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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Anderson says running game, team unity are top priorities

Monday, July 3, 2006

Since his hiring April 25 as the new Buena Vista University football coach, Jay Anderson has been a busy man.

A phone call was placed to Anderson's office Thursday afternoon at Siebens Field House, but he was busy talking with one of his players.

He suggested a call back later, but even then, he sounded like a man with a lot on his plate.

"I'm really looking forward to camp in August," Anderson told the Pilot Tribune. "It's going to be a very important two weeks for us."

Camp officially starts with a team meeting Saturday Aug. 12, with on-the-field practice starting Sunday, Aug. 13.

Goal No. 1 of this year's camp is something pundits often label an intangible - team unity. Anderson wants his players to be on the same page and close on and off the field.

"We're actually starting things off with a team picnic later this week," Anderson said. "Our players and their families will be there, and people can get to know each other in a more informal setting."

The picnic will be hard to miss by passersby.

Anderson said Thursday he has had a successful time recruiting since late April. He'll be bringing in 45 new faces, bringing the total number on the roster to 106.

"We think we've got a good group of recruits coming in," said Anderson, who had been the Beavers' offensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator since 2000.

Though Anderson could not name the recruits because of NCAA regulations, he said as group, they are "very athletic. We've brought in some talented kids on offense and defense," he said.

Once training camp gets into full gear, a top priority, Anderson said, "is finding the right people to carry the ball for us this season."

Lost to graduation last season were two of the Beavers' rushers, Chad Pearson and Dustin Crook. Pearson was fourth in 2005 in Iowa Conference rushing with 545 yards on 163 carries. Crook carried 66 times for 275 yards.

Also on the early-camp agenda is replacing departed offensive linemen Joe Bandow, Blake Dodd, center Brent Koedam and Derek Haden.

"Last year, we had a lot of questions on the defensive side of the ball," Anderson said. "It's just the opposite this year; we have a lot of holes to fill on offense."

Anderson will also have to find a replacement for record setting wide-out Jesse Schmidt, as well as receivers Jake Heuton and Brian Diediker and tight end Ryan Gau.

BVU appears to be set at quarterback with 6-foot-3 junior Chris Hawkins. Last season as a sophomore, the Platte City native finished third in the Iowa Conference in passing, completing 150 of 288 passes for 2149 yards or about 215 passing yards per game.

Anderson said last year as a sophomore, Laurens-Marathon alum Devin Stewart saw some action as a wideout and returned kicks and punts.

In 2005, the 5-11 speedster caught 19 passes for 289 yards or 15 yards per catch and 29 yards receiving yards per game.

He said 6-foot junior Ryan Kaufman will get a strong shot at a starting wideout position. Kaufman caught 13 passes last year, averaging 25 yards per catch.

On defense, Anderson said, the Beavers have to replace all-conference players Rick Ohlinger, a defensive lineman, and cornerback Chad Hinrichs.

"That's why this camp will be so important," Anderson said. "We have to find out as a team what we do best and build around that."

Asked if he would have butterflies at kickoff time in the season opener at Bethel College near St. Paul Sept. 2, Anderson didn't give a definitive answer.

"I'm just anxious to get going," he said. "We're all looking forward to the 2006 season."

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