Aug. 29, 2011
No laughing matter
By: David Boyce
A few things that never reveal themselves on Saturday afternoons make Northwest Missouri State senior defensive tackle Josh Lorenson a natural leader.
Since Lorenson and senior linebacker Chad Kilgore are the only returning starters back from a stellar defensive unit, it's obvious the coaches will lean on them and the younger players will look up to them.
"We lost a lot," Northwest coach Adam Dorrel said. "The thing I appreciate about Josh is he has a great sense of humor. He is just hilarious. You need a guy like that in practice and the locker room to lighten the mood and the anxiety. He is funny."
Lorenson downplays his ability to make others laugh, saying the Bearcats have several players who know how to lighten the mood.
Still, when Dorrel thinks about a few of Lorenson's antics, he laughs openly before saying a word.
Lorenson exudes a happiness off the field that belies his intensity on it. He speaks with a smile on his face when talking about the Bearcats.
"Football is not as hard if you are having fun," he said. "If you are cracking jokes you might not realize how hard you are working and how tired you are. When I'm bored I start cracking jokes to get everybody going."
Opposing offensive linemen aren't laughing at Lorenson. Last year Lorenson ranked second in sacks at Northwest with 5.5 and was fourth on the team in tackles with 78.
Lorenson have been in the trenches and won many battles. That is going to get the respect of the younger defensive players coming in to replace the likes of Kyle Sunderman, Shayne Shade and Roberto Davis.
Lorenson, though, probably gained more admiration the first week or practice than any numbers the younger players could look up.
Near the end of one practice, Dorrel had the freshmen run extra for punishment. Lorenson joined the group. He even hurt his hamstring in the process.
"I think our kids respect him a lot because he's easy to talk with and fun, but also because he's a good player and he does it the right way," Dorrel said. "He studies film and works hard."
In Lorenson's mind, the path to success is simple.
"Whether it's me or Chad who played last year or the new guys, we just need to be coachable," he said.
A nearly complete turnover in one unit is nothing new for Northwest. Every other season it seems the offense or the defense brings in nearly all new starters.
The changes do not matter. The Bearcats keep winning.
"It goes back to coaching," Lorenson said. "If there is anything that is a good testament to our coaching it is that.
"I remember my first year playing we graduated everybody and it was going to be a down year for the defense. We rode that. The next year we graduated everybody on offense and we won a national championship with a brand new offense.
"If there is anything Northwest is good at it is reloading because they recruit well and coach us well. They get us ready to go."
The other huge difference this year in the defense is no Scott Bostwick presiding over it. Bostwick was the defensive coordinator the last 17 years.
His influence was still going to be intact this season when he took over as head coach in late December. Bostwick, though, tragically died of a heart attack in early June.
Dorrel said Bostwick's stamp will remain with the defense. Defensive coordinator Rich Wright worked closely with Bostwick since 2004.
"Him and Rich are a lot alike," Dorrel said. "They believe in stopping the run. That's the most important thing. The second thing is to be physical."
It all comes down to listening to the coaches and following their instructions, Lorenson said.
"We have a great set of defensive coaches," he said. "Coach Wright has been with Coach Bostwick so he knows what he's doing. As long as we can follow directions, we will be just fine.
"Maybe there are some subtle differences in coaching styles. Coach Dorrel is integrating his personality into a winning program. If it is not broken, don't fix it, but you can tweak it a little bit."
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