Spring practice is important for every college football team but even more so when you are preparing for a programs initial season. That’s the case at Dordt College where John Heavner was hired in June of 2006 to start the program.
After playing a club schedule in 2007 the Defenders are getting set for their first season of varsity football. Heavner says they had a smaller squad than what they’ll have in the future, and says they wanted to play the club schedule to find out what each of the players could do.
Heavner says while the program is off to a good start there will be a lot of work to be done to get ready for the season. He says they signed some 58 freshmen and need to work hard to find the 22 who will make the squad for the first game against Northwestern.
The Defenders will be an extremely young team next season and to try and offset that Heavner says they will work to be a fundamentally sound team. He says they will focus on the things they can do and try to give themselves an opportunity to be in every game.
Heavner says the key to becoming competitive will be defense. He says the second priority is to no hurt themselves on special teams and protect the football. Heavner says they will focus on the defense, then special teams, and should have the offense to help them win games.
The Defenders will find out how far they have to go right away with a tough early schedule with the Northwestern game and then Morningside, two of the top teams in the conference. Heavner says the good thing is that by the time the kids realize what has gone on, they will be through a tough early part of the schedule.