The Gustavus football team concluded its spring practice schedule on Tuesday, May 7. During the non-padded spring practices, the team focused on evaluating strength gains and working on fundamentally sound techniques.
“We spent the first couple days of practice doing some movement and testing,” Head Coach Peter Haugen said, “and it’s apparent that the guys did a really good job in the off season.” Throughout the remainder of the practices, the team concentrated on fundamentals and installing basic offensive and defensive schemes. One other aspect that the spring practices focused on was creating a competitive atmosphere for the players. “We ran some high-intensity practices and have had really good energy,” Haugen said.
From a defensive standpoint, the Gusties are focused on rebuilding their linebacking core, which graduated seniors Paul Stommes, Jade Kotila, Dustin Kammerer and Zach Lundquist. “We’ve got some good depth on the defensive line and a lot of depth in the secondary,” new Defensive Coordinator Corey Shea said. “But we’re looking for guys to get some of that experience at linebacker and fill some of those roles.”
On the offensive side of the ball, Coach Haugen will look to his experienced receiving core and quarterback to lead the charge. The offensive coaches took advantage of the spring practices to build on last season’s fundamentals and continue to develop chemistry within the unit. “I think we’re feeling much more comfortable in our system and how we’re communicating,” Haugen said.
One change that the Gusties will be experiencing in the next few weeks will be the departure of defensive coordinator Brian Bergstrom. “Coach Bergstrom has meant a lot to Gustavus and a lot to our football program and has been very valuable to us as we’ve made this transition,” Haugen said. “It’s a big transition,” Shea agreed. “But our goals and mission are going to stay the same.”
The Gusties will get the benefit this spring of an international trip to Mexico where they will give clinics and play an exhibition game during a six day trip in late May to Cancun. Coach Haugen and approximately 50 players will work with the Lagartos Football Club. The trip will culminate with the Carribbean Bowl game against Lagartos on Sunday, May 28.
The Gusties will report for fall camp on Saturday, August 20 and play their first game on Saturday, Sept. 10, when they travel to Waverly, Iowa to take on Wartburg College.