Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Gustavus Adolphus College MIAC FOOTBALL Preview

Ahhh,behold! Sunny Saturdays, hazy-eyed college kids, friend and family filled stadiums, traditions of old, and rivalries anew. For as long as I can remember the fall has meant one thing in my family...football! Although not every season has been a championship on (i actually don't think any of them have been) the memories made and the common bond that has brought us together is one that will continue to be cherished for many more years to come. And even though my friends and I are currently nothing more than washed up wannabees, we still have a passion for following the action each Autumn. I'd like to share some history of the program at my alma mater, and give you my predictions for the league this season.

A Tradition Few Can Match
Of the many fine schools to choose from in the MIAC, I had the honor to play at Gustavus Adolphus College, in little St. Peter, MN. Gustavus holds one of the most storied histories in the MIAC. A perennial powerhouse for a decade, from the late 40's to 50's Gustavus complied 8 conference championships in 10 years. The 'Gustie' squads were relentless and it has been said that when Gustavus would come to town the opposing fans would cry, "God-save-us, All-of-us," in hoping that their team be spared from an embarrassing defeat at the hands of Gustavus. True Story.
Gustavus does rank 2nd all time in conference titles with 22, only behind St. John's University(31). The Black and Gold also sport the Classic 'winged' helmets adopted from University of Michigan in the early 1920's.

Gustavus/St. Olaf Rivalry Sweden and Norway have been involved in many different bouts of war and peace over the years. Co-existing and then defying each other was common place as far back as the 8th century. Both schools continue the feud. Each filled with pride of their own roots, battle for bragging rights each season in the highly anticipated game.

The 2009 Gusties

This season the Gusties will enter MIAC play under the direction of first year head coach, Peter Haugen. Haugen spent the past 15 years as head coach of Minneapolis Washburn High School. He has also brought with him a new look for the Gusties on Offense. They will convert their run-and-gun spread offense of Tom Brown's to a more traditional two-back look. The expectations are to become more balanced as the Gusties have been known for airing it out in years past. QB Jordan Becker returns for his senior year, looking to build off of last season where he finished with 1895 yards passing, 15 touchdowns and 15 int's. Jordan will have his favorite targets around him as the Gusties return 4 or of 5 WR's from a year ago. The biggest question on offense will be at RB. Jr. Mike Wubbena is coming back from an ACL injury and has yet to play a career snap for the Gusties. The young Gustie backs will no doubt be competing for a share of the running load. On Defense, The Gusties are young up front, only returning starter Christain Vanek, and partial starter Scott Wilkie. Playing a 3-4 scheme I expect Vanek to play the middle, leaving the Gusties looking for some speed rushers who can hit the edge. In the back 8 there is a different story. Returning linebackers and defensive backs who all contributed significantly to the Gusties campaign last season hope to be the keystone for a solid defense this year. They are lead by Sr. captains Joe Welch(div. III pre-season all-american) and Tony Palma, I expect big things from both of these athletes.

Joe Welch (Div. III Preseason All-American)

To say I expect big things from the entire team is a little bit of an embellishment. I think the offense will struggle to find the end zone, and even though the defense returns a lot of contributors, they contributed to finishing in the bottom half of every defensive statistic last season. Needless to say, I'll still be following the action and cheering on my boys. Go Gusties!

Here are my picks...

From Top to Bottom

1. St. Thomas University
2. St. John's University
3. Bethel University
4. Concordia College
5. St. Olaf College
6. Hamline University
7. Gustavus Adolphus College
8. Augsburg College
9. Carlton College

Still Holdin' On To The Dream!

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