Mike Jinks is out after going 7-24 in three years with Bowling Green. Now stepping into his shoes is Scot Loeffler, former QB coach for Tom Brady and Tim Tebow. Loeffler has been working as an OC for the past eight years, most recently at Boston College. While besting Jinks’ effort may not be too difficult, in the four years previous to Jinks’ arrival, the Falcons had averaged nine wins a year over the past four seasons, and Bowling Green faithful expect to be back there, maybe not this year, but soon.
Loeffler brought in Brian VanGorder (ugh) and a former Bowling Green OC Terry Malone who will find himself back in Ohio after bouncing around for 20 years, two experienced but largely uninspiring hires.
Loeffler has said he wants to go against the grain of the speed-oriented style we’ve come to expect from the MAC and focus on size and power, not a bad lane to try and carve out, we’ll just have to see if the personnel is there to smooth that transition.
This offense will be in a bad way in 2018 as Loeffler will try and revamp the entire scheme to a much more run-heavy approach, and he’ll do it without junior QB Jarret Doege to steady the ship after Doege unexpectedly transferred late in the process. The leading contender to replace Doege is his #2 from last year, Grant Loy, a dual-threat option with some speed that got a lot of playing time last season in wildcat formations. Incoming Boston College transfer Matt McDonald should push him as McDonald has some experience under Loeffler’s system.
This team loses a great option at wide out in Scott Miller, but they return three guys that brought in over 175 yards receiving last season and adds a really intriguing transfer in Isaiah Johnson-Mack, formerly of Washington State as well as an Indiana transfer at tight end, Austin Dorris.
There are a couple of big backs returning in Andrew Clair and Rico Frye who could fit in nicely with Loeffler’s scheme, and the line returns four starters, so the run game should be solid at least.
A change in scheme will always be tough, and losing a QB late in the process will make it even tougher. Expect the offense to take a step back.
Almost nobody is back from a defense that wasn’t good to begin with, and the Falcons opted with Brian VanGorder of all people to try and solve the mess on the defensive side of the ball.
David Konowalski is a name to keep an eye on after he missed all of last year due to injury. He should be able to anchor the d-line along with DE Karl Brooks who had 3.5 sacks as a trur freshman. Roland Walder, Kyle Junior, and DeMontae Haigler are all solid hands and the d-line is far from their biggest concern.
The rest of the defense is a bit of a mystery. LB Brandon Harris is gone but MLB Kholbe Coleman should hold things steady there. The secondary is where we run into some issues. Jerry McBride III is an experienced guy at FS but far from a star, and there is a huge question mark as to who starts at cornerback.
This defense was atrocious last year, and they lose a ton, but the injuries they dealt with means the guys coming in have at least some experience, and there is enough talent in the front seven to say they progress to the mean after a really bad year in 2018 (although they won’t be good by any means)
The Falcons will come into the season 9+ point underdogs in seven games, and a bowl season seems like a pipe dream.
The model calls for four wins on average and even that might be pushing it, there is no way to account for the fact that Doege bailed on BGSU late in the process.
As a former QBs coach, I have confidence that Loeffler can find a serviceable guy there, and there is at the very least size in the run game and on the line that fit his scheme. Pair that with the talent in the front seven, and I think improving on last year’s 3-9 mark should be well within reach. This team is better than initial indicators show.
|Date||Opponent||OPP. RANK||Proj. Margin|
|7-Sep||at Kansas State||54||-17.4|
|21-SEP||at KENT STATE||111||-5.6|
|5-OCT||AT NOTRE DAME||10||-28.6|
|26-OCT||AT WESTERN MICHIGAN||86||-12.8|
|13-NOV||at MIAMi (OH)||99||-10.7|
Average Projected Record: 4.2 wins, 7.9 losses (2.7 wins, 5.3 losses)