Spring football season has arrived. While the spring season does not include games against other teams, the competition turns internal as the players earn their starting positions for the fall season.
“Spring workouts are geared towards getting stronger and becoming a better athlete,” said Keir Stamp, defensive line. “While fall workouts are geared towards maintaining our bodies to stay healthy for the long season.”
However, before the players even begin scrimmages and reps, they undergo conditioning. The team undergoes five weeks of conditioning and then three days of testing. Afterwards, spring ball begins with practices and scrimmages. Each player is held to the standard of the NCAA national champion team’s player in that same position. The Northwest Missouri State Bearcats have won two years in a row and have set the standards to which each player is to reach for physical conditions like weights, speed, body fat etc.
“My favorite thing about the spring season is scrimmage,” said corner Orlando Ward. “In the fall we are a lot more play-oriented but right now it is about getting your technique down and basically showing everything you have.”
Spring football creates a dynamic environment conducive for optimizing individual performance before the roster is made and before the team begins focusing on collective performance. The players compete for starting positions, which are never guaranteed, no matter how long a player may have already held his position.
“If you’re not doing your best or not the best person playing, you don’t want to hurt your team – so you want somebody on your coattail at all times trying to make you better and trying to push you to be better,” said Ward.
This season, the team welcomes two new coaches to the staff. New Defensive Coordinator and Outside Linebacker Coach, Chuck Lliteras, is returning to Jewell after he coached here ten years ago.
“I look forward to what [Lliteras] is bringing to the table,” said Stamp, remarking that the coach has already had an influence on the defenses intensity.
Offensive Line Coach and Recruiting Coordinator Quinn Brown is also a new member of the coaching staff. He began his coaching career with Jewell football five years ago.
“It is also good to see some of the coaches step into roles they weren’t in before and take on more responsibility,” said Quayde Bauman, linebacker. “I have noticed a change since last season already.”
This spring season is an optimistic time for the team, with mottos like “humble and hungry.”
“We think that is important because we have nowhere to go but up from here,” said Bauman, “So it’s important to remember that we can always be better and to get better there has to be a certain drive from our players not only on the field but in the weight and meeting rooms as well.”
There is a lot of potential to be manifested this season under the leadership of seniors, who plan to leave it all out on the field and solidify a legacy as their final fall season approaches.
“You want to leave everything you have on the field for your last year – no stones unturned,” said Ward. “My goal is to leave off on something that I can be proud of. It will always be in the back of my head during spring.”
The first game of 2017 is scheduled Aug. 31 against South Dakota Mines at 6 p.m.