LB Teddy Piepkow

2004 Statistics

Coach: Gregg Brandon
20-6, 2 years
2004 Record: 9-3
at Oklahoma LOST 24-40
at Northern Illinois LOST 17-34
at Temple WON 70-16
at Central Michigan WON 38-14
at Ohio WON 41-16
at Toledo LOST 41-49
vs. Memphis WON 52-35

2004 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2005 Outlook

Once a perennial power, BG has re-blossomed under Gregg Brandon as a premier mid-major. Urban Meyer helped put this in motion, yet the Falcons still haven't won a MAC title since 1992, though they've won both subsequent bowl games (only the second time in school history they've accomplished such). Before they can start talking about being a possible BCS buster, they'll have to handle the competition in their own conference.

The table is set for the drought to end. Marshall, which won the title five of the last eight years, jumped to Conference USA. BG switches to the East Division after years of struggling behind Toledo and Marshall in the West. The Falcons still have to outpace a senior-laden Miami team (the game's at Oxford) in the East, but the door is wide open for a big year otherwise.

As for the BCS, road games at Wisconsin and on the blue turf at Boise State to start out the season will garner national media and open up some (AP/USA Today voters') eyes. The Badgers will be breaking in virtually new defensive line and secondary groups, which will lead to huge numbers for Jacobs and the offense. However, the Broncos will pose the Falcon's biggest threat (9/17/05, mark it down now, a real Game of the Year candidate). Realistically, a MAC title and a third straight bowl win, along with a hotshot QB getting national attention, will be enough to strengthen the image of a program already on the rise. Moreover, an undefeated run isn't out of the question, so if they are unscathed come October, watch the hype fly their/this way. Jacobs is a Heisman finalist, either way.

Brandon has done a terrific job building on what Meyer began. Now, for the first time in his three seasons, the Falcons are a conference favorite. That may mean, as it did for Meyer, his exit, but bet he sticks and stays with these kids he has brought in to build even more here. It is a great time to get off of the I-75 at exit 181…Hey, College Gameday, here how easy that is to find?

Projected 2005 record: 9-2
OL Rob Warren
QB - 5 DL - 3.5
RB - 4 LB - 3
WR - 3 DB - 3
OL - 3 ..

Passing: Omar Jacobs, 462-309-4, 4002 yds., 41 TD

Rushing: P.J. Pope, 178 att., 1098 yds., 15 TD

Receiving: Charles Sharon, 66 rec., 1070 yds., 15 TD

Scoring: P.J. Pope, 21 TD, 126 pts.

Punting: Nate Fry, 40 punts, 38.2 avg.

Kicking: Josef Timchenko, 1-1 FG, 3 pts.

Tackles: Ted Piepkow, 81 tot., 21 solo

Sacks: Devon Parks, 4 sacks

Interceptions: Ted Piepkow, 2 for 64 yds.; Jelani Jordan, 2 for 42 yds.

Kickoff returns: B.J. Lane, 20 ret., 23.1 avg., 1 TD

Punt returns: Charles Sharon, 24 ret., 11.8 avg., 1 TD


OFFENSE: Cole Magner-WR, James Hawkins-WR, Cornelius McGrady-WR, Todd DiBacco-TE, Scott Mruczkowski-C, Andy Grubb-OG, Andrew Hart-OT, Shaun Suisham-K
DEFENSE: Daniel Sayles-SLB, Jovon Burkes-MLB, Keon Newson-SS, T.J. Carswell-FS, Mitchell Crossley-DE (NFL), Matt Leininger-DT (dismissed)

Omar Jacobs is now the next great MAC QB. With the help of a great group of receivers, the strong-armed 6-4 redshirt junior threw 41 TDs against just four picks, and was fourth in the nation (167.2 passer rating) while also running for 6.2 per carry (if you subtract his sack numbers). Though his stats could slide a bit (two of Jacobs' top targets and some starting linemen left), his ability to lead the team won't. The elusiveness and uncanny field smarts Jacobs inherently displays will help him overcome those losses en route to another outstanding season when measured via BG's win total. Backup Jason Washington transferred to Montana (I-AA), so junior Van Johnson will likely first get the nod if Jacobs is out. Johnson has speed and an arm, but would represent a huge step back if inserted over a multiple-game sequence. Anthony Turner is another prototypical run-pass QB with 4.6-40 speed and size, but lacks any real-game reps, so look for who falls in the backup role by August.

Running Back
For the third straight season, the Falcons will have one of the best one-two combos in the MAC with P.J. Pope and B.J. Lane. Pope, who has two straight 1,000-yard seasons, is quick enough to avoid tacklers but this "bowling ball" often prefers to knock them over instead. He usually wins those head-to-heads battles, as is indicated by the 6.2 yards per carry he averaged last fall. Lane is quicker and has power when he chooses to use it. Jacobs' running ability means foes cannot predict and therefore stop this attack (4.7 per try as a team was 23rd-best). Pope (50 catches, six TDs) and Lane are also sure-handed threats who kill on short routes with the vertical game forcing LBs/safeties to stay deep. Junior backups Raishaun Stover and Dan Macon have ability but see few reps behind Pope and Lane. There's no real fullback used in this system or listed on their roster.

The Falcons typically use three- and four-wideout sets to spread defenses all over the place, which opens things up for their lethal running attack. This group is big, quick and deep, even with the losses. Charles Sharon, an athletic playmaker who was fourth in the conference in receiving yards and third in TDs, will move into the go-to role. Steve Sanders' big-play ability (eight TDs) is evidenced by his team-high 17.6 yards per catch. Fast backups Brandon Jones (4.7-40 speed) and Derrick Lett (4.4) are sure to become more of a factor, and newbie Rhett Magner could easily replace his brother's ability, but not his huge production until next year. Jacobs is too good not to have each reach his potential, so expect more huge stat lines for all.

Tight End
With one starter graduated and another (Steve Navarro) lost (stroke), redshirt sophomore John O'Drobinak will take over this role. The 6-4, 245-pounder will most likely be used an added blocker as this position has accounted for just 17 catches the past two seasons. Considered more like a FB, blocking mobility is the key asset for TEs at BG. In that case, converted-LB and former-QB Pete Winovich will do fine, and he has hands, too.

Offensive Line
This unit has some work to do if BG is to approach last year's offensive efficiency (ranked second in the nation for total offense and fourth in scoring). Two starters return in LT Rob Warren and LG Kory Lichtensteiger, giving Jacobs great blindside protection. Warren, an all-MAC pick, has become one of the conference's best pass-blocking tackles after moving from guard. Lichtensteiger is a second-team all-MAC selection whose emergence as a redshirt freshman allowed Warren to move outside. Jonathan Culp, a former tackle, will be a big, mobile center for this line. There are plenty of youngsters such as Drew Nystrom, Edmond Massey and Kevin Huelsman to fill in on the right, so it will take a few games to solidify that side. Fortunately, Jacobs has the wheels to get out of trouble. The fact that the line allowed a MAC-low 13 sacks is as much a credit to Jacobs as the blocking.

This system is sound enough to overcome personnel changes, a fact that offensive coordinator Greg Studrawa proved when Jacobs took over for star Josh Harris with optimal results. So don't expect much drop-off, if any. With a year as starter to grow on, Jacobs will be even better, and his skills as a leader are the team's most crucial need from Omar. A weekly bulls-eye on #4 means foes will make other factors beat them, and that's where Jacobs' ability to draw defenders as a decoy and then get the ball to whomever can score will be tested. And that all depends on how quickly the line is able to regroup. No one could stop his/their aerial attack in the red-zone (most TD passes in all I-A with 41), and Omar's feet shall make this so again, shooting his Heisman stock sky high by early November. Look for many more developments in the passing schemes with Omar past his first-year gitters (if there were any). Jacobs and his backs will still accomplish, but a poor line will diminish continuity here and therefore any hopes of winning the MAC East. There's so much balance here, though, that most MAC defenses will be beaten and their offenses will then have to focus on trying to outgun the Falcons.


QB Omar Jacobs


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Omar Jacobs-Jr (6-4, 224) Anthony Turner-Fr (6-2, 218)
TB P.J. Pope-Sr (5-9, 216) B.J. Lane-Sr (5-10, 191)
WR Derrick Lett-Sr (6-0, 181) Kenneth Brantley-Jr (5-11, 196)
WR Charles Sharon-Sr (6-1, 178) Luke Alexander-Fr (6-0, 170)
Brandon Jones-Jr (6-0, 167)
E Steve Sanders-Sr (6-3, 201) Marques Parks-Fr (5-11, 180)
TE Sean O'Drobinak-So (6-4, 249) Ruben Ruiz-Jr (6-4, 245)
OT Rob Warren-Sr (6-6, 296) Kevin Huelsman-So (6-5, 284)
OG Kory Lichtensteiger-So (6-3, 300) Edmond Massey-So (6-3, 289)
C John Lanning-Jr (6-4, 294) Jonathan Culp-Sr (6-6, 288)
OG Derrick Markray-Jr (6-5, 341) Patrick Watson-So (6-5, 293)
OT Drew Nystrom-So (6-5, 304) Jeffrey Fink-Fr (6-5, 278)
K Josef Timchenko-Sr (6-4, 221) ..



Defensive Line
This team should have another solid front with almost the entire two-deep from the GMAC Bowl returning. DEs Mitchell Crossley and Devon Parks, a pair of athletic pass rushers who are just as tough against the run, will only struggle against Wisconsin, but the early character-building will toughen the resolve here and then pay huge dividends. NT Mike Thaler anchors the middle with his low center of gravity and strong plugging technique. Redshirt junior Brad Williams is built more like an end, but uses his quickness to make plays and occupy two OL-hats at DT, as does senior Monty Cooley. And though both are undersized for the middle, they will rotate and stay fresh so potential here WILL be reached. This isn't the most powerful group in the MAC, but such experience will improve BG's pass rush (from 23 sacks) to help a young secondary. The new LBs will need this unit to be as solid as it can, and look for them to step up accordingly.

While never spectacular, the LBs have been small, fast and dependable the past few seasons, and that should continue even with the loss of two starters. Weakside backer Ted Piepkow, the team's No. 2 tackler last fall, is toughest in pass protection. If Piepkow doesn't move, Jamien Johnson, an athletic special teams performer, will crack the starting lineup in the middle, while quickster (fifth-year senior) Lavelle Sharpe will take over the strong-side spot. Inexperience in the unit is of concern, but not as much as size. Brighton (Mich.) recruit Nick Lawrence represents the same small, quick, tenacious LBs awaiting reps, so the future is still about scurrying and swarming to foes, not physically intimidating them.

Defensive Back
This unit, which replaces both safeties, joins the O-line as areas/units of concern. This is a team that ranked in the bottom third for aerial yardage allowed (104th), but stiffened to a top third ranking for that all-important efficiency rating (36th). Ergo, pass defense here reflects a basic approach - bend, don't break, and do it by keeping the play in front of you. Jelani Jordan is a ball-hawk (6th in I-A for passes defended) and a strong open-field tackler. Their top-cover corner's counterpart, Terrill Mayberry (4.5 speed), is one of the team's fastest and will be better after starting assignments challenged the now-senior. Jordan and Mayberry are not huge, so larger WRs will be able to their size against either. Fifth-year senior Mike Crumpler brings strong tackling ability (more than in his ability in coverage) to the strong safety spot, while redshirt sophs Deaudre Perry and Loren Hargrove are quick, athletic, but inexperienced free safeties. While this group will struggle with so many back-ups being (real-game) tested, they will gel through midseason and again be marginally worthy by the end.

With re-tooling LB and DB groups, that solid front four will be more of a force. And because they don't have any real stars (well, Jordan), this side of the ball can therefore function in the truest, most impacting form - as a team. There's enough ability here to maintain being the 43rd-rated in points allowed, yet still improve on being 69th for total effort. As stated above in the secondary unit, giving up yards isn't as important as giving up points, so this approach works with such a good offense. And if the offense can keep them off the field more (-0:16 TOP differential), then those breaking into the two-deep can have those extra few, precious moments of tutelage and coaching that will make everything then (with fresher legs) work. This is a small group that will find it tough going against Wisconsin, but should compete well with Boise, Miami (OH) and Toledo. Measure this D by how much it improves on allowing foes to convert 40% of their third-down attempts.


WR Charles Sharon


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Brad Williams-Jr (6-3, 259) Brandon Mack-So (6-3, 245)
NG Mike Thaler-Sr (6-1, 281) Brandon Curtis-Fr (6-2, 280)
DT Monte Cooley-Sr (6-2, 276) Thomas Smith-Jr (6-0, 269)
DE Devon Parks-Jr (6-3, 239) Joe Schaefer-Fr (6-4, 250)
SLB Terrel White-Jr (5-10, 232) Lavelle Sharpe-Sr (5-11, 220)
MLB Jamien Johnson-Sr (6-1, 232) Aaron Burkart-Sr (6-1, 216)
WLB Teddy Piepkow-Sr (6-0, 228) Jon Jakubowski-Jr (6-1, 217)
CB Jelani Jordan-Sr (5-10, 177) John Nicholson-Sr (5-9, 190)
CB Terrill Mayberry-Sr (5-11, 169) Van Johnson-Jr (6-1, 197)
SS Mike Crumpler-Sr (5-11, 191) Nate Waldron-Fr (5-11, 195)
FS Tim Arnold-Sr (5-9, 200) Erique Dozier-Fr (6-1, 195)
P Nate Fry-Sr (5-10, 211) ..




Josef Timchenko, a JUCO-transfer, will add consistency. He's off to a good start, having booted a 40-yard field goal in his only try. Timchenko showed he had a big, accurate leg in 2001 and '02 also as a punter, so his presence will help confidence there, too.

This position can be a liability, especially if the defense struggles. About a third of Nate Fry's kicks landed inside the 20, but no punts were fair catches. The coverage team will improve with so many hungry for starting roles. And though the Falcons don't punt very often, this unit has the talent to tighten so BG can win those (few) close ones.

Return Game
Sharon (punts) and Lane (kicks) both make opponents pay attention - each had a return TD. Expect more of the same here, as even more yardage is achieved with the eager underclassman pushing the envelopes of blocking, too.