Ahead of Tennessee’s first matchup of the Josh Heupel era, The Daily Beacon talked to the Sports Director of Falcon Media at Bowling Green State University, Brandon Loe.
Here’s how Loe summarized the Vols’ week one opponent.
Question: It’s fair to say both teams are in a rebuilding state at the moment. What would you say is a reasonable goal for Bowling Green this year?
Answer: “If you want to look at the season and say ‘hey they have to get four wins,’ that’s a reasonable goal. Four wins isn’t acceptable to any decent school, but I think this is a really high pressure year and teams fight differently with their backs against the wall. He’s (head coach Scott Loeffler) got a lot of his players in now, so it’s going to be really interesting.”
Q: What does the Falcons’ quarterback situation look like?
A: “They got a couple of guys, but it’s going to be the same quarterback they had last year — Matt McDonald. He’s going to start. I know through their camp he’s taken most of the reps which is what they expected coming back this year, but when you look at McDonald compared to the teams they played, he was inefficient. His completion was 44% which isn’t terrible, but the quarterback play has to improve a lot. I know he’s worked a lot over the offseason, so it’s going to be interesting to see what he brings to the table once he sees live competition outside of the guys he sees every day in practice.”
Q: Who is Bowling Green’s impact player this year following the departure of Quintin Morris?
A: “I think McDonald is going to have to be the impact player if Bowling Green is going to have any sort of success. He was inefficient compared to opposing quarterbacks last season, and it wasn’t really close. They had Quintin Morris last year at tight end, and they still only threw for one passing touchdown. He’s going to be the center of that.”
Q: What position group can pose the biggest threat to the Vols?
A: “I think if you look on the defensive side, Bowling Green only had one all-MAC (Mid-American Conference) preseason selection and that was Karl Brooks. He’s going to be really important. There’s a lot of pressure on him, a lot of eyes to see what he can do with that position group, whether or not they’re going to be able to force pressure. Tennessee is one of the better teams that they are going to face. If they can create some pressure and get in the backfield that’s definitely something that a lot of people here are going to be watching for.”
Q: Bowling Green is young this year. How will that translate to the playing field?
A: “These are Loeffler’s recruits, as I talked about earlier. You have a coach who has his guys in the system now, and there’s a couple of guys that I’m excited to see, one of them being Tae’ Shaun Johnson. He’s a true freshman receiver out of Central Catholic in Toledo which is just north of here. I got to see him play a lot in high school, and he’s a really explosive player. I think he’s one of the players with the potential to shine this season if used the right way, but I think he’s also got the potential to be a big threat for the Falcons.”