Christian Zylstra-Staff Writer
It’s been a busy spring for Dordt College football.
With the arrival of April came the arrival of spring football, and with spring football’s return came practice—plenty of it.
But Dordt’s current spring roster of 80-plus athletes proved ready for task at hand.
“We went about three weeks where I didn’t have one guy even one second late to one team event,” said Dordt College head coach Joel Penner. “That’s significant given how many things we do throughout the week: workouts, practice, meetings and study hall.”
Dordt football is ready to embrace the challenge of expanding upon last season’s successes during what Penner calls the “meat and potatoes” of building a program—years two through four under the new coaching staff.
Part of that challenge includes position switches and role changes. Two of the most notable positional changes this spring include E.J. Hill’s move from offense to cornerback and Nic Byl’s move from linebacker to defensive end.
“We’ve been excited to see [Byl’s] development and he’s in the right position now; he’s at home now,”Penner said.
Replacing All-American talent, such as wide receiver Jason Miller and running back Bryce Lidtka, is another trial Dordt must face.
This spring may have provided the answers.
“You replace the production with other people…Keithen Drury is replacing the production,” Penner said. “We will be better in the running game even than we were last year.”
New positions are not the only changes in practices.
“Last year, we did a lot more drills, but I think this year will feature more 11-on-11 game-like situations,” Penner said.
All of this spring practice builds up to what Penner called the “fourth quarter of spring ball.” With only a handful of practices remaining, Dordt football’s last hurrah comes on April 29.
Dordt College is hosting its 2017 spring football game on April 29, which will feature many of the same events as last year’s festivities. A tailgate, face painting, dunk tank and yard games all start at 5:30 p.m., while the game itself kicks off at 7 p.m.
There will also be two intermissions during the spring festivities with on-field fan participation.
Dordt’s busy spring nears its end, but that doesn’t mean the work is done. The end of the spring season only brings new tasks for coaches and athletes, such as recruiting, summer camps and satellite camps.
From there, the preparation for the fall season begins and the appetite for more “meat and potatoes” only grows.