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BGSU’s FalconFast concept is about more than speed

08/25/2014, 12:03am EDT
By By JOHN WAGNER BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Quick offensive play aims to wear out opponent

BG’s FalconFast is more than just speed

BG wide receiver Heath Jackson runs the ball during a team scrimmage. Blade/Amy E. Voigt

BOWLING GREEN — Over the last few months, Bowling Green State University football fans have become familiar with this team’s buzzword: FalconFast.

New coach Dino Babers brings to BG a high-speed offense that had its genesis at Baylor under coach Art Briles and was tweaked in Babers’ two seasons at Eastern Illinois.

As a result, there have been commercials. There have been stories. There have been posters. And there have been hashtags on tweets.

But what does “FalconFast” really mean?

There are misconceptions, to be sure. One is that FalconFast is basically a squirrel circus, with players running around the field willy-nilly like chickens with their heads cut off. The truth is there is a method to what seems to be madness: The method is to run as many plays as quickly as possible.

That method serves two purposes. The first is to take advantage of mistakes made by a defense working so quickly it becomes uncomfortable and sloppy. The second is that a defense forced to play for so long becomes tired, and that also causes mistakes and sloppy effort.

Babers said another misconception is that the offense is all-pass and no-run.

“[I think the biggest misconception] is that maybe it’s not physical,” he said of his offense. “That maybe it’s a gimmick.

“The one thing I think you have to do is embrace the physicality of the sport.”

Another misunderstanding is that skill position players are the key to the offense. The reality is the offensive foundation is strong play by the offensive line.

“It’s motivating to know those guys can’t be successful without us,” junior guard Alex Huettel said. “That motivates us to go hard every day.

“It’s simple up front. Once we’re set, we’re ready to go.”

Babers has said that the Falcons may not fully grasp this offense until next season. But Huettel said it didn’t take him and his BG teammates long to understand how things would be different this season.

“It was serious the first couple of days in the spring — we would pass out in the locker room,” he said. “But it’s starting to come better to us; it’s like anything else you do, it gets better with repetitions.”

But perhaps the biggest belief that does not stand up to scrutiny is that practicing against this offense will hinder the BG defense, which has ranked among the best in the country in each of the last two seasons.

“The tempo of the offense pushes the tempo of the defense,” senior cornerback Jude Adjei-Barimah said. “We don’t get the luxury of subbing like they do, so we have to push ourselves to get lined up, get the checks made, and be ready to play.”

Senior defensive tackle Zach Colvin said playing against the FalconFast offense has helped the BG defense in preparing for the coming season.

“There’s no time for error,” he said. “You have to get the call, line up, and go.

“There’s no time to think. You have to react and go.

“It also helped get our condition up — it has been beneficial. Once we play teams that [huddle], we’re going to be chomping at the bit ready to go.”

Contact John Wagner at: jwagner@theblade.com, 419-724-6481 or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.

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