How BGSU QB Matt Johnson Can Be Even Better in 2014
When he came in for senior quarterback Matt Schilz, nobody knew who the bald redshirt sophomore was but after watching him lead the Falcons to a win against Tulsa in the opener, he made his talents clear.
Fans saw his ability to leave the pocket if needed and his quick release but nobody expected the year he had. He threw for 3,467 yards, 25 touchdowns and seven interceptions to lead them to the MAC Championship.
The only thing about having such a good year like he had in 2013 is that fans will continue to demand more production. The hype around Johnson is not only growing in Bowling Green, but nationally and people want to see if 2013 was a fluke.
It is hard to ask Johnson to do much more than what he did last year but he will need to now as new coach Dino Babers is bringing in a faster more uptempo offense. There are some things Johnson will need to improve on.
In 2013, he was not asked to go out and win a game for the Falcons; in the four games the Falcons lost last year he was asked to throw the ball 26, 32, 34 and 44 times. In those losses his average quarterback efficiency rating was 125.2. In the nine wins, he averaged 24.3 attempts per game and his efficiency rating was 204.8. That is a product of the system he was in at the time but with the pace of the new offense he will be throwing the ball more by default. Not saying he will need to take the game over and throw 35 times for four touchdowns, but he will be throwing more and will need to make good decisions with those passes.
Johnson will also need to find new tight ends to get the ball to, as both starters from last year (Alex Bayer and Tyler Beck) have graduated. Although he has plenty of other weapons like Chris Gallon, Ryan Burbrink, Gehrig Dieter, Ronnie Moore, Heath Jackson, Travis Greene and Fred Coppet, he will need to find a reliable source to throw to.
You can't explain how much a good tight end helps a quarterback as it gives a big target on the field to throw to. He will eventually run into a good secondary and he will need to depend on these guys to get open and stretch the field.
Bowling Green has the speed and power in the backfield to keep the defense honest but, its strength right now lies within Johnson's throwing arm. Can he embrace this chance and take a step forward or will he stay content with where he was last year?