Archive for Thursday, July 22, 2010

Baker’s Grossner pleased with summer efforts so far

July 22, 2010

Mike Grossner was pleased with his Baker University football team’s first competitive outing of the summer.

Less than two weeks ago, his Wildcats hosted Ottawa University in their first week of the 7-on-7 passing league. Baker won the contest 32-26 over the Braves.

“I liked our turnout,” Grossner said. “I liked our energy. I just felt like there was a point where we kind of fell asleep a little bit. We’ve got to have our leaders step up and understand the moment, which means executing and putting teams away when you have the chance. Overall, we are pleased. As a staff, it helped us answer some questions seeing guys perform, good and bad.

“I’m more concerned with our guys than anything else during the summer,” he said. “I’m a firm believer that you learn to win and compete during the summer. You’ve got to have the mindset to win every time you go out there, pads on or not.”

The Wildcats and Braves played Sunday in Ottawa and they will play twice more before their summer ends. Less than a month after the final 7-on-7 game, they will play in the College Fanz First Down Classic in Ottawa to open the 2010 season.

“It’s nice to go against them and have a feel for what they are doing,” Grossner said. “I think that first game is going to be great. There is a lot of mystery, but I feel good about our team. It’s a big game, because it’s the first game of a tough three-game stretch for us to open the year.”

As for his team, Grossner is pleased with the progress from the end of last fall’s campaign, when the Wildcats finished 7-3. They lost several key position players, including quarterback Mack Brown, running back Richie Bryant and a handful of wide receivers.

Zach Faust, the Wildcats’ returning top contender for the quarterback spot, will compete against Jake Morris, a transfer from Kansas University, for the starting job. In the back field, Grossner is predicting several players to see time early in the season.

It’s his wide receiver crew that has the Wildcats’ coach most excited. He hopes to have more speed at the position than he did last fall.

“Our receiver position is going to be very strong,” Grossner said. “We are going to be very similar to our 2008 crew that could vertically stretch the field. We should have a lot of guys who can do a lot of different things, but most of all, we’ll have speed. I felt like we lacked great speed in our receiving core last year.”

Grossner even tried to test his wide receivers’ speed during their first 7-on-7 game. Some players produced positive results.

“There were certain plays we called just to see if, number one, they could get behind people and, number two, come down with the ball,” Grossner said. “Some of them did and some didn’t.”

For now, the Wildcats will keep preparing for their first practice in August. Once they start, they have two weeks to prepare for their opening game.

“I’m running out of time this summer,” Grossner said. “It’s less than a month once that calendar hit July 13. There is an urgency since we come to camp Aug. 14 and we play Aug. 28. We’ve got a lot of new guys, so there is an urgency to get in shape and understand what we’re teaching them.”

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