Bluffton at Alma preview
Bluffton University at Alma College
When: Saturday, September 6, 2008 at 2 p.m.
Where: Alma, Michigan - Bahlke Field
On the Radio: Listen live to Bluffton University football on WDOH 107.1 FM.
Bluffton University opens its 2008 campaign with the first of three consecutive contests against foes from the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association when it travels to Alma College. Following a bye week the Beavers will make the short trip to Adrian College on Sept. 20 before the home opener against Kalamazoo College in Salzman Stadium on Sept. 27 at 1:30 p.m.
Tyson Veidt will make his debut on the Bluffton sidelines when the Beavers open their 2008 season against the Scots from Alma. Despite taking over the reins just eight short months ago, Veidt and his staff at Bluffton currently have 53 first-year players on the squad. Veidt comes to Bluffton after assistant coaching stints at West Virginia and Indiana. Most recently he was the defensive coordinator for Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa. New additions to the Bluffton coaching staff are Chris Krieg, Bo White, Jason Diller and Brian Hefner. Returning to the Beavers are Denny Phillips, Lou Stokes, Bryan Lloyd and Bill Fisher.
Alma is led by Jim Cole who is entering his 18th season at the helm of the Scots. In 2004, Cole led the Scots to the MIAA title and a berth in the NCAA Division III national playoffs, the second time in three years the Scots advanced to the NCAA postseason. Alma hosted its second-ever playoff game as Carthage (Wis.) defeated the Scots 31-28 in '04. In 2002, Cole led the Scots to the MIAA title and a berth in the NCAA Division III national playoffs.
Bluffton-Alma Series History
Bluffton and Alma will meet for the first time since 1992 when the Beavers kick off their 2008 campaign on Sept. 6. Alma holds a 9-5 edge in the all-time series which dates back to 1953. The Beavers won four consecutive contests over the Scots from 1961-66, but Alma has been victorious in six of the last seven meetings, including a win at Bluffton in 1992.
Leading the Beavers
The Beavers have three of the top four receivers as well as their top rushing threat back from a year ago. Both quarterbacks who took snaps last season are also back to lead the Bluffton offense in 2008. Greg Mason (Cleveland/Collinwood) paced the running game with 414 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. He also caught 11 passes for 132 yards. Senior tight end Joel Sienicki (Goshen, Ind./Northridge) led Bluffton with 33 receptions and 291 yards. Also back is Drew Lovelace (Trumansburg, NY/Charles U. Dickerson) who hauled in 17 passes for 238 yards and two scores. Senior Kyle Coleman (Etna/Watkins Memorial), who has been moved to safety this year, and junior Brock Miller (Cincinnati/Oak Hills) split time under center for the Beavers in 2007. Coleman completed 89 passes for 991 yards and four touchdowns while Miller was 26-of-40 on passing attempts with two touchdown strikes.
The Beavers will need to fill the shoes left by all-time leading tackler Sam McCullough who finished with 458 career tackles, including 150 stops as a senior. Three-time All-Heartland Conference defensive end Kyle Rode (Delphos/Jefferson) is back to make life miserable for opposing quarterbacks. He had 42 tackles, including a team-high nine sacks, a year ago. Rode also picked off two passes and recovered a fumble. Moving from defensive end to linebacker is senior Mitch Agner (Leipsic/Leipsic) who piled up 41 stops and 4.5 tackles-for-loss as a junior. Junior defensive back and local product Brandon Herr (Bluffton/Bluffton) recorded 48 tackles and broke up five passes last season.
Next up for the Beavers and Scots
Bluffton will travel to Adrian College on Saturday, September 20, following a bye week on Sept. 13. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Adrian. Alma will make the trip to Bloomington, Ill. to face Illinois Wesleyan on Sept. 13 at 12 p.m.