QB Matt Johnson has time to pass with help from offensive lineman #77, J.J. Beggan. Blade/Jetta Fraser
BOWLING GREEN — The arrival of Dino Babers as Bowling Green State University football coach has put a spotlight on the Falcons offense.
On Saturday, in the team’s first scrimmage, the Falcons defense showed it was worthy of time in the spotlight too.
While the offense was able to score touchdowns, the defense — especially the first unit — was able to control play for most of the scrimmage.
“I may have the best defensive I’ve ever had as a football coach,” Babers said. “We’ve got guys who can make plays in the front seven, and we had some guys in the back end step up and make plays.
“And we saw the defense create some turnovers.”
Jude Adjei-Barimah had two interceptions, while Diontre Delk also picked off a pass and Izaah Lunsford caught a pass that was tipped at the line.
“[Turnovers] have been a point of emphasis by the new staff,” Adjei-Barimah said. “We run a lot of drills to make it a habit to rip the ball out, and to go up strong to get the ball in the air.
“When you do that, I feel that will transfer into the game.”
The BG offense ran 150 snaps in an hour and 15 minutes — “We were slow,” Babers said — but the defensive players are learning to perform faster as a result.
“The tempo of the offense definitely pushes the defense,” Adjei-Barimah said. “We don’t have the luxury of subbing like they do, so we have to really push ourselves to be lined up [properly], make our checks and be ready.”
What made the performance of the defense more impressive was that it came with senior linebacker D.J. Lynch, a second team All-Mid-American Conference pick who last season led the Falcons in tackles.
Babers said Lynch was kept out of the practice because of a shoulder injury. “We probably could have played him if we needed him to go,” Babers said.
POSITION SWITCH: The Falcons made a switch on the offensive line, moving junior Alex Huettel from center to guard, while inserting sophomore J.J. Beggan at center.
“When you’re a center, you’re already a guard, and when you’re a guard, you’re one snap away from being a center,” Babers said. “We’re trying to build depth and make sure our top guys at those positions are interchangeable.”
Huettel, an All-MAC second-team selection at guard last season who moved to center in the spring, had no problems with the move back to guard.
“I’m here to help the team and do whatever it takes to help the team win,” Huettel said.