2010 GLIAC Football Coaches' Poll & Season Preview

New coaches and new teams … Same commitment to excellence for GLIAC

By Sandy Gholston, Special Writer for the GLIAC

BAY CITY, Mich. – Names and faces change, but the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference’s (GLIAC) pursuit of excellence continues on the gridiron.
 
 

2010 GLIAC Football
Preseason Coaches’ Poll

 

 Team (1st-place votes)

Points

1.

Grand Valley State (13)

169

2.

Hillsdale (1)

148

 

Saginaw Valley State

148

4.

Ashland

113

5.

Northwood

111

6.

Findlay

102

7.

Northern Michigan

101

8.

Wayne State

91

9.

Michigan Tech

87

10.

Indianapolis.

78

11.

Ferris State

48

12.

Tiffin

32

13.

Ohio Dominican

27

14.

Lake Erie

19

This season, the GLIAC welcomes two new member institutions in Ohio Dominican University and Lake Erie College as the league expands from 12 to 14 teams. The fresh look for the GLIAC extends to new leadership in several programs. On the sidelines, the conference boasts new faces in familiar places as long-time assistant Matt Mitchell begins his first fall as head coach at Grand Valley State University, Bob Bartolomeo takes command at the University of  Indianapolis, Bill Conley gets his start at ODU while Mark McNellie commences his fourth season at LEC, but his first in the GLIAC.
 
With several new coaches and two new teams, the GLIAC begins in familiar fashion: Grand Valley is atop the mountain followed closely by Hillsdale and Saginaw Valley State – all playoff teams in 2009. In the 2010 GLIAC Football Preseason Coaches’ Poll, the Lakers garnered 169 points and 13 of 14 first-place votes. The Chargers and Cardinals are tied for second with 148 points. Hillsdale was awarded the remaining first-place vote. Ashland placed fourth in the poll with 113 points, Northwood fifth with 111, Findlay sixth with 102, Northern Michigan seventh with 101, Wayne State eighth with 91, Michigan Tech ninth with 87, Indianapolis 10th with 78, Ferris State 11th with 48, Tiffin 12th with 32, Ohio Dominican 13th with 27 and Lake Erie 14th with 19.
 
The GLIAC continues its reputation as a top Division II conference. That point was made stronger by several strong playoff records last season. In the 2010 Sporting News Division II Preseason Top 25 poll, the conference was well represented as GVSU ranked second, Hillsdale was slotted 13th and Saginaw Valley placed 20th.
 
Grand Valley, a perennial national power, advanced to the 2009 NCAA Division II National Championship Game, but dropped a 30-23 decision to Northwest Missouri State in Braly Municipal Stadium in Florence, Ala. The Lakers were hardly the only team to advance to the NCAA Tournament last fall. Hillsdale earned a bid to the Division II version of the big dance and defeated Minnesota State-Mankato in the first round 27-24 in overtime. The Chargers advanced to the second round of the playoffs before they were stopped by Grand Valley. The Lakers avenged their lone regular-season loss (which came at Hillsdale’s hands) with a 44-27 victory in Allendale. Saginaw Valley also earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament, but was eliminated in the opening round in a 35-20 loss to Nebraska-Kearney.
 
Ranked in order picked in the 2010 GLIAC Preseason Coaches Poll:
 
1.  Grand Valley State University (13-2 overall, 9-1 GLIAC)
 
Overview: A new era is beginning at Grand Valley, but led by a man who is familiar with the Laker football tradition. Matt Mitchell takes over as the new head coach at GVSU as he replaces Chuck Martin, who led the Grand Valley to a pair of NCAA Division II National Championships. Tradition remains strong in Allendale as the Lakers have advanced to the NCAA Division II National Championship game in six of the last nine campaigns. Last fall, GVSU dropped a 30-23 decision in the title game to mark the first lost at the point of a season since 2001. This season, the Lakers have some major holes to fill with key losses at running back, the graduation of standout quarterback Brad Iciek and the departure of versatile receiver Blake Smolen. The Lakers have not built the kind of tradition they enjoy with bare cupboards. Coach Mitchell enjoyed some talented players returning and eager for their opportunity to advance Laker excellence on the gridiron.
 
Offense: Grand Valley has been the “Quarterback U” of Division II for a lot of years with great ones running the show out of the offensive backfield. The most recent talented passer in that line was Brad Iciek. This year, GVSU should have competition for the starting passer position as Marquel Neasman, a three-year backup to Iciek, and Kyle McMahon, a Division I transfer from Eastern Michigan, are expected to compete for the top spot. Neasman completed 15-of-29 passes for 145 yards last season in limited action while McMahon started in six games at EMU and completed 56-of-106 passes for 634 yards and four touchdowns. At running back, Justin Sherrod has elevated his game and is coming off a strong season during which he rushed for 685 yards with five touchdowns. Look out also for another transfer, Norman Shuford, to possibly push Sherrod for carries out of Coach Mitchell’s backfield. At receiver, senior Ryan Bass comes back as the man having caught 36 balls last season for 605 yards and eight touchdowns. Bass is a guy capable of exploding for huge games. Cameron Bradford also is back and could factor into the action. Israel Woolfork, Chris Crawford, David Fox, Jovonne Augustus and others add a lot of talent and depth to the corps of receivers. Tony Carreri and Andrew Lorman are both back at tight end. Carreri battled injury last season while Lorman had 22 catches for 268 yards and was named honorable mention All-GLIAC. Up front, GVSU has veteran experience with Daktronics Second Team All-American Cameron Bradfield leading the way. Matt Armstrong was an honorable mention All-GLIAC choice. It’s a strong O-Line for GVSU.
 
Defense: Grand Valley welcomes back 16 letterwinners on the defensive side of the ball. That group includes seven starters and two preseason All-Americans. Daktronics and D2Football.com First-Team All-American Danny Richard returns after a season in which he posted 60 tackles and 13 sacks. Richard is just 4.5 sacks behind Dan Skuta, GVSU’s career leader in that category. Nick Lawrence is back as an All-GLIAC Second-Team choice on the defensive line. At linebacker, All-American Justin Victor is back after totaling 111 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks. Zach Breen, a junior, is back as a two-year starter and is coming off an All-GLIAC Second-Team season. In the backfield, Robert Carlisle is coming back from injury and the Lakers hope he can find that old magic. Kenny Veal, a transfer from Toledo will compete for a starting spot. With experience, the Lakers return senior Matt Bakker, a second-team All-GLIAC choice in 2009.
 
Special Teams: Jay Jandasek, a sophomore, could handle both placekicking and punting for Grand Valley. GVSU does have a pair of transfers in Luke Briggs and Brandon Hoffman, who will try to factor into that competition.
 
Coaching: Matt Mitchell enters his first season as head coach of the Lakers. He is the seventh head coach in GVSU football history. Mitchell is in his sixth year with the program and has spent the last two as defensive coordinator.
 
Key Dates: Grand Valley will enjoy the comforts of home early. GVSU has two huge tests right off the bat with a home opener against West Texas A&M on Sept. 2 at 8 p.m. in Allendale. On Sept. 11, the Lakers host Hillsdale in a 7 p.m. contest. The Chargers gave the Lakers their lone regular-season loss in 2009. GVSU is at rival Ferris State in the Anchor-Bone Classic on Oct. 23 in Big Rapids and closes the season in University Center (Mich.) at another rival, Saginaw Valley State at 12 p.m.
 
 
Tied for 2.  Hillsdale College (10-3 overall, 8-2 GLIAC)
 
Overview: Expectations will be running high in southern Michigan as Hillsdale hopes to build off of the success the 2009 team enjoyed en route to a 10-3 record and a first-round NCAA Division II Tournament victory over Minnesota State-Mankato, 27-24 in overtime. Head coach Keith Otterbein has some holes to fill on his depth chart, but he has a lot of talent on the return.
 
Offense: Offensively, quarterback Troy Weatherhead, a junior, is back and with a valuable year of experience under his belt. Andre Holmes, a senior receiver, could be ready for a breakthrough campaign after leading the GLIAC in yards last season. Mike Blanchard returns as a senior, too. He is a solid possession-type receiver while Holmes is more of the game-breaker type. In the offensive backfield, Joe Glendening could be the man Weatherhead hands the ball to quite a bit to keep defenses honest with a solid running attack. The offensive line should be anchored by Phil Doerfler, a senior. Last season, the Chargers had a powerful offensive unit led by standout all-everything lineman Jared Veldheer, receiver A.J. Kegg and workhorse running back Vinnie Panizzi.
 
Defense: Defensively, junior Nick Hixson will be one of the leaders for the team as a co-captain this fall. In that defensive backfield, look for Hixson to have some help from Nick Galvan, a sophomore, and Joe Vear, a junior. At linebacker, David Bakker, a junior, will be one of the top guys in that middle level of the Chargers’ defense. On the line, Kam Mueller is a senior who could be an anchor of that unit. Hillsdale has some big shoes to fill with the losses of guys like Drew Berube, Mark Yassay and Jordan Knudsen.
 
Special Teams: Mark Petro, an All-GLIAC performer returning at placekicker for the Chargers, is no longer a factor for this unit due to graduation. Hillsdale also lost its starting punter. Junior Andrew Wilburn is expected to step in at punter while a three-man race appears destined for the kicker position as true freshman Matt Eltringham will compete with Colin McGreevy and Steve Grant.
 
Coaching: Keith Otterbein is entering his ninth season as head coach at Hillsdale College. In the last three seasons, the Chargers are 25-10 as Otterbein’s pattern of turning around programs continues. He previously accomplished a turnaround at Ferris State in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
 
Key Dates: Hillsdale opens with a non-conference home game against Ferris State on Sept. 3. In week two, Hillsdale is at Grand Valley State in what will be a huge early test on Sept. 11 and then one week later at Ashland on Sept. 18. The Chargers also get Saginaw Valley State at home on Oct. 2. Homecoming is Nov. 6 against Findlay.
 
 
Tied for 2.  Saginaw Valley State University (9-3 overall, 8-2 GLIAC)

Overview: Saginaw Valley State is a program that is back on the rise to heights it experienced during the last decade. A year ago, Jim Collins wrapped up his second season at SVSU and he has continued to quietly lead the Cardinals up the ladder of contention in the GLIAC. In the fall of 2009, Saginaw Valley earned a trip to the NCAA Division II Tournament for the first time since 2005 led by an experienced group of student-athletes focused on big things. Saginaw Valley’s season, however, came to an end at the hands of the University of Nebraska-Kearney in the first round of the playoffs.
 
Offense: Saginaw Valley welcomes back some experienced hands to lead the offensive unit. At quarterback, the Cardinals welcome back Chuck Dowdell, an athletic quarterback who can beat you with his legs, but has the arm to make some things happen in the passing game, too. Dowdell passed for 2,260 yards with 13 touchdowns with a 56.8 completion percentage. He ranked second on the team in rushing last season with 655 yards and eight touchdowns. Nick Gallina led the league in yards per catch last season at 19.4. He had 25 receptions for 486 yards and four touchdowns.
 
Defense: In the backfield, this season, look for Carlton Downs to be a playmaker for the Cardinals. He led the GLIAC in interception returns as he had four picks and returned them for a total of 66 yards. Jav’ae Ingraham (25 total tackles and three interceptions for 38 yards) and Matt McDaniel (19 total tackles and a fumble recovery) help strengthen what could be a strong secondary. On the line, Brandon Williams could be a factor for the team this season.
 
Special Teams: Matt McDaniel could be a factor in the return game for the Cardinals as he had 18 returns for 350 yards. Austin Borchard, a sophomore last season, converted 6-of-10 field goals. He was 4-of-6 from between 20 and 29 yards and 2-of-4 from between 30 and 39 yards.
 
Coaching: Jim Collins returns for his third season running the show for the Cardinals. In 2009, he led the program back to the NCAA Division II Tournament where the season ended with a first-round road loss at the University of Nebraska-Kearney. Prior to his arrival at SVSU, coached Division III Capital University to a 44-13 record in five seasons.
 
Key Dates: Saginaw Valley opens the season with a non-conference home game against California (Pa.) on Sept. 4 at 12 p.m. On Sept. 25, SVSU faces Northwood in the Axe Bowl. The Cardinals are at Hillsdale on Oct. 2 and host Grand Valley State on Nov. 13 in the Battle of the Valleys.
 
 
4.   Ashland University (6-5 overall, 6-4 GLIAC)
 
Overview: This is a year of transition for Ashland as it will play without the steady arm and leadership of quarterback Billy Cundiff, a three-year starter and former All-American passer. Competition, however, is underway. Entering preseason camp, the top candidate to replace Cundiff might well be Taylor Housewright, who played in five games last season and completed 3-of-9 passes for 12 yards. Ashland welcomes back 38 returning letter winners including 18 on offensive and 19 on defense. On the other hand, the Eagles lost 25 letterwinners while returning 16 starters.
 
Offense: If Taylor Housewright can comfortably step in, however, he will have two talented receivers in Christian Livingston, who had 57 catches, 634 yards and five touchdowns, while Joe Horn had 45 catches, 677 yards and seven touchdowns. Where the Eagles would like to see a strong presence is with their running game. An effective running game generally begins up front. On the line, Justin Magruder, center Matt Knez and tackle Kyle Stout. Look for D.J. McCoy to be a solid candidate to take the lead role carrying the football out of offensive backfield.
 
Defense: Ashland welcomes back seven letterwinners from last season’s unit. On the line, Matt Stoinoff had eight tackles for loss last season and 6.5 sacks while linebacker Carmon Wolfe totaled 64 tackles and 5.5 tackles for loss. In the defensive backfield, Quinton Scott had a banner 2009 season with 65 tackles, a team-best 9.5 tackles for loss, three sacks and two interceptions.
 
Special Teams: Gregg Berkshire, a junior, made good on 16-of-20 field goal attempts last season and converted 2-of-3 in the range of 40 to 49 yards.
 
Coaching: Lee Owens enters his seventh season as head coach at Ashland and owns a record of 41-25 during the time.
 
Key Dates: Ashland opens the season with a big non-conference home game on Sept. 4 at 1 p.m. Ashland is home against Hillsdale on Sept. 18 and back on its home turf again as it takes on Saginaw Valley on Oct. 23.
 
 
5.  Northwood University (7-3 overall, 7-3 GLIAC)
 
Overview: Northwood wants to build on a positive 2009 season in which it exceeded the expectations of a lot of people with a 7-3 record. This year, with those expectations being a little higher, the Timberwolves hope to take the next step in their climb up the ladder in the GLIAC. Northwood will have a challenge to begin the season with consecutive road games to get started. NU opens with a non-conference game at Wayne State (Sept. 4) and then opens GLIAC play with a battle against league newcomer Ohio Dominican (Sept. 11) in Columbus, Ohio. Head coach Mike Sullivan’s team has suffered the losses of some talented veterans, but the Timberwolves do have some experienced players returning along with a large recruiting class that is entering Northwood.
 
Offense: Typically, Northwood’s success has started with a strong offensive line. As a junior, Will Floyd was named All-GLIAC Second Team for his efforts on the gridiron. He will be counted upon. Jimmy Parsons, last season as a junior, rushed for 359 yards and two touchdowns on 81 attempts in the Timberwolves’ run-strong offense. Look out for Quillan Mathis as a guy who could be a factor in a passing game. Quarterback will be a position that people will keep an eye on for Northwood this season. Aaron Shavers is a guy who is being discussed as a possible candidate to step in for NU.
 
Defense: On the front, Andrew Smith had a banner sophomore season as the California native was named All-GLIAC Second Team. He was joined by another junior, Andrew DeWeerd, who could have a big season on the gridiron. The Hudsonville native, in 2009, finished with 80 total tackles, 15 tackles for loss and two sacks. Kevin Berrien, as a junior linebacker/safety a year ago, accounted for 53 tackles, five tackles for loss, a sack and an interception.
 
Special Teams: In 2009, Pat Sijan made good on 9-of-13 field goal attempts. He had a long conversion of 48 yards. He made 3-of-3 from between 20 to 29 yards, 4-of-5 from 30 to 39 yards and 2-of-5 of between 40 to 49 yards.
 
Coaching: Mike Sullivan enters his third campaign as the head coach of Northwood. Prior to assuming the title of head coach, Sullivan was deeply involved with the program for years as an assistant coach for the Timberwolves for eight seasons. He has been at Northwood for the past nine campaigns. He served as associate head coach and offensive line coach.
 
Key Dates: Northwood begins the season as road warriors visiting Wayne State on Sept. 4 and Ohio Dominican on Sept. 11. The Timberwolves host Saginaw Valley in the Axe Bowl on Sept. 25. NU hosts Hillsdale on Oct. 30 and travels to Allendale to face national power Grand Valley on Nov. 6.
 
 
6.  University of Findlay (7-4 overall, 6-4 GLIAC)
 
Overview: Findlay is coming off a solid 2009 gridiron campaign as the Oilers finished 7-4 overall and 6-4 in the GLIAC. Jon Wauford, the head coach, enters his fourth season in that capacity this fall. After a couple of tough seasons, Wauford, his staff and his players started to turn the corner last season and are hopefully to continue on to bigger and better things this year. The Oilers graduated a number of key players that contributed last season and were particularly hard hit at some of the key skill positions on the offensive side of the ball. In all, Findlay has 43 returning letterwinners with 17 lost. The team has nine starters returning on offensive and seven returning on the defensive side.
 
Offense: Findlay has 22 returning letterwinners from last season and that group includes nine starters back with the responsibility of putting points on the scoreboard. Last year, Findlay averaged 25.2 points and held opponents to 18.8. The Oilers will hope to put at least the same amount of points on the scoreboard this season in spite of the loss of key players like starting quarterback Andrew Beam. There should be good competition for the top spot in the offensive backfield. Running the football, there are some familiar names back with Monterae Williams leading the way. Williams carried the ball 222 times last season for 937 yards and six touchdowns. He is one of their top all-purpose offensive players. Receiving wise, Dustin Zielaskiewicz is back off a season in which he caught 42 passes for 518 yards and five touchdowns to finish second on the team behind the departed Mike Chambers, who had a marvelous 2009 season.
 
Defense: Findlay was pretty hard hit on this area losing some of its top tacklers and standouts from 2009. Back on the field, however, Bryon Rizzi leads the way having totaled 58 total tackles, one tackle for loss and one fumble recovery. Donte Johnson is back after a 47-tackle season and Ikechi Emeaghara also returns after totaling 40 tackles, five tackles for loss, two sacks and a fumble recovery.
 
Special Teams: Findlay had no losses to starters with special teams. Senior Cameron Stevens is back and the Oilers should be in good shape with him handling the kicking duties this season.
 
Coaching: Jon Wauford starts his fourth season as the head coach of the Oilers. Wauford was an assistant coach for the Oilers, back in 2006, under then head coach Dan Simrell. Wauford is actually a native of Findlay, Ohio.
 
Key Dates: Findlay opens the season with a home game on Sept. 4 against Tusculum at 12 p.m. After road trips in back to back weeks to Northern Michigan (Sept. 11) and Tiffin (Sept. 18), the Oilers host national power Grand Valley on Sept. 25. Findlay faces rival Ashland on Oct. 30 at home.
 
 
7.  Northern Michigan University (6-4 overall, 6-4 GLIAC)
 
Overview: Northern Michigan is coming off a solid season last fall and hopes to build on that taste of success strengthened by 34 returning letterwinners for head coach Bernie Anderson. Of the 34 returning letterwinners, 12 are on offense, 20 are on defense and two are on special teams. These are players that have been in Coach Anderson’s program and understand what he is trying to build in Marquette. A year ago, the Wildcats finished 6-4, but this year expectations are higher as Northern hopes to win a few more of those close games lost a year ago.
 
Offense: NMU returns some key players at key positions on this side of the football. That group of veterans is led by quarterback Carter Kopach, who passed for 1,373 yards and 14 touchdowns and rushed for four touchdowns and 183 yards proving him a dangerous dual threat with the football. Dustin Brancheau is back after compiling 329 receiving yards and scoring two touchdowns. Also returning out wide is Blake Crider, who had 10 catches last year for 154 yards and two touchdowns.
 
Defense: Demetri Stewart is a central focus as he had 65 total tackles, nine tackles for loss and four sacks for 15 yards. DJ Oke had 56 tackles and one tackle for loss in defensive coordinator Randy Awrey’s defense. NMU had a tough defense a year ago as opponents managed just 16.1 points. The defense did bend at times, but proved tough as opponents tried to get into the end zone.
 
Special Teams: Garrett Peck is the man at punter. A year ago, Peck had 40 punts for an average of 41.5 yards with a long of 65. Rockne Belmonte, at placekicker, was 5-of-7 with a long of 36.
 
Coaching: Bernie Anderson is entering his fifth season as head coach of Northern, his alma mater. Anderson is a 1978 graduate of NMU who returned to Marquette after leading rival Michigan Tech to success for a number of seasons. He was the head coach of Tech from 1987-2005.
 
Key Dates: NMU opens the season on Sept. 5. The Miner’s Cup Game this season will be at Houghton as the Wildcats face rival and nationally-ranked Michigan Tech on Sept. 19. Northern travels to national power Grand Valley State on Oct. 31.
 
 
8.  Wayne State University (6-5 overall, 5-5 GLIAC)
 
Overview: Wayne State enjoyed another season of winning and hopes to build on the good things that have happened for the Warriors during the previous two seasons for head coach Paul Winters. The Warriors finished 6-5, but had some tremendous highs as they broke into the national rankings and featured Joique Bell, the premier NCAA Division II football player in the nation who was named winner of the Harlon Hill Trophy. The tough news is that Bell is gone. The good news, however, is Wayne returns 41 letterwinners, and that equates to a lot of experience in Detroit for the Warriors.
 
Offense: Last year, a huge chunk of the offensive obviously was built around the skills of Joique Bell, who was a do-it-all player for Wayne en route to winning the Harlon Hill Trophy. Replacing a back the caliber of Bell will be no easy task, but Wayne feels it has a couple of candidates ready to go to work to fill those big shoes. The leading candidates are Josh Renel and Toney Davis. The two are expected to split time in the offensive backfield. At quarterback, Mickey Mohner returns from a season in which he played 10 games and was a starter in the final seven. Wayne expects to have good and healthy competition at receiver with a group led by Troy Burrell, who led the team with 458 yards on 25 receptions. Watch out for Ed Sanders to potentially emerge this season. On the offensive line, Joe Long is back at left tackle, All-GLIAC Second Team pick Mark Cuddeback returns at center and Will Khoury also returns with some experience.
 
Defense: On the defensive side of the ball, Wayne has 21 letterwinners back and that group has gained a lot of experience that should prove beneficial. Linebacker Nick Thomas is a preseason All-American and returns after leading the team in tackles last season. Thomas is expected to be one of the leaders of the Wayne defense. The linebacker unit could be the strength of the defense. On the line, Daunte Akra (coming back after missing last season with a knee injury) is one of the experienced players in the bunch. Greg Hasse is back at defensive tackle where he played and started all 11 games last season. He is expected to move to the outside. He led the linemen with 47 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. He was named the team’s Defensive Rookie of the Year. Two true freshman (Serxho Guraleci and Zach Houghton) each saw considerable playing time on the defensive line in 2009. In the secondary, the two starting safeties — Jeremy Jones and Kenny Loney return.   Loney led all WSU defensive backs with 55 tackles last year.  Jones started the final nine games in 2009 and recorded 54 tackles.
 
Special Teams: Wayne hopes to make some strides in the kicking game. Incoming freshman Stefan Terleckyj could be called upon to contribute right away. The Warriors hope that with an improved kicking game it will improve field position for their defense and help put points on the scoreboard. Renel and Thornton are keys in the return game while Zack George is set to handle the punting.
 
Coaching: Paul Winters is set to enter his sixth season as the head football coach at Wayne State and he is coming off his best campaign in 2008. Last season, the Warriors finished 8-3. Winters was named the 2008 GLIAC Coach of the Year.
 
Key Dates: Wayne opens against Northwood in a non-conference game at Adams Field in Detroit on Sept. 4. Homecoming is against Northern Michigan on Oct. 2. The Warriors take on Hillsdale in Detroit on Oct. 23, travels to Saginaw Valley on Oct. 30 and closes the regular season against Findlay on Nov. 13.
 
 
9.  Michigan Technological University (2-8 overall, 2-8 GLIAC)
 
Overview: Michigan Tech is aiming for a bounce-back year on the gridiron as it battles to move back into the upper echelon of the GLIAC. Last season was a tough one for the Huskies as injuries and tough losses turned a season that began with promise into more of a challenge. This season, head coach Tom Kearly’s squad believes it has the personnel to prove that what happened in 2009 was a fluke and that the real Huskies are ready to step up and challenge the GLIAC’s elite programs. MTU returns an experienced quarterback, a top-notch tight end and a solid offensive line to lead scoring unit. Defensively, the line should be solid and Tech hopes to get back to the stingy, hard-nosed brand of play it has come to be known for on that side of the football.
 
Offense: When you begin with this offensive unit there are probably two names that will jump out at fans. At quarterback, Tech boasts what it feels is one of the best in the GLIAC in Steve Short, who will be a senior this fall after having the bulk of his 2009 campaign wiped out due to an injury. Short was granted a medical redshirt and will be back for the Huskies with hopes he can return to the form that led him to be named a 2008 All-GLIAC Honorable Mention selection – or better. In the backfield, Michigan Tech has a strong runner in senior Phil Milbrath, who was an All-GLIAC First Team choice after amassing 1,343 yards in 2008. Like Short, he too was injury plagued in 2009 and should be ready for a big season. Look for Steve Worthy and Pat Carroll to step in as receivers for the departed Bobby Slowik. At tight end, however, MTU is strong with the return of Bryan LaChappelle, who had 29 catches and four touchdowns as a freshman last season. MTU welcomes back three starters on the offensive line in Matt Desotell (All-GLIAC Honorable Mention in 2009), a senior guard; Anthony Santi, a senior center; and Matt Gaudard, a junior tackle.
 
Defense: It all starts up front for the Huskies who bring back a line that includes three players who have earned All-GLIAC recognition. On the ends, Tech has back a pair of juniors in Drew Vanderlin, a second-team All-GLIAC choice in 2008 (he missed all of 2009 with an injury), and Todd Storm, an honorable mention all-league performer who had 19 tackles and a sack in 2009. Junior tackle Justin Blake had 26 tackles last season and was named All-GLIAC Honorable Mention. At linebacker, juniors Jesse Vandenberg and Chet White are the leading returners. In the secondary, Ben Foelker is back as a junior after starting in six games and totaling 33 tackles with an interception. Tech welcomes back both starting cornerbacks in Jamell Matthias, a senior, and Quinn Parnell, a junior.
 
Special Teams: Tech will have experience at placekicker, in Tyler Cattelino, and a true freshman, Matt DeJong, is expected to come in and handle the punting duties.
 
Coaching: Entering his fourth season, Tom Kearly is 22-20 with the Huskies.
 
Key Dates: Tech does not play a non-conference opponent the first week and opens its season on Sept. 11 when it travels to Ohio to take on Lake Erie College at 1 p.m. MTU hosts Grand Valley on Oct. 30 and hosts archrival Northern Michigan in the Miner’s Cup Game on Nov. 13 in Houghton.
 
 
10.  University of Indianapolis (4-7 overall, 3-7 GLIAC)
 
Overview: A new era is set to begin at the University of Indianapolis as Bob Bartolomeo takes over as head coach of the Greyhounds this season. After a pair of losing seasons, UI is hopeful it has the right team makeup and chemistry to bounce back and move back up into the upper division of the GLIAC. Coach Bartolomeo’s cupboard is not bare with some talent returning on both sides of the football as the team gears up for its season-opening contest in Owensboro, Ky. against Kentucky Wesleyan College on Sept. 2. With a new coach in place, albeit one who understands the tradition of the program, UI is hopeful that the transition will be smooth and lots of wins are ahead of the Greyhounds on the gridiron.
 
Offense: Youth appears destined to be served on this side of the football for Coach Bartolomeo and his staff. Indianapolis enters with a pair of quarterbacks aiming to lead the team that appears ready to run a spread offensive attack. The two QBs are Rob Doyle and Paul Corsaro. The Greyhounds will need a young offensive line to come together and mature quickly. UI must adapt to the loss of standout lineman Tim Dury. Returning starters for the offense include Doyle, four receivers (sophomore Mar’Quonne Edmonds, senior Ryan Forney, junior Joe Leach and senior Tyran Fakes, who was injured in 2009, but was a starter in 2008), running back Patrick Bourne, three offensive linemen (sophomore Andrew Mansaray, senior Eric Quintana and sophomore Josh Bridwell) and tight end Dustin Burford for an offense that returns seven letterwinners.
 
Defense: Indianapolis hopes to be particularly stingy in the secondary and at linebacker with a lot of returning faces. In the secondary, preseason All-American Craig Ray leads the way. Other returning starters include three other defensive backs (Alex Byrnes, a senior; Aaron Ruth, a junior; and Collin Coffer, a junior), three linebackers (sophomore Tyler Peterman, junior Mike Dum and sophomore Max Davis) and lineman Demetrius Wilson. UI will feature a 4-3 defensive look for a defense that returns seven letterwinners.
 
Special Teams: Jace Morrison is gone from the roster as a placekicker and Erick Kumming is gone as punter. The Greyhounds will seek to fill those shoes with candidates on their roster that are listed as a freshman (Bryan Sullivan) and two sophomores (Noah Wahl and Aaron Puntarelli).
 
Coaching: Bob Bartolomeo enters his first season as head coach of the Greyhounds. He has two previous seasons as a head coach and put together a record of 14-7-1.
 
Key Dates: Indianapolis opens at Kentucky Wesleyan on Sept. 2. The home opener for Indianapolis is Sept. 11 against Ashland. The Greyhounds are at Grand Valley on Sept. 18, at Saginaw Valley on Oct. 16 and closes the season at home against GLIAC newcomer Ohio Dominican on Nov. 13.
 
 
11.  Ferris State University (1-10 overall, 0-10 GLIAC)
 
Overview: Ferris State experienced and uncharacteristic season on the field with a 1-10 record. But, entering 2010, the Bulldogs have retooled and hopes are higher as the team gets set to take the field under head coach Jeff Pierce, who is entering his 16th season as the top guy in the program. Ferris has made some adjustments with its coaching staff with the addition of Chris Boden as offensive coordinator and Gary McGraw as defensive backs coach. Ferris had some key losses in its lineup with quarterback Kyle Parrish, All-GLIAC Honorable Mention cornerback and Minnesota Vikings signee Angelo Williams, linebacker Nick Butler, safety Santino Favot and guard Joe Doman, among others. Ferris does have some talent returning with linebacker Matt Ryan, defensive end Jordan Morgan and strong safety Chad Wilson leading the offense and receivers Mike Ryan, Aaron Olman and Chris Wilson back on offense. Ferris expects to play this season with more of a chip on its shoulder as it seems to get back to the more competitive brand of football fans are used to seeing from the Bulldogs.
 
Offense: Ferris begins without Kyle Parrish as the primary passer in the offense. Now that Parrish has moved on, that opens the door for Tom Schneider and Robert Banaszak to be among the candidates to step in and play the quarterback position in Coach Boden’s new offense – one that is similar to what former Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach helped make famous. The Bulldogs want to be better able to utilize receivers like Ryan, Wilson, Olman, Matt Schuelke and Damien Miller this season. In the running game, Ferris has been grooming players like Skyler Stoker and Tyler Thomas to be able to handle the bulk of the carries out of the offensive backfield. With the loss of D.J. Freeman, due to injury, the door is open for other backs to step in and claim ownership of the top running back position. The offensive line, Ferris hopes to be solid with tackle Jake Hancock and guard Scott Shattuck as stabilizers for the unit.
 
Defense: Ferris has a lot returning on the defensive side of the football from last season’s team. Jordan Morgan, a sophomore at defensive end; Jacob Moreno, a senior at defensive tackle; Matt Ryan, a senior at linebacker; Kyle Fitzpatrick, a senior at linebacker; and Chad Wilson, a senior at strong safety who missed the entire 2009 season due to injury, are guys back with experience on the field. Ryan had a breakthrough 2009 campaign as he led the team with 124 total tackles. He also had 4.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and a pair of fumble recoveries.
 
Special Teams: Ferris should have a year of experience to the benefit of its special teams unit – a group that remains mostly intact.  Shawn Snoor handled the placekicking responsibilities and was solid. Through the early part of training camp, Ferris should get a better idea of who will emerge in the returns of punts and kickoffs.
 
Coaching: Jeff Pierce returns for his 16th season as the head coach of the Bulldogs – his alma mater. Pierce was a player at Ferris and was a long-time assistant coach before he became the head man at the start of the 1995 season.
 
Key Dates: The non-conference opponent this season for the Bulldogs in Hillsdale College. Ferris will travel to Hillsdale as the two teams renew one of the oldest rivalries in the GLIAC on Sept. 3 at 7 p.m. Ferris is on the road to face both GLIAC newcomers as it travels to Ohio Dominican on Sept. 18 and to Lake Erie two weeks later on Oct. 2. Ferris and Grand Valley renew their rivalry in the Anchor-Bone Classic on Oct. 23 in Big Rapids at Top Taggart Field.
 
 
12.  Tiffin University (0-10 overall, 0-11 GLIAC)
 
Overview: After having a chance to experience what it means to go through a complete GLIAC schedule, Tiffin is back and hopeful its 2009 experience – including a few near successes late in the season – will pay off this fall. The Dragons of third-year head coach David Walkosky, proved highly competitive in two of its last three games falling just 21-17 to Indianapolis on Oct. 24 and 21-14 to Michigan Tech on Oct. 31. This fall, Tiffin hopes to get off to a strong start with three games in a row to begin the season as it hosts Malone College, in a non-conference game on Sept. 2; against Wayne State, on Sept. 11; and Findlay, on Sept. 18. Tiffin has some talented players returning, particularly on the offensive side of the ball, and the coaching staff will hope those players can use the extra year of experience to put earn some wins. Tiffin has some spots that needed to be filled, on defense, but some younger players on the rise could step up and take command of those spots on the depth chart.
 
Offense: Last year, Tiffin had one of the better receiving duos in the conference in Trey Williams and Greg Raspberry. The talented Raspberry is gone, but Williams is back off a season in which he was named All-GLIAC Honorable Mention. A year ago, Williams had 365 receiving yards with a touchdown. Brendton Williams had two touchdown receptions and 196 yards through the air. Quarterback Nathan Scully, a sophomore, is back to lead the offense. Scully passed for 1,197 yards and 12 touchdowns. David Singleton is back after spending some time at the QB position for the Dragons in 2009.  Singleton threw for 252 yards and a touchdown, while catching 23 passes for 232 yards and five TDs.
 
Defense: Tiffin suffered some key losses on the defensive side of the football and will need some players with experience to step up and might even need some newcomers to do the same. DeJuan Graham, a senior, is back at defensive back. He will be joined by Courtney Embry, also a senior. The Dragons will be very young with its front seven as the line and the linebackers will take on a youthful look this season.
 
Special Teams: Tiffin will be in good shape this season as placekicking duties will be handled by sophomore Boris Bede, who earned All-GLIAC Honorable Mention accolades during his freshman season.
 
Coaching: David Walkosky is entering his third season. Before taking over at Tiffin, Walkosky had a lot of Division I experience as he previously served as an assistant coach at Washington State University and as a defensive coach at the University of Toledo.
 
Key Dates: Tiffin opens with a home date against Malone College on Sept. 2. It’s the first of three home games to open the season for the Dragons. Tiffin hosts national power Grand Valley on Oct. 2 and travels to in-state rival Ashland the next week (Oct. 9). Homecoming will take place Oct. 23 when Tiffin hosts another in-state rival as Ohio Dominican comes to town for a 1:30 p.m. contest.
 
 
13.  Ohio Dominican University (7-3 overall, N/A GLIAC)
 
Overview: A new era begins for Ohio Dominican as it is one of two schools that will debut this fall in the GLIAC on the gridiron. Last season the Panthers compiled a record of 7-3, but that record is sure to be challenged as ODU enters one of the top Division II football conferences in the nation. Adding to the intrigue of Ohio Dominican’s arrival in the GLIAC is that it comes in with a new head coach in Bill Conley, who is just the second man to hold that position in the program’s history. His cast coaching experience at the highest levels of competition should pay off for him as he seeks to build a winner at Ohio Dominican. The program has 22 returning offensive letterman and 21 returning defensive letterwinners. The team has nine starters returning on offense and seven back on the defensive side of the football.
 
Offense: Tiffin welcomes back some talent on the offensive side of the football with five returning linemen in Tyler White, a sophomore; Ben Vulhop, a sophomore, Zach Cook, a sophomore, Andrew Carpenter, a sophomore; and Andrew Richards, also a sophomore. Brandon Robinson and Brian Vollmer are back at the receiver positions, Billy Griffin is back as a quarterback and Mike Noffsinger is back in the backfield as a running back. So, there are a lot of letterwinners and starters returning on offense, but the players still have a youthful feel. Griffin passed for 2,489 yards last season with 18 touchdowns. Robinson was the team’s second-leading receiver last season as he caught 39 passes for 553 yards and three touchdowns. The top receiver from last season was tight end Kyle Reichelderfer, who scored six touchdowns and had 43 catches for 686 yards. This year, however, he is gone. The Panthers’ running game was balanced last season with four guys rushing for between 289 and 389 yards.
 
Defense: The Panthers have a lot of experience returning starters on defense with a combination of seniors, juniors and sophomores. Carl Genephat, a defensive back; Miguel Davis, a linebacker; Eric Dern, also a linebacker; and Nick Powell, a defensive lineman, are all back as seniors for ODU. Junior Tony Weisent is back as a junior linebacker and Jeff White, a defensive back, and Eli Kovach, on the line, are returning starters as sophomores. White is a very talented player who led the team in total tackles last season with 72 to go along with three interceptions. Dern made an impact as he totaled 57 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. Those two could emerge as leaders of the defense.
 
Special Teams: Ohio Dominican graduated kicker and punter Mitch Croy from last season. Chris Vortkamp looks like the man destined to handle the kicking and punting duties this season for Ohio Dominican.
 
Coaching: Bill Conley is a man who is familiar to a lot of people in Columbus, Ohio. He is an Ohio State University graduate who played on two Big Ten championship teams and on the 1968 National Championship team under the legendary head coach Woody Hayes. Conley has been an assistant at OSU Earle Bruce, another legend, as well as former head coach John Cooper and current head coach Jim Tressel.
 
Key Dates: Ohio Dominican jumps right into it as it opens the season with its first GLIAC game as it hosts Northwood on Sept. 11. ODU then hosts Ferris State in week two at noon. The homecoming game for the Panthers is on Oct. 16 against in-state rival Findlay at 12 p.m. The season finale is on the road, Nov. 13, at Indianapolis.
 
 
14.  Lake Erie College (7-4 overall, N/A GLIAC)
 
Overview: Lake Erie begins its first season of competition in the GLIAC and starts with maybe the toughest road schedule possible. The Storm will play road contests against Saginaw Valley, Hillsdale, Grand Valley, Findlay and Ashland. LEC begins its time in the GLIAC coming off a 7-4 record last season. The level of competition, in part illustrated by the road schedule, will get considerable tougher for Lake Erie and head coach Mark McNellie. Some of the opponents from last year might ring a bell to GLIAC fans. The Storm defeated St. Joseph’s 31-21, lost to Ohio Dominican 52-49 and defeated Kentucky Wesleyan 24-7. Last year was just Lake Erie’s second season as a varsity program.
 
Offense: The Storm will welcome back 32 returning letterwinners with four lost from the 2009 squad. That should translate to a lot of experience. The team returns nine of 11 starters on offense as well. Among the top returning names for people to think about with Lake Erie will be quarterback Sean Bedevelsky, a junior, who threw for 2,081 yards and 15 touchdowns against 12 interceptions. Two of his targets will be junior wingback David Romeo, who had 32 receptions for 590 yards with three touchdowns and rushed it 34 times for 235 yards with a touchdown. Brandon James, also a junior, returns at wide receiver after hauling in 43 catches for 493 yards and four touchdowns. Another wingback, senior Demetrius Gray, had 23 receptions for 226 yards and one touchdown last season while he also rushed it 36 times for 225 yards and two touchdowns. On the line, Mike Gritz, a junior; Mike Hounshell, a junior; and Barrett Frederickson, also a junior, will solidify that unit.
 
Defense: Lake Erie has some talent coming back on the defensive side of the football as well. Junior linebacker Gus Armbruster finished last season with 86 total tackles (42 solo). He also had 4.5 tackles for loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Kevin Chapman, another junior at outside linebacker, totaled 69 tackles, had seven tackles for loss, one sack and one interception. David Dunne, another junior, tallied 57tackles a year ago. In the defensive backfield, Steve Bensinger is coming off a solid season with 49 tackles, one tackle for loss, one interception and a touchdown. Kenneth “Rudy” Glenn, a junior, also enjoyed a solid season with 47 tackles and two interceptions. Look for guys like Josh Freeman, a junior, and Taylor Jonard, also a junior, to strengthen the line.
 
Special Teams: Sam Marcotte, a sophomore, is back as a kicker. He made good on 36 of 41 PATs, 5-of-9 field goals (a long of 32) and finished with 51 points. Bensinger had 19 punt returns for 240 yards and a touchdown while Gray had 16 kickoff returns for 375 yards.
 
Coaching: Mark McNellie has a record of 10-12 in three seasons as head coach at Lake Erie College.
 
Key Dates: Lake Erie has an 11-game schedule and begins the season in non-conference action on Sept. 2 at Gannon. The Storm plays its first GLIAC game the following week as it hosts Michigan Tech on Sept. 11 in Painesville, Ohio. The road schedule is tough for Lake Erie as it travels to Saginaw Valley (Sept. 18), Hillsdale (Sept. 25), Grand Valley (Oct. 16), at Findlay Oct. 23 and at Ashland (Nov. 13).

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