On Thursday, May 13, the Gustavus football team will hold its final spring practice before departing from campus for the summer. The leadership shown by the upperclassmen combined with a strong team work ethic in the weight room and in the classroom during the off-season has carried over into spring ball. The 2010 spring drills have been filled with outstanding leadership and energy. Head Coach Peter Haugen, in his second season with the Gusties, feels that the hard work demonstrated by both the players and coaches both in the upcoming months, and through spring ball, has built a solid foundation for which the team can build on for the 2010 season.
Coming into spring practices, Coach Haugen and his staff wanted to take a hard look at last season and evaluate what went well, and what needed to be improved upon in the upcoming season. “One of our main goals entering spring workouts, both offensively and defensively, was to simplify our schemes and get our guys playing fast,” said coach Haugen. Coach Haugen wanted to instill this concept at the first spring practice on April 29, and have it carry over to the fall.
During spring practices, coaches and players get a chance to install plays, packages, and schemes that can be used in the fall. This is an opportunity for coaches to evaluate what works, what doesn’t, and what needs improvement. One such example pertains to Coach Haugen’s team goal to play faster. To play faster, the coaching staff wanted to simplify schemes as much as possible. “By making this simpler, we can get guys to use their instincts more, thus allowing them to play faster” says Defensive Coordinator Brian Bergstrom. Bergstrom also credits the players’ willingness to be coachable and learn the game as a key success to improvement in the spring. “I was impressed with the overall attitude, willingness to learn, and effort to get better,” says Bergstrom, “More guys are becoming students of the game, and the eagerness to get better every day has been clearly demonstrated.”
Because football teams in the MIAC are allowed to hold only seven practices in the spring months, the ability to be efficient with the time given is critical to improvement at practice. Haugen said, “We recognize that the players on our team are great students and we need to be mindful of how much time we are using. We have made a conscious effort to be efficient with our practices and generate a lot of energy and intensity within the time we have.”
“One of the strengths with this team is that a lot of guys now have more confidence in themselves as football players,” says senior captain Zach Lundquist. Lundquist believes that the team handled being challenged with new information during the spring very well, something that he credits to both strong leadership and willingness to learn.
Spring practice sets the tone for the summer months heading into fall camp. Coach Haugen feels that the character of the team has put Gustavus football on the right track heading into the 2010 season. “The mental and physical toughness of our team is our strength, and that is something that excites me as we keep moving forward into the summer,” says Haugen.
The Gustavus football team will report to camp on Saturday, August 21. The Gusties will play host to non-conference opponent Wartburg College on Saturday, September 11, in the season-opener at 1:00pm in St. Peter, Minn.