5'11, 195, Sr.)
FS Jahmal Brown (5'10, 193, Sr.)
CB Roger Williams (5'10, 197, Sr.)
CB Robert Lorenzi (5'8, 165, Sr.)
FS Calvin Marshall (5'11, 196, Jr.)
SS Keith Morgan (6'0, 195, So.)
CB Lane Robilotto (6'1, 172, RSFr.)
CB Adrien Spencer (6'0, 175, So.)

The strength of the 2008 BGSU defense, this unit has to replace both starting cornerbacks, but at least they return both safeties.  With 95 tackles and 3 INTs in 2008, P.J. Mahone is the unequivocal star of the defense.  He's a bit undersized, but if the Falcon defense is going to make a big play, he's the most likely culprit.  The CB position is a concern, but at least there is some experience there.  Seriously, there are a ton of seniors with little starting experience on this team.  If I'm an incoming coach, I probably don't like that too much.  You probably want your first team to be your youngest--instead he's got a mediocre but experienced team, and 2010 is shaping up to be a youth-filled season.

Special Teams

2008 Unit Ranking: #48 Net Punting, #57 Punt Returns, #69 Kickoff Returns

Projected Starters
K Jerry Phillips (6'1, 195, RSFr.)
P Nick Iovinelli (6'0, 184, Sr.) - 40.4 average, 35.8 net
KR Tyrone Pronty (6'0, 184, Sr.) - 19.9 average
PR - ?

Well...they've got a good punter.  Not a lot of experience here, but they do have some guys like Tyrone Pronty who could turn into good returners.  A redshirt freshman kicker is always a bit of a concern, especially considering the Mizzou game will be his first ever road game.

Summary

If you couldn't tell, I'm skeptical about this unit.  I'd almost like the Bowling Green game to be the first game on Mizzou's schedule.  Unless Dave Clawson and defensive co-coordinators Mike Elko and Shannon Morrison can pop in and immediately work some magic and confuse Blaine Gabbert and the Tiger offense, a la Tim Beckman the first half of last season at OSU, I'm not sure what BGSU will be able to do to consistently stop Missouri.  If they're going to move to 4-1 all-time against the Tigers, it's going to be because their offense went off, or because Bowling Green was +5 in turnovers or something (they were +3 in beating Pittsburgh last year), not because the Mizzou offense was stopped regularly.

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Projections on Friday.