Sept. 26, 2013
Utter Grows into Leadership Role, Ready for LopersBy David Boyce | Football Gameday Central
* The Bearcats will be wearing red helmet decals in honor of former coach Scott Bostwick. Fans are encouraged to wear red hats to the game in support
* The Bearcat coaches will be wearing Coach to Cure MD patches for the game. Please visit CoachtoCureMD.org for more information.
MARYVILLE, Mo. - Family Weekend is always a special time at Northwest Missouri State. Parents visit the campus to see their sons and daughters. Many take in the Saturday afternoon football game.
For wide receiver Clint Utter, this particular game day is meaningful to him and his teammates.
“It was one of Coach Scott Bostwick’s major points when he was here,” Utter said about family. “We want to go on with his legacy.”
Expect the Bearcat senior class to come out with plenty of emotion when Northwest, 3-0, takes on Nebraska-Kearney, 0-3, at 1 p.m., on Saturday at Bearcat Stadium.
They have been through a lot in their four to five years in the football program. Utter, a fifth-year senior, has experienced much during his time as a Bearcat. He saw Northwest win the NCAA Division II national championship in his redshirt year and then capture the MIAA title as a freshman with another perfect 9-0 record. The seniors also had to deal with the tragic loss of Bostwick due to a heart attack.
They are now trying to climb back to the top of the MIAA.
“My grade, we still have that conference championship,” Utter said. “We are trying to instill in the younger guys the mentality of being on top in conference. If we can insert that into the younger guys, we can help keep that mentality when we are gone.”
Utter is one of the senior leaders. He is producing on the field, leading the team with 12 receptions for 244 yards and two touchdowns.
In some offenses, his numbers would be bigger. Northwest, using senior quarterback Trevor Adams and sophomore quarterback Brady Bolles, spread the ball around.
It is important that Utter is unselfish. He doesn’t care how many balls he catches in a game. He just wants to help the Bearcats win.
“I think it is the most important aspect of our football team at any position because we play so many people,” Northwest coach Adam Dorrel said. “At his position, he certainly understands what we are trying to do.”
Utter is behaving much like the receivers who came before him. During his redshirt season, he relied and looked up to those upperclassmen while he was trying to figure out what it took to succeed at the college level.
Now Utter is in that position of having younger receivers look to him for guidance.
“It is pretty interesting,” he said. “It seems like just a little bit ago, I was looking up to older guys like Jake Soy and Tyler Shaw. Now they are not here and now its me that the younger guys are looking twoards. It is a role reversal. It is not so bad. Stepping back and seeing they cycle is definitely interesting. The younger guys are going to be in the same situation when they get older.”
With Adams and Bolles sharing time at quarterback, one might think that would make it difficult on the receivers adjusting to two different signal callers.
Utter is too easy going to think it is a problem.
“Some people make it a big deal that it can be tricky and stuff, but Brady and Trevor are both good quarterbacks,” Utter said. “It is not any different. It doesn’t feel different. I take reps with both of them throughout the week. I’m ready for either one to throw me the ball.”
Utter simply enjoys the game of football and it shows on the field every Saturday in the fall.
“Being around teammates and the family atmosphere around the team and the town is foremost,” Utter said of why he likes Northwest. “I don’t know if it is as good as anywhere else, but I love it here.
“The game day atmosphere on Saturday is awesome. The town gets into it and the students get into it. It is Christmas Day. You get it 12 times a year, at least.”
In the classroom, Utter has found his niche at Northwest. He started off as a business major. He is now in graphic design.
He smiles when he talks about his major because not many football players major in graphic design. It works for Utter.
“I always messed around with doodling and drawing when I was younger,” Utter said. “It seemed like a natural gift. I kind of didn’t draw throughout most of high school. It wasn’t until my freshman year when I took business management and I found myself doodling in the classroom so on a whim I decided to take one art class and see if I still have it. I got an A in it. I went with graphic design. I love it. It is fun.
“My teammates seem interested in it. I designed our position T-shirt and stuff like that.”
Dorrel saw a bit of Utter’s work in graphic design a year ago and was impressed.
“It was good, very good,” Dorrel said. “He does well with it. It is unique. We don’t have many kids in graphic design.”
This Saturday afternoon, the only drawings Utter will be interested in are plays that lead to touchdowns for the Bearcats and defensive plays that prevent Nebraska-Kearney from scoring.
“You got to go into every week thinking that each team is really tough,” Utter said. “They are in the MIAA. You take one week off; you can lose a game. You have to stay focused every week.”
Dorrel warns that it would be foolish to judge Nebraska-Kearney on its 0-3 record.
“They are a dangerous football team,” Dorrel said. “The thing I feel good about is our players watched the film and there is no question that this is the best offensive line we’ve seen so far. They are mean, nasty and physical. The quarterback has played well the last two weeks. They got good personnel. They turn the football over. That is what has hurt them.”
Northwest players want to add a little more hurt to Nebraska-Kearney and then leave the stadium proud to be a Bearcat on Family Weekend.
“One of our important values in our program and our school is family,” Utter said.
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