September 1, 2011

Monmouth wants consistency in 2011

More news about: Monmouth

    A rash of injuries last season – including a season-ending injury to record-setting quarterback Alex Tanney (Normal, Ill./Lexington) among others – resulted in a new starting lineup each week. So much for consistency.

      Tanney is one of four Scots granted an extra season after missing the majority of last year due to season-ending injuries. A preseason All-American, Tanney is within striking distance of three NCAA Division III records and needs just 30 touchdown passes to set the new standard. With 10,382 passing yards in his career, he'll need 3,224 yards to set the new mark. That's within range when figuring he's averaged nearly 310 yards per game over three full seasons.

      If Tanney is to set any records, he may be looking for help from senior receiver Mike Blodgett (Northfield, Minn./Appleton North). Hampered by a preseason injury in 2010, Blodgett didn't suit up at all last year, but has returned to campus healthy and anxious for one more season. Like Tanney, Blodgett is also making an assault on the DIII record books. He's caught a pass in 33 consecutive games and if that streak continues through the end of the regular season, he'll pass former teammate Matt Shepherd and move to within four games of the national record.

      Running back Nick Law (Heyworth, Ill./Heyworth) and linebacker Marcus Ruff (Avon, Ill./Avon) round out the Scots who were granted an extra year. Each was lost during the regular season last fall and brings extra experience to the lineup.

      "Right now, it's not about what we do," said Bell. "It's more about how we do it. Our seniors know this is it. We've got to pull our teammates along with us and raise everyone's level of play. We've got to have our top-level guys play at their peak down in and down out. We need that consistency."

      Bell is hoping for consistency from an offensive line that gained valuable experience a year ago. Senior center Matt Wright (Canton, Ill./Canton) anchors the group that will be opening holes and protecting Tanney. Senior All-Midwest Conference lineman James Allen holds down one guard position and junior Todd Groth (Oswego, Ill/Oswego) has laid claim to the other. It's a battle at the tackle positions where sophomore A.J. Ulrich (Morris, Ill./Morris) has staked his claim, but as many as four others are battling for the one remaining spot.

      "The main thing we gain this year is the experience our core group got last year," said Bell. "We should know what we're doing by now. They've got to be consistent every snap."

      In the backfield, five players who combined to gain more than 1,500 yards return. Three sophomores saw plenty of action and gained significant yardage in last year's injury-riddled season. Trey Yocum (Bushnell, Ill./Bushnell-Prairie City) played in seven games and led the team with 385 yards after Law was lost for the season with 333 yards. Brik Wedekind (Princeton, Ill./Princeton) – forced into a starting role in the fifth quarter of last season at quarterback – was second on the team with 351 yards, but will return to his understudy role this season as Tanney's backup. Stefan Flynn (Colchester, Ill./Illini West) was just 15 yards shy of the 300 yard plateau and his 81 carries ranked third on the team.

      "We've got some talented backs," reported Bell. "There are some freshmen who are challenging. Our job as coaches is to find three running backs that can play every game. It's a similar situation at receiver in that we need to identify five or six guys who can contribute every game."

      Bell may be halfway there in his receivers search. Blodgett is the veteran of the group and will be joined by three players with at least 11 receptions and two others who gained more than 100 yards. Senior all-conference tight end David Milroy (Toulon, Ill./Stark County) is the only non-wide receiver to log over 100 yards, grabbing nine passes for 111 yards. Evan Banks (Fulton, Ill./Fulton), Austin Peterson (Wyanet, Ill./Bureau Valley), Spencer Brown (Milan, Ill./Sherrard) and Michael Davis (Peoria, Ill./Richwoods) each accounted for more than 100 receiving yards. Brown was second behind the graduated Shepherd with 18 catches for 210 yards.

      Added to the mix is senior Nick Byom (Gilson, Ill./Knoxville). An All-American high jumper in track, Byom will debut on the gridiron as a tight end, giving Monmouth quarterbacks a big target.

      "Nick's about 6-5 and obviously is a great leaper," reported Bell. "His size and ability gives a quarterback a much larger margin of error. He's very athletic and can run like a deer. That gives us two very capable tight ends."

      The Scots expect to be in good hands on the defensive side of the ball, where they lost just three starters. Up front, the line put in numerous hours in the weight room adding muscle to their considerable experience. Senior Mike Kettmann (Coal City, Ill./Coal City) and juniors Jake Willis (East Peoria, Ill./East Peoria), Nate Van Metre (Bartlett, Ill./South Elgin), Sam Hoster (Seneca, Ill./Seneca) and Joel Burger (New Berlin, Ill./New Berlin) form an indestructible wall.

      "We bring back a multitude of players who got significant playing time last year," claimed Bell. "It's a case right now of deciding who is a starter and who is a role player. But when you get right down to it, it doesn't matter who starts, they'll all get plenty of time."

      The Scots also have plenty of depth in the linebacking corps. Seniors Adam Hoste (Colona, Ill./Geneseo), Cory Bishop (Bryant, Ill./Lewistown) and Rod Ojong (Oswego, Ill./East) accounted for a quarter of the team's solo tackles last season. Hoste – an all-conference pick last year – logged a team-high 99 total stops and recorded six interceptions, returning two for scores.

      Senior defensive back Erik Weber (Mendota, Ill./Mendota) played like a linebacker, making 66 tackles to rank third on the team and picking off five passes for the No. 2 spot. He's joined by fellow senior Shane Reschke (Geneseo, Ill./Geneseo) as the only returning starters in the secondary. Andre Taylor (Urbana, Ill./Rantoul), Wes Kindurys (Ft. Walton Beach, Fla./Leroy) and Ryan Flannigan (Pekin, Ill./Pekin) all got plenty of reps, seeing action when the Scots went to their nickel and dime packages, but they may be called on to play significant roles this season.

      "We're pretty deep in the secondary, too," said Bell. "Wes, Andre and Ryan saw quite a bit of action when the passses were flying, so it's not like they haven't been in pressure situations. And we've got some talented youth who may make a splash, too."

      Like the other units, special teams returns a plethora of experience. If needed, the Scots have two talented punters with good legs and plenty of experience. Wedekind – who earned all-conference accolades at the position as a freshman – and Reschke – the main punter at the start of last season – will give Bell two good legs to kick on. Reschke averaged nearly a yard more than Wedekind, including launching a 79-yarder. Wedekind – a preseason All-American this fall – proved his worth in '10 when Reschke went down with an injury, filling in to land 12 punts inside the 20-yard line and bomb an 81-yard punt against Lake Forest.

      It's not much different for the place kickers, where junior Matt Batton (Peoria, Ill./Richwoods) is in a battle with freshman Ace Henricks (Mt. Sterling, Ill./Brown County). Batton was perfect on field goals last season and hit a school record 51-yarder as a freshman. Henricks is living up to his name, being ranked in the top 100 nationally by Kohl's Professional Camps – a national camp for kickers, punters and snappers.

      With so many returners, so much talent and so much promise, what's the one key to putting it all together?

      "More than anything, we've got to get out to a fast start," said Bell. "We need to play at the speed at which we're capable. That goes for the offense AND defense. We need to play the 'Monmouth way.'"

      The Monmouth way under Bell has been all about tempo. A no-huddle, high-octane offense and intense defensive pressure have been the Scots' trademark and it all boils down to doing your homework.

      "Speed equates to knowledge," he continued. "If you know what you're supposed to be doing and how you're supposed to do it, then you'll play with speed. I'd also say our best players have to play their best all the time. It's a case of playing at that level consistently."

      There's an adage that says "Knowledge is power." In the Scots' world, knowledge is speed…and Bell wouldn't mind a little consistency, too.

comments powered by Disqus
Sep. 27: All times Eastern
Final
at Buffalo State 32, Salisbury 28
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Framingham State 48, Western Connecticut 31
Box Score
Final
at Endicott 28, Curry 6
Box Score Recap
Final
Worcester State 48, at Massachusetts Maritime 14
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Amherst 30, at Bowdoin 7
Box Score
Final
at Tufts 42, Bates 24
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Springfield 63, Rochester 27
Box Score
Final
at MIT 48, Salve Regina 26
Box Score
Final
Middlebury 27, at Colby 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at Wesleyan 43, Hamilton 21
Box Score Recap
Final
at Hobart 42, Merchant Marine 7
Box Score Recap
Final
Rhodes 12, at Berry 0
Box Score
Final
Coast Guard 28, at Nichols 12
Box Score
Final
Lycoming 27, at Wilkes 14
Box Score Recap
Final
Catholic 54, at Anna Maria 25
Box Score Recap
Final
Ursinus 42, at McDaniel 13
Box Score Recap
Final
Mass-Dartmouth 20, at Plymouth State 5
Box Score
Final
Stevenson 13, at Albright 6
Box Score Recap
Final
Franklin and Marshall 35, at Juniata 33
Box Score
Final
at DePauw 24, Kenyon 0
Box Score Recap
Final
at Moravian 21, Dickinson 14
Box Score Recap
Final
Castleton State 36, at Alfred State 23
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Carnegie Mellon 22, Geneva 21
Box Score Photos Photos
Final
Bridgewater (Va.) 32, at Apprentice School 16
Box Score
Final
Widener 30, at FDU-Florham 0
Final
at LaGrange 30, Averett 29
Box Score
Final
Western New England 80, at Maine Maritime 16
Box Score Recap
Final
at Wesley 47, Southern Virginia 7
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Gettysburg 31, at Susquehanna 21
Box Score Recap
Final
at St. Lawrence 28, Union 20
Box Score Recap
Final
St. John Fisher 48, at Frostburg State 7
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at King's 36, Misericordia 29
Final
Wittenberg 48, at Oberlin 10
Box Score Recap
Final
at St. Vincent 31, Grove City 14
Final
Delaware Valley 59, at Lebanon Valley 41
Box Score Recap
Final
at Morrisville State 38, Cortland State 31
Box Score Recap
Final
at Denison 34, Ohio Wesleyan 31
Box Score
Final
at Case Western Reserve 23, Thiel 16
Box Score Photos
Final
Ithaca 17, at Alfred 6
Box Score Recap
Cancelled
Pacific at Chicago
Preview Live Stats
Final
at Eureka 17, Minnesota-Morris 10
Box Score
Final
at Franklin 54, Bluffton 21
Box Score Recap
Final
at Centre 50, Washington U. 20
Box Score Recap Recap Photos
Final
Huntingdon 35, at Maryville (Tenn.) 21
Box Score
Final
at Thomas More 49, Westminster (Pa.) 6
Box Score Recap
Final
Anderson 45, at Earlham 15
Box Score
Final
at Mount St. Joseph 49, Manchester 17
Box Score Recap
Final
Defiance 31, at Hanover 28
Box Score
Final
Trinity (Conn.) 38, at Williams 0
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
N.C. Wesleyan 34, at Ferrum 30
Box Score
Final
at Heidelberg 69, Ohio Northern 52
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Johns Hopkins 42, at Muhlenberg 26
Box Score Recap
Final
at Wabash 63, Allegheny 0
Box Score Recap
Final
at Austin 19, Howard Payne 16
Box Score
Final
St. Scholastica 31, at Westminster (Mo.) 24
Box Score Recap
Final
Emory and Henry 44, at Sewanee 27
Box Score
Final
Bethel 38, at Carleton 7
Box Score
Final
Gustavus Adolphus 55, at Augsburg 31
Box Score Photos
Final
at Concordia-Moorhead 52, St. Olaf 14
Box Score Photos
Final - OT
at Beloit 27, Lake Forest 24
Box Score
Final
at Hendrix 48, Birmingham-Southern 31
Box Score Recap
Final
at Hardin-Simmons 30, Langston 29
Box Score Photos Photos
Final
at St. Norbert 32, Illinois College 27
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Macalester 21, at Grinnell 16
Box Score
Final
at Sul Ross State 27, Wayland Baptist 24
Final
Cornell 43, at Ripon 24
Final
Greenville 23, at Martin Luther 14
Box Score
Final
at Iowa Wesleyan 40, MacMurray 34
Box Score
Final
at Knox 45, Lawrence 14
Cancelled
Maranatha Baptist at Concordia-Chicago
Final
at Carroll 32, Monmouth 27
Box Score
Final
St. John's 24, at St. Thomas 14
Box Score Recap Photos Photos
Final
at Okla. Baptist 51, Southwestern 7
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at UW-Stevens Point 34, North Central (Ill.) 27
Recap Recap
Final
Louisiana College 37, at Bacone 13
Box Score
Final
Chapman 49, at Whitworth 34
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Texas Lutheran 54, at Southwestern Assemblies 21
Box Score
Final
at Bethany 33, Waynesburg 27
Box Score Recap
Final
at RPI 27, WPI 6
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Muskingum 36, Capital 20
Box Score Photos
Final
at Mount Union 63, Marietta 7
Box Score Photos
Final
at Wooster 39, Hiram 24
Box Score
Final
Otterbein 49, at Wilmington 21
Box Score
Final
at Utica 42, Brockport State 28
Box Score Recap Recap
Final - 2OT
at Christopher Newport 51, Methodist 48
Box Score
Final
at John Carroll 45, Baldwin Wallace 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at Millikin 30, Aurora 9
Box Score Recap
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 73, Kean 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at East Texas Baptist 68, Millsaps 15
Box Score Recap
Final
Pacific Lutheran 38, at Trinity (Texas) 14
Box Score Photos
Final
Buena Vista 55, at Waldorf 28
Box Score
Final
at Carthage 21, Lakeland 14
Box Score Recap
Final
Northwestern (Minn.) 40, at Crown 14
Box Score
Oct. 3: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
MIT at Curry
Live Stats Live Stats
10:00 PM
George Fox at Willamette
Live Stats Video
Oct. 4: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Thomas More at Washington and Jefferson
Live Stats Video Audio
7:00 PM
Millikin at North Central (Ill.)
Live Stats Video Audio Audio
2:00 PM
Hiram at Wittenberg
Live Stats Video
1:30 PM
John Carroll at Ohio Northern
Live Stats Video Audio Audio
1:30 PM
Heidelberg at Otterbein
Audio
3:30 PM
UW-Platteville at UW-Eau Claire
Live Stats Video Audio Audio Tickets
1:00 PM
Hampden-Sydney at Catholic
Video Audio
1:00 PM
Wooster at Wabash
Live Stats Video Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Louisiana College at Wesley
Live Stats Audio
1:00 PM
Utica at Ithaca
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Stevenson at Lycoming
Live Stats Video Audio Audio
3:00 PM
UW-Stout at UW-Oshkosh
Live Stats Video Audio
12:30 PM
Mount Union at Capital
Preview Live Stats Video Audio
2:10 PM
St. Thomas at St. Olaf
Audio
12:00 PM
Juniata at Johns Hopkins
Audio
12:00 PM
Salisbury at St. John Fisher
Live Stats Audio Audio
12:00 PM
Hobart at WPI
Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
Wartburg at Central
Audio
2:00 PM
UW-La Crosse at UW-Whitewater
Live Stats Audio Audio
2:00 PM
Concordia-Moorhead at Bethel
Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
North Park at Wheaton (Ill.)
4:00 PM
Linfield at Pacific Lutheran
Live Stats Audio Audio
Sep. 27: All times Eastern
Final
at Mount Union 63, Marietta 7
Box Score Photos
Final
at John Carroll 45, Baldwin Wallace 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 73, Kean 7
Box Score Recap
Final
Pacific Lutheran 38, at Trinity (Texas) 14
Box Score Photos
Final
at Wabash 63, Allegheny 0
Box Score Recap
Final
Johns Hopkins 42, at Muhlenberg 26
Box Score Recap
Final
at Heidelberg 69, Ohio Northern 52
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Thomas More 49, Westminster (Pa.) 6
Box Score Recap
Final
at Wesley 47, Southern Virginia 7
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
St. John Fisher 48, at Frostburg State 7
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Wittenberg 48, at Oberlin 10
Box Score Recap
Final
at Hobart 42, Merchant Marine 7
Box Score Recap
Final
Lycoming 27, at Wilkes 14
Box Score Recap
Final
Ithaca 17, at Alfred 6
Box Score Recap
Final
at UW-Stevens Point 34, North Central (Ill.) 27
Recap Recap
Final
St. John's 24, at St. Thomas 14
Box Score Recap Photos Photos
Final
Bethel 38, at Carleton 7
Box Score
Final
at Concordia-Moorhead 52, St. Olaf 14
Box Score Photos

What We're Reading