It wasn’t like getting called to the principal’s office when you were in sixth grade, but Clay Rolf knew something was up.
As far as he was concerned, walking into a personal meeting with Bowling Green State University head football coach Dave Clawson, offensive line coach Bill Durkin, tight ends coach Adam Scheier and offensive coordinator Warren Roggiero was a good thing.
“Periodically we go in just to talk to make sure everything is going good, like summer classes and to make sure life is good,” said Rolf, an Eastwood graduate. “When I saw coach Durkin come in the room, I knew what was going on. I had a little smile on my face.”
Rolf, a redshirt junior who has played tight end for the Falcons the past two seasons, knew he was about to be asked to make a position change on BGSU’s offensive line.
“The coaches called me into their office in early June and explained that they would like me to play tackle,” Rolf said. “I figured it would be coming one of these days. I was one of our bigger tight ends. Our tight ends are awesome, a great group, and I wanted to help the team out in any way possible. They thought moving me to tackle would make a great fit, and I agree with them. I just want to work hard and win. Whatever they want me to do to get us to win, I’m willing.”
The 6-foot-6, 285-pound Rolf – he weighed about 240 in high school – said he loved playing tight end. At the same time, the Falcons were using him as mostly a blocker anyway, so the move to tackle is no big deal. He hasn’t played the position since his junior year at Eastwood for coach Jerry Rutherford.
Rolf played in eight games for the Falcons at tight end and caught one pass, a 23-yarder two years ago against Morgan State.
“I knew my role,” Rolf said. “I was one of the bigger tight ends and I was in there to block. Maybe you go out on a (pass) route a few times, but my role was to block.”
BG returns third-team All-Mid-American Conference tight end Alex Bayer this season. Bayer, a redshirt senior, has 78 career catches, more than any other Falcons receiver.
“Tight end is the same as playing tackle,” Rolf said, “but you get to catch the ball once in a while. I love playing tight and I liked playing for coach Scheier, but I like this move and I’m just going to keep working my butt off. The biggest (adjustment) for me will be pass protection, but the similarities between tight end and tackle are very similar.”
Rolf was listed at 278 pounds last season, but he’s still gaining muscle mass with a steady diet of weight lifting, protein shakes, hamburgers and steak and potatoes.
“I do enjoy a good salad,” he said, adding that he’s being asked to continue to work on his footwork and foot speed.
“I’m trying to be agile,” Rolf said. “The coaches didn’t say I had to put on too much weight. I just have to keep working and keep my feet getting faster and keep getting stronger.”
Rolf is keeping busy this summer. In addition to lifting with the team every morning, he took a summer class and he helps out at his grandfather’s plumbing business 3-5 days a week.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Rolf said. “I don’t mind working.”
He added that the Falcons, who graduated two starting offensive linemen and a few defensive starters, “should be good” this season. BG finished 8-5 last year, with losses at heavyweights Florida and Virginia Tech, and ended the season with a loss to San Jose State in the Military Bowl in Washington, D.C.
“We have a lot of guys coming back,” said Rolf, who is majoring in middle childhood education. “We’ve been working really hard this summer. We’re ready to go.”