BGSU football maximizing practice as brutal early-season schedule looms

Aug 3, 2023 3:44 PM4-5 minutes 8/3/2023
BOWLING GREEN — Scot Loeffler and his Bowling Green State University football team aren’t shying away from their brutal schedule in the first half of the upcoming season.
But the Falcons know just how important every practice during fall camp will be leading up to their season opener Sept. 2 at Liberty.
“We’ve got to win every single minute of the day. We can’t look to tomorrow, we can’t look at the past; we’ve got to look day to day, minute to minute just because we can’t waste a second,” said Loeffler, who enters his fifth season as BGSU’s coach after signing an extension in March.
“If we waste a second, that could be costing us a game against Ohio, it could cost us a game against Liberty. It’s got to be day to day and that monster schedule that we have, every single game, every single play is going to matter. So we’ve got to have that mentality right now.”
BGSU held its first fall practice on Wednesday outside Doyt Perry Stadium. All three phases of the team had their positive moments, but being more consistent is what Loeffler wants to see the most out of his squad.
“The big message to those guys is that, particularly with our schedule that’s about ready to hit us, we’ve got to play our very, very best at the very end,” Loeffler said. “The reason for that, we’ll have great opponents coming up, and we’ve got to be able to finish those last drives.
“Those first seven games, those are going to come down to the last drive, and we’ve got to be able to play our best football at the end.”
After traveling to Liberty (8-5 record in 2022), BGSU takes on FCS opponent Eastern Illinois on Sept. 9.
Then the schedule significantly intensifies.
Road trips to Power Five schools Michigan (13-1) and Georgia Tech (5-7), as well as matchups vs. the top three teams picked in the East Division of the Mid-American Conference preseason coaches poll (Ohio, Miami, Buffalo) are all in BGSU’s first seven games.
The only home games in that span for the Falcons, who were picked fourth in the East Division, are Eastern Illinois and Ohio.
Loeffler said he loves the tough schedule. So do his players.
“No doubt, and good. That’s the way we want it,” BGSU senior wide receiver Austin Osborne said. “I feel like there’s been a lot of talk at Bowling Green we got lucky last year. We were not supposed to win six games, we were not supposed to go to a bowl game.
“But coach Loeffler’s hyped on, we have a tough first [seven] games, but good. That’s what we want, and we’re going to take it one game at a time, not get too ahead of ourselves, be present. We’re going to shock a lot of people this year.”
After finishing 6-7 a year ago and falling to New Mexico State in the Quick Lane Bowl, BGSU has big goals as the Falcons try to build off their best season since 2015.
“As we’ve seen, a lot of people have been calling us underdogs, so that motivates all of us as a team to go and strive to be successful,” BGSU junior running back Jaison Patterson said.
During Wednesday’s practice, the defensive front seven put significant pressure on the BGSU quarterbacks.
Even without Karl Brooks — one of the best defensive linemen to go through BGSU before becoming a sixth-round NFL draft pick by the Green Bay Packers earlier this year — the Falcons are expecting big things again from the defensive line.
“The defense is definitely still a strength of the team,” BGSU senior defensive lineman Anthony Hawkins said. “Guys like Karl, of course, are hard to replace. But we’ve got a lot of guys returning, a lot of guys who played a lot of good football last year, so I think we’re in good hands.”
Osborne, who is part of a talented group of wideouts along with Odieu Hiliare and Abdul-Fatai Ibrahim, is expecting the offense to excel.
“Coach [Loeffler] is dialing up a lot of new stuff, we’ve got a lot of new, young receivers on the team too, which is going to add some depth, which is much needed,” Osborne said. “But it’s good. It’s good to get out here with the guys.
“Everyone’s healthy, everyone’s feeling good. Coach Loeffler hyped on juice and energy every single day, come out there with a positive attitude, wanting to execute in all three phases of the game. It’s going to be a really, really fun season and I’m looking forward to it.”

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