Bluffton returns nine starters on each side of the ball in 2009
August 19, 2009
By: Justin Crosier, sports information intern
Click here to view the HCAC pre-season coaches poll
|As the Bluffton University football team prepares to kick off the 2009 season, the
Beavers sport a positive attitude after adding a talented and deep incoming class
that will challenge for playing time right away. Head Coach Tyson Veidt stated, "We
will continue to focus on fundamentals as a football team, success will always be
about how we block and tackle." He added, "The team is still youthful with many of
our returners being sophomores, but we are more confident in our experience as a team
going into this season."
||The Beavers, who started many freshmen in key positions last year, finished the 2008
season with a 1-9 record, however, the prospect of getting back on the field in 2009
has Coach Veidt and his assistants excited for the new season. Veidt quipped, "It
is critical that we develop, retain, and recruit each year as we build a football
program here at Bluffton University." Recruiting is one area that Veidt and his staff
excelled at during the 2008-09 off-season, his first full year as head coach, bringing
in over 70 new faces to the Beavers. Veidt continued, "With the numbers we have we
are able to build depth throughout all positions and this is critical when building
a competitive program at any playing level."
|Having over 50 returners who played for Coach Veidt a year ago, the drills and practices
will be able to move at a faster pace than last season and coaches can implement more
of their schemes earlier in the season. Looking for leadership from all 14 seniors,
Veidt is confident that if the team works hard and maintains a positive attitude,
good things will happen. Veidt stressed, "Our goals are to continue to improve our
fundamentals of football in all three phases. We want to be more consistent on a consecutive
play basis while competing on a weekly basis with our opponents."
|With nine 2008 starters returning on each side of the ball, Bluffton has a wealth
of experience back at key positions. The Beavers will count on a pair of second team
All-HCAC selections from a year ago to put points on the board for Bluffton in 2009.
Senior kicker Jon Thompson, who was recently named to the Fred Mitchell Watch List,
and sophomore receiver Antwane Miller combined to score 49 points last season. Miller
and Thompson were both recognized as Heartland Conference Players of the Week during
2008. On the defensive side, three honorable mention All-HCAC honorees return for
the Beavers, including the top two tacklers, sophomore Steven Sealscott and senior
Brandon Herr along with junior Mitch Dunlap who picked off a team-high four passes
and recovered three fumbles as a sophomore.
|New to this year's coaching staff will be two former Beavers. Kyle Coleman, a starting
quarterback and defensive back for Bluffton who was an honorable mention All-Heartland
Conference selection as a senior, will be coaching the safeties, while Jeff Richards,
an All-HCAC center for the Beavers in 2007, will guide the tight ends. Brian Mason,
a Denison University product, takes over the defensive line. Clarence Vaughn comes
to Bluffton after playing collegiately at Northern Illinois and in the NFL for the
Washington Redskins. He will be assisting the Beavers on the defensive side of the
||Head Coach Tyson Veidt is returning for his second year as head coach. Denny Phillips
is embarking on his 21st season with the Beavers, coaching the defensive backs. Lou
Stokes, who is also returning for his 20th year, will coach the running backs while
serving as the team's director of academic support. Second-year coach Chris Krieg
will direct the offensive line and return as the offensive coordinator. Bo White is
also back for his second year and he will again lead the passing game as the wide
receivers' coach and pass-game coordinator.
|The Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference looks to be even more balanced than it
was a year ago as Franklin bid adieu to quarterback Chad Rupp, a two-time Player of
the Year in the HCAC. With a balanced group of teams coming back this year it looks
to be very competitive each week. Mt. St. Joseph, a perennial power in the HCAC during
the last decade, struggled to a 5-5 mark a year ago, including a 3-4 finish in the
conference. Hanover and Defiance did not reach the win column until the second half
of the season in 2008, but they both showed marked improvement late in the year. Rose-Hulman,
Manchester and Anderson all have key components back this year, helping to increase
the parity in an already balanced HCAC.
|The Beavers will open their 2009 season on September 5 at home against Alma College.
Following a bye week on the 12th, Bluffton continues with its second straight contest
at Salzman Stadium against Adrian College on Sept. 19th. Bluffton finishes its non-conference
slate with its third MIAA opponent of the season when it travels to Kalamazoo College
on Sept. 26. The Beavers have a tough test in their HCAC opener as they make the trip
down Interstate 75 for a battle at Mount St. Joseph on October 3. Bluffton wraps up
its 2009 campaign when it goes to long-time rival Defiance College on November 14.