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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

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Feven Getachew
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Michael Lozada
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Harvey Wilhelm
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Speed, experience key for Pioneer game Plan

After a 3-7 finish in 2008 and a long off-season training regimen, the Grinnell football team returns faster and more mature. The team will test the benefits of their work for the first time against Cornell College, at 1 p.m. this Saturday at home on Rosenbloom Field.

Last year, the Pioneers beat the Rams by just one point in a 26-25 thriller. This year, the team is looking to make a more definitive statement in their season opener.

“We have our preparation and our hard work, we have the right mind-set and that’s to go out and play our game,” Captain Marquis Bradley ’11 said.

Grinnell’s game, thanks to Head Coach Max Hawsey, is all about speed. Starting in January, Coach Hawsey subjected his squad to strength and speed training in order to make sure his players were dedicated to improving on last season.

“The guys were more accountable this off-season,” Hawsey said, “Now that I’ve been here a year and a half, they’ve bought in to what we’re doing here.”

The outcome was a noticeably speedier group. Defensive lineman and Captain Curtis McCoy ’10 sees the effects of the workouts everyday during practice.

“People are in a lot better shape, fewer people are getting hurt, people are not looking for as many breaks,” McCoy said. “And during scrimmage you can definitely see more swarming to the football—there’s more guys right there after the first hit to finish the play.”
The speed was not only earned through hard work, but also imported through recruiting.

“This is definitely the fastest team I’ve seen in my four years,” tight end Joey Snyder said ’10. “There’s a lot of really fast freshman, mostly at the skill positions.”

Hawsey brought an entirely new system to Grinnell College when he took the head coaching job in January of 2008 after leaving his post of offensive coordinator at Colorado College. He calls his offense the “shot-run,” as it is a hurry up offense and played out of the shotgun formation.

“We want to get the ball in the hands of a lot of different players,” Hawsey said, “so we can run the ball, make play-action passes, throw the ball deep and really give the defense a lot of things to worry about.”

The system relies heavily on the quarterback to execute both through passing and scrambling in search of success. Quarterback Mike Bogard ‘12, who learned a great deal from starting all 10 games last season, is ready for his hard work pay off.

“My freshman year was a tough experience, but now I realize I am really lucky to have the year of experience under my belt already,” Bogard said.

Coach Hawsey believes Bogard is prepared to be the main man in his offense.

“He is a sophomore who is playing like a senior—he knows this offense really well,” Hawsey said. “We ask him to run, we ask him to throw, and if he’s playing well, then the offense is doing well.”

On the defensive side, the team lost some valuable seniors, most notably linebacker and Midwest Conference record-setting tackler Brett Maloney ‘09. Marquis Bradley ‘11 has stepped up, moving from free safety to linebacker, to fill the gap left by Maloney’s absence.
“I knew I would be helping out the team,” Bradley said. “So I was happy to make the switch.”

In addition, Linebacker John Hereford ’10, one of the leading tacklers from two seasons ago, will return this year after being sidelined for much of last season due to injury. As a unit, Coach Hawsey has few worries about his defense.

“We lost some good defensive players,” Hawsey said. “However, I feel like we are better overall this year, from having to coach against our defense being on offense everyday, the defense is faster and more aggressive.”

Grinnell follows Cornell College with another home game against St. Norbert, ranked second in the MWC pre-season poll, at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 12th.

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