Head Coach Greg Pscodna enters his first season at the helm of the Scots' football program after four years as head coach at Michigan Center High School. He has extensive coaching experience, including 16 years at the colllegiate level. He was head coach at Defiance College and had a record of 29-38 in seven years, including seasons of 7-3 and 8-3 in 2000 and 2001. The Scots are coming off of a 2-8 season in 2011.
"I think our kids are excited for the season and we have put in a lot new stuff," remarked Pscodna. "They have worked hard in every facet of the game. I believe they are ready to play somebody else and Heidleberg will be a great challenge."
The Scots return a few players in 2012 that have seen action at the position, including Jr. Jarrett Leister, who started 10 games last season and had 12 TD passes and 2,223 yards passing. But, Jr. Rob Feeman, who played in three games last season, has had a solid camp and is in position to contribute as well.
"We have a good mixture of Jarrett Leister and Robbie Feeman and they both have had good times and struggles during camp," said Pscodna. "Jarrett is our starter right now, but I have no hesitation putting Robbie in and seeing what he can do. I believe we have two solid quarterbacks heading into the season"
With an added emphasis on the running game in 2012, this position will be looked upon very closely. A very inexperienced group has Sr. Aaron Hahn coming into the season with the most carries of any player on the depth chart, while So. Bryan Wonski has had a solid camp for the Scots.
"Running backs is an interesting position as we have four to five guys that can run the ball for us," stated Pscodna. "Aaron Hahn is the veteran but we will look to players like Jon Bricker, Garret Cook, Joey Jerisk and others for production."
This is a position for the Scots that has players returning but nobody that has put up consistent numbers thus far in their careers. The opportunity is there for people to step up and earn playing time.
"We have Michael Lenneman out there and Tyler Watters has done some good things in camp," said Pscodna. "But, we also have freshmen that have opened some eyes like Logan Goins and Jeremy Patterson. We don't have a lot of experience, but we believe it is a solid core"
The offensive line will be a mixture of veterans and youth and will be a big factor in the success of the new offense. Sr. Matt Scharlow and Sr. Eric Story return to lead the way for the youngsters. It will be a position to keep an eye on all season as many youthful players will get a shot to make a difference.
"Scharlow and Story will anchor our offensive line and after that we have other players like Blake Padget and David Slusser who have done a nice job of learning the new offense," remarked Pscodna. "Our biggest concern in our offense is the depth at this position as we have many kids who have not played college football."
The tight end position makes a return to the Scots' offense in 2012 and was a wide open competition when camp began.
"We won't always have a tight end, but we have plays that utilize the position," said Pscodna. "Nate Hudeck and Riley Fisher have stood out at the position during camp. If they continue to develop, there will be more plays in the offense that come that way."
This unit saw some big departures after the 2011 campaign, but under new Defensive Coordinator Nate Jensen, is ready to reload and anchor the defensive front. Players with experience from last season include Jr. Frank Furnari, So. Charlie Kempf and Sr. Brett Mageli and they will be joined by a group of younger players that have had a strong camp.
"This is our most veteran group with guys like Austin Smith, Furnari and Kempf who saw playing time last season" said Jensen. "Mageli is returning for his fifth year and will be a leader and we moved a big, physical kid in Shane Hall to this group as well."
The linebacking position began the 2012 camp wide open after the graduation of several key contributors to last year's team. As the Scots head into opening day, Jr. Clayton Every, Sr. Jarrod Lynch and Sr. Donald Morin are slated to start.
"We took a couple of guys out of the secondary and moved them up front as we try to become more athletic, especially on the outside," stated Jensen. "Guys like Clayton Every and Eric Strickler are fast and athletic and we want them in position to make plays. Younger guys like Terry Calagon and John Chadwick have been solid for us on the outside in camp, while our leadership will be inside, coming from Lynch, Morin and Matt Lewan."
The secondary group is another group that has a some experience, but will also need an infusion of youth to be successful. Sr. Luke Kanine, Sr. Andrew Funsch and Jr. Austin McClelland will be the anchors for the unit. Younger players looking to make an impact include So. Adam Nelson and freshmen Aaron Davis and Fabrice Constant. In addition, transfer Jr. Brandon Wegenke has had a strong first camp for the Scots.
"This group, along with our up front guys, is where we will be looking at for our leadership," said Jensen. "Luke and Andrew have had a lot of snaps back there in their careers and we need them to lead the entire defense. McClelland has played different spots but we are going to let him focus on safety at the start of the season."
The Scots have to replace All-MIAA punter Austin Montgomery in 2012 and entered camp with a need at kicker as well. The punting duties will be handled by Fr. Jacob McCombie and he is expected to be the kickoff man as well. Sr. Jake Pryde, who has never played football, will begin the season as the extra point man, and Fr. Blake Ordiway will be in the mix as well. As for kick returning, Sr. Michael Lenneman, Sr. Luke Kanine and Sr. Andrew Funsch begin the season in those roles.
"Our kickers have done a pretty solid job during camp, but they have not really been under a lot of pressure," said Pscodna. "We will watch week to week to see how they do and monitor the progression. We feel good about our experience in the return game."
The Scots will host Heidelberg College at Bahlke Field in the season-opener of a challenging non-league schedule. Alma will then travel to Illinois Wesleyan and Aurora (IL). The team wraps up non-league play the following week when they host Wisconsin-Oshkosh. MIAA action begins September 29 at Olivet College.
"Our non-league schedule is brutal as we play three teams that won eight games last season and compete in probably the best two conferences in the country," said Pscodna. "Our goal is to get through the non-league portion competitive and healthy. This will only help us as we prepare for the MIAA schedule, as our ultimate goal is to win a league championship."