/seasons/2013/contrib/20130812rr6bvx

High expectations greet Manchester University this fall

More news about: Manchester

Shannon Griffith wants to see what last year's season-ending six-game win streak and runner-up Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference finish is doing to his program.

"There isn't room for any excuses," he said. "We'll see how ready these guys are when they check in this week. Myself and the staff will be able to see first-hand if any work was done over the summer.

"I think some of the guys have put some time in," he added. "The way we finished last year opened some new goals for us. I'm hoping this group wants to take what happened and build on it, but it's up to each individual player on whether they've put the work in or not."

On paper, the returners the Black and Gold has back, coupled with what Griffith and his staff see as a strong first-year class, could equal more success this fall.

Beginning with the offense, MU's head coach points to a deep front line to lead the way. The senior quartet of Adam Cantwell (Elkhart, Ind.), Cody Larimore (Walton, Ind.), Tommy Webster (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and Eric Courter (Carmel, Ind.) is joined by sophomore D'Ante Dorsey (Indianapolis, Ind.) and a list of others to plow the road for what looks like another solid Spartan running and passing attack. "It definitely starts up front," Griffith said. "It'll be nice having so much experience along the line which includes the fact that Courter and Cantwell earned all-conference honors last year."

The line will be out in front of a skills' unit led by senior quarterback Nick Williams (Fort Wayne, Ind.), junior running back Austin Adams (Dowagiac, Mich.) and senior tight end Ryne Lehrman (Hoagland, Ind.). Williams helped the late-season charge last fall with second-team all-HCAC honors due to throwing for over 1200 and rushing for better than 800 yards, while Adams was second on the rushing list with just under 500 yards on the ground, and Lehrman hauled in three receiving scores and provided a key blocking component for the rushing attack.

"Nick helped settle down an unclear picture at quarterback last season," Griffith said. "We needed that to happen, and I'm hoping to see him contribute to the offensive leadership. Austin came around midway through the year, too, to gain a large share of the running back opportunities. Ryne did a strong job off the bench behind Dante Dinkins and will be looked at to handle the same dual role this year.

"Despite all of the returners, there are still questions around the offense going into camp," he added. "I want to see how Lehrman handles both roles at tight end, as Dinkins was so key for us. We also need to figure out the wide receiver area, as replacing a Kurt Monix may take some time. I do like what junior Collin Huffine (Centerville, Ind.) and sophomore Lance Shifferly (Decatur, Ind.) did last season, so we have some options. There may also be some new faces we can look at. Overall, there will be some competition for spots which make everyone that much better."

Griffith's thoughts on the defense were somewhat similar.

"Our strength will be the front seven," he said. "We are nearly two deep at each spot." The junior duo of Stephen Coble (Edwardsburg, Mich.) and Jon Scribner (Fort Wayne, Ind.) anchor the group, as Coble recorded a team-high eight sacks and 16 tackles for losses, while Scribner finished with five sacks and nine tackles for losses. Seniors Dan Hunter (Monroeville, Ind.), Dave Wilson (LaPorte, Ind.), and Don Campbell (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and junior Travis Yoakum (Delphi, Ind.) each earned valuable playing time last year, too.

Behind that unit is a strong linebacking corps led by the senior combination of Dylin Kennedy (North Manchester, Ind.) and Zach Dashner (South Bend, Ind.). Dashner, en route to all-conference honors last fall, compiled a team-high 98 tackles. Kennedy ended with 57. Griffith added that junior Evan West (Hartford City, Ind.) was a pleasant surprise last season with 65 tackles.

"We found something good in Evan, as he really took off for us," he said. "I'm expecting big things from this group, as they will lead a youthful bunch behind them. With Zach and Dylin as overall defensive leaders coming in, they should be in good shape."

MU's defensive question mark comes from the defensive backfield. The Spartans do have experience with the likes of sophomore Taylor Anglemeyer (Waakrusa, Ind.) and senior Nick Miller (Huntington, Ind.), who gained playing time a year ago, but many new faces will be among the potential scheme.

"I just look back at last year," Griffith noted. "We didn't know what we had coming into camp, but Jake Butler and Matt Frieden both stepped up for huge seasons. I think there's a chance that could happen again, but we will have competition to see who the new leaders will be."

The final, but possible, biggest question needing answered in camp is in regards to special teams. With two-time HCAC Player of the Year Kyle Evans having graduated last spring, the jobs are open in both place-kicking and punting. "We've got some potential individuals we'll look at, but this is the first time in quite a while we don't have a back-up ready to step right in," Griffith said. "It's such a key spot, too. Kyle was able to turn field position or get us points if the offense sputtered near the red zone and so forth. We need to find some answers."

Sep. 16: All times Eastern
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at Worcester State 42, Fitchburg State 26
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at Ursinus 35, Juniata 28
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Salve Regina 27, at Dean 0
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at Johns Hopkins 37, Moravian 7
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Massachusetts Maritime 34, at Maine Maritime 25
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Wesley 33, at TCNJ 0
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at RPI 31, Western New England 14
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Buffalo State 53, at Morrisville State 48
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at Rochester 14, Alfred State 7
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Stevenson 52, at FDU-Florham 14
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Union 31, at Gallaudet 21
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at Williams 28, Bowdoin 14
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Sewanee 29, at Austin 17
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at Middlebury 30, Wesleyan 27
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at Tufts 35, Hamilton 28
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Salisbury 21, at Kean 13
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at Olivet 37, Aurora 21
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at Amherst 41, Bates 17
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at Trinity (Conn.) 35, Colby 0
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at Franklin and Marshall 43, McDaniel 41
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Montclair State 24, at Southern Virginia 0
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Rowan 41, at William Paterson 14
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Springfield 66, at Mount Ida 20
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UW-Platteville 38, at Hampden-Sydney 29
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DePauw 55, at Hiram 28
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at Alma 45, Benedictine 40
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at Trine 55, Wisconsin Lutheran 7
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at Albion 79, Concordia (Wis.) 7
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Dickinson 24, at Gettysburg 21
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at Wooster 38, Ohio Wesleyan 20
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Thiel 28, at Bethany 13
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LaGrange 39, at Methodist 30
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at Wabash 62, Kenyon 7
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King's 44, at Lebanon Valley 39
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at Martin Luther 42, Iowa Wesleyan 20
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at MIT 31, Endicott 26
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at Alfred 24, Utica 17
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Maryville (Tenn.) 56, at Emory and Henry 46
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Averett 19, at Ferrum 7
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at Catholic 25, Randolph-Macon 20
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Susquehanna 14, at Muhlenberg 11
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at Cortland 31, Hartwick 30
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Brevard 63, at Greensboro 7
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Ithaca 24, at St. Lawrence 13
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at St. Scholastica 48, Westminster (Mo.) 18
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MacMurray 48, at Crown 34
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at Greenville 21, Northwestern (Minn.) 15
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Eureka 48, at Minnesota-Morris 20
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UW-Whitewater 40, at Washington U. 21
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at Widener 34, Misericordia 21
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at Coast Guard 13, Nichols 0
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at Hope 37, Lakeland 35
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Heidelberg 40, at Ohio Northern 21
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Carnegie Mellon 30, at Waynesburg 20
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Mount Union 69, at Marietta 3
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at Centre 52, Hendrix 42
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Albright 21, at Lycoming 17
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Bluffton 32, at Mount St. Joseph 31
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at Franklin 42, Defiance 12
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at Anderson 27, Earlham 16
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SUNY-Maritime 38, at Merchant Marine 31
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Concordia-Chicago 41, at Kalamazoo 29
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at Rose-Hulman 38, Hanover 28
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John Carroll 24, at Baldwin Wallace 21
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at Otterbein 56, Wilmington 28
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Trinity (Texas) 28, at Millsaps 26
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at Buena Vista 39, Central 38
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at Concordia-Moorhead 31, Bethel 7
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St. John's 56, at St. Olaf 7
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Gustavus Adolphus 42, at Augsburg 37
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Coe 35, at Nebraska Wesleyan 25
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Wartburg 40, at Simpson 31
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Elmhurst 23, at North Park 20
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at Huntingdon 41, N.C. Wesleyan 30
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at Hardin-Simmons 55, Louisiana College 10
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UW-River Falls 30, at Missouri Baptist 3
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at Whitworth 53, La Verne 0
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St. Thomas 63, at Carleton 0
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Denison 62, at Allegheny 26
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Lewis and Clark 40, at Pomona-Pitzer 29
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at Wittenberg 34, Oberlin 0
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at Western Connecticut 37, Plymouth State 29
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Washington and Lee 24, at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 14
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Warner at Pacific Lutheran
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Cal Lutheran 28, at Willamette 13
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Mary Hardin-Baylor 24, at Linfield 3
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at George Fox 13, Redlands 10
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at Mass-Dartmouth 51, Westfield State 26
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at Castleton 28, Norwich 14
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at Berry 34, Rhodes 13
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Brockport 38, at St. John Fisher 7
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at WPI 38, Becker 0
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at Adrian 62, Rockford 7
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Frostburg State 33, at Christopher Newport 30
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at Hobart 56, Shenandoah 30
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at Case Western Reserve 42, Grove City 10
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at Davidson 42, Guilford 21
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at Bridgewater 52, The Apprentice School 0
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at Capital 39, Muskingum 28
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at Washington and Jefferson 37, Thomas More 29
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at North Central (Ill.) 26, Illinois Wesleyan 13
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at McMurry 33, Howard Payne 21
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at Dubuque 27, Loras 24
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at Wheaton (Ill.) 37, Carthage 14
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at Texas Lutheran 37, Belhaven 0
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at Carroll 28, Augustana 25
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St. Vincent 31, at Geneva 27
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East Texas Baptist 28, at Southwestern 10
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Pacific at Occidental
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Sep. 16: All times Eastern
Final
Wesley 33, at TCNJ 0
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at Johns Hopkins 37, Moravian 7
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at Alfred 24, Utica 17
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UW-Platteville 38, at Hampden-Sydney 29
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Mount Union 69, at Marietta 3
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John Carroll 24, at Baldwin Wallace 21
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at Hardin-Simmons 55, Louisiana College 10
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St. John's 56, at St. Olaf 7
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at Concordia-Moorhead 31, Bethel 7
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at Whitworth 53, La Verne 0
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St. Thomas 63, at Carleton 0
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at Wittenberg 34, Oberlin 0
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Mary Hardin-Baylor 24, at Linfield 3
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at George Fox 13, Redlands 10
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Final
Brockport 38, at St. John Fisher 7
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Frostburg State 33, at Christopher Newport 30
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at Case Western Reserve 42, Grove City 10
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at Washington and Jefferson 37, Thomas More 29
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at Wheaton (Ill.) 37, Carthage 14
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at North Central (Ill.) 26, Illinois Wesleyan 13
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