Spring look at Concordia football

Spring look at Concordia football

Spring practice begins: April 3
Spring practice open to public: Friday, April 26, 7 p.m., Bulldog Stadium

Head coach Vance Winter, 16-27 overall (enters fifth season in 2013)
Offensive Coordinator: Curran White (second season)
Defensive Coordinator: Patrick Daberkow (fourth season as DC; seventh season on defensive staff)
Special Teams: Corby Osten (sixth season on football staff)
2012 Record: 5-6 overall; 4-5 GPAC (7th)

2013 Returning starters:
Offense: 6
Defense: 8
Special Teams: 3

2013 Schedule
Sept. 5 (Thu.) – at William Jewell (Mo.), 7 p.m.
Sept. 14 – vs. *Hastings, 7 p.m.
Sept. 21 – at *Midland, 1 p.m.
Sept. 28 – at Dakota State (S.D.), 4 p.m.
Oct. 5 – at *Dordt, 1 p.m.
Oct. 12 – *Nebraska Wesleyan (Homecoming), 1 p.m.
Oct. 19 – at *Northwestern, 1 p.m.
Oct. 26 – vs. *Doane, 1 p.m.
Nov. 2 – vs. *Morningside (Parent’s Day), 1 p.m.
Nov. 9 – at *Dakota Wesleyan, 1 p.m.
Nov. 16 – vs. *Briar Cliff (Senior Day), 1 p.m.

*Class listed for each key returner updated for 2013-14 athletic season

Key returners:
-Derek Blessing, Sr., 5-10, 205, CB/PR/KR, 2012 First Team All-Conference; paced the entire NAIA with 388 punt return yards and three punt return touchdowns while averaging 18.5 yards per return in 2012; topped the Bulldogs in tackles (75), pass breakups (6) and forced fumbles (3).
-Dylan Heithoff, Sr., 6-3, 245, OLB, 2012 Second Team All-Conference; recorded 71 tackles (9.5 for loss) and four sacks in 2012.
-Langston Jones, Sr., LB, 6-2, 225, 2012 Honorable Mention All-Conference; ranked second on the team with 73 total tackles (6.5 for loss) while also recording one interception, two fumble recoveries and two blocked kicks.
-Dylan Klassen, Jr., 6-1, 270, C, 2012 Honorable Mention All-Conference.
-Josh Powell, Jr., 6-0, 260, RG, 2012 Honorable Mention All-Conference.
-Tait Sibbel, So., 6-2, 195, S, 2012 Honorable Mention All-Conference; made 67 tackles (fifth on the team) and also posted one interception, two fumble recoveries and three pass breakups.
-Von Thomas, Jr., 6-2, 200, QB, Honorable Mention All-Conference; tallied 2,300 all-purpose yards (1,840 passing, team-leading 460 rushing) and 20 total touchdowns (14 passing, six rushing) while starting all 11 games at QB.
-Darnell Woods, Sr., 6-3, 205, S, 2012 First Team All-Conference; led the team with 5 INTs and ranked seventh with 58 tackles; moved to safety after starting the opening game at corner.

Key losses:
-Adam Faulstich, 6-1, 270, LG, 2012 Second Team All-Conference.
-Kyle Little, 6-2, 230, LB, 2012 Honorable Mention All-Conference; made 72 tackles (third most on the team) and picked off one pass and broke up six passes.
-Tom Malander, 6-0, 200, LB, 2012 Honorable Mention All-Conference; posted 52 tackles and two forced fumbles in 2012.
-Colten Quinabo, 6-0, 190, WR, 2012 Second Team All-Conference; caught 47 passes for 567 yards and four touchdowns to lead Concordia in all three categories.
-Michael Voelker, 6-3, 255, DL, 2012 Second Team All-Conference; made career high 63 tackles (8.5 for loss) and also recorded two sacks and four pass breakups in 2012.
-Kenny Zoeller, 6-0, 185, K, 2012 NAIA All-America; 2012 First Team All-Conference; 15/20 FGs, 27/28 PATs, 72 points in 2012.

Key newcomers: Read more about the 2013 recruiting class HERE.

2012 Highlights

The Bulldogs improved from 4-7 in 2011 to 5-6 in 2012. Five of the team's six losses this past fall came by 10 points or less. After starting the season 0-3, Concordia won four in a row, and five of six, including a stunning 17-16 upset of No. 11 Northwestern on Oct. 13. With playmaking quarterback Von Thomas' skills fully on display in new offensive coordinator Curran White's spread attack, Concordia went from 16.7 points per game in 2011 to 24.0 in 2012.

The Bulldogs' also boasted the most electrifying return man in the NAIA with Derek Blessing, who topped the nation with 388 punt return yards and three punt return touchdowns. Blessing also moved from running back to cornerback last season and thrived. He will be part of an experienced secondary in 2013 that brings back all four starters.

Concordia also had several other great success stories such as the emergence of Darnell Woods as a ballhawking safety and Tait Sibbel’s smooth transition from high school to stellar college defensive back. In addition, Kenny Zoeller earned All-America honors and fellow seniors Colten Quinabo, Adam Faulstich and Michael Voelker finished out solid Concordia careers.

3 April 2013

Derek Blessing fields a punt Wednesday afternoon during Concordia's first football practice of the spring. Blessing, the NAIA's top punt returner in 2012, looks to produce another big season as a senior in 2013.