2015 Gustavus Adolphus Football Season Preview

Posted on September 2nd, 2015 by

The 2015 Gustavus Adolphus College football team. (Photo courtesy of SPX Sports)

Coming off consecutive winning seasons for the first time in 13 years, the Gustavus Adolphus football team has high expectations for its 2015 campaign. Last season, the Gusties posted a 6-4 overall record and 4-4 mark in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference for the second straight year, and were highlighted by a record-setting passing offense. By returning 10 starters to an offensive attack that broke nearly every passing record in program history, the Gusties have no intention of being complacent.

“We want to be around coaches and players with the goal of winning a conference championship,” Head Coach Peter Haugen said. “That’s why we come everyday – to be champions. We recruit young men who want to win in the classroom and who want to win on the field, that’s a given. But I don’t think we’re a whole lot different than anybody in wanting to win conference championships. In terms of goal-setting we are trying to focus on the goals that might not be so glamorous but are the essential pieces to winning, which involves taking care of little stuff everyday.”

Senior All-MIAC center will lead an experienced offensive line.

Senior All-MIAC center Marcus Kelly will lead an experienced offensive line.

Offensive Line

Key loss: Zach Vine (Lino Lakes, Minn.)

Players to watch: Marcus Kelly (Sr.,Woodbury, Minn), Scott Newby (Sr., Lakeville, Minn.) and Joe Theiler (Jr., Maple Grove, Minn.)

Notes:

  • Kelly was named to the 2014 MIAC All-Conference First Team, Newby was named 2014 MIAC All-Conference Second Team and Theiler was named 2014 MIAC All-Conference Honorable Mention
  • Gustavus ranked seventh in the MIAC in rushing last season, averaging 139.0 yards per game. The Gusties amassed 1,390 yards on 330 carries
  • Gustavus’ 17 rushing touchdowns last season ranked sixth in the conference

Coach Haugen’s comment: “We return four of five starters from last year. Our left tackle is All-Conference, center is All-Conference, right guard is All-Conference Honorable Mention, and our right tackle has been an over achiever. The question will be how fast can these second tier guys get caught up to speed.”

Senior Luke Martinez returns as the team's leading rusher.

Senior Luke Martinez returns as the team’s leading rusher.

Running Backs

Key loss: none

Players to watch: Luke Martinez (Sr. Lenexa, Kan.), Leeland Lauti (So., Ewa, Hawaii) and DaiVon Poole (So., San Angelo, Texas)

Notes:

  • Martinez returns as Gustavus’ leading rusher, finishing the 2014 season with 638 yards on 118 carries. He also had six touchdowns
  • The rushing attack last season accounted for 17 of the team’s 53 total touchdowns

Coach’s comment: “Last year Luke had a small injury issue, but even with that he was named All-Conference by our coaches by not even playing a full slate of games. He is an incredibly powerful back with wonderful hands out of the backfield. And then you have Leeland Lauti, DaiVon Poole and Karim Ortiz behind him, and all three of those guys are talented. It’s a deep running back class.”

 

Senior quarterback looks to respond after a record-setting 2014 season.

Senior quarterback Mitch Hendricks looks to respond after a record-setting 2014 season.

Quarterback

Key loss: none

Player to watch: Mitch Hendricks (Sr., Laporte, Minn.)

Notes:

  • Hendricks set eight passing program records last season – most yards in a season (3,403), most yards in a game (504), most completions in a season (271), most completions in a game (33), most attempts in a season (405), most touchdowns in a season (35), most touchdowns in a game (7) and highest completion percentage in a season (66.9)
  • Hendricks also became the first Gustavus quarterback to throw for more than 200 yards in all 10 games of the season
  • The Bemidji High School product is in line to become the greatest quarterback in the history of the program and is doing so in only three seasons. Hendricks needs 3,156 yards to break the program’s passing record (8,496 – Jordan Stolp, 2004-07), 239 more completions (697 – Stolp) and 22 more touchdowns (65 – Stolp). Hendricks also has the highest career completion percentage with a 64.5 mark.

Coach’s comment: “We have high expectations of our offense and I know Mitch has high expectations. He is very competitive and he is coming off a very strong year. But he also recognizes what pieces in his game have to continue to improve. So what I see is a young man who has taken on a leadership role and he has also become serious about how he becomes a better player.”

Gabe Boyce led the Gusties last season with 89 receptions.

Gabe Boyce led the Gusties last season with 89 receptions.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Key loss: none

Players to watch: Matt Boyce (Sr., Excelsior, Minn.), Gabe Boyce (Sr., Excelsior, Minn.), George Buchner (Jr., Excelsior, Minn.), Jake Douglas (Sr., Montevideo, Minn.) and Harrison Feldkamp (Sr., Sibley, Iowa)

Notes:

  • The Gustavus passing game ranked No. 1 in the MIAC last season, averaging 346.4 yards per game. The Gusties also had a conference-leading 35 passing touchdowns
  • Matt Boyce set a program receiving record last season, hauling in 17 touchdowns. Matt also took second in program history with 1,196 receiving yards in a season and third with 78 receptions in a season
  • Matt was named a preseason All-American by D3football.com and needs 256 more yards to take over second place in the Gustavus record book for most career receiving yards. He would need 1,203 yards this year to become the all-time receiving leader in program history (3,180 – Chad Arlt, 2005-08)
  • Matt’s fraternal twin, Gabe, last year took second in program history with 89 receptions in a season and third with 1,057 receiving yards in a season

Coach’s comment: “Our wide receivers and tight ends have a really strong core. I think they are all on the same page right now. They’ve played a lot of football together, so the more those brains can become one brain, the better, and I think that’s continuing to happen. Obviously, it’s a special group.”

Adam Neubarth made 18 tackles and 2.5 sacks last season.

Adam Neubarth made 18 tackles and 2.5 sacks last season.

Defensive Line

Key losses: Andrew Lonneman (Adrian, Minn.), Mitch Snare (Rosemount, Minn.), Zach Severson (Savage, Minn.), Cameron Cropsey (Eagan, Minn.) and Travis Pepper (Overland Park, Kan.)

Players to watch: Adam Neubarth (Sr., Cologne, Minn.), Levi Folkert (Sr., Elgin, Minn.), Isaac Kotila (Jr., Buffalo, Minn.) and Casey Decker (So., Mapleton, Minn.)

Notes:

  • Neubarth returns as the defensive line’s most experienced player, having played in nine games last season, accumulating 18 tackles and 2.5 sacks
  • Last season Gustavus ranked No. 1 in the MIAC with 24 sacks
  • The Gusties made 88 tackles for loss in 2014, accounting for 276 yards

Coach’s comment: “I think the biggest thing is that we look at these positions that are going to be filled as great opportunities. It’s going to test a lot of young guys that haven’t had a lot of experience. But we are certainly excited to see a lot of new faces. And at D-line, you don’t play just three or four guys, we want to play eight in order to keep guys fresh and to play with energy you have to have some depth. As the weeks come along, we’ll see where we are at from that standpoint.”

Linebackers

Key losses: Zack Martinez (Sr., Lenexa, Kan. – injury), Anthony Boyce (Excelsior, Minn.)

Players to watch: Tyler Jakes (Jr., North Mankato, Minn.), Kysten Zierke (So., Blue Earth, Minn.), Kyle Krzmarzick (Sr., Sleepy Eye, Minn.) and Anders Raarup (So., Eagan, Minn.)

Notes:

  • Last season’s leading tackler, Zack Martinez, is out with a season-ending injury
  • Tyler Jakes ranked third on the team last season with 60 total tackles. He also tallied five tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks, two pass breakups and two passes defended

Coach’s comment: “Zack sustained a season-ending injury so our leading tackler is gone for the year. Tyler Jakes will be anchoring that crew along with Kyle Krzmarzick, Kysten Zierke and Anders Raarup. Those guys are in that first slot of linebackers with some younger guys behind them. Losing Zack is tough but it also provides a competitive challenge on how we fill that void.”

Nick Frandsen leads the Gustie secondary as the only returning starter and a team captain.

Nick Frandsen leads the Gustie secondary as the only returning starter and a team captain.

Defensive Backs

Key losses: Jake Forcier (Watkins, Minn.), Xavier Fust (Columbia Heights, Minn.) and Michael Hintze (Brooklyn Park, Minn.)

Players to watch: Nick Frandsen (Sr., North Oaks, Minn.), Phillip Sun (Sr., Doral, Fla.), Dutch Claybaugh (Fy., Kaneohe, Hawaii) and Jordan Sorenson (Jr., St. Peter, Minn.)

Notes:

  • The Gustie secondary features three new starters after the loss of last season’s interception leaders Jake Forcier and Michael Hintze – who had three each – as well as Xavier Fust who posted two picks for 82 yards
  • Frandsen is the secondary’s most veteran player, having played in all 10 games last season with 37 tackles and one interception. He also led the team last year with 10 pass breakups and 11 passes defended

Coach’s comment: “We are going to have very athletic group and they are led by Nick Frandsen, our captain. He is a very special player, but he’s also a special person who has taken his leadership role very seriously. He will be surrounded by some young guys who haven’t started a lot of football games.”

Specialists

Key loss: Thomas Schleuster (Kicker and Punter, Rapid City, S.D.)

Players to watch: Brendan Boche (Kicker, So., Lakeville, Minn.), Casey Decker (Punter, So., Mapleton, Minn.) and Gabe Boyce (Kick Returner, Sr., Excelsior, Minn.)

Notes:

  • Gustavus loses its All-Conference kicker and punter from last season in Thomas Schleuster. Schleuster made 5-9 field goals and posted a 38.2-yard punt average
  • Boyce made eight kick returns in 2014 for 146 yards, averaging 32 yards per return. Boyce also recorded a team-high eight punt returns for 97 yards and a 12.1-yard average

Coach’s comments: “This year punting will be Casey Decker and he has a really strong leg. And Brendan Boche will be our kicker, another young man who has a big leg. The level of consistency that they can bring to their kicks and punts will be a key factor, so we are excited about those guys. Schuyler Thompson will be doing our short and long snapping – he’s a talented kid who can get it back there.”

The Gustavus football team opens its 2015 campaign 7 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 5 at Crown College in St. Bonifacius, Minn.

“We want to have an identity of leadership, energy and progress,” Haugen said. “Those three things are really essential for us to continue to grow. We have to have great leadership from our coaches and players. And energy is a big part of how we play the game. The level of energy we bring to both offense and defense. We are committed to the process and making those steps to get better every year.”

2015 Gustavus Press Guide

2015 Gustavus Roster

2015 Gustavus Schedule

 

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