Coach 9/27

Defensive lineman Karl Brooks jumps in celebration alongside defensive coach Tyler Henderson.

After an unpredictable offseason, Brooks gets to play out his junior year in the fall. Last season, Brooks led the team with 4.5 sacks and started in all 12 games. He also tallied 8.5 tackles for loss along with one interception.

When the news came out that a season would be played in the fall, the whole team was happy. 

Brooks, while happy, had expected it.

“It wasn’t a shock, we were still working on training. It was also exciting and rewarding too as well because all the guys wanted a season and wanted to be able to play this year. It was an exciting moment to know we’re going to have a season,” Brooks said.

To catch up with the other conferences, the MAC decided on a six-game schedule of only conference opponents. While it is not a full 12-game season, it is still a season that can be feasible.

Brooks preferred this decision over the initial alternative.

“I’m happy they didn’t wait till next year. They gave us a six game opportunity to get better and bond with your teammates. I feel like it’s a wonderful fit for dealing with COVID right now,” Brooks said.

The Falcons couldn’t meet in person during the shutdown and resorted to Zoom meetings. Once those restrictions were lifted, the team was able to get back together for workouts. COVID affected how the offseason was conducted.

The main difference this offseason for Brooks compared to those in the past is that this offseason has been more intense for the team.

“In meetings we are locked in, we’re knowing our responsibility. The training went up increasingly, in a good way of course,” Brooks said.

Another difference this offseason is that Brooks does not need to learn a new defensive scheme. Defensive Coordinator Brian VanGorder is entering his second year at Bowling Green. This has helped Brooks be more comfortable and confident in the defense this upcoming season.

“Since I’ve been here I haven’t had a defensive coordinator for two years. Being able to have (VanGorder) again this year and already know his playbook, I already learned it over and over. Him going back over it just clicks for me so well. It’s great to be back in this system and it’s easier to learn now,” Brooks said.

Brooks is focused on what he needs to do this upcoming season in order for the team to be successful.

“Be the best teammate I can be, do the best I can on the field. Try to be vocal, try to be a leader. Try to be the best person I can be on and off the field. Try to lead my team to wins week after week, step by step,” Brooks said.

Brooks’ mindset is what the coaches have been preaching to their players.

“Keep our head down, keep working hard. Take it day by day. Be the best version of yourself. That’s all he really tells us,” Brooks said.

With his mindset, Brooks is looking to improve from his solid performance last season. He wants to see not only personal growth, but see growth as a team.

“Team goals, we want to have a winning record. We want to win, week by week. Take it one game at a time. Hopefully get to the MAC championship and play down in Detroit. Personal goals, I want to be the best player I can be. I want to be an All-MAC player, I want to be able to have the most sacks in BG history. That’s just goals of mine that I want to accomplish,” Brooks said.

The first step in accomplishing those goals is to beat Toledo in the season opener. Brooks and the team are ready to take on their rivals.

“That game is personal. When you get Toledo first on your schedule, intensity goes higher in practice. The focus is higher. That game means more to a lot of people,” Brooks said.

Brooks is looking to help this Falcon team improve from their 3-9 record from a season ago.

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