Warhawks Overcome La Crosse With Tried and True Formula

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The formula is almost as old as football itself.  Run the ball. Stop the run.  Get after the passer. Prevent the big play. Make explosive plays.  Don’t lose the turnover battle.  As UW-W demonstrated Friday night, if a team checks those boxes, it can overcome a whole lot.  And the Warhawks had a lot to overcome Friday night. A 40 minute lightening delay, a driving rain most of the night, a 17-2 disparity in penalties called, and an opponent, La Crosse, who came into the game 5-0 and had the game circled since the end of last season. Last year, the Eagles outgained the Warhawks 506-339 and led heading into the fourth quarter before succumbing at home 32-22.  That loss was the Eagles' first of five consecutive losses to close the 2016 season.   Like this year, La Crosse was 5-0 heading into the showdown with Whitewater. And like last year, the Eagles left the field disappointed as the Warhawks earned a 21-14 victory.

         On this wet and stormy night, both teams did a good job of protecting the football.  Each team lost one fumble and threw no interceptions.  Had the Warhawks been sloppy with the ball, this one could have slipped away.  However, as it was the Warhawks rode to victory on an excellent defensive effort and dominance along the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.  On a night on which running the ball would be at even more at a premium than usual, the Warhawks made sure they checked that box with a big, bold checkmark.  The Warhawks outgained La Crosse 275 to 51 on the ground.  Tailback Drew Patterson carried the load Friday night toting the ball 32 times for 221 yards and three touchdowns.  Patterson’s fourth quarter 93 yard touchdown burst was the Hawks’ longest run since a 97 yard touchdown run by Justin Beaver in 2006.

         In the meantime, the UW-W defense was in lockdown mode.  The Hawks stonewalled La Crosse’s running game,  limiting the Eagles to 51 rushing yards on 40 carries.  Jacob Erbs and Harry Henschler led the way with ten and nine tackles respectively.  Henschler also led the harassment of Eagle quarterbacks registering three of the Warhawks’ five sacks. Henschler now has 9.5 sacks for the season. UW-W was by far the most explosive team on Friday night, with five plays gaining 20 yards or more. Included in those plays was Patterson’s 93 yard run and a 53 yard sprint by Jarrod Ware.  LaCrosse’s lone gain over 20 yards was a 21 yard pass completion with less than five minutes remaining in the game and the Eagles battling a 14 point deficit.

         The Warhawks’ next game is a UW-River Falls this coming Saturday.  Kickoff is set for noon.


Character, Defense, and Ball Security

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      There was much about the Hawks' home opener Saturday that was neither expected nor invited.  A 1-3 record and a (-10) turnover ratio heading into the game was not the script UW-W expected.  The rain and wind did not exactly create an idyllic setting for Family Day.  And UW-Stout entering the game as the 23rd ranked team in the nation was a surprise to...well...everyone in the nation, other than perhaps the Blue Devils.    It all added up to one big character check for the UW-Whitewater football team.  And the Hawks responded.  One week after giving up an astronomical 589 yards to UW-Oshkosh, the Hawks defense clamped down limiting the Blue Devils to 221 yards and took the ball away three times in posting a 14-0 victory. 

     Offensively, the Hawks also gained only 221 yards.  However, after grabbing a 14-0 second quarter lead in a bad weather game, they knew that the ticket to a badly needed victory would be ball security.  Mission accomplished. The Warhawks had no turnovers all day and successfully rode out the shutout victory.  Drew Patterson led UW-W in rushing, grinding out 110 yards in 28 carries. Quarterback Cole Wilber  dumped a screen pass to Tony Gumina who took it to the house from 28 yards to open the scoring in the first quarter.  In the second quarter Wilber hit a wide open Marcus Hudson for a 20 yard touchdown to extend the Warhawk lead.  From there, facing a strong Stout defense and refusing to take unnecessary chances, the Hawks punted on seven straight possessions.  Then, with 6:24 remaining in the game, Whitewater went on a 12 play drive, running out the clock to end the game. With the victory, the Warhawks balanced the WIAC record at 1-1.  The Hawks host UW-LaCrosse (5-0,  2-0) Friday night at Perkins Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:00 PM.

Saturday’s Opponent: UW-Stout

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Senior Dominated Defense

    The old saying “Defense Wins Championships”  has proven itself remarkably true at every level over the course of time.  While it’s far too early in the season to know the real contenders for the 2017 WIAC  crown, UW-Stout has put their best defensive foot forward during their first three games.  The Blue Devils opened with a 17-0 blanking of Simpson College.  In addition to the scoreboard goose egg, Stout limited Simpson to 15 first downs and only 62 yards rushing in 28 attempts.  UW-S followed that effort with a 25-22 upset of the University of St. Thomas.  Stout held the powerful Tommies to 315 yards, including only 100 rushing yards in 36 attempts.  After a couple of weeks off, the Blue Devils opened WIAC play last week at UW-Platteville.  A couple of big plays put the Pioneers over the top against the Blue Devils 34-27. In the last 17 minutes of the game, the Pioneers connected on TD passes of 54 yards and 37 yards to secure the win.  In spite of the 34 points allowed and two big plays, the Blue Devils defense did post some impressive numbers.  They held the Pioneers to just 306 yards of total offense, including 61 yards rushing in 30 attempts.  The Blue Devils also recorded four quarterback sacks against both the Tommies and the Pioneers. In all, eight different Blue Devils have registered a combined ten sacks in 2017. 

         Stout’s defense is anchored by nine senior starters.  The seniors are spread across every level. The starting lineup consists of seniors at all three defensive line spots, three of four linebacker positions, and three of four defensive back slots.


Balanced Offense

         The Stout offense has produced a reasonably balanced 224 yards per game passing as well as 151 ypg rushing in 2017.  Junior quarterback Jay Alston is in his second year as a starter.  Alston has completed 30 of 62 passes for 410 yards,, with two touchdowns and five interceptions so far this year.  Backup J. Dan Sturgeon engineered Stout’s upset of St. Thomas, completing 13 of 27 touchdowns for 248 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.  The two running backs carrying the load on the ground for the Blue Devils are sophomore Rayshawn Graham and junior Keyshawn Carpenter.  Graham has carried 37 times for 207 yards, a 5.6 yard per carry clip.  Carpenter has carried 32 times for 107 yards, a 3.3 yards per carry average. 

         The Blue Devils have three receivers who have over 100 receiving yards in their three games. Kevion McDonald has caught 15 passes for 176 yards and two touchdowns.  Akema Collins has caught 10 passes for 200 yards.  Brian Sandifer has caught seven passes for 139 yards and a touchdown. 

Special Teams Solid But Not Spectacular

         Punter Clark Riedel has punted eleven times for an average of 38.6 yards per punt.  He has one touchback, two placed inside the 20, prompted three fair catches, and a long of 56 yards.  Pre-season First Team All-American kicker has made all four of his kicks inside 40 yards and missed all three of his kicks beyond 40.  Primary kickoff man Taylor Pahl has averaged 62.1 yards per kickoff, has three touchbacks, and has kicked three out of bounds.  The Blue Devil punt return team blocked one punt and have returned 7 punts for 19 yards.  Their kickoff return unit averages 18.3 yards per return.  Their punt coverage unit has yielded 8.5 yards per return with a long of 13 yards.  Their kick-off coverage has allowed 28.4 yards per return including a long of 63 yards.

Hawks Fall to UW-Oshkosh 37-20

     It was a tale of two halves that ended poorly for the Warhawks on Saturday as they opened their WIAC season with a 37-20 loss to Oshkosh.  In the first half, the Hawks couldn't generate much offense or any points, but the defense held up pretty well in spite of a13-0 halftime deficit.  The biggest defensive blemish in the first half was a 96 yard TD pass from Brett Kasper to Sam Mentkowski. That play was the longest pass completion in UW-Oshkosh history.  In the second half, the Warhawks' offense ignited, with three scoring drives of  85, 94, and 92 yards, pulling to within 23-20 with 10:49 left in the game.  Less than two minutes later, Kasper hit Mentkowski again, this time for a 53 yard touchdown and the Oshkosh lead was 30-20. Then two plays later, the Titans intercepted a Cole WIlber pass at the Oshkosh 37.  The Titans proceeded to embark on a 63 yard scoring drive to provide the final margin.  The Warhawks continue WIAC play with their long awaited home opener on Saturday, October 7th against UW-Stout.  The Blue Devils lost a tight WIAC opener at UW-Platteville, 34-27



“Gentlemen, This is a Football”


     With five simple words, Green Bay Packers’ Head Coach Vince Lombardi sent a very clear message to his team at the beginning of training camp.  They were going to focus on the basics.  And that may very well be the approach of the UW-W coaching staff as the 1-2 Warhawks re-set and prepare for the all-important WIAC schedule. 

         Having outgained every non-conference opponent and totaled 18 more first downs in those three games, the Warhawks have seen a negative seven turnover number ruin their opportunity to emerge from the early portion of their schedule unscathed.  Taking care of the ball on offense and creating takeaways on defense have long been a hallmark of the UW-W program.  While the 2017 team’s major goals remain intact, to fulfill them, it is vital they clean it up when it comes to the basics.

         Their first three games have seen the Hawks fumble six times (losing five of them) and throw three interceptions.  Also throwing the Hawks out of synch have been a number of poor snaps from center and 25 penalties.  The basics.  Most, if not all of these mistakes would be considered unforced errors.  In other words, UW-W hasn’t had a problem being beaten by other teams so much as they have had a problem beating themselves. 

         The Hawks have outgained their opponents by an average of 409 to 281.3 per game.  They have averaged 5.4 yard per play to their opponents 4.1 yards per play.  UW-W has punted merely 14 times to their opponents 22 times.  The UW-W defense has sacked the QB 13 times, while the offense has allowed only two sacks.  These are not the numbers of a 1-2 football team.  But the Warhawks are a 1-2 football team.  Because of the basics.

         At it’s most basic level, football is a very simple game.  Take care of the ball, execute the fundamentals, and take ball away now and then.  With the talent, depth, and overall strength of the 2017 Warhawks, this formula has the potential to be highly successful.  With their strength along the line of scrimmage and physical style of play on both sides of the ball, this team has the potential to wear teams down and secure fourth quarter victories when necessary.  With a strong armed quarterback, talented receivers, and rare depth at running back, the offense has the ability to both strike quick and sustain long drives.  With a young, aggressive defensive line, big, fast, and experienced linebackers, and fast and athletic defensive backs, this defense will likely begin to produce takeaways.  With an accurate placekicker, a senior punter off to a good start, talented return men, and athletic coverage units, special teams ought to be a decisive advantage against most opponents. 

         But none of it matters unless the Hawks take care of the basics.  Gentlemen, this is a football.  Offense, take care of it at all costs. Defense, rip it away as often as you can.  Most of all,  wear opponents down through the relentless execution of fundamentals.  Execute those fundamentals as if your life depends on it.  Because in terms of your 2017 goals, it pretty much does. 

     Hawks Take Flight With Huge Fourth Quarter

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When Washington University scored with 1:20 remaining in the third quarter, it would have been easy for the Warhawks to think “Here we go again”.  Instead, plagued by an 0-2 start and staring down a 14-13 deficit after three quarters,  the UW-Whitewater football team responded with a forceful  “Enough is enough” on a steamy 90 degree Saturday afternoon in St. Louis. Offensively, UW-W scored four fourth quarter touchdowns on consecutive drives of 79, 70, 60, and 59 yards as the Warhawks  pulled away to a 40-21 victory.    Heading into the fourth quarter, the refrain wasn’t altogether different than the first two weeks.  Through three quarters the Hawks had amassed 321 yards of total offense but only 13 points.  In the fourth quarter, UW-W gained 243 yards and scored 27 points.  While the Warhawks once again lost the turnover battle (2-0), their dominance was such it didn’t matter.  The Hawks outgained the Bears 564 yards to 249. UW-W gained 6.7 yards per play compared to Wash U’s average 3.3 yards per play. 

         Defensively, although the Hawks didn’t create any takeaways, they did sack the Bears’ QB nine times and held Wash U’s running game to less than one yard per carry on their 34 rushing attempts.     

         The Warhawks will have a bye week next week and will open WIAC play on September 30 at UW-Oshkosh.

Saturday's Opponent: Washington University

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Washington University Bears: Notes and Anecdotes


 *The Bears are 1-1 following their 28-12 victory over Chicago last Saturday.  Week one, Wash U lost to Carnegie Mellon 28-7. 

 *With nine defensive starters returning from last year, veteran Head Coach Larry Kindbom is counting on his defense to carry his team while the offense continues to jell.  They are a fast, experienced defense that flies to the ball.

 *The Bears rank 8th in NCAA D-III in sacks with 4.5 sacks per game and 22nd in interceptions with four. 

 *Offensively, Wash U took a big jump from game one to game two.  After gaining just 211 yards and getting 12 first downs in game one, the Bears rolled to 446 total yards and 26 first downs last week.

 *Wash U did turn the ball over an astounding nine times in their victory over Chicago, including interceptions on five consecutive second quarter series. The Bears also had a punt blocked for a safety.

 *The Bears have struggled on 3rd down so far converting only six of 32 third down opportunities.



Hawks Staying the Course

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     There are a lot of things happening these days at the Bob Berezowitz Student Athletic Complex, home of the UW-Whitewater football coaches’ offices.  Panic isn’t one of them.  “Obviously, we are terribly unhappy being 0-2,” Head Coach Kevin Bullis remarked in his weekly teleconference call with the media.  “When you are 0-2 and not used to that, the vulnerability is over-reacting, overcompensating.  The key thing is making corrections. Corrections on scheme, corrections on play, and those types of things.  The main thing after these last two games is analyzing.  Analyzing the key pieces that led to the results.  The situations that led to this to me are obvious. One, this last game, we gave up a long play. We can’t do that.  The other thing we did, we gave up too many yards on the ground.  I would even say that about the first game. To me, that is a key challenge to our defense, to do a better job playing run defense.  That is a key piece of correction for us.” 

         “The other part that sticks out and is obvious, when I go back and look at all of our turnovers, there is one common denominator. And it is called ‘pressing’. If you look at every one of the turnovers, we were pressing on every one of them. That was the whole thing,” Bullis continued.  The Head Coach then detailed each of UW-W’s six turnovers and described how players in those moments either tried to do too much or tried to do it too fast.  He indicated many of Whitewater’s penalties were the result of pressing as well.  “ ‘Relax, fellas.  You don’t have to press in those situations.  What you have to do is stay in the present and focus on what you have to do.'  If you eliminate just a couple of those events, we are standing here at 2-0.  That’s the reality of it.  But we aren’t 2-0, we are 0-2.  But don't over-react.”

         Coach Bullis emphasized that the Warhawks’ long term goals are still intact.  “Everything we do is about winning the WIAC.  So we need to keep ourselves focused on the long term goal and not let the short term goal distract us from the long term.”  Bullis believes in the talent on his team and he communicated that to his players this week.  “ ‘Guys, you are a talented group of fellas. That’s why you are pressing.’  They know they are better than what’s happening.  But that’s what can cause that cycle to occur.  Because you are a talented group, you put that much more pressure on yourself (when things don’t go as expected).  As a coach, I am teaching them that pressure is a good thing as long as it doesn’t become the focus.  The (player’s) focus has to be on staying in the present and doing what I have to do, now.”

         When asked about positives to come from the first two games, Coach Bullis cited Jarrod Ware’s transition from running back to slot back.  “Last spring we made the switch with Jarrod to really utilize him and getting him the ball in multiple ways.  That I am really pleased with.  The first game, we didn’t take advantage of that very well.  The second game, we took advantage of that really well and we feel really good about that package and we feel really good about what Jarrod did with his opportunities.  He’s a guy we need to continue to get the ball to.  It’s obvious, and I’m very excited about it.”  The third year head coach also cited the team’s running game as something that is on the upswing.  “This last game, we ran the ball better. Up front is Concordia’s strength area. That was a senior dominated group. We really knew it was going to be a challenge to run the football.  They shut down St. Thomas’s run game a year ago. So we were better there and I’m excited about what we are going to be doing this weekend and going forward.” 

         The Warhawks face Washington University in St. Louis, MO on Saturday.  It will be the Hawks’ third game, played in three different states, with none of them being in Wisconsin.  Kickoff is set for noon, CDT.  UW-W will have an opportunity to hit the reset button with a bye next week.  The Hawks then open WIAC play at UW-Oshkosh at 1:00 PM on September 30th

       Own it...Flush it...Reload


       The UW-Whitewater football team enters every game it plays expecting to win.  When a football program has established the level of success UW-W has maintained, victory feels normal and defeat does not.  Win or lose, the challenge of a 10 game regular season is to focus on the specific task at hand, refusing to allow the previous week to be a distraction.  If UW-W had burst out of the gate at 2-0 this year, the focus this week would absolutely have to be to make any necessary corrections and adjustments, focus on the task at hand each day, and be as prepared as they can to play well in St. Louis against Washington University next Saturday.  And that’s exactly what it must be now.

         Starting 0-2 is a different experience for the Warhawks. Players and coaches will experience different emotions at 0-2 than they experience at 2-0.  Conversations with friends and loved ones will be different at 0-2 than they would be at 2-0. Off the field conversations with teammates will also be different at 0-2 than they would be at 2-0.  Everything is easier the week after a victory. Eating, sleeping, practicing, hanging out with friends, everything.

         Everything is easier when you win.  But here’s the thing;  student athletes don’t come to UW-Whitewater for easy.  Student athletes come to Whitewater to compete.  Getting every team’s best shot is a way of life for UW-W.  And it is a challenge the athletes savor.  Challenges aren’t backed away from at Whitewater, they are embraced. Obstacles aren’t avoided, they are met head on and overcome.  The culture at UW-W defines excuses or self-pity as an unacceptable waste of time and energy.  Defeat is dealt with in three steps.  Own it, flush it, and reload.

         Own it.  The Hawks are sitting at 0-2 because of self-inflicted mistakes that are unacceptable for this football team.  That is not an indictment from the outside.  It is simply a fact accepted by everyone in the football program.  Both losses were gut wrenching and ended essentially one yard from an opportunity to avoid defeat. But the truth is that it should have never come down to that.  Six fumbles, 16 penalties, and a negative five turnover number after two games tells the story.  It is what it is. Own it.

         Flush it.  Win or lose, it is imperative not to allow the results of a game to affect the intensity, preparation and focus on the game at hand.  The weak-minded allows losses to define them.   There is nothing weak minded about the UW-W athlete.  This team is too good, too talented, and too filled with potential to allow two disappointing losses to define them. For decades, the primary goal of the UW-W football program has been to win the WIAC Championship.  The 2017 WIAC story has not even begun to be written, yet.  The only impact the first two weeks will have on the 2017 Warhawk season is what their mindset allows.  Learn from it, get motivated by it, allow it to strengthen your resolve, allow it to pull you together as a team. Refuse to entertain doubt.  Then flush it.

         Reload.  Every goal the Warhawks set for the 2017 season remains intact.  While there are corrections to make and improvements to be made, that is to be expected in September. In fact, correction and improvement is the whole purpose of September in the world of the WIAC.  It’s time to get back to work and relentlessly pursue the 2017 goals. Focus on and trust the process.  Refuse to allow the past, the doubts of others, or anything else interfere with the intensity of preparation.  This is an opportunity for the 2017 Warhawks to prove a lot of people wrong.  It’s time to reload!  Pound the Rock Hawks!

Leadership Key as Hawks Plow Forward


         Affable Head Coach Kevin Bullis was his normal, upbeat self during his weekly conference call with the media on Wednesday morning.  And it appears he is asking exactly the same of his team as the Warhawks prepare for Saturday's game against Concordia-Moorhead, coming off a 17-10 upset loss to Illinois Wesleyan University.  Bullis cited self-inflicted mistakes and failure to finish drives as a key part of the season opening defeat.  “To be on the one yard line three times and come away with three points, that’s not what we do, that’s not what we’ve done” Bullis emphasized.   However, the third year head coach is not rattled and doesn’t expect his team to be, either.  “The key thing is for our guys to not get distracted by that experience.  We need to continue to focus on the process of getting better each week."

         Coach Bullis is proud of how his team has responded to the adversity.  ““I am really excited about how they responded immediately after the game.  We do not have a big group of seniors, we have only 11 of them.  But they are a great group. It was really good to see them grab the team.  It is a game we feel like we should have won. We feel like we would have won if we had played in the manner we expected ourselves to play.  We made the mistakes.  Giving away the football is not an option.  The players know that and the seniors really grabbed the bull by the horns after the game. I am really proud how they reacted.”

         Bullis was eager to see how his team’s response would affect their preparation for Concordia-Moorhead, their opponent this coming Saturday.   “Yesterday (Tuesday) was our first practice and the energy was awesome!  It wasn’t over the top by any means. Sometimes you get worried about that as a coach.  Are the guys going to be over the top coming back on Tuesday?  I’ve seen that before.  Or being way too down.  It was perfect. The same tempo, the same energy, the same focus that we know we need to do each day to make ourselves a better football team,” said Bullis.  

         Coach Bullis emphasized with his team that the result of the game isn’t going to be the most important factor coming out of Saturday.  “It’s all about how we respond.  Whether we win or lose that game, the most important thing is whether we make the corrections we need to make.  Whether it is a center exchange with the quarterback, the slant a defensive lineman takes on a blitz, or whether we are playing with inside hands as an offensive lineman. Those are the key pieces we have to take out of that game.  And the players and the leaders know this, our number one goal every year is to win the WIAC Championship.  This past game was preparation for us to be able to pursue that goal.  The most important thing coming out of that game is making the corrections, getting things right, and playing in a manner we expect ourselves to play.”





Concordia-Moorhead Cobbers: A First Glance

 *A Program With Tradition:  This season marks the 100th football season for Concordia Moorhead. The Cobbers have won 18 MIAC Championships and three national championships.  The Cobbers overall record is 526-296-40

 *Head Coach Terry Horan is in his 16th season at C-M and has won 105 games.  He has guided the Cobbers to 31 wins over the past four seasons, the second most of any school in the MIAC. 

 *Strong Ground Game: In 2016, the Cobbers rushed for 264.2 yards per game and threw for only 72.4 yards per game.  Starting quarterback Michael Herzog was named First Team All-MIAC last year.  He rushed for 625 yards and seven touchdowns and he threw for 719 yards and seven touchdowns.  Running back Chad Johnson  rushed for 813 yards, scored 13 touchdowns, and averaged 6.5 yards per carry in 2016.  He got off to a great start in 2017 gaining 134 yards and scoring two touchdowns in only 14 carries in the Cobbers’ ‘34-14 season opening victory over Nebraska Wesleyan. 

 *Strong Defense:  The Cobbers held opponents to only 2.8 yards per carry in 2016 and Nebraska Wesleyan was able to gain 140 yards rushing at a 4.2 ypc clip.  Last year C-M intercepted 16 passes.  They intercepted five more last week against NWU. 

 *Near miss: In 2016, the Cobbers nearly knocked off St. Thomas, the 4th ranked team in the nation.  C-M pulled off an 89 yard hook and ladder pass play with 29 seconds left to take the lead, but St. Thomas scored on a 21 yard pass with just two second left in the game to escape with a win.  The Cobbers rushed for an astronomical 272 yards against the nation’s seventh best run defense at the time.

 *The Cobbers return seven starters on defense and five on offense according to d3football.com. 

Set Back: Determined IWU Capitalizes

     A determined Illinois Wesleyan Titans team held UW-W to 42 yards rushing and took advantage of three Warhawk turnovers in handing UW-W a 17-10 season opening defeat on Saturday.  Three center/QB snap exchanges that went awry undermined the Warhawks on a warm sunny day in Bloomington, IL.  Uncharacteristically, UW-W lost the turnover battle 3-0. The Warhawks advanced to the IWU one yard line on three different occasions and came away with only three points.

      In the second quarter, the Hawks drove 66 yards to the one and settled for a field goal and a 3-0 lead.  After IWU scored to take a 7-3 lead, Whitewater went on the move again. UW-W drove 66 yards to a first and goal on the Titans one.  But on the very next play the Warhawks turned it over.  And finally,  trailing 17-10, the Warhawks took over at their own 44 yard line with 3:48 remaining.   After driving to the IWU 17, the Hawks faced a 3rd and 11.  QB Cole Wilber scrambled 16 yards to a first down on the Titans one with 1:03 left in the game. However, Wilber was shaken up and not available to return for the next play.  The next snap, the Hawks had their third center/QB misfire of the game. When IWU recovered the ball, the Hawks were out of chances. The Hawks look to rebound next Saturday when they travel to Moorhead, Minnesota to face Concordia-Moorhead University next Saturday.  The Cobbers opened their season yesterday with a 34-14 win against Nebraska Wesleyan. 

WIAC Predictions

UW-Oshkosh 27

John Carroll  17

Beating a team that beat you twice last year is a lot to ask for a new coaching staff.


St. Thomas  38

Eau Claire    14

Traveling to St. Thomas a tough task for the Blugolds. St. Thomas is highly touted and some may expect this score to be worse. I don't. UW-EC is still WIAC.


Platteville 27

George Fox 13

Even with the expected starting QB out of action, UW-P has enough.


UW-Stevens Point  38

St. Norbert  20

Point is the WIAC team everyone seems to be overlooking.


UW-Stout  28

Simpson  20

Stout takes one from an Iowa foe that has the feel of a team in transition.


River Falls 38

Coe 31

Falls too much for a Coe team that lost a bunch.


LaCrosse 51

Luther 10

Luther gave up 45 to LaCrosse last year. The Eagles need to start fast after year-end five game losing streak last year.


UW-Whitewater 38

Illinois Wesleyan 10

Warhawks ready to start 2017 in high gear against a good team from a good conference.

UW-W at IWU: Warhawk Keys to Victory

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  *Play Up To Potential-

Playing Illinois Wesleyan (7-2 last year, 5-2 in the CCIW) is a significant step up compared to UW-W’s last three season opening opponents, The College of New Jersey, Bellhaven, and Waldorf.  Not since opening with a hard fought 17-7 victory over Washington University in 2013 has UW-W faced a  challenge comparable to what the Titans will bring on Saturday.  The Hawks will be fine as long as they play well, but it would be a mistake to think IWU will roll over for them.

 *Start Fast-

IWU won their final five games in 2016.  That fills a team with post-season optimism that can carry into the next season.  The Hawks 2016 ended with a disappointing 31-14 NCAA quarterfinal playoff loss to John Carroll.  Having entered that game 12-0, that loss was a bitter pill to swallow for players and coaches alike.  This combination of results could serve as an intangible advantage for the Titans if Whitewater lets it.  If UW-W establishes themselves with the proper demeanor and force early, this intangible could swing in Whitewater’s favor.  If not, this game could be a battle throughout. 

 *Stop the Run-

Yes, this is obvious and a fundamental truth about most football games. And no, “Winning the Turnover Battle” will not be on the list (simply because it is an obvious key to winning any football game).  But IWU is about establishing the run. In their seven victories last season, the Titans rushed the ball an average of 42.7 times per game.  In their two losses, IWU ran only 25 times per game at a 2.4 yard per carry clip. 

 *Prevent Big Plays-

IWU held a 24-17 halftime lead last year against nationally ranked Wheaton College on the strength of touchdown passes of 77, 29, and 46 yards.  While the Titans prefer to run the ball, they will take their shots downfield. 

 *Win the Special Teams’ Battle-

UW-W has intentionally recruited speed in building this roster.  Special teams is an opportunity for that speed to show itself both on the return and coverage units.  The Warhawks have a senior punter and a young kicker in whom they have supreme confidence.  The Titans are replacing their specialists.  Tilting the field position and creating points in drives that stall in Illinois Wesleyan territory will both go a long way towards a satisfying final score for UW-W.


Illinois Wesleyan Titans: First Glance

A first glance look at UW-W's first opponent, the Illinois Wesleyan Titans. Kickoff for the Warhawks' first game of the season is set for Saturday, September 2nd at 1:00 PM.

*Winning Program:  IWU has had winning seasons in 9 of the past 10 seasons, including playoff appearances in 2009, 2011, and 2013.

 *Winning Coach: Head Coach Norm Eash has coached for 30 years at IWU, his alma mater. Eash has compiled a record of 191-101-1 and is the winningest coach in IWU history.  Coach Eash is a five time CCIW Coach of the Year.

 * Key Match-up:  IWU O-Line vs UW-W D-Line:  This match-up will be intriguing.  IWU returns their entire offensive line from 2016, while UW-W will have all new starters on their D-line in 2017, 

 *Good QB Dilemma: IWU sophomore QB Brandon Bauer completed 59.91% of his passes for 1441 yards and 16 TD’s last year. IWU was 6-1 with him as their starter in 2016. Returning after missing 2016 with injury is Jack Warner, the starter in 2014 and 2015. Warner led the Titans to a 7-3 record in 2015. After starting two seasons, Warner ranks 10th all-time for IWU with 3,721 passing yards and 4,051 total offense yards according to IWU’s athletic website (IWUsports.com). 

 *New Skills: For all the experience IWU has in the offensive line and at QB, they will have a completely different look at the skill positions.  Their leading returning receivers are Brian Johnson (10 catches for 164 yards) and Mitch Pfeiffer (9 catches for 94 yards).  Their leading rusher from last year is Morgan Alexander (8 rushes for 27 yards).

 *Back to the Front on Defense: The strength of the defensive unit for the Titans appears to be the defensive backfield, at least in terms of returning experience.  Three starters return to the defensive backfield, including both starting safeties (Brinton Wilkey and Matt Campbell) and one cornerback (Erich Lieser).

 Talent Infusion:  According to a May 12, 2017 article on wjbc.com, the Titans are the beneficiaries of six transfers to the program. All six participated in spring practices for IWU. Five of the six were from NCAA D-II schools and one is from an NAIA school. The article went on to say five of the six play defensive back and one plays linebacker. 

 *Step Up Please: The Titans will need players to step up to a larger role in the front seven this year.  They need to replace their four leading tacklers from 2016, including two First Team All-CCIW performers.  Only DE/LB Josh Akin returns to IWU’s front seven from among those who started the last game of the 2016 season.

*Special Opportunity:  One of the areas IWU will have to find a solution for is their kicking game. Gone is Andrew Iwaszkiewics, who handled the Titans' kickoffs, punts, and field goal duties last season.

         Operation Acceleration: Full Speed Ahead for Wide Receivers

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         Two components within the UW-Whitewater 2017 wide receiver corps are likely to make this year’s group more dangerous and productive than the 2016 version.  The first may be more noticeable to the naked eye, but the second may ultimately be more significant.  The most obvious change is an increase in the overall speed of the group.  With Jarrod Ware moving over from running back and Adam Korpela returning healthy following a 2015 torn ACL, the group becomes instantly more explosive.  “Last year, our only real deep threat was Marcus Hudson.  This year we will have three vertical threats,” according to Warhawks Head Coach Kevin Bullis.  “As a defensive coach my entire career, I know the problems three vertical threats create for a defense,” Bullis emphasized.  Offensive Coordinator Craig Smith noted the positive impact the additions will have on the rest of the receiver group.  “Adding Adam and Jarrod allows the other guys to play to their strengths.  We have a group of receivers who now have a year of experience under their belts,” Smith said.  And that leads to the second component the Warhawks are banking on to create more production: progress and maturation from a talented group of returning receivers.

         Last season, UW-W strapped it up with no seniors, one junior (Hudson), and a bunch of underclassmen.  Hudson (52 catches for 842 yards and four touchdowns) led the receivers in both receptions and yards by a wide margin last year. As sophomores, Canton Larson (23 catches) and Mitchell Dess (20 catches) were the only wide receivers on the roster besides Hudson to have at least 20 caches in 2016.  Both appear ready to contribute even more as juniors.  If defenses overcompensate for the deep speed of Korpela, Ware, and Hudson, Dess and Larson are capable of hurting them underneath and over the middle.  Dess has excellent speed in his own right and has the route running and burst to be able to defeat single coverage.  Larson is a physical receiver who has a knack for making the first defender miss. 

         The Hawks are hoping for development from a number of other talented receivers as well. Back from last year’s team include juniors Anthony Juoni, Justin Prostinak, and Jerimie Richards.  Sophomores back who were on the 2016 roster as freshmen are Dylan Bernard, Nathaniel Osterloo, Christian Jones, and Matthew Aikin.  The Warhawks have also added sophomore Andy Cooper, who transferred to UW-W after playing for Northern Michigan last year.

         The Whitewater coaching staff is very excited about the receivers in the freshman class as well.  There is a lot of speed and athleticism in the current group of first year players and more than one could easily be a major contributor this season.   Freshmen in the UW-W fall camp include Zuerek Day, Kyle Lewis, Zach Miller, JT Parish, and Jared Zausch.  

Running Backs Aim to Turn Accolades Into Production

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     For the most part, success and recognition at the high school level is a common denominator for college athletes.  The Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference  is littered with athletes who were named First Team All Conference in High School. Many even earned some form of all-region, all-county, or all state recognition as well.

    However, when a group of athletes stacked at one position arrive with as much high school success as the UW-W running backs, it’s hard not to notice. The success runs across several sports and throughout the entire position group.  One running back rushed for over 6,000 yards, was named first team All-State in Illinois, and is the eighth leading all-time rusher in Illinois high school history (Alex Peete).   Peete did all of that in just three varsity seasons.  Another back is the all time leader in the state of Wisconsin history for punt return yards in a season (Gavin Boeck). Boeck also was named 1st team All-State for large schools, scored 61 HS touchdowns, gained over 2,700 career rushing yards, and averaged 17.2 yards per catch  in 27 senior year receptions.   Yet another back is fourth on the all-time list in Wisconsin for most carries in a game and is his high school’s all-time leading rusher (Preston Strasburg). Another gained over 2,500 all purpose yards as a senior and was named first team All-State (Ryan Zuern). Another rushed for over 1,800 yards and was named to the 5A All-State team in illinois (Michael Feeney).

     And that ladies and gentlemen is just your freshman class!  They join an already deep Warhawk backfield that is a strength of the 2017 team.  Returning this year is promising speedster Cameron Bishop. Bishop was injured after playing one game in 2016, gaining 63 yards in 9 carries. He was granted an extra year of eligibility due to his injury and is considered a sophomore for eligibility purposes. Bishop qualified for the state track meet as a sprinter in high school.

     Another multi-sport athlete also returns. Ronny Ponick, who qualified for the state tournament three consecutive seasons as a high school wrestler is back. His all-time high school wrestling record was 166-25. Ponick returned to camp after having gained 15 “good” pounds and has really turned heads with his explosiveness as he bids for playing time in the crowded UW-W backfield.

     Few athletes anywhere have the high school accomplishments of running back Josh Ringelberg, who threw for 90 touchdown passes, second most in Wisconsin high school history.  Ringleberg also has the fourth most career passing yardage in Wisconsin high school history.  His athleticism makes him a huge threat out of the backfield for UW-W. Last season, when the UW-W backfield was depleted from injury, the versatile freshman Ringelberg was moved from receiver to running back for the playoffs.  He responded with games of 142 yards and 146 yards rushing in the first two playoff games. 

     All of which brings us to expected starter Drew Patterson.  After rushing for nearly 2,000 yards and scoring 26 touchdowns as a senior in 2013, Patterson had offers from North Dakota, Army, Air Force, and his ultimate choice, Western Illiniois. After red-shirting in 2014, Patterson played in 5 games for the Leathernecks in 2015.  After 2015, Patterson came “home” to Whitewater, where his dad (Hall of Famer, Tim) played cornerback and his brother Nick played running back.  In 2015, in spite of battling injury much of the year, the 5'11" 210 pound (then) sophomore led the Warhawks in rushing with 1125 yards and 15 touchdowns. In addition, he caught 12 passes for 186 yards and four touchdowns. 

     Patterson, Ringelberg, and company will be counted on heavily to propel the Warhawk offense in 2017.  While UW-W always strives for offensive balance, their ability to wear down opponents and create big plays through the running game is a key part of the formula for success.  For all of their previous accomplishments, the 2017 football season is all that matters to this talented group now.  The previous accolades will mean nothing to the 2017 opposing defenses.  Will all the athleticism and multi-sport success translate into a potent running game for UW-W?  We will begin to find out when the Warhawks open the 2017 season on the road against Illinois Wesleyan next Saturday, September 2nd in Bloomington, IL. Kickoff is set for 1:00 PM.

 (This is the seventh of an eight part series previewing the 2017 UW-W football team by position )


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UW-Whitewater the Most Successful Football Program in Wisconsin History!

     With 583 wins against only 254 losses and 21 ties, the UW-Whitewater football program is the most successful football program in the history of the state of Wisconsin with a winning percentage of 69.2% according to NCAA all-time records .  Only the Wisconsin Badgers have won more games as a program than the Warhawks as they have logged 684 victories.  However, UW has also lost 489 games, dipping their overall winning percentage to a still strong 58.0%.  Right behind the Warhawks in winning percentage is UW-LaCrosse who have won 549 games against 279 losses and 40 ties.This information is gleaned from reviews.org. The entire article can be found here

Versatility Marks U-Back/Tight End Position

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 Tony Gumina leads a talented group of athletes who will be called upon to both pave the way in the runnning game and make plays downfield in the passing game.

In UW-Whitewater vernacular, the position is called U-Back/Tight End and the player playing it could line up almost anywhere.  He could be the first back behind the quarterback in an offset I, he could line up a couple of yards behind the line of scrimmage in the guard/tackle gap, he could be a yard behind the line of scrimmage just outside the tackle, or he could line up as a traditional tight end. And if his name is Tony Gumina, he could create match-up nightmares for a defense by splitting out wide or lining up in the slot.  Gumina, a unique athlete, who measures 6’3” and weighs 260 pounds, is fast, versatile, and athletic.  He is a weapon who is equally able to make the necessary blocks to propel a running game and make a game-changing catch and run.  Gumina will be counted on to be a big part of a 2017 offensive resurgence at UW-W.  “Tony is special. He is capable of doing so much,” noted Warhawk Offensive Coordinator Craig Smith.

         Perhaps the uniqueness of the UW-W U-Back/Tight End position is best illustrated when analyzing where the Warhawks have drawn from in creating depth at the position.  Along with Gumina, the U/TE’s on the roster include Jack Deichl, who was a 6’4” 223 pound quarterback on the Warhawk’s 2013 National Championship  Roster. Deichl, at 6’5” 250 pounds, provides the size and athleticism to thrive in the unique offensive position.  Deichl played in all 13 games in 2016.  "Jack also does everything the right way.  Even though we have Tony at the position, Jack is also a leader on this team," according to Warhwkk Head Coach Kevin Bullis.  Julio Perez, an athletic 6’3” 252 pound offensive line recruit, was moved to the U/TE position due to some injuries at the position in fall camp last year.  While Perez had shown great athletic ability as an offensive lineman, it didn’t take long for him to catch the attention of the coaching staff at his new position.  “I remember thinking we will have a great blocker added to the position.  Then his first practice, Julio made an unbelievable one-handed catch. That really got our attention.  He played on the scout team last year. I’ll tell you what…he was one of the finest tight ends our first team defense faced all year,” Bullis marveled.  Along with his stellar scout team work, Perez appeared in four games as a freshman.  It isn’t often the same position is stocked with a former quarterback AND a former offensive lineman. But that's the nature of a position that requires both the heavy lifting of blocking at the line of scrimmage and making plays downfield.

         Also returning for the Warhawks is Bryce Bellefuille, a 6’3” 230 pound junior.  Bellefuille played in five games for the Warhawks in 2016. Jack Piper, a 6’2” 225 sophomore also returns.  Three freshmen are also competing this fall:

Michael Berentes, a 6’3” 225 pound threat who possesses sub 4.7 speed.  Bryce Jordan, a 6’3” 225 pounder who is a 500 pound dead lifter. Jacob Royston, who at 6’0” and 215 pounds runs a 4.75 40 and benches 415 pounds according to his Hudl profile. Hudl.com is a resource where many high school athletes post their highlight videos.

(This is the sixth in a series of eight articles previewing the 2017 UW-W season by position group.)

O-Line Looks to Pave the Way

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       With increased speed on the outside, multiple play-makers at running back,  and a junior QB with starting experience under his belt, the UW-Whitewater football team is looking for more consistency and explosiveness from their offense in 2017.  But if that is going to happen, it has to start up front.  One of the historical trademarks of the UW-Whitewater football team has been a huge offensive line.  But ask Head Coach Kevin Bullis and he will tell you that size is not the only important trademark of a good offensive lineman.  “Football is a speed game,” Bullis commented in the UW-W Photo Day Press Conference on August 15th.  “Size is great.  But you want guys that are big AND fast.  If the Olympics had events for only 300 pound guys, the guys running them would be offensive linemen,”  Bullis emphasized.  The 2017 roster and game programs will reveal the size of the Warhawk line this season. Their speed and quickness will be shown on the field.  When asked if he expected the Warhawks’ offensive line to be among the nation’s best, Bullis searched for the right words.  “They’ll be right up there,” he smiled.

     The 2017 offensive front in anchored by 6’4” 305 pound center Nate Trewyn.  Trewyn, a pre-season All-American choice by d3football.com, is a junior having won the job as a sophomore last season after starting all 12 games for D-II Minnesota State-Mankato as a freshman in 2015.  Also returning is two year starter Mitchell Schauer, a 6’3” 285 pound senior. Schauer will start at left guard. Joining Schauer on the left side will be Jordan Mueller, a 6’3” 290 pound senior tackle.  Like Schauer, Mueller started all 13 games last year after starting eight in 2015.  Expected to start at right tackle is 6’4” 315 pound senior Ben Mcfall. McFall played in 12 games in 2016, including starts in the last four games of the season.  Elliott Klim, a 6’2” 285 pound junior is fighting for the starting job at right guard.  Also competing on the inside is Weston Wegener, a 6’’3” 295 pound senior.  Jamison Cook, a 6’3” 265 pound senior also works the inside for the Hawks.  Matthew Saager, a 6’3” 265 pound sophomore also returns after playing in five games as a freshman last year. 

      The last two recruiting classes have been deep in offensive linemen.  There are a number of freshmen and sophomores competing to be part of the two deep roster. The rest of the offensive linemen in camp include:


 Bryan Behrendt  6’6”  350,

 Auggie Hengel  6’4”  295 


 Ryan Berg  6’1”  290   DePere High School

 Kyle Casasola  6’2” 280  Port Washington High School

 Lonnie Chambers  6’2”  245  Burbank, IL

 Kyle Gannon   ‘6’2”  285   Waukesha West High School

 Ethan Kee   6’2”  270  Plano, IL

 Doug Kosch  6’2” 285  Burbank, IL

 Quinn Meinerz  6’3”  270  Hartford Union High School

 Cameron Shaw  6’4”  285  Gurnee, IL

 Connor Sullivan  6’5”  300  Niles, IL

 Drew Shrader  6’3”  285  Hartland Arrowhead High School

(This is the fifth of an eight part series  previewing the 2017 UW-Whitewater football team by position.) 



Wilber Takes the Reigns in 2017

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 (This is the fourth of an eight part series  previewing the 2017 UW-Whitewater football team by position.)

     Three years ago, Cole Wilber was a promising strong-armed quarterback living in Dana Point, California.  Wilber appeared to be headed to Northern Arizona, University, an NCAA D-1 FCS program.  His high school coach, Todd Rusinkovich announced that Wilber had been offered a scholarship at NAU. But something inside the talented quarterback told him it was time for a change.  Wilber looked east, and from half a continent away, he saw purple. The former Dana Point Dolphin developed a serious interest in UW-Whitewater and their championship football program.  Wilber contacted Whitewater and inquired about the possibility of becoming a Warhawk. 

         As the UW-Whitewater football staff watched video of the young Californian, one thing jumped out in a big way.  “Cole has a great arm,” Head Coach Kevin Bullis exclaimed. “It is special.”  Former UW-W Head Coach and All-American quarterback Bob Berezowitz watched Wilber’s video and was impressed with his rifle as well.  “That got my attention,” Bullis chuckled,  “If Berez is impressed, you know he’s the real deal.”

         While Bullis knew that getting Wilber could be a real find for the Warhawk program, he also knew that there could be risk involved in pursuing a young quarterback from California.  “He lived in a different climate and in a different culture.  He would be a long way from home.”  So Bullis challenged and pressed Wilber on every front during the process.  He even enlisted former UW-W National Championship quarterback Danny Jones to talk with Wilber.  Jones is also from California.  But Coach Bullis didn’t want Jones to sugar-coat anything.  “I wanted Danny to tell Cole the good, the bad, and the ugly of a kid from California moving to Whitewater, Wisconsin to play football.”  But Wilber was determined to be a Warhawk and ultimately enrolled at UW-W for the fall semester of the 2014-15 school year. 

         After getting his feet wet as a freshman and splitting time last year with then-senior QB Chris Nelson, Wilber now sits cleanly on top of the depth chart as the #1 QB for the Warhawks.  That decision was actually made last year as Wilber started the last six games in which he was healthy.  But sharing time with a senior quarterback and beginning an off-season as the clear starter are two completely different experiences.  “Cole did a great job this spring.  He has a lot of talent and we are going to do everything we can as a staff to put him in a position to succeed,”  said a determined Coach Bullis.  “With Cole, the weapons we have around him, and some of the changes we have made, I’m really excited about our offense.”

         While Wilber heads the depth chart, he is far from the only talented player in the quarterback room this year for the Warhawks.  Ryan Curran is a fourth year junior.  Curran played in five games last year, completed 11 of 13 passes, and threw a touchdown.  Curran is a leader who experienced tremendous success at Sun Prairie High School. He is a field general in the true sense of the word and is an accurate passer with command of the nuances of the offense.  Curran is one of the relatively few players remaining on the roster from UW-W's 2014 National Championship team.  Merrick Gentile, a sophomore out of Grayslake High School is a dual threat athlete capable of creating a big play. Gentile tore his ACL as a senior in high school.  The athletic QB was getting serious looks from upper division schools until the injury.  The Whitewater staff never gave up on him.   He was able to stay healthy in 2016 as he learned the offense and the UW-W way.   Often it is the second year after an ACL injury that an athlete is able to regain his previous explosiveness.  “I have tremendous confidence in all three of those guys,” said their enthusiastic head coach. 

         It is also expected that at least one freshman will join the others in the quarterback room when camp opens August 11th. Warhawkfootball.com does not name athletes until they are officially a part of the program.

Linebackers Look to Lead in 2017

(Third of an eight part series looking at the 2017 UW-Whitewater football team by position)

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Matt Seitz (44) and Bryce Leszczynski (57) hope to lead a strong Warhawk defense in 2017


         If the defensive line provides the anchor and the defensive backs are counted on as the last line of defense, it is the linebackers that are often considered the heart and soul of a team’s defense.  That certainly is the case for the 2017 Warhawks.  The Warhawks are led by returning starters Matt Seitz and Bryce Leszczynski.  Seitz, a 6’1” 225 pound senior out of Arrowhead High School in Hartland, WI, will be in the starting lineup for a fourth consecutive season, a rarity at UW-W.  Leszczynski, a 6’1” 230 pound junior, was in the two-deep all year, breaking into the starting line-up for the last four games of the season in 2016.  “It all starts with those two at linebacker,”  Head Coach Kevin Bullis remarked.  “They are both leaders and they will set the tone for the physicality of our defense,” Bullis continued. 

      Seitz, the only member of the 2017 Warhawks to start in a Stagg Bowl, ranked second on the team in tackles last year with 64 and has recorded 163 tackles in his career.  He has rare speed and coverage skills for a linebacker and will be counted on to be a playmaker in his senior season.  Leszczynski led the team in tackles last season despite the fact that he started only the final four games.  In addition to 69 tackles, Bryce was credited with 10 tackles for loss, three sacks, three passes defensed, and a forced fumble.  While Leszczynski mans the middle and Seitz patrols the wide side of the field, there are a number of candidates to be their running mate as the third linebacker.  Beau Martin, a 6’1” 220 pound linebacker out of Wheaton North High School, played in all 13 games last year registering 21 tackles, two tackles for loss, three passes defensed, and a fumble recovery.  Alex Zacharies, a 6’1” 220 pound junior out of Stoughton High School, recorded 19 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, a fumble recovery, and an eye-popping three forced fumbles last year. He tied for the team lead in forced fumbles.

      Also competing for playing time and providing outstanding depth will be a number of sophomores from a highly touted 2016 recruiting class.  Here is a list of their names, height and weight, and high school:

 Gabe Rasmussen, 6’1”  215 pounds, Waukesha South High School.

 Brad Krisch,  6’0”  220 pounds, Joliet Catholic High School

 Jacob Erbs,  5’8” 212 pounds, Reedsburg High School

 Matt Anderson  6’0” 205 pounds, Rockford Lutheran High School.

      The Warhawk linebackers are coached by former UW-W All-American linebacker Jace Rindahl.  Rindahl, who is also the Hawks’ Run Defense Coordinator, is entering the third year in his second stint as a Whitewater assistant coach.  He also coached at UW-W from 2009 through 2012.  Rindahl coached running backs at the University of South Dakota in 2013 and 2014 before returning to his alma mater in 2015. 


Speed and Athleticism Propel 2017 Secondary


(Second of an eight part series looking at the UW-Whitewater 2017 football team by position)


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          When a team loses three of the four members of their starting secondary, it is natural to ask whether the defensive backfield is an area of concern.  While the losses of First Team All-WIAC cornerback Vince Mason, Honorable Mention safety Colin Buck, and physical safety Bennett Young will certainly be felt, their departure provides opportunity for several talented and athletic young defensive backs.  The Bible says, “Speed kills.”  Well, OK, the Bible doesn’t say that, but it is a well-worn statement in athletics and in few places does it prove more true than on the football field.  As the UW-Whitewater coaches assemble the 2017 defense, they expect to be evaluating and coaching up some very talented and fast defensive backs.

         “I absolutely expect us to be faster on defense, especially in the defensive backfield.” Defensive Coordinator Rob Erickson predicted. Head Coach Kevin Bullis said that the speed of the secondary and some minor schematic changes will make a dramatic difference in the performance of the secondary in 2017.  “We gave up too many big plays last year and frankly we invited too many big plays last year.  We have installed some tweaks that will really help us with that this coming year.”

         The lone returning starter in the secondary is junior Famus Hasty of Naperville, IL.  Although Hasty battled injury in 2016, he played in 10 games and started nine of them.  He tied for the conference lead in forced fumbles per game.  Hasty has a knack for rising to the occasion in crucial games and situations. He forced two fumbles against UW-Oshkosh deep in Warhawk territory to ultimately preserve a 17-14 Whitewater victory.  He also had a season high three pass break-ups in the Warhawks’ 30-24 victory over UW-Platteville.  He recorded four tackles, broke up two passes, and forced a fumble against NAIA power Morningside College. Hasty also intercepted a pass in the Warhawks’ NCAA Quarterfinal game against John Carroll.

         The other cornerback returning from the 2016 two-deep is 6’0” 190 pound senior Nick McCullough out of St. Charles, IL.  McCullough played the same position as Hasty last year and remains there heading into fall camp. With UW-W’s preference of frequent player rotation, having two experienced corners on the same side of the field makes sense.  Heading into camp, battling for the other cornerback position are sophomores Jacob Frey and Brion Nash. Both bring a lot of speed and athleticism to the cornerback position.  Frey was a multi-sport and two-way football standout at Wisconsin Lutheran High School and Nash competed in both football and track at Milwaukee Riverside High School. Both athletes qualified for the state track meet at the high school level.  Also in the mix at cornerback is junior Joe Caravello out of Rockford, IL.  Caravello played in seven games last year as a sophomore.

         While last year’s safeties could have been appropriately nicknamed the “Young Buck”, this years’ version could potentially be regarded as the “Killer Bees”.  Back from last years’ two-deep are juniors Bailey Breunig and Brett Beuhler.  At 6’1” 205 pounds, Breunig has a rare combination of both size and speed for a D-III athlete.  “Bailey is fast and physical and as big as some linebackers in our conference.” Bullis commented.  And then noting the overall speed and aggressiveness at the safety position, “We have four guys back there who can really run and they fly around and hit people.”  Like Breunig, Beuhler was part of the two-deep last year and played 12 games.  “People look at who starts and mistake that for experience.  The first snap of the game is not always the most important.  Bailey and Brett have played a lot of important football for us.” Bullis noted. 

         Heading into fall camp, also on the two-deep roster are two athletes who transferred to UW-W from D-II schools.  Junior Jon Weyker, a Homestead High School graduate, transferred from Southwest Minnesota State before last season and played in 10 games for the Warhawks.  Also competing in the defensive backfield for UW-W is Nathan Tranel, a transfer from Minnesota State-Mankato.  Tranel was a four year starter for Lancaster high school at quarterback and led the Flying Arrows to four consecutive state championship games, winning the state championship as a senior.  His overall record in high school was 51-4.  Despite playing few games on defense due to the injury risk for a starting QB, Tranel started both ways in the state championship game, intercepting two passes and making five tackles. Mankato, who had advanced to the D-II National Championship game, took notice and signed Tranel to play defense.  At 6’2” 205 pounds, Tranel is another of those hybrid athletes with above average size and speed for a D-III safety. Warhawkftooball.com does not list the names of transfers until the player has become part of the program. Tranel actually transferred for the spring semester and took part in spring ball with the Warhawks. The information on Tranel was garnered from an article on Midwestcollegiateprospects.com.  The full article can be found here

         Other members of the 2016 team expected to be competing for a spot in the secondary in fall camp include Bobby Desherow, Kaleb Kaminski, Garrett Purdy, and Luke Tegtman. As always, there will be incoming freshmen and perhaps transfers when camp opens August 11th.  Warhawkfootball.com does not name these scholar-athletes until after camp opens. 

2017 Defensive Line:  Next Men Up

(First of an 8 part series looking at the UW-Whitewater 2017 football team by position)


UW-W will miss John Flood and other 2016 D-line stalwarts, but coaches expect no drop off in performance in 2017.

            When it comes to the UW-Whitewater Warhawks’ defensive line, questions abound heading into the 2017 season.  And how could they not? With the departures of Brandon Tamsett, John Flood, Tim Regan, Yuri Pogosyan, Benny Threloff, and Todd Campbell, to say the defensive line will need to be revamped is an understatement. Tamsett and Flood are huge losses in themselves. Both earned All-America recognition during their careers at UWW, Flood was also a team captain, and Tamsett was voted the team MVP of the 2016 season.  “You don’t replace a Brandon Tamsett”, according to Warhawk Head Coach Kevin Bullis.   But he also added, "We won National Championships without a Brandon Tamsett type player.  For a long time we have had strong defensive lines with sturdy and tough players inside.  Brandon was flat out special."  And the contributions of Regan, Pogosyan, Threloff, and Campbell should not be overlooked.  They provided the talent and mindset needed to form a formidable defensive front. 

         So the losses are great.  And a cursory look could lead fans and analysts to make a classic mistake in evaluating the Hawks’ defensive line heading into the 2017 campaign.  Too often, prognosticators get caught up in evaluating what a team lost, rather than focus on who is returning.  “We love our (2017) group”, declared Bullis confidently. “Do guys have to step up in that group? Yes. Is there a lot of talent there? Absolutely!”

         At this particular moment, the depth at defensive end appears to be particularly impressive.  Defensive Coordinator Rob Erickson is pleased with the jumps in performance made by the defensive end group at the close of spring camp.  “We have four guys playing as well as any of our defensive ends played last year. And that’s saying something considering we had John Flood.  We know they have to do it in the games, but I am confident they will perform at a very high level.” the effusive Erickson proclaimed.  Although Erickson didn’t name the four, they most likely include juniors Cal Durni and Harry Henschler and sophomores Jordan Brand and Jermaine Copeland. Durni and Henschler appeared in 12 and 10 games respectively last year.  “They played a lot of meaningful snaps for us”,  Bullis pointed out. Brand and Copeland bring a ton of potential to the two deep.  Brand, recruited strongly by Northern Illinois out of high school, is “an extremely talented and an extremely smart young man”. Copeland is an explosive athlete out of Wauwatosa East High School. All four of them are playing well enough that it is conceivable that one of them could be moved inside.

         On the inside, Harry Green returns as the only senior in this years’ defensive line group.  Green, at 6’0” 290 pounds has the physical stature to hold up in the middle against opposing rushing attacks.  Junior David O’Gorman returns after playing in 10 games last year. O’Gorman came to UW-W as a transfer from Northern Illinois before the 2016 season.   Junior Dalton Heckel returns after playing in five games a year ago. Also returning from last year’s roster as defensive line candidates are sophomores Jawaun Battle, Justin Hansen, Dan Cooper, and Vince Klim. 

         Of course, added to the mix of returnees will be incoming freshmen and transfers.  Because of the non-scholarship nature of NCAA D-III athletics, scholar-athletes have maximum flexibility until training camp starts.  Young athletes have been known to change their mind, so Warhawkfootball.com will not be publishing the names of these players until after the start of fall training camp. But in terms of numbers, the Hawks are expected to add several quality freshman defensive linemen in 2017.  Also, it appears that at least one very strong defensive line candidate will be transferring from an upper division school. 

         The defensive line will be coached by three-time National Championship linebacker Ryan Cortez. Cortez enters his fourth season on the UW-W staff. He has previously coached linebackers and tight ends. 



Over football's long history, few things have been as sacred to a football team's coaches and players as "The Playbook". The football playbook has a long history as representing far more than strategy, philosophy, and X's and O's.  The playbook represents trust. It holds the highest of proprietary value possible for a football program.  Hopefully, after 33 years, the release of excerpts from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater 1984 football playbook will be just plain cool.

CLICK HERE to see the cover sheets for Offense, Defense, and Special Teams. Soon there will also be links to a few of the pages within each position group will be coming soon.

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