March 29, 2012
Spring practice stays competitive
By David Boyce
As much as Northwest Missouri State head coach Adam Dorrel loves offense, he is finding joy hanging with the defensive unit this spring.
“One thing I’m really trying to focus on this spring is get more involved and learn more about our defensive kids,” Dorrel said. “That has really been enjoyable. Watching our defensive staff and learn from them. In the fall, I interacted with our offensive kids.
“I’ve enjoyed the heck out of running around with the linebackers. It has really been fun for me.”
A year ago, Dorrel was the offensive coordinator for new head football coach Scott Bostwick. And before that, Dorrel was the offensive coordinator for Mel Tjeerdsma and the offensive line coach.
Clearly, Dorrel knows offense. As the head coach, it is important to know all aspects of both units.
Spring football, though, is most important for the players as they set the tone for the fall.
“I think the big thing is you are trying to get better,” Dorrel said. “That is the easy one. After that, there are a couple of spots on each side of the football, which are technically open. For example, our right guard position is open.
“You really enjoy that part of spring ball because it is really competitive. Players are battling it out for a starting spot.”
The players in position to make the biggest impact on the depth charts are the freshmen who spent last fall as redshirts.
On the field, the main job for a redshirt freshman is to play on the scout team and mimic the upcoming opponents of the Bearcats. They are also learning terminology and acclimating to college life on and off the field.
With a semester and a half under their belts, they can now start to focus on seeing playing time in the fall.
“They look pretty good,” Dorrel said. “There are some kids in that class who are doing some good things. I think after 15 practices a couple of kids will make it in the two-deep and a couple of those kids might start.”
The position that always garners the most attention no matter what level is quarterback. Northwest appears set in the position.
Because of an injury last year to starter Blake Christopher, sophomore Trevor Adams saw plenty of action throughout the season and into the playoffs. He passed for 2,202 yards and 21 touchdowns.
“He’s looking really good,” Dorrel said. “He is throwing the ball well and showing leadership. He is experienced. He has been through the playoffs and big games. We are really looking to build off him and what he did for our team.”
Dorrel is trying to figure out who will back him up. Currently, Tyler Seals and Brady Bolles are battling for the spot.
The key to any football team, Dorrel said, is quarterback and strong offensive and defensive lines.
“I think it is huge,” he said. “Every year we talk about is if you are good at quarterback and good at the O-Line and D-Line, I think you got a chance every year. In this league, you got to be good at quarterback and O-Line and D-Line to be successful.”
Sometimes it is hard to understand how college football practice in late March and early April benefits a team that will not play its next game until late August.
Obviously, these workouts are vital.
“I think it is huge,” Dorrel said. “If you do it right, you can improve your football team a lot, not just a physical standpoint, but from a mental standpoint. You can develop mental toughness. We did that in winter conditioning. Fostering some leadership and talk about things we need to do to improve our football team.
“I’m just big on you come and go with your senior class. I feel good about that with ours.”
The culmination of spring practice is the scrimmage on April 14. Kickoff is at 5 p.m.
Dorrel wants to build on what Bostwick started last year and try to create as much of a game atmosphere as possible and also try to bring back as many former players as possible.
Some of the former players started the Gridiron Club and they will have a golf tournament that morning.
“These guys are going to have a Red Hat Classic in honor of Scott Bostwick,” Dorrel said. “It’s a fundraiser for our program.”
Dorrel wants to make April 14 a fun day for everybody involved in Bearcat athletics.
“They are going to set up a tailgate like game day,” Dorrel said. “Softball is at home that day. We are going to try to get people to go over there for those games.
“And then we are going to kick off at 5 p.m. I want it to be a fun game-day atmosphere. I want it to be fun for the fans and as game like for the players as possible.
“We are going to have MIAA officials there. You put a few butts in the seats and it just changes things.”
The Bearcats certainly like playing for their fans. All the wins and championship titles prove it.
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