MC football develops leadership, team unity
April 19, 2013
Kimarri Campbell / The Courier - An MC football tradition, "spring ball" offers players the opportunity to improve before training camp in August.
April showers usually bring May flowers, but MC Football is hoping April practice equates to victories this fall.
Spring practice gives the team an opportunity to learn new schemes and hone skills before the long summer lay-off. Head coach Steve Bell enjoys it for another reason as well.
“I love spring ball because there is no pressure on the players to prepare for a game,” said Bell. “It is all about getting out there and having a great time playing the game they love.”
Players also see spring practice as a chance to improve upon a disappointing 2012 campaign. The Scots return 8 starters on offense, 7 on defense and much of its overall production.
Captain and record-setting running back Trey Yocum is optimistic about his team’s progress so far this spring.
“This offseason I have been very pleased to see the spark reignited,” Yocum explained. “The new attitude gives me a great deal of confidence for the year; I hope to see the same intensity from now until next December.”
Both coaches and players have noted the amount of underclassmen making an impact; however Bell says his team won’t use youth as a crutch.
“We are very experienced and talented at certain positions and talented but inexperienced at others. But inexperience is not an excuse.”
Yocum agrees, but sees the leadership on the team is evolving.
“Younger guys are taking up more important roles and filling in where they are needed,” said Yocum. “The older guys are setting good examples and taking on leading roles.”
That leadership will come from players like fifth year senior linebacker Bryan Mesik, who relishes the opportunity to return after a foot injury cut his season short a year ago.
“I love playing the sport and spending time with my teammates. I’d regret not playing,” Mesik explained. “Hopefully I can help prepare the young linebackers to have a promising future in the program.”
Quarterback Brik Wedekind hopes to reestablish Monmouth as the MWC’s best.
“Our team goal is to win the conference outright, not share it,” said Wedekind.
Though leadership is evolving, Bell says his team’s mindset remains the same.
“Our philosophy will never change. It is to figure out your best personnel, figure out how to get them out there, and then how you can get them the ball,” said Bell. “This team is different because the leadership structure is completely different than we had last year. There is a sense of ‘what were we doing last year, that isn’t Monmouth Football’”.
Bell is excited about the roster of players suiting up next year, noting that they have the talent to contend for a conference crown. But right now the future is not the main concern.
“As far as winning the conference, that to me is an end result,” Bell said. “Too many people worry about that and forget that it takes a lot of effort, attention to detail, and perseverance along the way.”