Bowling Green head coach Mike Jinks watches the Falcons on the first day of football practice Thursday at Doyt Perry Stadium. BLADE/DAVE ZAPOTOSKY
Running back Terence Stephens Jr. is tackled by defensive lineman Romeo Masuku during the spring football game at the Doyt Perry Stadium in Bowling Green. Blade
BOWLING GREEN — The grumbling around Bowling Green State University football coach Mike Jinks and his ability to be head coach of the Falcons started after one game last season. Truth be told, it may have begun at halftime of BG’s 77-10 loss at Ohio State.
It reached a crescendo after a 77-3 loss at Memphis, and setbacks against perceived weaklings Eastern Michigan and Miami (both of whom eventually proved to be bowl-worthy) did nothing to dampen the noise.
What did salve the wounds of the Falcon faithful were three things. First, winning the final three games stopped the flow of blood. Second, Jinks’ forthrightness in admitting to his mistakes in his first year as a head coach, and his willingness to solve those problems, was good to hear. And third, a recruiting class that was considered one of the best in the Mid-American Conference gives hope for the future.
But make no mistake: While the noise has died down, it has not gone away.
Now the grumblers have set their sights on a new target, BG defensive coordinator Perry Eliano. Last season Eliano’s defense finished last in the Mid-American Conference in scoring, allowing 38.3 points per game, and was 10th in the 12-team league in yardage allowed, surrendering 464.2 yards per contest.
In conference play the numbers were better — primarily because the OSU and Memphis debacles were removed. But the Falcons remained in the middle of the pack in scoring (tied for seventh, allowing 29.9 points per game) and yardage (sixth, allowing 417.2 yards).
All the early signs point to improvement on defense. Eliano and his staff have made adjustments that better suit the talent on hand, plus a year of playing in the system should result in better understanding. And recruiting has brought in some instant upgrades.
But if the defense does not show improvement, well, it would be wise if Eliano wore earplugs.