Sept. 4, 2013
Bearcats Focused on Season Opening OpponentBy David Boyce
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Northwest Missouri State coach Adam Dorrel knows most of his football players are fans of the game. When they are not playing, they are usually watching film of the opponent.
And when they are not dissecting an upcoming opponent, like the Saginaw Valley State Cardinals, who Northwest will open against 6:30 p.m. Thursday night at Bearcat Stadium, they are watching college football games on television.
So Dorrel knew he would see plenty of hands raised when he asked the Bearcats if they watched any of the Division I games over the Labor Day weekend.
When Dorrel got the expected response, he knew he had a teachable moment.
“Did you see so-and-so and wasn’t that a bonehead move,” Dorrel asked his players of certain games. “As a football family, it gave us some talking points we can learn from.”
The most highly rated teams in Division I are prone to making some silly mistakes in the first game of the season.
It is why Dorrel is serious when he says he wants to see his team line up properly in the first quarter.
“I know that sounds so basic,” he said. “I have been talking to them all week about how many games did you watch this week in college football where somebody didn’t line up right or had a stupid penalty and it really cost their teams.”
The Bearcats can’t afford to make dumb mistakes and expect to win their season-opener against Saginaw Valley. The Cardinals return 18 starters, including their entire offensive line.
In addition, Dorrel said, Sagninaw has a very talented quarterback in Jonathan Jennings.
The Cardinals have a tradition of reaching postseason play, most recently in 2011 and 2009.
“They are great on offense,” Dorrel said. “Defensively, they lost two kids who both went to a NFL camp, so the two kids they lost are good.
“They are a quality, well-coached, hard-nosed football team. When it is all said and done, they could quite possibly be the best team we play all year.”
Northwest, though, is no ordinary football team. The Bearcats aspire to be MIAA champions and national champions. That means Dorrel expects his players to do much more than line up properly the entire game and execute their schemes in all phases.
“In the second, third and fourth quarter, we are going to really try to rev it up a little bit after we get into the flow of the game,” he said.
“After that, I want to see good ball security. That is something we really placed an emphasis on. I want to see good tackling. We tackled live a lot this year. We got out injury free. It is one of those things that is risk/reward, but I am hoping that will help us Thursday night.”
On offense, senior quarterback Trevor Adams will lead the way. Dorrel likes what he has seen from Adams so far in practice.
“He looks more confident,” Dorrel said. “He is doing a good job of helping our new receivers out. He is patient with them. They are going to make mistakes because they are new.
“I feel like right now he has continuity with Clint Utter and Ruben Thomas and Jason Jozaites. I feel like they are on the same page. It is always important going into the first game.”
Because they are facing such a tough opponent in the opener, the Bearcats have been focused on Saginaw Valley since spring football.
“Our summer weights went well because our kids knew they were playing a quality opponent,” Dorrel said.
“We have to play well to win this football game. We have to be a smart team to win. We need to win the turnover battle, special teams has to be huge. We can’t play average.”
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